domingo, 30 de diciembre de 2012

On being a guest....on Christmas / Ser huésped...en Navidad

Throughout my working years as a clinical psychologist I had many patients who would become depressed during the Christmas Season.  Mind you, not necessarily Chanukah.  Though both festivities are celebrated as family events.
I have done quite a bit of research on widowers and how they fare during these holidays.  I found out that most of those who had remarried felt that they had a family of their own, even if it was interpreted as a family of two.
Those who had not  -- and I include myself - had the impression that being alone and usually a guest in each offspring's family was the trend. 
What I have done this year was to schedule my time with each family.  At midnight I went to a friend's family, where being a guest was just that. 
I must say that I miss the years of having an extended family which would gather all in one place with the patriarch and matriarch holding everything together.
Well, those were other times. 

ESPAÑOL

Durante todos mis años ejerciendo como psicólogo clínico tuve muchos pacientes que se deprimían durante la Navidad.  No necesariamente durante Hanukah... A pesar de que ambas festividades son consideradas de tipo familiar.
He hecho algo de investigación sobre los viudos y su adaptación a estas fiestas.  Encontré que la mayoría de los que se han vuelto a casar sienten que tienen una familia -- aunque sea de dos.  Los que no tienen la impresión de estar solos y que son generalmente huéspedes en la familia de cada hijo.
Lo que hice este año fue administrar mi tiempo con cada familia y, a la medianoche, me fui a casa de unos amigos, donde ser huésped era simplemente eso.
Quiero resaltar que añoro los días en que había una familia extendida en la cual los patriarcas parecían mantener los hilos bien unidos.
Bueno, eso fue en épocas pasadas.

domingo, 16 de diciembre de 2012

Why? / ¿Por qué?

I do not understand the contradictions residents in the United States of America are living through.  It is supposed to be the best democracy in the world.  Its Constitution has been the inspiration of many in other countries.  Nevertheless, adhering to the Carta Magna has taken their constituents to stand behind unmovable positions, allowing for some of the most despicable behaviors to take place.
Laws concerning who is entitled to possess weapons and the protection of the common citizen from people with severe mental illness, or neurological conditions that may bring about uncontrollable rage have not been created in earnest. 
It is not an easy subject to deal with.  But the slaughter of children usually brings people to a halt.  Though not always.
All I can say is that I fear travelling to the U.S.  It is definitely not a safe country...
By the way, this is an issue that many countries have to deal with, especially countries that tend to copy patterns from our northerly neighbors.

ESPAÑOL
No entiendo las contradicciones que están viviendo los residentes de los Estados Unidos de América.  Se supone que es la más desarrollada democracia del mundo.  Su Constitución ha sido modelo para las mismas en otros países.  Empero, la adhesión a la Carta Magna ha llevado a muchos ciudadanos a atrincherarse en agujeros inamovibles, permitiendo que comportamientos abominables tengan lugar.
Las leyes concernientes a quiénes pueden poseer armas y la protección del ciudadano común ante personas con enfermedades mentales severas, o condiciones neurolóticas que puedan acarrear furia incontenible no han sido creadas. 
Es un tema difícil, pero el asesinato de niños generalmente hace que las personas hagan un alto.  Aunque no siempre.  Todo lo que puedo decir es que temo viajar a los Estados Unidos de América.  Ya no es un país seguro.
De paso, ésts es asunto difícil en muchos países, especialmente en aquellos que tienden a copiar patrones de comportamiento de nuestros vecinos del norte del continente americano.

martes, 27 de noviembre de 2012

Interview with Robert Ruisi -- "Dancing into the Fog"

Dancing into the Fog by Robert L. Ruisi
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I would suggest beginning the book with About the Author. This would make the reader more sympathetic to some differences in ordinary writing such as using several verb tenses in a paragraph, the lack of or interesting flexibility in punctuation.
Another suggestion would be to divide this work in Book One, written by Ruisi, and Book Two, written by the medical specialists. The former tells a poignant story during the prodromal stage of the illness. The latter is a detailed medical exposition about Alzheimer's disease and findings about its diagnosis, prognosis and still underdeveloped treatment. Both sections are written in very different styles and languages -- one understood by most, the other understood by those familiar with medical lore.
From personal experience, I think that this is a book worthwhile reading especially if the reader has a family history of Alzheimer's disease.

Interview with Robert Ruisi
1. When did you start writing, professionally?
Funny about that it happened shortly after I became ill about 5 years about and have not stopped since. 
2. What did you learn about Alzheimer's through writing this story?
Although for myself I make a great deal of fun out of the illness but what I did learn through the story is 30% of the people diagnosed for Alzheimer's disease DO NOT have it but have something else. I also learned the scary side of the disease and have at the end of the book a image of the brain before and after. It is alarming to say the least. 
3. I have written your short stories. Have you ever attempted a full-length novel?
Oh yes I write short stories all the time. I have written over 60 short stories for children that will be released a few at a time over the next two years. Because I awake until a story is finished I did write one that is rather long 82,000 words over a 4+ day stretch and no I do think anyone could make sense of it! lol Seriously, none of my normal editors are willing to go through it and it is adult orientated which is something I do not normally write about so...



