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With Curiosity and Wide Eyes

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Cooking in a Teacup recounts your experiences in a kitchen in the Australian outback in 1952. What was the inspiration that made you want to capture this time in a book?

The main reason was to let my family of five girls and their families, understand how my life had been and what it was like then in the outback. They might find much of it monotonous as I tend to talk too much about myself. My coming from a religious boarding college life when aged fourteen which was restricting in certain ways, then going out into the bush for some years afterwards,, presented many profound changes for both me and my brother then.( Only partially going to grade ten was not a hindrance for finding a job later when in Darwin and it did not enter my mind then..)

I am so pleased you liked the story regardless of how it was written. I know I went through that life accepting whatever came along with curiosity and wide eyes, yet I followed orders with the knowledge that those people out there also accepted whatever occurred was part of their normal daily.

I enjoyed the humorous but honest recounts of your past. What is one experience from that time that you remember more clearly than the others?

Well, besides the worst one- that one of almost disappearing into the “big hole in the ground” , and the other one of nearly running a large truck off the road at night when driving home from Julia Creek—The main benefits were the new education I had received much earlier
from the young age of fifteen; and then the blessings of accepting and being able to live through those experiences. Truely, altogether it was the entire new living that life experiences, and having the patience and ability to watch, listen, absorb, and try to relax. Yet take part in the unknown chores of daily life, and admire the workers while learning so much from all those wonderful people I met. Enjoying their conversations and their natures, regardless of them carrying out their working jobs, which I often took part in.

When writing this book did you have to interview anyone or dig up any old photos to spark your memory?

No, all these details were always present in my memory with some never forgotten. I do have photos from most places I lived at.

I found your book to be ultimately inspiring. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I would like to hope they actually do read some of the narrative without throwing it away in disgust and boredom.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Shashwords

This story relates to my own individual, genuine experiences which occurred, and I added others including the details of some years before from early 1945 and after, to explain my circumstances as they were then.

Just turning twenty one in 1952, my father wrote and asked me an odd question, which was to take on a job as a cook on a cattle station, up in North Queensland. Though ‘totally inexperienced’, this position sounded interesting and intriguing. New adventures lay ahead for me on that unknown part of the Australian outback. I doubt if my father even considered my lack of capabilities for this position at all. Later on this job also offered another one, with the bush nurse asking for me to come and nurse, care and cook for an elderly man at McKinley Qld, again my being absolutely inexperienced. These parts of my story included meeting new people, and happenings that occurred in my life, then and in the future.

As this is real life over periods of years, it also contains personal details of the author and family’s lives, and that of others.

This is not a cooking book and there are no recipes given, though a sense of humour would be appreciated.

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Literary Titan Book Awards July 2020

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Albatross: Contact by Connor Mackay

IZ – The Saga: Creation by DDWLEM

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Book of Chaos: From 22 Back to 21 by Yin Dolmah

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

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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Amulet’s Rapture

Amulet's Rapture: Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 3

Catrin is living a nightmare. She has become a slave, is used and abused as a woman disguised as a soldier, and the love of her life doesn’t remember the passion that once existed between them. Catrin is as feared as much as she is taken for granted. Considered to have powers that far outshine the abilities and skills of any soldier, she is allowed to live and protected even though she isn’t respected. Marcellus, her love, now under the spell of another, can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not right–something he can’t explain but leaves him feeling empty and broken. Catrin knows, but will she be able to tell him in time?

Amulet’s Rapture, by Linnea Turner, continues the journey of young Catrin. Her life, very different from that of previous installments, is a daily struggle for survival. She is only allowed to live because she is deemed valuable and believed to have the ability to speak directly with the sun god. Catrin is put through ghastly tasks and treated with little respect even though she is offered the opportunity to train as a warrior priestess. Playing along with the idea that she is all-powerful is the only thing that seems to keep her from being killed.

Catrin’s visions are an important part of the plot–the thread woven discreetly throughout the story that ties all of the elements neatly together. The images she conjures are vivid and touching. The author uses them expertly to pull in elements from previous installments. These little trips into Catrin’s past are especially helpful if listening to this as a stand alone.

