Some of you may already know of the Mind's Eye Series, where a group of authors create stories from amazing photographs - there have been two collections so far - Reflections and Perspectives.
Photographs from Helle Gade and Martin David Porter - such excellence.
This time, for set three, I have been lucky enough to be included in the mix. And this time, it is three authors creating three stories or poems about the same photograph, hence the tile, Triptychs.
Triptychs is an anthology of very different stories and poems from, in my opinion, a group of very talented authors (okay, I am one of them)! Each author has many book titles to their name already, and it is a privilege to be amongst them.
I never know where my imagination will take me, so it was exciting to be prompted by a photograph - in this instance two of them.
Mine are called #666 (inspired by a night shot of a fairground ride at night) and Beyond The Eyes (created from a reflection of light on a water).
#666 is a darker take on reality (loosely), while Beyond The Eyes has a fantasy /science-fiction element.
Photograph by Helle Gade - my inspiration for Beyond The Eyes
Photograph by Martin David Porter, my inspiration for #666
I'm delighted in where the photographs took me, and it's incredible how different my efforts are from the others, in that each of us has our own style and that each photo can spark such varied and fabulous outcomes.
As it says on the cover:
Take a mental image, divide it three ways, you'll read all the angles in Triptychs.
Full price will be $3.99 /£3.99 on March, 16 2015
The other authors contributing to this fabulous collection are:
And editor, Bob Helle
To learn more about the Mind's Eyes Series, please visit Darcia Helle's website.
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Brian W Fisher
I was immediately hooked on Brian's books with About Billy, which quickly expanded into a trilogy - wonderful and insightful.
Writing books, however, is not his only talent, he also pens amazing articles from around the world, some of which can be found on Travelmag - take a look to find those magical adventures.
Poetry is no stranger to Brian, and I was particularly impressed by one called, Why, which can be found on YouTube.
Other poetry can be found on his website, amongst a host of other fascinating things.
Here's what I think to his books:
Billy's world is threatened by war...'whatever that meant'...but his six year old mind is filled with the excitement of his first hunting trip. The extended visit with 'Uncle' Jake and 'Aunt' Dolly expands his knowledge, not only of the practical but also self-reliance and confidence.
Jake, the gentle giant, who can 'toss deers on his back and chop down trees without breaking into a sweat'...('undred a month')...helps Billy, amongst numerous things, discover the secrets of the forest, the wonders of carving his own totem pole and his talent for drawing.
These adventures are the first of many escapades where we see how Billy faces the wrathful Miss Kirby when back at school, and puts to use his own bow and arrows (to mention but a taste) along with his 'pals', Chalky, Stinker and Squint, some other members of 'The Robin Hoods'.
The meaning of war and 'floppy necks' become even more apparent to his young mind while on the hunt for shrapnel amongst the devastation of whole streets and his father off to volunteer with the Home Guard.
About Billy is more than a snapshot of this period of history but a superb album. It is a sensitive and informative story brought to life by 'real' personalities, particularly the tenderness and understanding between father and son.
Getting to know Billy through the six-year time span was a pleasure and anyone reading the story would have to agree with Jake and Dolly, that he has the heart of a soldier and the soul of a poet.
A wonderful read.
Another great read following the adventures of Billy Clark - this time as a soldier in the jungles of Malaya during the early- to mid- 1950s. We see Billy's journey from boy to man as he fulfils his National Service to do battle against the hateful Corporal Wyatt, though it is not until he reaches the sweltering heat of the jungle that his real battle begins.
His promotion to sergeant is justly earned after surviving an ambush and he has to kill for the first time. Yet it is his fight against the egoistical and murderous Heng, the communist Chinese leader of South Johore, that has the most impact. Befriending locals, not least a village chief, helps him in a do or die situation, again emphasising his childhood memories of floppy necks.
A brilliant story giving the reader another snapshot into a time in history that should never be forgotten.
Well done...looking forward to the last in the trilogy.
