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Excerpt from my novel, Feedback

Originally posted on Accidental Bohemian:

CHAPTER 6 / THE NOOSE

(Heard over the loudspeaker in Pennsylvania Station)
All aboard Track 21. Babylon Train making stops at Woodside, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Saint Albans, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Baldwin, Freeport, Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh, Seaford, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Amityville, Copiague, Lindenhurst, and Babylon. Change at Jamaica for connections to Oyster Bay and Ronkonkoma.

I can recite this announcement in my sleep. I’ve heard it since I first went to Penn Station as a kid. I usually follow along with the announcer out loud as I’m walking through the corridor that leads to the Seventh Avenue exit. I had thought for a long time that this was prerecorded in the early 1980’s, till I figured out subtle differences from the unenthused announcer each day. For example, how one or two words are occasionally dropped or the vocal rhythmic flow differentiates at times. I swear it’s the…

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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Interview With Writer Mona Dash

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1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
Long back, as a child! I don’t remember the exact age, but maybe I was around nine or ten. I remember writing a poem about the rain, which was published in a newspaper in India (The Telegraph). It was typical, sentimental stuff …poetry about daily objects one was about a table fan and how hard it had to work, for example! But I also went through stages when I didn’t write at all, when in university doing my MBA and later when I started working. I went through years of writing on and off.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
Definitely Prose, both for reading and writing. Fiction- about people, relationships, cultures. I am not much of the thriller or adventure kinds. I have a book of poetry which was published several years back. But I find I have to feel truly inspired to write poetry, whereas fiction is more natural.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Quite a few! In general, I am a sucker for any Babe the pig, Hiccup, Dusty (Planes) Turbo, Emmett kind of Disney character, the one who is trying to do something very impossible which they completely not suited for! And which of course they finally achieve.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Due to the background, I tend to identify with writing from writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Monica Ali, Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga, – basically writing from or about the Indian subcontinent and the juxtaposition of various cultures while trying to remain yourself.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
It’s a busy time ahead! This week, for example, I am in the middle of completing a short story. Come September, the last term of my M. A (Creative Writing) will start. I am also looking forward to two readings in November. One is my university anthology launch where I have a poem and short story published and the second is a poetry reading in the Nehru Centre. We are launching a couple of anthologies in which our poems have appeared, and I am reading in the company of five other poets. I am also planning to get back into a novel, which I had started some years back and left halfway while I was busy with other writing.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
I don’t think I would change the writing content as such – though I find I can always find things to improve/edit and so on – but I would change the process I approached the novel and writing in general. I would like to treat the ‘after writing’ in a more systematic way i.e approaching agents, sending for publications and so on.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Obvious as it may seem, I would say ‘write!’ Write as well as you possibly can, and write as much as you possibly can. Everyone wants recognition quickly, especially when we hear of all the first book millionaire stories and the process of rejections can be soul destroying. What I like to remind myself is that writing is like a river and not a race.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful ;)
Happy to say I clear this question with a straight A! I had good marks (I studied in India where they measure in percentage) equivalent to the A* – but didn’t study English as a discipline. I went on to study Telecommunications engineering and then a MBA.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
It depends on what I am writing. My first novel was very character and situation driven so I didn’t need much research. In the second, I have gone back in history a little, so I had to read and research the 1940s. Sometimes if I am writing about a new place, i.e a place I may not have lived in and just visited, I read more about it.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Absolutely laptop driven now. I used to longhand and still find hand written stuff in old notebooks. Unfortunately, my handwriting is close to illegible now!

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I haven’t been given too much advice on writing! – (though I’ve always had a lot of encouragement from my family like my mother, uncles and aunts.) In terms of advice, I really like something I had read in Stephen’s King’s On Writing.
‘’Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. Or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.”

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
Probably The sound and the fury by Faulkner. I am fascinated by the different points of view and how a single story can be presented in so many ways. Another personal favourite remains The God of small things by Arundhati Roy, not only due to the poetic language, but also as it was a significant milestone in increasing the popularity of Indian writers writing in English.

13. Two-part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
Unfortunately I was never musically inclined, though my mother tried in vain to set up harmonium lessons for me! If I had to learn, I would say the guitar.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
My book is now with my agent Redink Literary agency and they have started submitting it to publishers. They are also reading my next book and a couple of other proposals I have in mind.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
Someone very famous to see how it feels to be in the public eye , and to know what they really think about. Maybe Kate Middleton. It would be interesting to know what it feels like becoming royalty!