The audio version of Amulet’s Rapture is a fascinating listen. The narrator absolutely nails tone, character changes, and emphasis. In addition, the particularly intense scenes in which Catrin is being threatened are completely captivating when read by the narrator, Kristen James. What would be moving moments if read in paperback or Kindle become quite terrifying and extremely uncomfortable when listening to the narrator’s interpretation of the text–the story is truly brought to life.

I believe this installment is completely readable as a stand alone text. The author provides quite a bit of background, and Catrin’s visions give readers a nice glance back at previous plots. One cannot read Tanner’s work without calling it romance. Though it is primarily a fantasy, readers who seek a strong romantic feel to their fantasies will appreciate Tanner’s writing. She peppers her plot with just enough of these steamy scenes to keep romance fans invested.

Audio Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes | ASIN: B0887Y9WLY

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In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow

In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow was a unique historical fiction novel colored with themes of guilt, sorrow and suffering over all that had been lost. Although this was a very emotional novel, it wasn’t all negative emotions, it also had happiness, romance, and a (possible) love like no other, mixed in with some supernatural elements and fantastical hints of history. The story caught my attention in the first couple of pages, remaining consistently entertaining throughout with only rare moments that seemed to slow a bit due to necessary exposition. The detail throughout the book is absorbing and really pulls you into 1940’s Japan. When it came time for the atomic bomb to drop I could see the horror surrounding Micha as he searched for Kyomi, the burning bodies that he came across and the fear that he would never find her or Ai. I could visualize most every scene, which is something I truly appreciated in a novel that covered such a cataclysmic event that reshaped human history.

While Kyomi’s character was interesting I wanted to see more of her personality. Her character seemed monotone at first, but after awhile her character began to grow on me just as she developed in the novel. I liked Micah from the first page, I’m not sure if that’s because he was the first character introduced to me or because I could empathize with him, perhaps it’s because I felt bad for him after the plane crashed. I liked Ai’s character from the beginning as well, children are always fun characters and Ai was no exception. The three of them together made for a great read with interesting interactions and I liked some of the other spirits that they came across along their travels.

Something that made me enjoy the book even more was how the author used the actual terms used by the Japanese such as calling the military Kempeitai instead of using one of our military terms like Army, Navy, Coast Guard, etc. This happens frequently throughout the book which showed me that the author did thorough research for this book and it also helped me learn a few terms. This is an example of the authors dedication to historical detail in this book. Something that I praise the author for is the way that this novel helps you see different points of view from the American and Japanese sides in World War 2. It is also an exploration of Japanese culture at an interesting time in their history. It covers how the Japanese lived, their culture, their work, routines, the hardships they face and much more. I really loved having bits of history weaved into the pages and the way it gave me a new insight. History and fiction meld seamlessly in this novel to deliver a captivating story.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B083Q4WRPD

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The Boy Who Saw In Colours

The Boy Who Saw In Colours by [Lauren Robinson]

The Boy Who Saw In Colours by Lauren Robinson is a story about a young boy who is coming of age during the time of WWII. There are many stories out there about WWII, but the perspective from a child who turns 13 on the day of the London Blitz introduces a new viewpoint to the devastating war. Josef and his younger brother, Tomas, are the sons of a mother, who is from a well-to-do German family, and a father who is Jewish. Their love story is doomed from the beginning and leads both boys down a heartbreaking path. After being stolen from their parents Josef tells the story of how he and his brother are sent to an elite German Youth school to be groomed into the next brainwashed generation of the Aryan Super Race.

Even though this is a book of fiction, it is based on real historical events. After Josef and Tomas are taken from their parents, they are thrown into the military-like German school where they are literally beaten into following Hitler. But as Josef is of part Jewish descent, he is always picked on and called ‘mischling’, a foul name for someone who comes from mixed blood.

Josef has a gift that gets him through this unthinkable experience though, he is a painter. Not just someone who makes a pretty picture on a canvas, but a creative who sees his entire world in different colors.

