A review of On the Blue Train by Kristel Thornell

Kristel Thornell has roll-played Agatha’s creativity and expression to perfection and delivers an excellent discourse of the famous crime writers’ intercourse with her acquaintances. Flashbacks enrich the pages and regularly remind me of her once read autobiography. The method used was very inventive, for example while partaking a Turkish bath some memories of her childhood are released and I’m overjoyed to find ‘Auntie-Grannie,’ ‘Nursie’ and the ‘Gunman’ unexpectedly arrive.

A review of Shibboleth & Other Stories edited by Laurie Steed

An outstanding collection of short stories makes up this book of the Margaret River Short Story Competition for 2016. It is sponsored by Margaret River Press, who believe the ‘short story genre is greatly undervalued’, according to their website. The competition has been run since 2011, producing five published collections so far, with the 2017 competition having just recently closed for submissions.

A review of Engraft By Michele Seminara

The landscape of Seminara’s poetry is often domestic – home life, motherhood, abusive relatives, relationships, aging, and illness, but there is also magical realism, shapeshifting, sublimated desire, and a range of literary influences that come through the found poems, centos, erasures and remixes. The poetry plays with metapoetic themes, with traditional rhyme schemes and rhythms, and are self-referential in a post-modern way.

A review of The Reason for Time by Mary Burns

Burns’s novel is set in Chicago in 1919. Her choice of poem to quote at the beginning and set the tone for the story is inspired. “Working Girls”, by Carl Sandburg, is about the “river of young woman-life” in that city, as factory and office girls headed off to work each morning. He contrasts the “green” stream of young innocent energy with the “gray” stream of more experienced women who say, “I know where the bloom and laughter go, and I have memories.”

A review of Letter to Pessoa by Michelle Cahill

Though each of the pieces works well individually, taken collectively, Letter to Pessoa presents a multifaceted world that builds new linguistic spaces through correspondence and conjunction. By blurring the distinctions between author and narrator/narration, reader/writer/voyeur, past/present, and even life/death, Cahill has created an exciting and powerful collection that continues to shift, change and reveal new insight with each re-reading.

A review of Tenderness and Temperature by Caroline Bachmann and Stefan Banz

Cemeteries are strange spaces, otherworldly (a gateway to the afterlife) yet of this world. You see an angel’s wings and, looking lost, a child’s teddy bear. That glint of sunlight piercing oblivion’s black veil is sacred, holy are those red and pink flowers laid by the earth in which the Dead are buried – not a uniquely human custom, for the Neanderthals buried their loved ones.

This is Not my Life by Diane Schoemperlen

As a left-wing person raised to practise the Golden Rule, I have felt guilty about it, since, on at least one significant occasion, my life was transformed by someone who took a chance on me. The question of when to open one’s heart and when to close it is an ongoing one. Diane Schoemperlen’s experience with Shane casts light on this question and makes us feel less alone in the struggle. Her wry humour and way with words keep it from being maudlin.

Interview with Madison Windsong

dreamstime_s_4283030 Madison Windsong talks about growing up in Amish country, about when and why she started writing, about her style, her favourite authors, her covers, the travel she’s done for her books, her biggest challenges, advice for other writers, work in progress, and lots more.

A review of Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook

Anyone who is uncomfortable with swearing should keep away from this book. It makes a Billy Connolly routine seem prissy. People who don’t believe a meal without meat, eggs and/or dairy is worth eating will also be disappointed with the lack of animal products. Anyone else who is looking for lighter, healthier and more ecologically sound eating, however, will find new inspiration and ideas from these recipes, and a range of really good food that doesn’t require fancy ingredients, long cooking times with multiple recipes, or difficult techniques.