Archive for January, 2014

Troublesome First Draft

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Guest Author: Cathy Marie Buchanan

Style: "Neutral"Writing the first draft of a novel is about the toughest work I’ve undertaken (and I should mention that I’ve worked on the line at GM, waitressed in a greasy spoon and spent years as a financial analyst at IBM). Yes, I have the gist of the novel before I put fingertips to keyboard. For The Painted Girls I had a three-page synopsis and about six months of research under my belt. But no amount of upfront work prepares me for the million decisions I face each time I’m writing a first draft, the feeling that a single wrong turn might lead me down a garden path, skirting the blooms I meant to pick along the way, so that I emerge at the far end with a bouquet far substandard to the one I set out to create.

Where shall I begin the story? With nasty Monsieur LeBlanc arriving to collect the rent the Van Goethem family of The Painted Girls does not possess? Should I proceed chronologically? Is first or third person the better choice? Past or present tense? Should the narrator— in the case of The Painted Girls, Marie van Goethem, a real life model for Edgar Degas— have a mother?  Yes. A sister? Two, as she did in real life. Should her older sister Antoinette tell part of the story? And that bad boy she meets behind the Paris Opéra, should she go to a tavern with him?  Should they fall in love? Should that love story become central to the plot? And now back the story I thought I was writing, the one about Degas’s model Marie. Will she show a talent for dancing? Will she meet a wealthy male admirer of the ballet in Degas’s studio? Will he be lecherous as were so many of those supposed patrons of the day?

The level of uncertainty is disarming and at times paralysing. I think, for me, it’s uncertainty that causes writers’ block, not a dearth of ideas or creativity, but rather a fear of making the wrong choice, heading down the wrong path and wasting a month or a year, a fear of writing a lousy book.Painted Girls

Wreaking havoc alongside the uncertainly so inherent to writing first draft is the impossibility of truly knowing the characters I am only just beginning to set on the page. I don’t yet know how they speak, or what they will and will not do, or how they might react. Those nascent characters are erratic and inconsistent. Their names change mid-paragraph. These shadow characters are far from living, breathing intimates. There comes a point, though, if a writer is lucky, if she’s done the work required, when the shadow retreats and a character takes on flesh and blood. And just like I know my sister and can predict how she will react or what she will say, my characters begin to weigh in, participating in how the story unfolds, curbing the decisions to be made. I’ve heard other writers say that they found their voice or that their characters spoke to them or that the story wrote itself. And while the latter seems a gross oversimplification, I think we’re all speaking of the blessed moment when our characters become real in our minds. It’s the moment when the first draft ceases to be a slog, an endurance test of sitting down each morning to rein in endless possibilities.

About Author:

Cathy Marie Buchanan’s “The Painted Girls” is a #1 National Bestseller in Canada, a “New York Times” bestseller, and has garnered rave reviews and been showered with special attention—everything from selection as a “People Magazine” pick to inclusion in “Entertainment Weekly’s” Must List. Her debut novel, “The Day the Falls Stood Still“, is a “New York Times” bestseller and a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection. She holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she now resides in Toronto.

France-Shop Books @ Printsasia in Your Local Currency

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Yet another website in the Eurozone sites, http://www.printsasia.fr/, launched for our France based users. With this recent launch, book aficionados from France can shop their desired titles at Printsasia.fr in their local currency, i.e. in Euro.

France pic

We are excited to let our users from France know that along with low pricing of books, you can also get the benefit of Free Shipping on every purchase at Printsasia.fr.

All avid readers can now browse plethora of titles published in USA, UK and Asian region. This new opportunity immediately will now broaden the horizons of your imported books selection without burning hole in your pocket.

Currently, we would be providing Live Chat and Email Support in English language but in future, we may provide it in French Language as well.

We hope you will enjoy exploring our website. We request you to provide feedback to us about this newly launched website and suggest what would you like to be included in this website, You can send your feedback at web@printsasia.fr

Wonderful, Unconscious Mega-brain; or The Difficult Second Novel

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Guest Author: C. J. Flood

myfaceSince beginning book two, I’ve had the unsettling feeling of being a deeply unoriginal individual. It began when the words difficult and second and novel found each other in my psyche, and started cuddling, and refused to let go. Because it turns out, writing under contract, after lifelong writing when no one anywhere cares, is quite difficult. Or different, at least.

