Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembrance Day


Remember them this morning, as the reveille is sounded

Its notes worn smooth along the years of soft November's rain

The Last Post sobbed their slumber, their going to the night

Remember them this morning, then, in thoughtful reveille.

The boys (no older than my son) who flew the frail craft

Have gone to distant glory in the threadbare album's page

They're peering at us from the past with shy and fervent eyes.

"Remember us this morning, in thoughtful reveille".

Sailors, soldiers, nurses, the youngsters set their hands

To duties laid upon them with many high ideals

Perhaps the question touches them; "What were we doing there?"

Remember them this morning, in thoughtful reveille.

They fought across the deserts, in the hot and windy hell

They fought in salty air that mocked of seashore holidays

The frosty air meant kites to some, to others soaring birds

They fought a world gone crazy - and they wagered everything.

And as we pause this morning as the clocks stand at eleven

Although the hour's uncertain since it's daylight saving time

Commit a moment's silence for the ones who went before

And say to them "We thank you for your sacrifice at war -

"We may not speak so much of you these cold pragmatic days

We will not seek the glorious in battlefield array

We treat with those who killed you, and were slaughtered in their turn

We sometimes don't appreciate the comfort that you earned

We sometimes don't remember that we might not be so free -

But still we will remember you in thoughtful reveille.

Be sure we will remember you in thoughtful reveille.

Written in 2000

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take Two! Leigh Wood Talks about On the Way to New Isosceles

Please note; The book featured in this edition of the Take Two series is for adults only.

Take Two! Leigh Wood answers two curious questions about her new book, On the Way to New Isosceles.

Q. 1. The title of On the Way to New Isosceles hints at triangles and geometry, but I assume it has a somewhat different meaning. Please tell us how you came up with such an intriguing title.

A. Only one person emailed me saying they were confused by the title. I actually hate math so I expected more questions about the title! Most people say they love it, as it is unique and gets them thinking. It is about triangles in a way-there are references to triangular locations and objects in the novel. However, there is a suggestion of two equal sides, which leads to notions about the two factions joining together. And of course, our couple JJ and Rub have to find a little equality and the happy medium in making both their angry professional and gettin' steamy personal relationships. There's a question of balance, perhaps also. We can't have any fulcrums swinging too far in the wrong direction in love or war! I have to say I don't remember how I came up with the title. Maybe it was my notions of romance and action equality along with a 'journey not the destination' feeling. I think I stink at titles! However, I am keeping up with the theme for the sequel, currently called Equilateral Planet. Some days I can't spell either one!

Q.2. Your protagonist is called JJ. Is this initialised form of name something common to people from her futuristic society, or does it say something special and specific about her character?

A.2. Wow, a seemingly innocent but deep question! I'd say the fact that she has a snappy, neutral nickname is a part of their militristic society just on the nature of simplicity, uniformity, and speed. They are an on the go, space faring and fighting people with no time for fussy names. JJ is then, an extension of her society. In some ways, her full complete name represents herself as a happy girl on earth with parents, sunshine, and no cares. Now she is alone, owns the bare minimum, and keeps a stiff upper lip. Only certain people are allowed to call JJ by other derivities of her name. It's her way of shutting herself off. JJ is short and sweet, clipped, and gets the job done. There's no need for anything pretty that rolls off the tongue! By contrast, Rub likes to make jokes about his name and calls his friends by several different affectinate terms. Opposites attract!

Thanks, Leigh!

On the Way to New Isosceles was published by Eternal Press in 2009. Visit Leigh's blog.


Kristin as Leigh

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Take Two! Robyn Opie talks about her book, Black Baron

Today we welcome Robyn Opie to Spinning Pearls to answer two inquisitive questions about her book, Black Baron.

Q.1. The title “Black Baron” has echoes of the German fighting ace The Red Baron. Was this deliberate, and if so, how did you jump from a fighter pilot to a cockroach? If not, where did the title come from?

A.1. Yes, the title was deliberate. I imagined Black Baron as a racing hero and every race is like a fight for his life. The story, itself, turns out to be a fight for survival. The idea for the story came when I decided I wanted to write a funny story for boys. I thought about all the things boys like, one of which was bugs. I didn't want to write about the usual bugs, such as spiders, worms, ants etc. I wanted to be different, so I settled on a champion racing cockroach. Naturally, the main character is a boy - Jake. He sees himself as Black Baron's manager and friend.

Q.2. How do you choose the “voice” for your stories? Do you generally prefer first person, third person or omniscient? Why?


For me, the "voice" of the story is usually chosen by the main character. The main character also tells me his or her name. The name comes first, then the story, then the "voice". I prefer first or third person, never omniscient. I originally wrote Black Baron as third person but the story didn't work for me or the main character, Jake, so I rewrote the manuscript in first person. The change to first person did the trick and the story came together in a way that pleased all of us, Jake and Black Baron included.

Thanks, Robyn.

