Posts Tagged With: culture

New Review: Aunt Nellie B


Aunt Nellie B

by Dixiane Hallaj

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Read my review here:


Charli is convinced that the women in her family are the victims of a curse—they go through husbands at an alarming rate. At a very young age, she begins a journal. The adult conversations are often bewildering. How can she avoid the curse? Aunt Nellie must have the answers.

The journal reappears at critical moments in Charli’s life, and beautiful Aunt Nellie is linked to each rediscovery. Each time Charli reads the journal, she learns new secrets, and gains new insights. Will she find the answer, or will she, too, fall victim?

Buy on Amazon

About the Author:

DIXIANE HALLAJ spent eleven years in the Middle East as part of her husband’s extended family, listening as they shared much of the refugee experience with her. Recently she visited refugee camps in Occupied Palestine, where she listened to the stories of many of the women. These stories formed the basis of her award-winning doctoral dissertation “Caught by Culture and Conflict.”
She currently lives in Purcellville, VA, with her husband and their cat, named “Dog.”

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Review Summer Shakeup: The Bone Road by Mary Holland

Bone Road

The Bone Road

By Mary Holland

Genre: Fantasy

Four Stars

Read my review here:


A divvy, a dying woman, and a promise

Rhona has the divvy gift; with only a touch she knows if a baby will be fertile or will be a sterile Shun, destined to be killed or outcast. The people of the Deom depend on the divvys for survival, but it is a hard and brutal gift. As long as Rhona’s mother was alive, Rhona had followed the old ways, but now her mother is dead and Rhona is free to live her own life. She has one last obligation to fulfill: honor her mother’s dying wish to find a woman named Selina and offer her help.

Rhona has no idea who Selina is, but the best way to find anyone on Deo is to travel the Bone Road, the trade highway paved with the remains of their ancestors. And follow it Rhona does, accompanied by her young son Jak, straight into a twisted conspiracy of vengeance, death, rebirth, and the mystery of the Riders, men who never die and are bent on closing the Bone Road forever.


About the Author:

Mary Holland writes fantasy and science fiction. She’s more interested how people would live in alien worlds than in the rocket ships they arrived on. She doesn’t do vampires or dragons although that could change at any moment. She lives in the Santa Cruz mountains with several cats and a husband.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Internet is Forever

Yes, this is the first picture ever posted online. I wonder if these ladies still hang out. They definitely don’t have the same hairdos or wear the same clothes. Does this picture embarrass them or are they proud to be the first?

Our culture is focused more and more through the internet. On my Facebook today I saw a friend’s current progress painting a robot figurine, the coffee another friend was drinking, and the political views of yet another friend. Will these photos and statements disappear into the cyberworld or will they live on there “forever”, just waiting for someone to dig them up?

Well, as scary as this feels, this phenomenon of media lasting virtually forever is really a bonus for me, an author. My works, nestled into their pages on the web, will live there forever. I will always be able to make money on them, or at least get  the credit for them if they become free. If someone claims them as their work, I can point to multiple places where my work lives and has lived for a long time. There is no “out of print” online. There is no time limit for my work to survive other than the time limit of how long it interests people.

Yes, in case of apocalyptic failure of everything technological, I do have paper copies of all of it, including the copyright certificates. But after we’ve recovered and have the internet back, provided the Giant Ant Overlords allow it, I’ll put them all back up.

What do you have online that will live forever? How do you feel about that?

Categories: Self-Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why An American Novelist Reads Manga…

I mentioned in my chart on Me, Sleep, Caffiene, and Writing that I read Manga, and that I’d write more about that later. Well here it is!

Yes, I confess, I read manga. If you don’t know what that is, they are comics from Japan and sometimes Korea. They are posted on lots of sites online and also are the basis for Anime. These comics are not all written for children. A great number of them are written for teens and adults, and there are even labels for the age/sex group they are written for. (Shoujou = girls, Shounen = boys, Josei = women, and Seinen = men)

No, I’m not a high-schooler dressing up in bizarre outfits in public. I am a boring, slightly odd homemaker reading Manga in my spare (hehe) time.

I think it has been a big boost for my writing and here is why:

  1. It is free. (Yep. Cheap-o alert!) Surprisingly, I don’t have wads of money to spend on books and the library, though it is free, often has a waitlist for ebooks. Yeah. Cause that makes sense… Anyway, many Manga are free because they are scanned and translated in the US by people who love them and want them to be available here. Many aren’t yet (or ever) licensed here in the US, so this is 100% legal. There are scads of websites and apps devoted to reading these free “scanlations” (scan + translation).
  2. Quality varies. All the work is done by amateurs and often people for whom English is not their first language.  This is actually good because it sharpens my skills regarding what is wrong and why. If grammar is bad, or sentences don’t make sense, I can correct them in my own mind to cement what not to do myself. If they are too indecipherable, I skip them, but overall they are mostly readable.
  3. The format of Manga consolidates a single or very few ideas in the story. These aren’t classic novels here. They are cranked out by the thousands and usually center around a single concept. Often these concepts are bizarre and seem mismatched, but that adds to the interest and creativity in connecting them. Seeing these ideas highlighted is a great way to learn more about them.
  4. The ideas are universal. Marc (my hubby) and I talk a lot about universal themes. Most writing employs them and Manga are no exception. The fact that they come from an entirely different culture emphasizes that fact. Japan is a nation based on very different foundations from the Western world and yet many of the human struggles in the writing are basically the same.
  5. I’m learning a new culture. I suppose that I might not get an accurate view of American culture by reading comic books, but I do get some idea. The same goes for Manga. Also, Manga are more widely-read there than they are here and so they can write to a broader audience than we do. I absorb so much insight from their different attitude towards daily life as seen in their light literature.
  6. The light reading of simple stories fits with my busy life. I can read a manga chapter in 5 minutes and it is often just what my sleep-deprived and exhausted brain needs. I love stories–wild and imaginative stories. I can’t get them from magazines (ugh). Novels are often too much for my weakened mind to tackle, but I still hunger for the story. This is where Manga fit in perfectly.

So that’s why I read Manga, and why I think it enhances my writing!

If you’re interested in trying some Manga reading, there are tons of places online you can go to for them. There are also lots of apps for Android and Iphone that connect you directly to them! I’m using one called Pocket Manga right now.

Here are some Manga websites to be read online or downloaded:


Categories: Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at