Friday, April 11, 2014

Two Great New Reviews of The Termite Queen, v.1!


My enthusiastic thanks to
Erika M Szabo and Shebat Legion
for the following 5-star reviews of
The Termite Queen, v.1: The Speaking of the Dead. 
Check out Erika's books at Amazon and at Smashwords
Find all of Shebat Legion's books at Amazon.

Review by Shebat Legion

Where does one even start? Brilliant? Yes. Original? Absolutely. Well written? Without a doubt! Comparisons come to mind; Dune, Watership Down, The Jungle Books… but that is where it breaks down for me as truly, it is rare to come across a work of fiction that carries the reader this many light years beyond that of the ordinary. I could attempt to describe the premise of the story but that would be doing you, hopeful reader, an injustice. I would only be describing the setting and not the nuance, this is something that needs to be discovered for yourself. I feel fortunate to have been introduced to this series written by Lorinda J. Taylor and would have no hesitation about placing it next to my most beloved books on my bookshelf. My only disappointment is that this book has not plummeted up the charts as it deserves. Read it for yourself and explain this to me, please. If I could give this book more than five stars I would gladly do so.

Review by Erika M Szabo

This book made it to my bookshelf's "read it again in print" section. When I first saw the book cover, I scrolled over it without giving it a second glance. The title didn't trigger my want-to-read-this-book either. Only after I read Lorinda's short story that she donated to my Read for Animals project, her writing style piqued my interest. I started reading the book one in her series and her storytelling and writing style captured me instantly. Her dialog are amazingly written and the characters are so easy to connect with. The names were confusing at first and hard to remember, but after a few pages A'a'ma became my instant favorite and the names of different species also fell into place and now they just roll off my tongue when I speak the names out loud, such as Tish'ra that I wanted so badly to stay alive, Kwi'ga'ga'tei or Ta'rei'so'cha. I never thought possible to forget that I was reading about a bird, termite or other species; I paid attention to their personality. Lorinda masterfully triggers emotions in the reader with a few carefully placed words, builds tension and drives the story; however she is a bit long winded when it comes to describing the anatomy of the species and interplanetary customs and practices. Although it is a bit slow reading those parts, her attention to meticulous details is unbelievable, thus I caught myself reading certain pages twice in order to take in those details instead of skimming through the less interesting parts. I didn't like Gwidian at first, but Lorinda had built their relationship into a love story so masterfully, that eventually I accepted him. The termite planet and complex society is created brilliantly with conspiracy, intrigue and assassination plot to commit murder. Overall this story is very enjoyable, the intriguing story line and budding love story sucks you right in. Highly recommend it to readers who like a fascinating, complex and perfectly detailed story.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Learn More about The Story Reading Ape!

 http://ailsaabraham.com/2014/04/08/chris-the-story-reading-ape-graham
(Reblogged)

A most entertaining way to learn more about and to thank
The Story Reading Ape
for all his great support for us indie authors!

Chris (The Story Reading Ape) Graham

Ape 1Well, he FINALLY arrived at the Bingergread Cottage.
I could tell when he did, all the local wildlife went streaming through the open front door and out through the previously closed back door before disappearing into the tangled overgrowth called (imaginatively, considering it was the Council’s choice) ‘The Bingerbread Cottage Enchanted Forest’!
It was also evident when, after the last Squirrel had disappeared, I heard a loud CLATTER of my precious motorbike hitting the ground, followed by an equally loud “SORRY – I WAS ONLY LOOKING AT IT, NOT TRYING TO GET ON IT” from my Guest.
Yes, you’ve guessed who my Guest is – the biggest, strongest, furriest Blogger in the Cyberworld – Chris, The Story Reading Ape!

After Badger reluctantly assisted him to get untangled and out from under the motorbike Chris finally made it through the now permanently open front door (it was no longer attached to the door frame) and settled himself onto my three seater settee (which STILL has a sag in it)
I greeted him and the interview commenced as follows (I took the precaution of recording it, in case I wouldn’t have enough elbow room to write – and I was right – I didn’t)

Would you like some of my twin brother Cameron’s Home Made Peanut Brittle instead of nibbling the potpourri?
Thank you, these funny little multicoloured nibbles DO taste a little too exotic for me, sort of ‘perfumery’ if you know what I mean (he said with a big furry, pointy fanged grin).