http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-into-the-Fog-ebook/dp/B00A9WGPLM/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354022947&sr=1-2&keywords=into+the+fog

miércoles, 14 de noviembre de 2012

Blog Tour with Lucy Pireel

Lucy Pireel invited me to  participate in the Next Big Thing blog hop! I had never written anything about me in order to participate in a blog tour.  Perhaps that is why it is called a blog hop! 
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be self-published, though I have had experience with agency publishing.  It was a great agency in Spain, with disastrous results for me -- financially.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I have always written novellas, which are short --  never more than 24k words.  I write an only draft, which I later try to edit.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
One of my novellas --  Little Macho -- was compared to Broke Back Mountain.  My genre tends to be psychological fiction.  My most recent one, in English, is "Sweat, Glamour and Light Sins," which describes some of the inner world of most formal gyms in the American Continent. 
At the moment I am participating in NaNoWriting Month and I am confident that I shall be able to finish my first full-length novel, which carries an interesting title, "It's the water."
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I am always inspired by real life, either mine or what I see happening around me.  Of course, I will never replicate events but modify them according to my whims.  This is part of the liberty that makes writing pleasurable, I think.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
There is always some social criticism.  I believe that the writter should contribute to expose either social injustices or highlight was may be improved.

lunes, 12 de noviembre de 2012

Interview with Mitt Ray

Jack The Homework Eater by Mitt Ray

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Though this story seems directed more at teenagers than adults I found it quite enjoyable, especially as it was well written.
Some situations may have not been quite believabl...e from my adult stance, though my child inner being accepted the presence of several dozen children cramming into Alex’ room.
The final lesson learned was not expected by me, and I was quite pleased by it.
I will definitely read more stories by Mitt Ray.
BTW, I was taken by “Tea being eaten,” an expression I would have frowned upon had a close British friend not explained to me that “tea time” is more than just tea but includes other edibles.

INTERVIEW

- Have you attempted writing a full novel?
Yes I have. I finished my first novel last year. It was a book that follows the life of a fox hound, his pack of hounds, their masters and the foxes that live in the forest. I haven’t published it or sent it to any agents or publishers yet. I might do so in the near future.
I finished my second one recently. This is definitely complete and I am trying to find an agent for it. Hopefully I will find one.
- What do you like most about being a creative writer?
When I start imagining something and I type it or write it down, it brings a smile upon my face. The only thing that can beat that is when someone appreciates my work. These are the two best things about being a creative writer.
Who is your favourite?
My favourite author is Jack London. I adore Jack London’s writing style. His book ‘White Fang’ is my favourite book. I also like ‘The Call of the Wild.’
http://www.amazon.com/Jack-The-Homework-Eater-ebook/dp/B006PMYSBO/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352731750&sr=1-3&keywords=mitt+ray

lunes, 10 de septiembre de 2012

"La Tribu de los Sueños" de Rosamaría Tapia C.

La Tribu de los Sueños de Rosamaría Tapia C.
Comentario de Alex Cantón-Dutari
Lo que más me impresionó fue la capacidad de Rosamaría para escribir una novela utilizando siempre la prosa poética, la cual nos lleva hasta la Tribu del Arco Iris.
La trama me pareció una combinación de CSI y leyendas de tribus perdidas intentando establecerse en un lugar geográfico que nos pudiera ser conocido.  En este sentido, la inclusión de tipis y un personaje ataviado con capa de piel bisonte me recordó el peregrinaje de nuestros indígenas desde el hemisferio norte hasta nuestras selvas tropicales.
Fue interesante aprender sobre los onironautas y sus sueños lúcidos.
Pero, en el fondo, la novela es un grito de protección para nuestra Madre Tierra, en la cual casi todos pertenecemos a la Tribu del Penacho Real.
Ahd ¿mi personaje favorito?  Sin duda Istú, quien representa toda la especie animal que debemos proteger.

viernes, 7 de septiembre de 2012

"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló" en Panorama de las Américas

"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló"-- opinión de Rose Marie Tapia

"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló"
Opinión de Rose Marie Tapia

Me encantó tu novela: La mujer que nunca se maquilló, ya te dije que la trama atrapa al lector desde el inicio. Por otra parte, es una novela original, su argumento y el manejo de los personajes son apropiados. El suspenso también, pero lo más notable es el final. Felicitaciones Alex.


De venta en: Exedra Books, Librería Cultural Panameña -- próximamente Riba/Smith.


jueves, 6 de septiembre de 2012

"Los Misterios del Olvido" de Rose Marie Tapia

Los Misterios del Olvido de Rose Marie Tapia
Opinión de Alex Canton-Dutari

"She did it again," diría un lector que ha seguido toda la carrera literaria de Rose Marie Tapia.  En efecto, nuevamente lo logró.  Y me hizo recordar que hay maneras de vivir la vida con más libertad y tranquilidad, especialmente luego de haber pasado por momentos muy difíciles.
Algo que siempre me ha llamado la atención de Rose Marie es su buen manejo de la patología que describe -- cuando se refiere a temas de salud.  De hecho, fue refrescante encontrarme con el diagnóstico de amnesia autobiográfica, que es un tipo de amnesia muy específico.
El estilo narrativo de la autora es sencillo, carente de sofisticación artificialmente elaborada.  Aunque describe realidades que nos enfrentan a la pasión por la vida.
De paso, cuando terminé de leer esta novela quedé con ganas de viajar a la India y entrenarme en el estilo de vida ayurvédica.
http://www.amazon.com/Misterios-olvido-Spanish-Edition-ebook/dp/B008AD8T7U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1346979118&sr=1-1&keywords=los+misterios+del+olvido

miércoles, 5 de septiembre de 2012

"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló" y "¿Recuerdas...en tus sueños? en Librería Cultural Panameña


"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló" -- mi última novella -- y 
"¿Recuerdas... en tus sueños?" se pueden adquirir, también, en la Librería Cultural Panameña.

