Friday, August 28, 2015

Temba Magorimbo discusses his book "Butterscotch"

Our author on the blog today goes by the name Temba Magorimbo. He was born on 9 August 1966, Tuesday in Gweru of a policeman and his housewife. He grew up circulating this small city, the fifth then in Rhodesia (then) as his parents moved within Rhodesian police camps (residential areas). He went to school within Gweru mainly at Senga Primary School and Ascot Secondary. Before 1980, there was Rhodesia, after 1980, the same country was baptized as Zimbabwe. Pre-1980, it took a guerilla war to end racism and discrimination. Effects of this war, though he was a teen, affect his writing. He try and write from a neutral perspective.

Going back to around 1980 when he was a form 1 student at Ascot secondary School in Gweru, Zimbabwe, at thirteen years of age. He had a Caucasian expatriate teacher who encouraged him in the arts alongside three of his form 3 or 4 students namely Samuel Musharu, Simplicio Captain and Lucky Thodhlana. That was his clique of writers. He hailed from England, Paul or Saul Hyman. Samuel was a poet, Lucky wrote in African languages (Shona) and Simplicio shared his thrust of misusing the English as a second language option. He  was an avid user of the school library which made him want to write. That is how he became an author.

D.O: How do you do Temba. Thank you for joining us today, on Authors' Curtilage Book Dialogue.

T.M: Thanks for featuring me on your great blog Darmie.

D.O: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

T.M: I started writing when I was less than twelve years old. I was influenced by radio stories. In those days it was part of the syllabi to listen to radio stories from grade one to grade seven. We lived in an era where our family radios were battery operated even though we had load limited electricity. The family radios were only switched on for programs like news. We listened attentively as three battery operated radios were moved from class to class in a three class stream. Further to which at home, I listened to radio stories. At school they did not have a proper library. However, books for all grades were distributed at certain times were we had no option but to read and enjoy stories about the worlds we did not know. Rhodesia was a landlocked country, we read about castles near the sea, lighthouses, rocks on the ocean and jutting precipices near the sea.

D.O: Hmmm. The life then must be quite intriguing. 

T.M: Yes, it was quite interesting compare to this new age where you have almost everything available to you.

D.O: What are the various craft you've studied before you came into the entertainment industry or do you just possess some natural tendencies for story writing?

T.M: I tried acting which wasn’t even convincing to my fellow actors especially when I fluffed lines and forgot my entry and exit times. Motor racing wasn’t my style because I didn’t have a license to drive worse of which I couldn’t afford the fuel even if I had the vehicle and license.

D.O:
 Hmmm. What are the steps you took to develop your book from a rough draft into a published novel?

T.M: I started by writing on loose sheets of plain paper before transferring to written paper. Those days! I would in later stages, around age seventeen go to a printing press in Gweru’s light industries where I bought offcuts. Then after several drafts I typed the final on a Hermes Baby portable typewriter. In later years, I moved to a desktop computer which had Windows 98. The use of floppy disks was amazing when the computer crashed and the floppy started misbehaving. Now I do my outlines, drafts and everything on computer using various Word versions according to the time until completion.

D.O: What did you do differently in your book to make readers feel fear, concern, sadness, love and laughter?

T.M: I wrote from the heart. I wrote from the open pores of feeling sad and guilty at times lonely and miserable at others, cheeky and shouting at some times, other times I was happy and carefree. I removed all my own personal feelings from the books that I wrote. I put in as much humour as I can find because people are stressed and concerned about everyday happenings.

D.O: Your feelings are normal. A lot of us writers have demons we battle with in all the areas of our lives.

T.M: [SMILES]

D.O: What sensitive materials do your book deal with?

T.M: I talk about love with an emphasis on Christianity because Christianity is what I am. I do not believe in divorce neither do I want to see divorces though I know this happens, people get divorced. The pain they cause their children is real because I grew up in a family which had experienced divorce/separation of parents. Children would give up all to remain with their parents.

