Book Review: ‘Reflections of a Scurvy Bastard’ by Joseph Ferguson

Joseph Ferguson is destined to become recognised as a master poet.

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Joseph Ferguson Reflections of a Scurvy BastardThis collection of poetic vignettes and observations is absolutely brilliant.

Ferguson writes with a very strong sense of realism and a degree of world-weariness in his profound poems that work like snapshots of different events and memories. He has a gift for creating vivid images that transport the reader to another time and place, and making it seem absolutely real. More than once I found myself completely mesmerised by the incredible writing in Ferguson’s poetry.

When Joseph Ferguson’s poetry is recognised as ‘classic’ and he is regaled world-wide as a master poet, it shall come as absolutely no surprise to me.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Reflections of a Scurvy Bastard’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Author Interview: Eva Pasco

Author Interview: Book Squirrel chats with Eva Pasco, author of contemporary “lit with grit”.

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Book Squirrel chats with Eva Pasco, author of contemporary “lit with grit”.
Welcome, Eva! Eva Pasco - author

Book Squirrel, seeing you go nuts over authors, I’m in the right place. Thank you for the warm welcome!

It’s great to have you here. What inspired you to write?

Already having typewritten a mystery and a spy series by the age of twelve, and composed a romance novella in high school, I shelved my creativity during college and throughout my teaching career in elementary education. On my last day of school, I left a handwritten farewell note to my colleagues near the sign-in area of the main office. Many of the teachers let me know how much my note moved them. At least two told me I should write a book.
Inspired, I revived my dormant imagination. In 2007, I published my first novel in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, based on my fragrance addiction—Underlying Notes. Several years later, in 2016, I published An Enlightening Quiche, where I incorporated aspects of my summer job at a bookbinding factory to the fictitious, impoverished mill in the story.

Wow! An author by twelve! That’s impressive!

I guess so!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

ScreenHunter_437 Feb. 03 11.37Always enamored with my latest published work, I’d have to say my favorite at this point in time is “Mr. Wizardo”. This novella is part of the co-authored collection of reimagined fairy tales for grownups, Once Upon a Fabulous Time, in collaboration with the Indie Fabs: Aliya DalRae, R.M. Gauthier, J.B. Richards, Lyra Shanti, and Joanne Van Leerdam.

Oh, I just got my copy of that! It looks fabulous indeed!

It really is!

I can’t wait to read it. What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Thus far, my steadfast answer is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The effects of intense suffering between two passion-driven characters with a toxic love-hate relationship who torment themselves, each other, and those around them tug at my heartstrings.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Although the year has just begun, I will give a shout out to my current read. I’m 79 per cent through ‘Sandhills’ by Alan Vanderoot. It is a Contemporary Coming-of-Age that nails the protagonist’s teen angst living with a verbally and physically abusive father, and the outlet he finds to come into his own.
I also want to heap praise on the latest published paranormal short in the “Fallen Cross” pack, ‘Bitter Challenge’ by Aliya DalRae.

Oh, I’ve read ‘Bitter Challenge’! That’s a really great series. 

Isn’t it, though?

What are you working on writing now?

At the onset of 2018, I began writing my next Contemporary, Aida’s Fishing Ground. I’m currently in the midst of drafting chapter 2.

Who designs your book covers?

Now that I am going full-tilt boogie as an Indie—none of this hybrid stuff for me any longer—it’s Renee Gauthier, courtesy of her enterprise, R.M. Designs. Her covers and banners are fabulous!

Forest, country, beach or city?

It always has and always will be the beach!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

One of my pet hates is that “exploitation” for monetary gain, power, or control whether perpetrated by usury, intimidation, pretense, lying, cheating, humiliation, preying…
As of yet, I haven’t brought it to light in my writing.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

My all-time favorite movie to watch over and over is Casablanca because it reinforces that there are no painless resolutions in life. The choices we make often come at a personal sacrifice of love and happiness.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

Hard to choose, but I’ll cite this one by Khalil Gibran—“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.”

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

No two Indies are the same, therefore there is no well-trodden path which leads a writer to becoming a successful author. Success is based on your own criteria and not anyone else’s.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I wish it were easier to recover from heartbreak.
And, although, I have been blessed with good health thus far—I wish ageing were easier.

