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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Ten +1 Questions with Author Stefania Mattana

captain-pinnera2 (2)Author Stefania Mattana  is not a native English speaker being from Sardinia.  This has not stopped her from writing several short stories, a blog on the Huffington Post and her own website. She also has a sense of humor that may show in some of the below answers, but surely on her writer blog. Why do I say that, well let me just give you a bit of what she writes about herself.

“I write crime novels and detective stories because I’m a snooper. I always have been, ever since I was a kid.

I’m from Sardinia and currently living in London, a city I really love. The only things I miss about Italy are my little dog and the bidet. Nothing else, as I’m able to prepare an outstanding pizza by myself… so problem solved!”

So, that’s just a bit on the author and now lets get on to the questions and her answeres.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Into The Killer Sphere?

It might sound rhetorical but I got inspiration from two of my favorite Agatha Christie’s books: “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side” and “Hercules Poirot’s Christmas”, which is also one of my fav books ever. If you have a deeper look at Into the Killer Sphere I guess you will find some little details that will recall those titles, although the plot is not connected to them. It’s my way to pay credits to the queen of crime.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

Yes, of course. I carefully chose my main character’s name, Chase. In English, “to chase” means going after with the intent to catch, which is basically what Chase does whilst investigating. Chase comes from a “police” family: his father is a Scotland Yard sergeant, while his older brother, Scott, is a RAF pilot. I like to think that Chase’s mother has felt her son’s deep soul before his birth and called him Chase for this reason.

The surname Williams comes from my passion for Serena Williams, the tennis player, and the former Wales rugby wing Shane Williams.

Concerning the other recurring character, I tried to stay with Romans/Italian names, as Giulia, Marcella, Paola, Luciano (the dog), Benito etc.

Angelo, Chase’s Inspector friend, is a different story. To create Angelo’s body feature I was inspired by a friend of mine whose surname is Angeloni. Since I didn’t want to use his name, Federico, I went for his surname. All the Italian surnames mentioned in my books are centre Italy popular/traditional surnames.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

It depends. Chase’s life is not as smooth and happy as mine, but you can find some of my memories or things related to my life in other characters. For example, Giulia’s dog, Luciano, is exactly how my dog looks like (and behaves, unfortunately).

Sometimes I create places according to what I saw and travelled in my life, while I don’t dislike to build characters and places from scratch. I think it’s pretty normal for an author to mix reality and pure creativity to get things interesting.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

When I was little I obviously loved fairy tales. I was more attracted by the horror/not-happy-ending ones than by the classic princess-marring-Prince-Charming, such as Hans Christian Andersen’s tales or my favorite tale ever, Bluebeard. I think it’s a masterpiece. Sometimes I also loved changing tales’ endings (my father told me that), like Little Red Riding Hood. In my version, the girl opened the wolf tummy and started eating him for revenge. I was four. Yes, I know what you’re thinking!

The books that changed my life while growing up are too many, starting from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (Jo March’s story really had an impact on me when I was ten), Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men or Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, along of many Dostoyevsky’s masterpieces.

Crime fiction speaking, I started reading Agatha Christie when I was about eight. George Simenon and Andrea Camilleri have influenced me as well, especially in the way they tell their literary world, they’re amazing.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

Yeah, Chase’s fan are growing, that makes me feel proud of my British lad. Most of them ask me what the hell Chase did in London to be kicked out of Scotland Yard. I keep my mouth zipped as I don’t want to revel anything about Chase’s past. One reader also told me to not die unless I have already left a note about Chase’s past, lol. Well, I want to live as much as possible so I won’t put anything written about that… I can at least avoid readers’ attacks!

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

I am about to find it out soon as I haven’t already printed them. First of all because Cutting Right to the Chase is a very small ebook, so it doesn’t worth the effort. On the other hand, Into the Killer Sphere reaches a good length for being printed, so I’m currently working on the printed version. Can’t wait to hold it!

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

Yes, I do. The Chase Williams saga is just started and I’m on Pull The Trigger, a longer novella with two young dead athletes. The second volume of Cutting Right to the Chase, this time featuring 10 x 1000k words, will be out very soon. Another 100k novel is almost ready and two other plots have been developed. I can say Chase is meddling around pretty often in Tursenia!

Question 8: What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?

What I learnt from the greatest mystery authors is that if you want to deliver a great crime story you don’t have to hide any collateral message. The best message you might send is: there’s no perfect murders as long as there’re brilliant minds around. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

Probably getting around with a lady enough patient to understand his troubled mind. I don’t want to spoiler anything to any potential new reader of my series, but honestly I don’t think that a guy like Chase could resist too much sitting in front of a monitor dispatching cashmere stuff. He has crime hunting blood in his veins.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

I haven’t put any written dedication on my books, but my parents, my sister and my partner know that Chase would never exist without their support, inspiration, suggestions and – sometimes – cheers up.

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I’d probably choose the United States. First of all because it’s a huge country with a lot of different landscapes and things to see. Secondly because most of my readers are from the US, so it would be a way to thank them for their great support so far.

