Monday, November 28, 2011

PYN Review of A Traveler's Guide for Lost Souls

A Traveler’s Guide for Lost Souls
Reviewed by Jenn B. PYN Reviewer

This book took off from the beginning and gathered momentum as it went.  As a reviewer, I only wish that I had been able to read the book in larger pieces, because it was a little disorienting to read in bits and pieces where I was able to steal time for reading.  The storyline is original and intriguing and it wasn’t long before I found myself attached to “Booda Ray” and the other key characters in the book.  The book is written in such a way that I wasn’t able to detect that it was part of a series prior to reaching the end. 
As a whole, a solid story and I look forward to Vol. 2 of the series!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interview with Amy Tupper

I love it when authors choose creatures we don’t know a lot about. Your introduction of the Fossegrim intrigues me. Where did you find out about this? What can you tell us about it?
When the three main characters of Jules, Andrew, and Nick appeared, I wanted to discover their back stories. Since I enjoy urban fantasy and magic realism, I wanted Jules and Nick based in an existing culture that people might not be familiar with. I spent three years traveling Europe as a teenager with my family and wanted to draw on this experience since I was in a position to voice what that was like. One of the places we visited was relatives in Sweden so I had first-hand experience. I also had many friends in school who were from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. One of them even taught me the three little Swedish words Andrew says!
Once I chose Scandinavia as the anchor for the back story, I couldn't help but trip all over the folktales of trolls, gnomes, elves, and fairies captured in Grimms' Fairy Tales. In their version, the Fossegrim is a troll-like creature who lives in a waterfall and plays a fiddle. If you brought the Fossegrim food, he would teach you to play. But beware the person who tried to cheat him! On the surface, it's a moral story about cheating and theft. but for me, it was just a nice juicy morsel of back story!
What can you tell us about the Fossegrim that we wouldn’t know after reading your book?
The Fossegrim is a type of Troll in a larger community of magical creatures. The one we meet in Tenderfoot is one of a handful in existence. In my take on the Fossegrim, the Trolls taught the Vikings war. I reference this in a short story on my blog titled "Predator."
How does Nick fit into the story? He seems to be a driving force in the blurb.
Nick is a 250 year old Fossegrim. He looks and acts like a human, but that's just a facade that allows him to operate unnoticed as he takes advantage of people's judgments and expectations. He's a creature of secrets with unknown motivations. Rest assured, everything he does is for a reason. His job is to be there for Jules as she comes to terms with what she is. Best of all, he's the character you love to hate.
Jules is well-traveled. Where are some of the places she’s traveled to and what drove her to all those places?
Jules is a typical international kid. Her parents moved from Manhattan to France to follow a job when she was eleven years old. Several years later, her family moved again for a job, this time to Stockholm. Like the kids I grew up with, she's experienced the larger world and gained both historical and personal senses of freedom. Most importantly, she's gone through the agony of being ripped away from everyone and everything she knows twice. Her mother died while they lived in Stockholm, so loss is this huge thing for Jules. When she arrives in Chapel Hill hoping for a fresh start, she's pretty much one big untended wound.
What inspired you to write this story?
My characters took me hostage! Really, for a while there, they were all I thought about. I'd be making lunch for my kids while trying to figure how exactly how Nick was getting under Andrew's skin.
After starting a family and having two daughters, I felt a little lost. I've always written my way through my problems so it just seemed time to write another book and express myself the way I enjoy most.
What can you tell us about Blinded, Book 2 of the Tenderfoot series?
While Tenderfoot is from Jules' point of view, Blinded is from Andrew's. I wanted to stretch and see what it was like to  be in Andrew's head. He's such a sweetheart. I wondered, what does he really think about Jules and her little quirks? Does he notice the things going on with her, or is he content just to let sleeping dogs lie?
The other thing I can share is that Andrew and Nick finally duke it out. It's a great scene!
Where can readers purchase your book?
Readers can purchase my book at:
and the Amazon websites for other countries as well.
Where can readers connect with you on the web?
I post news, six sentence excerpts, and weekly flash fiction on my blog. I also feature other authors with a feature called "Writers And Their Chosen Settings." I am always interested to find out how other authors chose settings for their books and what that contexts means to them.
May we read an excerpt from the book?
Nick began playing his guitar again. This time was different. My perception changed. It tightened into focus. It was like I could hear beyond the music. There were a few pulsing seconds of faint pain in my gut but then it faded away.
I turned my head toward the waving shadows on the grassy ground. Like before, things I should not have been able to see at such a distance became instantly clear. They popped into focus as if I was standing a few feet away instead of hundreds. The noise of the leaves grew louder as the leaves brushed against each other. I raised my head to better hear the whistle of the wind. I picked up the tinkling sounds of piano from Person Hall. The smell of sticky honeysuckle drifted in from some place nearby. I inhaled deeper. There were traces from people who had walked through. Each scent was somehow unique. The smell of exhaust and diesel wafted down from the cars on Franklin Street. How could I have not noticed all of this before?
The music itself was louder now. It sounded like a folk tune I used to know. Nick continued to play and I relaxed, closing my eyes to tune in. Before long, the song came to an end. I opened my eyes. There was an aura surrounding his body, a wave of changing color rolling out from him in all directions. It mingled with the music spinning out of the guitar. A blue aura surrounded him at the center of the wave. I screamed.
In a flash, he was up on his feet and crouched down in front of me. As soon as the music stopped, the stream of colors vanished, the aura gone.
I abruptly shut my mouth and covered it with both hands, frozen.

