jueves, 29 de diciembre de 2011

Magical Thinking / Pensamiento Mágico

This Izora bonsái was planted 6 years ago when Dieguito was born. It has never bloomed.... Now It seems that it will... I'll use some magical thinking: If it blooms by New Year's Eve 2012 I'll finish my new book... if not.......


ESPAÑOL
 Este bonsái de tipo Izora lo sembré cuando nació Dieguito, hace seis años, y nunca ha florecido.  Parece que el evento está a punto de ocurrir.  Recurriré al "pensamiento mágico":  Si florece para el Año Nuevo 2012 terminaré el libro que estoy haciendo.... si no se da el evento.....

martes, 27 de diciembre de 2011

Pain for Progress / Los dolores del progreso

We will have a Metro by 2014
Tendremos un Metro en 2014

miércoles, 21 de diciembre de 2011

Happy Hannuka / Feliz Hannuka

Happy Hannukah.... my grandchildren are learning to play with the Dreidl... and it's fun!

Dreidle / pirinola

At the same time, they'll get their Xmas presents.... works out fine for them! Then, grandfather writing a "sexy book," Oh, boy!

ESPAÑOL
Felicidades en la Festividad de las Luces.... Mis nietos están aprendiendo a jugar con el Dreidle, o pirinola.  Además, recibirán los juguetes de Navidad.  Encima, el abuelo está escribiendo un libro "sexy." ¡Tremenda combinación!

Chanukiah

domingo, 18 de diciembre de 2011

Mis libros en Amazon España

Desde hace varias semanas Amazon está vendiendo en España.  Por lo tanto, mis libros pueden ser adquiridos en su sitio en la Madre Patria.
Para los interesados, éste es el enlace.
http://www.amazon.es/s/ref=sr_gnr_fkmr1?rh=i%3Adigital-text%2Ck%3Acanton-dutari&keywords=canton-dutari&ie=UTF8&qid=1324231806

jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

Non presence vs absence / No presencia vs ausencia

As Winter Solstice approaches so many social events take place -- Christmas, Hannuka, New Year -- that tradition dictatates should be a clan or family celebration.
As the years have gone by and my set of hair becomes more frail and less dense, so has the number of members of my family.  All are missed during the gatherings. 
Nevertheless, a few days ago I experienced something quite unique.  It happened during my mother-in-law's 96 birthday celebration.  My immediate family was present -- three sons, daughters-in-law and my grandchildren.  In due time, we all gathered around Tita's birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday.  It was a happy moment, especially when the children decided not to complete blowing the birthday candle and allowed their great-grandmother to do it.
I was taking the birthday picture when suddenly I felt a weight on my chest, and a longing.  It downed on me that Emita was not present.  The awareness produced an almost physical pain. 
Since my wife died I have always felt her absence.  I just realized that her not being present has a different meaning.
And, definitely, there will be moments when I wish she were making up a menu, greeting every new arrival with a smile... telling me what to do. 
Yes, feeling her absence I can rationalize.  Feeling her non-presence I can hardly get used to; it is such a shame that this happens in a happy season.
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/59648
http://www.amazon.com/Her-Peaceful-Sleep-Doc-ebook/dp/B0050VK9TQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323999458&sr=1-1
ESPAÑOL
El solsticio de invierno se acerca acompañado de eventos que conocemos -- Navidad, Hannuka, Año Nuevo.  La tradición lo celebra en reunión familiar o de clan.
En la medida en que los años han pasado y mi cabello se ha hecho menos denso y abundante, igual ha ocurrido con el número de miembros de la familia.  A todos se les extraña durante estos eventos.
Hace unos días experimenté algo especial.  Ocurrió durante la celebración del cumpleaños 96 de mi suegra.  La familia cercana estaba presente -- tres hijos, tres nueras y los nietos.  A su momento nos reunimos alrededor del pastel de cumpleaños de Tita para cantar el Feliz Cumpleaños.  Fue un momento divertido, especialmente cuando notamos que los niños no corrieron a apagar la velita, y permitieron que la bisabuela lo hiciera.
Yo estaba tomando las fotos del momento cuando repentinamente sentí un peso en mi pecho acompañado de una añoranza especial.  Caí en cuenta que Emita no estaba presente.  La realización me produjo un dolor casi físico.
Desde que mi esposa falleció siempre he sentido su ausencia.  Mas, descubrí que no contar con su presencia tiene un significado diferente. Y, definitivamente, habrá momentos en que quisiera que estuviera presente preparando un menú, dándole a bienvenida a los comensales, diciéndome qué me toca hacer.
Sí, puedo racionalizar su ausencia.  Aunque experimentar su no presencia es algo a lo que no me puedo acostumbrar. Lástima que esto ocurra durante una época que debe ser de alegría.

sábado, 10 de diciembre de 2011

Indies Unlimited Award!

Wow, I have just received an Indies Unlimited Award.
So, imagine that I'm standing in front ot the podium -- podiuming -- at the Little Teapot Theatre in Castro, S.Fco.:
1 -I want to thank Stephen Hise for having extended the Award to this Panamanian writer.

A continent apart sets us together.
2 - Seven things about me:
I hate politically correct writing.
Being completely bilingual makes me less-than-perfect in both English and Spanish.
I write in English-and-Spanish-as-a-second-language.
Can I write an erotic scene without including a shrink edge? No!
Being a widower does not allow me more freedom to write.
I can sing kids to sleep -- some have further nightmares.