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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Interview

 

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Into the Killing Sphere by Stefania Mattana

Italy is aKilling Sphere country that can bring up a lot of mental images to a person. There are the obvious ruins of the Roman Empire. Others may picture villages surrounded by lush fields with grapes or some other crop being grown. The other being a country steeped in tradition where families are united and stay on land for decades. Lastly there is the dark side, and that is a country that was influenced by the Mob.

It is the small picturesque beauty and quaint towns that brings ex-detective Chase Williams to the town of Tursenia to escape his office job in England. It’s a quaint little village with some interesting town’s people.  One of whom seems to find himself being a village parking attendant, but you will have to read the book to find out about that.  The important thing to Chase was getting a vacation and enjoying a place where he could run without distraction.

The problem with the modern age is there is this thing called a phone and if people know where you are they will call. This happens to Chase Williams and the call is from an old friend, Detective Angelo Alunni who would like some help on a potential murder. A well-known, but not as well liked man Piero Galli was found dead with a chandelier being the cause of his death. Others want to mark the death was accidental, or even suicide but Alunni questions that finding and thus brings in Chase.

Into the Killing Sphere is written by author Stefania Mattana who writes a very good mystery in what is not her first language. She makes use of the small Italian town and the way of the locals in a way someone would have grown up knowing. I tease as her Amazon author page will tell you she is from Sardinia, which is just off the coast of Italy.

What Mattana does with her book is paint a very interesting case of potential murder. The main family is run, almost ruled, by an older woman. A rich woman who’s family is almost typical of many splintered families.  As often is found, where there is money there is a “messed” up family who wants their share.

The main character, Chase, also has a bit of a  mystery behind him as well. He is willing to help his friend but will not step foot in a police station. He is ex-Scotland Yard and readers may wonder why.  We get an idea it has something to do with his father but that is one mystery that is not solved within these pages. What makes this interesting is how it makes meetings between Alunni and Chase seem a bit clandestine, and adds a small additional flair to the store.

The reader will be introduced to many characters in this book and if you read carefully enough you may get an idea on who the murderer is before Chase. This is because the clues are explained in just enough detail that you could figure it out. The flip side, as in many good detective novels, you may find out you are wrong.

The interaction with Chase and the locals can be problematic at times as his Italian isn’t the best. It in a way reflects some of the struggles Mattana may have had when writing her first stories in English.  So I like to think that may be this was a bit intentional.  The key thing is as you read the book you get introduced to a well written story. One that can be a throwback to those well written detective stories by other great authors.  Either way it’s a good read or something that mystery readers will enjoy. Also due to the way it is written fans of other genres should also find this a great quick read. Why quick, well it is only 73 pages from the Amazon description. However, if you are like me and after reading this book you will be happy to learn there were short stories prior to this book.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Reviews

 

Boudicca: Her Story by T. Jerome Baker

BoudiccaIt’s not rare to hear the mantra of “Girl Power” in today’s world and this actually helped to propel the Spice Girls to fame when the band hit it big. You may be asking why I am mentioning a British all girl group for this review. It’s simple the story deals with a Welsh woman from the period around 60 AD.

Her name is one that many in the England will recognize and fans of history, specifically Roman, history will also know. It is stated in the book that she had a look that could terrorize those who saw her. Her hair was flaming red hair that fell to her waste and tall for a woman, and she was known by one name. Her name was Boudicca.

T. Jerome Baker takes the reader into a part of history many will know or have heard before. It’s a story from a very unique woman from history. A woman who defied the Romans and led a revolt that killed thousands for a cause she felt was just.

The short novella is called Boudicca: Warrior Queen (Her-Story).

The novella will take the high points of her life and help give the reader a reason for the revolt. The story will also point out how “His-tory” is written by the winners, or the survivors. The novella does its best to give you an insight into Boudicca’s side of events.

Boudicca: Warrior Queen (Her-Story) may be a very quick read but as a fan of history this was a nice telling of her life. Some of the highlights from the story are what drives the revolt to happen. It began due to greed and power. The result was rape, murder and death on a large scale that saw both sides suffer. 

I cannot say what there is to take away from the story other than a history lesson. It’s a lesson that sheds more light on a reader may have learned. You will learn about some of the motives behind the different battles and the mindset of the Warrior Queen. If nothing else you may learn the reason why Boudicca is a name that still is heard in today’s culture and her importance in British History.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Reviews

 

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In the Beginning by Jane Dougherty

In The BeginningJane Dougherty is the author of the previously reviewed book The Dark Citadel. She has written what I’m calling a novelette, a set of stories that will open up that world even more. The stories found in her novelette, In the Beginning.

Readers will find three back stories to characters that play a crucial part in The Dark Citadel. The tales will introduce you to Rachel (The Green Woman), the cruel Hector, and the kind Jonah.  The stories will help give the reader a further understanding of the characters and what drove them to the spot you find them in as you read, or read The Dark Citadel.

The stories begin with who will become a major player, and that is Rachel. She is the Green Woman, the holder of memories of the past. As you read the story, Of Dreams and Horses, you discover how Rachel first discovered her “gift”.  You will find out how others helped her to understand the gift and the importance it will have on their world. At the same time the reader will find out about the sacrifice that she will have to give to escape the city.