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
My dream is to be a writer by profession! I work now in Telecom Solution sales. Doesn’t everyone want to make a living from writing?!

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And Michael Palin or John Cleese?
Bill Murray and John Cleese! I am a real fan of the Fawlty towers!

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
Haven’t got to the it yet, but I hope its round the corner somewhere. I am looking forward though to some forthcoming publications in journals and also the Nehru centre reading. Signing with the agent was one of the happy moments.

19. What quote do you live by?
Long back I had read, ‘If you want something you will get it, but you may have to work for it however.’ That has stuck with me. I also like to say ‘Where there is a wish, there is a way.’

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition (or have you achieved it already) ? (famous Pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
I will take the Pulitzer prize winning author choice, thank you!
It’s always hard to know at what point you feel you have achieved your writing ambition. I guess for me, the short term is to find publishers for my current novels and the long term is to write brilliantly. Writing which is true, beautiful, and what people like to read.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
Sure! Do you think the search for an agent and the traditional publishing route is too old fashioned and a waste of time?

I believe in the traditional concept and wish it was more accessible in present times. Since the internet age, all creative outlets (with the exception of advertising) have suffered horribly in the marketing region, and without that, it’s nearly impossible to have a publishing house invest in writers… especially new ones on the scene. If I had the choice of a fair contract from a publisher, I would choose that route. All the publishers that sent me offers left me with no rights to my work and very little marketing efforts. Self-publishing appealed most to me, despite wearing all the hats to get your book out there.  It’s a catch-22 situation decision that writers have to contemplate in choosing the best option for them.

Thanks again to Mona for spending time talking about her literary process, please check out her work here: http://www.monadash.net

And in August, Mona’s poems have been published in:
http://poetry-24.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-rape-of-childhood.html?m=1
http://www.thelakepoetry.co.uk/poetry/mona-dash/

And join her for upcoming readings in November:
London Metropolitan University : 6.30 p.m. 13th November
The Nehru Centre, London : 6.00 p.m., 21st November

Anyone interested in being featured here in an interview, please email me at Lmontanino@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Interviews are taking off! Who’s next?

Interview

Interview with Mona Dash

You are.

I love being busy, especially these past few weeks with the out pour of interest from writers, artists, and musicians wanting to feature their work on my blog. Please check in every Monday for a new interview with these talented folks.

If you would like to join in on the ‘creative inquisition’, please contact me here via comments or at lmontanino@gmail.com
Coming up this Monday: Interview with writer Mona Dash – we had a great time talking about Mona’s work yesterday over lunch at the Southbank Center (pictured above)

Happy weekend!
Lisa

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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The Worst Thing In Life – You’ll Be Missed Robin Williams

The Worst Thing In Life – You’ll Be Missed Robin Williams

lilmountain:

Beyond sad with the loss of my favorite comedian. Anytime I had “black cloud moments” I would put on one of his comedy specials and smile, laughing out loud instantly. I remember when I lived in SF, I would go to Hamburger Haven, and walk past The Purple Onion – some of Robin’s hang outs in the hopes of just being in front of him to thank him for being such a positive inspiration. I never had the chance… till now. In honor of Robin, watch the magic happen (and laugh your heart out) by searching on youtube: Robin Williams Live On Broadway and Weapons Of Self-Destruction

Originally posted on Bucket List Publications:

I-used-to-think-the-worst-thing-in-life-was-to-end-up-all-alone

We live in a sad world surrounded by people who are questioning themselves and the importance of their lives, gripped by depression. We need to reach out and provide positive encouragement, support, and love before it’s too late.

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Interview With Author Dorian Zari

dorian
Welcome to a series I’m very honored to launch for my creative network, by interviewing them and showcasing their exceptional work. Aside from the sheer fun of connecting with fellow authors, artists, and photographers; it’s a rewarding chance for me (and the reader) to learn about their process and what makes them tick, so to speak in the world of creativity. I hope you relish reading about them as much as I enjoyed interviewing theses talented respondents! Check out a new one each week featured on Mondays.

