Saturday, October 3, 2015

Novel Profile Raising: Constructed of Magic by Loius Alan Swartz

D.O: What is the message in your book?

LAS: First of all, my purpose in life is stated on the 3rd unnumbered page in Constructed of Magic in the epigraph for the book:

"My purpose in life
is to waken the sleeping
spirit of man.
You are constructed of magic.
You are here to pervade joy.

 The message of the book is most concisely stated in the poem You Are Dancer (page 162):

You are dancer
In the shy.
You are spirit Who'll never die.

D.O: There are feelings you subdue when they transport nothing but finite hope. And there are feelings that sail like the natural sea driver into your heart with perpetuity feelings of swarming strength and hope such as the aforementioned poems offers.

LAS: Thank you Darmie.

D.O: My pleasure. What are your readers reactions to this book?

LAS: They speak of a greater pride in themselves and being inspired to do better in their lives
and not to waste their time on earth. I have received many very emotional responses like tears of joy which I was not expecting. One person said, "Your poems are making me ridiculously happy. The common denominator was enjoyment of the poetry regardless of religious affiliation or belief. All in all, the message has been well received and welcomed by readers of diverse ages, nationalities, ethnicities and personal histories. What makes me happy is that they had fun with the book. They laughed and cried and opened their hearts. To me, that's what it's all about!

D.O: So, it's just like me. I have not even read the entire book, and I feel uplifted already. What is your writing process? Do you have a regular routine?

LAS: I get many ideas for poems in the middle of the night. I always have a notebook beside
me so I can immediately write down these thoughts, lines or full poems. If I  don't write it
down right then, I can lose it. Very often a single line will grow into a full poem as it is being
written down or just after.  In the morning I read the poems to my wife. She is the first person 
to hear them.

D.O: I'm encouraged the more. What book(s) author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

LAS: The author who most directly influenced me as a writer was Rainer Maria Rilke, a German poet who wrote in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. The specific Rilke book which influenced me was The Duino Elegies. I was in my 20s when I first read this book.  What I got from this book was the idea that spirits existed. It was not a religious viewpoint. It was not very specific and was not related to any belief system. I just read the book and got this idea that spirits existed. At this time I was experiencing a lot of personal upset. Reading this book and forming the idea that spirits existed calmed me down enormously. It gave me some peace in a time when I was anything but peaceful. Later in life when I read the book again, I was struck by how Rilke used the aesthetic to communicate the spiritual.

D.O: What are and current and future projects?

LAS: I am working with an artist on a full color illustrated version of one of my poems. I have completed the majority of poems for a follow up volume to Constructed of Magic.

Here are the first two poems in Constructed of Magic:

Some Things I Want to Show You
A lovely man died yesterday. He was at his piano Working in his usual way.
He’d been composing
At a fevered pace
And writing reams of poetry Unrestrained in single space.
He was just nearing
Four score and five,
But one hundred percent there And intensely alive.
He kept telling me
He had something to say, But we never got a moment And now he’s gone away.
He wrote me a note
A couple days ago:
“Some things I want to show you That gave me peace of mind
You will surely find them
In the things I left behind ”
This morning I went to his home. Early light through stained glass doors. Sitting at his piano alone
Surrounded by unfinished scores. Reading poetry written in a frenzy,
I was finally able to see
What he wanted me to see.
He wrote with wondrous esprit,
“I was so worried I’d be over With so much still to do But this is just a transition, I’m so happy to tell you ”
Then I understood:
“I have some things to show you That gave me peace of mind You will surely find them
In the things I left behind ”
At the piano I played His final score.
It was about the things He had always stood for.
Written with certainty,
A simple melody,
An unrelenting harmony Saying a man can be free.
In the score he had found a way
To compose something about immortality And infinite possibility,
Freedom of creativity,
Something regarding destiny.
He wrote with unrestrained hand Intricate, delicate and subtle, yet Limitlessly vast and awesome grand. But, so very easy to understand.
He wrote with passion and patience And surpassing artistry
Something absolutely thrilling About man’s eternity. 
When I finished playing
I felt personally utterly free, Devoid of any grief,
Loss or mystery.
I now fully comprehended The things he left behind.
You Should Have Been Here Tonight
You should have been here tonight. All of your lovely friends came by With their fiddles and cellos and such. They played as the sun set
On the brown summer hills.
You should have been here tonight. We strung magic lanterns.
There was deep belly laughter
And fond murmurings
As we told stories of the life you led.
You should have been here tonight. You would have danced with Claire. You would have noticed the deer Silently listening beneath the oak. You would have seen them there.
You should have been here tonight. In truth you were here.
In the last light of sunset

