Sunday, May 25, 2014

Underground Book Reviews Summer reading list - poll

Well, according to the email I got this morning from UBR, my novel, Escaping Barcelona, is listed on their 2014 Summer Reading Poll.

Since I don't have a Facebook account, I can't see the entire poll or the votes, but I am assured it is there.

The official Underground Book Reviews review of Escaping Barcelona can be found here:

If you have enjoyed my writing, please take a minute to click the poll and cast your vote. I really appreciate it.

Thank you.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A shout out to Karl Strand Photography

Karl Strand - I do not know you. Nevertheless, I just became aware of the fact that you have used one of my quotes to accompany one of your photographs in a Facebook post. I don't do Facebook, so I cannot reply there . . .

I just wanted to say, "Thank You!" and to congratulate you on the beautiful image. I must admit that the quote works rather well with that image. I also wanted to thank you for doing the right thing and crediting me for the quote. It's much appreciated.

If you, somehow, happen to read this post, drop me a line. I took a look at some of your images and they are wonderful. You are very talented!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Free poetry on Kindle

Following the better-than-expected interest in my poetry collection, The Silence Before Dawn, during a recent Goodreads giveaway, I have decided to run a FREE Kindle promo from Friday, May 23 through Monday, May 26, 2014.

This is just my way of saying, "Thank You," to all the readers who added my book to their to-read list. I hope you will enjoy this opportunity to read my poetry for free.

The Silence Before Dawn will be free on all Amazon sites worldwide. The US link is here:

Feel free to share this promo with your friends or your favorite sites.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dreams in the Womb - a review

Dreams in the WombDreams in the Womb by Brandon Gene Petit

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading Dreams in the Womb, I had no idea what to expect. Unlike other poetry collections I read previously, this one is an interesting mix of prose and verse, alternating every few pages between the two.

"My nubile heart resounds into nurturing fluids and my form grows heavy in the dreaming void of the womb . . . my eyes are sealed shut but my fetal head now busies with thoughts as it curls into my chest. Behold the first inklings of consciousness in their amoebic state, probing the darkness pursuant of a sentient spark; an infant's first grasping handfuls of love, fear, and jealousy . . . or at least the primitive roots of such."

The opening prose Prior Knowledge grabbed me with its esoteric quality, evoking powerful images in my mind - images of pure beauty and nostalgia. The first well-known work that came to mind, if I had to compare, was Calvino's Cosmicomics. But unlike Calvino who delved into consciousness and persisted in a theme, Petit seems to tickle the subconscious and moves on, shifting the focus and style as the book unfolds, no longer esoteric but very human, vulnerable, and romantic like Lawrence, then shifting again.

"The thorn in my fingertip serves as punishment for taking her for granted, and the bead of blood that follows is surely the opposite of her tears. Her afterglow smells like memories, and candlelight, and lazy days in bed . . . but to my dismay it does not smell like forgiveness."

Before I continue, however, I must admit that I am torn by this book. To me, there are two books - one of prose [which Petit categorizes as writings] and one of verse [formal poetry]. As a reviewer, nonetheless, I must rate the book as a whole.

The verse, or poems in this collection are beautiful, yet failed to engage me in a way I would have liked. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the poems; it is just that I, personally, struggle with rhyming poetry. And despite the fact that Petit did a wonderful job in getting all the mechanics right and selected some great words to match the rhyme and rhythm without sacrificing meaning, I would have preferred free verse. That being said, I'm not sufficiently familiar with formal-style poetry to pass a judgement, but had I the opportunity to rate the two styles separately, I would have rated the verse at three stars.

The prose pieces were my favorite pieces in the book. Each time I found one, I was overjoyed, and I looked forward towards the next one. This is where Petit turned me upside down, shook me, and set me back again. Yes, it is that good.

"I have misguided my talent to distinguish the varieties of Heavens from the instabilities of Hell, and in fool-fashion I show little concern that I may never break away from the dance. I revel in cycles too intellectual to be hedonistic, but too asinine to be fruitful to the psyche."

It is in prose that Petit shines as a true poet. You may think that this is an oxymoron, but no, I must assure you that the soul of a true poet shines forth from the "writings", as Petit refers to his short pieces.

"I am numbed . . . numbed not beyond the threshold of emotion, but beyond any earthly connection to the world and its trite voice of reason . . . and therefor any reasoning emotions akin. Yes, an afebrile sickness of ecstasy and austerity intertwined becomes my illusory cradle-prison of a realm, somewhere in the dismal spaces between the rotating gears of consciousness."

His imagery-rich language is a spectacular example of what it means to be a poet, what it means to see the beauty in everything around you, even the worst day of your life. Reading the prose, I felt touched. If I could, the prose would receive a five star rating without having to think about it twice.

"Love is painful when it travels only in one direction, and words are deadly when they speak of triangles and broken circles."

Petit's collection as a whole is greatly varied, touching upon themes of love, relationships, heaven, hell,

"It seems like the Devil always has one last form . . . one last mask, then still another . . . one more arrow flailing over the edge from the darkness to whence you have sent him. To your dismay, evil has bartered for a permanent place in nature, and when the Devil is not blatant on the stilts of man he crouches in the legs and drooping chins of beasts, prowling ever closer to the fire until a sleeper's neglect fails the flame and darkness exposes a path."

past lives, gods, and anything in between. Yet, throughout the collection runs the theme of beauty, be it a woman he admires or the light of a star in the evening sky.

