Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Review- Aftershock by Katherine Armstrong Walters

Aftershock: Book Two of the Arydian Chronicles

Aftershock by Katherine Armstrong Walters is Book 2 in the Arydian Chronicles.


At the end of book 1 Aqua, we are left with the California coastline in ruins due to an underwater earthquake and tsunami.

Marin and the Arydians have had to abandon their secret underwater home and are now on the run from Mr. Haan and Leviathan, the secret organization bent on taking control of the World.

Jayson is torn between staying with Marin the girl he loves and going home to search for his mother. He ultimately chooses to leave, unsure if he will ever be able to find Marin again. Before leaving he steals something from the Arydians that may lead to the destruction of Marin and all her people.

Mr. Haan is obsessed with his search for Marin and will destroy anyone who gets in his way. He has also been hard at work and created a weapon that could destroy the world as Marin knows it.

Walters did a fantastic job. Often times the second book in a trilogy can be slow, drawn out and a bit disappointing. But Aftershock is full of surprises. The momentum builds with each chapter. I thoroughly enjoy book 2 and couldn't put it down. I can't wait to see how Katherine wraps it all up in the final novel. My only complaint is that now I have to wait for book 3!

Happy Reading!!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Interview with Hazel Spire author of Catching the Trade Winds

Today I'd like to welcome author Hazel Spire. Tell us a little about yourself .
Both my parents were writers. Their friends met in our home in England to read their stories, which sounded fun to me. I wanted to teach, too – which I did for almost thirty years. My first middle-grade mystery, SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE, is set in Iran during the Shah’s reign, based on my year there at an American school. It was also where I met my GI husband. After many moves, we have retired to rural Kansas.
My second novel, ARROWHEAD’S LOST HOARD is about kids finding Roman treasure on a fictional British island. My poetry collection, CATCHING THE TRADE WINDS, and an illustrated ABC of London, X MEANS TEN ON THE FACE OF BIG BEN, should both be out by Christmas.
Share a short excerpt from your poetry book
                        THE BALLAD OF CAPTAIN JACK SCURVY
                        Captain Jack set sail one morn,
                        In a stiff nor’ westerly breeze,
                        Aboard Miss Jane, the finest ship
                        To travel the seven seas.
                        Her crew was rough, but skillful;
                        They could steer by sun and stars.
                        Jack’s only fear, apart from storms,
                        Was the lure of girls and bars.
                        This trip might prove his bravest quest,
                        To find the hoard of gold
                        He’d heard about from sailors’ tales
                        And a map he kept in the hold.
                        They set a course for Rintanzu,
                        The isles where the treasure lay.
                        The first leg took a fortnight;
                        They anchored in Jellicoe Bay.
                        The bo’sun checked the rigging;
                        Then he said to Captain Jack,
                        “Let’s row ashore and quench our thirst
                        At Ben’s Inn by the railway track.”
                        All agreed they’d earned a hearty
                        Meal and good night’s rest;
                        Before Jack left Miss Jane, he slipped
                        A scroll inside his vest.
                        He did not care for whisky;
                        Of women he’d had his fill,
                        But sounds behind a velvet curtain
                        Stirred a familiar thrill.
                        He saw the cards, the kitty, and
                        A welcoming nod from Ben.
                        Jack’s heart raced as he jingled his coins
                        And entered the gamblers’ den.
                        He parted with gilders and ducats;
                        He lost his shillings and pence.
                        Instead of quitting while he could,
                        Jack tossed in all his cents.
                        Another loss; what next to risk?
                        His silver watch and chain?
                        The hidden scroll? He stalled.
                        He heard the whistle of a train.
                        The landlord scratched his whiskers;
                        Then at last poor Jacky twigged:
                        Ben ran a shady business here,
                        And every deal was rigged.
                        “A jolly game, lads,” Jacky said,
                        “But more than I can afford.
                        Whoever wins this hand will get
                        The chance to find a hoard.”
                        The players grabbed the map;
                        They traced the X that marked the spot.
                        “That’ll cover me debts!” called Jack,
                        Escaping to his yacht.

                        His loyal shipmates followed,
                        Though without their usual zest.
                        Querying his sanity,
                        They thought they’d lost the quest.
                        “Rintanzu!” cried Captain Jack.

                        “We’re off to dig for gold.

