A Wonderful New Review for LEX TALIONIS in Caribbean Beat Magazine

I’m really over the moon about this one!

Caribbean Beat magazine is produced by Caribbean Airlines and given away free on every flight they have, both in and out of the Caribbean, for two months. I’m extremely lucky and grateful to be included in their bookshelf. In the past, I’ve heard about great books like ‘A Brief History Of Seven Killings’–which won the Man Booker prize, among others–from reading the magazine while traveling around the islands on business.

You can read the review here, just scroll down a bit. 

My favourite part? The closing lines:

‘Lex Talionis sings a bloody song of both forgetting and redemption, and of the price we pay for a little tenderness, when least we expect to be taxed for our freedoms.’

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*Squees with joy*

*Dances around*

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programme!

3 Day Quote Challenge…And There They Go, Over The Finish Line!

Today’s day three of the 3 Day Quote Challenge. We made it all the way to the last day, guys! Thanks again to Erin Burns for nominating me. Go read her blog. You won’t regret it.

You can find out about the rules in my first post here.

And are today’s quotes. That’s right…in honour of this being the third and last day of the challenge, I’ve decided to post three quotes about one of my very favourite things. Books and reading. None of them, I trust, will need any explanation:

NEVER be ashamed..of your books :):

There’s only one of you, my friends. Only one unique, glorious, fascinating you. So don’t waste your time trying to be anyone else, or meeting anyone else’s idea of who or what you should be. Read what you love, watch what you love, be what you love.

Keep reading. It's one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have. -Lloyd Alexander:

Is there any place more fun, exciting and endlessly entertaining than the depths of our own minds?

So true.:

Reading is the gift that keeps on giving. Let’s make sure more kids know that joy.

And the final three blogs you might like to visit:

  • kelzbelzphotography blogs on photography, her hobbies and her life. If you like arts, craft and an honest, captivating voice, this is the blog for you.
  • My friend Alex West muses on writing, movies and whatever strikes her fancy on Compulsive Writer. She’s one hell of a fantasy writer, and you can learn some really great tips here.
  • Tonya Moore has excellent writing advice and insights on her blog, especially for beginners. A great place for guest posts and free stories.

Thanks for staying with me through this challenge, my friends. And if you like my quotes, you can take a look at my Pinterest page, where I got most of them from.

Have a great weekend, and stay thirsty, my friends!

3 Day Quote Challenge…Here They Come, Down the Stretch!

Today’s day two of the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Thanks again to Erin Burns for nominating me! Go read her blog, especially if you’re looking for recommendations for fun genre books.

You can find out about the rules in my first post here.

On to today’s quote!

This quote is in my debut novel, LEX TALIONIS. In it, my young heroine Lex has lost her memory after a brutal attack that ended her life. Brought back on a hospital table by a mute alien, she embarks on a mission to find out who she was and who killed her. Revenge is her goal, but what she doesn’t know is that someone has learned that she survived the attack. And they are intent on finishing the job.

Obviously, Lex’s past is the key to who she is and what happened to her. The quote comes halfway through the book, when she’s remembered who she is and we step backward in time to see how she came to be dead in a hospital. Once we see where Lex came from, however, we know immediately that her future has been irrevocably changed by what happened to her. Literally, as we study her past, we will know her future.

I love this quote because it speaks to history, one of my favorite hobbies. It’s a lot like: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ (George Santayana). In essence, society must do its best to learn from its past, in order to avoid a future filled with old mistakes. If you want to know where society is going, you have know where we’ve come from. You can’t chart a course with a blank map.

It’s personal too. If you want a better life and a better you, you must make a study of who, and where, you are in order to figure out who, and where, you want to be. A starting point can be anywhere, but you must know what got you to that point if you want to keep moving forward instead of going in circles.

And now I nominate:

  • Mike Douton, a great friend and a writer who muses on writing and life over at Stuff and/or Junk.
  • Marlene Dotterer, a writer of romantic fantasy and science fiction who happens to be a great friend and who blogs on writing, vacationing, gardening, food and even pregnancy issues over at her blog. You’ll won’t be bored if you stop by!
  • Darke Conteur, a writer (yes, I have a lot of writer friends, why do you ask?) who does interviews and lots of posts on the craft of writing, food, paranormal fiction and wiccan and pagan life. There’s a lot to learn and explore here, and book recommendations too.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, I’ll have a special Saturday post as I wrap up this fun quote week.

