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Thursday Fun n Frolics 19.10.17 is for Stephen Page

A Ranch Bordering the Salty River Book Synthesis
For more information visit https://smpages.wordpress.com

The book is the story (in verse and poetic prose) of Jonathan, a rancher who learns how to run a ranch in an environmentally conscious manner. He also learns how treat the animals humanely, and the employees justly. He ensures that a generous portion of land is kept feral as a wildlife refuge and a haven for local flora. As the years pass, he is daily battling cattle rustlers, horse thieves, contact hustlers, and to keep his family’s ranch eco-friendly. The drama unfolds until . . .

The book will mostly speak for itself as you read the intro, epigrams, and poems. Basically it is the story of a rancher who loves his wife and nature, and has learned to ranch the ecological way, with the cows, humans, and woods-birds-flowers-nature coexisting. He has problems first with the employees, who are cattle rustlers, horse thieves, liars, and malingerers. As he learns to deal with these problems and complete his dream of having a one-with-all ranch for him and his wife and the world, he is blind-sided by the state-bullying-economical pressure to change his eco-ranch into a pesticide-poisoning soy bean farm. He wants to return to the eco-ranch-woods, but . . .

Bio
Stephen Page is from Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, and A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. He holds a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from Bennington College. His critical essays have appeared regularly in the Buenos Aires Herald, Gently Read Literature, and Fox Chase Review. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He currently lives in Argentina where he teaches World literature.

Interviews
Kev’s Author Interviews Presents: Stephen Page Author of A Ranch Bordering the Salty River
https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com

Kev: Tell us a bit about yourself, Stephen.
Steve: Hello, Readers. How are you? I am fantastic. My name is Stephen Page, but you may call me Steve. I was born in Detroit into a family with Irish, English, Shawnee, and Apache lineage. I am the author of The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, and A Ranch Bordering the Salty River (by Finishing Line Press). I graduated with two AA’s from Palomar college, a BA from Columbia University, and an MFA From Bennington College. I currently live in Argentina and am married to a bewitching Argentine woman. I love traveling, adventuring, reading, Netflix-bingeing, spending time with my family, and occasionally throwing my cell phone off a high bridge.

Kev: What’s your latest book called and how did you come up with the title?
Steve: The title of the book is A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. I derived the name from the fictional location of a ranch/farm which happens to have a salty river along one of its borders.
The Salty River works as a metaphor for the briny relationship the main character, Jonathan, has with his employees and business partners.

Kev: Which Genre do you have it listed under and does it cross any other genres?
Steve: It is a collection of poems, a novel in verse, a work of fiction . . . so yes, it does cross genres . . . or maybe it can best be called a genre-rich book . . . a bundle of genres . . . a bound genrae.

Kev: Tell us a little bit more about it.
Steve: This book tells the story of Jonathan, a rancher who learns how to run a ranch in an environmentally conscious manner. He learns how treat the animals humanely and the employees justly. He ensures that a generous portion of land is kept feral as a wildlife refuge and a haven for local flora. He daily battles cattle rustlers, horse thieves, contract hustlers, saboteurs, and violent people . . . until . . . well, so I won’t spoiler-alert, you will have to read the book to see how the story plays out.

Kev: Introduce us to your main character
Steve: I picture Jonathan as an intellectually rugged man. He wakes early to sip coffee while watching the sun rise over fields of clover and listen to the morning birds sing. He puts on his rancher clothes and steps out of his house and steps up into his white pickup or hops on his roan horse to perform a recorrido (tour of the ranch), where he checks on the state of the livestock, makes certain security gates are locked and closed, supervises the employees on their daily routines, mandates orders of the day, ensures that his business partners who plant seeds and harvest on his land are rotating the crops properly—and most especially do not spray herbicides/pesticides that are on “the worst environmentally hazardous product lists.” He often works in the corral with the gauchos (South American cowboys). Sometimes, or whenever he can, which is never as often as he likes, he slips away and sits in the woods and sips mate (a loose-leaf tea drunk from a gourd through a metal straw) and just relishes the beauty of living on a piece of land that is rich with nature. Jonathan is an ethical person who believes in fair-play and wants to do good things in the world. He is honest but naïve in the world of business and business people—that is where the tension arises in the poems/story.

Kev: Provide a teaser/short passage from your book.
Steve: Here is the first poem of the collection, which introduces the voice of the main character, and provides the setting:

The Drought
In a field northeast of Wood
the soy is stunted,
the pods hang brown and brittle
the leaves twirl dunly.
The bees!
I never knew there could be so many!
How angry they sound in the afternoon:
hundreds of white wood hives
pueblo the edge
of Wood.
I could not reach Wood,
the bramble and burrs
were too thick
boundaring the tree line
incompatible
with my bare legs.
My ranch house sits kilometers
away, my 4 by 4 is parked
on the road behind me.
I want to enter the Myth
of Wood, the legend of its shade
to lick the dew off leaves.
The thistle has bloomed to seed.

