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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Post-weekend Poetry 019: Two Sonnets by Elizabeth Vallone

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the nineteenth in this series. This week we have two sonnets by historical author, poet and forthcoming interviewee Elizabeth Vallone.

I – August to May 2011
Content in a shadowy grove, we stood
Watching ’neath the bridal canopy
As the Indian beat the hide with wood
A tune as mournful as Penelope.
With broad smiles, good wishes rose on our breath.
Golden sunflowers hovered above them
Their deep black centers –an omen of death–
Anointed him through their hanging stems.
Baby wrapped in a shroud, soon after
Buried under the tree of sycamore
Slaying love, bonds and laughter.
Sleepless torment created a sore
That oozed an age of dark despair
Leaving him numb, cold in the wedding lair.

II – The Greedy Visitor
In a dark sarcophagus, gleaming with shellac
He lay ever fine and fair on a white silk cloud–
Cold, hard, so still.  I can’t help but move back
To my seat where I sit watching the crowd
Anguished, hurting.  They kneel taking my hand.
I feel their touch of love, they feel my pain.
My daughter, mom, hover, make no demands.
I look up glaring, he says his name with love feigned.
I recall treachery, but smile and thank him.
He arrived three months later with tear-stained face.
“Don’t you want Robert’s things?”  He’s still so grim.
Did courage or guilt bring him to my place?
Have I misjudged this man who was his friend?
No, for Robert’s things, much money I must spend.

I asked Elizabeth what prompted this piece and she said…

When someone loses a child the pain that one carries is beyond description.  It is much more painful than losing a sibling, parent or even spouse.  The survivor must grab on to any tool to work through the grief, I’ve taken to writing a sonnet when the pain is overflowing and can’t be contained with yoga, meditation and long walks.  The only other time in my life I found compelled to write poetry was when I was a university student and my love at that time left me and that was many years ago.

That’s really sad. I do find writing therapeutic – my heart goes out to you. Thank you, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Vallone possesses a B.A. and M.S. degree from Montclair State University and Long Island University.  She is a teacher and freelance writer. A contributing author to the anthologies Imprints on Rockland County History (1983) and Curragia: Writings of Italian-American Women (1998), Mrs. Vallone published Stone Perpendicular to Stone—A Tribute to the Land of My Ancestors in 1997. In 2005, Beyond Bagheria, a first attempt at historical fiction set in the New Orleans of the 1920s was published. Her latest book, published October 2011, is ‘Barbarossa’s Princess‘. Mrs. Vallone is currently working on historical fiction set in WWI Hoboken, NJ. She lives in Rockland County with her husband and returns on Saturday 12th May for our interview.

If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with multi-genre author Tim Girard – the three hundred and fifty-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  Finally, I also now have a new blog creation service especially for writers: http://icanbuildyourwritingblog.wordpress.com.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays.

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in ebooks, poetry, writing

 

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Author Spotlight no.80 – Patricia Gligor

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the eightieth, is of mystery, suspense author and interviewee Patricia Gligor.

Patricia Gligor lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She enjoys reading mystery / suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling, especially to the ocean to see lighthouses. She has worked as an administrative assistant, the sole proprietor of a résumé writing service and the manager of a sporting goods department for a local retail chain but her passion has always been writing fiction. Mixed Messages, the first novel in her Malone Mystery Series, was published earlier this month by Post Mortem Press and is available on the publisher’s website and Amazon.com.

And now from the author herself:

“If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Three years ago, my position as an administrative assistant for a large corporation was eliminated company wide. Literally, one minute, I had a job and, the next minute, I didn’t. At first, I was devastated. I’d worked there for eleven years and planned to stay until I was old enough to retire. I was making a decent amount of money and I had great benefits. Why would I leave? But, suddenly, I had no choice.

Except that I did have a choice. I could choose to wallow in self-pity, worried about whether or not I’d be able to make it financially considering the current economy, and I could resent my former employer or I could choose to make the most of the wonderful gift of time I’d been given.

I opted for the second choice and I got serious about my writing career. My dream had always been to become a published author and I’d written Mixed Messages over the course of more years than I care to say. It took that long because I’d let my job and other obligations get in the way of pursuing my dream.

So, for the first time in my life, I made writing a priority! I spent more hours each week writing than I’d ever spent at my full-time job. First, I went through Mixed Messages, rewriting and editing. Then, I plotted, outlined and wrote the second book for my Malone mystery series. At times, it was scary but I held on to the belief that “If you’ll do what you can, God will do what you can’t.”

And He did! He brought some very special people into my life. Sunny Frazer and the members of her Posse, an online marketing group, taught me the importance of establishing an online presence and guided me in how to do that. Catherine Hershberger, a member of the Queen City Writers critique group, gave me invaluable constructive criticism on the first three chapters of my novel, which greatly improved the book.

Then, a friend of mine, Jan Thomas, realizing that I was finally “serious” about my writing, went out of her way to tell me about a local event that a couple of small press publishers were scheduled to attend. I met Eric Beebe, the publisher of Post Mortem Press, that day and immediately sent him my query. Three months later, he sent me the contract to publish Mixed Messages! My dream had come true!

Morgen, I’d like to thank you for having me here today. I hope your readers will visit me at: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com.

Yes, folks, please do. You’re so welcome Patricia, it’s great to have you back here.

Patricia can also be found at http://www.postmortem-press.com/mixed.php and http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com and her books are available from Amazon.com.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with short story author, article writer and 30-day challengee Christopher Starr – the three hundred and fifty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in ebooks, interview, novels, writing

 

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Short Story Saturday 010: Sexy Shorts charity anthologies

Welcome to the Short Story Saturday review slot and the tenth review in this series. This week’s is of the Sexy Shorts charity anthologies by Accent Press.

Anyone who knows me or has been following this blog will know how much I love my short stories and none more so than funny ones (and dark ones) and the Sexy Shorts series are just my thing. Although the stories are predominantly written by women (and quite probably for women), Robert Barnard, Bill Harris and David Wass to name three of the male contributors, they have something for everyone. Each book is themed and I have…

  • Sexy Shorts for Summer: including stories by Cathy Kelly, Fiona Walker, Adele Parks, Carole Matthews, Jane Wenham Jones, Lynne Barrett-Lee and over thirty others. One of my favourites (and not because she’s a prospective interviewee but probably because it’s about two writers :)) is short story author, novelist and writing guru Della Galton’s story ‘Waiting’. As you would expect these stories are written with a summer theme but in most cases this is just timing and with titles such as Julie Cohen’s ‘Whipped Cream Dreams’ (I’ll never see Sainsbury’s and stationery binders in the same light :)) and Sara Sheridan’s ‘HP Sauce’ just make sure you’ve eaten before you start reading them. Julie Cohen did a talk last weekend, by the way, at the Chipping Norton Literature Festival, on writing sex scenes – it was fantastic! 🙂
  • Staying on the topic of food is the Sexy Shorts for Chef collection, foreworded by Anthony Worrall Thompson. As you would expect they revolve around food but are so varied that you get caught up with the story not the theme. Top names such as Adele Parks, Sophie King and Veronica Henry mix with lesser known authors and that’s what I love about these collections, even if you think you know an author’s writing, there are still pleasant surprises in store… occasionally perhaps where a novelist is outside their comfort zone (although this is not a bad thing).
  • Jane, Katie Fforde and Sue Moorcroft appear amongst many others (including better-known-for-her-crime-writing Lesley Cookman) in Sexy Shorts for Christmas and although you would expect all the stories in this collection to be Christmas-themed (and best read at that time of year) surprisingly they’re not; Jane’s (hilarious Carla’s Gift) and Lesley’s (Wedding Day) being two of the exceptions and like the others in the series they’re so varied that they needn’t be themed at all.
  • Sexy Shorts for the Beach is another light read and as ‘Woman’ magazine put it, “A fine collection of heart-warming stories”. Of course there are levels of heart-warming but suffice to say they all have a degree of ‘sexy’. Regular short story authors in this collection include Jan Jones, Linda Mitchelmore and Sally Quilford.

With each story averaging less than 10 pages they’re perfect for a coffee (or my case, tea) break. Whatever your taste in short story, there’s something for everyone here and with a contribution from every new copy sold going to Cancer Research, even if the book sits on your shelf you’ll have had a warm glow from knowing you did your good deed for the day… or in my case four of them. 🙂

If you’d like to submit your story (50 to 2,500 words) for review take a look here.

Mystery / suspense author and interviewee Patricia Gligor’s spotlight follows shortly then the blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with short story author, article writer and 30-day challengee Christopher Starr – the three hundred and fifty-forth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are also now on Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in ebooks, short stories

 

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Flash Fiction Friday 032: ‘Bowing Out’ by Marc Nash

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-second piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 742-worder entitled ‘Bowing Out’ by novelist and short story author Marc Nash.

Bowing Out

She sat where she had sat countless times before. In the harsh glare of the lights fringing her mirror. Fourteen naked bulbs to show her up in all her rawness. Stark like a Noh mask.

