Month in Review. 

Published this month 

Inbetween Hangovers published Poem Mind the Gap

Niume.com -A poem titled Oh Dear

Horror Sleaze Trash published four poems 

And a poem published at AWS publishing, titled Unlock 

And what am I working on? 

I am always working on some type of chapbook. 

I have chapbooks on love, the outdoors,  consent, and writing.  

I have started moving my chapbooks from Gumroad.com to Payhip.com and also publishing them on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, so I can publish them as paperbacks too. 

I am putting together the Reader’s Handbook, and  still looking for books of all genres to be featured in it. If you know of any independently published authors, and presses,  let me know so I can look them up.  

It’s difficult to tell you what I’m currently reading as it changes depending on my mood! 

These are two I’m looking forward to reading. 

I enjoyed reading Come on up to the House this month. It was the first horror book I’ve read in a while. Baby Love,  an erotic short story, was a story I loved chuckling at. 

Take me to the Start was an odd book, something about it that I couldn’t put my finger on,  but an enjoyable read.  

I am absolutely loving this poetry collection by Matthew Hall.  (And a look at my desk!) 

The Human Condition is a Terminal Illness.  

I found this on Twitter and thought it was helpful 

And let’s finish with a poem. 

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Guest Post. A Smile in one Eye: A Tear in the Other. Ralph Webster. 

Ralph Webster, Author, A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other

A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other is particularly relevant in light of the “travel ban” controversy in the U.S.  This book chronicles one family’s Holocaust journey.  Refugees from a different era, it is a compelling story of their search for safety and security.  Should you wish to arrange for Ralph to participate in your book club, either in person or via Skype, feel free to write him directly at ralphwebsterobx@gmail.com.  He likes to connect with readers throughout the world.

Why did you write A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other?



During the fall of 2015 my wife and I spent a number of weeks travelling throughout Europe.  This was a pleasure trip – lots of hiking and biking.  It so happened that this was same time the international news was flooded with images of the refugee crisis.  
Thousands of refugees were fleeing their homes – primarily from  Syria.  They were searching for safety, security, employment and opportunity.  The EU countries were struggling with border issues.   We viewed this firsthand.  We saw police remove people from trains.  The interactions were civil.  We saw no disturbance.  We never felt danger. What we watched was a procession of people trying to find a new life. We saw mothers, fathers, children, and groups of young men – all right before our eyes.

 

My father was a refugee – a refugee from a different era.  His family was prosperous one day.  They were paupers the next.  He fled Germany at the beginning of World War II.  Baptized as Lutherans their ancestry was Jewish.  And, in Nazi Germany, they had the wrong blood. This was about race – not only religion.  It was ethnic cleansing.  Not everyone could leave.  Family members left behind perished during the Holocaust.  These were unimaginable times.  

“I thought those were others.  Soon, I was to learn that they were us.”




I have great compassion for those forced to leave their homelands.  I wonder why this terrible history keeps repeating.  
History also repeats the age old dilemma of where the survivors should go?  Which nations are willing to open their doors?  Where will they be welcomed and safe?  Then or now, this remains a complicated question with no simple answers.  Most of us would agree that a nation’s first responsibility is to their own.  Nations must care and protect their own populations.  There are hard choices.  And, sometimes, first reactions are not the best responses.
Yes, it was another time.  But, for those affected, I imagine the feelings of helplessness and loss are much the same.  Just imagine.  During World War II and the Holocaust more than fifty million people lost their lives.  Six million Jews were murdered.  Lives everywhere were shattered and disrupted.  Those left alive were forced to cope and persevere.

“I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.”




Using my father’s voice to narrate the story, I have tried to convey that sense of helplessness – what it is like to be hated – what it is like to have to run for your life – what it is like to leave the country where your family has always lived – what it is like to leave family behind – what it is like to be totally disconnected and not know who has survived and who has not – what it is like to try to survive in a place with a different language and culture.  I wanted to convey that sense of determination, of going forward with one’s life, and of keeping one’s perspective and outlook.
And, I have also tried to present the struggle that countries face as they consider accepting refugees.  Are there enough jobs?  Could some be the enemy?  Sometimes difficult times result in difficult answers.  The world is not always a perfect place.
I have no desire to compare the suffering of one tragic period with another.  Whether then or now, the entire world suffers when any group suffers.  Tragedy for one is tragedy for all.  Regardless of when, brutal acts of hatred and violence against others never make any moral sense.  They can never be tolerated.  We must always be aware. 

“Nothing about these times makes any sense.  Nothing.  Putting it to words only makes it sound too simple.”




I believe that somehow, in today’s era of terror, we too often forget that the refugees of the world are not the enemy.  They are the victims.  They are the innocent.  They are the survivors and many have endured unimaginable loss.  They are the bystanders.  They are people like you and me – and too many are leaving with only the clothes on their backs – and often, with their loved ones left behind. 
Although my father’s journey took place 75 years ago, the parallels with today’s world are clear.  I wrote this book so I could shine a light on my father’s journey – to show the reader the world through my father’s eyes.   His was a journey of survival and grim determination, and a reminder that we must always remain vigilant to the realities of our world – a lesson that we must endure.  
I hope that despite the atrocities of the Holocaust, A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other is really about survival, expectation, acceptance, and perseverance.  It is the timeless story about going forward, one step at a time.  It is about compassion for one another.  Sometimes, no matter what, the reality is that fate will take you to where you are going.

  
“Life does find a way to create a balance somewhere between smiles and tears.”