http://www.libreriacultural.com/

jueves, 30 de agosto de 2012

Comentario sobre "La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló"

"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló" por Alex Cantón-Dutari
Comentario de Kathryn Ann Novich
"En la nueva novela de Alex Cantón-Dutari los eslabones de la sangre compartida no se rompen a pesar de ser desconocidos. Al contrario, lo que no se habla y se guarda en el alma crece hasta convertirse en un vínculo emocional con vida propia, un receptor espiritual capaz de trascender los límites del tiempo y del espacio. Al conocer a los personajes principales, se nos presenta un misterio que poco a poco va aclarándose. Mientras leemos nos adentramos en la cultura cotidiana de la finca con su dueño-diós benévolo, anhelado pero siempre inaccesible. A la vez vislumbramos la desesperación del alma humana por conocer sus raices de las que nace el poder espiritual de mantenerlas más alla de la esta dimensión. Esta novela capta al lector desde el primer párrafo, y lo deja queriendo otro capítulo más. Seguramente es una obra que enriquece el conocimiento de quien lo lea y que expande los horizontes de la imaginación".







martes, 28 de agosto de 2012

Maritza Magda Araúz: "Cuento de Cuentos"

Tuve el gran placer de conocer a mi colega en las letras creativas Maritza Magda Araúz.  El contexto de la Feria Internacional del Libro 2012 nos reunió.
Acabo de leer su "novellette" "Cuento de Cuentos".
La narración ubica al lector a acompañar a la autora en un viaje lleno de recuerdos a David, Chiriquí. Para los que hemos hecho el recorrido en autobús podemos recordar la actitud que hay que asumir para la extensión en el tiempo de semejante trecho.
Ésta misma extensión en el tiempo es utilizada por Maritza para llevarnos a distintos centros de recuerdo de su vida, lo cual hace con una prosa y un diálogo sencillo.
El contenido nos presenta algo de magia que, como tal, termina sorprendiendo al lector.
¿Lo principal de la pequeña novela?  Pues, "lo que no se documenta de la familia se pierde", y ella está preservando los recuerdos para el futuro.

miércoles, 22 de agosto de 2012

Review of Kiwi in Cat City by Vickie Johnstone

Kiwi in Cat City by Vickie Johnstone

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
After I read this interesting story I wondered if it was a "children's book" or a book for adults with the capacity to follow a child's fantasy in their mind.
I decided that the plot was adult intended, though the adaptation to the cat species was a believable fantasy. After all, we have seen enough cats of all ages dressed in many garbs… of course, less than dogs. Cats are more dignified.
I tried reading some passages out loud as if telling a story to a child. It worked!
Yes, I want to read the sequel of this well-written and well edited book.
N.B.: I must add that I have read the following books of the Kiwi Series, and I wish I were a child to have someone read them to me!

INTERVIEW

1- When did you start to write, formally?
Hi, I started writing when I was young, probably in junior school. I remember that our class was reading Miss Pepperpot’s adventures and our homework was to write a similar story. I wrote one starring my classmates, and the teacher read it out and the kids liked it. That’s my first memory of writing something. I always wrote stuff, especially poetry, although it wasn’t autobiographical. The first book I actually finished was Kiwi in Cat City, so I think of that as my first real book. I wrote it in 2002, but I didn’t publish it until 2011, when I discovered KDP and Smashwords. Since then, I’ve been writing in earnest and really enjoying it. Last year I realised it’s what I really want to do.
2- Would the Kiwi Series be considered children's books?
Yes, I hope so! I wrote them for younger readers aged 10 up. I was reading from the age of three and just hoovered up books as a kid. I was reading books that were ‘too old’ for me, so I guess even younger kids may enjoy Kiwi. Around that age, I found books magical. I loved stories into which I could escape, where the real world didn’t exist. These worlds were more colourful, bigger, full of adventure and kids relied on themselves. I also loved animals. Worlds with magic and talking animals were my favourites. I loved them. Most of my Kiwi reviewers have been adults though, so I guess Kiwi is crossing over the age categories. And we’re all big kids really!
3- Do you have other artistic talents?
I wish! If only I could play anything or sing – my cousin and uncle are great singers. But, alas, I would only scare off the neighbourhood cats... or attract them, maybe. I used to be good at painting and drawing, but it’s a hobby that I stopped doing in my 20s. I’m not sure if I could still do it! Maybe I’d be doing matchstick cats and dogs! I like dancing, although it’s more for the pure freedom and fun of it than anything artistic! I probably resemble a living Pollock painting. I enjoy cooking. I like mixing and matching things, and making up combinations. My nan was a brilliant cook. To this day, I’ve never tasted pastry better than hers! Now my mouth is watering! And I love looking at art – paintings, sculpture, drawings. I love galleries.






miércoles, 15 de agosto de 2012

Review of With Proud Humility by Jess Mountifield

With Proud Humility by Jess Mountifield

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Guess what warmed my heart: I encountered my notion of well-spoken English. This book was written almost formally. No can't,  don't et al, except in counted instances.
As to the content, this is not the "cliché" pirate story, though it did produce some flashbacks of Pirates of the Caribbean, sans the characters -- Errol Flynn instead -- but keeping the islands.
I have never known much about poker. Not only did I learn about the psychological intricacies of the players but also picked up information about the use of swords -- falchion, cutlass, scimitars.
Ms Mountifield was able to teach me about writing in UK English while telling a perky love story among two hot-headed yet delightfully conniving British subjects sans the "required" sex scene.
I hope there is more in the near future.
N.B.:  Yes, there is another one....