I love how Robinson writes; it’s like I am sitting in a room with Josef at an old age and he is telling me about his life as a child while the fire burns and we drink tea. Her style is lyrical in nature and you can tell that each word she writes is put there with great thought and on purpose.

This book was at times very difficult to read because of the way the children were treated to ensure their submissiveness to the Fuhrer, it was nauseating. At the same time, their story needs to be told, we need to learn from our horrible mistakes of the past and this book tells it like a sad love song, heart-breaking, but beautiful.

There are relationships however that do emerge that give glimmers of hope and love and let you have a softer heart for some Germans who knew they had to follow along or be killed. I highly recommend reading this book. I look forward to more books by Robinson and her unique style in the future.

Pages: 371 |ASIN: B088BBXLL7

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Odysseus: On the River of Time

Odysseus by [Carl Hare]

Odysseus: On the River of Time is an epic piece of literature that not only shows the importance of literature but also enables the reader to appreciate the art of story-telling. This book expands on Odysseus’s adventures, told in engaging poetic verse that is much like the Homeric epics this story builds from. Carl Hare’s style of narration encourages one to read more. Every line is great and the verses supremely crafted. In between the lines are rich texts and literary stylistic features that make the poem even more fascinating. Reading the book was an amazing experience. The author’s expressive nature and the excellence shown in writing are some of the things that make Carl Hare an outstanding author.

Odysseus: On the River of Time is the perfect book for you if you enjoyed Homer’s Odyssey. The author does not strain with words as everything flows naturally. In this book, Carl Hare writes about Odysseus’ last voyage to propitiate the god Poseidon. Odysseus’ journey is not to come without a challenge. It is evident that no matter what, he has to appease the god. He goes through several cities having a wooden oar with him. His journey comes with instructions. He is to travel to a land with no salt to offer the sacrifice. I enjoyed following Odysseus through his journey, going through exotic locations, meeting captivating characters, and absorbing conflicts.

One of the many great things about this book is how the author plays with his words. Reading Odysseus: On the River of Time will increase your urge to read more epic poems because of how incredible the author is. Every Canto has a unique touch. The best thing of all is the presentation of characters. I appreciate how superior characters like Apollo were presented and how Helen fit into this unique narrative. A good story has the reader pause and reflect. This is the exact feeling I had after reading every few cantos in the book.

Pages: 550 | ASIN: B0852R27DK

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All The World’s Colors

All The World's Colors: The Queen of the Blue by [James W. George]

In his latest novel All The World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue, James W. George deep dives into a fantastic world of magic and ancient feud. Our story opens as Jarrow Moncrief, mighty navigator of the Kelian, leads an expedition to recover missing colonists who had failed to report back to the homeland after supposedly founding a settlement in New Kelia. Joined by a company of soldiers the men venture off to the new and mysterious world in search of their missing brothers but upon their arrival make a gruesome discovery. Meanwhile, all is not well in the capital of Merovia. The aging Queen Makenna is displeased with the recent casualties and her grandson Prince Marcel finds himself the unwanted male child while his elder sister is beloved as the second in line to the throne.

Fantasy is one of my most favorite literary genres,there is so much to work with and it has limitless possibilities. This novel had many interesting and engaging aspects to it but it can be a little hard to follow due to the amount of information given at one time. Personally, I enjoy fantasy more when it has a multitude of fictional characteristics and rules concerning the fantasy world, and much of this piece had scores of connected and sensible aspects that tied the story together and brought the plot to life. The world and its inner workings were established firmly and it maintained consistency throughout the entirety of the story without large amounts of unnecessary repetition. All of the established parts complemented each other nicely and fit the theme throughout the entire story.   However, I found myself a little lost in the first couple chapters as information is presented very quickly without a lot of explanation in the beginning. Once you get into the meat of the plot it is a very engaging story with an interesting line up of characters and themes. In my opinion this novel presents a marvelous fantasy aspect that we do not get to see often in the literary world these days, I enjoyed the tone and the themes presented in this piece as well as an active plot with an abundance of excitement. Overall, this is a thrilling novel that fantasy fans will surely enjoy.

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