Saturday, 23 April 2011

Money is the root of good and bad things…

JEFFREY ARCHER’S FIFTH SHORT STORIES COLLECTION contains a dozen of interesting plots with unexpected endings. Cat O’Nine Tales is another masterpiece from Jeff after his two years of incarceration – actually he picked the ideas for these stories while he was inside bars.

The twelve stories include the following: (1) The Man who robbed his own post office, (2) Maetro, (3) Don’t drink the water, (4) It can’t be October already, (5) The red king, (6) The wisdom of Solomon, (7) Know what I mean, (8) Charity begins at home, (9) The alibi, (10) A Greek tragedy, (11 The commissioner, and (12) In the eye of the beholder.

Among these stories, I like the plot and characters in (1), (2), (4), (6), (7), (8) and (10). “The man who robbed his own post office” is actually a couple that robbed their own business firm to earn back their original investment because they feel that the money will not be returned to them even they will work hard for the rest of their lives. The second story, Maestro is funny and unpredictable. Again, it is quite a reflection of a real situation when people try to evade from paying taxes. “It can’t be October already” (4th story) on the other hand, it is also a funny story - something that reflects the weakness of the legal system and being abused by criminals. The 6th story also shows how the legal process can pass fair judgment; while the 7th story that proves that despite the laws and regulations are properly administered and enforced, still there are some people can evade or get away from it. While the 8th story, Charity begins at home tells us that there are simple means in getting richer by money laundering. Finally, the 10th story also tells us that sometimes bad things happen for reasons, consequently the outcomes influence the way people live their lives.

Overall, Jeff proves that money is the main cause of all troubles and his stories also illustrate on how money can greatly influence our way of living, BUT it can also provide good karma to people. From a legal perspective, Jeff told the stories that allow the readers to understand the grounds for crime and the loopholes or weaknesses within the legal system. It is not a straight forward storytelling, but always with unexpected twists that linger in our mind for a while...

"A storyteller in the class of Alexander Dumas. . . Unsurpassed skill…making the reader wonder intensely what will happen next." (The Washington Post)

"There isn't a better story-teller alive." (Larry King)

"Archer is a master entertainer." (Time)

"Archer is a terrific story-teller, and meets the reader's ultimate tests---to want to turn the page to see what happens next." (Sunday Times, London)

"Probably the greatest storyteller of our age." (Mail on Sunday, London)

"Jeffrey Archer has a gift for plot that can only be described as genius." (Daily Telegraph, London)

"Cunning plots, silken style . . . Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader." (The New York Times)

Note: This book in hardbound is part of my Read-Release Challenge which is my personal commitment with my first participation in World Book Night 2011 (UK). I gave it as a birthday gift to a new friend from Nigeria and she's also a PhD student at the university where I'm currently enrolled.

Friday, 22 April 2011

BookFace: Short stories of Filipino Tales courtesy of Manybooks

ANOTHER SET OF EBOOKS ABOUT FILIPINO TALES AVAILABLE IN MANYBOOKSdotNET. Not written in Filipino (Tagalog), but it is worth discovering Pinoy folklores and anting-anting stories which are translated/presented in English.

From the editor's Foreword, he describes the book (Anting-Anting) as a "collection of simple yet powerful stories...with dramatic vividness - pirates, half naked natives, pearls, man-apes, towering volcanoues...these remarkable stories written by Sargent Kayme dont exaggerate the realities of this strange life...strangest, perhaps, of all these possibilities for fiction is the anting-anting, at once a mysterious power to protect its possessor and the outward symbol of the protection."

On the other hand, Fansler's popular tales were collected during the years from 1908 to 1914. Written down in English but not in the original vernacular languages (Visayans, Tagalog, etc.) for the main reason of "recording these tales has been a literary one, not a linguistic one..."

