Category: Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction

Author Guest Post | Kaki Olsen writes about the depth of the human experience in her debut novel “Swan and Shadow” (based on Swan Lake)

Posted Monday, 25 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I had such a strong connection to the story within Swan and Shadow, I wanted to reach out to the author Ms Olsen to ask if she wanted to be a guest author on my blog – kicking off a week where I celebrate #YALit as this is one branch of literature I have a keen interest in seeking out whilst I find new debut authors to champion each New Year.

The Young Adult market has a wide selection of offerings but each year, I find myself trying to find a particular niche of offerings which are threaded with light and not too darkly underlit to push out the light completely. I appreciate finding stories set in the Contemporary world, the historical past or amongst the genres of Speculative Fiction which have the tendency to carve out new worlds of thought and dimension per each writer’s unique perspective and imagination.

I was quite taken by the level of depth Ms Olsen knitted inside her debut novel, and I wanted to explore those depths with her whilst giving her a chance to flex her wings with guest features which broached a bit deeper than the surface of her writerly inspirations. I definitely wanted to learn more about the supernatural attributes but at the core of the story, there is a coming-of age tale of a girl not quite confident in her own skin whose attempting to sort everything out one step of the way.

Underscored to the Fantasy elements are topics young adults will appreciate seeing in this novel, such as the highlighting of mental health and wellness and the struggle between sisters, of whom love each other dearly but do not always act in the best interests of each other. Olsen owns her story to such a degree of honesty, as to ground you directly inside the lives of her characters whilst giving you this curious story surrounding a shapeshifting swan! The back-story is one that is quite well known but it’s her interpretation of the story’s heart which stands out from the pack!

This Guest Post Feature kicks off my showcasing of Young Adult Literature – a special focus which will be re-occurring on Jorie Loves A Story straight til the start of Summer! I look forward to bringing a variety of stories to my blog, across genres and styles where characters are on the fringes of exiting their childhood but have a bit of growth left in their younger years before they fully embrace their adulthood. It’s a transitional part of our lives which endears me the most to the stories, but also, to the authors who find new ways of talking about this period of growth, discovery and self-awareness which everyone (lad or lass) can relate too.

Happily join me as I converse via:

#IReadYA | #IndieYA (movements of their own)

  Tags to promote these showcases: #JorieLovesIndies | #JorieLovesYA

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Aislin’s curse is the standard fare: swan by day, college student by

Swan and Shadow by Kaki Olsen

night, true love as the only cure. But does true love even exist outside of fairy tales? After having to cover for Aislin during her swan hours, Aislin’s twin, Maeve, is willing to resort to anything from matchmaking to magic to see her sister live happily (and human) ever after.

Will either of them get their wish?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Topic of Interest: Shadow and Light can metaphorically tackle a wider depth of a human’s journey; how did you seek to define Aislin’s struggle to grow in strength and personal acceptance of her swan / human duality?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

One Saturday afternoon, I was standing in line for a book signing. I’d been a fan of Brandon Sanderson since my friend made me read her writing teacher’s debut novel and this was years before he was an award-winning podcaster, novelist and the man who finished the Wheel of Time series. I’ve always found him to be an approachable and unassuming man, which is what gave me the guts to comment on one of his observations.

The person standing in front of me was having him sign a middle grade book called Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians and said how much her son loved reading something that didn’t have to be homework. Brandon wittily said that he’s never been the type to write books that people would have to write papers on. I immediately piped up that I was presenting an academic paper on leadership in two weeks and had used a chapter from his first book as the foundation for part of it. He blinked, signed the woman’s book and, while signing my copy of Hero of Ages, asked me what I had written it on. I immediately quoted a passage from the book in which a young prince is taught about noble leadership by some well-phrased observations and questions posed by a glowing ball that used to be his constant companion. Brandon responded with something along the lines of, “Well, THAT’S not exactly what I thought that chapter was about” and laughed. Read More

Divider

Posted Monday, 25 April, 2016 by jorielov in After the Canon, Ballet, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Chronicles of a Prospective Adoptive Mum, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Fairy Tale Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Methodology of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Re-Told Tales, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Fiction, The Writers Life, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Urban Fantasy, Writing Advice & Tips, Writing Style & Voice, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

