Wednesday 31 July 2013

Updated 2016-04-13

This post has been redacted because of personal conviction. I would appreciate if you say a prayer for me. 

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. 
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, 
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, 
thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, 
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. 

Monday 29 July 2013

Prayer a prospective or maybe a retrospective.

Prayer a prospective or maybe a retrospective.

Prayer can be a strange thing. I pray throughout the day, I tend to start before even getting out of bed, and pray off and on throughout the day. I keep prayer lists and pray for specific things for family and friends, and for prayer requests that get passed along. But I tend to often see result for things I pray for other people and at times it seems like nothing I pray for myself gets answered. Jobs, houses being sold for more than listed, entering ministry and more. I was out of work 3 years with an injury, applied for hundreds of jobs and nothing. Do not get me wrong, I love praying! But here is a story for you. …

A few years ago I was looking for a way to do cardio at home. At the time with 2 kids under 5 and a third on the way to get out and go to a gym was just not feasible. Between my working days, and my wife working evening and weekends we were seldom home together as it was. In the period of about 6 months I mentioned to 5 or 6 people that I was looking for an exercise bike for home, only to have them say they had just got rid of one, given it away, put it at the curb, given to good will … So I though God knows about all of these bikes being disposed of, and he knows I want and need one to help me stay in better shape. So I started praying for one. After 2 years of nothing shared the prayer request last fall a small number of people. After 10 months with nothing I asked some people to consider helping this prayer request come to fruition.

But I need to share something here, 3 years ago when I started praying for a bike I would have taken any bike. But as time when on I found I had some requirements. Concerns about the kids and injury's because there is nowhere in the house they could not get at it. So I emailed a friend and as a joke the subject was "Not for this type of bike have I prayed." I realized not any bike would do with the kids, our limited space and other factors. I soon found I had three criteria for a bike and one I could never have imagined.

This past week I had a friend offer $150 towards the bike. Then he called back the next day and said God said to give $300. So I checked every used bike on Kajiji last night and not one meets the requirements. I found an amazing bike new at Fitness Depot that is recumbent, has no open wheel, meets the third requirement. And it is on sale for $348 down from $498 but quantities are limited because it is on sale for a newer version of the model coming out. The pastor went and put the down payment. There is still a little ways to go. But God has basically answered the prayer from 3 years ago. But he did not answer right away because back then I did not know all the needs, I only saw part of the picture. But God knew the whole picture and if he had answered back then a need now would not have been met. His timing is always perfect.

No some people might say 'you pray about an exercise bike'? people have cancer, the weather this summer, hunger … But God tells us to bring all our concerns to him. He cares about our whole lives. Jesus said "I am come that you might have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10. We are also told "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6. Last year I read a number of books by Mark Batterson he states "The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked." - The Circle Maker Now let's be clear Mark also states "Drawing prayer circles isn't some magic trick to get what you want from God. God is not a genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish.".

God has three answers to prayer, yes, no, and not right now. Too often we settle for too little by giving up and not continuing to push through in prayer. As Mark put's it Keep Circling!

Books by Mark Batterson:
The Circle Maker

The Circle Maker Enhanced eBook Edition
Praying Circles Around Your Children
Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
The Circle Maker Student Edition: dream big, pray hard, think long

Soul Print

ID: The True You
In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day
Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God
Chase the Lion Stepping Confidently Into the Unknown


Friday 26 July 2013

Dell 12G PowerEdge Server System Essentials

Dell 12G PowerEdge Server
System Essentials
Dell Training
Instructor Alan Barnard

Now I will start off and state I likely could have gotten by without taking this course. I have built a lot of servers, both older 9th Generation Dell servers, then IMB's for a number of years, plus the random smattering of other devices. As my company is in transition to using primarily Dell servers I was interested in the course for many of the Extra's you get when you buy Dell hardware. I was specifically interested in some of the new features in iDRAC7, OpenManage, Lifecycle Controller and also interested in the new design and features in the hardware. But that being said this is one of the best courses I have ever taken!