INTERVIEW
1- When did you start writing, creatively, formally?

Officially I started writing stories just over 5 years ago. I wrote bits and pieces as a child but it wasn't until a good friend asked me why I had stopped and I realised I did not have a good answer for him that I picked it back up and the idea for this book was born.
2- Did you have to research about poker?
I had to research a little bit, mostly just to get my facts straight, make sure poker had been invented then, and double check the order of hand ranks. I also talked a lot to other poker players and played it a fair bit myself to get a feel for how it was done. I think it helped that I grew up playing card games with my Grandma, father and siblings so I had a solid foundation for that kind of thing.
3- How did you become familiar with the Caribbean?
This was almost pure research. I'd never actually been but I watched a few well researched films on the subject as well as studying the Caribbean from both the piratical side and the side of English colonists. On top of that it was surprising what I managed to pick up from reading other books written in the same time period. Even one of Jane Austin's novels mentions the Caribbean and gives an insight to the general social standing there etc. To make sure I had got most of it right I also had someone proof the book who'd both lived in the Caribbean and had a history degree.
http://www.amazon.com/With-Proud-Humility-ebook/dp/B004EYUEKY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344696462&sr=1-1&keywords=with+proud+humility

lunes, 13 de agosto de 2012

Review of The Trophy Saga by Paul M. Schofield


Trophy: Rescue (The Trophy Saga) by Paul M. Schofield


Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
I am always a bit afraid when reading a sequel, mainly because of the fear of not remembering the original work. In this case it came back strongly as the ...characters in the sequel continued developing a story that was definitely well stored in my mind.
The creation of an organized, religion-free society was interestingly developed as well as the Compu-Court, which cast doubts about a perfect computer trying to cater to all human needs.
Martin and Panther did remind me of vampires due to their lack of need to breathe, though with normal human feelings.
It was good reading that there is always hope for Mother Earth in the mind of the author. And the “time of the Great Sadness and the New Beginning” was a beautiful way of describing the motive of this good story.
Mr. Schofield has the ability of describing battles with such precision that the reader may feel like a close participant.
BTW, the concept of “joined consciousness” was quite unique creating a take-off from Jung’s collective unconscious put to practical use.
When I read End my first reaction was: I hope not!

INTERVIEW
1-When did you start creative writing, formally?
In 1991 I took a creative writing class in the adult-education program offered by Plantation High School, Plantation, FL. I worked on the hunting scene of Trophy as a short story. Thereafter the pages lay dormant in a drawer until late summer of 2009. With encouragement from an English-Lit friend I developed the rest of the book and after much editing and rewriting Trophy was published in February, 2010. I have continued writing and revising ever since.
2-How do you keep track of all the characters and is there a technique to maintain the storyline?
I have note cards and a list of all the characters, major and minor, with a short bio on each describing their physical characteristics, emotional tendencies and attitudes. I also keep track of how they are dressed and their rank, position, and employment in the storyline.
My books are written in third person point of view, present tense. I'll describe, usually with dialogue, what is happening to characters in one scene and then shift to other characters, keeping the same time frame or moving to the next sequential scene. I follow a rough outline and keep the storyline flowing in the forward direction using limited flashbacks only when necessary.
3-Do you have a family background of writers/artists?
I come from a creative family. My father is an architect and musician; my mother has an artistic streak for painting and poetry. I am also a musician with training on the piano, trombone, and self-taught on the guitar. I was part of a local rock band writing and playing our own music. It was a blast and it fostered my desire to continue being creative. My long-time career as a residential designer continues with the added bonus of finally becoming a published author, a goal I want to develop even further.
http://www.amazon.com/TROPHY-RESCUE-Trophy-Saga-ebook/dp/B0075CFCX6/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1344696772&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=Trophy%3A+Rescue+%28The+Trophy+Saga%29+by+Paul+M.+Schoefield

viernes, 10 de agosto de 2012

Review of Dante's Awakening by Devon Marshall

Dante's Awakening by Devon Marshall

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
I started reading this book with all my preconceived notions about vampires -- Bram Stocker's and others. Watching movies about them was more entertaining than imagining what ...was in print. My fellow readers, was I in for a surprise this time…
Ms Marshall was able to convince me that vampires do exist and have more freedom than I ...thought -- sunlight, loving, and human social acceptance.
The story of "Vampire's of Hollywood" -- Dante's Awakening-- was straightforward, in wonderful English, depicting strong women both of the human type and their vampire counterparts. And the plot was quite believable -- especially by being set in California.
It is necessary to point out that most of the women were into Lesbian sex, which was a delight to read about -- explicitly enough but never vulgar. I jokingly told myself: "If women can produce that kind of orgasms, too bad I'm not one."
INTERVIEW
1- When did you start writing, formally?
 Like many writers, I've been writing stories since childhood, and had a couple of English teachers who thought I should pursue writing as a career. I kind of laughed the idea off back then. I formally began writing in 1999 when a small press magazine named 'Monomyth' accepted one of my short stories for publication. It was a dark thriller titled 'Blue Angel' about a guy on the brink of death who 'lives' an alternate version of his life. Something like that, it was a long time ago! I've had a mess of other short stories published in various places since then, and now two novels and a novella. So I guess I have got that 'career' underway now!
2- How difficult is it to write about lesbian themes?
Well, I'm gay myself, so I'm kind of living the issues! I guess the biggest issue for me would be the social and political aspects of being gay or lesbian. Some readers like to see these aspects of their lives reflected in fiction themes, and I totally get that. However, personally I don't enjoy too many of these themes in fiction, and I'm also uncomfortable, creatively speaking, including it in my own. I have opinions on these issues, of course, but when I read fiction - or indeed write it - I want it to be an escape from these often perplexing aspects of reality. Other than that the only real difference in lesbian themes is that the emotional dynamics of relationships can be somewhat different from male-female. Two women are more likely to think alike - on an emotional level - and to know what each other is thinking or feeling. Of course, like all rules in life, there are no shortage of exceptions to this one either!
3- Do you have other artistic abilities?
My housemate, who's an artist and musician, insists that I always underestimate how well I can sketch and draw cartoons. I certainly enjoyed studying art in school and at college, and spent some time working for a small local company that created advertising flyers. But it's been years since I even picked up a sketchbook so who knows what may or may not remain of that ability?
http://www.amazon.com/Dantes-Awakening-Vampires-Hollywood-ebook/dp/B00824CHFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344551505&sr=1-1&keywords=dante%27s+awakening