A big thanks to Amy for this week's interview. If you'd like to hear more, we'll be chatting with her again on Wednesday at 3:30 PST. You can set a reminder here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with Author, Jim Lindsey

Hey, Jim, I see that you’re quite passionate about Rowga. What is that?
I’ve been a Buddhist since 1986 and have practiced, studied and taught sitting meditation in the
Buddhist way, at the same time observing how Westerners react to it as a whole. In those twenty-five years, I’ve seen our society speed up and become even more materialistic and aggressive. The result for a great many people is that they have little time and money, and incessant demands for both, and so are run ragged. They may realize a need for the deep sanity meditation can bring, but they also want to exercise and stay fit and have fun, so sitting on a cushion motionlessly feeling their legs go numb has problems winning  them over. 

At the same time, people are getting into enormous debt trying to entertain themselves, buying big TVs and boats and four-wheelers and other things they can’t afford. I’m passionate about rowga, or the yoga of rowing, because it’s an all-in-one solution. One, It’s great exercise, not only for your arms but for your whole body as your muscles continually adjust to the constant variation of movements caused by ocean waves. Two, It’s great entertainment – there’s nothing like being out on the big water under the big sky with that fresh-as-creation sea breeze, seals popping up to check you out, dolphins crossing your wake, seabirds swooping for a catch. Three, it’s great meditation – instead of sitting in a room trying to keep from falling asleep, you are guiding and propelling a boat through the waves as you watch your mind. As you let go of thoughts, you come back again and again to the here and now of the stroke of the oars, sharpening your awareness, being vividly alive. And you can get the exercise, entertainment and meditation all at once in the same place in the same way, so four, it’s a great time-saver. And a good rowboat is inexpensive and requires almost no maintenance and no fuel , so five, it’s a great value. And you are one with the ocean, not polluting it, not crashing through it, not lazing along on it letting the wind do the work, so it’s very nitty gritty and six, a great way of connecting the vastness of the ocean with the vastness of natural mind. Those are the six points of rowga, and that is why I’m so passionate about it.
You have a new book out, A Flaw in the Fabric, book 1 of A Traveller’s Guide for Lost Souls. Tell us a little bit about this book.
The Flaw in the Fabric explores possibilities of time and space and love that normally are never considered, because we shun death and ignore the possibilities of what might happen afterwards. The hero of the Flaw, Raymond Kidd, sees things he’s never dreamed of: ghosts reincarnating, living people appearing as skeletons, himself being whirled back to an earlier life so that he is torn between his love for two different wives. In the course of his travels, he is tasked with taking care of the lost souls stranded between lives, and he is pitted against a demon who devours them.
What inspired you to write this?
I’ve lived by the sea, for the last sixteen years, in a 200-year-old house that has ghosts in the basement. It may not be so, but I often fancy I hear them talking in the basement when I lie awake at night. And there is a tale in the village of two brothers who lived and died here back in the mid-eighteen-hundreds. The real trigger was a dream I had. I’d been working as an historical tour guide at the Alexander Keith Brewery in Halifax. We dressed up in nineteenth century costumes to lead the tours, and so ‘went back in time’ every day. One night I dreamed that I was talking to one of the other guides. I told him I wanted to write A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls. He said I had to do it.  He said it as if it were an order, and I’ve never forgotten that. Beyond that, being a Buddhist, I have studied closely the process by which we die and by which we move onward to other lives, and how some people are unable to make the move because they are too attached to their former lives. Inspired? When I was writing the book, I woke up every morning champing at the bit to get started. I never worried about what to say. It all came to me as if being delivered Fed-Ex.