I'm looking for someone to trade bones with, especially in arms, hands and feet!

3- I have to pass this award on to:
http://www.facebook.com/kender  (Kender MacGowan)

Warning to rookie indie authors (Kindle Direct Publishing)

KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing Select)
I received a rather convoluted e-mail/announcement through my e-mail from Amazon.  It was directed to all of us authors who have our e-books with KDP -- Kindle Direct Publishing -- and are straining to get our works out there and selling.
The catch sounds wonderful:  If you give Amazon exclusive selling rights during 90 days in their book lending program you get a chance to share a fund of $500,000 set aside.
I live in a country so small that all rats can be smelled.  Therefore, I've developed the special sense to smell a rat.  And as in all contracts, there is a small-print or clause:
"When you include a Digital Book in KDP Select, you give us the exclusive right to sell and distribute your Digital Book in digital format while your book is in KDP Select. During this period of exclusivity, you cannot sell or distribute, or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, your Digital Book (or content that is reasonably likely to compete commercially with your Digital Book, diminish its value, or be confused with it), in digital format in any territory where you have rights."
Any contract that binds you to exclusivity can be almost equated to eternal -- especially if you turn out to be good.  We had an exclusivity - eternal clause binding the Panama Canal to the US.  It took us sweat, blood and tears over almost a century to get it changed.
In the KDP personal page all our books have a new slot to opt-in.  My humble opinion:  Do not touch it!
BTW, thanks to Linda Prather for providing the clause in Book Junkies.
One last thought:  No business hands out money for free!

lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2011

To publish or not to publish / ¿Publicar o no publicar?

It seems that traditional paper books are on the way out and e-books are replacing them.
With the former, the authors had to try to convince publishers to consider their books, which was not easy to do. Though,when it worked, a nice advance payment was a great positive reinforcement.  The latter has allowed the authors to by-pass traditional publishers and publish their works directly in places such as Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords.
I will not go into the advantage or disadvantages of the end product -- most readers complain about general quality of self-published authors' works.
Those who want to self-publish or decide to go through a middleman -- the small publishing companies -- find themselves needing to do most of the marketing.  This means that the author has to become a businessman in order to sell his wares successfully.
In Panama we have to practically "peddle" our books from bookstore to bookstore, unless one is successful enough to have them "approved" by the Ministry of Education, which will allow teachers to recommend them to their students.
Will all the above said, I now ask myself: Do I really want to write and publish for a profit?  I guess I would.  Though, can I do all the marketing by myself.  Hardly.  How to solve the connundrum?  I wish I knew.

ESPAÑOL
Todo parece indicar que los libros en su versión de papel están en vía de extinción, siendo reemplazados por los libros en-línea (e-books).  Con los primeros los autores tenían que convencer a las editoras tradicionales para que aceptaran publicar sus libros. Algunas pagaban un adelanto que resultaba ser un buen refuerzo positivo.  En la nueva modalidad los autores pueden obviar las editoras tradicionales y publicar sus manuscritos directamente en el formato moderno en lugares como Amazon Kindle, Nook, Smashwords y otros.
No voy a analizar las ventajas y desventajas de cada modalidad.  Aunque debo señalar que muchos lectores se quejan de la calidad de los libros publicados en-línea -- gramática, puntuación y demás.
Aquellos que desean auto-publicar con la ayuda de un mediador -- pequeñas editoriales -- se encuentran con tener que hacer casi todo el mercadeo.  Esto significa que el autor debe adoptar el papel de comerciante para vender su mercancía con buenos resultados.

En Panamá tenemos prácticamente que ir de librería en librería, a menos que se haya podido obtener la nota de "recomendación" del Ministerio de Educación, que permite que los educadores recomienden el libro a sus alumnos.
Ante todo lo anterior yo me pregunto: ¿Quiero escribir con fines lucrativos? Me parece que sería lo ideal.
Aunque no me veo haciendo de vendedor. ¿Cómo resolver este enredo?  Ojalá lo supiera.

sábado, 3 de diciembre de 2011

Discrimination behind fear / La discriminación encubre el miedo

I watched Anderson Cooper's 360° program on CNN. A day after the conmemoration of AIDS World Day he announced that a 13 years old student was not allowed to register in Milton Herschey School.  The "official" excuse: He carries the HIV virus and, therefore, is a health threat to the [school] community.
The American with Disabilities Act included HIV/AIDS among the ailments protected.  The school seems to be going completely against this act.
An interesting point:  Most people with HIV/AIDS in the US are under retroviral treatment, which reduces the transmission rate to close to 3%, according to Cooper during unprotected sex -- 97% chances of no transmision to a non-infected partner.
It seems to me that all the above just points to the ingrained fear many well-educated people, apparently including the physicians who were consulted by the school before reaching their now famous conclusion.  I am convinced that there is still much work to be done in our communities, at all levels, to erase the shadow of death by HIV.
To conclude, discrimination comes in many shades.  Even in a leading society such as the U.S.

