Today is a very special review, the review of Percolation, Poetry and Passion by A.V. Sanders. The author is an activist for love, a supporter of other writers, and a generous interviewee. If you have not yet read A.V.’s interview, make sure to check out our Author Babble. [goodreads review]
The Percolation Station is how Beckett worked his way through college but now that he’s been offered a chance to get his graduate degree, he may serve a few more customers. When Simon enters the shop and catches the eye of Beckett, the two begin a relationship that starts out as friends and naturally morphs into more.
Simon and Beckett are wonderful characters. They have just the right amount of depth for a short story that doesn’t leave me needing more, but got me hooked. Their interactions with each other are genuine and sweet, starting from their friendship to their romantic relationship, and even when they argue. Their love feels real and natural, as if it bloomed right out of the page on its own.
For a short story the author was very ambitious, multiple locations, all important to the story and integral to the character of Beckett. It was a winning gamble. The environments were rich and colorful, described to be lifelike, and they supported the romance without getting in its way. The settings were backed up with a well executed sense of time passing and neither the love or the seasons felt rushed.
Overall, the story is sweet. A delightful read about two people and how their love and relationship grows over time. The reason Percolation, Poetry, and Passion only received four stars and not five… the ending. It was perfect, ended the way I was praying it would, had a nice climactic spike, but then… nothing. Just over. At first I wondered if I had a corrupt version or the ebook. Nope, it just ended. Not by any means a deal breaker, the story is wonderful, I just fell in love with Simon and Beckett and wished they didn’t have to leave so soon.
Welcome to another Author Babble! This time I am joined by a good friend and author, A.V. Sanders! Her book, Percolation, Poetry, and Passion, was published this summer by Less Than Three Press and has fantastic success so far! She's been gracious enough to stop by and chat with us in today's blog. Make sure to also read my review of Simon and Beckett's adventure on Wednesday.
Let's dive right in and talk about your story first.
Hi, Eliza! Thank you for inviting me along on one of your Adventures today—it's an honor to be here!
Q: What inspired the story?
AV: Well, usually, I make an effort to not write about anything too connected with my real life. But, with this story, I decided to join together lots of my favorite things: the San Francisco Bay Area, New Orleans, art, environmentalism, astrology, astronomy—all sorts of things. Because of this, I feel a lot of genuine love and deep caring for these scenes and characters got put into this story. For example, on the book cover, there's a brightly lit bridge that the silhouetted men are looking out upon. That is the Bay Bridge, connecting San Francisco to Oakland. People are familiar with the Golden Gate Bridge, but I wanted to share the other bridge for maybe an unexpected reason: art. It has the world's largest light art installation, 25,000 LEDs spanning nearly two miles. In the story, Beckett and Simon stop at a vista in the Oakland Hills, and it's a very special moment. Here's a quick glimpse of some of what this beautiful, dynamic artwork can do:
Q: Why a LGBTQ relationship?
AV: It's what I'm passionate about. People are always told to find passion in what they do. For me, it's supporting the gay community, and writing about love relationships between men is an expression of that.
Q: What was your favorite part about the process from idea conception to post-release date for Percolation, Poetry, and Passion?
AV: This being my debut publication, ALL of it has been exciting! Everything from the day I first got interest from Less Than Three Press, to the approval to create my own book cover. One huge moment was seeing my story listed and available for purchase online. Then it was really real. Amazing. I'm incredibly grateful to each and every reviewer, blogger, and reader who's taken time to get to know Simon and Beckett with me. <3
Your energy and enthusiasm is inspiring! As a fellow author, let's get talk about the mor analytical aspects of your writing process.
Q: Do you have any quirky writing routines or superstitious habits?
AV: I don't think I have any writing superstitions…? I think that's a good thing, I have enough problems! [laughs] When I write, I like to have my notebook handy and some EDM or trance music playing. I'm fairly certain that the number of cats in close proximity helps creativity too, no doubt [winks]—that could be a superstition, right? Other than that, I'm not too picky about where or how I get the words onto the page. Oo, one quirky thing I've been super pumped on lately is a waterproof pad of paper and pencil that suction cup to the shower wall. Since I get some of my best ideas in there, it's perfect!
So we know about AV the story teller and you've talked about AV the writer, how about AV the bookworm.
Q: If you were found reading a book on the sly, what genre would it be?