Writing Infinite Sky, my first novel, seems easy by comparison. It just came together, I often think to myself, looking at the beautifully packaged hardback. It was one of those gifts of a book, I have heard myself say, when asked about my inspiration. It just sort of came out.

Friends and family beg to differ. They insist I said the same things about Infinite Sky as I do about this book. (But how am I going to unpick the chaos? It’s totally out of control! And who would actually want to read this?) I just don’t recall. The struggle seems to recede as you get more used to the book as a kind of spare object that litters the house. Still, it’s worth attempting to remember.

Because when pressed, I do recall a period when Infinite Sky wasn’t working. That the voice took quite a long time to find. That for tens of thousands of words, it was a completely different kind of novel altogether. And then another. Until, finally, eventually, it became an amalgamation of all of these attempts, the best version of itself I could manage in the time available, made by cutting useless parts and shoving forward the useful or interesting.

Visiting an early draft of my second novel, at the time, imaginatively entitled Infinite SkySoldiers, I am amazed at how many of the ideas I had thought occurred to me recently, are already there in the text. Reading through it, I get that slightly mystical, unnerving feeling that maybe the chaos isn’t chaos after all. Or not in the way I’d thought. That moving forwards in the midst of it – by writing new sentences, and doing more research, and attempting to imagine the final scene before you’ve even written the opening one – isn’t only done by feeling blindly as it seems, but by being pulled by some wonderful, unconscious mega-brain that has an instinctive handle on it all. An unconscious mega-brain that somehow already knows the story.

Nonsense?

Perhaps. But isn’t it the loveliest idea? I adore to think of the unconscious in this way, leading me around by a vague feeling in my stomach. And I love to push forward this idea that Unconscious Me is tinkering away on the important projects even as Conscious Me refuses to get out of bed, or wanders around the internet, or watches everything ever on Netflix. And I can’t wait until a time when I answer questions about my process with glib, annoying remarks like, Oh well it just kind of appeared, out of nowhere. I can’t really explain it, to be honest.

About Author:                    

C J Flood is the author of the Carnegie Medal nominated Infinite Sky. She lives in Bristol where she is finishing her second novel for young adults, to come out in July 2014.

Spain-Shop Books @ Printsasia in Your Local Currency

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

We are extremely excited and pleased to announce that our next Eurozone website on the series and the first in Spain, http://www.printsasia.es/, is live. Book buyers from Spain can now shop books published in Asia and America in their local currency.

In 2011, we launched Printsasia.com in US, and have since been working round the clock to reach out to book aficionados across the globe. Printsasia.es is one step ahead in this direction.

For limited time, we would be offering Free Shipping to the users getting their books delivered in Spain.

For now, customer support via email and Live Chat will be provided in English language, 24×7. In near future we may provide support in native language as well.

We invite volunteers who would bring language and usability based shortcomings to our notice and would really appreciate if you  visit our newly launched website and send us your feedback at web@printsasia.es.

Me and the Promised Land by Arthur Flowers

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Guest Author: Arthur Flowers

ARFbookstoreI have to say I love this book. What happened I was invited to the Jaipur Literary Festival as part of a State Dept. tour and my hoodoo performance bit resonated. Folk started treating me like some sort of literary guru, touching my feet, sitting around me in a half circle asking about the meaning of life, it was a sobering experience. Folk responded to the spiritual component in my work in a way I had not experienced in the West.

So, after one performance Gita Wolf of Tara Books asked me if I would like to do a graphic novel collaboration on the life of Martin Luther King with an Indian Patua artist.  I said sure, what is a Patua artist.

Wasn’t like I was going to say no to an offer like that. Gita explained that Patua artists are itinerant artist who paint their story on a scroll and sing it as they unravel it.  Tara Books mission is to modernize traditional Indian art forms in books that are themselves works of art.

So we started the collaboration, Manu had never been out of his village, didn’t even speak Hindu, they had to translate everything, and he had never heard of Martin Luther King.  His early images evidenced a rudimentary understanding of the struggle but in the back and forth the sophistication of his images evolved into something special.  Because of that cultural glitch there were all sorts of unortho interpretations, his slave ships look like Viking ships to me, with prows and rowing slaves, and his idea of an underground railroad is a train snaking across the page, and he has all kinds of Patua aesthetics like smiling slaves and multicolored people and for instance Rosa Parks in a sari but he manages to capture the essence in a way that makes it some kind of wonderful.

