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Time, I think, to do a little self promotion. The thing is, I write reviews. I take the works of other people and criticize them, rip their writing or editing or spelling to pieces. Sometimes the books I receive to review are good, sometimes I am incapable of reading through the whole thing.
As a writer myself, not just a few articles on the Internet or the contents of this blog, I know exactly how much work goes into putting together a book, even a small one. I know how much we, as authors, struggle to get the right words down, to create an image, to draw the reader into a new world away from their own reality. I have done it. I have been published in an anthology as well as bringing out my own, independently published, title.
Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis Limited
What I don’t know is how other people feel about what I have written. My small book The Temptation of Words has been reviewed, it has received rankings on Goodreads, it has even sold a few copies both through my Shop and through Amazon. I offered it as a First Read title on Goodreads, but neither one of the two winners wrote about what they felt. Despite the highly positive rankings, I don’t know whether the book really got into their minds or not.
It’s all very well reviewing other works, but we all hope that our own will gain some attention too, that someone will give us, as authors, a hint that we are doing something right, or wrong. That someone will take the time to write about what they experienced turning the pages, devouring the situation, the characters, the plot.
To be honest, I’d like someone to do what I do to others: take my small book to pieces and tell me, and other people out there, what their honest opinion is. I want to know how these other authors, the ones I have reviewed, feel. It may not change the way I write reviews, which I hope will always be honest at the very least, but it would give me an insight into the reactions of those who write and are reviewed by people they do not know.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
I am serious about the title to this post! And, at the same time sorry for anyone who comes direct into it rather than through the Front Page. You see, direct means that the page cut isn’t there, that you get to see the following image without any warning aside from the title. I can’t change that – unless I build in page breaks, and I don’t want to go in that direction here – so you’re going to have to live with what you see.
And what you are about to see makes me wonder what sort of people we have in our world. Let me put it this way: this is not a photograph of the top of someone’s head…
I mentioned the idea a little while ago, that perhaps it might be worthwhile if some firms tried to see which phones are the most popular by paging through the many selfies available on the Internet and doing an assessment. Now, thinking about it, I’m not so sure that it would work.
Photo Source: unknown, via Tumblr
It’s not so much that there are many thousands of photographs out there, more the way in which the smart phones used are disguised. There is a growing industry in disguising which phone is being used, in making it more personal. I am told that, even before a new model comes out, there are companies which design back covers to enhance the appearance of what is otherwise a fairly boring, a mundane everyday object. And, let’s be honest, the smart phone is, today, an everyday thing, no longer a luxury, everyone seems to have one.
It is one thing to imagine a world outside of our own, peopled with figures similar to us, with dragons and princesses, knights and warlords, and quite another to create that world for other people. What we have in our inner thoughts can often not be translated into an imaginable world for those who do not see inside our minds, who do not have the same feelings, emotions, visions as we do. To create a world previously unknown to anyone else, to populate it, to bring it to life requires not only a great deal of writing skill, but also the ability to recognize how much needs to be written to capture a reader, and how much can be left to their imagination.
The storyline is not always enough. A writer can create a world through a story with simplicity which draws the reader inside, doesn’t overburden them with descriptions, with long-winded explanations on how everything works, how everything fits together to form a whole. Much has to be taken for granted and the story needs to flow easily across the page as if it is the most natural thing in the world, as if what we, the reader, are experiencing is nothing unusual but for the fact that it is somewhere else, in a world we shall never have the chance to visit, which is purely on the printed page of a book held in our hands.
Photo Credit: AlicePopkorn – Creative Commons
Katrina Sisowath has tried to create such a world, one where dragons are coupled with their masters and mistresses from birth, where the good encounters evil, where visions, gods priests and the lure of magic are everyday, are part of the very fabric of civilization. And the storyline is good, it has everything which a good fantasy novel requires to attract, to enthrall, to make the reader wonder and enjoy but the storyline isn’t everything.
This work is not easy to read. The simplicity is missing, lost within a mass of description of buildings, of constant movement from one event to another. At times the reader can become lost, or simply overwhelmed by the description of a temple where the most important factor should be the events within its walls. At times it seems as if the writer has used a thesaurus to enhance, replacing everyday words with ones far more obscure which cause a certain uneasiness, an unevenness in the telling. There is also unnecessary repetition, not of description but of words and phrases, sometimes within the same sentence and, sadly, also sections where the reader becomes completely lost where words are missing, where a proofreader or editor has not taken note, not corrected the manuscript and the sentence itself makes little or no sense. There is also the feeling, whilst reading, that the main characters, introduced at the beginning of this tale, are given less than enough attention, that their personalities do not manage to surface, to build a picture within the mind of the reader, capture their interest, their sympathy.
Katrina Sisowath has managed to create a work which could fire up the imagination, could draw the reader into a new world, open new territory, but it still needs a good deal of attention to make it work effectively. And, above all, a return to simplicity, to everyday language with a concentration more on the main one or two characters, and less on walls of marble adorned with golden trimmings.