Here is the first one of the bunch: Interview with Dorian Zari, author of The Labyrinth

1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
When I was 5 or so. My older sister had just taught me how to read and write, mainly because I kept pestering her when she did her homework. Why was I pestering her? I had a fascination with the shampoo bottles in the bathroom and what they said. I had to know for myself. I think “NIVEA” was one of the first words I’ve ever read. I could only write in capital letters, since those were easier for her to teach me, but I remember writing my first poem. It was for my mother, who loved poetry and would read us her favorite poems from time to time. The first thought I’d have whenever she’d read us poetry was “That’s not too hard, I can do it too.” My poetry was horrid, and I still laugh at it (yes I kept some of them), but there it is.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
As I mentioned in the previous answer, my first love was poetry. Despite being a voracious reader, I considered novels and stories a facile form of writing. They don’t even rhyme! So easy. At least that’s what I thought as a kid who was writing very very bad poetry, and then as a teenager. I got into writing stories mainly because I had ideas that would annoy me until I wrote them down and forgot about them. 80% of what I have written during my life is lost. Now I write novels, and poetry when I feel like having fun.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Oh man, you don’t make it easy do you. I think I spent a good 5 minutes staring blankly at the screen thinking of an answer. There are too many to list for many different reasons but I think my favorite fictional hero is “The Green Monster” and no I’m not talking about the Hulk. When I was a kid I had some really cheap action figures, and like any kid I’d make up stories, sagas really, in which they’d participate. One of those little action figures or muscle men as we called them, was The Green Monster. That’s what I called him anyway because he was green. He would usually be the hero or villain to my stories. Sometimes the heroine. Yeah… I was open minded, and in dire need of female action figures.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
We’re all made from the same puzzle pieces, the only difference is the arrangement. So I can’t say I identify with any one writer and I can say I identify with most of them. *said Zari and tipped his beret to the other side*

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
I’m currently working on two books. One is about a group of five friends who grow up together and become family in lack of a real one. It deals with domestic abuse, violence, isolation and board games. It’s a pretty cheerful book. No, I mean it. The other one is about a detective who’s investigating the murder of a well-known reverend. The only witness turns out to be a very nice demon called Walter. Or at least Walter was the name of the firefighter the demon possessed long ago. This one deals with nice demons who are afraid of the dark, really mean angels who hate the light, and the end of the world.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
Don’t even ask me that or I’ll open the book and start re-arranging commas and sentences. *At this point in the interview the author’s eye began to twitch*

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Nope.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful ;)
Straight A’s. But I learned all my English from watching Cartoon Network and movies (By the way I grew up in Romania) and English class wasn’t that big of a deal, considering it was a foreign language class so we weren’t exactly studying Shakespeare .

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
Google is your friend. For The Labyrinth I needed obscure information like “what was the first city” and “monasteries in 1066″. Oh and Wikipedia was great too. I read quite a lot about trade routes between Japan and India for The Labyrinth – and used none of that information.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Computer. I did write on a lot of interesting stuff throughout my life though, including toilet paper, walls, my own skin, someone else’s skin, and so on. But come on, who hasn’t. I remember being 13 or so and really liking a girl in school. Her favorite season was autumn, so one autumn I skipped a day of school to write poetry on dead leaves. You have NO IDEA how hard that is. Anyway I wrote a stanza on each leaf, got up to a healthy number like 50 leaves and told her to meet me in the park. I climbed a tree to shower her with the leaves of my love. That was the first time I broke my leg… And she didn’t even get to read my heartfelt leaf poetry.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Be as aware as you can of the fact that you will die one day. It makes it easy to realize what’s important right now. For instance, I don’t give a flying rat’s crap (flying rats are a rare species) about being remembered after I die because, you know, I’m dead. What I care about is being happy now. That’s why I never really understood people who do things for posterity’s sake at the expense of their lives. Ego is a hell of a drug. By the way, the person who told me that died soon after giving me that advice. I was 7. It was sobering. That day he died I bought as much ice cream as I could and lived life to the fullest (stomach).

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
“The Diary of an Egomaniac” by a guy who thought everyone should read his book.

13. Two part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
I used to play cello and piano. I’d like to learn to play the balalaika (but I never will). I will settle for the kazoo. All three of those instruments are in The Labyrinth and prominently so – for that reason.