AV: [laughs] This is a cute question. Hmm…I don't really read anything I'm embarrassed of? Maybe something close would be an impulse-buy YA that I couldn't resist due to its hypnotizing, gorgeous cover art…
Two weeks until NaNoWriMo! “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date-” with Scrivener! This year my November will be filled with gods and demons as I write my third novel, Redemption. The goal is the standard 50k words in 30 days and this time I’m plotting not pantsing. I’m sure I’ll write a blog on how that worked out eventually.
If you’re interested in helping support NaNoWriMo and provide me with your motivation and support, stop past my sponsor page and donate some money to the cause. Creativity is priceless and every little bit helps. I have a $300 goal and I’d love for you to help me reach it!
This week’s updates are slim, but trust me, it’s for a good reason. I’m off to plot more! Catch up with you next week.
Don't forget to subscribe to Everyday Adventures if you want to read more of my short fiction, new content every Tuesday and Thursday.
Muse: 642 Things
Prompt: Describe your first kiss
My palms are sweating, she’s over there and I know I should just walk up and talk to her, but I can’t. She’s just so perfect, and I’m so… me. I trip over a trash can. Stupid me, my head is up in space somewhere.
Oh shit. She’s noticed me.
Why is she looking this way? She must be looking past me. Do I have something on my shirt?
She’s only a few tables away, wait, she stopped. See, I knew she wasn't coming for me.
I’m so relieved.
Wait! She’s still looking over here. She’s walking again.
She’s only a few people away.
Her lips look so soft.
Why is she here?
She’s like an angel.
Is she.. is she going to kiss me?
Her lips are inches away. So close. She smells so good. I guess I should close my eyes. That’s what people do, right?
“Matt! Get up for school!”
Be my muse and leave a prompt idea, feedback, or even just a word in the comments below or via twitter, fb, or email and I will use your suggestions for future Fiction Friday content or even on Channillo.
It's time for the first Imaginary Adventures Book Club Book of the Month book review! With the IA book club founded in the middle of a month, September was a short story. The poll was set, the nominations received, and Wool by Hugh Howey emerged victorious! [goodreads review]
When the world is nothing but barren and brown, humans turn to living underground. As Sheriff of their compound, Holston, has seen his fair share of persecutions including his wife three years prior to the story's start. After all this time Holston is thinking it may be time for him to join her.
While the story is enjoyable it left me scratching my head. Some passages felt overly drawn out and most of the story is told in flashback expositions. The story is well written and delicately balances a complicated plot with a low page count. As the type of story with multiple meanings and layers to each sentence, Wool is a puzzle book waiting to be solved by a willing reader.
At fifty pages, there were very few characters with really only the main couple fully described, any more than that would have felt rushed or needed an increase of pages.
The outstanding strength of the story was easily the scene descriptions. From the first line to the final one, as a reader I am right there in the bunker. From the grimy camera to the cell bars it was clear and easy to understand and picture with my imagination.
Alright, here it is, the “official” trip report for my visit to BoonsBoro!
First of all, there are going to be more of these category of post I’ve decided. Mama Bookworm and I have come to an agreement that we are going to make it a point to find the hidden bookshops and libraries of the world during our travels. We have another trip planned for November… I wonder what we’ll find there…
For now, BOONSBORO! Wow! If you follow my book reviews you’ll know I made sure to read the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy prior to my trip and what a difference it made. I made sure to visit each place from the books; Inn BoonsBoro, Gifts Inn BoonsBoro, Vesta Pizza, Turn the Page Bookstore, and even Dan’s Restaurant and TapHouse (MacT’s in the book). Each of these places were imbued with their own spark of life and had character of their own. Of course I visited a few non-book places; Josie's on Main, Cronise Market Place, and Olde Homestead next door.
There are plenty of bookshops and small towns in the world… so why is this one important? For many reasons, for one, BoonsBoro is older than the state I live in and drips history. Bloody battles were fought, cemeteries are dotted around the country side, and the architecture transports visitors to another time when they cross city lines. All of the people are friendly and inviting with an easy going attitude and have no problem chatting over their wares or lives while you browse. Everyone has an interesting story to tell with their own spin on the small town and what you should stop to see. As if that wasn’t enough already, Nora Roberts (author extraordinaire) and her family own quite a few of the businesses within the city.