I spend 20 years as a student in post-secondary education at a number of different institutions. I have taken numerous courses, via either live virtual classroom, self-paced, in class courses, web based, or courses on disk. And in all of that training I can state this was an excellent course and one of the best. A number of things about this first experience with Dell Training really impressed me. First the Dell Training Engagement Coordinator, Janie Murray, contacted the group 6 weeks before the class start date to get things rolling. She stayed in close contact from then right up to the start of the class. Her communication was excellent, scheduled times, getting resources, testing the system … Second the training materials arrived almost 2 weeks before the course, and they included the Course book, lab manual and an USB key with electronic copies of each. It was great to be able to have the digital copies up on one screen while working through the course and the remote sessions on another. The course followed this schedule:

Course Syllabus:
Module 1 Orientation
Module 2 Bios
Module 3 iDRAC7
Module 4 Lifecycle Controller
Module 5 OpenManage
Module 6 Server Platforms
Module 7 Memory
Module 8 Storage
Module 9 Troubleshooting
Module 10 Subsystems
Module 11 Q&A

Then on top of the lectures there were 16 required labs, 1 optional lab and one lab we did not do because of the live distance learning.

The second thing that made the course so amazing was the instructor. Alan Barnard is one of the best instructors I have ever had, 20 years in University, 2 years in college and more. His style was very engaging. For a distance learning experience he had great classroom control, excellent pace, and went above and beyond. I have found that numerous tech instructors just have a script or follow the PowerPoint or manual and just run through the material. Alan has been doing this so long and does it so well, he went off on tangents, gave some history, comparisons to other generations or even other vendors. If I ever get the chance to sit another course with him it will be a privilege.

The last thing that was so excellent about this course was the labs, we actually did everything that we learnt about. Each student got a remote VPN session to a Dell training center, we each had our own PowerEdge R620, we could log into the iDRAC card, reboot into Lifecycle Management, or boot into the windows OS installed on the box. We spent the better part of the three days doing not just listening. We were the first group of students to do the course using Windows Server 2012, because of that we ran into some slight glitches with the labs, but that was part of the fun, in real life everything does not always go perfectly. We had to upgrade versions of a few of the tools buy once we did that we could complete all the labs and using the latest Windows OS was a great bonus.

Even if you know servers, and yes to some extent to a good extent a server is a server is a server, but it is all the extra's that you get with servers that many people never learn or take advantage of. This course will show you how to maximize the benefits of using Dell hardware. If you are using Dell 12G servers you will get at least 2 or three things from the course that will more than make it worth the time and money you invest, no matter how much experience you have! So overall one of the best courses I have ever taken. A great experience and I look forward to my next Dell Training opportunity.

Friday 12 July 2013

Fyrelocke: Jack Boomershine and the Prophecy Untold - R. Christopher Kobb

Fyrelocke: Jack Boomershine and the Prophecy Untold
R. Christopher Kobb
Moonpepper Press
ISBN 9780989207201

Some books just take you by surprise. I must admit that the cover of this book grabbed my attention and the description of the book was compelling. But neither prepared me for the magical adventure that this story would be, and let's hope it is just the beginning of a much longer tale. The story is similar to N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboards in both style and substance. It is a very fun story filled with twists and turns that will surprise even the most veteran readers. It will also be an excellent read for the intended audience of pre-teens and young adults.

Jack Boomershine is a young inventor, a scientist a young man focused on the mind and the future. But a series of strange events pull him into a world he did not even know existed and is well beyond anything his science can explain. It all begins with some strange text messages, and while on a field trip in the cliffs of Brighton Jack is led to a mysterious stone. This person of science must learn to find his way in a world of magic, mystery, telepathy and more. He will encounter an ancient evil and more. He goes on this adventure with his best friend Chase and soon finds new friends along the way.

This book was an excellent read. It had a number of dark illustrations that added to the story and will be of special interest to younger readers.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Apples A to Z - Margaret McNamara and Jake Parker

Apples A to Z
Margaret McNamara (Author)
Jake Parker (Illustrator)
ISBN 978 0439728089

If giving apples to your teacher is a tradition to such an extent that apples have become symbols for teachers, imagine a whole book full of wonderful illustrations and amazing information. But the book will not just be great for teachers; it is fun for the whole family.