ESPAÑOL
Anoche ví el programa de Anderson Cooper, 360°, en CNN.  Esto fue un día después del la conmemoración del Día Mundial del SIDA.  Anderson anunció que la Milton Herschey School había negado la matrícula de un joven de 13 años infectado por el VIH.  La excusa "oficial": Al portar el virus del VIH el muchacho se convierte en un peligro de salud [pública] comunitaria-escolar.
Hay una ley muy importante en los Estados Unidos -- American with Disabilities Act -- incluyó el VIH/SIDA entre las enfermedades protegidas.  La escuela dictaminó totalmente en contra de esta orden federal.
Para empeorar las cosas, la mayoría de la gente viviendo con el VIH/SIDA en los Estados Unidos está en tratamiento anti-retroviral, el cual disminuye la rata de transmisión a 3% durante sexo sin protección, de acuerdo con Cooper -- 97% posibilidades de no transmitir la infección.
Me parece que todo lo anterior ilustra el miedo quasi visceral entre muchas personas educadas, aparentemente incluyendo hasta los médicos que fueron consultados por la escuela antes de dar su veredicto.  Yo estoy convencido de que aún queda mucho que hacer en todos los niveles de nuestras comunidades para quitar el velo de muerte por el VIH.
En conclusión, la discriminación viene bajo muchas formas.

martes, 29 de noviembre de 2011

Club de Escritores -- Invitación

Hace días ingresé al recientemente creado Club de Escritores "Palabra sobre Palabra."
Puede convertirse en un interesante foro para intercambiar nuestras opiniones sobre muchísimos temas.
Es para escritores en lengua española -- y con todos los cambios vale la pena ponernos al día.
Conversando entre nosotros podremos cambiar el futuro.... ¿o verlo a través de mi bola de cristal?
Lo recomiendo.http://palabrasobrepalabra.es/profiles/message/listInbox?page=1

viernes, 25 de noviembre de 2011

Her Peaceful Sleep´by Alex Canton-Dutari

"Acabo de leer Her Peaceful Sleep. Me gustó su intensidad contenida, su emoción poderosa, aunque siempre a salvo de caer en baches lacrimógenos, así como su poder de concentración.

Felicidades.
Alberto Gualde"

Milkshake by Matt Hammond

Milkshake by Matt Hammond

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must say that I was enthralled while reading perfect Queen's English laced with a bit of Maori.
Apart from a frightingly believable if -no-so-easy-to -follow plot, initially, the author gibes the reader a good insight into the Maori culture. Thre thriller maintained a good crescendo with its proper final bang.
After reading this book I have included new Zealand in my to-visit list and Mr. Hammond among my to-read authors.

jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2011

Thanksgiving Thankfulness / Agradecimientos del Día de Acción de Gracias

For more than a century Panama has slowly adopted some US traditions, one of them being Halloween -- which is discouraged at the time -- the other being Thanksgiving.  Panamanian culturalists frown on both celebrations, as they are not native to this country.  Well, neither is Christmas, which is celebrated as "yankeely" as possible sans the snow.
Still, with the passing of the years in this earth I have finally accepted that I must thank "someone" or "something" for  being around.  I cannot say that I was popped out of my mother's womb for a purpose, as so many people tend to believe. 
But today I can be thankful for having had a life full of experiences -- tragical and joyous.  These are allowing me to engage in creative writing in such a way that I realize I hope to be around for some time to share bits of my life intermingled with all the fantasy my mind is able to concoct.
ESPAÑOL
My dad's carrying me//
Me carga mi papá
Durante más de un siglo Panamá ha ido adoptando algunas tradiciones gringas, una de ellas es Halloween y la otra es el Día de Acción de Gracias o Halloween.  Defensores de la cultura panameña condenan estas celebraciones por no ser originalmente del patio.  Tampoco lo es la Navidad, la cual es celebrada tan "gringamente" como en gringolandia, sin la nieve.
Con el paso de los años en este mundo he llegado a la conclusión de que no salí del útero de mi madre para cumplir un propósito especial. Pero puedo dar gracias por una vida llena de experiencias, tanto trágicas como alegres.  Éstas me están permitiendo escribir de tal forma que espero poder estar en esta tierra por algún tiempo para compartir escenas de mi vida mezcladas con la fantasía que a mi mente se le ocurra.

miércoles, 23 de noviembre de 2011

Halloween Jack and the Devil's Gate

Halloween Jack and the Devil's Gate by Michael Gallowglas

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Not being an American or British, I was only aware of some of the traditions of Halloween --trick or treat in the US and costume wearing in the UK. The carved pumpkin with a candle inside I had seen without knowing much about it.
The story of John of the Lantern was very well described, but the creation of Halloween Jack was surprising. I had never "experienced" the company of so many devils, goblins and other hellish creatures.
An important outcome of this reading was that the first night I actually had a nightmare including the book's characters.
A book that can make my subconscious work itself up is worthwhile reading.

martes, 22 de noviembre de 2011

Political Correctness? / ¿Políticamente correcto?

There was an inquiry in Book Junkies not long ago. My colleague wants to write a book set in the '60s and was not sure if she could use the words "fag" or "queer."  In other words, she was very concerned about not "insulting" or demeaning anyone through her written words. She wanted to be "politically correct."
In my opinion, this so-called "politically correctness" is not necessarily synonymous of the concept of equality so much in vogue today.  I have read many an article using the "correct" words but sending the most demeaning and insensitive messages possible.
Back to writing, my personal opinion is that when one is setting the story in a particular age, the dialogue should be exactly as it was used.  Not doing so will make the scene completely unbelievable.
Do you know that a white South African residing in the US is, technically, Afro-American?  I remember that this was commented to a white, South African Miss Universe.  Her reaction was politically correct but not pleased.
I believe it is the intention of the author  of the words and not the words themselves what turnes them either demeaning, or endearing.
I'll just try to write "correctly" and forget about the political bit.