                        Forget about Ben’s Inn, me boys.
                        The real map’s in the hold.”
                          VECTIS CHILDHOOD
                          Mermaid-hair seaweed caught between fingers,
nostrils filled with the tang of freedom,
our salty lips reshaping vanilla cones, we jumped
the waves that pounded Sandown Beach
and thought that summer would never end.
Locals and visitors flung open beach hut doors;
their kettles whistled on Primus stoves.
Mr. Earnshaw trudged through squishy sand
collecting deck-chair money while a megaphone
blared the times for launch trips across the bay.
Distress signals punctuated our pleasure. Boom!
Boom! Send lifeboat or chopper to rescue a tripper
who tried to beat high tide around Culver Cliff.
We dabbled in rock pools by lupine-lined shores,
hiked up the chalk ridge (island’s backbone) strewn
with bunny currants and golden gorse to picnic
at the top, sharing the vista with ghosts
of Tennyson and Keats. No mainland in sight,
who knew what might loom on the hazy horizon?
Submarine, schooner, battleship, even a galleon.
                           Six weeks off school culminated in a carnival:
                           Crepe paper streamers all down the High Street
                           saluted grand floats to a heart-jolting drumbeat.
                           Daddy winked at me under the shiny black peak
                           of his Town Band cap, tootling into a horn,
                           Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. Up
                           to the fairground we followed in step, enticed
                           by hot dogs, a Ferris wheel, candy floss, fireworks—
                           eruptions of magical color that made the crowd cry,
                           “Ooh! Ah! Better than last year!”
What brought about the idea for this book?
I’d been writing poems for years, inspired by the traditional verse we’d learned school, as well as free verse and other forms, such as pantoum, haiku, and terza rima. After racking up some magazine credits and contest awards, on both sides of the Pond, I put together three chapbooks of poetry in 2003, 2006, and 2013, which I sold at open mic venues. This year, I decided to put them together in a full-length collection (paperback as well as e-book) under my imprint Raemark Press, using Author’s Voice editing/design services and CreateSpace.
Congratulations, I find poetry a lot harder to write than fiction. Mine always seems to sound to juvenile. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have about ten titles up my sleeve for children’s easy readers.  I’d like to see myself as a paid speaker at larger venues (although the introvert in me still screams NO) with stacks of new books and a line going around the block of people wanting me to sign them! I want to do more open mic readings too.
Have you been given any helpful advice? If so What?
I’ve belonged to writers’ groups everywhere I’ve lived. They’re great for giving and receiving market tips and moral support. Poet Paul Ruffin once said at a writers’ forum in Texas, “Trust the process.” I displayed that advice above my desk and try to live by it, because in every project there are moments of despair.
That's good advice. Currently, what are you working on?
Having purchased ten ISBNs, I’m compiling a collection of short stories – APPLE PIE ORDER, by my late father, L.R Longhurst; and a kids’ early chapter book, MADAME ARCHELON’S ART ROOM MYSTERIES, based on personal experience.
What has been the most difficult thing you have struggled with since you began a career in writing?

The amount of time it took from acceptance to printed book – three years for SECRET OF THE SEVENTH GATE – and the low royalties.
Yes it can be a slow going process. I think many authors would give up if they didn't enjoy it so much. What has been the best compliment you have received?
“You taught me to be a not-giving-up person.” Maria, age 10, wrote this in her thank-you card when I spoke at her school’s career day in Dallas.
What kind of research do you do before you start a new story?
My YA novels were based on my life, but I wanted to be sure of my facts about Iran, Islam, etc. for the first one, and Roman hoards for the second. The World Wide Web still being in its infancy, I read a lot of books and consulted people with more knowledge on the  subject. For my ABC about London, it’s been much easier, with so many resources at my fingertips. It helped that I was born there and go back every year. And I research the market to see how my book will fit it with – or stand out from - what’s already been done.
How do you promote your books? Any tips you can share?
I’ll go anywhere I can get my toe in the door: community events, local theater, conventions, gift shops, bookstores, libraries, literary festivals, and schools. I do free presentations and kids’ crafts, even providing a snack that suits the theme - as long as they’ll let me sell books. I’m planning to use Amazon and social media more in the future.

Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Who designed the artwork for your cover? 
With my input, Jan Gilbert Hurst of Author’s Voice designed my cover for CATCHING THE TRADE WINDS, using a stock photo from the Internet.  

Any last words?
I’m going to share a quote attributed to Mark Twain, although this has never been proven! It gave me my book title, and the impetus I needed to reboot my writing career:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I have a site maintained by Authors Guild:
On Facebook, I’m Hazel Longhurst Spire, but hope to set up a separate author page soon.