Do you like dogs? No, not for lunch, I can always put them away in the other room if they bother you.
No, No, I LIKE dogs and I’d NEVER eat an uncooked one – ONLY JOKING !!!(he added quickly as Lily started chewing delicately on ape toes)

Well, Lily seems to have taken a great liking to you, judging by the way she’s gently tugging at your ankle fur and drooling copiously.
Y-E-S – I can see that mmmm.

So – your famous blog is one year old now and I really want to know – how did you come up with the idea?
Ape 2I
I’m a great fan of Sir Terry Pratchett who writes all about the goings on at Discworld (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld) and he once said that all humans were really just apes and that the main difference between the ape-humans who survived and the other ape-humans who didn’t, was because they told stories! This helped them avoid and survive the things that destroyed the non-story telling ape-humans!
Well I thought, for every story teller there has to be at least one listener and since I can’t tell stories to save my life but love to hear them, I must be descended from the story listener species.
Taking this thought a little further, since people who do story TELLING (verbally) seem to be getting few and far between nowadays and story WRITING is on the increase, this must mean that evolution has changed them from story tellers to story writers!
THAT must mean that story LISTENERS have ALSO evolved to become story READERS, and that includes ME!
After this revelation, I decided to try and help keep these new evolved story writers (and thereby save the ape-human race) by promoting those ‘not yet rich and famous’ ones I discovered as I explored the mutliverse of stories I read.

Are you a writer yourself? Are the Ape memoires going to appear on the shelves sometime?
HAHAHAHA, as I said, I couldn’t tell a story to save my life, never mind WRITE any. With regards to my memoires, whoever would be interested in reading about an old moth-eaten, ape like me HAHAHA!

It is incredibly altruistic of you to give all us baby-writers a leg-up on the artistic ladder – does it cost you a fortune?
Oh, I don’t ever think of anyone who writes stories as Babies who need pampering – far from it – I’m, in fact challenging them to write more stories, write and edit better and to help them promote themselves and their stories!
With regards to any costs I incur, if I can sell a few book covers(http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-doings/) occasionally, it will help keep those costs down.
But I regard any expenditure as an investment in the survival and future of ape-humankind (STOP TITTERING YOU IN THE CHEAP SEATS AT THE BACK!).
If I can help keep the art and skill of story making alive for future generations, so they can enjoy them as much as I do, then any costs will be worthwhile.

I imagine that all this voluntary work with authors takes up a lot of time but if you do find some free time – what do you like to do?
Oh I’m kept busy alright, but because I enjoy it, it’s no problem.Ape 3
In my free time, apart from reading, which entertains and educates me, I like to listen to music from classical to some modern – I have a little hearing issue that prevents me making out the words of songs sometimes, but I find that the tunes themselves can benefit the spirit of the inner ape.
I also love walking in fresh air, be it in the countryside or seaside, although sometimes the wind can be a bit lazy, especially when cold, and cuts through me rather than go around me.

Where do you live?
In a nice leafy suburb of South East Manchester, England.

Is there a troupe or are you a lone silverback?
I have a treasure of a wife who, luckily, shares many of the things I like to do, plus I have a little sister and a daughter.

Ape 4
I don’t suppose Apes have jobs…but did you ever work before you became an author-promoter?
Oh yes, I’ve had a long and varied life of employment.
When I was 16, I worked for my hometown Council, in between leaving College and starting an apprenticeship in a local large Engineering Company. I helped to tend a large Cemetery and digging of graves. Did you know that when they say ‘Six Feet Under’, they mean it’s six feet of soil above the top of the coffin, but the grave is actually eight feet deep?
My friend and I had many an adventure discovering old unmarked graves running across new graves we were digging LOL.
I’ve worked at many aspects of engineering from the ground up, in design, manufacture, on-site supervision, installation and commissioning of equipment ranging from Power Station Turbines through Air-conditioning Chillers and Air Handling Units for Townhouses to Palaces and Tower Blocks through Shopping Malls and Hospitals.
I have also been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in several European and Middle Eastern Countries, with occasional visits to Far Eastern Countries, dealing with a variety of nationalities.

Ape 5Do iyou have anything else you want to tell me?
Yes!
(he said, straightening his back, puffing out his impressive 75 inch belly and growling softly – but not in the least bit terrifyingly)
Readers, please do not dismiss the books of self-published independent authors (Indies) as a waste of time or money.
Granted, there are a lot who have not taken the proper time and care they should have before publishing, or who do it for all the wrong reasons (like making money).
But, there are also MANY who are turning out well written stories that easily rival those of the more famous authors.
Take a chance, after all, many of their books cost LESS than a Lottery Ticket, but you have a better chance of getting a good read than you have of winning the lottery!
If you want to know some I can recommend, check out my blog Authors Hall of Fame (http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsras-hall-of-fame/)

Well, with that (and after persuading Lily to let go of him) Chris arose, removed the settee from his bottom, finished off the last of the Peanut Brittles and (luckily) left through the still wide open front door, resisting any further ‘Looking” at my motorcycle and knuckled off down the lane into the picturesque smog of sunset.