There was a laughing presence Unmistakable at the gardens edge. 

Get your Copy of Louis Alan Swartz's book HERE:

Also find Constructed of Magic HERE: 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Temba Magorimbo discusses his book "Butterscotch"

Our author on the blog today goes by the name Temba Magorimbo. He was born on 9 August 1966, Tuesday in Gweru of a policeman and his housewife. He grew up circulating this small city, the fifth then in Rhodesia (then) as his parents moved within Rhodesian police camps (residential areas). He went to school within Gweru mainly at Senga Primary School and Ascot Secondary. Before 1980, there was Rhodesia, after 1980, the same country was baptized as Zimbabwe. Pre-1980, it took a guerilla war to end racism and discrimination. Effects of this war, though he was a teen, affect his writing. He try and write from a neutral perspective.

Going back to around 1980 when he was a form 1 student at Ascot secondary School in Gweru, Zimbabwe, at thirteen years of age. He had a Caucasian expatriate teacher who encouraged him in the arts alongside three of his form 3 or 4 students namely Samuel Musharu, Simplicio Captain and Lucky Thodhlana. That was his clique of writers. He hailed from England, Paul or Saul Hyman. Samuel was a poet, Lucky wrote in African languages (Shona) and Simplicio shared his thrust of misusing the English as a second language option. He  was an avid user of the school library which made him want to write. That is how he became an author.

D.O: How do you do Temba. Thank you for joining us today, on Authors' Curtilage Book Dialogue.

T.M: Thanks for featuring me on your great blog Darmie.

D.O: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

T.M: I started writing when I was less than twelve years old. I was influenced by radio stories. In those days it was part of the syllabi to listen to radio stories from grade one to grade seven. We lived in an era where our family radios were battery operated even though we had load limited electricity. The family radios were only switched on for programs like news. We listened attentively as three battery operated radios were moved from class to class in a three class stream. Further to which at home, I listened to radio stories. At school they did not have a proper library. However, books for all grades were distributed at certain times were we had no option but to read and enjoy stories about the worlds we did not know. Rhodesia was a landlocked country, we read about castles near the sea, lighthouses, rocks on the ocean and jutting precipices near the sea.

D.O: Hmmm. The life then must be quite intriguing. 

T.M: Yes, it was quite interesting compare to this new age where you have almost everything available to you.

D.O: What are the various craft you've studied before you came into the entertainment industry or do you just possess some natural tendencies for story writing?

T.M: I tried acting which wasn’t even convincing to my fellow actors especially when I fluffed lines and forgot my entry and exit times. Motor racing wasn’t my style because I didn’t have a license to drive worse of which I couldn’t afford the fuel even if I had the vehicle and license.

 Hmmm. What are the steps you took to develop your book from a rough draft into a published novel?

T.M: I started by writing on loose sheets of plain paper before transferring to written paper. Those days! I would in later stages, around age seventeen go to a printing press in Gweru’s light industries where I bought offcuts. Then after several drafts I typed the final on a Hermes Baby portable typewriter. In later years, I moved to a desktop computer which had Windows 98. The use of floppy disks was amazing when the computer crashed and the floppy started misbehaving. Now I do my outlines, drafts and everything on computer using various Word versions according to the time until completion.

D.O: What did you do differently in your book to make readers feel fear, concern, sadness, love and laughter?