#PubDay Book Review | “Masks and Shadows” by Stephanie Burgis

Posted Tuesday, 12 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Masks and Shadows” direct from the publisher PYR (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

How I came to learn about ‘Masks and Shadows’:

For the fuller story behind my forthcoming reviews on behalf of Prometheus Books, kindly read my story about becoming a reviewer for them on my End of the Year Survey, 2015. I was quite delighted by receiving an email from the publicist I am working with at Prometheus Books, as before I had the proper chance to start my reviews, she instinctively knew how much I love reading Historical Fiction! This title stood out to me for several reasons: it’s the first adult novel by it’s author who has a penchant for writing Middle Grade stories; it’s set during the 18th Century one of my most beloved centuries to explore; there is a Musical Historical backdrop to the evolving story and it’s centred at court!

High society and life at Court are two of my favourite historical veins of interest – the court has a way of enlightening you inside a portion of the historical past where innuendo reigned supreme. I have read a few musical driven plots since I’ve become a book blogger and as I enter into my 3rd Year, I’m appreciating being able to re-examine certain styles of stories which I itch to read more of.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art Design: On display in the cover art are all the key marks of the story: from the ethereal smoke snaking it’s way into view to the masquerade mask(s) and the setting for the folly itself: Eszterháza Palace. The colours themselves lend such an enriched cover palette but it’s the fullness of the cover design to evoke out a recognition of the story’s internal elements that struck me as being quite bang-on brilliant as you can foretell a bit from it’s artwork.

#PubDay Book Review | “Masks and Shadows” by Stephanie BurgisMasks and Shadows
by Stephanie Burgis
Source: Direct from Publisher

The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress—a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881327

Also by this author: Congress of Secrets

Genres: Alternative History, Cosy Horror, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy


Published by Pyr

on 12th April, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 300

Published By: Pyr (@Pyr_Books)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Read the back-story about Masks and Shadows!

Read about the author’s next novel Congress of Secrets publishing November 2016!

Converse via: #MasksAndShadows

About Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis Photo Credit: Patrick Saphire

Stephanie Burgis was born in Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband, writer Patrick Samphire, and their children. Before becoming a fulltime writer, she studied music history as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna, Austria, and worked as a website editor for a British opera company.

She has published over thirty short stories for adults. Kat, Incorrigible (US)/A Most Improper Magick (UK) won the Waverton Good Read Children’s Award in 2011 for Best Début Children’s Novel by a British writer. It was followed by Renegade Magic/A Tangle of Magicks and Stolen Magic/A Reckless Magick.

Photo Credit: Patrick Saphire

My Review of Masks and Shadows:

Charlotte has decided to visit her younger sister Sophie whilst she’s ensconced in a decidedly different affair than her sister allocated at being proper but evenso, as sister’s go, Sophie has such a spirit about her to charm Charlotte into staying with her even if she’s troubled by the truth of what she’s found out. The differences are a bit great given their time of living, as Charlotte believed Sophie was attached to Court in a proper fashion not as the known mistress to a Prince, especially as she’s married yet her husband has carted off someplace Charlotte couldn’t help but wonder as to where. We enter their conversation as if we’re their long lost friends as they reveal a bit of their personalities whilst trying to sort each other out. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Divider

Posted Tuesday, 12 April, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Alternative History, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Castles & Estates, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Opera, Prometheus Books, Vulgarity in Literature

Spotlight on Music & Compositions | The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendance by Steven Hancoff

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2015 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Spotlight on Music banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired CD set By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the CD set Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendence direct from the author Steven Hancoff without obligation to post a review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why my interest was piqued with this collection:

I have a secret in my closet. A secret instrument to be exact! When I was six and twenty I made the bold choice to purchase a wicked stellar electric guitar – it’s in a lovely deep crimson red colour and has a lovely strap that is super comfy against my shoulder. I have an equally delightful amp that has yet to emerge out of it’s box! What pray tell would prevent me from picking up said guitar and amp whilst curating my own musical styling? Apparently the absence of an open-minded community for left-handed guitar players! No. Seriously. I couldn’t find one instructor who would teach me to play whilst accepting the fact I play left-handedly despite the fact I’m predominately right-handed. Clearly my community is overlooking the obvious: left-handers rock the music world! (i.e. I loved watching Josey Scott playing alongside Chad Kroeger for “Hero”; wave your hands fellow Spider-Man fans of the films with Tobey Maguire!) This guide to left-handed musicians should be passed out in pamphlets round here!