Rain . . . the unsalted tears of God . . . and thunder, the massive heartbeat which squirms in ire for the angel that did not love Him. They both work together to make mad, tempestuous love in skies tinged as yellowed paper . . . restless anger growling in chains while a peaceful, Zen kind of sorrow vents the poison angst, keeping it all in balance for an alchemic display. For me it is an evening of half-dreaming and dignified god-questioning . . . answered only by the clarity of sublime breaths and the silence that overtakes from where conversations with divinity slide off into sleep, unresolved."

He sees beauty everywhere, and he has the ability to tame this beauty and bring it to his readers. And for this, I'm grateful.

Overall rating, strong 4 stars.

Mr. Petit, you are one talented poet, and I thank you for letting me glimpse the world through your eyes.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blog Hop: Pass the stick

I was tagged for this Blog Hop by two authors, Martyn Halm and Roberta Pearce, so here are my introductions:

Roberta Pearce’s relationship with romance novels began when she fell into a box of her aunt’s dog-eared treasures that miraculously opened at the most interesting bits. All through post-secondary adventures – Russian Lit: good; torrid love scenes: better – this amour de HEA took her, though it goes without saying that she failed French. One day, she decided to make a useful contribution to society and write HEAs rather than just reading them, and still seeks one for herself in real life.

First-time participant and winner of 2013 NaNoWriMo, Pearce is still waiting for her cheque. Her influences include Fyodor Dostoyevsky [his dreamy side], Douglas Adams, Rupert Brooke, Mary Burchell, and Omar Khayyam. While she currently has no pets, she once had a pair of Siamese fighting fish named Pat and Mike, whose ghosts appear occasionally in her novels. Her imaginary hobbies include climbing Kilimanjaro and enjoying lofty literature. Her real hobbies include drinking copious bottles of wine with good friends while discussing anything that pops to mind.

Other than her above bio, Roberta Pearce drives men crazy with her mysterious red heels, and her shadowy figures sneak into men's dreams to haunt them at night. She is a frequent contributor to several discussions on Goodreads with her not always agreeable, yet always intelligent and well-written posts.

Visit her Goodreads Page or her Amazon Author Page or her Blog here.

Martyn V. Halm lives in Amsterdam, with his wife Maaike, two children, two cats, and countless imaginary characters vying for attention.

Writing realistic crime fiction is hard work. Martyn is a stickler for verisimilitude in fiction, even if that requires learning new skills. When your protagonist is a seasoned killer, research can take you right up to Nietzsche’s abyss. Luckily, things get easier after the first kill...

Martyn always enjoyed stories about assassins, but his opinion on assassins differed from the books he read. Since most fictional assassins are antagonists, they are often warped individuals, with freaky childhoods. However, Martyn has come across mercenaries (basically the same field), who are pretty regular people. Sure, their view of the world differs from ordinary citizens, but they’re not ‘warped’. This made him want to write about an assassin who has no deep-seated frustration or abused childhood, but who just realised that killing was what she was good at and who had the appropriate world view and lack of conscience to pull it off.

Other than his above bio, Martyn is a fellow ADVRider member. His European manners and insights are a breath of fresh air on Goodreads where he contributes whenever he does not write, folds people for a living, or contemplates how to establish real-life Loki Enterprises and get away with it. I suspect that he is the shadowy mastermind behind Loki, masking his chosen profession as a writer of suspense fiction in order to fool international law enforcement agencies.

Visit his Amazon Profile  where you can check out his books and sample two stories for free, or his Goodreads Profile, or his Interesting Blog here.

Time to answer my questions:

What I'm working on?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not really working on anything at this point. This past year and a half was a very busy time for me. I left the publishing world in 2007 [a mistake], and wrote for the next several years. Towards the end of 2012, when I was ready for a comeback, it took a lot of hard work to get everything ready.

Thus, since November 2012, I've been buried in Word files, Kindle files, epub files, and all sorts of files and programs, releasing the complete Mad Days of Me, trilogy, a collection of experimental short stories -Coffee, Cigarettes, and Murderous Thoughts, and a new edition of my poetry—The Silence Before Dawn.

Nevertheless, an author seldom sleeps, so I'm technically working on a new book, titled 36 Days. Yes, I've been saying this for a while now, but I won't write unless it feels right. Writing cannot be forced.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I write Literary Fiction, so there is not exactly a genre. Literary Fiction differs from genre works on a pretty significant level, in that the character himself is the story. I'll present my own interpretation: Literary fiction or a literary novel is a written work where the protagonist's state of mind and resulting actions take precedence over the plot itself. I realize that this definition may not suit everyone, so I'm open to a discussion on this.

For me, literary novels are packed with emotions and real human experiences. The protagonists are not always likeable, the villains are not always bad, but we experience the world through their eyes and thoughts, which, in turn, teaches us something about our world. Such is life.