Those are sobering thoughts indeed – and you have expressed them beautifully.

Thank you. You’re a lovely squirrel.

Careful, you’ll make me blush! Tell me, Eva, where can we find your books?

They’re on Amazon and you can also get signed/personalized copies at Authors Den.

 

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I have a Facebook Page: where people are welcome to follow me, and I’m on Goodreads, too.
I also have a blog titled Eva’s Bytes – An Indie Author’s Blog on WordPress.

Thank you for being here today, Eva. 

It’s been fun! Thank you, Book Squirrel!

Author Interview: Ammar Habib

Book Squirrel chats today with Ammar Habib, a bestselling and award winning author of paranormal suspense thrillers.

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Book Squirrel chats today with Ammar Habib, a bestselling and award winning author of paranormal suspense thrillers.

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Welcome, Ammar. It’s a privilege to have you here today. 

Thank you, Book Squirrel! It’s a rare thing to be interviewed by a squirrel!

What can I say? I’m a rare squirrel. 

You certainly are.

Thanks! So tell me, what inspired you to write?

The one book that inspired me to become a writer is Og Mandino’s The Choice. I read the book when I was seven-years-old and it is what put me onto the path of becoming a writer and inspired the dream to one day have millions of copies of my books sold around the world.

Outside of books, the other main thing that acting as a catalyst for my writing was my 2nd Grade Teacher at AP Beutel, Mrs. Scott. When I was in her class years ago, she gave me a homework assignment to write a one-page story. This was the first time I ever wrote anything. That experience breathed the love of writing into me and I’ve never stopped since!

I’ve also discovered that I’m not the first author in my family. My great-grandfather was a writer after his career as a police officer in India ended. My maternal grandmother was also a writer, having some of her works published in the newspaper. Although my own mother was not a writer, she has her Master’s degree in Fine Art. So I think this artistic capability probably runs in the family too.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I like to say that my favorite and best book is always my next project!

What are you working on writing now?

I actually have quite a few projects in different stages of development. I recently signed a contract for a children’s picture book, which will be releasing next year. I also have a police novel releasing next year as well. My agent is shopping around a Young Adult novel and is also shopping around a non-fiction project of mine. I also have a graphic novel being read by some publishers. So 2018 will be very exciting God-Willingly!

Who designs your book covers?

As of right now, most of my book covers have been created by Fiona Jayde.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite kind of music in terms of genre. I’m more particular about lyrics and making sure that I listen to something that isn’t going to drag me down mentally. However, I definitely use music to my advantage when writing and find that listening to music that mirrors the type of scene I’m writing helps me nail down the tone of the scene!

So, you are what you listen to?

That’s one way of looking at it!

 What movie can you watch over and over again?

Hands down, it’s The Last Samurai. I love that movie from the characters to setting to plot to theme. The ending still gets me on the edge of tears, even though I’ve watched this movie many times. This film was actually the inspiration for the graphic novel script I recently wrote.

 When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ever since I was seven, one of my dreams was to one day become a New York Times Bestselling author! I’m still excited about continuing to strive towards that dream.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

Here’s a quote from President John Quincy Adams: “Duty is ours. Results are Gods.” I love this quote because it reminds me not to worry about the results of my action. I just need to do the best I can and keep my intentions pure, and then leave the outcomes up to a higher power.

I like that. It’s very inspirational.

I agree.

Speaking of inspiration, name three people you admire, and give reasons.

There are definitely more than three people I admire and look up to, but I’ll just keep it at three for the sake of space. The first two are a couple, my father and mother. They’re my heroes in life and gave me the foundation to pursue my dream.

The third would be my brother. He is my best friend and #1 fan and I cannot explain what his support has meant to me through every step of this journey as a writer! Without these three people in my life, I would not be the person I am today and the person I am becoming tomorrow.

They sound like great people. We should all be so lucky.

Indeed!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Here’s an answer that most authors can definitely relate with:

1) Getting a publishing deal
2) Raising awareness of your books.