jueves, 9 de agosto de 2012

Review of The Last Resort by Valerie Douglas

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

INTERVIEW
1-When did you start to write, formally?
 Although I've been writing stories all my life it wasn't until about eight years ago that I settled down and got serious about it. I'd made attempts before, but it's like quitting smoking - you try, fail, get discouraged, try fail again, get determined, try, dig in and keep going.
2-Do you have a family background of writers? As far as I know I'm the first, although apparently I've inspired a cousin to give it a shot.
3-Do you have other artistic abilities? I have been a portrait artist, and I sing pretty well - I was asked to sing a solo at a church as a favor (because I knew the Latin version of O Come All Ye Faithful - Adeste Fideles)
http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Resort-ebook/dp/B0052UX3V6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344467596&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Last+Resort+by+Valerie+Douglas

miércoles, 8 de agosto de 2012

Why do I write novellas? / ¿Por qué escribo novelas cortas?

Think of a novella as a bonsai.  It is a miniature tree with all the components of its full-grown counterparts. 
It is great for writers who have the ability to dwell on the economy of words -- less is more. Of course, this is not necessarily true, as many people have difficulty expressing themselves in this fashion.  In a way, it is an art.
I was asked why I write novellas when most of them have many elements of my life and perhaps should be autobiographical works..  To this I usually respond with: The novella allows me to fictionalize the experience, and transform it depending on what I expected it to have been, as it is, and how I envision the future.  That's the liberty granted to a writer.

ESPAÑOL
¿Qué es una novella?  Imaginen un bonsái -- un árbol en miniatura con todos los componentes de sus hermanos naturales.
Este medio creativo es perfecto para los escritores que se manejan bajo el concepto de la economía de palabras -- menos es más.  Aunque, ésto no es necesariamente cierto, ya que muchas personas tiene dificultades para utilizar menos palabras que otras.  En cierto modo, es un arte.
Me han preguntado por qué escribo novellas cuando en casi todas aparecen muchos elementos de mi vida real y tal vez debería catalogar mis obras como autobiográficas.  Lo cierto es que la novella me permite convertir la experiencia en ficción y transformarla dependiendo de lo que hubiera querido que fuera, como fue en realidad, y como la veo en el futuro. En esto consiste la libertad del escritor.

Review of The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
My first pleasure line was learning the origins of the expression blarney . I appreciate receiving lessons in word history. To this I should add the Irish brogue one of the characters used.
Author Bishop is really an expert at choosing his themes, and this one was worded perfectly in narration and dialogue. Let's include descriptions such as "…she had a body that made clothes come alive." Or "…with jowls drooping as if her mouth were serving quarters…"
I like to look for possible messages hidden between the lines. The story seems to convey the notion that social sins, especially of youth and greed will turn into heavy burdens in later life.
Along the narration one of the characters referred to a psychiatrist as a "quack." It was a stroke of genious to have written his name followed by "Doctor of Psychiatry." This degree does not exist; a psychiatrist is an MD with a certification of residency in Psychiatry. Hence, the term "quack" was well sustained.
It was a most entertaining read.

Interview
1- When did you start writing, formally?
That was in the early 80s. I owned and operated a company that did valuations of privately owned companies, or partial interests therein, and also intangible assets. One of my marketing efforts from the early 90s to the early 2000s was to write technical financial articles on valuation of business interests and intangible assets for accounting/financial/legal journals. I had one published each quarter for that ten year period. Then in 2001, along with a fellow business valuation expert, we published a nonfiction book on valuing privately owned company for merging with or acquisition by a publicly traded company. Then in 2002 I started writing fiction exclusively.
2- Do you have any artistic talents?
Well, when I was a child I played on the linoleum. LOL. No. None. I want to learn to play the piano but can't find the time. Is a golf game "artistic?" Certainly not the way I play it.
3- Do you have a favourite theme?I'm not sure how specific or broad that question is. I love golf, try to play twice a week, sometimes it's only once. I work out three times a week. I love to road travel and ocean cruise. And, of course, I totally love to write mysteries. And hear from readers.
I hope this answered this question.
I appreciate your interest in me and my writing. Thank you.