PS. Several hours later Badger, Lily and I awoke to the sight and sound of the local wildlife returning to their own homes via the reopened back door and the removed boards of the front door!
And we got to work on my bike!
tool kit f


 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I've Received the Lighthouse Award!


Erika M Szabo nominated me for The Lighthouse Award
for helping to edit the Read for Animals book. 
Here is her nomination:

The Lighthouse Award requires that a blogger:

• Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
• Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
• Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
• Share three ways that you like to help others.
• Nominate as many bloggers as you like.

I honestly don't spend a lot of time helping others at this point of my life, but I did spend fourteen years taking care of elderly family members.  I contribute to a number of charitable organizations.  I also am happy to help promote indie authors.  I was happy to show my support of animal welfare by helping in the production of Read for Animals.  You can buy it at Amazon -- only $3.95 for the Kindle version.  If you prefer paperbacks, a version with black-and-white illustrations has now been published for only $8.65.  All proceeds will go to help animal shelters. 

I've only picked one blog to nominate for this award:
Jeanne E. Rogers:  Australian Fantasy Adventures http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com
Jeanne is one of the contributors to Read for Animals.  She writes about endangered animals with an eye to educating children (and adults) about their plight.  She is particularly interested in Australian animals and writes children's fantasy stories with foxes and marsupials as the heroes and evil thylacines and dragon lizards as the villains. See The Sword of Demelza on Amazon.  The illustrations are great, by the way.  Here is the cover.  The valiant steed is obviously a wombat.  Anyone who followed Steve Irwin (also, no longer with us) knows that they seem slow and cuddly, but they can be quite feisty and aggressive when aggravated!


 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ye Olde Grammarian (No.5): More Pesky Punctuation

      

http://pentopapercommunications.com/2011/10/31/comma-conundrumsthe-dos-and-donts-of-commas/
       I've been doing some copyediting lately, and that means I have punctuation on the brain.  So allow me to disemburden (is that a word?) myself.
 
       First let me list links to my earlier Olde Grammarian posts, in case any of you are eager to suffer more agony:
Ye Olde Grammarian [No.1]: I discuss the value of diagramming sentences and also dangling participial and prepositional phrases.
Ye Olde Grammarian (No.2):  I discuss that common bugaboo, the incorrect use of pronoun cases. Grrr! One of my pet peeves!
Ye Olde Grammarian (No. 3): Pesky Punctuation Problems: I discussed the placement of periods, commas, etc., in relation to quotation marks and parentheses.
Ye Olde Grammarian is Ba-a-ck (No.4): a humorous post where I ended up on the subject of the Oxford comma.
 
       Allow me to first review the rules for punctuating dialogue since these may be unfamiliar especially to those whose first language is not English (other language have totally different conventions in the matter of punctuation).
       Any statement or question or exclamation uttered by a character must be enclosed in quotation marks.  "I saw the murderer come through the door."  "Did the murderer come through the door?" "Wow, the murderer made a quick getaway!"  The end mark on the sentence always goes inside the quotation mark.
       But what if you want to say who said those things?
       "I saw the murderer come through the door," John said. (Note that a comma ends the bit of dialogue because the whole shebang is one sentence.  It doesn't make sense to write "I saw the murderer come through the door."  John said.  John said is not a separate or complete sentence.)
       Ditto for
       John said, "I saw the murderer come through the door."  Do not write: John said.  "I saw him come through the door."
       In the case of questions marks or exclamation points, they stand in place of the comma, inside the quotation mark:
       "Did the murderer come through the door?" John said.
       John said, "Did he come through the door?"
       So what if you want to split up the quotation?
       "I saw the murderer run through the door," said John.  "I don't know where he went after that."  (Note the normal comma before said John.  A period follows because it ends a complete sentence.  Then a new sentence begins, so it's simply enclosed in quotation marks.)
       "I saw the murderer run through the door," said John, "and jump into his car."  Here you decided to divide the sentence, inserting said John in the middle.  It becomes a kind of appositive (more on that in a minute), so it gets set off with commas.  Since the sentence isn't complete, the second part begins with a lower-case letter.  Never write: "I saw the murderer run through the door," said John.  "and jump into his car."  Also never write: "I saw him run through the door," said John.  "And jump into his car."  Ditto, never write: "I saw him run through the door," said John.  "and jump into his car." 
       What if you are using he said instead of John said?  Correct examples:
       "John came through the door," he said. (Note the lower case h, because it's not a proper name.)
       "John came through the door," he said, "and jumped into his car."
       "John came through the door," he said.  "Then he jumped into his car."
 