The story Fathers and Brothers, takes us into the cruel world of the young boy named Hector. A boy who has an abusive father who is “important” to the city and has a job no one else can do. Hector is proud of his father knowing that his job is important but also misses the love his mother gave. The boy has some physical challenges but his lonely torment is going to be seen by others. The story tells the reader what may lead this kind but misunderstood child to the villain he becomes.

The last story found within is called, Jonah’s Story.  As in Hector’s tale this tells of a young man who deals with the loss of a loved one. What makes it worse for Jonah is after a lock down his mother suffers a terrible fate that sends Jonah running into the tunnels under the city. It is during this escape that a voice comes to him and will help him for years. Along the way, and outside the domed city, he is introduced to the pack of pups we find in The Dark Citadel.  As in the other stories you read and understand how he becomes such a pivotal character.

All three of these stories give the reader a deep understanding of the motivation for each character. This is a great addendum to The Dark Citadel as it gives the motivations that push these three characters. A reader can either read In the Beginning before or after they read the primary book. In either case it will draw you in deeper to their world and hopefully wanting more.

 

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Cryptic Title: A Non Resolution and Multiple Sclerosis?!? by Shawn “Knightmist” Micallef

First I want to thank Wendy Vorphal for her beautiful true story that she shared with us all for the Christmas Holiday. I know it’s not easy putting yourself out there for others to see and provide something that could be used as a judgment.

I had hoped for additional submissions but I know from my own life this is a busy time of year. There are of course others who have other places they share their work with so I’m not disappointed. It just made stop and take a break and write this to share with you all.

I want to start by saying, Happy New Year, to all my followers, occasional viewers, and fans of the blog. It was a busy 2013 as I managed to read nearly a book a week and get some type of review out, and boy are my eyes tired. (Ha Ha)

Ok in truth my eyes are tired, my arms hurt and it’s not from holding up an e-reader, or book. This is the time of year where weather in Wisconsin turns cold, and the past several days it has been frigid. Sadly this has brought on a small exasperation of my Multiple Sclerosis. It’s tolerable but enough of a pain that I find myself taking small breaks from writing this piece for you all.

Why write this you ask?  Simple, I will not let MS dictate how I work, and enjoy my time. So it took a bit longer than planned to put this together, but it got done.

You see I do not do New Year resolutions as the one thing I hate to do is break a promise. The promise might be to myself but I do not want to break it. If I made a resolution it would be to be an inspiration to at least ONE person on how something like MS is not a death sentence.

Now let me give you an idea what my typical day has been like since the exasperation started those several days ago. I work a nine hour day at a computer so a lot of tying, and working with a mouse. Yeah so all of that impacts my arms and eyes. The pain in the arms isn’t too bad but it can be constant. Imagine taking your finger nail and rubbing it against your skin.  It tingles and you may feel that sensation for a few moments after. Me it lasts for a good part of the day. The other issue is that my eyes after a long period will get blurry. It’s not bad it’s like when you close your eyes partially and try to look through them. I can rest the eyes by closing them and that equals a break for the arms. So yeah it’s not bad but does not make reading of books, or review writing easy when done with work.

So, the day offs are great when they happen but fatigue has been coming as well. The fatigue equals an urge to just sit and sleep on my day off. It’s not as easy to work through as the eyes and arms, but the key is to keep active and  not sleep.

The major thing out of all of that “complaining” is that yes it is a pain. I hate it and want to feel normal again. Wait, I do not think I have ever been normal, and I know for a fact my parents never had me tested. (Reference to TV show Big Bang Theory there).

Yeah I have an odd humor but that makes me who I am. Why bother letting the little things get you down? There are people with MS who have a situation much worse than I and I’m not going to ask for a pity party. I’d love a party but not a pity party.  I’d also like more money to pay some bills but hey, I’m not going to get into that aspect of life.

This post is more as a post to let people know I’m fine. I haven’t died, I haven’t stopped reading and the MS is not stopping me. I am not letting it stop me from doing something I love, reading, writing and arithmetic. Oh wait that is what kids should learn in school. I mean reading, writing and blogging. Yeah that’s what I meant.

I’ll  finish this “odd” running blog post with “Boy are my arms tired”. How Tired? Well I feel like I literally flew in from California without the aid of a jet. (Ha ha)

Seriously though, life is what we make out of it. It is our mind, our heart, and our soul that truly dictates who we are and how we will be. If you let either of those get clouded with sorrow and frustration your life can go in that direction. It’s important to stay positive no matter what life throws at you. As I say you have the choice to duck those objects and let them go buy. You can catch them and learn to deal with them, or let it hit you in the head and knock you out of the life you love.

So get ready for a great 2014, more book reviews are on their way. As always share with your friends my blog address as it’s great seeing the numbers increase. Submit your stories, and get ready for some new open submission calls. Peace and happiness for 2014.  Now get out there and let life come as it may, and remember it’s best to duck, or to catch, than take one in the gut.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Multiple Sclerosis, Personal

 

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