Both are sometimes equally hard as the other and something to celebrate upon achievement. But thankfully as I continue to work in the industry, I’ve gotten more opportunities for both and am continuing to grow more proficient at my craft. All this leads towards growing closer to my dream of becoming a New York Times Bestselling author in the near future!

Where can readers buy your books?

My books are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

And where can we follow you on social media?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ammarahsenhabib
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmmarAHabib1
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ammar.a.habib/
Blog: ammarhabibblog.wordpress.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Ammar_Habib

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cTopbv

Thanks for being here today, Ammar. 

Thanks for having me!

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview: Rebecca Lloyd

Book Squirrel chats with Rebecca Lloyd, author of dark fiction and magical realism.

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Book Squirrel chats with Rebecca Lloyd, author of dark fiction and magical realism.
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Welcome, Rebecca! It’s great to have you here.

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

I’m a big fan of the darker side of fiction. What is your favourite thing that you have written?

My novella Woolfy and Scrapo, available from The Fantasist Magazine, and it’s because, even though the characters are just a pair of gloves, their love for each other, as brothers, is very deep, slightly troubled, but happy. This book along with my novel Oothangbart is very different from my usual literary horror material because they celebrate innocence.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Right at this moment it would be Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam, although I could have as easily chosen something from Walter de la Mare or Kevin Barry.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

The best book I’ve read this year is Lamb, a book which some people were very much against. What a brave writer to have written that and so beautifully.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie writer?

Although the distribution of your books might be a whole lot less than if you were an author with one of the gigantic publishers, there can be a great deal of pleasure in writing for a quite small body of readers, and pleasure as well in having a rewarding working relationship with your publisher if it is a company that is careful and respectful of its writers. Very few writers make much money from their books anyway whoever the publisher is, and so there’s a lot to be said for being involved with decent thoughtful independent publishers and those people they employ to do the artwork and editing. A lot of people might not agree with this thought… but it could also well be a blessing not to be tangled up with literary agents, those gate-keepers of the big publishing houses.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A biologist, and then later on someone who studied parasites. First I became an ecologist and then a medical parasitologist which led me to Africa, which led me to writing.

What inspired you to write?

My very moving and humbling experiences of working as a medical parasitologist in a remote hospital in Tanzania. I wrote my first novel as a result of that work but I’m pretty sure no-one would want to publish it…. it being a very uncomfortable read, and equally sure that I wouldn’t want it published. But it was a great writing exercise.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m thinking about starting something new, having just finished a novel, but I haven’t settled on anything for certain yet. I wrote a horror story called What Comes? that was published in my collection Mercy and Other Stories with Tartarus Press, and I was thinking it could be expanded into a novella and that I should have a go at it. [I always get scared that if I stop writing for too long that I won’t be able to do it again.]

Who designs your book covers?

Usually my publishers have had their own book cover designers and although they will run the idea past me to make sure I like it, I haven’t had a lot of involvement with that side of things. But my novella Jack Werrett the Flood Man with Dunhams Manor Press included illustrations inside and a book cover by the artist Dave Felton, and he worked very closely with me always being careful that I liked what he was producing. Then the amazing and very crazy book cover by Steve Novak for my collection The View from Endless Street [WiDo Publishing], was stunning and I loved it immediately, and still do. Oh! And I nearly forgot that I did design the book cover for my novel Oothangbart with Pillar International Publishing in 2014 and I loved doing that.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

I admire the wonderful perfectly mad Irish writer, Kevin Barry for his magical and breath-taking ability with words and language. I admire that strange, highly intelligent man Doctor Samuel Johnson, [1709 -1776] for his wit and kindness to the people he knew and hung out with, not the least of which was the twisted weird guy Richard Savage, poet and liar. I admire President Obama for all he tried to do for the US, the way he attempted to civilise it, and for his elegance and sophistication in a very ugly job.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I don’t think I’ve got a pet hate; there are a few little behaviours that I really dislike such as when cold callers phone me and call me Mrs Lloyd as if even if you weren’t married to anyone you wouldn’t mind being called Mrs anyway, but to my way of thinking that title makes me less than I am because it implies that I belong to someone, and I resent the idea of that hugely. On that same note, I did once use an entire argument that I had with a man in my short story Fetch which is in my collection Ragman and Other Family Curses published by Egaeus Press. I can tell you that it felt so very cathartic to have created something useful out of that argument. I also modelled the main character on the man himself and since I knew him well, I had his pomposity really accurately drawn in the story. [He never read it, nor ever will].