This curious fact stems out of my dyslexic past and a sombering story of pre-school choices – none of which is relevant except to say I also play baseball left-handed! Yes, you read that right *baseball!* not softball! I digress. I’ve been an appreciator of classical music and classical compositions since I was quite young as I cut my teeth on Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky (clearly my passion for the 1812 Overture was a precursor to a life-long passion for devouring war dramas?) – whilst appreciating contemporary symphonies and orchestras. I loved attending musical concerts and developed a passion for soundcapes lateron as I developed my writing style, as I found the evocations of ambient and trance electronica created this ethereal creative well of inspiration. One of my favourite outlets for these soundscapes is Hearts Of Space, whose programmes are a feast of a writerly soul! Originally I listened to them on the radio until their station dissolved and I re-found them online in 2014! If you can find music that allows your mind the ability to relax into your creative synergy, it’s something to hold onto as creativity is quite obtuse at the best of times!

Although being an electric guitar owner goes a bit against the principles of acoustic guitar sessions (as the whole point is to be ‘unplugged’ rather than ‘plugged’ in) — I must admit, I like finding ways to bridge gaps and musical styles; including finding a balance of pause between electric and acoustic techniques. Rebel musicians like David Garrett (info on the album I own of his via Wikipedia) truly inspire me, as who knew you could emote such a wicked sweet sound out of a violin, such as he? I’d love to learn classical guitar techniques prior to cutting into a vein of style that befits my eclectic personality as I am duly passionate about classical opera as much as the rock operas of Broadway musicals! I am happily eclectic by musicality too, as my heart thunders into a rhythm of joy whilst I listen to Indie artists (especially the kind found on CDbaby!) whose vibes are their own niche of musical revolution. I can take-on quite a heap of music and find the beauty of all of it – combined or singularly separate. Even the decades of the past are a vortex of inspiration as I can hunker down inside the early 20th Century alongside Cole Porter, Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and the legends of Jazz.

Swinging back into the classics for a moment, there is something quite tangible about the music of Bach’s generation – it’s not only dimensional, it’s thought-provoking. It’s invigorating but it’s emotionally connecting to you on a level only music can penetrate. Rather than focus solely on the musical notes and experiences of listening to this collection on CD – I wanted to step inside the booklet itself, and relate to you what I found about about Bach directly!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A notation on the Cover Art: Being a visual artist who wants to take up sketching and illustration in the future, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful etchings of the drawings being featured as the cover art design. It’s such a creative way to tell a short story about how man and music can blend together to create a harmony of a new class of dimension that it’s hard to see where man begins and music ends or rather, how the circle is so finite and conjoined the two become entwined. The sketching also focuses on the ‘fundamentals’ of the human form, and thus, seemed to tip the nod to working on the fundamentals of the crafting of musicality. To encourage practice out of the pleasure of developing the ear for what music can give you as much as what you can give back to the process.

The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo Series:

The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo (J. Sebastian Bach) For Acoustic Guitar Vol. 1: The Life of JS Bach by Steven HancoffThe Six Suites for 'Cello Solo (J. Sebastian Bach) For Acoustic Guitar Vol. 2: The Legacy of JS Bach by Steven HancoffThe Six Suites for 'Cello Solo (J. Sebastian Bach) For Acoustic Guitar Vol. 3: Pablo Casals and the Six Suites by Steven Hancoff

Spotlight on Music & Compositions | The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendance by Steven HancoffThe Six Suites for 'Cello Solor: Volume 4: From Tragedy to Transcendance
Subtitle: J. Sebastian Bach | For Acoustic Guitar
by Steven Hancoff
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANSCENDENCE

ENTER THE CREATIVE WORLD OF J.S. BACH IN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED GUITARIST STEVEN HANCOFF’S GROUNDBREAKING FOUR-VOLUME E-BOOK: BACH, CASALS AND THE SIX SUITES FOR ’CELLO SOLO

A Totally Immersive Multimedia Experience. Richly Detailed Text Embedded with More Than 1,000 Illustrations Illuminating Bach’s Masterpiece, from Its Creation to Its Legacy. Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo and 3-CD set Audio Recording of ’Cello Suites to be Released June 23rd

Exclusively on iTunes and CD Baby

Includes Hancoff’s Complete Recording Of His Acoustic Guitar Transcription of Bach’s ’Cello Suites

From tragedy to transcendence is the theme that embodies the essence of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. “This man, ‘the miracle of Bach,’ as Pablo Casals once put it, led a life of unfathomable creativity and giftedness on the one hand and neglect and immense tragedy on the other,” says Hancoff.