D.O: Sorry about the broken home. I know how the shoes hurt. I'm likewise against divorce.

T.M: Thank you Darmie.

D.O: You're welcome. What's the subject matter of your book?

T.M: Romance, love and break up/make up, cheats, fall guys, suckers and the down trodden.

D.O: Okay. What is the underlying theme that explored truth or moral in your book?

T.M: My theme is the togetherness of the family unit. We all have problems however why do we fight when we can negotiate? It is a wonderful thing to have a love story that doesn’t end in tragedy. I like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, if only they had not both died.

D.O: It's a wonderful thing to have a love story that doesn't end in tragedy. Hmmm. What town or city does your book story portray and what is the feeling we have in this dwelling places?

T.M: Butterscotch [meet me in Alberta] portrays the city of Harare which is our capital in Zimbabweand minor cities like Gweru and small towns like Shurugwi and Zvishavane. Though Harare may have problems like administration of the city by the cash strapped municipal authorities, bad roads, sewer blockages, electricity black outs, filth and uncollected litter, Harare is still our capital and we can make it beautiful if we all ditch the cart and the horse, [the politicians] and go it alone. The book features Calgary and slightly, Edmonton in the finale.

D.O: Having a unique point of view in telling a story provides your story with intention. From how many characters' viewpoint is your entire book seen from?

T.M: Butterscotch [meet me in Alberta] explores different viewpoints, that of the main character, of his wife and especially that of his mistress’ husband.

D.O: What does these point of views infuse into each of the scene in your book?

T.M: Raphael finds it difficult to keep a straight job though he has vast experience. He keeps getting short term jobs which frustrate him.

D.O: What does the lead character of your book want most in the world?

T.M: He wants a settled life where he is loved. He thinks he can have de javu with his mistress Virginia not his wife Dorothy. In the later stages, he gets the permanent job he wants, overseas, in tar sands oil extraction. Here he is working where he knows best, long and difficult well paid hours with lots of free time and he is lonely. He wants his family, will it be his children with his mistress or his mistress with the children growing away from him in another country?

D.O:
What does he do to achieve this goal?

T.M: Raphael goes out of the country to work in extremely difficult but well paid conditions in order to break the financial shackles for his family. He starts preparations to cater for his family if it comes in. There is a glitch. Will his wife agree to send the elder children while she stays behind minding the toddlers?

D.O: What are the core truth for your lead character?

T.M: Raphael discovers that it is worth it to climb down and rejoin hands with his wife, Dorothy. He discovers that at times it is worthwhile to eat humble pie.

D.O: What are the two conflicting values you created for him?

T.M: Raphael has to consider his marriage versus his stint with his mistress. Afterall, she, his mistress is married too. Does he think it kosher to have two divorces in order to have their affair or should both of them feel the heartbreak of separation while maintaining their marriages 8, 000-kilometres apart.

D.O: Does this values make sense from his backstory?

T.M: Raphael is drawn to the past where he had been apprentice qualified and running around searching for a job. In those days, he met and had a rolling and vibrant love affair with one Virginia who later dumped him and married someone else he keeps counting his losses especially after they re-start their romance after different marriages. He finds it difficult to value his marriage and keep it stable.

D.O: What is the personal trait you gave your lead character to survive your book story?

T.M: He drowns his frustrations in working hard and running his businesses when things are not shaping up.

D.O: In the end of your book did the story goal satisfy your lead character's ambition or did he device another method to achieve his goal or failed at achieving it?

T.M: To my own point of view the story ends well when they decide to restart their love and marital life.

D.O: How do you think your book will influence readers growth positively?

T.M: It will teach them a story about love that dies hard. It teaches them that even after fifteen years, a man‘s heart is still soft towards his former girlfriend. Watch out for those small love affairs. Does it pay to rekindle the heart of years ago when a man was ditched by a girl when he meets her again?

D.O: Any hint about your next book?