14. What process did you go (or are you going) through to get your book published?
Submitting to agents and publishers while at the same time self-publishing.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
Past? Present? Future?
Past – Jesus. Would answer a lot of questions, am I right?
Present – Putin. Would answer a lot of questions, am I right?
Future – My unborn child. I wanna see how they’re doing and then get a tattoo that says “Dad was here” and let my kid freak the hell out for the rest of their life. This is a great pub question. After a few drinks, we could talk about this for half a night.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
A book. (It’s 5 A.M. as I answer these questions…)

17. (2 part question) Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And Michael Palin or John Cleese?
Bill Murray and John Cleese all day – every day.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
The things I wrote that made other people that I love smile, or feel touched by (even if inappropriately). Be it a poem, a song, or a book.

19. What quote do you live by?
“Don’t live by quotes. The people who say them were probably really high or really drunk.”

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition (or have you achieved it already) ? (famous pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
Paying the bills solely from writing.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
I’ll ask you three questions and you can choose which one to answer:
What was the saddest moment of your life and why? Or
If a bear and a shark had a fight, who would win? Or
A veteran and widower just found out his son has died in action. He took his old service revolver and went to the roof. He put the gun under his chin and closed his eyes. Just as he was about to shoot, his cell phone rang and startled him causing him to shoot up in the air. He answers his phone and is told that there was a mix-up and his son was alive and coming home. While all this is happening, his son was walking home, and that bullet had to land somewhere. My question is – why did the father have to climb on the roof to shoot himself in the head, and what was the ring tone of his cell phone? (I’ll give you a hint – it was Alanis Morissette’s Ironic).

Of all the questions you could’ve asked, haha. Well, I’ll answer in three parts:
I can’t answer your first one, too personal.
I will answer your second one: Bear, Polar Bear, hands down. Law of averages, mouth and four powerful limbs compared to one big mouth.
As for your last one, since I don’t believe in suicide (one of the most cowardly acts out there), so it’s a moot point in exerting an answer.

Thanks again for taking the time in sharing your thoughts with us here, Dorian. Great success to your novel and future endeavors! Please check out Dorian’s work here: http://www.amazon.com/Labyrinth-Dorian-Zari-ebook/dp/B00K6GJCHA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407690364&sr=8-1&keywords=dorian+zari

Anyone interested in being featured here in an interview, please email me at Lmontanino@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Motivational Quotes… (and exciting stuff featured on here soon!)

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Twofer from an sagacious lady:
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” – Andrew Carnegie

“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

Side note: the response from my previous post has been excellent! It’s been a whirlwind of exciting interaction with fellow creatives wanting to spread the word on their work. If you’re interested in answering 21 questions and being featured on my blog, please contact me at lmontanino@gmail.com

Check out my indie author spotlight interview with Dorian Zari this Monday.

Enjoy an awe-inspiring weekend,
Lisa

P.s. for a really good time, check out The Inbetweeners 2 – you’ll thank me :)

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Calling All Creatives—Special News Bulletin!

Madagascar-2013

Author-Call

call-for-artists
Photos courtesy of google images.

After talking with fellow creative and talented individuals, it seems we’re all in the same needy boat:

1. Strong marketing of our product (book, art, photography, etc.)
2. Need of reviews on amazon, goodreads, and other websites
3. Sales of our projects
4. Followers and exposure to a broader audience

With this, I’ve come up with a plan to help others like me. I will be conducting interviews and publicizing here, facebook, and twitter—in the hopes to boost sales and exposure for them. Also, who needs reviews of their work? Let’s discuss options regarding this.

If you’re interested in partaking in being interviewed (I promise it won’t hurt a bit) please email at lmontanino@gmail.com to arrange/inquiries.

In the next week or so, I’ll proudly feature interviews consisting of 21 informative and amusing questions with some indie authors, artists, and photographers I’ve fortunately connected with. I have a good feeling you’ll enjoy learning about them and what they have to say, please show them support, props, and comments… ayo!

Last but not least… looking for an exceptional and affordable book to read? Then click here: http://www.amazon.com/Feedback-Lisa-Montanino/dp/061597250

I look forward to hearing from you via email soon—joining the brigade of publicizing up-and-coming talents!

Ciao for now,
Lisa

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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