So once I realize that Manu is telling stories in a traditional Indian storytellingMartin luthar format I ask Gita can I do my delta storyteller thing.  I come out of the griotic tradition in African American lit, a tradition that consider ourselves heirs to two literary traditions, the Western written and the African oral tradition.  In my novels I have to be subtle with it but I asked Gita, she said do whatever you want, Arthur.  Probably shouldn’t have told me that.  I did my delta storytelling thing, Martin Luther King as an instrument of the Gods and when they were through with him they offer him up as a sacrifice for all the generations.  I had a ball.

And as we were going for the adult market I tried to explore the more complicated aspects of MLK as a person and instrument.  His doubts and fears, his adultery, I tried to make him a complicated icon.

Most of the cultural glitches I did not object to, they add to the international flavor and I felt Manu caught the essence in a way that only he could.  Only one time we couldn’t reach an understanding, Manu’s depiction of King as a Drum Major was a little guy with epaulets on his shoulder, playing a snare drum.  I said, no, that won’t fly.

Instead we used a picture he had done of me dancing in performance, I look like some sort of Hindu deity.  And thru there he has me performing and storytelling.  I don’t know where that came from.  He didn’t see any or my performances, he had never been out of his village.  They must have shown him pictures.  It must have been planned.  Whatever, I love this book.  They let me do things an American publisher would not have allowed.

Then when the piece came out it was just so pretty. I am so tickled to be part of the Tara Books stable. Love working with Gita, Manu and Guglielmo. Love the fact that it came out in India. Love that I’m in it. Also I like to think of myself as a global artist and this one is global by definition. What’s not to love.

Author bio:

Arthur Flowers, native of Memphis, is the author of novels and nonfiction, including Another Good Loving Blues, Mojo Rising: Confessions of a 21st Century Conjureman and I See the Promise land. He is a blues based performance poet, webmaster of Rootsblog and cofounder of Pan African Literary Forum, New Renaissance Writers Guild and The Griot Shop. He has been Executive Director of the Harlem Writers Guild, recipient of an NEA, and teaches MFA Fiction, Syracuse University.

Italy-Shop Books @ Printsasia in Your Local Currency

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Following up the thrill of recently launching our first Eurozone website, now we have launched first website for our users in Italy. From now on, book aficionados from Italy can shop their favorite titles at http://www.printsasia.it/ in their local currency. With this new launch, we believe that avid readers from Italy will get hundreds of thousands of titles, published in Asia, USA and UK, with ease and at reasonable pricing.

As of now, the Live Chat and Email support will be provided in English Language but soon it will be provided in Italian Language. 

We invite volunteers visit our website and to provide feedback. If you have any advice on how we can make our new website better or if you want to suggest any change or improvements you would like to see in our website please do contact us at web@printsasia.it and we would love to hear from you.

Germany -Shop Books @ Printsasia in Your Local Currency

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

We are excited to let our users from Germany know that they can now shop in their local currencies, i.e. Euro. Today Printsasia has achieved yet another milestone by launching its first website, http://www.printsasia.de in Eurozone. We are hoping that the book aficionados from Germany are going to get a whole new array of titles to choose from and get benefitted of our highly competitive pricing.

All orders will be shipped using Royal Mail from London but native users will get benefit of Free Shipping.

Currently customer support will be provided in English Language but over the period, we might shift to providing both Live Chat and Email support in German Language.

We would be very much pleased to hear feedbacks from our users. Please do visit and let us know your much valued feedbacks. The translation work has been done using freelancers services, so we expect there might be some errors. We apologize for this in advance and suggest our users to pin point the errors so that we can make this website free of language or any other such flaws.

Watch this space as we are soon launching other Eurozone websites too!