I’ve read an excerpt and from your prose, I gather you’ve learned a lot. What wisdoms are you hoping to share through your work?
The main one is that people have an invulnerable sanity they can tap, that is the result of the natural mind they were born with, and which is always available.
What in life drives you to write?
I was driven once. I’m not anymore. It happens to be my metier, so doing it is like living life to the fullest, like playing a guitar with the concentration of a Segovia, like returning to the wonderment of a child.
How did you come up with your time travel theory?
In our time, things are wearing out. The glaciers are melting, the weather is strange and unpredictable, there is a sense of things wearing out. I thought, how would it be if the very way things are wore out, or was sabotaged. The seemingly solid border between past and present, how would it be, I asked myself, if it became porous? Especially in an unpredictable way. So I just let the possibilities arise and followed them where they went.
Can you tell us a little bit about Book 2?
In Book 1, Raymond is presented with his task of rescuing lost souls but is prevented by circumstances from doing much about it. In fact, he finds himself stranded in the in-between realm between death and birth. In Book 2, another flaw in the fabric allows him to proceed with his quest. He reincarnates in the 21st century and leaves Nova Scotia to follow his estranged wife Cat  to California. There, in the land of wine, women and song, he finds lost souls on a scale he never imagined possible, among them his recently deceased parents. Here his task is truly daunting, as the attachment to the good life in the land of eternal summer is stronger than super glue.
Where can readers purchase your book?
Where can readers connect with you on the web?

A big thanks to Jim for this week's interview. If you'd like a copy of his book, please leave a comment below with your email address. Also be sure to tune into our Blog Talk radio show to learn more about Mr. Lindsey. You can schedule a reminder for it here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A PYN Review of Ruined

A PYN Review of Ruined
Michelle, Guest Reviewer

For the last couple of years, I’ve been reading spiritual and self-help books.  So in an effort to step outside my comfort zone, I’ve decided to read some fiction.  Not just any fiction, but paranormal fiction. 
The first book I was introduced to, was Ruined by Kinley Baker.  It is set in a town of shadow shifters, whose king is missing and presumed dead.  When I started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down.   It proceeds with a series of twists and turns, that left me asking for more and looking find out how the story progressed. 
In reading this book, I found that it spoke to me on different levels, even though it is fictional.  One of the main characters is a Senior Healer who heals the king whenever he is sick or hurt.  But the town and current king believe that she also served as the previous king’s mistress.  On the one hand, she doesn’t like the association, but on the other hand, she knows she wasn’t, so why try to prove them wrong?  It speaks to me, because people will always believe what they want about you, no matter what, so as long as you know what’s in your heart, that’s all that matters.  I identified with the Senior Healer because in one part of the book, the current king is poisoned and in order to heal him, she must take the poison from him into her own body, which almost kills her.  But as caregivers and nurturers, how many times do we do that for our loved ones? 
The author, Kinley Baker did a fantastic job of allowing the story to flow and letting the readers know the back story, so you wouldn’t feel lost.   I truly enjoyed this novel, and look forward to books from her in the future, she definitely has made a new fan out of me.