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I think that is yet to come, and every Christmas I go away on holiday to another country, so I’ve got plenty of chances to arrive at the best one in time. But one of the most useful was a holiday in Sicily in a little town called Cefalù which was where the terrible Aleister Crowley tried to set up a religious retreat. I was working on Seven Strange Stories, my second story collection for Tartarus Press and I was in need of one extra story to finish it. It was co-incidental that I happened to be holidaying in that town, but it occurred to me that because I had always been fascinated and horrified by Aleister Crowley, that he could be the subject for the last story. It was pretty hard to write, but very inspiring to stare down at the ruins of the ‘Abbey of Thelema’ and imagine Mr Crowley and his followers doing their thing in there. [I didn’t break into the place, not my style, and there are so many photos of it online that I didn’t feel the need to… besides I didn’t want to give myself the creeps!]

That’s fascinating and spooky at the same time!

I know!

Where can readers buy your books?

My books are all available on Amazon.

That’s great! Everyone knows how to find the ‘Zon.  Thanks for being here today, Rebecca!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. It’s been fun!

Meet a New Author: Rebecca Langham

Today, I’m talking with Rebecca Langham, whose debut sci-fi novel ‘Beneath The Surface’ launches on January 15th. 

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Today, I’m talking with Rebecca Langham, whose debut sci-fi novel ‘Beneath The Surface’ launches on January 15th. 

Hi Rebecca, it’s great to chat with you. 

Hello, Book Squirrel! Thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write?

When I was about four years old or so my mother enrolled to study at university, having always wanted to attain a degree but finding it difficult with four children. A couple of years later, she undertook an honours degree and did a lot of work to write a major research thesis. She took me with her to conduct interviews and I also sat in on a lot of her lectures when she struggled to find a babysitter. I didn’t quite understand what she was writing, but I knew that whatever it was it would be long, interesting, and fabulous. So I wanted to be a writer too, even though what my mother produced back then was the history of a major Australian corporation and nothing at all like the fiction I imagined myself writing.Rebecca Langham Beneath the Surface

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

‘Beneath the Surface’, my sci-fi novel that is being released on 15 January 2018. This is the only full-length novel I’ve completed so far and, after all that hard work and many difficult lessons learned, it’ll always have a special place in my psyche.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

I love so many books, shows, movies and songs! It’s so hard to choose. As far as novels go, I absolutely adore Michael Cunningham’s use of language in ‘The Hours’. Fannie Flagg’s ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café’ also really stayed with me. Those are some of the most memorable and heart-wrenching characters I’ve ever seen on the page. I adore the film adaptation as well, but so many rich stories from the book were left out of the film.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’m terrible at just choosing one answer for questions like this. ‘The Secret River’ by Kate Grenville and ‘The Surgeon of Crowthorne’ by Simon Winchester were both thought-provoking reads that I became very emotionally invested in this year.

What are you working on writing now?

I’ve just started the second book of my sci-fi duology. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the first draft, but my goal is to try and have it finished by the middle of the year so it can be published about a year after Book I.

Who designs your book covers?

Natasha Snow. She is amazing!

I’ll say! That cover is magnificent!

Thank you!

What’s your favourite TV show?

As always, I would struggle to just name one. Amongst my favourites are Battlestar Galactica, Xena: Warrior Princess, Jane the Virgin, Orphan Black, Farscape & Wynonna Earp.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a few of these. The main ones I can think of are Labyrinth, Willow, and A League of Their Own.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. It’s taken me a while but I’m finally getting there.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Octavia Butler

Bryce Courtenay

Sarah Waters

Where can we find your book?

The best way to support me as an indie author is to go straight to the publisher – NineStar Press – where you can actually preorder the e-book and get it early!
You can also find the Kindle edition on Amazon.

