Monday, 17 March 2014

Wishing Themselves to New Forms

Superb video talk by one of my most favourite authors - Ray Bradbury. He talks about media, life, love, religion, preventing the future and what makes a writer as well as what makes GOOD writing. 

Awesome, wise and funny.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Spring Cleaning

Books Uncaged is getting a make-over for Spring. New colours, new banner and a new layout. :-)

The new banner will also be up on our Facebook page, along with this one...

There's also the new free bookmarks page.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Book Website for First Light

I've finally put up a website for my books, First Light and Wisdoms of the Light. I've chewed over the idea of a website before, but always found reasons to put it off. The biggest reason being the fact I'm an artist with a fussy eye for details. I can take weeks just deciding on web page background designs!

The new website is HERE

I've been busy working on art for the site the last week and I finally put up the last finishing touch this morning - a map of Sindorus.

All the artwork is mine, including the map of Sindorus. If you run your cursor arrow over a thumbnail picture it will show you a book quote. If you click on the thumbnails they open up full size.There's a small square in the bottom right that shuts a full size picture.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I Call Myself Earth Girl

"I call myself Earth Girl because I chose to live on earth, even though my celestial life was one of peace and beauty. I didn’t know what to expect when I came back to life on earth, but it surely wasn’t this.
After all those years drifting in the world of light and air, I wanted a sense of place. I wanted to be anchored to a body that lived in a certain place and a certain time."
What if you were about to become a grandmother for the first time and you discovered you were pregnant? What if you believed you conceived this child in a dream? What if you tried to end the pregnancy and failed?
Gloria Geist's world is turned completely upside down when she discovers she is pregnant and she knows her husband can not be the baby's father. Her recurring dreams about a young girl who calls herself Earth Girl initiate a quest for understanding that leads her to question the nature of time and the possibility of reincarnation.
As she is exposed to mystic wisdom through the voice in her dreams, she learns, not only about herself, but also the many facets of family love and acceptance. Her journey of self-discovery ultimately connects her to the future in a way she could never have imagined.

"We each have in us all the wisdom in the world."

I Call Myself Earth Girl  is written alternating the story between the "here and now" life of Gloria and the very different 'life' of Earth Girl. Is Earth Girl merely a series of vivid dreams or something more? Well... you'll have to read the book and find out for yourself!

The storyline is clever and the plot has some interesting twists. The main characters are fleshed out nicely and the dialogue is excellent, but I did find some of the descriptive portions a bit rushed. I would have liked to have been shown more and told less, but that's a personal complaint. It doesn't detract from a well-crafted plot with some lovely moments of prose. My own personal favourite quote from the book is:
"If I ever started a religion, I would call it The Church of the Holy, Wholly Unknowable. There would be no dogma. I would preach that there is so much more than we can ever comprehend in this earthly life. That it is all just about love. There would be more peace and less war if people weren’t so obsessed with convincing others that they have to believe certain things and worship in certain ways. That’s a religion I could believe in."

And that's a religion I could believe in as well! All in all, very thought-provoking read.


Jan Krause Greene has considered herself a writer since her 4th-grade teacher sent her off to the 3rd grade classroom to read her composition on the life of a penny. This same trip across the hall is probably why she became a teacher, which in turn may be the reason she did not write her first novel until she was in her 60s, or maybe it was the 5 kids.

Now retired, her writing examines life's big questions from the perspective of characters both young and old, struggling to understand their place in a complex world.She describes herself as a writer, activist and lover of the earth. She is currently working on the sequel to her first novel and is also writing a non-fiction book about a man who suffered traumatic brain injury during a hit and run accident.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Writing Exercises ~ It's All in the Details

I was sent this interesting set of writing exercises by an author friend:

    • Your main character has invited you to lunch. Where does he/she meet you? What is ordered? What do you talk about?
      (This exercise helps you to learn more about your character through food preference—which can actually be useful in your story—and through casual conversation)
    • Your protagonist and antagonist are each required to write a letter of introduction for your reader, describing themselves, their goals and motivations, and you.
      (This exercise gives you valuable insight into the way your characters think about and describe themselves)
    • It’s a Sunday afternoon and your character’s responsibilities are complete. What does he/she do to relax for the rest of the day?
      (This exercise gives you a deeper knowledge of your character through hobbies/leisure time activities.)
    • Your protagonist and antagonist each write a letter to a friend or family member (or you!) about the other.
      (This exercise helps you gain insight into how your characters view their opposition)
    • Your two main characters have to change a flat tire, in the rain.
      (This exercise helps you to learn more about your characters through handling adversity—which can be very telling!)
    • Your main character decides to put up a personal homepage. How does he/she go about it? Does he/she have the skills to start building one, or will assistance be necessary? What sort of information will he/she want on it?
      (This exercise helps give you a feel for how comfortable your character is with the technology that is becoming more prevalent in our lives. It also gives you insight into how your character sees themselves, through how they would like a total stranger to perceive them.)
    • Your main character invites you to his/her place for dinner. What sort of home does he/she have? How is it furnished? Any family, roommates, pets? What is served?
      (This exercise gives you insight via detailed description of your character’s home environment— which can be useful in your story—family, food preference, and any other details you work into it.)