Fourteen interrogatory lamps burning into her face. Garlanding the looking glass, festooned like wedding arch colonnades. Though she’d only ever experienced those as scenery on the theatre stage. The lights so tightly focused, they barely penetrated the darkness beyond her.

Every evening and prior to matinees and premiers, her ghostly, disembodied head floated in the mirror as she caked it in thickly layered cosmetics. The bulbs’ other function, foreshadowing the dazzle out on the stage itself. If they couldn’t efface her features here at close range, then it augured well for her characterful expressions to prevail under the spotlights, tractor beamed in the footlights.

This particular mirror seemed as venerable as she. The glass had flowed, rucked and bubbled, like her own skin corrugated with wrinkles. Tarnished where the silvered paint had chipped or turned green with verdigris. Aping her liver spots and burst blood vessels. She loved the bulbs for blasting such imperfections away under their unforgiving blare. The mirror on her dresser at home was not nearly so forgiving.

It occurred to her that in all the years sat in place, she couldn’t ever remember a single bulb having popped. The divine power of the theatre, palace of illusion.

There was a time when other bulbs popped. Those of the Press cameras. Preview nights, gala performance evenings and end-of-run parties. Fluid, promiscuous alignments of leading men and first ladies, arm in arm with supporting cast members all beaming in the lens. Dissolved at the moment of the striking of the set, as each heads on to their next role. Another theatre, different dressing rooms. The same fourteen bulb guard of honour.

Sadly she had witnessed her own mind’s bulbs pop one by one. It was getting progressively harder to recall her lines. There were no unseen stagehands inside her head to replace the burned out filaments.

Now there was a dearth of good luck telegrams wedged into the mirror frame. While the best wishes cards accompanying bouquets of flowers had also dried up.

Neither wigs, nor curlers sat on her dresser. Simply not required any more. She could not get away with counterfeiting ages other than her true one, unlike in the past. Her skin so dried and cracked. Even the greasepaint could no longer suggest any glossy suppleness. It just seemed to disappear down the fissures in her brow and cheeks as it required ever greater volumes to recongeal her face whole. Far greater preparation time was demanded, when all she wanted to do was lie down on the ottoman and rest her weary eyes.

The cubicle was smaller than she was used to. No other background hubbub of fellow actors full of life and lusts. Exercising their voices along the full range. Practising the entire gamut of human emotion and intrigue beyond the world of the play, centred instead within these tiny rooms.

For she was of such an age now, whereby she only appeared in monologues. Wistful treatises of old women looking back on unfulfilled lives. Playwrights didn’t seem to credit the venerable woman with any ability to pursue relationships still. Seemingly audiences could only feel pity, not desire, at this juncture of her life.

Her hair pulled back by the band, face blanched or greyed out in hue, these were the only effects directors were after for her nowadays. Like a ghost. The bereft Trojan women. Her appearance was as if she had ceased the make-up process at the foundation stage. Her dressing robe and protective serviette towel barely having to be removed for the performance, as she played women confined to dressing gowns, asylum smocks or wrapped in a bed sheet.

She knew it wouldn’t be too much longer that she would be able to stare into that mirror and recognise the face staring back at her. Be it disguised or unadorned by emulsion. Her ministrations complete, she flicked the light switch off. The bulbs did not die immediately. She watched the reflected light in her satellite eyes fade gradually in the mirror. Until only the spectral outline of her death mask remained square in the flat plane of glass.

She was sat where she had sat countless times before, with only the green “Exit” light to illuminate her way.

I asked Marc what prompted this piece and he said…

I have always been fascinated by the multi-bulbed mirrors in theatre dressing rooms. Something about the bulbs being naked and so many, as well as how they frame the mirror like ivy. The many bulbs contrast with the single spotlight out on stage. And then there’s the transformation of the actor in the mirror under makeup and wigs.

Thank you, Marc.

Marc Nash is London born, bred and resident. He says he’s always resorted to the written word, thinking himself an observer by temperament. After a brief adolescent delusion that he could write lyrics, he passed over into writing stage plays for 10 years from University onwards and then when his twin boys arrived in the world meaning he couldn’t really hang around theatre bars at night, he tried my hand at prose fiction. His blog is www.sulcicollective.blogspot.com, he’s @21stCscribe on Twitter and is very active there. He has a couple of websites on the novels, http://marcnash.weebly.com and http://marcnashNIMN.weebly.com as well as a YouTube channel with 17 literature related videos (just type in sulci collective into the search function).

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with writer and publisher Will Sutton – the two hundred and fifty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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