Bach’s life was rife with hardship and tragedy from the start. By the time he was nine years old, he had witnessed the deaths of three siblings and then, within a year, his father and mother also passed away.

For all his education and talent, however, his first job was serving as a lackey for a drunkard duke. Subsequently, he spent the next fifteen years in the employ of Weimar’s harshly ascetic Duke Wilhelm Ernst, who cared little for music. When he was twenty-two, he married the love of his live, his distant cousin, Maria Barbara Bach. During the thirteen years they were married, she bore him seven children, three of whom died at birth.

In 1717, Prince Leopold of Cöthen offered Bach a position as the musical director for Cöthen. Bach jumped at the chance. The officials of Weimar, however, threw him in jail for “the crime” of daring to resign his present position. Still, Bach was on the verge of a career breakthrough.

Three years into his happy and contented tenure in Cothen, Prince Leopold and Bach visited the spa town of Carlsbad for a month of vacationing and music-making. Unfortunately, upon his return Bach learned of the death of his wife and then only when he entered into his home. Imagine the shock, the impact. He never even discovered the cause of death.

Yet this tragic setback in Bach’s life was a major turning point because he came to grips with his personal tragedy by unleashing a flood of masterpieces for which he is and will be forever revered. First came the Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo.

In the ’Cello Suites we hear Bach expressing his own seeking, yearning, love, loss, sorrow, grief and determination and their overtones of surrender, resolution affirmation and transcendence. He aspired to articulate an ultimate personal confession, a revelation, entirely unique, entirely sublime, as an ultimate act of artistic and creative testimony, a heavenly statement about his own life and even of life itself—as a final gift and an enduring, heavenly send-off for his beloved wife.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo invites readers and music lovers into a unique experience, contained in an immersive four-volume e-book from Steven Hancoff – a virtuoso musician’s restless, passionate, multimedia exploration of a musical masterpiece that only grows in stature almost three centuries after it was written.

The many fascinating and inspiring aspects of the book include:

• How Bach struggled and overcame adversity and the lessons his example offer us today.

• The ultimate meaning of the Six Suites for ’Cello.

• How almost all of Bach’s works would have nearly sunk into oblivion were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Sara Levy, the great aunt of Felix Mendelssohn, to rescue them.

• How Felix Mendelssohn singlehandedly created with the performance of the St. Matthew Passion a Bach renaissance and a legacy that continues to be enjoyed to the present day.

• The miraculous discovery of the six ’Cello Suites by Pablo Casals in a Barcelona thrift shop and why he studied them for twelve years before performing them in public.

• What Pablo Casals meant when he spoke of “the miracle of Bach.” Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo promises to be an adventure for anyone fascinated by the enduring power of music, art and why they matter.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Classical Music, Music for the Guitar, Music History, Non-Fiction


Published by Out of Time Music Co.

on June 2015

Format: CD | MP3 | disc or set

Converse via: #JohannSebastianBach + #cello + #classicalmusic

About Steven Hancoff

Steven Hancoff

Steve Hancoff began playing guitar when he was 13 years old, captivated by the folk music craze of the 1960s. Within a year he was performing in coffeehouses around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

For nearly 15 years, he toured the world—about 50 countries—as an official Artistic Ambassador representing the United States of America. His recordings include Steel String Guitar, New Orleans Guitar Solos, Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar, and The Single Petal of A Rose. He is also the author of Acoustic Masters: Duke Ellington for Fingerstyle Guitar and New Orleans Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, home of the “100 Great Books of the Western World” program and has a Masters degree in clinical social work. He is a psychotherapist, a Rolfer, and a practitioner of Tai Chi. An avid hiker, he is also a member of the Grand Canyon River Guides Associations.

Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2015 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Classical Music | Composers, iRead Book Tours, Music History, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction