THE GIRL IN BLACK by Kathy Lauren Miller – A REVIEW

“The Girl in Black” by Kathy Lauren Miller is a hauntingly taut murder mystery as well as an awesome page-turner! The mystery begins with high school senior, Kate Mckenna who happens to live in an old Victorian manor that is also the Mckenna Memorial Funeral Home. Her father, Dr. Brendan Mckenna, happens to be the county’s Chief Medical Examiner. Shy Kate, whose social life as always been nearly non-existent until she is thrust into the limelight when the promiscuous prom queen, Ashley is found tortured and murdered.

Accusations run rampant in Kate’s High School concerning several male students that were involved with Ashley. To make matters worse, Ashley’s remains now reside at the funeral home where Kate lives. Kate and her best friend Cooper, a computer nerd, and Kate’s unattainable heartthrob, handsome Shane, all become involved in Ashley’s murder. Suddenly, Kate finds herself in the cross hairs of the sadistic killer and the vengeful ghost of Ashley, the murdered prom queen. What happens next is beyond Kate’s worse nightmare. The Girl in Black is a fascinating and terrifying murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book. (less)

The GasLighting of America!

gettyimages-631482662 “If Donald Trump can undercut America’s trust in all media, he then starts to own them and can start to literally implant his own version of reality.” http://www.nbcnews.com/health/mental-health/some-experts-say-trump-team-s-falsehoods-are-classic-gaslighting-n711021

“The behavior has all the signs of “gaslighting”, says clinical psychologist Bryant Welch, who wrote a 2008 book entitled “State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind”. Gaslighting refers to a 1944 film in which a murdering husband manipulates and confuses his wife by dimming the gas lights in their home and then denying it’s happening.

“The very state of confusion they are creating is a political weapon in and of itself,” Welch told NBC News. “If you make people confused, they are vulnerable. By definition, they don’t know what to do,” added Welch, who has not personally examined any of the Trump team.

“This is a pretty systematic, sophisticated attempt to gaslight.” “There certainly is a general stereotype that politicians lie,” said Robert Feldman, a University of Massachusetts psychologist and deputy chancellor who specializes in the psychology of lying. But Feldman and Welch both said the statements Trump and his staff made on the very first days in office rise to a new level.  “It is lies about things that are so easily contradicted that it is amazing in terms of the degree of arrogance and the lack of respect that it shows for the American people,” Feldman said.

 

***Bending and manipulating, skewing the truth, causing mental confusion, is classic Chaos techniques, until we walk of the edge of the cliff and we’ve been had, taken for the fools that we are by confusion as to what is real and not real. Telling us how horrible the journalists are as rotten dirty deceitful scoundrels deflects what is really going on – the slow painful destruction of our Democratic Republic until it becomes right under our noses a authoritarian dictatorship. These leaders know what they are doing, they have the “Play Book” right in front of them. What these sly, crafty “manipulators” wish to create is Chaos until, like Russia it is too late, goodbye to freedom of the press, to writers, teachers, even religious leaders. These highly skilled manipulators create falsehoods as truth. So, Grab the Seat of your Pants…we are in for a bumpy ride and I hope we come out of it still being a Democratic Republic – I have my doubts.  K. D. Dowdall

THE MAN OF INIQUITY

Warrior Angel

 

 

 

 

The followers of the madness of a man have lost their way by hate and fear. They do not know the iniquity they follow.  He plays the game with ill intent to ruinous ways he leads all, when the good and the brave fail to act. So, fear not brave souls. A man wants us to be afraid, so do not be afraid. Stand up and say the truth loud and clear! The darkness always vanishes in the light of day.

HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT SYNOPSIS

 

Royal FP(From a Writer’s Work Shop)

Most agents will ask you to send them a submission pack containing three items:

  • A covering letter (see advice here and sample here)
  • A synopsis
  • The first three chapters / 10,000 words of                                                                         your novel

Most agents will look at the covering letter first, then turn to the manuscript. If they like the first three chapters, they’ll be thinking, “This book looks really interesting. I’m definitely tempted . . . but is the author going to hold my interest over the full 300 / 400 pages? Is it worth me making that investment of time to read the whole thing?”

That’s where the synopsis comes in. The synopsis is there to answer the question, “What is the story of this book? Is there a clear story arc and will there be a satisfying ending?”

Obviously the actual experience of reading a synopsis is quite underwhelming. Synopses are boring, technical documents which (we hope) would not be true of your novel. But that doesn’t matter. Agents know synopses are dull, so all your synopsis really has to do is:

  • tell the agent in very clear terms what your story is
  • make it clear what your hook / premise / elevator pitch is (more info here)
  • give some kind of feeling for why the story matters & how the jeopardy increases
  • sketch out an ending that feels satisfying

But – and this should be reassuring – agents do know that synopses are hard to write and they care less about the synopsis than any other part of your submission package.That means you probably don’t need to worry excessively about your synopsis – just follow the guidelines below and you’ll do just fine.

How to write a perfect synopsis

A perfect synopsis has the following ingredients:

  • Length: 500-800 words
  • Main purpose: Summarise your plot
  • Secondary purpose: Make it clear what Unique Selling Point your book has
  • Language: Be businesslike: clear, to the point, neutral.
  • Presentation: Be well-presented: no typos or spelling mistakes. Normal font size, normal margins. Line spacing no narrower than 1.5
  • Character names. It helps if you put the names of main characters in bold or CAPS when you first introduce them. That way, if an agent has forgotten who Carlotta is, it’s easy for them to skim back and jog their memory. (Remember that agents are reading a lot of these things, so they have about a million character names in their heads at any one time.)
  • Extra points. It’s certainly not essential, but if you have a really compelling way to ‘sell’ your story in 2-3 lines maximum, then you could insert that little snippet up at the top of your synopsis as a way of reminding agents why they’re interested in this MS in the first place. For example, a certain Ms Rowling might have opened her synopsis with, “Harry Potter, an orphan, thinks he is an ordinary boy when an owl brings him a letter inviting him to attend wizard school.” That’s not strictly speaking synopsis material, but it does instantly emphasise the book’s appeal.
  • And remember: Tell the story: your job is not to sell the book, write dust jacket blurb, or anything else. Just say what happens in the story. That’s all you need to do.

And luckily there are things you don’t need to do:

  • Go into great detail about setting. If you were writing a synopsis for a Jane Austen novel for example, you might simply say “This novel is set in a small village in Regency England.”
  • Go into vast detail about character – a few quick strokes are all that you need. For example you might say: “Bridget Jones – a ditzy, mildly boozy twenty-something – …”
  • Be scrupulous about plot detail. It’s fine to skip over subplots or ignore some of the finer detail of how X accomplishes Y. The truth is, you won’t have time to include those things in a 700 word summary anyway. Agents know that the synopsis is at best an approximation of the story so you don’t need to have a troubled consicence.
  • You also don’t have to give away your very final plot twist – though you should make it clear that there is one. For example, you could write, “When Olivia finally catches up with Jack at the abandoned lighthouse, he tells her the real secret of his disappearance – and their final bloody reckoning ensues.” Mostly though, a synopsis is the ultimate plot spoiler, and your job is just to spill the beans whether you like it or not.

For Serious Contemplation

pizarnik-extracting (1)

For Serious Contemplation

Alejandra Pizarnik

Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962–1972

Trans. Yvett Siegert
New Directions, May

blogged from World Literature Today.com

Referencing an ancient medical practice, immortalized in a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, Alejandra Pizarnik’s collection of poems explores themes of depression, childhood, death, and the border between language and silence. Her poetry from the last ten years of her life, before her suicide at the age of thirty-six, is the first full collection translated into English and filled with a balance between frenzy and melancholia.

About Poems

Poems are often secret thoughts with embedded meanings that the author wishes to partially explore and reveal.  Sometimes, as in the case of Yvett Siegert, they are quite telling and she wanted us to know the inner world she lived.  She was insightful of her own fears, panic, and depression. Poems were her way of communicating to others with a hope that others would understand that her condition was not of her own making. In doing so, she gave us a view of what lurks  inside the mind of madness.  Psychiatrists have given us a clinical diagnostic representation of madness, but then in retrospect who is mad and who is sane? No one knows what really lurks in the mind of anyone else, which begs the question: Do we really know ourselves well enough to make judgement calls about ourselves or anyone else?

 

 

 

 

TRUE FORM A Magic Realism Gem!

17887240 True Form

Sarah Christine Lalonde’s new novel, TRUE FORM,  is Magical Realism at it’s best. Powerful immortals come to life in this original, imaginative, and inspired story. Lalonda’s beautifully crafted characters will enthrall you until you fall under their spell. You will be taken through time to ancient Egypt where it all began and back again into the present were life and death battles will determine the fate of human and immortals alike and keep you turning the pages wondering what your fate will be.  This magic realism inspired story also tells a deeper truth about immortal and mortal foibles, revenge, and redemption.  I do see a sequel in the future that will continue this fascinating story.  I highly recommend this exciting foray into magical realism.

 

 

An Inteview with Ben Starling, Author of Something in the Air

 

SITA BANNER BEN

Welcome, Ben and thank you for joining me. What have you been working on recently? Can you tell us about your new release?

Thank you for interviewing me, Karen. I’m excited as my short story Something in the Air has just been released on Amazon. In this new short love story, the focus is on a returning soldier, a veterinarian and an urban environmental concern. Here’s a little bit about it:

Daniel thought war was tough. That was till he fell in love.

What if it’s true that you can never really go home? Returning from a soul-crushing war, Daniel Dragan is determined to put the past behind him. But with his beloved uncle dead and the town’s economy in a slump, there may not be much to keep him in San Prospero, California.

That is till he is startled by veterinarian Willow Dixon at the roadside lookout above their hometown’s new factory. A desperately needed job offer there may offer Daniel the chance he needs – but all is not as it seems at the factory and Willow, determined to save the inhabitants of her animal sanctuary, wants the factory’s operations stopped. Sometimes the road home is neither the one we expect. Nor the one we left behind…

It’s on Amazon at http://bit.ly/SITAdemers2amaz

Is this your first book? How many books have you written?

This is the first story in a series that will consist of one novel and several short stories set in the same world. I’m currently finishing up the second short story in this series – the title of which will be released soon!

The novel in this series, Something in the Water, is already complete and available for pre-order on Amazon now.

Tell us a little more about yourself. How did you get started writing?

My upcoming novel, Something in the Water, was inspired by the loss of my partner at forty-five years of age to ovarian cancer, just thirteen weeks after her diagnosis. In the aftermath, an old friend challenged me to turn that grief into something positive.

Remembering a conversation with a charismatic Polynesian fisherman (I visited there once) about his people’s vision of death and the afterlife, I began to write. Through the written word, I hoped to explore and capture several extraordinary events that happened around the time of my girlfriend’s death. The books kind of took off from there…
What do you do when you’re not writing? What is one thing that would surprise us?

I’m a freelance editor, working on business plans, articles published in specialist magazines and some fiction.

Something surprising? Well, I still coach boxing. My love of the sport is so much a part of me that it’s really like breathing. But I suppose most people see me as quite quiet, so perhaps the love of boxing is surprising. I enjoy the technique and the strategy of the game. It’s fascinating, always changing. I stopped competition some years ago, but am still coaching others.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with those particular images/artwork?

Would you believe…I did? I know it’s meant to be a no-no to design one’s own cover, but I am a self-taught graphic artist and really enjoy the process of coming up with cover concepts and bringing them to life.

For me, it somehow completes the creative circle of creating a novel or short story. In the initial stages, I toss ideas back and forth with my editor. After we agree on an image and a design concept, then the whole cover seems to come to life on its own.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

O dear, yes. I am quite squeamish about writing the love scenes! And it’s quite a challenge to make them believable and also to keep similar scenes new and fresh each time.

Crazy Questions That No One Ever Asks Authors

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Antarctica! And I’d love to visit Tonga one day again too. Beautiful, contrasting environments. We live in such a complex world with so many fascinating species to see.

What book are you reading now? 

Lost For Words, by Alice Kuipers, a British-Canadian author. It’s a gripping YA novel that I am just getting into. I make a real effort to explore genres outside my own. There is something new to learn everywhere. I’m looking forward to learning from Kuiper’s distinctive style.

Thanks for interviewing me, Karen. I look forward to reading your work too.

 

Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his upcoming novel. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents over the past three decades. He is Oxford’s only ever Quintuple Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and boxed competitively until about five years ago. He is 6’3”and 185 lbs. Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and an M Phil. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.

Connect with Ben at

http://www.ben-starling.com   http://www.facebook.com/authorbenstarling  http://www.amazon.com/author/benstarling”

SITA FINAL COVER - KINDLE LO OCT