The book has amazing information. That even as a parent I found it fascinating to read. The illustrations are amazing. The story is fun to read and can easily be read over and over again. At the end of the book is an awesome collection of activities and crafts. And on the V for Varieties this is a list of some apple species Apples a-z but at least one for every letter of the alphabet.

This is a great book and comes with my highest recommendation.

Monday 8 July 2013

Bookmark Days - Scot Gardner - Girlfriend Fiction

Bookmark Days
Girlfriend Fiction Book 11
Scot Gardner
Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781742377711

Last year I read Scot Gardner's The Dead I Know and it completely blew me away. This is the fourth book I have read by Gardner in under a year and each has impressed me. But there was something very different about this one. When I bought it I did not know it was part of a series called Girlfriend Fiction. And if I had known that I might not have purchased it. But that would have been my loss. The story has an amazing premise and is wonderfully written.

Avril Stanton lives in the outback of Australia. Her family farms and has sheep. They also have a blood feud with the neighbors the Carrignton's.  But Avil sees her live as a book, some days are bookmark days, days you will remember forever. And other days are days with dog-eared pages. That concept immediately struck a chord with me. The story is part Romeo and Juliette it is also a teen coming of age story. It is also the story about family and learning to do what is right even if it is not popular.

This was an amazing read. With every book I read by Scot Gardner I become more impressed with his skill. This book completely different than anything else I have read shows an amazing range of skill. This is a book I can highly recommend! 

Books by Scot Gardner:
The Dead I Know
The Detachable Boy
Bookmark Days
Happy as Larry
One Dead Seagull
White Ute Dreaming
Burning Eddy
The Other Madonna
The Legend of Kevin the Plumber
One Wheel Drive
Kite Dude
The Lost King

Author Profile and Interview with Scot Gardner.

Girlfriend Fiction:
1.    My Life and Other Catastrophes by Rowena Mohr
2.    Indigo Girls by Penni Russon
3.    She's with the Band by Georgia Clark
4.    Always Mackenzie by Kate Constable
5.    The Not Quite Perfect Boyfriend by Lili Wilkinson
6.    Step Up and Dance by Thalia Kalkipsakis
7.    The Sweet Life by Rebecca Lim
8.    Cassie by Barry Jonsberg
9.    Bookmark Days by Scot Gardner
10.    Winter of Grace by Kate Constable
11.    Something More by Mo Johnson
12.    Big Sky by Melaina Faranda
13.    Little Bird by Penni Russon
14.    What Supergirl Did Next by Thalia Kalkipsakis
15.    Fifteen Love by Robert Corbert
16.    A Letter from Luisa by Rowena Mohr
17.    Dear Swoosie by Kate Constable
18.    Thirteen Pearls by Melaina Faranda
19.    The Boy/Friend by R.M. Corbet
20.    Three Things About Daisy Blue by Kate Gordon

Friday 5 July 2013

Sylvia McNicoll - Author Profile and Interview

Sylvia McNicoll is a mother, a wife, a writer an editor and more. She has won a number of awards. Born in Ajax and raised in Montreal. For what I have read her books are amazing so I asked her to interview for Book Reviews and More.

1. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Teaching would have been the next best match for my skill set.  I love guiding children and adults to new insights, watching them have their "aha" moments.  But honestly, I would have probably fallen into an office job, perhaps ended up as an administrative manager.

2. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?

Take charge of your own career, don't trust others (publishers, agents) entirely.  Keep up your own contacts. Be open and watch for new opportunities.

3. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?

Certainly my husband Bob. He said after my first book  (Blueberries and Whipped Cream) came out and he'd read it "I always knew you were a writer, but this confirms it."  My three children acted as first listeners and then my writer daughter JM Filipowicz (Wardroids, Double Dragon) as a workshopping partner. My family also acted as an audience for those painful readings and signings when no one else showed. My mother used to buy multiple copies of my books and give them away, as did a neighbor.  My writers' group including Lynda Simmons and Gisela Sherman. Really the city of Burlington. 