T.M: Lamb To The Slaughter  is the story about the life and times of Tapiwa who is on the romp searching for the right girl until he realizes that he made a catalogue of mistakes going back to post graduation. He is a determined student who excels by running the mid-night oil until he reaches university. There are girls at university or outside. He is a wolf searching for lambs but there is HIV/AIDS and broken marriages to consider. How will he fare?

D.O: Hmmm. Interesting. What better effort do you suggest writers, input into their writing to have great sales in the ever-changing economics of the entertainment industry?

T.M: We need professional editors [proof, line/development and substantive], book jacket designers and then we need professional marketing companies who know where to rub salt on open wounds. Professional writers who publish with traditional publishers have the advantage of experienced and qualified personnel to cover various publishing facets. Indie authors should do the same and employ [professionals to compete. The problem is this calls for some capital or set up fund before publishing!

D.O: You're right about that. We should have catching and well polished books then, the sky would be our starting point. Writers, that's a professional advice from Temba. I hope you key into it.

Butterscotch – Blurb
[meet me in Alberta]
How does a man balance the love of his dotting wife and the affair he is about to cook with his ex-girlfriend who is married too? What does the fact that his wife is tall and huge have to do with the fact that his mistress is medium and petite looking have to do with love? Why does he land lucrative contracts then in between he has to struggle for survival?

Enter Virginia:-

Years ago in the prime of his youth Raphael had met and befriended Virginia. Then he was post apprenticeship qualification doing an odd job as a relief lecturer at a state run polytechnic while she was concluding her training as a nurse. Youth and exuberance where the order of the day. They ran hot bending and breaking love rules. He finds his trade job which makes him feel like a man. It is only that he has to cross 280-kilomtres to work leaving her alone. Added to it he works mainly in the bush or near a mine out of telephone contact. Postal mail works before the adage of the cell phone but the hearts yearn. A few months down the line she qualifies and is posted to one rural hamlet clinic where for a few times, they are still close. She closes the door on him suddenly, flashing him like waste paper. The last time he is up for an interview is when they somehow meet with her pregnancy almost close to term, about a year after her heartbreak on him.

Raphael buries his wounds smarting from her rebuff and enter Dorothy:-

She is a Mathematics and Science teacher of repute at the main school at a small mining town in her home turf where she grew up except for the years she spent at boarding school and teacher training college. She is into her late twenties having no takers when Raphael bursts into the scene. She has had her boys to men dates which fizzled. She has accepted in her mind that marriage is not kosher. She has planned to be a childless upright spinster when Raphael drops by like a bomb from Hiroshima.  She weaves a web around him enchanting him after one chance meeting leads to another until they are running between towns to visit and keep their attention alive. Later they marry. Is it bliss?

The dilemma:-

Raphael is in between jobs ten odd years plus later when he meets and starts having coffee breaks with Virginia. They create a scheme where he has found an overseas job, she should come along. In the end who will follow Raphael to Alberta between Virginia the hot stepper and Dorothy the calm, cool and collected? In between where do twin heritages come from when both a man and a woman have no such history in their lives?

D.O: Thank you once again for joining us on Authors Curtilage Book Dialogue. I wish you all the best in your writing career.

T.M: Thank you Darmie.

Get your copy of Butterscotch

Other Books by the Temba Magorimbo

They Breed Merino Sheep

Pata-Pata [soft footsteps]

Lamb To The Slaughter

Tigers Hunt At Night

Splash In The Loch

Off The Eagle's Claws 
Amazon  

Let Close On Me

For All Have Sinned
   
If Women Can Weep
Amazon   
Createspace
Lake Of My Heart   

Whiplash [love triangle]





Review: His Name Was Ben

His Name was Ben


Author: Paulette Mahurin

Rating: 5***** 



Summary: How many times do I have to relive this? Blinking away tears, she moved her hand under the sheet into her nightie, to rough wrinkles and edges of scar tissue that had failed to heal in normal time because of infection, delaying chemo and radiation treatment…. Scheduled on a journey of death and quietly praying for miracles that would expand her existence, life suddenly became significant. In her aspiration to escape mortality, she met the right man, another cancer patient, who brought her the contentment her life has never for once experienced. However, the story of true love soon ended. A twosome became single, but not without rebuilding the broken.The story His Name Was Ben, takes place in some areas in U.S, and Ojai California where beautiful Sara Philips, a nurse practitioner and a divorcee lives by herself in the same city with (a cold mother, a father with a heart problem and a schizophrenic brother.