Steve: And here are the epigrams, which help set up the story:
“I is someone else.”— Arthur Rimbaud. “The known interprets the obscure, the universe is alive with myth.” – Ernest Fenolloso. “It behooves man now not to separate himself too jauntily from any of nature’s creatures.” – Charles Olson. “The World has a soul.” – Allen Ginsberg. And “Out of our quarrel with others we make rhetoric. Out of our quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” – William Butler Yeats

***
Kev: When you wrote this work, did you write off-the-cuff or use some kind of formula like an outline?
Steve: I just started writing poems regularly out on a piece of land on the Pampas (the Argentine grain belt/plains). I often sat in the early morning hours by or in a wooded area and wrote about nature and the synthesis of human beings with the rest of the natural world. Then, after I started working on the land, I thought of an imaginary account of a rancher/farmer trying to use the land profitably yet environmentally friendly, and those topics cropped up in my poems. Eventually, I found a line threading through the poems I had been writing for over a year, and a common thesis was revealed to me with a drama playing out. So, there was no outline. Not at first anyways. The only formula I remember was that the work began poem by poem, headed in no particular direction, but then aligned arbitrarily, and consciously marched off to a satisfying conclusion.

Kev: Did you research for the backdrop of your story or any other part of it?
Steve: In order to validate to the poems and story, I did research, especially after the poems began to form a united work. I googled, read online, and bought hundreds of books about ranching, farming, managing employees, taking care of livestock, names of local fauna and flora.

Kev: What challenges did this particular work pose for you?
Steve: Time, mostly. Long hours of writing and editing after long days of running a ranch/farm. Then there was the learning how to smile when dealing with dishonest people.

Kev: What methods are you using to promote this work?
Steve: I am a writer and a reader. Usually humble, in fact I am the most humble person I know. Seriously, I am not by nature a bragger, a grandstander, or a show-off. So, promoting is something I never did before or even tried to do. I am still new at it (even after months of execution) and still learning. The people at Finishing Line Press provided me with some reading material to learn how to promote. Promoting apparently is the “now” way for writers to publish and sell books. Whereas, in the past, publishing houses did most of the promoting and selling and distributing, now most publishing houses want the writer to do the legwork and phone calling. There are lots of ways to go about promoting. In my case, I just e-mailed bookstores, alma-matters, libraries, family, and friends. I set up a book tour. I also opened Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to post notices about the progress of the book’s publication, its release, the book tour, blurbs and reviews. So, readers, if you read something on-line from a writer that rings like shame-faced self-promotion, it’s just a necessary survival tactic, an evolutionary result.

Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Steve: Just keep at it. Never give up. Always think of yourself as a writer (even if other people do not). Spend as much time submitting for publication and promoting your work as you do writing.

***
Links to and about “A Ranch Bordering the Salty River,” by Stephen Page:
https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/a-ranch-bordering-the-salty-river-by-stephen-page-2/
https://www.amazon.com/Ranch-Bordering-Salty-River/dp/1635340357
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/powerofperceptionradio/2016/12/09/power-of-perception-writers-stephen-page
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32171420-a-ranch-bordering-the-salty-river
https://www.facebook.com/AranchBorderingTheSaltyRiver/
https://alumni.columbia.edu/node/989741
https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/a-ranch-bordering-the-salty-river/
https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/reader-picks-for-the-holidays/
http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/bennington-college-alumnus-publishes-third-book,115448
https://www.timeout.com/detroit/things-to-do/author-signing-stephen-page
http://applause.blogs.ocala.com/18216/author-publishes-new-book/
http://thebookshelfcafe.news/author/stephen-page/

About Kev
Kev is an Author & Songwriter. After years of studying, and even more years working in education, and management in the US, he returned to his hometown in England where he finally settled down to focus on his writing and music. Links to his works can be found in the widget bar, and more information about them can be found on his pages above. He would greatly appreciate it if you would check them out. Kev has a M.Ed in Secondary Education with English as his main subject area. He also did post-graduate studies in Christian Counselling and Psychopathology after obtaining a BA in Psychology with a minor in Classical Greek.

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Thursday Fun n Frolics 12.10.17 is for Tobias Wade’s 51 sleepless nights

There are three types of horrors, one that Alfred Hitchcock dealt with when he filmed psycho, another Bram Stoker when he wrote Dracula and the third is of course Lovecraftian horror I will say. I am a drop-dead fan of horrors, horror movies and stories are my guilty pleasure I will say! Can’t do without them! As a result I am quite fussy about horror stories/movies especially the former, because horror movies are either good, sufferable or downright disgusting, and mostly you can assess them within first fifteen minutes, and decide whether you will actually watch them, give them a chance or just delete the file! Stories are much tougher- it takes quite some skill to scare your readers! Create that scene in their mind that will make them feel uneasy. A skill which very few authors can master! They don’t have the actors in scary masks or eerie music to help them, or the deserted graveyard or building on the screen to suck viewers in… so becoming a scary story writer is much much harder!!