The Burlington Post would  publish an article each time a book came out.  The library would have me in to talk about them. A Different Drummer Books would stock copies, the public would buy them all.

4. Who were some of your favorite authors or books in your youth?

As the daughter of German immigrants, there was no sophisticated English language reading material lying around. We moved around and my father would take us to the library. Whatever  books the librarian recommended, I would read. I loved the mysteries "Carolyn Keene" came up for Nancy Drew with and the family life Laura Ingalls Wilder depicted in her pioneer saga, Little House on the Prairie.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors or books now?

Too many to mention.  I read indiscriminately.  Over the winter I read 80 Canadian crime novels in order to judges for the Arthur Ellis Award. Lynwood Barclay is a local mystery writer I follow. Like you I'm an Arthur Slade fan and I love Kenneth Opel's new Apprenticeship of Frankenstein series.  All my writing friends' books:  Lynda Simmons Island Girl, Jocelyn Shipley's Tending a Grave, Beverly Brenna's series Wild Orchid, Waiting for No One and The White Bicycle stand out currently.

6. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from  idea to publishing?

The novel is the venue by which I explain the world to myself so when I experience, read or hear about some occurrence that sticks in my brain like a piece of meat in my teeth, I worry over it awhile. There may be some unanswered questions, often over motivations or conclusions, that trouble me.  That event either becomes the idea or gets stored to become some part of a larger plot as I attempt to answer those questions for myself.

I play "what if" as I walk my very demanding Jackapoo Mortie, till I have a beginning and tentative climax and end, so a three point structure.  I start writing, perhaps browse the Internet for more background.  I read chapters to my writing group and my various writing partners read my drafts.  I find the gaps in the characters and alter them as well as research more intensely, perhaps interviewing various experts.  Pieces and plot points come from that research.  I write a chunk a day, early in the process 500-700 words can be painful,  I play on facebook a lot, later, as I become sure of the characters and stories 1,500 to 1,700 words becomes a tumble down a playground slide.

After about six months to a year depending on the other work in my life, magazine articles, or presentations and workshops to schools and libraries, the first complete draft gets farmed out to a writing partner, rewritten according to any flagged problems, farmed out to a different trusted writer, rewritten…over and over till I'm frustrated to tears and feel the whole project is worthless.  Then I usually email it to a publisher in Norway. She decides on whether she likes it within a couple of months. No editing from this publisher, just straight translating into six different languages,  the story gets published and some healthy cheques follow .  Then my agent searches for an English publisher.  Of late, it has taken a few years to place stories in Canada. Canadian publishers insist on usually one or two major conceptual rewrites, and then some minor ones.  The book gets released in the English speaking world and I tremble waiting for bloggers' reactions.  And then the Forest of trees nominations.

7. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?

No, not lately but you make me want to revisit writing to music.  When I wrote (as Geena Dare for Orchard Publishing in England) about a character who sang opera in a performing arts series called Hollywood High, I listened to Tosca by Puccini.  For Bringing Up Beauty, I listened to (groan, I'm embarrassed to admit this one) the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast.   Other people's words can interfere with my own thoughts.  Certainly the music will influence my mood and thus the characters' so I have to be careful.

8. What was your favorite book to write and why?

Each book came with its own set of challenges and enjoyments.  Perhaps Bringing Up Beauty was my favourite because after a number of rejections I gave up on trying to please my agent at the time as well as my usual publisher. I wanted to give up on writing too but thought, no, I love it too much. Instead I will write whatever I like.  The story did earn a grant, win the OLA Silver Birch and The Manitoba Young Reader's Award as well as act as the first sale to my Norwegian publisher. It was a great hit in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany.  But it was that delicious devil-may-care writing whatever-I-want attitude that makes that book stand out to me. 

9. One of the greatest strengths of your novels are the characters. What is your favorite character so far and why?

I like Zanna in Last Chance for Paris. She is a spoiled city girl thrown out on the icefields of the Rockies, in despair over a lack of Internet and a good cappuccino. I'm making fun of myself here as I toured schools in various parts of rural and northern Canada pawing baseboards for jacks for dial up (at the time) for my computer.  I worked for a magazine and needed to stay connected.  Also if you're a person who admits to living within a 100 kilometres of Toronto you get teased a lot.  I got teased so Zanna did too. Zanna is a child of the modern family, no marriage or religion involved but with two individualist parents pursuing separate career paths on different continents. This leaves her spinning.  Nature and a wolf-dog provide her with a compass point. 

10. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?

Oh yes. I'm working on a historical fiction called Revenge on the Fly now and when I taught as a writer in residence in the very school my character 12 year old William attended back in 1912, Central Public in Hamilton, ON,  I felt his presence, like a ghost around every corner.  He called to me before I finished insisting I make him come alive.  I met a girl named Samantha who became a foster owner of guide dogs because of reading the Bringing Up Beauty Series and she worked at Canine Vision Canada.  I could see my character Elizabeth growing up through Samantha.  Then Sam named a chocolate Lab, in one of the litters, Beauty and I really felt like the characters were taking over and living and breathing on their own without me.  Beauty sent me a Christmas Card. In my mind I know how my characters continue after I step away from them and I miss them sometimes.

11.  If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well-rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

I couldn't possibly make such a list.  You need to read a book a month, at least, in different genres.

12. Your book candy. crush. corpse. Was an amazing read how did you come up with the concept?

Because my mom suffered from Alzheimer's and I visited her in the longterm care residence (which at times seemed more like an insane asylum), I knew I had to write about it.  When I snuck her foods she liked and I was chastised, I wondered what would happen if she choked too much…she always coughed a little…would I walk away? She had no quality of life after all. And then I wondered…would I be charged?

13. For the book candy. crush. corpse. How did you decided to tell the story in two parts the trial and the memories?

As I sat in the longterm care residence, often trying to get my mother to eat just one mouthful, I thought about a teen going through this and being charged for a choking granny.  I love trials on television shows so I decided to use one as a vehicle to propel the narrative about this teen.

14. Some of your earlier books and books published abroad are currently out of print or not available in Canada, have you thought of rereleasing them as ebooks?

Yes, it's absolutely something I should pursue when I get a moment.

15. Some of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?

Ebooks have their charm but the general public should respect art enough to be willing to pay for content not just the gadgets they need to display the content.  I mean this for television and music too.

16. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?

Life is too short.  Like most authors when bored, I may do a vanity search on a title and when I discover such a site, report it to my publisher who does indeed insist on a take down.

17.  I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

University should grow your appetite for learning as well as show you and increase your competence in using some of the current tools to acquire knowledge.  This should be the goal of kindergarten, elementary and high school too by the way.  We want to develop an openness to different ways of thinking and a capacity for the ambiguity brought about my rapid technological change.

18. Completely off topic but what TV shows or movies do you enjoy?

It's not really that much off topic because television and movies deliver stories too, just  in an image based medium.  I loved Madmen because it reminded me of the society that I grew up in.  Recently I enjoy the IT Crowd, a hilarious British sitcom about two dysfunctional males and one female manager working in a computer department.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Again with the lists!  I would go to my favourite bookstore and bring the fattest longest 10 books or I would buy a solar powered ereader and load it up to the hilt of its memory with tons of fiction plus, of course,  one manual on how to survive on a dessert island.

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

Keep your focus on your passion. Of course you need to do some work on publicity but when things go wrong, bury yourself in your creation not in the fickle judgments of others.  Don't give up!

Thank you Sylvia for answering some question. I look forward to reading more of your books soon.

Books by Sylvia McNicoll:
Blueberries and Whipped Cream - 1988
Jump Start - 1989
The Tiger Catcher's Kid - 1989
Project Disaster - 1990
More than Money - 1990
Facing the Enemy - 1992
Bringing Up Beauty - 1994
The Big Race - 1996
Walking a Thin Line - 1997
Double Dribble - 1999
Smoky and the Gorilla - 1999
Grave Secrets - 1999
Caught in a Lie - 2000
A Different Kind of Beauty - 2004
Beauty Returns - 2006
Last Chance For Paris - 2008
Slam Dunk Robot  2007
crush. candy. corpse. - 2012
Dying to Go Viral - 2013