Stay thirsty, my friends, and see you then.

3 Day Quote Challenge! And They’re Off!!

I’ve been nominated for the Three Day Quote Challenge by Erin Burns! She has a wonderful blog in which she reviews books, among other things. She’s extra special to me because not only did she read and like my novel LEX TALIONIS, she left reviews for it all over the place. If she wasn’t already awesome, that would have finished the job. So if you’re looking for something to read, particularly genre fiction like scifi and romance, you might want to hit up her blog for recommendations.

So here are the rules for this torture exercise:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Publish a quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  The quote can be one of your own, from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
  • Nominate 3 more bloggers each day to carry on this endeavor.

My quote for today is:

There Wouldn't Be A Sky Full Of Stars If We Were All Meant To Wish On The Same One by NamedByArt on Etsy:

I love this because it reminds me of a local saying in my country. ‘What is for you, is for you.’ Both quotes address the fact that everyone is different and everyone has different destinies. Clark’s quote reminds us that we aren’t all after the same thing in life, so don’t be afraid to choose your own path and follow it.

The Trini saying means it’s okay to go after what you want, even if you fail. Because if you’re meant to have it, no one else will get it. What’s not said–but is just as important–is the idea that anything you don’t have, wasn’t meant for you in the first place. So celebrate the achievements of others. Dare to be different. Don’t be afraid to take your own path. Your destiny is your own and failure doesn’t mean you missed out on anything, or that anyone robbed you of success. It just means there’s something else wonderful in front of you that you haven’t got to yet.

My nominees of excellent blogs for your attention:

  • M.A. is a new friend over at Romance Language where he posts infrequently, but speaks eloquently, movingly and thoughtfully about writing, reading and life when he does. It’s worth passing by just to read his archives, which is small but powerful.
  • Anna Kashina is a successful writer I’m proud to call friend. Author of several beautifully written fantasy adventure series, her latest works have won her two Prism awards from the Romance Writers of America. She doesn’t blog often, but has good insights into writing and publishing.
  • Kelpiemoon blogs on a million different topics over at Scribbles at Midnight. Writing, book reviews, society, music, you name it, it’s there. But they’re all addressed with great depth, good humour and openness. Check out the archives for funny observations and laments.

Looking forward to everyone jumping in and having a good time.

Have fun, and stay thirsty, my friends!

A Film Festival And A Dance Battle

Found this great roundup of the recently concluded Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff).

Great to see the films being appreciated, but even better to hear sound critical advice. Yes, our film-makers need to come from a more critical place, especially when making documentaries. We are presenting positive overviews right now, but I suspect as the industry matures, creators will worry less about offending sensibilities and start doing more to reflect the realities of the Caribbean experience, and start conversations we need to have before we chart our future.

I also came across this amazing dance battle on Twitter yesterday, filmed at the Montreal Swing Riot by Alain Wong. Street dancers faced off against vintage/swing dancers and the results were magical. It’s a bit long, but you won’t regret watching the whole thing.

Keep dancing your cares away, my friends!

Yes, Virginia, There Are People Of Colour In Your European Past

Been following this awesome Twitter account called Medievalpoc for a while now. The writer does amazing and important work identifying people of colour in European art history, especially during medieval times.

(Source: http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/)

A lot of people have studied history and art and not been taught just how integrated the world was, and continues to be (do yourself a favour and look up the Silk Road). It’s a huge reason why when shows like ‘The Musketeers’ are produced and have people of colour as a main character, people come out of the woodwork to declare it ‘unrealistic’ or ‘inaccurate’. Truth is, we have the Victorian era to thank for erasing a lot of the multi-cultural eras that came before it, along with a lot of cherry-picking by historians who were more interested in finding ways to make the past fit their present.

Just so you know, ‘The Three Musketeers’–you know the book the series was based on–was written by a black man. Yes, Alexandre Dumas was black.

Star Trek Patrick Stewart animated GIF

Anyway on both Twitter and Tumblr, Medievalpoc has been working hard to compile evidence from the art and documents of times long past showing that the world has always been, and will always be, inhabited in every corner by people of colour. It’s important work, and fascinating, and I’ve learned a lot.

