Have You Read Any of These Books Born from #blogging #atozchallenge ?


Blogging challenges can be fun, but they can also be surprisingly productive. I co-host the A to Z Challenge, (5 days left, sign up now!)and over the years, it has given rise to quite a few books.Have you read any of them? Given a choice, which ones would you pick? Here’s a short list of the AZ babies I can think of off the top of my head:

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge

  Doris Plaster: Home Sweet Nursing Home: An A to Z Collection of 50-word stories on Aging and Healthcare: Today’s nursing homes are no longer “rest homes,” but rather vibrant places where residents, families and friends gather, interact, and share heartfelt memories and experiences. Through a 50-word-story collection of vivid tales, Doris Plaster, LCSW, recounts the realities of life in a nursing home from her Social Worker perspective, and that of the caregivers and residents in 26 short vignettes, that are both poignant and thought-provoking.

Melanie Lee: Imaginary friends : 26Fables for the Kids in US: Imaginary Friends is a collection or 26 short stories in alphabetical order and is exclusively available as an e-book. Author Melanie Lee and illustrator Sheryl Khor are childhood friends who used to imagine that their stationery and water bottles had names and personalities, and would come up with adventurous plotlines for their “imaginary friends”. Inspired by such fond memories from their childhood, they decided to collaborate in producing this e-book as a legacy for their children. At first glance, Imaginary Friends may look like a typical children’s book. However, upon closer reading, you will find that its sophisticated wit and references to modern culture makes it an enjoyable read for teens and adults who are young at heart.

Pamela D Williams: A to Z Devotions for Writers : A to Z Devotions for Writers will meet the specific spiritual needs of writers. Covering each letter of the alphabet, these devotions offer pertinent scriptures, meditations focused on various aspects of the writing life, relevant prayers and “block” busting writing applications. Written to inspire, encourage, challenge, and motivate writers, A to Z Devotions for Writers will not only drive pen to paper but will apply God’s truths to writing.

Christine Rains: Fearless: Abby White was seven years old when she killed the monster under her bed. Now she slays creatures spawned by the fertile imaginations of children, and the number of these nightmares are on the rise. Neither she nor her guide – a stuffed hippo named Tawa – know why. When she rescues Demetrius from an iron prison, he pledges his life to protect hers until he can return the favor. She doesn’t want the help. And how can she concentrate on her job when the gorgeous wild fae throws himself in front of her during every fight? No matter how tempting, she can’t give in to him. To save the children and all she loves, Abby must be truly Fearless.

Rachel Morgan: A to Z of Creepy Hollow Fae: Violet, a seventeen-year-old faerie, spends every day learning how to protect humans from dangerous magical creatures. Catch a glimpse of 26 of her assignments as she battles elves, ogres, and more.

Cherie Reich: A to Z Flashes of Foxwick: In honor of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, A to Z Flashes of Foxwick​ gives a glimpse to the characters, magical creatures, and lands in the fantasy world of the Kingdom of Foxwick. A young dragon befriends a dragon seer. A phoenix bursts into flames in mid-flight. A man must choose between his simple life and one of fame. A queen will find her heart turned into ice and many more!

Angela Brown: Neverlove : For a girl born of privilege and a young man bred for status, a lack of real love had everything to do with the drastic changes of their lives. Abigail – Abused to the point of defeat, seventeen doesn’t seem a bad age to die. Surviving suicide leads her to a second chance at V’Salicus Academy to become a Cleanser, a protector of lost souls. Basil – Perfection is the key to earning his parents’ love. A slip of the tongue lands him in service to hell as the devil’s newest Harvestor, a collector of lost souls to feed his new master’s constant craving.

D Biswas: A to Z Stories of Life and Death: Twenty-six A to Z stories, based on the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, question our moral compass: How do you judge a teacher toying with the sexuality of her teenaged student? A boy who decides to murder his mother? What thoughts rage inside a pedophile serial killer before he shoots himself? They challenge the concepts of beauty, truth, and morality, by revealing the face of the other side.

That last book is mine, and continues to sell in a trickle, a fact that never ceases to surprise me. This year, like I said in my Theme reveal, I’m planning to write stories again. Not that they will necessarily lead to a book. I wrote stories in 2012 as well, but just let them hang around. We’ll see.

Now back to my question: Have you read any of the above books? Did you write a book based on the A to Z Challenge? Care to tell us about it? Can you add more books to the list..I’m sure there are AZ books I missed out. Have you taken part in the April blogging challenge before? Have you signed up for the challenge this year?