Body Swap - 2018

The Great Mistake Mysteries:
The Best Mistake Mystery - 2017
The Artsy Mistake Mystery - 2017
The Snake Mistake Mystery - 2018
The Diamond Mistake Mystery - 2019

Books Written as Geena Dare:
Stage School Series:
Dan Clowning Around #5 - 1998
Matt Heartbreak Hero #6 - 1998
Lauren Dating Dreams #7 - 1999
Abbi Secret Stranger #9 - 1999
Jenna Standing Tall #10 - 1999
Dan Double Drama #11 -1999

Book Ghostwritten as Sharon Siamon:
The Spellbound Sleepover 1999

Mom and Dad's Guide to Martial Arts 1999

Foreign Editions unavailable in English to date:
Zannas vanskelige valg  2007 (Alpha Wolf)
Zanna - mellom barken og veden 2007 (River of Ice)
Snøras   2008 (Avalanche)
Zanna i fare 2008 (Victim's Impact)
Redningsaksjonen  2009 (The Nine Minute Disaster Zone) 

Author Profile and Interview with Sylvia McNicoll

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Stephen Shea - Author Profile Interview

Steven Shea according to his public profiles "is the pseudonym of a semi-famous author who is switching genres and hats". I loved his YA book and when I discovered he had published two novella's and a short story I could not wait to read them. So I reached out and asked Stephen if he would so an interview. So here in his own words, Stephen Shea aka Arthur Slade!

1. Your novella The Not So Simple Life has been described by reviewers as freaky deaky, pleasantly unpredictable and as close to masterpiece. What inspired this story?

Two things. One, I worked in a radio station writing advertising for several years. So it was easy to imagine a copywriter going on this adventure. And I've always had a strong interest in Tai Chi. And in Chai tea. But those are different things.

2. One of the greatest strengths of The Not So Simple Life is the characters especially Casey. Is there a chance we will meet Casey again?

I don't think so. He's off in some magical world where he no longer has to hear Golden Oldies being played. Then again…never say never.

3. You have a real gift for phraseology, you come up with lines that hit the reader and stick with them for a long time. Some examples are:

"Surprisingly, I felt alive. Something had squeegeed away the bustle and confusion and for the first time I was hearing and seeing the world with a powerful clarity."  The Not So Simple Life Kindle Locations 135-136

"Nineteen years on this earth and this was the only truth he could trust. The truths they preached in schools and churches had deserted him. There was only the present, because no matter how much you grabbed, scraped, and pulled, the past slipped out of your grip and the future, the future, ha! The future was shit. The future only brought something worse, some new torment to scratch its way into your psyche and leave scars upon the scars." Damage Kindle Locations 62-65

What sparks your creative process?

I am constantly looking for a new way to write a sentence. To put a twist on it, so to speak. But also, I'm attempting to find the right voice for the character. What words would he or she use? And how do they see the universe. That's the fun part of writing.

4. I have heard that you work at a walking desk. What prompted this change and how do you find it for writing, corresponding, …?

Oh, the middle age spread prompted it. I've been doing it now for 4 years and I can't imagine not walking and writing at the same time. It keeps the motor running, so to speak.

5. Do you track mileage? Do you know how many mile or kilometers you walked for each of your three published works?

I do track kilometrage. But not for each specific book. And when I was writing some of those books I didn't have a treadmill desk yet. Heck, I didn't even have this name yet.

6. Your book Damage draws upon both Canadian legends and yet mixed with Norse mythology or beliefs. Why are you drawn to such themes and will we likely see more along the same lines from you?

I just write what comes naturally to me. Obviously I live in the Great White North and so much of the landscape, and the people, especially the stories of both natives and immigrants inspire me. Yes, there will likely be more. Just need the right idea.

7. Your stories have a darkness, or grittiness to them, and yet they somehow stay Canadiana. I have compared your writing to a cross between Chuck Palahniuk, Douglas Coupland and Irvine Welsh. You maintain a Canadian sensibility, a sense of the prairies and yet capture a dark side to life, society or specific events. Is this intentional or just a natural byproduct of your process?