Published by 5 Prince Publishing. ISBN 978 1 63112 053 4.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
This work was provided by the author for review.
Not so long ago I wrote about how Tumblr is becoming the latest thieves site: shoplifters posting their swag pictures for all to see and admire. Those on Tumblr, however, clearly have a little more in their heads than other people, such as a woman in West Franfort, Illinois who decided to post a selfie of her brand new dress.
The problem? She had just stolen it from a local store and been seen, if not immediately apprehended.
To be honest, I hope that such people keep on doing this, that they regularly post photographs of themselves after a bank robbery, after a shoplifting spree, with their stolen goods. It helps the police no end, and makes life for those of us who are honest, who have to bear the brunt of the additional costs, so much better.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
It’s been quite a while since I published any of my own photographs here, although I must admit that I haven’t been out and about with a camera recently and these are all taken with my smart phone. It’s amazing what you can find when just wandering about with a few hours to spare, waiting for someone else, or for an appointment, or just getting a little fresh air on a glorious early summer’s day.
Viktoria Michaelis: Samsung S4 – Nienburg / Weser, Germany
I’ve shot quite a few photographs in Nienburg, but this little scene is one that I’s missed out on. It was really just a spur of the moment photograph, taken with my smart phone to see what the quality is like more than anything else. I prefer taking photographs in back streets, away from the mass of people and the usual scenes everyone and their dog seems to capture, there is less to distract and often what you find hidden away id just as interesting, just as beautiful as anything on the main street.
There is a great deal of discussion in Germany at the moment, over how to handle to present crisis in Israel and the Gaza Strip. On the one hand the level of retribution being handed out by Israeli forces at the behest of the government for the murder of three young men, coupled with the continued shelling by Hamas of Israeli territory has earned some considerable criticism. The apparent targeting of civilians, including children playing on a beach and at least one hospital, suggests that there is considerably more to the political and military aims of the Israeli government than mere protection. On the other hand the level of support for the Jewish people is being reiterated.
Is it possible to condemn the level of violence, of rising death tolls in Israel and Gaza without bringing religion into the game? In Germany it would appear not. Many politicians, whilst regretting the level of violence on both sides, are forced to side with the Israeli government – and that despite a call from the United Nations for investigations into possible war crimes – because of German history. They are forced into this position because the Israeli State is a Jewish one, and it is illegal – in many cases – to make comments or statements which might be construed as being anti-Semitic.
And yet it is clear that Israel is protecting not so much the Jewish faith as their own homeland, or the land that was given back to them by the British. Is the Jewish religion being attacked, or the Israeli nation? Why must the two be brought into one pot as if they are exactly the same?
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Every image tells a tale, paints – as has been said and repeated more times than I care to research – a thousand words. Imagine what it must be for those really interested in evolution – and I’m not talking about the creationist / evolutionist argument here – to be able to follow changes from the first through to the last. Of course we can do that at any time we want: any family album is going to have the first baby photos, the first walking, first school day, first bicycle ride, graduation, college, wedding celebrations caught for all time and preserved for grandchildren and unsuspecting visitors.
Photo Source: unknown, via imgsrc
We can follow celebrities from their first appearance on the stage through to the final facelift if we want. But ordinary people, the changes which happen through fashion and aren’t seen by the whole family? The personal changes that a woman – or a man – performs for themselves? Such things were once rare but, now that we have the selfie amongst us, could become a staple of our daily diet, beginning with the most innocent, the most attractive and then moving on…
I am constantly amazed at how some people can find humor in the most ridiculous things, but completely lose it when that humor could be seen to refer to them, or to something that they are connected to. A perfect example is this post – by Mara Mascaro – showing the difficulties of producing items in a foreign language. Now, I know that most people will obviously remove their child before cleaning the clothes they were wearing that day and such advice isn’t really needed, but we all know how difficult it is to translate from one language to another without a more than adequate knowledge of both languages.
Finding it amusing, and knowing of many other examples which fall into the same #FAIL category, I commented:
Why such a comment? Because we all know, or should do, that many, many things available on the US and European markets are manufactured in China: production is cheap; the quality can be good; it’s a profit and supply thing. But not everyone seems to understand that.
Shorts are in fashion yet again this year, making me think that the short skirt or the mini-skirt has had its day. In fact, it was hard to find a single younger woman out and about in Bremen on Saturday who wasn’t wearing shorts, some with considerably more flair than others according to the cut, their size and a few other factors. A few I was tempted to ask whether they’d borrowed their legs from a mannequin, as they were whiter than a pop stars’ teeth.
Photo Source: Unknown, via imgsrc
The style is either tight and incredibly short, leaving next to nothing to the imagination, and I mean front and back, or cut-off jeans with the pockets hanging down at the front. This is a style I have never been able to make friends with: why don’t they remove the pockets? I mean, they are totally useless and, to my way of thinking, look stupid. But with some of the shorts, well, you have to ask yourselves a simple question.