T.M: I wrote from the heart. I wrote from the open pores of feeling sad and guilty at times lonely and miserable at others, cheeky and shouting at some times, other times I was happy and carefree. I removed all my own personal feelings from the books that I wrote. I put in as much humour as I can find because people are stressed and concerned about everyday happenings.

D.O: Your feelings are normal. A lot of us writers have demons we battle with in all the areas of our lives.


D.O: What sensitive materials do your book deal with?

T.M: I talk about love with an emphasis on Christianity because Christianity is what I am. I do not believe in divorce neither do I want to see divorces though I know this happens, people get divorced. The pain they cause their children is real because I grew up in a family which had experienced divorce/separation of parents. Children would give up all to remain with their parents.

D.O: Sorry about the broken home. I know how the shoes hurt. I'm likewise against divorce.

T.M: Thank you Darmie.

D.O: You're welcome. What's the subject matter of your book?

T.M: Romance, love and break up/make up, cheats, fall guys, suckers and the down trodden.

D.O: Okay. What is the underlying theme that explored truth or moral in your book?

T.M: My theme is the togetherness of the family unit. We all have problems however why do we fight when we can negotiate? It is a wonderful thing to have a love story that doesn’t end in tragedy. I like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, if only they had not both died.

D.O: It's a wonderful thing to have a love story that doesn't end in tragedy. Hmmm. What town or city does your book story portray and what is the feeling we have in this dwelling places?

T.M: Butterscotch [meet me in Alberta] portrays the city of Harare which is our capital in Zimbabweand minor cities like Gweru and small towns like Shurugwi and Zvishavane. Though Harare may have problems like administration of the city by the cash strapped municipal authorities, bad roads, sewer blockages, electricity black outs, filth and uncollected litter, Harare is still our capital and we can make it beautiful if we all ditch the cart and the horse, [the politicians] and go it alone. The book features Calgary and slightly, Edmonton in the finale.

D.O: Having a unique point of view in telling a story provides your story with intention. From how many characters' viewpoint is your entire book seen from?

T.M: Butterscotch [meet me in Alberta] explores different viewpoints, that of the main character, of his wife and especially that of his mistress’ husband.

D.O: What does these point of views infuse into each of the scene in your book?

T.M: Raphael finds it difficult to keep a straight job though he has vast experience. He keeps getting short term jobs which frustrate him.

D.O: What does the lead character of your book want most in the world?

T.M: He wants a settled life where he is loved. He thinks he can have de javu with his mistress Virginia not his wife Dorothy. In the later stages, he gets the permanent job he wants, overseas, in tar sands oil extraction. Here he is working where he knows best, long and difficult well paid hours with lots of free time and he is lonely. He wants his family, will it be his children with his mistress or his mistress with the children growing away from him in another country?

What does he do to achieve this goal?

T.M: Raphael goes out of the country to work in extremely difficult but well paid conditions in order to break the financial shackles for his family. He starts preparations to cater for his family if it comes in. There is a glitch. Will his wife agree to send the elder children while she stays behind minding the toddlers?

D.O: What are the core truth for your lead character?

T.M: Raphael discovers that it is worth it to climb down and rejoin hands with his wife, Dorothy. He discovers that at times it is worthwhile to eat humble pie.

D.O: What are the two conflicting values you created for him?

T.M: Raphael has to consider his marriage versus his stint with his mistress. Afterall, she, his mistress is married too. Does he think it kosher to have two divorces in order to have their affair or should both of them feel the heartbreak of separation while maintaining their marriages 8, 000-kilometres apart.

D.O: Does this values make sense from his backstory?

T.M: Raphael is drawn to the past where he had been apprentice qualified and running around searching for a job. In those days, he met and had a rolling and vibrant love affair with one Virginia who later dumped him and married someone else he keeps counting his losses especially after they re-start their romance after different marriages. He finds it difficult to value his marriage and keep it stable.

D.O: What is the personal trait you gave your lead character to survive your book story?