I just found it easier and creepier to look into my own backyard. I'm certain there are creepy backyards everywhere in the world. But I just wanted to concentrate on those home grown tales or ideas. That said I certainly am willing to follow wherever the story (or creepiness) takes me.

8. Your books are currently only available via Amazon Kindle, Do you have plans to make them available through Kobo or other vendors also?

At this point I don't. These are self published and I haven't yet found the time to change them into the various formats. But I'm learning as I go and may change my mind on that front.

9. Your short Story Viper is based on several "you wouldn't believe this happened" true stories. This is such a raw gritty story. Did you experience some of these stories with people you know directly?

It's more of an amalgamation of stories that I heard through friends of mine. Viper became the central point to all those stories, though they may have originally happened to different people. And, of course, I used my imagination here and there. Thankfully, I didn't experience any of it myself.

10. For your stories do you do specific research or draw upon your knowledge and general reading habits?

It's a combination. For the Tai Chi novel…well, I actually was studying Tai Chi so I drew on that. I think for fiction, especially if it has a fantastical edge, it can be more powerful when parts of it seem more real. It makes it much more believable.

11. What was your worst idea for a story and how much time did you spend on it before you realized that?

A fantasy novel about a bard who sang a song that would save the kingdom. It really was stupid. And I spent far, far too much time on it.

12. Do you keep all of your writing or once you abandon a project do you discard all of the files associated with it?

I keep them. I'm a big believer in recycling, both pop bottles and ideas. I flip through them when I'm not writing books and look for spring boards for other stories. Or, if I'm lucky, I'll see a new way to take an idea.

13. If you were not a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Librarian. Or a police officer. Or a police station librarian.

14. Who were some of your earliest supporters in pursuing a writing career?

Teachers. Parents. And all those writers I was reading (though they didn't know they were supporting me)…especially Stephen King.

15. What does the typical day look like for Stephen Shea, between writing, tweeting, Facebook and such? Do you have a typical schedule?

I must admit, I laze about in my great big boat and soak up the sun, just typing out a word here and there. Oh, wait, that's in my dreamlife.

16. Why sort of music do you listen to Stephen Shea while you are writing?

Silence. Long, ominous silence.

17. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Stephen King's The Stand and The Shining. Actually, If it's the extended version of The Stand, I'd never get time to get to another book. I expect I'd also want How to Survive on Coconut Milk and Building a Raft 101.

18. Stephen Shea is the pseudonym of a semi-famous author who is switching genres and hats. What inspired this name and what is its significance?

My mother's last name. And the name I almost was given.

Thank you Stephen if if you have not read his books year check out his writing published as either Stephen or Arthur they are sure to be entertaining.

Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)
Crimson (2018)
Death by Airship (2019)
Mr. Universe (2021)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
aka Modo Mission Clockwork Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

Northern Frights Reprint Editions:
Draugr (2020)
Drang (2020)
Loki Wolf (2020)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)

Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Amber Fang: Betrayed
Amber Fang: Revenge
Amber Fang Box Set Books 1-3

Dragon Assassin Series:
Twin Fury
Shadow Hunter
Dark Wings
Elder Magic
Royal Blood
Hidden Powers
Burning Empire
Old Enemies

Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story

Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.

Author profile interview with Stephen Shea. 

Monday 1 July 2013

Top 10 Books Second Quarter 2013

Top 10 Books Second Quarter 2013

1. Doll Bones - Holly Black 
2. Crush. Candy. Corpse - Sylvia McNicoll 
3. Bookmark Days - Scot Gardner 
4. The Testing #1 - Joelle Charbonneau 
5. Johnny Hangtime - Dan Gutman 
6. Sorrow's Knot - Erin Bow 
7. The Sandman - The Guardians of Childhood - William Joyce 
8. The Man in the Moon - The Guardians of Childhood - William Joyce 
9. Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout - Stink Moody Book 8 - Megan McDonald and Peter H Reynolds 
10. Bane Chronicles - Cassandra Clare et all 
What Really Happened In Peru - The Runaway Queen - Vampires, Scones, and Edmond Herondale

(Reviews will follow over next month.)

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

 Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year: 

52 - January-June 2013
176 - 2012
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996