jueves, 2 de agosto de 2012

Review of Nuns: A Memoir by Bernard Mendillo

Nuns: A Memoir by Bernard Mendillo
Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Though I was not educated by nuns, Jesuits were in charge of making sure my morals went along the Catholic paths, many of which started pouring through as I read this personal ...account of the author's years in grade school.
It is unusual to find a story which exposes wrongs that make a person re-evaluate beliefs and take pertinent actions such as leaving the Church; instead, it does not send a message of revenge but of understanding.
The author is able to compose wonderful graphic sentences: "...Electrons flock to pure gold like Jesuits to a good stake burning."
I felt a bit embarrassed by the mention of "Noriega madness." Of course, this stems from my being from the former dictator's country, Panama.
Oh, yes. I still cry out "St. Blaise!" whenever I get something stuck in my throat.
This is a serious book written with a good undercurrent of humour in plain good English.
INTERVIEW
1- When did you start writing, formally?I started writing in high school.
In college, I majored in creative writing--and started to consider myself a professional writer in grad school when I won a nationwide playwrighting contest.
2- Did any of your children go to Catholic school?None of my children went to Catholic school.
I no longer consider myself Catholic and have not raised my children in any formal religion.
3-How difficult is it to write in the first person?Writing in the first person is actually easier than writing in the first person.
I can just be myself in the first person.
I don't have to be "in character" because I am the character.
Of course, writing a memoir means that I have to pay strict attention to facts and details--I have to get dates and names and places right.
In a novel, I can just make things up.





miércoles, 1 de agosto de 2012

"La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló" - Presentación

Éste es un tema que siempre me ha llamado la atención: Los padres ausentes y los hijos que sufren las consecuencias.
Si recuerdo la sociología del asunto, parece que es un círculo vicioso que se rompe cuando un miembro de la descendencia decide romper la cadena.  Generalmente un eslabón se abre, aunque no siempre por decisión sino por casualidad.
Me caracterizo por escribir novelas cortas, en las cuales trato de jugar con los tiempos, el personaje de la nararativa y apoyándome, especialmente, en los diálogos.  No es diferente en "La Mujer Que Nunca Se Maquilló."  Y, como es característico en todas mis novelas cortas, siempre hay un elemento de la vida real; aunque, exponerlo en una novela permite alterarlo a mi antojo.
Algunas personas que han leido mis obras anteriores piensan que ésta es la mejor.  La opinión de los lectores les pertenece y me alegra.  
Una vez que el libro se publica ya no pertenece al autor sino al público.
N.B.: Me han preguntado si pienso traducir esta novela corta al idioma Inglés.  Por ahora no... Contiene muhos regionalismos que no se traducen fácilmente, y la prosa en Español tiene una cadencia que se perdería en tal idioma en esta obra. Mas, veremos...



Review of Tell a Thousand Lies by Rasana Atreya

Tell A Thousand Lies by Rasana Atreya
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
"The knock, this late in the evening, was as unexpected as road repairs in a non election year." ….. "Don't tell lies… otherwise girls will be born to you."
The above phrases prepared me for the social indignities that would be unveiled throughout this wonderful novel.
Ms. Atreya wrote in English-as-a-second-language. I must say that she may put many a native English speaker to shame.

Interview
1. When did you begin to write, formally?
If you mean novel length fiction, it was about four years ago. I tried my hand at flash fiction for a year before that, but short stories weren't cutting it, so I turned to novels.
2-How long did it take you to write this book?
Three years, off and on. For a year I worked on another book which wasn't going anywhere, so I went back and finished "Tell A Thousand Lies." Which wasn't a bad thing because writing this novel was a great learning experience.
But my first novel wouldn't let go, so I'm back at it.
3-Do you have a family background of authors?
None at all. But writing's always fascinated me. Even when I was working as a systems administrator, maintaining and repairing computers, I had the best written manuals!
http://www.amazon.com/Tell-A-Thousand-Lies-ebook/dp/B007IX6W8Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343774325&sr=1-1&keywords=tell+a+thousand+lies

martes, 31 de julio de 2012

Review of Freedom of the Monsoon by Malika Gandhi

                                           Freedom of the Monsoon by Malika Gandhi
Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I am partial to stories about India; this I must admit, which makes me begin my readings with high hopes. The way this story related to the struggle for independence an...d resulting partition of India and the new Pakistan caught my interest and motivated me to keep on reading, no matter what.
Ms Gandhi's characters told their own stories in first person -- even the deceased. In fact, when this occurred early in the book, I wondered how the plot would work. Well, she was able to weave each story into an understandable web, including poetic descriptions.
This is a book written in English-as-a-second-language, and it needs editing for punctuation -- there is an interesting use of commas rather than semi-colons. Some grammar issues may be attributed to local English lore -- "…repeating the lord's name under her breath." Would this be the Lord, or a minor god?
I was very much bothered by the overuse of Hindi throughout the book. Even having a detailed glossary made reading difficult. Could it be that the customer target is the English speaking Indian?
In spite of the latest comments on the how-it was-written I liked the book.
 A Short Interview
1- When did you start to write, formally?
I began to write when I was in Uni and I finished the first draft of the book. It was a very different story then and a lot of plots and sub plots changed as I wrote several drafts. Even the names changed! I began to get serious about the book about three years ago after my second son was born.
2 - Do you have a family background of writers?
No one in my family is a writer so I am actually the first one. I have a lot of accountants in my family.
http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-of-the-Monsoon-ebook/dp/B0070VV9TI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343740535&sr=1-1&keywords=Freedom+of+the+monsoon

viernes, 27 de julio de 2012

Review of How To Survive When The Bottom Drops by John Sather

How To Survive When The Bottom Drops by John Sather

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
For some reason I was afraid this book would be another self-recovery manual. To my great relief I read words that were straightforward, passionate..., with conviction and hope for the reader.
Though the subject deals with recovering mainly from financial dire straits, I am convinced that it also applies to social and psychological difficulties. In this aspect, the book is useful in most of the world.
“Move Out Of State” is a chapter that really means change your surrounding habitat. Though, in a small country such as mine – Panama – this might prove difficult.
My favourite chapter: “Get out of house...” and listen to music... This I would follow by
“Live'... without' making an ass out of yourself”. Especially when in hot waters, I would add.
I do have a question, is the need for beer a US thing? In addition, perhaps with a beer on hand, the author could enhance his work with some editing for spelling.
A continuous message: Search for the ups not for the downs! I liked it!
Even if you are living successfully right now, this book has some great tips to keep you prepared... just in case.
Update:  Jt has re-edited the manuscript, rendering it almost faultless.