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Book Catcher Series Six: Courtesy of Enable Ireland (Dublin)

SINCE I AM LEAVING FOR MANILA (PHILIPPINES) VERY SOON, I DECIDED TO VISIT DUBLIN (IRELAND) FOR THE LAST TIME. I visited some of the iconic urban forms (Spire, James Joyce, Temple Bar, Halfpenny bridge, etc.) at the city centre, including Makati Avenue Restaurant owned by a Filipina businesswoman. She even prepared authentic Filipino halo-halo (sweet icy dessert) for my me and my two companions.

As usual, I'm on my book hunt and luckily there was a charity shop nearby. Enable Ireland (Capel Street) is an Irish non-profit organisation that provides free services to children and adults with disabilities and their families from 40 locations in 14 counties.

With few minutes of browsing of its discounted books, I finally grabbed two bestseller copies of The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) and Northern Lights (Philip Pullman) tagged at 1 Euro (approximately 50 pesos)! The Lovely Bones became a box office motion picture last year and it is a sad engaging story which somehow convinced me to grab the book, while Northern Lights (1995) is the first book of Pullman well-known trilogy, His Dark Materials and this book is also included in the launching of World Book Night 2011 in Britain. Northern Lights is the winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award. Im also interested to read the its continuing story, The Subtle Knife (1997) and concluding part, The Amber Spyglass (2000). The Amber Spyglass received the Whitbread Book of the Year Award - the first time in the history of that prize given to a children's book.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Featured Author: Phillip Thomas Duck shares his passion for writing romantic stories

I FOUND MY NEXT FEATURED AUTHOR THRU GOODREADS WEBSITE. His name is Phillip Thomas Duck who is also an active member of my newly created Facebook Group page: Amazon Kindle/Ebook readers that provides information on free ebook downloads from various websites (aside from Amazon). I already read his sexy short stories collection, One Quick Kiss and the first offering of his romantic suspense series, Excuse Me, Miss to get to know his writing style and characters.

Phillip is happy to be part of my blogsite and shares his passion for writing romantic stories. Despite his hectic schedule and deadline, he was able to answers some of the queries that I asked him which might serve as inspiration to us readers and aspiring writers worldwide. And of course, Im hoping that we include his ebook novellas in our reading list.

1. How long does it take you to write a book? It generally takes me about four months to write a decent draft of a full-length novel. Then I embark on the task of rewriting and revising. My favorite part of writing is actually this second phase, when a novel comes into shape and is no longer just a big hunk of clay.

2. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I’ve heard other writers say that they couldn’t start writing until they have a title, and I fall in the same category. My biggest quirk, however, would probably be my insistence that words line up nicely on the page. I can’t stand paragraphs that don’t fit into a nice box shape.

3. What do you like to do when you're not writing? Listening to music. Watching the NBA or NFL. Playing with my daughter. Reading a good book.

4. What does your family think of your writing? Hemingway who? I’m the greatest writer the world has ever known.

5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? That sometimes the characters would stop listening to me and do their own thing. Now, I’ve come to appreciate it when that happens, because it means the story is truly turning into something creative.

6.How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? Six published traditionally, with a seventh due out in August. Three independently published novellas. They’re all my children, I can’t pick a favorite. I poured my heart and soul into the writing of each one.

7. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they? Read a lot. Make sure Sol Stein’s books on writing are a part of their library. Write everyday. Follow their heart and not the trends of the moment. Make the writing sensual. I have a note above my keyboard reminding me to include all of the senses in my writing.

8. What do you think makes a good story? Every great story is driven by characters a reader can care about, and the thwarting of that character’s wants, needs, and desires. That’s the classic story.

9. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Score 50 points against Michael Jordan. But I stopped growing at a shade over six feet tall and my knees wouldn’t cooperate.

10. Who is your favourite author (s)? I love the crime fiction genre above all else so my favorite writers are primarily of that ilk. George Pelecanos, Daniel Woodrell, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Walter Mosley, Jonathan Kellerman and on and on.

Phillip's newly published ebook, Distracted is out now and available in Amazon and Smashwords, including his previous novellas and short stories at very reasonable prices. My reviews for his ebooks will be posted here in my blogsite very soon, so watch out for that as well. Again, thank you very much Phillip for sharing your writing experiences to us and we look forward to your next ebooks.