That being said, I have yet to read two lit fic novels that follow the same arc. With the ability to disregard established genre rules, the author has a lot more leeway where he/she takes his/her story, and thus all works within the "genre" are somewhat unique.

Why do I write what I write?

Because if I didn't, who else would?

The more serious answer is that I enjoy delving deep into the human psyche, discovering bits about humanity along the way. The way our society works, human interactions, alienation . . . and, of course, the beauty in those random moments we often overlook.

I write what I write because I cannot carry around a mirror large enough for the world to see itself in.

How does my writing process work?

It starts with one of those annoying ideas that just keep demanding my attention without ceasing. I start listening. Then I think about it. If it's anything I find interesting enough to work on, I contemplate it for a few days (or years—depending on the idea) and then I set to explore it.

First comes the location—all stories need to take place somewhere. Once I have a location, I do some research to either refresh my memory of a place, or to learn about a new place. I'm a visual person, so I look at photos, maps, transportation, historical sights, et cetera. I need to be able to see myself there, to walk the streets with my characters.

I do not outline. Rather, I let the story evolve as it unfolds.

Once I start, the process turns masochistic. As long as I'm writing, I live the story in my head. All day long, running scenarios, imagining events, interactions . . . At night, when the house is quiet and I'm the only one awake, I write it down. And the next day it's the same all over again.

This is fine with short stories. But having a character in your head for six years really blurs the line between reality and fiction. Take my word for it.


Edward M. Wolfe:

Edward M Wolfe is an author and musician living in Tulsa for some strange reason. He is an author of post-apocalypse, science-fiction, paranormal and non-fiction stories and novels.

Goodreads profile


Amazon Page

Andrea Barbosa:

Andrea Barbosa holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism and loves to travel and write. She maintains an indie review blog and is a contributor on Yahoo Contributor Network and Yahoo! Voices websites. “Massive Black Hole” is her debut novel. Her work has been influenced by contemporary authors Paulo Coelho, Fernando Sabino and Joyce Carol Oates, among others. Her second book is a poetry collection featuring beautiful photography.


Goodreads Profile


Amazon Page

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Massive Black Hole - a review

Massive Black HoleMassive Black Hole by Andrea Barbosa

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This year, to expand my literary horizons, I wanted to try and read more books by self published authors. The Massive Black Hole by Andrea Barbosa is one of them.

I originally came across Andrea on Goodreads, and decided to read the book based on a few solid reviews and an interesting blurb.

I must begin by saying that this was not my 'typical' read, as Massive Black Hole not only features an entirely female cast, but is also written in a third-person narrative, whereas I tend to favor first-person narrative.

Perhaps, because of the latter, I did not find the story as engaging as I wanted it to be. First-person narrative offers a high degree of intimacy between the reader and the narrator, which is sometimes lost with a third-person narrative. Nevertheless, I believe that readers more accustomed to this narrative style will have no issue getting lost in the book.

When I mention the female cast, I must add that Barbosa's female protagonists are unlike any females I know personally. Massive Black Hole features three protagonists: Cibele, Agatha, and Amy. Cibele is from Rio de Janeiro, Agatha is from Texas, and Amy is from NYC, where most of the story takes place.

The first two protagonists are clearly introduced in their native environment, through present-day interactions with their surroundings, with just enough hint of their shared past. Later, through a flashback, the reader is introduced to Amy, NYC, and the reasons why both Cibele and Agatha ended up in the city. This is where the crux of the story unfolds.

Once the storyline shifts entirely to NYC, a meeting of chance begins an unlikely friendship that will alter the course of their lives forever. The various time shifts in the story are well defined, and the characters fully developed.

What I found interesting is that, as the story unfolds, all three protagonists undergo a major development. In Massive Black Hole nothing is as it seems at first, and friendship is a word taken too lightly. Both Cibele and Agatha, while initially very different, become cutthroat 'bitches' stopping at nothing to achieve their objectives, even if the assumptions their fears are based upon are far from reality. Barbosa shows a twisted side of femininity, where looks are everything and sex is a means that justifies the end.

But the book is about more than women taking advantage of each other and their surroundings. It is also a story of redemption and forgiveness. Throughout the book, Barbosa explores certain religious themes (religion shaped one character's past and another's future) that serve as a statement on humanity in general. Not only that, she also explores the controversial notion of hell being here and now (for some) which, while not widely accepted by Christians, is in line with Eastern religions and the concept of karma.

Overall, this was an interesting and enjoyable read. While I would personally opt for a more intimate narrative, the story flowed fine in third-person narrative. There were no awkward time shifts and all flashbacks served their purpose. Agatha's life turned out as one would have expected, however, both Amy and Cibele's development came as a surprise. There were some minor repetition and edit issues, however, none distracting enough to take away from the reading experience. I'm glad this book found its way to my desk.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 5, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway

I'm running a Goodreads giveaway of three signed copies of my poetry collection, The Silence Before Dawn. These are for the paperback edition, nevertheless, if you are interested in a review copy (Kindle only), please contact me directly.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Silence Before Dawn by Henry Martin

The Silence Before Dawn

by Henry Martin

Giveaway ends May 18, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win