ESPAÑOL
Una colega de Book Junkies manifestó que quería escribir un libro con un tema ubicado en los años 60 y no estaba muy segura si debía utilizarlas palabras "cueco" o "marica."  Estaba muy preocupada por no insultar o devaluar a los lectores homosexuales.  Quería mantenerse "políticamente correcta."
En mi opinión, la importación del concepto norteamericano de "corrección política" no es necesariamente sinónimo de "igualdad" tan en boga en nuestros días.  He leído muchos artículos con términos "políticamente correctos" pero totalmente insensibles y degradantes.
De vuelta a la palabra escrita, mi opinión personal es que si la trama se ubica en una época especial, el diálogo debe ceñirse a la misma.  No hacerlo reduciría la credibilidad.
¿Saben ustedes que una persona blanca, Sur Africana, residente en los Estados Unidos de América es, técnicamente, Afro-Americana?  Recuerdo que esto se le comentó a una Miss Universo de Sur Africa, blanca.  Su reacción fue políticamente correcta pero no cómoda ante el hecho.
Creo que la intención del autor de las palabras y no las palabras en sí es lo que las convierte en degradantes o agradables.
Yo trataré de escribir "correctamente," y olvidarme del aspecto político.

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2011

I Will Not Go The F**K To Sleep by Richard Crasta

I Will Not Go The F**K To Sleep by Richard Crasta

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must admit that I bought this book looking for a good laugh. I ended up with more than a few.
Nevertheless, as with most books dealing with socio-political-religious and so on issues ,I found that this is not a work that can be easily understood by the average reader. A pretty good knowledge of --in this case-- In......dian and US affairs and worldwide issues in common with other countries is needed to understand the humor.
I'm glad that I know what Mr. Crasta was griping about. And he does it very well. BTW, I got a pick out of the list of "praises" for his previous books --making fun of regular promotion tactics?

sábado, 12 de noviembre de 2011

Literary Quandries / Dudas literarias

Literary thought for the day:

Erotica: "Covering Michaelangelo's David's genitals with a transparent fig leaf."
Porn: "Taking off the transparent fig leaf and baring it all through the written word?"
 
ESPAÑOL
 
Curiosidad literaria del día:
Erótica: "Cubrir los genitales del David de Michaelangelo con una hora de parra transparente."
Pornografía: "Remover la hoja de parra transparente y describir lo descubierto a través de la palabra escrita."

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2011

A Southern Tale of Forgiveness by Brandi Lei Morrisson

A Southern Tale of Forgiveness by Brandi Lei Morrison

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must say that I am quite partial to stories of psychological and cultural inspiration. "A Southern Tale of Forgiveness" did not let me down.
The plight of a set of twins of different color living in the South during the first half of last century was a big enough mess. What Ms Morrison described throughout her novel was somewhat expected but poignant.
I was happily surprised to read the dialogues, which included French phrases. This reinforced the location of the story.
My favourite portion was that pertaining to Jolie's stay at L'Aide. I found it nothing less than superb.
The subject of forgiveness --after living with deep guilt-- was very well handled and completely credible.
I, usually, go by the rule that regional lingo should appear only in dialogues. Though in this particular case I do not know if some flexibility in the narrative is due to the author's inclusion of forms of speech due to regional upbringing, or were slips. An example: "..get off of…" and "walked passed…"
I look forward to Brandi's next book.

martes, 8 de noviembre de 2011

The Last Resort by Valerie Douglas

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I was impressed by how well Ms Douglas handled writing this novel completely in first person, which is not easy to do. It helped to almost participate in “her” quest.
The author has earned the right to be flexible with her punctuation – she has written enough books.
This is not my preferred genre, but it was comfortable to follow and, by the way, enabled me to learn something about new social trends – Goth, Wiccan…
Just a word for clarification: If the reference was to the country originating drugs, Colombia, not Columbia, is the correct one.
I am glad I read this book.

jueves, 3 de noviembre de 2011

Olga - A Daughter's Tale by Marie Campbell

Olga - A Daughter's Tale by Marie Campbell

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I have always believed that family history should be recorded, and Ms. Campbell has reported on her mother's life in a very unique fashion: Through recollection of letters and diaries.
As the story originates in England but develops in Jamaica with a return to England, I was enthralled by the sociological descriptions that made me smile. In my country, Panama, there is a large black population which follows, even today, the same dynamics described by the author -- racial perfection is determined by whiteness, straighter hair and not necessary by wealth or education.
I also appreciated that this book was not written following the current "political correctness" in writing or speech. This added an important flavor of sincerity.
As the diaries seemed to have been transcribed, I do not know if the work merits some re-editing for punctuation, especially misplaced commas and substitution by semi-colons. Curiously, my mind fixed them as I read on. The story was compelling.
This book should be included in readings for sociology students.

sábado, 29 de octubre de 2011

Dark Side of the Mirror by R.L. Austin

Dark Side of the Mirror by R.L. Austin


Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
This is a book that fits into a nice read while the rain falls outside. But it was not raining while I read it and I enjoyed it just the same.
I found the plot to be very original -- traveling through mirrors -- with some uncomplicated magic included.
I liked the way the author handled the main character's age and weaved a rather unusual but believable love story.
There is a trend to write by word count. I have the impression that it was not considered in this work, and it is so much better for it -- no unnecessary material was added.
As this is a series, I am looking forward to reading the next segment.