       Okay, now the appositive, that vague term.  Appositives - useful constructs - need some definition.  (Can you identify two appositives in the two preceding sentences?)  Here is how Grammar Monster defines the term:  
       "An appositive is a noun, a noun phrase, or a noun clause which sits next to another noun to rename it or to describe it in another way. (The word appositive comes from the Latin for to put near.)  Appositives are usually offset with commas, brackets, or dashes."
       I honestly don't know if he said in quoted speech should be called an appositive, but it certainly has the characteristics of one. 
       A common use of the appositive is the placement of a name to define the previous word or phrase.  These are often mispunctuated.
       My dog, Ollie, will chew your shoes if he gets a chance.
       My best friend, Mary, can't come to the party.
       Personally, I have no objection to seeing the commas omitted in those cases.  It seems a little confusing.  Now if you're addressing somebody, then yes, put commas.  You might think you were addressing Mary here until you read the rest of the sentence.
       I would prefer to say: Mary, my best friend, can't come to the party.  (My best friend is the appositive here and clearly needs to be set off with commas.)
      
      Another error of comma use related to this is in punctuating salutations and greetings.  I continue to be old school and do it the way I was taught, even though it seems to have been universally abandoned these days.  I will continue to address you in emails as
       Hi, John, (not as Hi John)
       However, I will not do this if your name is Mary.  Then I will write
       Hi, Mary,
      The use of the vocative (i.e., an instance where you are addressing someone) is related to this.  A terrific example of this appears in the picture at the top of this post.  And here is another (adapted from this website) as to why you should set off the name of the person addressed with a comma:
       What don't you want to tell John?
       What don't you want to tell, John?

 
       And I believe that's quite enough for now, although I haven't run out of topics! 
       And I want to apologize to John, whoever and wherever you are.  You are a sterling fellow and certainly not a murderer, and I have absolutely no wish to defame your character!
 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Read for Animals!


I've gotten involved in a project to publish an anthology containing stories about animals, with the proceeds going to support animal shelters!
 
Follow the publishing progress and learn about the contributors on
 
I contributed the Prologue from my WIP The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars.  It will appear under the title "Survivor."  The book will include fiction, poetry, short accounts of personal experiences involving animals, and some artwork as well!  And all for a great cause!
 
By the way, intelligent extraterrestrial termites don't count as animals, I fear!  Still, I've found a way to include something from an unpublished volume of my Ki'shto'ba series!
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For Indie Publishers: Who Gets All the Loot after You Die?

       Of course, that title is delivered somewhat tongue-in-cheek, especially in my case since so far my books have hardly been best sellers.  However, every author needs a literary executor and especially (as in my case) if they are no longer spring chickens and they have a large body of manuscripts and computer documents that have not been edited or published yet.  I want my material to be preserved and treated with respect after I die, and I would hope somebody would like my books well enough to want to take on the task of continuing publication. 
       Unfortunately, I have no relatives or friends who would want to do this or even know how to attempt it.  My present will has no provision in it for a literary executor, and I had better get on the stick and at least discuss the situation with an attorney.  Maybe reading the following article will get me started.  The links included in the article and the comments on those links are also valuable, particularly the first one cited.

The following is reblogged from The Story Reading Ape:
http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2014/01/28/dun-writin-now-whut-a-series-by-susan-uttendorfsky-owner-of-adirondack-editing-10-what-happens-when-you-die/comment-page-1/#comment-6760

Dun Writin’—Now Whut?
A series by Susan Uttendorfsky – Owner of Adirondack Editing –
(10 What Happens When You Die?)
 