Now, Tobias’s stories are a blending of Hitchcock and Lovecraft I will say! They are more about human mind. They will often leave you confused if it was actually something paranormal or just a disturbed mind! That snapped or was always that way!

Ghost or not, this book is a gift at $0.99! Believe me! They are sometimes a little explicit, beware but that does not ruins the stories (even for me- someone who skips the gory parts of movies and never watches torture porns like saw or texas chainsaw massacres)! There is a nice number of stories too- quite nice I will tell you!

He has dealt with many aspects of human psychology- and very deftly I think! None of his stories sound far-fetched or surreal! The way he builds his story by the time it reaches the climax you can feel that the character is quite capable of doing those things- no matter how despicable they are!

The supernatural creatures that have showed up in his stories are quite new, not the same vampires, zombies …. That shows up in most of ghost stories (including mine)! He has given us a fresh set of paranormal beings! Well, even though they are really explicit for my mild taste (sometimes) still I finished the book in two days, so I will say in my records it is good enough! Some stories will stay in your mind! For quite some time before fading away!

The book is for all types of horror addicts I will say, Hitchcockian, Lovecraftian and Stokerian- though more for the first two categories. If you ask my suggestion-go for it! The first story will refund your $0.99!

I will be looking forward to some Stokerian stories from Tobias in future, the stories that will scare simply with the hint of fear! Just think about Bram Stoker’s Dracula- I don’t remember one head rolling in the whole story! The only violent death in that story was most probably of Renfield! But it scared me as a child, and as an adult it ran a shiver down my spine when I read some parts of it! Now, of course after watching horror movies like tree outside my window those effects are gone forever but still… that is to me is real horror!

I will wait for some such works from Tobias and I am sure he has full power to write a few such stories, if he tries!

How many stars will I give it? I think four, I would have merrily given it five stars if it was a little less explicit! But if you love Lovecraftian horrors (which I don’t) you will love it!!!!!

TobiasWade.Com
New FREE horror stories every Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
http://www.facebook.com/sirtobiaswade
Group of like-minded horror enthusiasts. Join us for author updates, contests, public appearances, and more.
http://www.pinterest.com/ahauntedmind
Author shares his latest work, writing tips, and the inspiration for his stories.
Buy the book here
https://www.amazon.com/dp/b072wgrgdf

FEW WORDS FROM THE CRITIQUE: If you want me to critique your book feel free to contact me, I will need the pdf file though, no ebook or other formats! I will critique your book, send you a copy and highlight it in Agnishatdal.wordpress.com and wingofdreams.wordpress.com, two facebook pages (facebook.com/checkoutourbooks and facebook.com/agnishatdalezine) one facebook group- sharmishthabasu and my Ezine Agnishatdal (monthly ezine).

Thursday Fun n Frolics 5.10.17 is for Tobias Wade

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Tell us something about yourself.
Tobias Wade: Former neuroscience researcher, born again horror writer. During my studies, it struck me as odd that I could learn so much about why humans behave without understanding the intricacies of human nature. It occurred to me I learned more about the depths of human experience from reading Dostoyevsky than I ever had from my text books, and I was inspired to write. After several years of selling scripts in Los Angeles, I have turned my focus toward my own publications. Full time novelist, script writer, and horror blogger.

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Where can we get you on social media?
Tobias Wade: Facebook l Twitter l Horror Blog l Mailing List. I’m continuing to add 3 new horror stories every week to the horror blog. I’ll share them on my facebook, but following the mailing list newsletter is the best way to automatically receive them as well as get free promotional copies of my latest books.

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: How can we buy your book?
Tobias Wade: Buy it here (https://www.amazon.com/dp/b072wgrgdf). I’m currently enrolled in KDP, so the book is exclusive to Amazon. It’s available as an eBook or paperback, with an narrated audiobook in production.

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Background story of the book?
Tobias Wade: On a dark and stormy night I was bored and surfing reddit. What else are you supposed to do on dark and stormy nights, go look at haunted houses? We all know how that ends.

/nosleep on reddit is the worlds largest community devoted to horror stories at over 11.5 million subscribers. I started out writing stories there for fun, but I received such an incredible reception that I decided to turn my stories into a horror blog and share them regularly. After winning /nosleep story of the month in May (for this story), I decided that my collection was becoming legitimate enough to publish.