Sara lives a tough life, and experienced a number of problems: Henry who dumps her, three years into their marriage, for a metaphysical cult he is involved in and makes her shied away from sentimental investments with men. A mother with sickening attitude that can’t offer her daughter sincere comfort when dilemmas hits hard, ridicule because of a schizophrenic brother, and an abuse from the same brother that snatched away memory of a sweet childhood and plague the future with nightmares.

As Sara’s treatment continues at UCLA with Doctor Zimmerman, we soon see in the story that Sara meets Michael Gottilieb an attorney who works at NASA, and a fellow cancer patient. Intrigued by Ben’s good looks and situation, what Sara has successfully kept blocked for so many years begins creeping back in, one dream, one image, and one memory at a time—the pieces of a puzzle that has not yet formed a whole picture. But, entertaining the idea of receiving affirmation from Ben that she is still attractive is a balm. And wanting to feel normal, she continues to obsess over Ben. When Sara is encouraged by her close friend Ellen to tell Ben of her feelings, she’s reluctant. But she soon gathers the confidence to tell him and he blocks her flirtation. Ben’s mind is set in a fixed direction, and that is to concentrate on his treatment and only that. After a little while, Ben swings from his determination to stay the course with his treatment and not get involved with any woman. He gradually takes to Sara. And the feelings the two of them couldn’t think is for real, becomes the best thing that ever happens to the two of them. While Sara is experiencing encouraging changes from the ongoing approved cancer studies in UCLA, Ben’s health deteriorates. In spite the challenges, Ben and Sara gets married. And seven weeks after, Ben lost his life to the terminal illness. He dies, resolving the emotional trauma Sara has been hiding from her entire life. He dies leaving her a mended and fulfilled woman. 

Writing style:  The writing style of the author is luxuriant. She used glowing descriptions and really paint clear picture of every event that went down in the novel in the most engrossing way. The novel flows like story told from the author to the readers without uncertainties. The parallel stories developed in the greatest fascinating forms.  The author’s messages of life’s tests, liberation, love and fulfillment are clear and powerful in the middle of the story and at the end of it. She gave Sara a much fulfilled ending. She provides us with the value to be hopeful no matter what befalls us in life.

My thoughts: His Name was Ben, is a sumptuous true story. Sometimes fate would try to discourage us from reaching fulfillment in life by deriding us with all sort of tests, but this story leads me to believe that a person would always find exciting ending no matter the situations that reduces his chance of a fulfilled life like Ben. The rest of us should encourage ourselves, repair our broken faith that we can never find extraordinary fulfillment because of the hindrances we have presently to the flow of exciting happenings in our lives. After tempestuous days, triumph stands by those that have faith in happy ending.  

GRAB YOUR COPY OF PAULETTE MAHURIN'S BOOKS




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

George A Bernstein discusses his book "Trapped"



George Bernstein is a youthful seventy-eight-year-old, with a B.A. from Northwestern University, now living in south Florida, and the retired president of a publicly held Chicago company. 
George's main interest is as a serious novelist. He has attended numerous writers’ conferences and seminars, including that of famous fiction agent, Donald Maass, and he has worked with independent editor, Dave King, all with the goal of improving his craft. This talented author will be sharing with us a benefiting article on writing very soon. Join me in this book dialogue where he discusses his book Trapped, A novel of Parapsychological Suspense.    