Black Baron was published by Walker Books in 2008. Visit the publisher website WalkerBooks and Robyn's own website at Robyn Opie

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Take Two: Yolanda Sfetsos talks about Shade of Grey

Today we welcome Yolanda Sfetsos, who answers two quick questions about her newly-released novel, Shade of Grey.

Q.1. Shade of Grey is an intriguing title. Can you tell us how it relates to the plot of your book?

A.1. Thanks! I have to admit that it took me a while to come up with the title for this novel, especially since I wanted all three names in the planned trilogy to be similar. It actually turned out to be the perfect title because it highlights the things in Gypsy's life that are definitely not black or white, but shaded with the grey in-between. Also, since the story deals with the Greys, it's extra fitting.

Q.2. Contemporary romantic SF is quite uncommon. (Most SF seems to be futuristic.) Tell us how you went about planting this genre in a contemporary Australian setting.

A.2. You're right. Most SF stories are set in futuristic or otherworld locations, but there is that small percentage that brings the alien factor to our backyard... such as The X-Files and V, not to speak of a bunch of movies. I've always been intrigued by these stories, and this turned out to be my tribute.

Basically, I wanted to set this story in contemporary Australia, and cast what at first seems to be an average woman leading an average life. Then I threw her into a very alien situation. Gypsy finds herself caught in the middle of conspiracy theories, UFOs, abductions, and Men in Black who aren't all trying to save her. That's the hero's job:-)

Thanks, Yolanda! To read an excerpt, or to but Shade of Grey, pop along to

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Take Two! Claire Saxby talks about There Was an Old Sailor...

Today Claire Saxby takes the hot seat to answer two curious questions about her new picture book, "There Was An Old Sailor", illustrated by Cassandra Allen, and published by Walker Books.

Q.1. A fish diet is meant to be rather good for the figure, but the old sailor on your cover is a brawny sailor indeed. Does this mean fish is NOT slimming, or does he sometimes sneak a bag of chips?

A.1. It's all about quantity isn't it? I mean a fish diet is one thing, but who would want to look like a fish...unless of course you're a mermaid and we all know about mermaids! My sailor never quite knows when his next meal is coming and he likes to eat like he lives - LARGE. He stores away energy against the lean times. Although, he will confess, that times have been good of late. Long may they continue.

Q. 2. Is the text of "There Was an Old Sailor" designed to be spoken or half sung, as in the original "Old Woman" rhyme? And how did you come up with a sailor as the protagonist?

A.2. It is a spoken text, but it is quite difficult to keep the song out of it. I like to think of it as being like a hot air balloon. Solid and structurally sound on the ground, but capable of lifting off and carrying all with it. I have never shared it with a group where at least some of the listeners weren't joining in by about the middle of the story. That's something that doesn't happen with prose stories, generally.

Sailor as protagonist. Well, it was a gift really. When a casual throwaway remark bemoaned the lack of ocean-themed, cumulative rhymes for young children, the sailor just stood up and bellowed 'Pick me! Pick me!' How could I refuse?

To find out more about Claire, her writing, and her new book, check out her website at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Take Two! Courtney Breazile talks about Lilly's Turn for a Rose (Readers over 18)

Please welcome Courtney Breazile who answers two questions about her new paranormal short "Lilly's Turn for a Rose", available from eXtasy Books. Please note; this book is suitable for adults only, although the interview is OK for general readers.

Q.1. “Lilly’s Turn for a Rose” is one of the most delightful titles I’ve encountered. What came first, title or story?

A.1. I came up with the title right as I was starting the story, before I really knew what the story was going to entail. So I would say the title helped create the story.

Q.2. Where did the initial idea for “Lilly’s Turn for a Rose” come from?

A.2. It came from the meaning behind lilac colored roses. The lilac rose means love at first sight and the need to proceed with caution. Which my character Lilly needs to do with Myra.

Thanks, Courtney! Courtney will be back later in this series to talk about her paranormal Keeping Blood.

To find out more, including how to purchase Lilly's Turn for a Rose, check out Courtney's website at or the publisher at but remember, you must be over eighteen.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Take Two! Robert Appleton Talks About "The Mythmakers".

Hello again! This time we welcome Robert Appleton to answer two inquisitive questions about his new novella "The Mythmakers", available from Samhain.

Q.1. Following the adventures of Kate of Kratos, the protagonist of your new book is another woman: Captain Steffi Savannah. You write strong women well, giving them strength of character without bitchiness or lack of femininity. Did you make a conscious decision to depict your heroines in this way, or is that the way you like to “see” women?