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Another one coming up?
Tobias Wade: 51 Sleepless Nights is currently ranked #3 in the horror collections category behind only Clive Barker and Lovecraft, so I plan to continue releasing collections as I continue to amass stories. Before that I will be releasing the fantasy trilogy The Last Man which follows a girl traveling through seven surreal worlds, each representing an aspect of enlightenment. The final book should be available within the month, although Books 1,2 are currently free for my Mailing List subscribers.

TobiasWade.Com
New FREE horror stories every Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
http://www.facebook.com/sirtobiaswade
Group of like-minded horror enthusiasts. Join us for author updates, contests, public appearances, and more.
http://www.pinterest.com/ahauntedmind
Author shares his latest work, writing tips, and the inspiration for his stories.

Buy the book:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/b072wgrgdf

Thursday Fun n Frolics 14.9.17 is for Swati Sarangi and her Book

Sharmishtha Basu @ Agnishatdal: So Swati this is not first feather in your crown, right? Tell us a bit about previous ones and the ones in queue!
Swati Sarangi: This is actually the 3rd anthology where my work has been published. My poems have been published in 4 anthologies so far and my venture into the world of writing is still on. Here is the link to Shades of life-2 is an anthology of poems and short stories based on different colours. Various emotions have been portrayed through different colours .For example-Red (Rage & Anger), Orange (Vigilance & Anticipation), Yellow (Joy & Ecstasy), Green (Admiration & Trust), Blue (Serene & Trustworthy), Purple (Mysterious & Romantic), Pink (Girlish & Romantic),Black (Powerful & Sophisticated), White (Peace & Virtuous), Gray (Neutral & Gloomy). The anthology has been very well partitioned in different sections of colours and the contents related to that colour have been written under that particular section. At the end of the content of each section, the writer’s bio has been given to connect them to readers.This anthology ends up with a mysterious story by the editor.

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Any plans for going solo? A collection of your brilliant works on the way to becoming?
Swati Sarangi: Yes,It’s on my mind to publish the collection of my poems. I’ll soon start to work on it and publish.

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Planning to try other avenues of literary world? Fiction, non-fiction anything other than poetry?
Swati Sarangi: No plans as such for now!

Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: From where can we get your book?
Swati Sarangi: Here is the link to order: http://amzn.to/2jCgCfN

Thursday Fun n Frolics 7.9.17 Troy Loy Talks About His New Book: Echoes of Forsaken Galaxies

Troy Loy Talks About His New Book: Echoes of Forsaken Galaxies

“What drives the monstrous Broogh in their vast Flow across the galaxy? Just what sort of salvation do the ancient Dinathog-Trulg offer to those to be “saved”? What of a lost pack of werewolves on a quest for vengeance in a strange valley? This anthology contains short speculative fiction by the author published elsewhere online set in a variety of universes and diverse genres and styles.”

As my second book, Echoes has been huge fun to write. It is a collection of flash fiction I’ve published on other venues online, brought together in one volume. It uses a set of genres, from science fiction, to horror, to fantasy, to lyrical fiction.

There are aliens to be found within, the enormous Broogh, or the murderous Dinathog-Trulg, and monsters to be feared, the sinister festerlings and werewolves on a hunt for vengeance. I’ll offer a bit on how I came by some of them:

The Broogh were inspired by the giant aliens of Macross, the humanoid Zentradi, but rather than them being giant-sized humans, I made them something more plausible for that scale, real world dinosaurs, with extra limbs…legs and arms, for supporting their mass in normal gravity and for wielding huge weapons. But the similarities end at size and warlike temperament, as the species are refugees, fleeing something…even more dangerous and terrifying than they! Two stories, A Day in the Life and Countdown feature them.

The Dinathog-Trulg were conceived as the exact opposites of Doctor Who’s villains, the Daleks, dangerous not because of hatred, but from a twisted sort of love. They are featured in the stories Squorium and Party Crashers, less directly so in Festerling and Games People Play.

The story Howl at the Stars is my first piece of werewolf fiction, using the theme of arcane knowledge which is indistinguishable from magic, as with the following excerpt:

“Jake-Looks-At-Stars searched the skies for signs, using his magicks to guide his pack to safety. Fortunately, the skies were clear, the stars and moons bright this night. Jake-Looks-At-Stars was both magician and werewolf, a powerful astromancer who consulted the stars on the best path to take. He let the stars speak to him in twinkling, silent majesty. The pack was lost in this strange valley, and needed to regain its way…”

For that, I got the basic idea from a Jimmy Buffett song, ‘Boathouse on the Moon,’ and added werewolves to the mix.

All of these and others were enormous fun to write and update for publication in this little volume of just 31 pages! Do check it out, at only $0.99!

It may be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Forsaken-Galaxies-Collected-Fiction-ebook/dp/B01ND0R1VC

I may be contacted online at:

https://troythulu.blogspot.com/

https://troythulu.tumblr.com

on Twitter, @Troythulu

https://www.facebook.com/KingOfShards