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BOOK REVIEW: MIGUEL’s BRAVE KNIGHT: YOUNG CERVANTES and HIS DREAM of Don Quixote

September 22, 2021 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

MIGUEL’s BRAVE KNIGHT: YOUNG CERVANTES and HIS DREAM of Don Quixote

by Margarita Engle

illustrated by Raul Colon

Peachtree Publishers, 2017  

ISBN 978-1561458561

A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

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I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a little good news; a happily-ever-after ending to a long tumultuous never-ending season. It’s not likely I’ll see the dust cloud of a hero riding in, or hear the sound of a trumpet blasting in victory.

Enter the picture book to the rescue to soothe, cheer and calm the heart with its hopeful words and uplifting illustrations. Which reminded me of a book I once reviewed and which I find to be pertinent to our times, all times; Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Raul Colon.

Fairytales make us believe that dreams can and do come true. But it was Don Quixote who dared brave the dragons, (that is windmills and obstacles), that imprison the treasures and beauty of life, in order to set them free.

In Miguel’s Brave Knight, the reader meets the boy Miguel de Cervantes. Born in 1547, and a contemporary of the English playwright William Shakespeare, Cervantes would become one of Spain and Latin America’s most important literary figures. Today the world knows him best as the creator of the idealistic, and sometimes foolish, Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha. His character’s name has even become part of the English language; quixotic, which Webster’s dictionary defines as: foolishly impractical, especially in the pursuit of ideals.

Well-known for her strong and descriptive verses, Margarita Engle, winner of numerous awards, enchants the reader with a series of poems that reveal the personal sorrows, as well as the social and political events of the day, that shaped Miguel’s life and formed his thoughts. “Hunger”, “Waiting”, “Daydreams”, “Disaster”, “Learning to Write” and, “Imagination”, are some of the poem titles that portray the young author in the making. (Also sounds like a day in the life of a writer).

Full-page pen and ink watercolor illustrations by Raul Colon, an award-winning illustrator of more than thirty books for children, complement Engle’s moving verses. The muted brown, grey, and blue tones create dream-like visions that help the reader experience Miguel’s life.

The end pages include interesting author and illustrator notes, and important historical and biographical information.

A book that awakens dormant aspirations and provokes action, Miguel’s Brave Knight is a timeless tale of the power of the imagination to create hope out of despair, turn dreams into reality, and bring into existence the light from within that dispels the darkness. In this way one can, as Miguel says, “right all the wrongs of this wonderful but terribly mixed-up world.” (From the last line of Engle’s poem, Imagination).

Which proves what we as readers and writers already know: words have power. So let’s saddle up, pen, or laptop, in hand and join our brave and idealistic knight in his marvelous quest for that unreachable star.

(My Review Originally published by the Christian Library Journal; used with permission.)

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on October 22nd!


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Featured Author: H. O. Charles

September 21, 2021 by in category Art, Cover, Design by H. O. Charles, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

H.O. Charles is an Amazon Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy author of The Fireblade Array – a #2 best-selling series across Kindle, iBooks and B&N Nook in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy categories (#1 would just be showing off, right?) Okay, it did hit #1 in Epic Fantasy in all those places . . . BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE because no one likes a bragger.

Though born in Northern England, Charles now resides in a white house in Sussex and sounds like a southerner. Charles has spent many years at various academic institutions, and cut short writing a PhD in favour of writing about swords and sorcery instead. Hobbies include being in the sea, being by the sea and eating things that come out of the sea. Walks with a very naughty rough collie puppy also take up much of Charles’ time.


Website
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Books by H. O. Charles


ANOMALY OF BLAZE

Buy now!
ANOMALY OF BLAZE

ASCENT OF ICE

Buy now!
ASCENT OF ICE

BLAZED UNION

Buy now!
BLAZED UNION

CITY OF BLAZE

Buy now!
CITY OF BLAZE

FALL OF BLAZE

Buy now!
FALL OF BLAZE

NATION OF BLAZE

Buy now!
NATION OF BLAZE

SNOWLANDS

Buy now!
SNOWLANDS

VOICES OF BLAZE

Buy now!
VOICES OF BLAZE

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PORTMANTEAUS by Jenny Jensen

September 19, 2021 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , ,

Portmanteau | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

We’re so lucky. The English language is like play dough.

Oh yes, we have strict rules of grammar, tense, POV, all the way to the minutia of intransitive verbs. We can choose from a number of eminent grammar and style guides to ensure conformity. We have stalwart English teachers to drill those rules into our heads so that we are all on the same page. (And bless them all – there is nothing better than order over chaos). But despite those rules a writer has so much freedom to shape our mother tongue into forms wry, brittle, silly, heartbreaking, snarky or just plain mad.