T.M: He drowns his frustrations in working hard and running his businesses when things are not shaping up.

D.O: In the end of your book did the story goal satisfy your lead character's ambition or did he device another method to achieve his goal or failed at achieving it?

T.M: To my own point of view the story ends well when they decide to restart their love and marital life.

D.O: How do you think your book will influence readers growth positively?

T.M: It will teach them a story about love that dies hard. It teaches them that even after fifteen years, a man‘s heart is still soft towards his former girlfriend. Watch out for those small love affairs. Does it pay to rekindle the heart of years ago when a man was ditched by a girl when he meets her again?

D.O: Any hint about your next book?

T.M: Lamb To The Slaughter  is the story about the life and times of Tapiwa who is on the romp searching for the right girl until he realizes that he made a catalogue of mistakes going back to post graduation. He is a determined student who excels by running the mid-night oil until he reaches university. There are girls at university or outside. He is a wolf searching for lambs but there is HIV/AIDS and broken marriages to consider. How will he fare?

D.O: Hmmm. Interesting. What better effort do you suggest writers, input into their writing to have great sales in the ever-changing economics of the entertainment industry?

T.M: We need professional editors [proof, line/development and substantive], book jacket designers and then we need professional marketing companies who know where to rub salt on open wounds. Professional writers who publish with traditional publishers have the advantage of experienced and qualified personnel to cover various publishing facets. Indie authors should do the same and employ [professionals to compete. The problem is this calls for some capital or set up fund before publishing!

D.O: You're right about that. We should have catching and well polished books then, the sky would be our starting point. Writers, that's a professional advice from Temba. I hope you key into it.

Butterscotch – Blurb
[meet me in Alberta]
How does a man balance the love of his dotting wife and the affair he is about to cook with his ex-girlfriend who is married too? What does the fact that his wife is tall and huge have to do with the fact that his mistress is medium and petite looking have to do with love? Why does he land lucrative contracts then in between he has to struggle for survival?

Enter Virginia:-

Years ago in the prime of his youth Raphael had met and befriended Virginia. Then he was post apprenticeship qualification doing an odd job as a relief lecturer at a state run polytechnic while she was concluding her training as a nurse. Youth and exuberance where the order of the day. They ran hot bending and breaking love rules. He finds his trade job which makes him feel like a man. It is only that he has to cross 280-kilomtres to work leaving her alone. Added to it he works mainly in the bush or near a mine out of telephone contact. Postal mail works before the adage of the cell phone but the hearts yearn. A few months down the line she qualifies and is posted to one rural hamlet clinic where for a few times, they are still close. She closes the door on him suddenly, flashing him like waste paper. The last time he is up for an interview is when they somehow meet with her pregnancy almost close to term, about a year after her heartbreak on him.

Raphael buries his wounds smarting from her rebuff and enter Dorothy:-

She is a Mathematics and Science teacher of repute at the main school at a small mining town in her home turf where she grew up except for the years she spent at boarding school and teacher training college. She is into her late twenties having no takers when Raphael bursts into the scene. She has had her boys to men dates which fizzled. She has accepted in her mind that marriage is not kosher. She has planned to be a childless upright spinster when Raphael drops by like a bomb from Hiroshima.  She weaves a web around him enchanting him after one chance meeting leads to another until they are running between towns to visit and keep their attention alive. Later they marry. Is it bliss?

The dilemma:-

Raphael is in between jobs ten odd years plus later when he meets and starts having coffee breaks with Virginia. They create a scheme where he has found an overseas job, she should come along. In the end who will follow Raphael to Alberta between Virginia the hot stepper and Dorothy the calm, cool and collected? In between where do twin heritages come from when both a man and a woman have no such history in their lives?

D.O: Thank you once again for joining us on Authors Curtilage Book Dialogue. I wish you all the best in your writing career.

T.M: Thank you Darmie.