 

 

Teaser Tuesday: We Were the Mulavaneys


This Tuesday, it is time for the teaser again, and this time the book came from the very bottom of my tottering TBR pile (I’m thinking of mixing up older books with the new): We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

We were the Mulvaneys Joyce Carol Oates damyanti

We Were the Mulvaneys

Here are two teaser sentences from We were the Mulvaneys:

During these mad dashes to the wall phone in the kitchen she hadn’t time to fall but with fantastical grace and dexterity wrenched herself upright in midfall and continued running (dogs whimpering, yapping hysterically in her wake, cats scattering wide-eyed and plume-tailed) before the telephone ceased it’s querulous ringing–though frequently she was greeted with nothing more than a derisive dial tone, in any case.”

Blurb: “‘The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls. It is the youngest son, Judd, now an adult, who attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys’ former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that occasioned the family’s tragic downfall. Each of the Mulvaneys endures some form of exile–physical or spiritual–but in the end they find a way to bridge the chasms that have opened up among them, reuniting in the spirit of love and healing. Profoundly cathartic, Oates’ acclaimed novel unfolds as if, in the darkness of the human spirit, she has come upon a source of light at its core. Rarely has a writer made such a startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion.

I read the book in about three days– some parts were painful-beautiful to read. All the characters are drawn so poignantly– even though not all of them have chapters from their point of view. This is one of my favorite genre of books, the family saga, with a background of crime thrown in, dark, but not too dark– something I can get lost in and never come out.

Oates has written over 40 novels and much else besides in a career spanning 50 years so far– how did she do it? I have barely scratched the surface of her work, and intend to pick up many more.

How about you? Would you read a book like We were the Mulvaneys ?

Teaser Tuesday: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter


This Tuesday, it is time for the teaser again, and this time the book was gifted to me: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Here are two teaser sentences from Beautiful Ruins:

“She feels a flash of self-consciousness and her twenty-two-year-old’s vanity rises: God what a fright she must look. For several seconds, they stand there, a gimpy old man and a sick old woman, just four feet apart now, but separated by a thick granite counter, by fifty years and two fully lived lives..”

Blurb: “The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot-searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion-along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.’

I read the book in less than a day: it is multigenerational, hops across time in the strangest of ways, and has interconnected stories that I liked very much.

It was written over 15 years, and the story of how Walter wrote the book is almost as interesting as the book itself. Beautiful Ruins was one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year for 2012–  and one of the few literary novels I’ve read with a spectacularly well-constructed plot.

How about you? Would you read a book like Beautiful Ruins ?

Are You Ready to go on a Space Opera Adventure?


This month has seen a few authors on Daily (w)rite, and I end it with Mary Pax, awesome blog friend and a successful author publisher who writes science fiction and fantasy for her growing and mostly worshipful audience! I give you an excerpt from her book, and encourage you to check out her body of work. Take it away, Mary!

The fulfillment of a dream begins with a sincere wish followed by consistent action. Tenacity is sprinkled in heavily along the way and a will to keep moving forward. Then surround yourself with great individuals with the same dream. Keep an open heart and mind. Learn. Participate. They’ll help your wings grow strong. Thanks to Damyanti for being an integral part of my flight.

Life Beyond the Edge: Excerpt

Lepsi:  Beyond The Edge by Mary Pax

Lepsi: Beyond The Edge by Mary Pax

Lepsi raised his eyelids and watched his companions. Only one other had managed to sit, a Quatten lady as brown as Dactyl. How was Dactyl?

The stray thought did him no good. His shoulder screamed, long, piercing, shrill. It didn’t let up. An eon must have passed.

You’ll think only the thoughts I give you. You know no one, nothing.

Searing pain knocked Lepsi to the ground, tormenting him, driving the commands from his shoulder into the indelible parts of his memory. Long after the initial twinges eased, the agony gripping every muscle continued to keep him on his face,. This world’s idea of sunrise and sunset — the fog darkening then lightening again — passed twice. What had he agreed to?

Mary Pax: Beyond the Edge

Mary Pax: Beyond the Edge

Beyond the Edge: Blurb

Some truths are better left unfound.

For two years Craze’s dear friend, Lepsi, has been missing. The murmurings of a haunted spaceship might be a message and may mean his old pal isn’t dead. The possibility spurs Craze and Captain Talos to travel to uncharted worlds, searching. Out there, in an unfamiliar region of the galaxy beyond the Backworlds, they stumble upon a terrible truth.

