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.