I don’t have much command of any other language; a smatter of German, a soupçon of French, about a third cup of Latin and a healthy plateful of Spanish. But I do know that the rules of those languages are not as forgiving as English — not as much room to roam before you run afoul of the language police. English allows us to mangle all the rules of spelling, meaning, and sentence structure to reflect dialect, or character traits, add color, shift perceptions or mood and anyone with a good command of English can understand — and only pedants ever complain. Of course, you have to use the rules of punctuation.  Gotta have those traffic signs.

Anthony Burgess used bits and pieces of Russian mixed with Shakespearian English and other tongues to give us Nadsat, the terrifyingly unique argot of his dark characters in A Clockwork Orange. The reader may have had to work at it a bit, but it was intelligible and colored the story with an unforgettable feel. Fantasy and Sci Fi from J.K. Rowling to Ursula K. Le Guin play with all sorts of mixed up language that become magical words and when you’re reading in those worlds you understand.

Dialect and special vocabulary enrich a tale on many levels and I’m in awe of those writers who do them well, but my favorite form of play dough English is the portmanteau. Anybody can create one of these inventive combinations, and everybody does — usually with something faintly deprecating or ironically funny in mind. And with just one word a portmanteau can ooze with meaning. Frenemy speaks volumes — we’ve all had one and it’s exhilarating to give ‘em a proper name. Craptacular very neatly wraps up the verdict on so much of our over-hyped media. And then there’s pompidity, my own invention from University days when I struggled to describe the quality of politicians.

All writers love words. Words are paint, chisel, fabric, and clay for our creativity. If you can’t find that one word that perfectly reflects your intent, try cobbling a new one together — no one will take points away.  Blog is a portmanteau (web log) so if you’re lucky enough to have your portmanteau go viral, you might wind up in the OED.

Jenny

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Don’t Fear Writing the Synopsis

September 18, 2021 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

Presented by: Becky Martinez
Date: October 1 – 31, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30

About the Workshop:

Let’s face it–writing a synopsis and query letter can often be more difficult than writing the book itself. However, it doesn’t have to be.


By putting your own personal creativity into writing the synopsis, you can come up with a “pitch” for your book that can not only help open the doors with publishers and agents, but provide a beginning for writing the promotional material for the book itself.


But how do you start to write that synopsis? How do you use it to pitch your book? Help is on the way. Learn the elements that should be included in a good synopsis from one page to a fully detailed synopsis. Find out how to describe your story and characters in a way that will have editors and agents asking for more.

About the Presenter:

Becky Martinez, who writes fiction as Rebecca Grace, has focused on writing almost every day for the past 45 years. She is a former broadcast journalist who spent 30 years in TV newsrooms and nearly ten years in public relations. For the past 15 years she has also been writing fiction and non-fiction books as well as teaching writing classes, coaching aspiring writers, and giving presentations on writing.


She is published in non-fiction as well as fiction. Her non-fiction books include a book on pitching coming from Savvy Authors, as well as a published series on creative writing, the Let’s Write A Story series: Seven Ways to Plot, The Plotting Circle, and Creating Memorable Characters written with her frequent co-author Sue Viders. Their latest book, Creating Great Villains is coming soon from Savvy Authors.


She has also been published in mystery, romance, and romantic suspense fiction with The Wild Rose Press and Wings e-Press. She is currently writing a sequel to her TWRP book, Blues at 11:00.


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The Inner Mind of a Computer Geek

September 17, 2021 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

Presented by: J.T. Evans
Date: October 1 – 31, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30

About the Workshop:

Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This means that the minds of the people who create “sufficiently advanced technology” are equally magical. In this course, I’ll delve into what motivates me as a computer technologist to continue to work in my field after an active career of over twenty-five years.

I’ll also touch upon the various technical fields in which I have expertise to provide insight into how things are done, why are they are done that way, and how mistakes can be made to reduce the security stance of a computer or network. I’ll also cover how criminal enterprises are leveraging technology to increase their revenue and reach. The flip side of the coin—what information security professionals are doing to put a stop to these nefarious activities—will also be taught as part of this class. Lastly, I’ll explore some futurist thoughts into what magic may pour forth from near-future technological advancements.

About the Presenter:

J.T. Evans started creating software for his grandfather’s business in 1980 at the tender age of seven using a TSR-80 from Radio Shack. In the intervening decades, he’s seen a world of change in technological leaps, and pervasiveness of computing in everyday life. Even trying to keep up with the latest and greatest advancements keeps J.T. busy, but he does his best because his career success in computing requires rapid shifts and constant learning.

Taking on the challenges of constant learning, J.T. has worked in a wide variety of computer-based jobs. Most of his professional career, he’s been a software engineer. However, he’s also worked as a Windows system administrator, Linux system administrator, systems engineer, support technician for various technologies, deep support troubleshooter, information security engineer, database administrator, system architect, and probably a few more fancy titles that have been forgotten to the ages. In a nutshell, if there’s a computer-based job out there in the world, J.T. has touched upon it at some level.

J.T’s first two novels in his Modern Mythology series from WordFire Press GRIFFIN’S FEATHER and VIPER’S BANE are out now.


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