Get your copy of Butterscotch

Other Books by the Temba Magorimbo

They Breed Merino Sheep

Pata-Pata [soft footsteps]

Lamb To The Slaughter

Tigers Hunt At Night

Splash In The Loch

Off The Eagle's Claws 

Let Close On Me

For All Have Sinned
If Women Can Weep
Lake Of My Heart   

Whiplash [love triangle]

Review: His Name Was Ben

His Name was Ben

Author: Paulette Mahurin

Rating: 5***** 

Summary: How many times do I have to relive this? Blinking away tears, she moved her hand under the sheet into her nightie, to rough wrinkles and edges of scar tissue that had failed to heal in normal time because of infection, delaying chemo and radiation treatment…. Scheduled on a journey of death and quietly praying for miracles that would expand her existence, life suddenly became significant. In her aspiration to escape mortality, she met the right man, another cancer patient, who brought her the contentment her life has never for once experienced. However, the story of true love soon ended. A twosome became single, but not without rebuilding the broken.The story His Name Was Ben, takes place in some areas in U.S, and Ojai California where beautiful Sara Philips, a nurse practitioner and a divorcee lives by herself in the same city with (a cold mother, a father with a heart problem and a schizophrenic brother.

Sara lives a tough life, and experienced a number of problems: Henry who dumps her, three years into their marriage, for a metaphysical cult he is involved in and makes her shied away from sentimental investments with men. A mother with sickening attitude that can’t offer her daughter sincere comfort when dilemmas hits hard, ridicule because of a schizophrenic brother, and an abuse from the same brother that snatched away memory of a sweet childhood and plague the future with nightmares.

As Sara’s treatment continues at UCLA with Doctor Zimmerman, we soon see in the story that Sara meets Michael Gottilieb an attorney who works at NASA, and a fellow cancer patient. Intrigued by Ben’s good looks and situation, what Sara has successfully kept blocked for so many years begins creeping back in, one dream, one image, and one memory at a time—the pieces of a puzzle that has not yet formed a whole picture. But, entertaining the idea of receiving affirmation from Ben that she is still attractive is a balm. And wanting to feel normal, she continues to obsess over Ben. When Sara is encouraged by her close friend Ellen to tell Ben of her feelings, she’s reluctant. But she soon gathers the confidence to tell him and he blocks her flirtation. Ben’s mind is set in a fixed direction, and that is to concentrate on his treatment and only that. After a little while, Ben swings from his determination to stay the course with his treatment and not get involved with any woman. He gradually takes to Sara. And the feelings the two of them couldn’t think is for real, becomes the best thing that ever happens to the two of them. While Sara is experiencing encouraging changes from the ongoing approved cancer studies in UCLA, Ben’s health deteriorates. In spite the challenges, Ben and Sara gets married. And seven weeks after, Ben lost his life to the terminal illness. He dies, resolving the emotional trauma Sara has been hiding from her entire life. He dies leaving her a mended and fulfilled woman. 

Writing style:  The writing style of the author is luxuriant. She used glowing descriptions and really paint clear picture of every event that went down in the novel in the most engrossing way. The novel flows like story told from the author to the readers without uncertainties. The parallel stories developed in the greatest fascinating forms.  The author’s messages of life’s tests, liberation, love and fulfillment are clear and powerful in the middle of the story and at the end of it. She gave Sara a much fulfilled ending. She provides us with the value to be hopeful no matter what befalls us in life.

My thoughts: His Name was Ben, is a sumptuous true story. Sometimes fate would try to discourage us from reaching fulfillment in life by deriding us with all sort of tests, but this story leads me to believe that a person would always find exciting ending no matter the situations that reduces his chance of a fulfilled life like Ben. The rest of us should encourage ourselves, repair our broken faith that we can never find extraordinary fulfillment because of the hindrances we have presently to the flow of exciting happenings in our lives. After tempestuous days, triumph stands by those that have faith in happy ending.  


Happy Mother's Day

A mother's worth is incalculable and cannot be overstated. She gives up her wants and needs to ensure your happiness. Her presence in yo...