Meanwhile, Rainly remains on Pardeep Station as acting planetlord, dealing with the discovery of her lover’s dark and brutal past. Alone and questioning her judgment, her introspection unlocks more than heartache. Latent protocols in her cybernetics activate, forcing her to face a sinister secret of her own.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe. This is the fourth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.

Amazon / AmazonUK / Nook / Smashwords / Kobo / Other Outlets

 

Mary Pax

Mary Pax

M. Pax– Inspiring the words she writes, she spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. She writes science fiction and fantasy mostly. You can find out more by visiting her at: Website / FB / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest / Wattpad

Teaser Tuesday: Claude and Camille


Tuesday, time for the teaser again, and this time the book is something I picked up from the library on a whim, Claude and Camille.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell

Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell

Here are two teaser sentences from
Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell:

“The distant sun of late February retreated. He breathed in the cold air and the smell of turpentine and paint and the warm scent of her.”

Blurb: “In the mid-nineteenth century, a young man named Claude Monet decided that he would rather endure a difficult life painting landscapes than take over his father’s nautical supplies business in a French seaside town. Against his father’s will, and with nothing but a dream and an insatiable urge to create a new style of art that repudiated the Classical Realism of the time, he set off for Paris.

But once there he is confronted with obstacles: an art world that refused to validate his style, extreme poverty, and a war that led him away from his home and friends. But there were bright spots as well: his deep, enduring friendships with men named Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, Manet – a group that together would come to be known as the Impressionists, and that supported each other through the difficult years. But even more illuminating was his lifelong love, Camille Doncieux, a beautiful, upper-class Parisian girl who threw away her privileged life to be by the side of the defiant painter and embrace the lively Bohemian life of their time. “

I needed a light diversion, had seen a few works by Monet at an exhibition, and found the premise interesting. The writer in me keeps cringing at the sentences, the adverbs I hate strewn all over. ‘Lazy writing’– I keep saying every few lines: “She slowly took in the sketched face and the bold strokes of the dress. She stood so close that the buttons of her nearly closed coat almost touched him.”

But I’m intrigued by the setting, the romance of the artistic life of Monet and his contemporaries, so I’m not giving up on this book. Yet.

How about you? Would you read a book like Claude and Camille?

Teaser Tuesday: In Arcadia by Ben Okri


This Tuesday, it is time for the teaser again, and this time the book is something I picked up at a book sale long ago, for 2 USD, In Arcadia by Ben Okri.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are two teaser sentences from  In Arcadia :

In Arcadia

“Ah, yes,” to an unfinished question.

And then, flowing now in freedom and lightness, regaining his state of grace, dancing on the sunlight of a romantic nation, followed by the tender gaze of the camera and the crowds, Lao wandered towards the train driver’s compartment, to interview a man who loved speed but cultivated stillness.”

Blurb: “A group of angry and ill-assorted people accept an invitation to make a journey. Inspired by a painting and financed by a mysterious benefactor, they set off to discover the real Arcadia. Or what remains of it. Their journey begins in ignorance and chaos at Waterloo station and takes them through superstition and myth to harmony. In the Louvre, in front of Poussin’s masterpiece, they begin to understand. ‘In Arcadia takes that staple Shakespearean theme of appearance versus reality and uses it to explore the notion of paradise’

I’m going ahead with this book, but it is clear that the author is not interested in entertaining, merely in edifying the reader, in recompense for which he iwould give them some good writing.

How about you? Would you read a book like In Arcadia by Ben Okri ?

Teaser Tuesday: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari


This Tuesday, it is time for the teaser again, and this time the book is something I picked up from India, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Here are two teaser sentences from
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari:

“Alright, the success of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it. If you study the happiest, healthiest, most satisfied people of our world, you will see that each and every one of them has found a passion in their life, and then spent their days pursuing it.”

Blurb: “This inspiring tale provides a step-by-step approach to living with greater courage, balance, abundance, and joy. A wonderfully crafted fable, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari tells the extraordinary story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer forced to confront the spiritual crisis of his out-of-balance life. On a life-changing odyssey to an ancient culture, he discovers powerful, wise, and practical lessons.”

I needed a little positivity in my life, and a book about a monk seemed like not such a bad bet. I usually steer clear of self-help-spirituality books, and I got this about a year ago. This book now sits in my kitchen, and I read it whenever I’m cooking!

How about you? Would you read a book likeThe Monk Who Sold His Ferrari ?