10 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin-Luther-KingAn apostle of peace and a preacher of universal love, harmony and brotherhood- Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in the U.S. history whose mission in life was to serve others. One of the greatest orators in the history of America, King was a charismatic figure who both amazed and uplifted people by his clear sense of purpose, his commitment to social transform and the brilliance of his insights. For his non-violent movements to eradicate racial prejudices and segregations in America, he was awarded with the Noble Peace Prize in 1964.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929, Martin would not bow his head in apathy and, with his outstanding efforts, gave hope to the poor and strengthened the lives of millions of mistreated and downtrodden people. US Civil rights leader, Dr. King also authored many books, including Why We Can’t Wait, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, The Measure of a Man, I Have a Dream Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, and many more.

There’s no doubt that most of us are pretty familiar with his civil rights movement and his eloquent oratory skills, but there are indeed some facts that have slipped under the radar. In honor of a great man and leader, we have dug up some interesting and lesser-known facts about the legendary icon that you probably may not be aware of.

1. King’s Birth Name Was Michael, Not Martin.

The original name of this civil rights leader was “Michael King, Jr.” In 1931, when his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany, he changed his name to Martin Luther in homage to the German Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther as well as that of his 5-year-old son. But no records documenting a formal name change and hence until his death he officially remained Michael King, Jr.

2. Martin Skipped the 9th and 12th grades

Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a bright student that he skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grades and entered Morehouse College at the tender age of 15. By the age of 19, he graduated college with a degree in sociology. King also received a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological seminary and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1955 from Boston University. The title of his theses was “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

3. King Was Jailed 29 Times

According to the King Center, King was arrested and sent to prison nearly 30 times over the course of his life. Most of the reasons he was arrested were for acts of civil disobedience. In 1963, he was taken to jail in the consequence of the Birmingham confrontation with the municipal authorities. He wrote a prose, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that ranks among most important American documents written. He was also ridiculously jailed for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956.

4. The Youngest Person To Receive Noble Prize

King won a Noble Peace Prize at the age of 35. In 1964 when he received the Noble Prize, he was the youngest overall for the Peace Prize. He earned $54,123 (about $400,000 today) for his Noble Peace Prize but donated all his money to the Civil Rights movement. Moreover, he was the first African American to be named Man of the Year by Time Magazine in 1963.

5. King Was Nearly Assassinated A Decade Before His Death

Assassination new

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated by James Earl Ray but it was not the first assassination attempt. While King was on a book tour in Blumstein’s department store, signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” on September 20, 1958, he was approached by a black woman, Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked him if he was Martin Luther King Jr., which he obviously replied yes. After he gave affirmative answer, she said, “I have been looking for you for five years,” and then pulled out a seven-inch steel letter opener and stabbed him in his chest. The sharp point end of the blade came on the edge of his aorta, and King underwent hours of emergency chest surgery.

6. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech on the Steps of The Lincoln Memorial Was Not His First.

Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream” on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial was considered as one of the finest addresses ever delivered to a public audience. About 250,000 people attended and listened to his immortal speech. Although this outstanding speech was not King’s first at Lincoln Memorial. His first national address was delivered on the topic of voting rights at the monument.

7. There are Over 1,000 streets Around the World Named After Him

street

You might not know that there are more than 1,000 streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr. all over the world so far. Presently, over 730 streets have named after king can be found in nearly every major city in America.

 8. MLK Is the Only Non-President With A National Holiday In His Honor

To date, there are George Washington and Christopher Columbus are the only other two people in American history that have national holidays honoring them. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the only non-president native-born United States citizen to have had his birthday observed as a federal holiday. In 1983, Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday as a national holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Each year MLK day, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the King’s birthday, January 15.

9. King’s Last Words

According to Jesse Jackson, who was also present at the assassination, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last words were:”Ben, make sure you play: Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” to musician Ben Branch, who would be playing at Dr. King’s speech that night. On the day King was assassinated, he was out on the balcony for a smoke. Later, the last words spoken by him became his last wish as at his funeral, his good friend Mahaila Jackson sang the same hymn for him.

10. King’s Heart was 20 Year Older Than Him

Martin’s autopsy results revealed that although he was only thirty-nine at the time of his death, he had the heart of a sixty-year-old man. It can be assumed that it was a consequence of the lot of stress he was gone through during thirteen years of civil rights movement. King once himself had verbally predicted that he would not live to see forty.  

Dognition – Discover The Genius In Your Dog

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Brian Hare The Genius of Dogs How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian HareDo you ever look into your dog’s eyes and wonder what they are thinking? Now with Dognition, there’s a way to find out. This is an exciting time for dog lovers. We have learned more about dog intelligence in the past decade than we’ve learned in the previous century.