D.O: How do you do.  Thank you for joining us today, on Authors' Curtilage Book Dialogue.

G.B: Thanks for having me.

D.O: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

G.B: My wife encouraged me to start. When I was ready to semi-retire pretty young, she said, "What are you going to do to keep busy? You don't love golf that much. You are a great story-teller. Maybe you should write a novel." Little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for. But once I began writing, I was hooked. I get totally involved in my plots and the lives of my characters. I HAVE to see where they are going!

D.O: Hmmm. You had a drive both from your wife and that spirit guide common with well talented writers who know how to connect. What are the various craft you've studied before you came into the entertainment industry or do you just possess some natural tendencies to write stories?


G.B: I always loved to write, and my essays were often the ones read aloud in various English classes. A few years into this new career, I started attending classes at good writers’ conferences, and a seminar by Donald Maass, probably the top fiction agent. I quickly learned that while I had some natural talent, there was a lot I didn’t know about how to write really riveting fiction. As an aside, my wife attended some of these conferences and seminars, and suddenly realized how badly done were some of the things she used to love. She’s become my severest unapologetic critique.
                             
D.O:
That’s impressing. What are the steps you took to develop your book from a rough draft into a published novel?

G.B: First, I envision a story, and then I imagine my characters: the heroine (in my 1st 2 novels. Heroes come in my 3rd & 4th); who will be her protector; an anti-hero or villain; and various enablers (both good & bad). Each character has their own 4 x 6 index card, with physical appearance, likes, dislikes, traits, and backgrounds. As the story develops, anything new gets added to their card. New characters that appear get their own cards.

Next, I outline the entire story, chapter by chapter - just a few sentences for each, as a guide. Then the writing begins, and soon the characters magically take over the action, often plunging off into uncharted directions of their own. The outline becomes a flexible tool, not an iron cast mold.

After I complete the 1st draft, I begin several edits. First, I correct spelling, grammar and sentence structure. You always find something you missed; no matter how often you redo this. Next, I look at overall flow & pacing. Often, chapters are moved around to improve overall flow. Then I go back and look at descriptions... both words for more powerful descriptions, and whole scenes, to be sure they are as tense as I can make them. In Donald Maass’ seminar, he asked “What’s the worst thing that can happen to your protagonist?” After coming up with that, he then asked “What can be even worse than that?” and then, after some serious head-scratching, “What is even worse than THAT?” Without tension, no one stays interested in your novel very long.

On a final edit pass, I often break longer chapters and paragraphs into shorter ones, a trick I learned from, among others, James Patterson. It keeps the reader more engrossed.

D.O: I have learned something myself from this interview. Not just that, I am cautioned on some principles I skip when writing. If all writers will apply these aforementioned principles they will do well. What did you do differently in your book to make readers feel fear, concern, sadness, love and laughter?

G.B: I try to humanize the characters with little things to show their inherent goodness (or evil), their loves, fears, hidden purposes, anxieties. Things to make them real, someone you really care about (or hate). These are things often missed in the first draft, as I get the story down. I often have to go back to turn them into real people.

D.O:
What sensitive materials do your books deal with?

G.B: In my 4th novel, BORN TO DIE, the 2nd of my “Detective Al Warner Series,” 6 month-old baby boys of wealthy or very talented Palm Beach families are mysteriously dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Only Casey Jansson, a maternity nurse, sees anything suspicious

D.O: What's the subject matter of your book?

G.B: Detective Al Warner, who is on Medical leave after a deadly shootout with a serial killer, agrees with Casey that something seems suspicious. He agrees to help investigate, but they have no idea of any motive or opportunity for anyone to somehow cause these deaths.

D.O: What is the underlying theme that explored truth or moral in your book?

G.B: That would be a spoiler. Everything is revealed in the end.

D.O: Okay. If you think it will be a spoiler, we’ll skip it. What town or city does your book story portray and what is the feeling we have in this dwelling places?