jueves, 27 de octubre de 2011

The Snake Pit by Donna L. Dillon

The Snake Pit by Donna L. Dillon

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Bullying has become a very up-to-date subject, and herein the merit of reading this book.
Nevertheless, I found some difficulties with all the characters telling their side of the story in the first person. Adults and teenagers express themselves pretty much at the same level of language. Maintaining believability is very difficult when writing a story in the first person.
My opinion is that this book would improve if some dialogue is included, which may compensate for what was described above.
As a former victim of high-school bullying, I have come to understand –not condone- it through Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.” Even among my bird breeding experience I have noticed that the weakest tend to be shunned and even killed by the flock. Though they do not have an advanced cerebral cortex as us humans do; that would make things different… or not?

martes, 25 de octubre de 2011

Trophy by Paul Martin Schofield

Trophy by Paul Martin Schofield


Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I approached this book with some caution. Anything that reminds me of Star Wars or Star Trek is not my favorite subject. Nevertheless, I am glad to have read the beginning of the Trophy Saga.
It was very easy to follow the story, which was not full of characters with strange names, and a glossary at the end was handy but not really necessary.
Saving the human race through travel in time was an interesting subject, as well as the hint of an Amazon society which did not seem to put men down.
I was impressed by the research Mr. Schofield must have done, especially in the area of astronomy.
I appreciated the two additional aspects: First, the hope that there may be a brighter outlook for our planet. Second, the story is written with close to, if not, perfect modern English.
This is a saga I expect to read as each part is published.

jueves, 20 de octubre de 2011

Ghost Stories and The Unexplained by Emily Hill

Ghost Stories and The Unexplained by Emily Hill

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I read these short stories with interest, as they did make me recall some incidents I could relate to, personally. Just to make sure, I read the whole book twice.
Curiously, two things caught my attention. First, the family biography, especially the mother and grandmother's apparent mental disarray. Second, why is it mentioned in most ghost stories that ghosts have to announce their presence with the sounds of dragging chains? This bit makes a particular story a bit suspect.
Nevertheless, I found the collection of stories entertaining and needing a touch of editing here and there.

domingo, 16 de octubre de 2011

In Search of Lucy by Lia Fairchild

In Search of Lucy by Lia Fairchild

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
There are books that are non-stoppers. Well, this is not one of them. It is one of those who you read at ease but looking forward to return to.
I was intrigued by how the author would balance the main character's ambivalence towards her sister, who physically needed her, and the physiological and psychological requirements to be a live organ donor. My opinion is that Ms. Fairchild worked it out well enough; though, in real life the dynamics of organ donation is not as flexible.
The parallel love story was enjoyable and believable, as well as the real support from friends.
I would set this novel as a psychological thriller, adding organ donations as tags.
A bit of re-editing to correct minor details such as "altar" rather than "alter," "giver her 'a' call" rather than "give her call" would be worthwhile. And there are a few acronyms that were not explained, such as ADHD…
I look forward to reading more by Ms. Fairchild.

jueves, 13 de octubre de 2011

The Thief of Todays and Tomorrows by Susan Wells Bennett

The Thief of Todays and Tomorrows by Susan Wells Bennett

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I am a fan of this author, and I cannot but remain in awe at her imagination and ability to insert the reader into her story by the use of narrative in first and third person.
In plain everyday English Ms Bennett conveys what it must be like to live with permanent guilt, regardless of its real cause, and is abl...e to put the soul at peace throughout time.
I was hit by the following words: "Sometimes, late at night, I have the strongest urge to crawl into someone else's bed just to feel their warmth against me." I understood what "The Thief of Todays and Tomorrows" was all about. At my age, this story made much sense.

martes, 11 de octubre de 2011

Of Beta Reads, Opinions and such / Opiniones y edición

No aspiring author should rush to publish.  Beta reads are important.  Of course, this is the ideal situation though it does not quite work out this way.
Most of the authors I have been meeting since I joined Book Junkies have already published, and many have received not-so-good reviews.  And, though it is true that many do have to improve, there is a small number that may be suffering from lack of literary knowledge by their critics.
For example, an author may be from a particular region in the US, where not only English is spoken in a particular way but, on top, sub-regionalistic parlance is common.  Someone not awareof this may say that the author has to improve his knowledge of English.
There is a general rule, and this I learned when I read "To Kill a Mockingbird," where the dialogues are very regional:  The narrator must narrate with the correct grammar, though the dialogues may be written as the character speaks.
The same applies to authors writing in any language-as-a-second language, though in this case there may be mix-ups between puctuation and phrase construction slipping from one language to the other.
My recommendation to authors is always to try to identify the location of the critic. Location may skew the appraisal, as well as previous knowledge of the particular characeristics of the story.

ESPAÑOL
Me parece que todos los autores noveles deben acostumbrarse a que se les revisen sus manuscritos.  Especialmente ahora que se están publicando en formato de e-libros, que pueden ser modificados post-publicación.
Gracias a esta nueva modalidad están apareciendo muchos críticos, no tanto sobre estilo pero sí sobre vocabulario. Aunque debo admitir que está ocurriendo más entre Anglo parlantes.  Se está criticando mucho el uso de regionalismos en los diálogos, en algunas instancias sugiriendo que el autor no conoce su idiioma, cuando es el crítico el que no lo conoce.
La regla general es que la narración debe utilizar la gramática correcta.  Es en los diálogos donde se permite la libertad de utilizar los regionalismos.   Si ponemos a un personaje panameño de 15 años a hablar como un español de la misma edad, y la escena se desarrolla en Panamá, tendríamos un resultado poco convincente.
Mi recomendación es que los autores traten de ubicar el origen geográfico de sus críticos. En muchas ocasiones las críticas negativas se dan por falta de conocimiento de los mismos.

domingo, 9 de octubre de 2011

Stephen Hise's thoughts about myself

Author's Interview by Stephen Hise:
I was impressed by how Stephen was able to transform a written interview into a realistic portrait of myself as a person who happens to be a full-time writer today.

Author Alex Canton-Dutari (Alejandro Cantón-Dutari) was born in the Republic of Panama in 1944, where he still resides. He holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology and worked in the field of clinical sexology from 1967 to 2006. Though retired from clinical practice, his grandson, Dieguito insists he is not retired because, “Abuelito, you write books.”

Alex is a widower with three boys and four grandchildren. He describes himself as a humanitarian by belief and actions, and stays interested in world affairs.
He is a prolific indie author who has published short novels, a textbook on sex therapy, two self-help books on sexual orientation and many scientific articles. He is not the kind of man who’ll be nervous or put off by the fact that this interview may be read by upwards of a dozen people.
Alex considers his genre of writing to be non-fiction fiction. He explains: “All my stories have been inspired by scenes I have perceived or lived throughout my life. ” He says he writes from the heart, letting the words flow naturally, rather than allowing word-count to drive his writing schedule. I can relate to this. It’s just that my heart is evidently a real slacker compared to Alex’s.
Alex considers himself bilingual (English/Spanish), which he says, “Entails not being perfect in either language.” He feels his writing produces a distinctive “accent” and some difficulties due to the differences in punctuation and grammar. He enjoys playing with time and tenses, and considers himself flexible in doing so, pointing to the influence of Vargas Llosa.
Alex is a mentor by nature. He is a mainstay in the Facebook group Book Junkies, and de facto leader of Book Junkie Reviews. Alex tries to read at least one indie author a week, offering help to those he feels will benefit from his guidance. He says he is a fan of indie authors Jim DeFilippi, Kender MacGowan, Susan Wells Bennett, Robert DeBurgh, Vickie Johnstone, and Sean Sweeney.
In the way of advice to aspiring authors, Alex says, “It is never too late to study English…if readers perceive and comment that grammar and punctuation is lacking, the responsible writer should be humble enough to go back to basics.”
He says authors should never rush to publish. Though Alex has difficulties in finding beta readers with the right qualifications for writing in English as a second language, he believes good beta readers can make a lot of difference, and that publishing without using beta readers is a great risk.
Please read the report.http://www.indiesunlimited.com/category/interviews/

sábado, 8 de octubre de 2011

Scenes for my stories / Escenas para mis escritos

I'm always finding scenes that may be incorporated into my stories.  I may re-create them as fiction, ending with a genre that may be called . Of course, there are many ways of recording them so they are not forgotten.
ESPAÑOL
video
Todas mis novellas tienen alguna base en mi vida, lo cual me hace captarlas y guardarlas para seguir escribiendo lo que yo denomino .

viernes, 7 de octubre de 2011

Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square by Lisa Zhang Wharton

Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square by Lisa Zhang Wharton

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I have always been attracted by Chinese culture, and have been to China several times, including Tiananmen Square after the bloodshed described in this book.
The story depicted a very modern look into what seems to be everyday struggles of the student and working population, with great emphasis on perceiving migrating to the US as the solution to all problems.
But I was more concerned about how this novel was difficult to read. Once I understood that it was written in English-as-a-second-language I became more flexible and just imagined that I was in China listening to the Chinese narrator speak in English. This worked for me. I am not sure most English-speaking readers will adjust the same way.
I would recommend serious editing. The Tiananmen Square massacre deserves to be told and understood faultlessly.

martes, 20 de septiembre de 2011

Sweat, Glamour and Light Sins

I think that Sue Palmer, from Book Junkies, was able to capture the whole esence of my new novella:
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read!, September 20, 2011

By Sue P - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Sweat, Glamour and Light Sins ("Abuelo") (Kindle Edition)
"This is a very different novella to anything i have ever read.It is excellently written and very well put together.
Set within a gym in California this story is an insight of life seen through the eyes of a new member, Abuelo `the grandfather', who, along with the exuberant Rhonda, is the main character and narrator.
The novella is light hearted, entertaining and often hilarious with a touch of sexual content which is fitting to the storyline. However , as the plot and characters unfold there is also grit, determination , grief and even nutrition lessons to be found, along with fashion designing, dance, a beauty pageant and much more! This is a short story packed with goodies!
Having read other works from this author i have come to expect hidden messages within his books and even though this novella was more light hearted than his previous books , they were there for the reader to find!
My one criticism is that i sincerely hope this will not be the last we see of these characters as i personally felt we have unfinished business with them. A follow up is required please! "

domingo, 28 de agosto de 2011

Recorded history vs Urban Leyends / Historias reales vs. Leyendas Urbanas

During Panama´s International Book Fair, which was held between August 24-28, many people were intrigued by my novel "Remember...in your dreams?" 
The main curiosity centered around why did I try to remember anecdotes from a century ago leading up to recent events that occurred in my family and in my country. 
The answer was simple.  I believe that what is not recorded in writing turns into "urban leyends" which may be misinterpreted or apostatised as they grow older. 
Some of the remembrances were painful; some were cheerful.  But they are all true.

Jóvenes del Círculo de Lectura de Pananmá luego de aduirir un libro para comparatir.

And I hope that every family has a member interested in recording history. 

ESPAÑOL
Durante la reciente Feria Internacional del Libro de Panamá muchas personas me hicieron preguntas sobre la temática histórica de "¿Recuerdas... en tus sueños?"  En este libro le narro a mis nietos datos históricos tanto de nuestra familia como de Panamá.
Las preguntas giraban alrededor de "¿por qué escribir crónicas de la familia?"
La respuesta es simple.  Estoy convencido de que lo que no se escribe se convierte en "leyendas urbanas," que se pueden malinterpretar o convertirse en ápócrifos a medida que pasa el tiempo.
Algunos de los recuerdos fueron dolorosos; otros fueron divertidos.  Pero todos son ciertos.
Espero que cada familia tenga un miembro interesado en recopilar por escrito crónicas de la misma.

martes, 5 de julio de 2011

Pills or no pills? / Medicar o no medicar?

During almost forty years of clinical practice as a clinical psychologist I heard the argument about medications vs. psychotherapy in the treatment of depression.
It is not difficult to follow either stance if you have not gone through the ailment.
In my case, I have confirmed what I always believed:  Depression skews your thinking process, interfering with your critical judgement. 
Why is this?  Clinical depression is caused by faulty brain recapture of Serotinine.  And the only way to correct the situation is by taking selective regulators of the recapture of Serotonine. Though there are some new pathways being discovered. After a few weeks of treatment you will be able to analyse whatever may have been making things worse due to unresolved conflicts of unhealthy living habits.
Yes, I understand that no one likes taking drugs to feel better.  Nevertheless, living under depression impairs the real purpose of, in fact, living.
Español
Durante casi cuarenta años de práctica clínica como psicólogo clínico particípé en las discusiones sobre la eficacia de psicoterapia o medicamentos en el tratamiento de la depresión.
No es difícil estar en cualquier bando cuando el conocimiento es simplemente teórico.
En mi caso he confirmado lo que siempre creí:  La depresión altera el proceso de pensamiento, interfiriendo con el juicio crítico.
¿Por qué?  La depresión clínica es causada por la recaptura inadecuada de la serotonina en el cerebro.  Y la única manera de corregirla es incluyendo reguladores selectivos de la recaptura de la serotonina, aunque se han descubierto nuevas irregularidades.  Luego de un par de semanas de tratamiento el paciente ´podrá analizar los problemas no resueltos y hábitos de vida no saludables que tal vez agravaron la depresión.
Sí, entiendo que a nadie le agrada tomar drogas para sentirse mejor.  Empero, vivir bajo una depresión erradica el propósito real de vivir, que no es más que eso: vivir.

sábado, 21 de mayo de 2011

"Free!" / "Libre"

Free!

By Alex Canton-Dutari (Flash non-fiction story)
The little girl helped grandpa reach the tree.
He was sure that it would be disguised forever.
In the midst of laughter his pot belly leapt to freedom.
ESPAÑOL
¡Libre!  (Mini cuento)
La niña ayudó al abuelo para alcanzar el árbol.
Estaba seguro de disimularla por siempre.
En el fragor de la risa su barriga se liberó.


viernes, 20 de mayo de 2011

Definition of Politically Correct / Definición de "Lo Políticamente Correcto"

"Definition of Politically Correct
The following is the 2007 winning entry from an annual contest at
Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.
This year's term was Political Correctness.
The winner wrote,
"Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream
media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
to pick up a turd by the clean end."  (Posted in Facebook by a friend)
ESPAÑOL
Definición de “Políticamente correcto”
Texas A&M University convocó un concurso para escoger la mejor definición de un tema contemporáneo.
La definición siguiente fue la ganadora:
“Lo Políticamente Correcto” es una doctrina amparada por una minoría ilógica y delirante, agresivamente promovida por medios inescrupulosos que avalan la propuesta que es totalmente posible levantar recoger caca por su lado limpio.” (Publicado por un amigo en Facebook)

jueves, 19 de mayo de 2011

"Her Peaceful Sleep" / Reviews

Holly cow!.. though I'd go for another word..."Her Peaceful Sleep" is getting reviews as a pendulum...from great to crap. That means from two stars to five stars!
The worst bit is that I can't read it any longer...too painful... even for changing a few things.
And, it ain't mine any longer!
Death is a mess to write about and to read, also!
What a lesson for the day...at least for me.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/bookjunkiereviews

lunes, 16 de mayo de 2011

How Not To Raise Your Children / Cómo No Criar Sus Hijos

A few days ago a group of former co-workers -- now all retired clinical psychologists -- got together for a few hours of reminiscing about...
Most of them were women, some still married, others divorced.  Throw in two guys -- one a widower and other on a close to 50 years marriage. 
The almost unisone complaint: "Our kids don't have time for us!"
The general opinion:  "We did everything for them... cooking, clothing, errands, birthday parties....."
In the end, we all came to the conclusion that we must write a book.  It's title: "How Not To Raise Your Children"
I did come out in the children`s defense:  "We did so much that they perceive us as invincible...always able to stand on our on." 
ESPAÑOL
Hace unos cuantos días nos reunimos varios compañeros y compañeras de trabajo de la CSS.  Ahora todos psicólogos clínicos jubilados.
Al conversar sobre la familia la queja casi que general fue: "Nuestros hijos no nos atienden..."
Los detalles generales: "Les dimos de todo... cocinamos, vestimos, hicimos mandados, cumpleaños....."
Mi defensa de los hijos: "Hicimos tanto que nos perciben como invencibles..."
Al final, decidimos escribir un libro entre todos.  Tìtulo: "Còmo no criar los hijos."