An Afternoon with Caravan Girl

My husband and I were recently interviewed, about working as a team advertising and publishing my books, by Caravan Girl. You can find the whole interview here.

Caravan Girl, Rachael Rippon, both a book reviewer and an author herself. Her first paranormal children's book, of the Abbigail Cobble trilogy, is available free at Smashwords.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Meanwhile, in Scotland... 
 Graffiti artist Rogue One has given a wall of Buckhaven Library in Fife a new look. 
Picture: George Mcluskie

Friday, 14 February 2014

Scent of a Soul ~ Review

I stumbled upon The Scent of A Soul and was intrigued by the title. So, I took a look at the first few pages on Amazon and decided to read it in spite of what it was. 

In spite of? Yes, that surprised me as well. You see... it's a paranormal romance and the genre is not one of my favourites. Beyond Jane Austen I stopped reading romances in High school. As for paranormal... it's a genre I do enjoy, but the recent frenzy for all things supernatural (thanks to Buffy the vampire slayer and Harry Potter) has brought us a lot of really bad fan fiction in recent years.

The Scent of the Soul is nothing like that. It isn't a fan fiction spin-off - it should be creating it's own fan fiction. This really is an excellent book and I enjoyed it just as much as those first few pages hinted at. The characters are solid and real. Even when they step out of the everyday into the supernatural they manage to stay believable. The action is violent in places, but then this is a story of a battle between brothers that spans the realms of Good and Evil. The romance is intense and there are twists I wasn't expecting with not just one romance, but... well... you'll need to read it to find out. ;-) 

All in all I enjoyed it immensely. I loved the hero. Marek is very attractive and not because of his muscular physique, Scottish accent or piercing blue eyes. Marek is hot because he's an old-fashioned kind of guy. Like the knights in the legends of old, Marek still believes in all those things that truly can sweep a fair maiden off her feet: honour, respect, consideration, chivalry and romance. Better still, he's not the only charmingly handsome man in the story. Lilliah's problem is not only will she get her man, but... which one? There are at least seven really attractive and likable men woven into this story.

I liked Lilliah, which helped a lot. I've read some romances where the heroine made me want to slap her. I can't read a romance where the lead lady is so irritating I can't connect with her. In my opinion there is nothing romantic about whimpering, simpering, fragile or neurotic. Lilliah, thankfully, is none of those. She is uniquely herself, stubborn-minded and a little headstrong, but still very likable. I wanted her to get the right man and I felt for her when her loved ones are drawn into danger by the chaos created by Marek's evil brother.

Worst Book Irritation:
Here and there the author slips from telling the story from the point of view of Lilliah into telling you what a minor character is thinking. It's a minor moment of jarring your brain, but I'm here to be the picky reviewer so I have to mention it. And too many names. There are a lot of characters in this book and then the author adds the extra names of people we meet briefly, or not at all. I started to wish there was a front list of who was who at times.

Best Book Moment:
My best book moment are Jennifer's concepts. I'll avoid spoilers by just saying that she's taken an old supernatural idea and given it her own intriguing twist. I like that a lot. I like this book a lot.

 It would make a smashing set of movies. More than one, I'd say, since the plot is complex and there are so many interesting side stories woven into it. Now... who do we get to play Lilliah and Marek?  ;-)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

A New Genre Rising

I discovered an interesting new book genre, recently. It's called Visionary Fiction.
Some places categorise it as a sub-section of Inspirational Fiction. Others see it as fiction with a strong metaphysical slant, spiritual rather than religious. It includes  Paranormal, Horror, Fantasy and some Sci-Fi as well as Magic Realism.

The Visionary Fiction Alliance describe the the concept as this:

"Visionary is a tone as well as a genre. The ‘visionary’ element can technically be present in any genre and set in any time.

Characteristic Features of Visionary Fiction:
  • Growth of consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.
  • The plot [or story] is universal in its worldview and scope.
So in short, the emphasis is on our limitless human potential, where transformation and evolution are entirely possible."
Here are some of the books and movies they've listed as Visionary Fiction:

A Christmas Carol
– Charles Dickens
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
- Philip K. Dick
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
From the Corner of His Eye – Dean Koontz
Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah – Robert Bach
The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
The Stand – Stephen King

The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman
What Dreams May Come – Richard Matheson
I saw a lot of old favourites there, including TV shows. In my opinion, I'd add The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis and Lord of the Rings by Tolkein in to the list of Visionary Fiction.

What books and/or movies would you consider to be Visionary?