       Wait, wait, don’t run away. This is not a religious post. This is a practical, necessary discussion about your writing, your books, your accounts, etc., when you bite the dust.
       It’s going to happen to all of us, sooner or later, and writers have additional details to worry about—or their heirs and estates, if the writers don’t address it. What happens to your copyright? What happens to your accounts? Who can keep selling your books? There are lots of questions to answer, and it’s best if you think about it ahead of time. You’ve learned a lot through your journey of writing, publishing, and marketing. How many years did it take you to get where you are today? Are your heirs going to have automatic knowledge and know what to do? Probably not.
       First, let’s learn the language. What we’re talking about are your “literary assets” and “literary estate.” Your writing can also be called your “intellectual property” (IP) and “intellectual property assets.” The person who manages these things after you’re gone might be called a “literary trustee.”
So what does happen to your IP after your death? That’s up to you, so start thinking. Who is going to be your trustee? How will royalties and income be distributed? Will there be any provision for extending your copyright, which expires 70 years after your death?
       This article is fairly big on questions and fairly skimpy on information. That’s because each country, state, and family is different. What works for one author might not work for another, so you have to make your own decisions. I can only offer places to start. A lawyer will be needed to set up the trust and other arrangements. A will is a definite necessity!
       Here are the blog posts from which the ideas for this theme were taken:
       Along these lines, I mentioned accounts. Passwords will be needed by your trustee in order to manage your assets, so be sure you keep a list—somewhere, offline, frequently updated!—of your important passwords. Your Amazon.com password, CreateSpace, private printers, etc.—anywhere you do business on a regular basis. Your trustee will be able to find account numbers and usernames on the subscribing emails, if you kept them, but passwords change. Without the passwords, your trustee’s job will be much more difficult. Many companies, not just those involved in publishing, neglect policies and procedures for transferring accounts to an heir or trustee. They just don’t think that far ahead. So you need to.
       We’re Dun for today, so keep on Writin’!
Susan
Susan Uttendorfsky

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New 5-Star Review of The Termite Queen, v.1

Thanks to Chris Graham (the Story Reading Ape himself) for the following 5-star review, which appears on Amazon, Amazon UK, and on Goodreads.

       About 1000 years from now, Earth and its inhabitants have survived several apocalyptic events, climate change, religious and political wars and even a 'Dark Ages' type period, resulting in a future where politics, religion and people's mindsets/priorities are quite different from ours in many respects.
       Space exploration was revived, resulting in a first contact, which eventually introduced Humans to three other diverse types of intelligent beings who allowed Humanity to join their Confederation and accompany them on their exploration of other worlds.
       A new world is discovered. Unfortunately, the intelligence of one of its creature races was not discovered until after the death of one of them and the abduction and death of another. The reason was simple, unlike the Confederations four races, these creatures did not speak vocally, nor were they telepathic, they communicated in a completely different way.
       As well as creating a believable future Earth and four non-human extra-terrestrial
races, the author cleverly explains how to surmise a language from a previously unknown form of non-verbal communication.
       Although the story involves all five races, the emphasis is on the discovery of intelligence, the building/understanding of a new language and the return journey to the newly discovered world (including a romance between two scientists who are polar opposites in every respect).
       This book enticingly paves the way for the next book in what promises to be a fascinating series.

 
For good measure, here are extracts from another review of the same book and from a 5-star review of v.2, which concludes the 2v. novel.
 
On v.1: "If you like science fiction that's full of science, this is for you. If you like a side of emotion and romance, this is doubly for you. I'll be moving forward to see what happens and to ultimately settle my opinion on the central characters...mostly I'll be carrying on to observe more of the alien culture, which is the most polished and shining aspect of this book(in my opinion)." -- T.A. Miles
 
On v.2: "The whole of the story is also high and sacred myth retold. We find nods to the Mabinogi, classical Greek myth and the New Testament as well. Of the former, some aspects of Gwidian's life mirror the old Welsh tales. Kaitrin's retelling of the Polyphemus episode from Odyssey for her Termite audience is a real hoot and requires a good bit of cross-cultural gymnastics. Always a bit of an enigma for Taylor's 30th century, post-religious, humanistic and generally agnostic humans, the Nameless One -- the Creator as she is known by the Shshi -- and her communion with her Termite children comes across very well from the Termite perspective. Here we find several nods to the New Testament, including the sacramental nature of the Termites' nectar and how the goddess describes humans as 'not knowing what they believe'; and thus she must resort to vaguish signs to communicate with them rather than the more direct visions she uses with the in many respects more innocent Shshi. It struck me as an interesting parallel to the teaching of Jesus that one must go to the Heavenly Father "as a child" (i.e., with innocence and openness) and this pretty well describes the Shshi vis-a-vis the Mother. They have a kind of innate openness and innocence and acceptance that I think humans lack. Very nicely done!" -- Chris Brown
 
See links to all TermiteWriter's books in the side bar of this blog!