Instead of intelligence being like a cup of coffee, that is either more or less full, scientists think of intelligence as multi dimensional. You can be gifted in one area of thinking while completely ordinary in another. For instance, people with an excellent memory for facts and figures may struggle with mathematics. Or people who are average in the sciences may be wonderful writers. The key to success is finding out what your strengths are and working with them.

data vizDogs are no different. Every dog has genius. Some may be excellent problem solvers, and rarely ask for help from their owners, and other dogs watch their owners closely to help them solve problems when they are unsure. Some dogs are more empathetic, while others have excellent memories. Understanding your dog’s strengths can lead to a deeper relationship.

Dognition is a series of games that test five core competencies; Empathy, Communication, Cunning, Memory, and Reasoning. The results will help you figure out how your dog navigates the world.

Thousands of dogs have already participated, and their results contribute to one of the world’s largest citizen science projects. Their data has helped make many exciting discoveries. For instance, Female dogs are better navigators. And a third of all dogs have a long gaze that Increases owners’ oxytocin.

As more dogs participate, they will build on our knowledge of all dogs, leading to an even greater understanding of our best friends.

About Author:

Brian Hare is an Evolutionary Anthropologist at Duke University and the Founder of Dognition, a website that helps you find the genius in your dog. Some of this post adapted from his book The Genius of Dogs.

The Creation of a New World

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Guest Author:A.C. Arthur

IMG_9051The one thing I have always loved about reading books is the journey into another person’s life, the view of their trials and tribulations and most often times their happy ever after. Books have always provided that break from the norm, for me, they’ve always given me a place to go without having to leave the comfort of my own home. As I began writing my first romance novels it was with the thought of bringing two people together in a contemporary setting with everyday obstacles to conquer. I absolutely love reading and writing romance novels. And yet, I felt like there was so much more to a story that could be told, so much further I could go in the realm of romance.

It began with a picture of a beautiful jaguar. I stared at it for days thinking of how much power and strength the animal exuded and how sleek and alluring its presence was. It reminded me of a man, of the perfect Alpha hero. Shape shifters weren’t new to me or to readers for that matter so I spent some time trying to figure out what would make this particular species stand out among the rest. There is a certain amount of research to be done for any book, but for this one I wanted to dig a little deeper. I wanted to create not only a new species, but an entire world from which they originated. 

The Gungi is the name I selected for the region of the Amazon Rainforest where the Shadow Shifters were born and stayed until the outside world beckoned them. Studying the Portuguese and Brazlian traditions was fascinating and romantic and added an additional layer of intrigue to the main characters of this series. They not only carry their heritage with them in every step they take, but they adhere to the laws of their kind wPassion's Preyhile blending in with the human race.

Xavier Santos Markland is the hero in PASSION’S PREY, Book#3 in The Shadow Shifters series. He is a man of deep secrets and emotional scars. He is also a Shadow Shifter embarking on a civil war between the humans and the shifters and trying to maintain a steady balance. A victim of child sexual abuse, Xavier must get through his past pain before he can realize his future happiness. His mate, to his dismay, is his best friend’s sister, Caprise Delgado. Caprise is also a Shadow Shifter dealing with her own scars and regretful memories. The tumultuous attraction between the two is fueled by their past pain while fighting together for the safety of their species will ultimately unite them forever.

Each story in the Shadow Shifters series will take readers on an emotional journey and an action-filled ride through a new and unchartered world. This is the world I wanted to create, the one filled with uncertainties and hope, of pain and rejuvenation, of love beyond all else.

About Author:

A.C. Arthur was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently resides with her husband and three children. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since. Her debut novel Object of His Desire was written when a picture of an Italian villa sparked the idea of an African-American/Italian hero.

Later in her publishing career, AC introduced The Donovans, a contemporary family saga that is still being told in current books. Most recently, she has taken the plunge into the paranormal genre with her sexy and dark adult series titled The Shadow Shifters and her young adult paranormal series (written under the name Artist Arthur) titled The Mystyx. For all the latest news on A.C. Arthur books, giveaways, appearances and discussions join A.C.’s Book Lounge on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/AC-Arthurs-Book-Lounge/140199625996114

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