You can pick up a physical copy from major retailers, including Amazon and Book Depository.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

FB – https://www.facebook.com/RLanghamAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rlangham85

Website – www.rebeccalangham.com.au

Book Review: ‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ by D.J. Doyle

A gritty read for lovers of dark fiction.

This is a dark, gritty and fatalistic story of ancient beliefs, rituals and powers that grapple for control of the future of the world as we know it. Doyle builds the story masterfully, complete with twists that take the reader’s breath away and a sense of urgency that grows as the action escalates.

The contrasts between the different characters and their personal ethics are really interesting, and serve as a reminder that human nature is flawed and can, when devoted solely to an ideology or even to oneself, be truly evil without any additional help from the spiritual realm.

‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

It does contain adult content and violence, so is suitable for an adult audience. If you like your fiction dark and your endings darker, this book is for you.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a shiny Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

Meet A New Author: Patrick Williams

Patrick Williams is a brand new author. His debut, Lethal As Love, released in December of 207. 

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Patrick Williams is a brand new author. His debut, Lethal As Love, released in December of 207. 

Thank you for joining me today, Patrick. 

It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you.

 

What inspired you to write?

I’ve spent the vast majority of my life as an amateur and semi-professional actor and musician with occasional forays into direction and technical theatre. While in all of those occupations one works with words and puts their own interpretation into them, they are still someone else’s words. I longed to use my own voice, to take the skills I’ve learned over a lifetime and apply them to creating something original and entirely mine. That being said, I write mostly love poetry and for that, I do best with a muse. A real-life target for the words.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

I am a huge fan of the late Sir Terry Pratchett. I’ve devoured everything I could find that he wrote and enjoyed it all. But of all his work, I appreciate the Tiffany Aching series most, and of those, my favourite is “The Wee Free Men”.

What are you working on writing now?

Having just published my very first book, I have material enough to publish another and am approaching that (but I guess that really does not answer the question). As I’ve written, most of my work has been love poetry. But world events have recently shifted my focus a bit and I appear to be developing a social consciousness voice. Some of the work that I am currently writing is about the state of the world, equal rights for all people, and justice.

Who designs your book covers? Patrick Williams Lethal As Love

I am quite fortunate to know Brent Jackson from Peacehaven, UK. Brent is a musician, a visionary poet in his own right, and an amazingly talented artist. When I announced that I was going to self-publish, Brent stepped forward and asked if he could design my covers. I immediately accepted with gratitude and joy.

That is a fabulous cover!

Thank you! I’ll let Brent know you think so.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I have yet to find a style of music in which I cannot find examples to appreciate and enjoy. There really is no way that I could pick one genre as a favourite. I do, however, love cool jazz, punk rock, and classical music.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I haven’t watched television in around fifteen years. I find myself too easily captured by television; I’ll stare at it for hours and get nothing done. I have, of late, been watching a few television programs on the internet, however, and find that I am really enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s series “Raw Craft” and “No Reservations”. Back in my television watching days, I was an enormous fan of “Star Trek, the Next Generation”.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Oh, this is an easy one. “The Princess Bride”.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

William Shakespeare, Alan Ginsberg, and e.e.cummings. That’s quite a mixed bag, isn’t it? Shakespeare was unafraid of language, he twisted it, he invented words, and his work, all in iambic pentameter, keeps that pulse and rhythm. I strive to keep an internal meter going in my work, too. Ginsberg spoke his heart and in a new and surprising way. His work was raw yet eloquent.Of all the Beat artists, he’s my favourite. I play with word order sometimes in order to surprise the mind of the reader. And cummings? Well e. e. cummings always makes me smile.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

As ‘Lethal as Love” is my first published work, I really do not have a deep fund of experience to go into this answer. I’m finding the whole process, however, to be an enormous challenge. I had no idea how much time and energy I would be spending on formatting, publishing, and promotion. Fortunately, I have experienced friends who are holding my hand through the process. So, what should people know? This is more work than work. Every independent book you see out there is not only months and years of writing, it’s also hours, weeks, and months of constant promotion and really hard work. An Indie Author really has to deeply believe in what they’ve written.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Finding your own voice and making money.

Thanks for joining me today, Patrick.

Thanks for having me.

Read the Book Squirrel review of Lethal as Love

Find this great book on Amazon.