The Politics of Billy was worth the wait. The cover alone tells us what's coming and it's not a disappointment. Weaving through the corruption that surrounds his home town, Billy's mission is clear and we cannot help but champion his cause.
With the help of his friends, not least the likeable, if sometimes exasperating, Chalky, we watch as Billy battles his way with indomitable force. Wonderful!
Billy Clark - a hero we desperately need in today's tragic world.
A great end to a fabulous trilogy. A recommended read for everyone.
How many of us have wished we could change things...make the world a better place, especially if we see something prejudicial to our sense of fair play? 'Just Justice' builds a case for those wishes to come true.
The characters are believable, the plot, delicious, surprising and not a little shocking but this book is an excellent portrayal of modern life.
This fantastic story is thought provoking, intriguing and captivating though most certainly well worth reading.
An amazing yet chilling tale of today's troubles and politics, where the innocent must hope for the 'powers that be' to pull us back into sanity.
I don't give spoilers but will say that this book should be read.
Altogether, a wonderful set of stories that 'tell life as it is' - all highly recommended.
I met Maria through Goodreads and we swapped books, a few years ago now - Gone with Time To Tell - and we've been friends ever since.
Maria has written novels and short stories that involve family, relationships and tackles problems that we can all face at one time or another. She also writes mystery, fantasy and paranormal - my favourite genres - Haunted being my favourite book of hers so far.
As well as her writing talent, she's also one of kindest people I've ever met (and yes, we have met 'for real', once).
She is always willing to help others and has a website and a blog on Goodreads where she gives a mountain of writing tips, as well as wonderful interviews with other self-published authors (just scroll through the pages for the treasure trove) ...which, of course, has expanded my reading list to a ridiculous length (but I'm slowly loving everyone of her recommendations. In addition to this, it's great to 'meet' other authors and discover their techniques and the pros and cons of being a writer - we know we're not alone.
Just to point out that I have been interviewed more than once by Maria - all of which can be found in the Interviews and News section.
Thanks, Maria, it was a good day when we first 'met'.
I've enjoyed all of Maria's books, so here is what I think...
A Time to Tell raises important issues surrounding what has been named `domestic violence'. It was interesting (and sad) to see how history repeated itself throughout the generations, echoing the tragic dilemma of humankind.
However, the switch between `times' was cleverly done in this sophisticated story of Cara and her family, giving a good insight into the relationships to which we can all relate.
A Time to Tell has a great prologue that creates enough intrigue to pull in the reader and has a fabulous twist at the end.
A fabulous collection of stories that unearth the many facets of the human condition. They made me laugh, cry and certainly surprised me. Each story has a great hook and pulls you in until the end and have an easy to read style. The characters are believable and some are extremely 'funny to watch', not least due to the clever 'one-liners'. All of us can relate in one way or another.
Altogether, enjoyable and in places extremely insightful.
This is another wonderful collection of delightful stories from Maria Savva, all with twists and turns and surprising endings.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book with its wealth of `easy to know' characters, which bring to life these simple yet clever ideas.
It's amazing how a story can evolve from the tiniest spark, and Maria shows her genius again and again.
I particularly liked The Legacy and The Time Machine, where hopes and wishes are successfully explored.
What a fabulous analogy for the range of emotions that drive us humans. Loved the easy to follow style and the relationships to which we can all relate, this in addition to the realistic characters, it can only be a success.
I loved the lines, '...a blank canvas on which to build her dreams...' and '...he was a tattoo on her heart that could not be removed...' from Seeing Red, the first story, and '...leaving a hole the size of a watermelon in Sally's soul...' from, Envy (story four), where irony is particularly relevant.
All the stories draw you in and I, for one, couldn't wait to see what happened. There were many twists and turns and certainly unexpected events where the themes of responsibility, the ups and downs of relationships, and parental dilemmas are unmistakeable.
I would have to say that Mystic Purple was my favourite story, where I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy of small talk between Jen and Amy - the whole story bringing a smile though leaving a question as to whether we make our own fate.
This is not the first book by Maria Savva, and Pieces of a Rainbow is not a disappointment...I really enjoyed it...and I can honestly recommend that all are worth a look.