Take a look for yourself and tell me you’re not surprised and amazed by how much you didn’t know.

Have fun, and stay thirsty, my friends!

Is There Anybody Out There…?

So scientists may have found a giant object in space, which could only have been built by another civilization.

I mean, can you believe it? In this lifetime? That we may have finally found something–someone–completely alien to us?

Sure, it could also be a spectacular cloud of dust, but who the hell really wants THAT to be true?

A Dyson sphere…a real Dyson sphere…

It’s news that ran up my spine and around my brain. Sure, if it is the ultimate–another species and an advanced one at that–it could good news or bad news for us. But frankly I’ll take it just to see humanity discover that it’s not alone before I close my eyes and leave this rock for good.

I mean…can you IMAGINE?!

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A Talk And An Award

* Edit:  It appears I got my history a bit wrong. Marlon James is the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker. However, the first Caribbean national to win it appears to have been V.S. Naipaul. It just so happens he was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago! 

Yesterday I had a great time giving an informal talk about speculative fiction and what it takes to be a writer to the 6th Form students at St. Augustine Secondary School. I also read a bit from one of my current shorts, Wire and Blood.

The school was newly built, the library really nice–just like the librarians–and best of all, it was air-conditioned!

This was my first class of teenagers. I’ve given talks with teenagers present before, and even younger children, but not an entire class of them. I was delighted to meet a room full of intelligent, open, enthusiastic young men and women who needed no prompting to ask questions or react to what I was saying. In short, they were a great audience that gave me lots of energy, and I hope I was able to give them some insight and inspiration.

Here’s me accepting their wonderful tokens at the end of the talk. I made out like a bandit with stuff that included a new book and writing materials. I hope the librarian remembers to tell them how much I appreciated it!

St. Augustine Secondary Talk

On another note, I just read that the Man Booker Prize has been won today by a Caribbean national for the first time! Jamaican writer Marlon James bested the competition with A Brief History of Seven Killings. I’ve been hearing about how wonderful this book is since the Bocas Lit Festival put him on the short list for the OCM Bocas Lit Prize.

Scratch that–I heard about this book long before that, through an article in Caribbean Beat Magazine just before it debuted. It’s in my very large to be read pile, I’m sad to say, but I’m delighted that the Caribbean has another great author to celebrate, and a young one too. Jamaica to the World!

Congratulations, Marlon! Thanks for raising we nose!

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Stay thirsty, my friends!

A Few Good Women…

Earlier this year, Barnes and Noble did a great article featuring 7 speculative fiction books that feature strong female characters.

Is it exhaustive? By no means. But it has a nice mix of modern and classic and also had the good sense to include the queen of Caribbean speculative fiction, Nalo Hopkinson. Seriously, if you haven’t read ‘Midnight Robber’ you’ve…well, you’ve robbed yourself of something truly special.

See what I did there?

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Have fun with the list. I have it on good authority all the books are great, even the ones I haven’t read.

What are your favourite scifi or fantasy books with strong female leads? Sound off in the comments below. And if you buy and read (or already read) any of these, be sure to let me know what you think.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

The New York Times Is Loving Our Food!

Here we go in the New York Times again!

This lovely little article about a Trinbagonian family cooking and living in New York has definitely captured the essence of us.

We are no faded copy of any ‘mother’ country. Trinidad and Tobago is a blend of races and foods uniquely its own, and like all other places, we like food the way we like it. Our curry is not like India’s, but in a really good way according to most visitors. Many Trinis will tell you stories of traveling abroad and missing roti, especially if they’re an East Indian family. I spent two weeks in Barbados once and almost cried when I was able to come home and eat doubles lol. I love travel and I love to try new foods (another Trinbagonian trait), but after a while, you just want a good souse or plum chow and you can’t get that the same way anywhere else but home.

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Speaking for the islands though, when it comes to Caribbean food, there are ideas people have about us that are mostly wrong, so two hints. One, we wash most meats with vinegar and/or lime and water to cut the gamey taste (a lot less with pork though). Two, we don’t really roll savory foods in coconut flakes. We use coconut milk in everything, and put flakes in dessert, but coconut shrimp is NOT Caribbean.

What’s your favourite cuisine and what do other countries get wrong about it?