Author Interview:

-When did you start to write, formally?
It was about seven months ago that I had to do a 45 day stretch in the pokey. I had amassed some 4500 dollars worth of traffic fines over the years and by the time it came to a head, I had virtually no work to pay for my rent, let alone fines. After two weeks into it, I picked up a pencil and started to write down some thoughts. The next thing I knew, I had 25000 words down and it was time to clean it up and do something with it.
-You seem to have a good attitude towards life. How did it develop?
I have to give the credit to my mother. She has taught me patience. The most important thing she taught me was, no matter how bad things get, it can always get worse. There is no bottom, except when your dead. You have to let things roll off your back. If you let it pile up on you, sooner or later the strain is going to snap your spine.
- What has been the most difficult part of writing?
As far as the initial writing of my thoughts, that was easy. Organizing them into paragraphs and chapters, that seem to come pretty easy too. Mind you, it had been 25 years since I had written anything. I forgot a lot, but as I wrote day after day, it came back to me. When I wrote my second book, (This might sound ridiculous)I finished it in 28 hours. It was an 8500 word short story. The fact that it was non-fiction made it easy. It's a tale from 20 years ago about a guy that had done me wrong, so I got him good. The memory is still so vivid in my mind that it flowed out of me like a river. The hard part now is, I have to learn this whole marketing thing. It doesn't do me any good to write ten more if I can't find a way to sell the first one. Luckily I found some help, so with a little luck I can start to earn a living from this. I'll find out soon enough.
http://www.amazon.com/Survive-When-Bottom-Drops-ebook/dp/B008QOZDOU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343740841&sr=1-1&keywords=How+to+survive+when+the+bottom+drops

jueves, 26 de julio de 2012

Review of Jack The Homework Eater by Mitt Ray

Jack The Homework Eater by Mitt Ray

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
Though this story seems directed more at teenagers than adults I found it quite enjoyable, especially as it was well written.
Some situations may have not been quite believabl...e from my adult stance, though my child inner being accepted the presence of several dozen children cramming into Alex’ room.
The final lesson learned was not expected by me, and I was quite pleased by it.
I will definitely read more stories by Mitt Ray.
BTW, I was taken by “Tea being eaten,” an expression I would have frowned upon had a close British friend not explained to me that “tea time” is more than just tea but includes other edibles.

Review of The Three Letters by Robert Ruisi

The Three Letters by Robert Ruisi

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
"The stories are my song," writes Mr Ruisi in his Author's Message. He certainly sings through his Three Letters.
I cannot say which I liked best, because he was able to high...light something that was special to him about each daughter for whom a letter was intended.
Three messages to convey a father's love for his daughters… Beautiful.
With a bit of editing, mainly for punctuation, the letters will shine.

Review of Dante's Awakening by Devon Marshall

Dante's Awakening by Devon Marshall

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
I started reading this book with all my preconceived notions about vampires -- Bram Stocker's and others. Watching movies about them was more entertaining than imagining what ...was in print. My fellow readers, was I in for a surprise this time…
Ms Marshall was able to convince me that vampires do exist and have more freedom than I ...thought -- sunlight, loving, and human social acceptance.
The story of "Vampire's of Hollywood" -- Dante's Awakening-- was straightforward, in wonderful English, depicting strong women both of the human type and their vampire counterparts. And the plot was quite believable -- especially by being set in California.
It is necessary to point out that most of the women were into Lesbian sex, which was a delight to read about -- explicitly enough but never vulgar. I jokingly told myself: "If women can produce that kind of orgasms, too bad I'm not one."

Review of Dangerous Times by Phillip Frey

Dangerous Times by Phillip Frey

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
This thriller caught my interest from the beginning, perhaps because it took me around San Pedro, California, which I remember fondly. It contained all the expected elements -- go...riness, sex, a bit of social exposure and more.
I must say that I felt attached to the main character, Frank, in spite of his criminal mind. For some reason I came to think of him as a criminal with as much geniality as bad luck.
I also appreciated the author's concern about the hostilities between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics, especially the poor of the kind. Though I perceived them portrayed as rather dumb, it was realistic enough.
Nevertheless, I did have trouble following the thread of some characters due to the similarity of their names -- Kirk and Hicks. But this is my fault, not the author's.
I also wonder why, during the reading, I suddenly felt the need to wear a "camelhair coat".