Clever, interesting and extremely good...great writing.
Cutting The Fat - Maria Savva & Jason McIntyre
It's amazing how successful stories materialise from just a spark of an idea and Cutting The Fat is no exception. To me it has a bittersweet quality, where conflicting feelings seesaw and rational thought is pushed into the background in favour of justice.
But is it?
I can understand and certainly sympathise with the anger felt by those who are waiting for that lucky break in the `real world of publishing', where, after receiving day by day rejection letters from publishers that state: `Sorry but we not taking on any new clients.' In other words, unless you are already famous, there's not a chance in Hell you'll ever be published.
But what choice is there for the rest of us?
Many look down from lofty heights and say, `Who are they to do such a thing? If they had any real talent they'd snapped up!' Maybe, but wouldn't it be fantastic if submissions could get by the janitor, the slush pile - or at the very least, the junior editor who's just left school and has an uncle `in the trade' so was given the holiday `sifting' job?
But then if luck is on your side and `Hey, look, I have a book in print,' should happen, then what right has someone else to negatively criticise that very piece of our souls?
No wonder such ideas for this story evolve.
Yes, everyone has an opinion, but why should it be used to destroy?
Nestor Maronski - a fantastic character for us all to hate; a demon to slash that very soul with each barbed word of his own. And don't we know him so well? Someone we suppose has no talent except to use our work against us, with such arrogance and steel, as if he were the slayer and not the demon. So easy is it to slice apart another's work, without regard for the heart that lay defenceless amongst the pages - so why?
Like bullies in the school playground, negative reviewers see easy prey in writers, and as we have learnt, the only way not to let them win is to fight back.
Cutting The Fat has done it, but again I wonder if (despite the relish of sweet revenge) it helped? Was what happened to Nestor true justice, did it resolve the problem; did it really make us feel better?
Hey, that's not to say I didn't enjoy the idea!
Cutting The Fat is a clever story, well written and certainly thought-provoking. At the very least it could make the elite think twice about the souls of writers they wish to destroy.
Wishful thinking indeed.
An added bonus - Only time can divide us - Maria Savva from her new book, Fusion
I loved the intriguing first line, `There was history in her face.' As I read through the story, its endearing quality went straight to my heart. A delightful tale showing you never know when or where love will creep into your life. A beautiful if sad story, which would tug at anyone's heartstrings.
And the excerpt from Jason McIntyre's Thalo Blue shows talent in abundance.
Maria Savva is a great storyteller and Second Chances is no exception. I particularly liked the way both male and female points of view were portrayed, so that the reader could understand both sides of the story.
Second Chances has an easy to read style and successfully delves into the ups and downs of relationships where most, if not all, of us can certainly relate.
Not to give away any spoilers, I thought it clever how it was sprinkled with surprises - a few twists and turns, so that we're not quite sure where things will lead...always a good idea.
Altogether, a worthwhile read. I would recommend it.
I was intrigued from the start of this story, as it began with a delicious mystery, which continued to develop and then unfold with pleasing affect.
A clever tale, where its heroine, believable and likeable, helps the reader relate and sympathise with many of the `love' issues, yet pins us to our seats wondering what will happen next.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to those who are fascinated by that `something extra', that something which allows the imagination to wander where enigma is the watchword.
I was lucky enough to read this story in advance of publication and I loved it from beginning to end.
I really enjoyed the in-depth character building - so important to a story - where I could see into the minds of each of them, making for great reading. The plot was dark and clever and kept me guessing until the end.
The story gave great insight into the emotions of mankind, where guilt can create an obsessive and insane point of view. We can wonder what we'd do in the circumstances given in the plot and whether conscience is a spark for 'doing the right thing' and if we don't, we have to accept the consequences - these issues are dealt with creatively, yet never once leaving behind reality...cleverly done.
A fantastic read, well written within its many twists and turns, and so far, my favourite story by this talented author.
So please take a look at her work and I'm sure you'll be delighted.