A Literary Smorgasbord is a collection of your literary works which reflect on many aspects of your life. What was the inspiration that made you want to publish your work?
The ‘inspiration’ for this book was merely a telephone call ‘out of the blue’ by a chap from Xlibris. He offered to publish any manuscript of mine at a relatively small cost. Although I did not have a completed MS like a novel, I knew I had enough short stories and poems, which I had entered into various competitions, but without much success, that would make up enough pages for a book. I also had autobiographical sketches which could be included as memoir.
I was pleasantly surprised when I sent these to get a very positive response. My work was very readable, and needed no editing. I then had to decide on the cover page, and my wife helped with a photograph of the front of our house. That was acceptable too.
However, the minus side of all this was the increasing cost at various stages of the publishing process. I was not consulted about the pricing of the book either. In the end, I had parted with a small fortune, but the end product was very professional. I hope now, with good reviews like the one from you, the book would become a ‘best seller’. In e-book form as well.
I enjoyed the poetry in this book. When do you write most of your poems?
I did not attempt writing poems seriously until after my move to southern Spain on retirement. Sitting on the terrace of my sun-drenched abode, I read quite a few books including poetry. If I remember right, all the poems in this book and others self-published as ‘One Year in Spain’ (2011) and ‘Solace in Verse’ (2013) were written between 2007 and 2014. Most of these poems were published in the local freebie weekly newspaper then under the title, ‘The Coast Rider’. Now ‘Costa Blanca People’.
Your short stories were entertaining and interesting. What was your favorite story from the collection?
‘The Reunion’ is my favorite story. It is based mostly on fact. The protagonist, ‘Colvin’ died of Covid – 19 in Luton last month aged just 76, eight years my junior. Couldn’t attend the funeral, but watched online.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I hope to write a dystopian futuristic novel on the lines of George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
There was no question that this author looked up to the United Kingdom as his mother country, where he emigrated to, at the age of 26. Although Ceylon, his actual birthplace gained independence from the British Empire when he was just 12 years old (1948).
At secondary school he regularly won the class prize for English and contributed stories and essays not only to the college magazine, but also to the children’s pages of local daily newspapers.
Under the title ‘Rudderless Living’ the author paints a succinct autobiographical picture of the main events of his nomadic life. ‘Overland’ describes not only a trio’s trip by car to Mumbai, India, starting from Cambridge, UK, but also refers to important background events in the author’s life. Over the years he had been writing short stories merely as a hobby, and the reader can expect a wide variety of real life events, as well as futuristic fables, in this collection. His poems were mostly written after he retired to Spain, and reflects his daily life there. A few of his poems won recognition as ‘Honorable Mentions’ at various competitions.
‘A Literary Smorgasbord’ is the product of his literary heritage exhibiting an undoubted mastery of the English language. Although he did not succeed in attending the then one and only University of Ceylon, he later gained academic qualifications from the University of London, and worked as an occupational psychologist until retirement age.
As assessed by British Mensa he has an IQ falling within the top 3% of the population. There is no question that this is reflected in the essays, stories and poems so uniquely presented in this volume, ‘A Literary Smorgasbord’. A worthy read.
Shirley F’N Lyle: Viva the Revolution (Book One in Chick Grit Lit Series) by Clayton Lindemuth is a fiction story about a hooker named Shirley Lyle who is tired of being treated like she doesn’t matter, and she’s not going to take it anymore. She wants to be someone different, someone better. Viva the Revolution. She and her friend Ulyana, a stripper, have decided to make men pay for their actions. But things don’t go as planned, and the two women find themselves running from a drug dealer after they killed his son. The drug dealer isn’t the only person they have to worry about, however. When Ulyana disappears–possibly murdered–will Shirley be next?
There was a lot of action in this book, plus the mystery of Ulyana’s disappearance, which held my interest in the story. The story line was dark, but there was enough humor in the book to lighten it. I liked Dr. Kristanna Rong’s character and the encouragement she gave Shirley to make a change in her life. I was hoping for her to be a larger part of the story, but she only appeared in the beginning. I also liked that there was a slight romantic element with Donal O’Laughlin wanting to date Shirley rather than paying for her services.
I enjoyed reading the back and forth between Shirley and the “voices” in her head as she argued with herself. Old Shirley versus Viva Shirley. Shirley’s imagination was very amusing, including her superwoman day dreams about making the men who had done her wrong pay for their treatment of her and other women.
But I felt like Shirley walked into a few situations that would have gotten her killed in real life, when her spunky attitude alone wouldn’t have saved her. Some of the descriptions of violence and injuries were a bit graphic and gory. Conversely, there were only minimal descriptions of the setting. I prefer books with vividly described settings that add depth to a story, which I felt it was lacking in this book. The beginning of this book was a bit confusing, switching between various points of view made it hard to figure out how everything was connected.
But overall Shirley F’N Lyle is a fantastically entertaining novel that puts interesting characters in interesting situations. The drama that ensues is enthralling and ultimately uplifting.
Pages: 302 | ASIN: B07SMN6H3V
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The Testimony of a Villain by Aaron Harrell is a dark, slick ride into the gritty alleys of the inner city. The book is not your typical crime thriller but one with a social lens that can only be given substance by one who has lived it. The reader follows Manuel Doggett, a boy who lost everything to be formed by the streets and remade in its’ dark image. He is out for retribution not redemption when an opportunity arises to have his vengeance on one of the murderers of his family.
Harrell provides a fresh and new take to the “true crime” thriller. His style is so firmly set in the bitingly grime reality of the inner city that the reader could even give this novel a new sub-genre of socio-economic thriller. The new threads do not stop there either, because the plot of the book itself is almost like a hero’s journey in reverse. Manuel is the classic anti-hero and one that does not once look to the audience for sympathy. Instead, there is only apathy towards almost everything, except towards the memories of his past.
The weaving of the inner city struggle and the complex inner life of Manuel makes this novel a stand out for readers of not only crime thrillers, but also those who wish to delve into the dark, broken mind of a man walking the line between light and shadow. The writing is fraught with graphic images of both violence and sex and is not for the weak-hearted.
I found myself enjoying the book from the start, because of the quick and realistic dialogue and the meta conversation about corruption, justice and social strata. There are a lot of binaries at play here, between the poor and wealthy, justice and injustice, and morality and immorality. Harrell does a fantastic job with surveying these issues, touching on them just enough without becoming too explicit. I can only guess at what Harrell’s personal experience has been with the inner city, but I very much appreciated the taste of authenticity that he lends to the narrative.
I find Manuel to be a compelling character. Most readers may find something akin to the backstory of Batman here, but there is a real human struggle that Harrell puts on display often.
Overall, I do believe that The Testimony of a Villain stands up to the best the crime thriller genre has to offer. It makes for a pleasurable read for any fans of such novels!
Pages; 489 | ASIN: B06XG6FYVH
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