  

Excerpt 

I can’t recite the chronology or elaborate on the facts. I can’t explain the reasons or defend how we lived our lives. What I can tell you is how the events of 1933 sowed the seeds that fundamentally changed our future, that there was little hand-wringing or emotion, that circumstances were beyond control, that there was no recourse or appeal. I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.” 
Ralph Webster

A Smile in One Eye : A Tear in the Other can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com 

You can find Ralph Webster at his website Facebook or Twitter  

Book Review. Journey to the Poetic Light – Illuminations.  Nolan Holloway.  

Genre : Poetry 

Rating ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Available at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

Free on Kindle unlimited 

A collection of introspective poems on love, being equals, nature and religion, among other subjects. There is some intriguing takes on life with ‘Clock with no hands’

‘What I owned relegated to a grocery cart

Love frozen to the metal frame’

And ‘We have become strangers 

Bland with no seasoning’

Flashback, Inside, Renewed Encounter and the sensual Summer is Fine were some of my favourite poems that I read. I like that the author writes not only of the enticement of a woman, but of new beginnings and life. 

As the book reached the middle the poems became more experimental, therefore expressive, with dashes and phrases in capital letters. I felt as if I could hear the writer speaking to me. I would advise the author to explore this more.

Overall I didn’t feel as if the theme really came through, and the overall message I got from this book is accepting yourself, before giving yourself to others. I didn’t quite connect with the poems in Journey to the Poetic Light but opinions on poetry are, of course, subjective and I think there is plenty to enjoy in this collection and is by no means a terrible book of poetry. 

Book Review. Take me to the Start. J. R. Kavit.  

Genre: Contemporary Fiction 

Rating ☆☆☆☆

Available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk 

Sophia was a sheep, now she feels like a sardine: holding a yellow pole on a  packed train in London. Overwhelmed and on the wrong train, Sophia tries to distract herself. Her thoughts vary from her family and roommate to her sexuality. This gets any backstory out of the way quickly. 

Sophia, a photographer, falls for a renowned scientist, Benjamin. They meet by chance. Benjamin helps Sophia get a job with a well known photographer. The one stipulation to her getting the job is that she must get a photograph of Benjamin, who hasn’t been photographed since he was thirteen. I was irked by this because Sophia had met Benjamin just once and immediately had a full blown crush on him. Their initial conversation was well written, with the right amount of description on the spark that flew between them and the story line is interesting.

I like that Take me to the Start is set in London, and commented on all of its beautiful landmarks. That Sophia has to work through her trauma and learn to trust Benjamin is something that feels new for this genre, although running concurrent to this is the feeling a huge plot twist is due, which is delivered. 

There are minor criticisms, such as too many sentences preluded by anyway and the fact is. Benjamin as well doesn’t feel like anything other than a pair of dimples, because that’s what Sophia has nicknamed him. 

I can’t put a finger on the exact reason why Take me to the Start is so appealing. I almost feel as if I have read it somewhere before. A must read for contemporary fiction and romance fans. 

Author Interview. Ben Jackson. 

1)

Where did the idea for Timmy and Little Fart first originate?

It just happened one night when my wife and I were playing around trying to think of a new book idea. It seemed like something which kids could get a giggle out of, without being crude. We also try to incorporate a message into our children’s books. Playing with others, respecting one another, being a team player etc.

2)

You collaborate with your partner, Sam Lawrence, how does this work out?

I imagine writing with your partner must be quite a fun activity to do together. 

Yes! When we are together it is really fun. When we are apart it is fun, but with a lot more back and forth via email and phone calls.

3)

You have also written solely under your own name. What have been your experiences of publishing these?

Self-publishing is hard work. You would think that writing would be the hardest part, but it isn’t. marketing and getting your name out there is probably the most time-consuming part of the entire process. 

4)

Which method do you find most helpful for promoting your books? (workshops, festivals, social media etc.)

Social media. Networking with other authors and working with blogs to get our names and our books in front of audiences.

5)

What was your primary motivation for publishing your work?

We just thought that it would be a fun activity which we could do together. One day it would be nice to be able to retire together and just work on our books in a sunny tropical location.

6)

Who are your favourite writers?

Wilbur Smith, Leon Uris and George R. R Martin. Bernard Cornwall is probably my number one pick. 

7)

Other than writing, what else are you passionate about?

I enjoy fishing, but between travelling, working a regular job, writing and freelancing I don’t have a lot of time left to get the fishing rod out.

8)

Do you have any words of advice (or caution) for other writers?

Just take your time and don’t rush your books out onto the shelf. Take people’s reviews with a grain of salt and try to understand what they are saying, negative or positive and then utilize it. 

9)

What are your future ambitions for your writing?

To live off my writing full-time! Just laying on a tropical beach and getting a sun tan! 

Find Ben Jackson at 

Facebook Goodreads and Amazon

Where you can also find


 and more in the Timmy and Little Fart series 

Book Review. He Counts their Tears. Mary Ann D’Alto.

​The character, Aaron, in this novel is two people. One being a kind family man and the other cruel, using The Method to manipulate and destroy women. He is an utterly despicable and unlikable character. There are actually no likeable characters in this, apart from poor Sarah.

This does repeat itself by simply rewording sentences. When the story does, finally, begin it is a relief. This is a story mainly told through flashbacks and can be quite episodic.

This is a well written, psychological novel. The ending is not satisfying. There will be a second book, which I won’t be reading because this book is disturbing. It’s grim. Definitely not a book for the faint hearted but for those that like something out of the ordinary.

Available at Amazon.co.uk 

Flash Fiction Friday. Elastic.  Katie Lewington. 

She wasn’t the least bit sporty, but she wore sports bras, tracksuit bottoms and a jacket favoured by football managers. 

It was an effort to be girly. 

She had previously dressed in baggy men’s shirts and t’s, with loose flowing skirts if she had to leave the flat. 

Sports clothes stretched, and they dried easily too when she had to sponge off food spills.