I can’t raise my hand and say I have read every book NR has written (guilty, only six) or that her writing will live on forever in a Shakespearean manner, but I can tell you she’s a woman to admire. She’s published hundreds of books, is the number 1 NYT bestseller and if that’s not enough, she supports her roots in BoonsBoro by giving back to the community. Nora Roberts is an inspiration. Her success, her drive, and her commitment to her craft have landed her a spot in nearly every bookstore.
For the real nerdy bookworm, the different rooms in the Inn BoonsBoro are names, decorated, and accessorized after well-known literary couples. Each room have its own signature scent (with “blank page” unscented also available) and across Main Street in the Inn Gift Shop where visitors can buy their own bottles of their favorites. At Turn the Page there’s also a table of Honeysuckle scented products for those who know the books. I bought a bar of soap and can’t help but smell it every time I pass it.
While Mama Bookworm and I spent only a few hours in BoonsBoro, we walked away with books, goodies, and an adventure to tell. I’m not sure what my life goals are yet when it comes to writing. “Published” is a good first step, but no matter what dream I choose to chase, I’m glad there are people like Nora and her family to inspire me.
Do you have a favorite bookshop or library? Do you think we should visit it and feature it, share the location in the comments and let's get going!
The Bookshop on the Corner is a short novella by Rebecca Raisin that I picked up a few weeks back and read on a long flight home from family. [goodreads review]
Sarah is a small town bookshop owner who spends more time with her nose in her books than anything else. Ridge is a fancy reporter from New York writing an article about Ashford. When the two of them meet sparks instantly fly and Sarah may have found her fairytale man.
I am a self admitted all things book lover and when I find a book about books... I'm so in. I had high hopes for this novella and sadly it fell flat. Sarah was a weak main character, wishy washy and awkward. She could barely hold a conversation with Ridge for most of the story and when she did say something clever it felt fake and completely out of character for her. Ridge was a suave and knock a woman off her feet smooth, too smooth. He wasn't some fairytale man, he was creepy. Talking to Sarah's friends for help setting up a date after only speaking with Sarah for five minutes, picnics in the wilderness (where Sarah even admitted she wasn't sure if the date was a romance or a horror novel), and after only one date Ridge was professing his love and life changing devotion. I understand novellas being short and instant love in contemporary romance being a common trope, but this was so far fetched it wasn’t enjoyable.
The highlight of the story was the town. Sarah has some amazing and funny girlfriends even if they set her up on creepy dates. The town was described well and with the right attention to detail to make me want more information about each of the shops and to entice me to read more in the series. The bookshop was dusty and packed to the brim with Sarah's love for it palpable and the way it was described make the shop the third main character.
I really wish this hadn't been so... easy. It was an easy story, and easy love, and even the secondary characters had it easy. What little conflict there was between characters was quickly squelched and moved past. Such a shame, there was real potential.
Who will you be this Halloween?
Share your costumes in the comments below be they literary or just a spooky ghost.
Stay safe and Happy Halloween!
It’s that time again, Fiction Friday is upon us and this week is my first post since launching the “Everyday Adventures” Channillo series. In case you haven’t heard, let me tell you about Channillo, then we’ll get to the good stuff.
Channillo.com is a website dedicated to serialized literature, short fiction, and regularly scheduled fiction. For a monthly subscription fee ranging from $5-$20 a month you can get access to a wide range of fiction and journal entries in different genres. Some authors, like myself, opt instead of collecting payment for our work to donate our earning to charity. My series, Everyday Adventures, will be donating to Child’s Play, a charity that focuses on providing games to children in hospitals.
Everyday Adventures is a series of short and micro fiction that I will be publishing Tuesdays and Thursdays. Channillo is also hosting my short story Beverage Therapy which will be released in November as part of a short story competition in which I was a finalist.
Channillo is a great place to showcase some of my shorter work (like the micro fiction below) and I look forward to hearing my reader’s experiences. Thanks as always for your support, and don’t forget to subscribe!
Prompt: You walk out of a board meeting and quickly pen a letter to your significant others. What does it say?
The meetings have concluded and all ended as we’ve expected. Boris’ departure from the company so suddenly has left a large hole in the organization and no one to fill it. I’m to travel to Vienna and secure a successor for him. Thankfully, this will open up the opportunity for which we’ve been waiting. I leave tonight and will keep in contact as much as I am able. I’ll return with the position in hand or not at all.
All my love,
Be my muse and leave a prompt idea, feedback, or even just a word in the comments below or via twitter, fb, or email and I will use your suggestions for future Fiction Friday content. Together we can create something wonderful and I can’t wait!