domingo, 15 de mayo de 2011

viernes, 13 de mayo de 2011

The Flight / El Vuelo

The Flight (flash non-fiction fiction)
By Alex Canton-Dutari
I threw it in the air, very sure of its return.
When I held out my hand to catch the boomerang, sixty years has passed.
ESPAÑOL
El Vuelo (mini-cuento)
Lo lancé al aire, seguro de su retorno.
Cuando estiré mi mano para apañar el bumerang,  sesenta años habían pasado.

martes, 10 de mayo de 2011

"Flying High With Baby"

This review was published in Crescent Suns e-Books
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Flying High With Baby
I've read some unusual books in my life. from serious science fiction to humorous science fiction to fantasy of every type imaginable to mystery, drama, romance, horror and everything in between and wrapped around sideways, underneath, and coming out my ears, nose and - ah - ok, we'll stop there. Perhaps the most unusual book I've read in a long time is Remember...In Your Dreams, by Alex Canton-Dutari, aka, Alejandro Canton, another Smashwords indie author.

Remember...In Your Dreams is an off-beat and intriguing book of short stories written as dialogue from a grandfather to his grandchild, who is still a very young infant. What's unusual and off-beat aboout this book is that the grandfather visits this baby through the vehicle of out-of-body-experiences and takes this grandchild on exciting and interesting visits, sometimes even into the past to view scenes long lost and all-but-forgotten, by everyone other than this caring grandfather, who yearns to make this infant aware of the rich heritage awaiting his grandson.

Whether you believe in astral projection, as out-of-body-experiences are also known, or hold one of many beliefs concerning this spiritual mode of traveling, Remember...In Your Dreams is an interesting read that will hold your attention and move your mind along page-by-page until you reach the end of these stories. And the way in which this caring grandfather speaks to his grandson, imparting the information and wisdom that is transferred from one generation to another, is one to be emulated by every parent or grandparent or anyone else who has charge over the care of a child.

In Remember...In Your Dreams, by Alex Canton-Dutari, you will see amazing things and hear even more amazing stories. Do yourself a favor and download this eBook to your eReader pronto. But don't attempt the astral projection without first consulting an experienced guide or at least a detailed guidebook on such.

sábado, 30 de abril de 2011

New "job" / ¿Trabajo nuevo?

A month may have passed since I was invited to join "Book Junkies," a site where writers and/or authors exchange opinions about what they like most: the written word.
Sue Palmer, an intrepid UK reader, also created a page entitled "Book Junkie Reviews."  Guess what? This guy was swept into the brand new field of "review writing." 
What is so unique about BJR reviews?  Not much, and very much.  After reading many 5 star reviews in Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and others we observed that most just described the plot and "Oh, how nice!"
We decided to review for the author's growing benefit, not for promotion.  In fact, some of our reviews are not good for promotion but, one in particular, prompted the author to put a stop on e-sales and did a whole re-editing process.  The new version, with a new title, is worth reading..
We developed some guideliness:
- No plot descriptions { NO SPOILERS}

- No star rankings
- Always write your name as reviewer
Ask yourself:
- Why do I like/dislike the story?
- What can I say to the writer to improve.. if needed?
If you like to read and/or write, join us at Book Junkies http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_115699975172203

viernes, 8 de abril de 2011

U.S. Government Shut-Down? /Colapsa USA económicamente?

I just watched on CNN all that could happen if the U.S. government shuts down.  Armed Forces employees will not get paid, public facilities such as libraries, National parks, museums... will close for lack or payment to their staff.   Nevertheless, "necessary" services will continue: Obama will still work, War will go on, Security....   I was wondering what would happen in one of our Latin American countries if something like this would happen.  I don't think that the people would just grin and bear it!!
I, definitely, never tire of watching how all cultures differ.
ESPAÑOL
He visto en CNN una exposición sobre todo lo que puede ocurrir si el gobierno de U.S.A. colapsa económicamente.  Los soldados no recibirán salarios, asuntos públicos como las bibliotecas, parques municipales, museos... cerrarían porque sus empleados no recibirían paga. Empero, servicios "necesarios" continuarán: Obama seguirá trabajando, la Guerra continuará, la Seguridad...  Me pregunto qué pasaría si algo similar ocurriese en alguno de nuestros países Latinoamericanos.  No creo que el pueblo se lo aguantaría!
Nunca me canso de ver cómo se manejan las diferencias culturales.

jueves, 17 de marzo de 2011

Japan's shadowy information / Noticias a media tinta del Japón

I can't help but watch the news concerning the recent huge earthquake and following tsunami in Japan... Now add the danger of a nuclear meltdown.
Two questions come to my mind, the first not original but heard on CNN voiced by an expert on nuclear reactors.   Why has the World Nuclear Energy Comission not been directly involved in the salvage process?
Next, why has the Japanese government posted apparent watered - down information about the magnitude of the nuclear danger.
It is a dire strait when politics becomes more important than human lives.
Español
No me he podido despegar de las noticias sobre la catástrofe en Japón.  Ahora añadamos el peligro de un descalabro nuclear.
Dos preguntas me vienen a la mente.  La primera no es original ya que la escuché en CNN a un experto de USA.  ¿Por qué la Comisión de Energía Nuclear no está presente en la solución del peligro?
La siguiente: ¡Por qué el gobierno japonés parece estar subestimando la situación de peligro de radiación nuclear?
Cuando la política resulta más importante que la vida humana algo no está bien.