A.1. It's a conscious decision, for sure. Somewhere between the damsel in distress and the man-killing warrior woman, neither of which interests me, exists a plausible kind of heroine for science-fiction. Strong-willed, emotional, flawed; she must be able to take care of herself but also realise when she needs help. She can do things the hero can't do, but not at the expense of her femininity. It isn't so much how I like to “see” women, it's more about how interesting, how plausible I can make them for the world(s) they're inhabiting. If I were to meet Kate of Kratos for real, I'd probably find her character too prickly and way too stubborn, but in a survival story on an alien planet, those flaws become strengths. Let's put it this way: I'd definitely want Kate watching over me if I ever got marooned on Kratos.
For Steffi Savannah in The Mythmakers, it was more about rekindling a sense of hope and wonder in a thankless and cynical universe. I made her tough because she's a starship captain and a smuggler. But by that same token she couldn't be a cast-iron bitch; to run an efficient ship, an even hand is required. So Steffi always respects her crew, even through her world-weariness. Her femininity gradually blossoms over the course of the story, as well as a vivacity she hasn't encountered in years. Speaking personally, that's one of my favourite types of story arc, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of telling it through a woman's eyes.

Q.2. “Ship of dreams” is a very evocative description. Could you enlarge on this?

A.2. It's really about the effect the ship's cargo has on Steffi and her crew. All of a sudden, there's an element of magic and wonder in the cold backyard of space. I don't want to give too much away, but when Steffi boards the giant alien craft, it appears to be a kind of freight vessel carrying Earth's legendary creatures. Seeing as Earth was destroyed centuries before, what is the ship's purpose? Its secret? Why is Arne, a naked blond hunk who speaks English and Danish, reluctant to tell her exactly what he is? Fascinating discoveries await Steffi and her crew...
I wrote The Mythmakers for Samhain's space opera romance anthology, so I knew I had to come up with a unique story. It started out as a Firefly-type adventure, then quickly evolved into a scenario with beautiful possibilities. “Ship of dreams” is right. That's what the story became for me. But that's not to say all the dreams were hunky-dory. ::winks:: Myths are never easy on the heroes/heroines forging them.

To read more about "The Mythmakers", visit Robert's website at the link below.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Take Two! Margaret West talks about "Two Faces, One Life".

Here's the second of my short'n'snappy interviews. Margaret West is the author of a "coffee break short" named "Two Faces, One Life", published by Eternal Press.

Q.1. “Two Faces, One Life” is an interesting title. How does this relate to your story?

A. The story really revolves around Sarah, a young girl who was caught in a fire. One side of her face and body, is very badly burnt in a fire, while the to her stays perfect. A cruel irony of what she has lost. Its an inspirational story because the 'vain' Sarah believes her life is now over and wants to die. But what she comes to realise, after a chance meeting in a park with ted, is that true beauty shines from within. The 'new' Sarah is about to embark on a whole new journey. Even though she has two very different sides to her face. She only has one life and she needs to live it.

Q.2. “Two Faces, One Life” is a “coffee-break” short. Did you set out to write a short tale, or did the length just seem right?

A. The length just seemed right. I didn't want it to go on endlessly about the trials of Ted's disability, or Sarah's disfigurement. I just wanted to get across that having a disability doesn't mean your life is over. When it was published however, I received quite a few comments from readers wanting to see what happened to Sarah and Ted. So maybe there will be a short sequel, who knows lol.

Thanks, Margaret! (Margaret will be back later in this series, talking about a longer story called "Heart of a Warrior". )
To read more about this title, or to buy it, hit the link!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Take Two! Heather Kuehl talks about PROMISES TO KEEP

In the first of a new series of short and snappy author interviews, Heather Kuehl answers two questions on her book Promises to Keep.

Q.1. “Promises to Keep” is a lovely title. It’s a quote from Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Could you tell us how the quote relates to your story?

A. “Promises to Keep” refers to Starlette’s quest to save her father from the Dark Lady Dreashae. Ten years ago Starlette was led to believe that her father was dead, however she quickly discovers that his death was nothing but a ruse. Starlette made the ultimate promise to herself; she was going to track down her father, save him, and bring him home. Easier said than done, since Starlette is mortal and her adversary is a very powerful sorceress. Hopefully with friends like Sivad Night and Tabitha Desdamona Drake, she can keep her promise.

Q.2. “Promises to Keep” mixes the high fantasy world of sorcery and dragons with the paranormal world of faeries and vampires. How difficult was it to bring such disparate elements, (traditionally speaking) together in a cohesive whole?

A. I’ve always loved high fantasy, and one day I thought to myself, “why can’t vampires and dragons exist in the same world?” I quickly realized there wasn’t a good enough reason why they couldn’t, and my fictional world was created. Within these worlds (both Verella and the modern paranormal one that Starlette lives in), anything can exist. Portals into both realms are abundant, so dragons from Verella could easily travel into our world just as a werewolf can travel to Verella. I’ve made it so that a character could step outside their house in Charleston, SC and see a dragon flying through the sky (something that I wish could happen).

Sounds good? I think so! Check out the links below for more information.

Promises to Keep by Heather Kuehl was published by Eternal Press. It is available as an e-book or paperback.
Read more or buy book at:
Heather's Blog.