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The Inevitable Ambiguity of Words

Author Interview
Anil Author Interview

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology uses a unique brand of humor to show readers how fun etymology can be. What inspired you to start this series of books?

I am primarily a wordplay writer and have published over 200 articles of assorted styles of word play in the online journal Word Ways, not all humorous. Within the general category of word play, my favourite type is constrained writing of various ilks. My two Strange Bedfellows books use the constraint of using only words that are etymologically related to construct fun phrases and sentences. I then embellish them with my own weird sense of humour in explaining or more often simply extending the SB thoughts to a more free form of humorous expositions and stories.

The idea of using pools of etymologically related words as a type of constrained writing came to me when I noted, in Eric Partridge’s wonderful etymology dictionary Origins, what a huge number of interesting words are surprisingly ultimately related to ‘legend’. From there I devoured Origins looking for other pools of relatives offering interesting combinations. I collected many and managed two volumes of the constructions from them as skeletons on which to overlay my personal style of humour and nonsense. The latter is heavily influenced by the writings of Will Cuppy as well as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, James Thurber, Ogden Nash, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear and others.

What is the collaboration process like between you and the illustrator, Kalpart?

Kalpart is the company name of a commercial art collaboration headed by Kalpa Joshi. For my books, I describe to her the images I visualise and she is very compliant in revising her first efforts to capture them until they meet my wishes. Other of her artists usually do the final coloured illustrations. I couldn’t ask for a more cooperative artist. She does, however, often make suggestions that I like and let her use.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Joy! Plus a sense of the inevitable ambiguity of words, phrases and sentence that allow puns and other twists to amuse and/or expand the reader’s perspectives. (Oops, that two things!)

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have two upcoming books, both being sequels to my Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories A to Z (‘SAR1′, 2018), profusely illustrated in colour by Kalpart. They use a different type of constrained writing, monorhyme verses on animal themes, which I call animal uni-verses.

  • 101 Animal Universes, unillustrated and with limited prose addenda, finished and seeking a publisher as a ‘pure’ poetry book. Hence the release date is unknown. It includes some of the best verses from SAR1 and the following (SAR2) plus many more mostly new universes.
  • Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two, in press, text approved and awaiting the rest of Kalpart’s brilliant illustrations, half finished. It should be finished and released in 2-4 months but possibly longer. This and my three recent books are self-published by SBPRA, the fifth (101AU) hoping to find a regular publisher, but failing that, again to use SBPRA.

I also have three other books firmly in mind, all partly written, the second two illustrated:

  • a short small book of embellished Spoonerisms;
  • a commercial satire Dr. Duck’s Dealy Deli based around an enterprise and characters that clutter the pages of my other five books; and
  • a rewrite of an old self-illustrated volume from 1979, Anno Dodo, a humorous satire cum word play on the theme of extinction.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Etymologically related words, most surprisingly so (strange bedfellows), are used to construct amusing and/or amazing pairs, phrases and whole sentences, mostly accompanied by silly or satirical comments, tall tales with recurring characters, poems, fake news and fake ads for Dr. Duck’s Dealy Deli. An appendix gives many other pairs of surprisingly related synonyms, antonyms, etc., balanced by the converse – pairs one might expect to be related but are not.

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology by [Anil]

Books open up the world to us–this is something we have all known since we were children in a kindergarten classroom. That’s the place where words began to show us their power–and their many, many meanings. Some of us have gone on to love words and the beauty of multiple meanings. Anil has handed us all the most wonderful gift a lover of words could ever want — Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology. Between its pages, this fun little read brings the smiles and laughter we could all use during these stressful times.

What reads like a most prolific assortment of random thoughts turns into quite a stunning opportunity for readers to visualize amazing literary images. I think I most appreciate the lack of organization to the text and the freedom to pass from one odd thought to another. Anil’s work is a superb thrill ride encapsulated in just under seventy pages.

I am giving Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology, by Anil and illustrated by Kalpart, 5 out of 5 stars. Readers looking to relax and thoroughly enjoy etymology for its own sake will appreciate every rambling thought so eloquently sketched by this author/illustrator pairing. I highly recommend Anil’s delightful book to anyone who appreciates humor on a higher plane and truly “gets the joke.”

Pages: 72 | ASIN: B085LFBGMS

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It No Longer Surprised Me

G. Head
D.C. Head Author Interview

The Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots shares common driving offenses with humorous terms and phrases describing bad driving habits. What inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration to write this book stemmed from my own personal experiences on the roadways and highways, having seen and experienced every single offense and type of driver that I mention in the book. When you’re in the center of it all, you get to see all kinds of crazy road blunders and highway flubs. So, why not write about it?

What is a common bad driving habit you run into on your commutes?

One of the most common are the cut-offs. There’s always that cidiot who thinks it’s smart to cut you off so they can make a turn or exit. They are known as the Bully-Turn Bandit and the Boomerang. I see this on a daily basis, until it no longer surprises me.

What is a piece of advice you would give to a new driver?

The best advice I can give any new driver is to brace themselves and beware. It’s important that they master having eyes not only for themselves on the road, but for the cidiots that they will encounter on a daily basis. If they understand and know what to look for, they may be better able to avoid having an accident. However, no driving scenario will ever prepare a person to be perfect and 100% accident-free on the road, but it could lessen the chances of a person either causing an accident or becoming a victim of an accident.

Do you plan to write other books with the same humorous perspective?

I am currently working on another humor book. So stay tuned.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook

Filled with hundreds of common driving offenses, this gut-wrenching funny handbook features hilariously, jaw dropping terms and phrases describing some of the nastiest driving habits you or another cidiot have engaged in almost every day on the highways and byways. Inside, you’ll find “The Motor Mouth Motorist” who suffers from road rage, “The Para Lane Bluffer” who can’t decide if they want to merge with oncoming traffic until the last second, “The Eye Shadow Bandit” who thinks she’s skilled enough to drive at high speeds while applying makeup in the car mirror, and many more epic adventures of daily cidiot driving habits that are far too many to list here. Whether you’re the culprit or the victim of cidiot driving, The Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots will have you laughing, pouring tears, and showing off your enriched cidiot vocabulary.

The Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots

The Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots by [D.C. Head, Gershan Head, Kenneth Head, S.V. Head]

D.C. Head’s The Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots is a reminder that one does not have to take a complex book to gain knowledge from reading. D.C. Head writes with a light touch. The text used in the book is easy to understand and the narration is entertaining. The author wrote a convenient driver’s handbook for drivers who are not confident on roads and those that want to learn the behavior of various motorists. The book is not only great for new drivers but also experienced drivers who have been on the road for decades.

Hilariously, the author highlights the sins committed by motorists on the road. If you are an impatient driver, some of these motorists will get to you. The author however makes some of these mistakes seem not too serious to get one angry. While reading, you get to learn about different types of drivers; the slow drivers, drivers who disregard traffic rules, those that use non-roadworthy vehicles, and those that drive as if they own the whole lane among others. The frustrations on the road can be too much for someone who is easily angered. While reading this book, however, one learns that it is human to make some mistakes and that they should not warrant much anger. It is also important to consider other road users while traveling as a simple mistake can be fatal.

I like how the author lays down the lessons she wants the reader to take note of. The author is a natural writer and will have you enjoying her stories with little effort. I appreciate how the author emphasizes certain points for road users. Using humor, D.C. Head writes about being a decent driver while minding others. The road is no place to have unnecessary fun as everyone is in a rush to get to their destination. Her attention to detail is another great thing about the author. She writes about the most minute things on the road, things that sometimes go unnoticed by both pedestrians and drivers. Usage of the term cidiots was not only funny to me but also a distinct way to make points.

The author’s silly takes are not the only thing entertaining about this book. The illustrations are amazing too. They add color and spice up the content in the book. Every illustration has a unique object that gets one staring for minutes. The drawings are an amazing way of passing a message and also showcasing how talented illustrators are. The quiz at the end of the book was a great concept. Getting to answer the simple questions was a pleasant activity and made the book even more enjoyable. If you need a quick refresher course as a driver, then The Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots is the book for you.

Pages: 106 | ISBN: 1304867277

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Pandora’s Gardener

Pandora's Gardener

John Cranston had no aspirations to be a spy. He was a gardener for goodness sake, and enjoyed the mediocrity that came with the job. But as is often the case, the unexpected came knocking and suddenly John found himself in the middle of a plot involving an old friend, the Russians, secret societies, and crooked cops- just to name a few. To make matters worse, they all seemed to think he was on par with them in regards to secrets and skills. As each day pulls him further from his business as usual, John has to uncover and help stop a sinister conspiracy that is revealed to be a matter of world security. 

Pandora’s Gardener by David Mason is a fun and fast paced thriller that tows the line between the serious espionage of James Bond and the absurd escapades of Austin Powers. With each new obstacle that John comes across, Mason does an expert job of weaving the stories together until the reader is effectively hooked. To keep the mood from getting too heavy, even the situations that provide a real degree of danger are met with a ridiculous sense of humor that helps keep the events moving right along. It’s a classic tale of “good guys” versus “bad guys” but crafted in a way that makes it difficult to determine which is which, since so many of the characters are delightfully charming. The notable exception of course is our unlikely hero who insists, time and time again, that despite his apparent skills, he really is just a gardener. No one believes that, and hijinks ensue.

The sheer amount of plot lines, characters, and double crosses could potentially make for a dense and unreadable story, but instead everything works in perfect synch. As mentioned before, Mason is superb at crafting the story, ensuring that there is always something new around the corner, even as other loose ends are resolved. Every character adds a distinct flavor to the story, no matter how briefly they may appear, and while some of them aren’t given the resolution they may deserve, it doesn’t affect the tone of the book.

Pandora’s Gardner was enjoyable and fun to read from start to finish and if there is any complaint I have, it’s that it was long enough to consistently surprise me with its new developments, and that it never fully fleshed out John’s past, which was referred to occasionally. Even at that, I was never disappointed. It maintained an excellent balance between goofy and serious while John consistently plays the part of reluctant spy perfectly.

Pages: 466

Sex, Cons & Rock ‘N Roll

Dating can be hard. Online dating can be even harder. Between scammers, sleazeballs, and the all too rare sincere connection, it can be a pretty rough road. But if you never try, you may never have that chance to find love.

Gloria Moodie has looked for love in all the wrong places, all the right places, and all the places in between. In her book Sex, Cons, & Rock ‘N Roll- A Tale of Love, Passion, and Betrayal! she gives an abbreviated glimpse into her journey to find a genuine connection, mostly through the use of online dating sites. Moodie moves quickly through the stages of her life, giving a brief synopsis into each of her serious relationships, and even some of the less serious ones. She injects her stories with both humor and humanity. There’s a sincerity to Gloria Moodie’s book that is rare and I wanted to dive deeper into the stories she tells, but they were often too brief for being way too interesting.

Throughout the book, Moodie focuses on the people who prey on others online, and the damage it does to those sincere in their search. Having been the target of scammers in the past, she makes an effort to educate others to prevent it from happening to them as well. She provides many useful tips and helpful resources that will assist you in furthering your research after you’ve finished this book.

Sex, Cons, and Rock ‘N Roll succinctly illustrates the pitfalls of putting yourself out there. Gloria Moodie’s anecdotes were engaging and funny and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light memoir that’s also informative.

Pages: 180 | ISBN-10: 1525575341

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I’ve Got You (Captain Fantastic Book 1)

I've Got You (Captain Fantastic Book 1) by [Tommy Balaam]

I’ve Got You is a fun space adventure for young readers. Captain Fantastic and his best friend Winston sail through the galaxy when they encounter a scary looking galaxy. When Winston gets frightened Captain Fantastic’s mission is to reassure his best friend and let him know that he’ll never be alone. Together, they can face anything.

Tommy Balaam has created a charming children’s story that is filled with colorful images that give life to this simple but effective story. I don’t often come across children’s picture books that fall within the science fiction genre. This is a welcome surprise as the story embraces it with a unique charisma that is reminiscent of early science fiction TV shows like Flash Gordon.

The story begins with the duo departing on an adventure. Before long we’re given a peek into their various exciting adventures on diverse planets and against many cute monsters. All relayed through rhyme. I loved the story but what I enjoyed most about this book, much like a comic book, was the fantastic art and imagery throughout the story. A fantastic start to what promises to be an amazing intergalactic children’s series.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08BKSBHSN

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When Life Was like a Cucumber

When Life Was like a Cucumber by [Greg Wyss]

At a young age, Jeffrey Hese was coming off a divorce and could not wait to explore his true self. At a time when the human race was getting introduced to the 70s after the tumultuous 60s, Jeffrey was in for a ride. He found himself thrust in different cultures and cities from Amsterdam to Boston. He goes through the paces of experiencing the underbelly of life with the help of Isadora. And how different it was from his apartment in Oneonta. So much to see. So much to do. So much to experience. His journey will be one of enlightenment and perhaps a second meeting with God.

Greg Wyss has crafted an engrossing tale of one man’s journey through life in the wake of the wild 60s. He has written a story so intriguing and appropriately sculpted that a reader of any age will relate and enjoy the book. The scenes are described in vivid detail leaving the reader thrust deep into the vortex of Jeffrey’s life at that time as well as the general lifestyle back then. The story teeters on the edge of humorous and poignant. It is a brilliant mix of serious and casual. With alternating moments of sympathy and loud belly laughs.

The characters in this book are well developed. Although the dimensions of character development may seem a bit foggy at times. This does not get in the way of recognition of common qualities. Jeffrey is doing something that many people would want to do before they are too old or too busy to do it. He is as new to this journey as most of us are. This may therefore either inspire you to go on your own journey of self-discovery. Or it may allow you to live vicariously through him. There is so much depth to this book. It will take the utmost attention and focus to peel through all the layers and get to the bottom of the true meaning of the story. Laden with thematic consistency and careful handling of the reader, this book is exactly what you need when you find yourself angling for an enjoyable escape. What better place to escape than a different time you may not have lived in? Those who did live in this era will enjoy the various references to music and popular behaviors of that time.

You will enjoy the plot. You will enjoy the characters. You will enjoy the flurry of activity. It may not be crass but this book will have you red-faced on occasion. Nothing like a good trip back in time.

Pages: 557 | ASIN: B07QN1VK36

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