Review of Trophy:Rescue by Paul M. Schofield

Trophy: Rescue (The Trophy Saga) by Paul M. Schofield

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
I am always a bit afraid when reading a sequel, mainly because of the fear of not remembering the original work. In this case it came back strongly as the ...characters in the sequel continued developing a story that was definitely well stored in my mind.
The creation of an organized, religion-free society was interestingly developed as well as the Compu-Court, which cast doubts about a perfect computer trying to cater to all human needs.
Martin and Panther did remind me of vampires due to their lack of need to breathe, though with normal human feelings.
It was good reading that there is always hope for Mother Earth in the mind of the author. And the “time of the Great Sadness and the New Beginning” was a beautiful way of describing the motive of this good story.
Mr. Schofield has the ability of describing battles with such precision that the reader may feel like a close participant.
BTW, the concept of “joined consciousness” was quite unique creating a take-off from Jung’s collective unconscious put to practical use.
When I read End my first reaction was: I hope not!

viernes, 25 de mayo de 2012

Writing in English-as-a-second-language

Many people have mastered English-as-a-second-language and feel confident in the end product of their work. The  reviewer spots glitches, which perhaps stem from the mother tongue's interference. Though sometimes this adds a bit of flavor, some pitfalls may damage a story. This blog was created for those interested in posting doubtful phrases, deciding when to add or diminish the inclusion of mother tongue words... And other interesting inquiries.

http://writewithalex.blogspot.com/

English-as-a-second-language

Living on a daily basis
Today I felt like creating a blog for authors writing in English-as-a-second-language. There are many, publishing with flaws that could have been averted with a bit of previous guidance.
What about tomorrow? What's tomorrow?


 

miércoles, 23 de mayo de 2012

Living day-by-day / Vivir día a día


 
It is not easy to live one day at a time , especially after having spent all parenthood thinking ahead to be prepared for whatever may rise -- good or bad. It worked quite well at the time -- being on the lookout. Things are different now when I am basically on my own. Someone recommended that I live on a day-by-day basis. I started some days ago... What a task! What is true is that in spite of my apparent change of outlook my happy pills will be a permanent fixture in my life.What the heck, as long as I keep on reading, writing and being a pain in the ass...
By the way, bonsáis have to be taken care of on a routine. If I can make it work for them, there is no reason to doubt that I should make it be so for myself.
ESPAÑOL
Esto de vivir "día a día" no me está resultando fácil, especialmente cuando reviso que toda la vida me la pasé viendo lo que podría estar por delante para torear o lidiar con algún enredo y proteger a los míos... Funcionó bien pero ya no es... necesario porque ahora soy yo solo, básicamente. La recomendación es buena... pero, caraxo, cómo cuesta! Lo que sí resultó cierto es que los "happy pills," serán parte de mi vida forever... --órdenes de mi cuñado Franky. Qué coño... lo importante es seguir pa'lante... Y escribiendo!
De paso, a los bonsáis hay que lidiarlos "día a día," y me ha resultado bien. Este "erizo" lo sembré ayer... está en un potecito de 2" de circunferencia y 1.5" de alto.

sábado, 19 de mayo de 2012

"Who Will Hug The Sun?... book review

Who Will Hug The Sun? By Ey Wade

Review by Alex Canton-Dutari
It took me less than fifteen minutes to read this beautiful story -- perhaps because I got into each picture.
In Spanish the Sun is masculine and the Moon is feminine. I was sur...prised to read the reverse in English; now I may understand why a car is feminine in the Queen's language.
Do you know what impelled me to buy the book? The title. It intrigued me; the story engulfed this old fellow.
This love story convinced me that Ms Wade knows how to dive into her inner child's fantasies but convey them as the adult she is. The final outcome was excellent.
Grammar and punctuation? Quite flawless.
My congratulations to the sketch artist.

viernes, 18 de mayo de 2012

Homophobia? / ¿Homofobia?


The etymology of concepts has always interested me, especially when a word is being coined with social purposes.
The International Day Against Homophobia was commemorated a few days ago. It is important that actions barring equal rights to people due to their sexual orientation be stopped. Though I do not think that the term is appropriate.
A phobia is an irrational fear of something. It may bring about disproportionate and uncontrollable actions. It is an "illness" well described by the World Health Organization.
What happens to people who live rejecting people due do their sexual diversity -- lesbians, homosexuals, transgender… -- is not an illness. It is a rejection, basically conscious and voluntary, that may be followed by actions well planned to undermine and punish.
The worst danger of accepting the word is that if a person commits a crime against a person that triggers the phobia, a clever lawyer may claim innocence by reason of a mental illness and get his client to walk with a big smile.
The irony is that minority groups that have coined the term may end up weaving the rope with which their protégés may be hanged.
This may seem like nonsense. Believe me; it is not.

ESPAÑOL 

Siempre me ha llamado la atención la etimología de los conceptos, especialmente cuando se está buscando acuñar una palabra con fines sociales.
En estos días se conmemoró el Día Mundial Contra La Homofobia. Es importante que se luche contra la existencia del rechazo que lleve a no proveer los mismos derechos humanos -- sociales, civiles, económicos -- a cualquier minoría de nuestros congéneres.
Mas, no me parece apropiado el uso del término .
Una fobia es un miedo irracional a algo. Produce reacciones desproporcionadas y, especialmente, fuera de control. En resumen, es una enfermedad y, como tal, está reconocida por la Organización Mundial de la Salud.
En cambio, lo que ocurre en cuanto al rechazo extremo a las personas con orientación sexual "diversa" -- homosexuales, lesbianas, transgéneros….-- no es enfermedad. Es un rechazo, básicamente consciente y voluntario, que se puede acompañar de comportamientos planificados, conscientes para castigar.
El mayor peligro de aceptar el término es que si un comete un crimen contra un homosexual, un abogado sagaz puede ampararlo bajo el concepto de enfermedad y lograr que salga absuelto.
La ironía incluida es que los grupos que han acuñado el término terminen fabricando la cuerda con que se les puede colgar.
Les podrá parecer una tontería… Créanme que no lo es.