G.B: The tri-states of Dade, Ft. Lauderdale & Palm Beach Counties. The sprawl and the wilderness of the Everglades

D.O:
Having a unique point of view in telling a story provides your story with intention. From how many characters' viewpoint is your entire book seen from?

G.B: Primarily, three: Casey Jansson; Casey’s best friend, resident doctor, Danny O’Brien; and Detective Al Warner, with several other side characters having chapters.

D.O:
What do these points of views infuse into each of the scene in your book?

G.B: Who they are, what they want for themselves and those they care about, and what are they doing about it.

D.O:
What does the lead character of your book want most in the world?

G.B: Al Warner: to get released by the departments shrink and get back on The Job, and to resolve complicated romance situations plaguing him. And of course, an unrelenting search for the bad guys. Casey Jansson: To discover the truth about these SIDS deaths, and to finally find love for herself

D.O:
What does he do to achieve this goal?

G.B: Warner: Pester his Captain and psychiatrist about why he’s not back at work; follow the few leads that develop in this off-the-books case; and pursue answers from the women in his life. Casey: Goad Danny into research into the SIDS babies’ records; encourage Warner to help her; and eventually put her life in danger as she chases the final clue in her crusade

D.O:
What are the two conflicting values you created for him?

G.B: Warner: A relentless search for truth and the villains, while conflicted attempts to find love a rarity for a street tough, hard-nosed cop with an unremitting commitment to honesty. Casey: Her obsessive crusade after a reason for all the SIDS deaths, while trying to overcome past loss while searching for love

D.O:
Does these values make sense from his backstory?

G.B: Yes, for both, at many levels.
D.O: What is the personal trait you gave your lead character to survive your book story?

G.B: Warner: Unremitting toughness, with great insight into mysteries, and a surprisingly sensitive nature under the hard bark of his exterior persona.
Casey: An unrelenting sensitivity to children dying, while filled with personal conflicts.

D.O:
In the end of your book did the story goal satisfy your lead character's ambition or did he device another method to achieve his goal or failed at achieving it?

G.B: Yes, fully satisfying with a surprising, I hope, very tense climax. All is revealed in the end.

D.O: Okay. Any hint about your next book?

G.B: The 3rd Detective Al Warner Novel, again dealing with a deranged serial killer in the Miami-Dade area. Warner’s finally back on The Job, and a new Unsub is killing off young redhead women, dressing them to the nines before disposing of the bodies. The co-protagonist is a young redhead woman, striking out on a new real estate venture, while writing short stories. Those she loved as a child were “One Thousand and One Nights,” and an O’Henrey collection. They eventually become her lifeline.

D.O: That’s compelling. What better effort do you suggest writers, input into their writing to have great sales in the ever-changing economics of the entertainment industry?

G.B: First write a riveting novel with a different slant from the “run of the mill,” with escalating tension, i.e. “What can be even worse than that?” Tense scenes can take pages, and even full chapters. Nothing should resolve too quickly.
My first two novels, TRAPPED, and “A 3RD TIME TO DIE,” received 5-Star review with praise for how different they were. Everyone said “I couldn’t put it down.”
My 3rd novel, DEATH’S ANGEL (the 1st in my Al Warner series), has an ending no one will suspect, with all 5-Star reviews. It also explains why Warner is official inactive in BORN TO DIE. Be open to serious criticism, and don’t be afraid to make changes. After several comments from editors, I reluctantly deleted a lengthy side plot from TRAPPED, which made it a better story. But don’t be so flexible that you’re afraid to stand by what you believe is right. Again, I resisted change for the ending of TRAPPED, and readers seem to love it the way I wrote it.

And then you have to become your own publicist, something most of us are not good at

D.O: Thank you once again for joining us on Authors Curtilage Book Dialogue. I wish you all the success you deserve in the field.
                                                                                                                            
G.B: Thank you Darmie. You are doing a great job.


Grab your copy of his books

Andrew Joyce discusses his new book, “Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups”

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey un...