Sunday, April 29, 2012

Feasting with Panthers and its author, Lyle Blake Smythrs

Feasting With Panthers
by Lyle Blake Smythrs

We found the first one-eyed man at dawn...

So begins the highly original fantasy tale of warrior poet Catalan, when he and his band stumble upon a handsome acolyte near death in a mountain pass. But when the acolyte reveals his mystical vision, the poet finds himself at the center of a War Game between two mysterious
sorcerers. To unravel the mystery, Catalan and the agents of the War Game must seek the missing pieces of an enchanted chess set in a quest complicated by deceit and treachery, in which nothing is what it seems.

Ingeniously weaving together citations throughout the text from a variety of sources ? including Yeats, Milton, Joyce, Poe, Baudelaire, the King James Bible and many more ? author Lyle Blake Smythers serves up a truly literary feast.


Book Genre - Literary Fantasy
Publisher - Pink Narcissus Press
Release Date - May 2012


When I started writing my heroic fantasy/swords-and-sorcery novel FEASTING WITH PANTHERS, I knew that I wanted to work within the framework of traditional fantasy while somehow twisting it just enough to make it different, fresh, exciting.  I had four narrators taking turns telling their stories, and I was attempting to give each of them a reasonably distinctive voice. This decision allowed me to play with language and writing style and let myself go (more about that in a minute).
I also read widely and pick up a lot of odd words and unusual facts as I go.  I ended up throwing a lot of disparate elements into the soup that was cooking on my writer’s stove.  In the end I had a book that was probably not quite like anything anyone had ever seen before.  There are good things and bad things about that.
When I started to submit the manuscript, I began with traditional mainstream publishers and sent FEASTING to most of the ones who accept unagented submissions.  All of them said no.  At the same time I was sending out queries to agents.  I must have hit up fifty or sixty, all of whom said no.
My breakthrough, if I may call it that, was moving on to the small presses, independent publishers who as a group are more likely to take a chance on offbeat, strange material.  For a while, they were all saying no as well. Then one Monday morning last June I sat down at my computer to check my email and found that my inbox held a message with the subject: “Re: submission:FEASTING WITH PANTHERS.”
Ho hum, I thought. Here’s another rejection.  It turned out to be an offer of a contract for publication by the marvelous Rose Mambert at the great and wonderful Pink Narcissus Press.  They are releasing my book over Memorial Day weekend, and the whole world will look at it and be stunned.
What’s the moral of this stirring tale?  Well, there are several.
First and foremost, don’t take rejection personally.  Your book is being rejected, but you are not. Keep going.  Try the next person on your list.  (You do have a list, don’t you?)  Keep knocking on doors until one opens.
As Joe Konrath says, “ Hard work trumps talent.  Persistence trumps inspiration. Humility trumps ego.
The experts don't know everything, and they might not know what's right for you.”
I wish I had a proper citation for the next comment, but I can’t remember who said it, only that he was talking specifically about bad reviews but it can also be applied to not getting published right away:
“The 2 best pieces of advice I heard for dealing with negative reviews:
No book can please everybody — it’s statistically impossible.
Those aren’t the readers you’re looking for. (In Obi Wan's voice, of course…)”
Finally, I give you this gem, which I cut and pasted from somebody somewhere who was handing out free advice to aspiring writers (again,apologies for lack of citation):
“Do not listen to what people tell you.”
Does this mean we should reject help, guidance, editorial comments, the editing process? Absolutely  not.  Everyone needs an editor, and I have had the incomparable pleasure of seeing my book grow and morph and improve under the skillful hand of my editor, the aforementioned Rose Mambert, who helped me make it better than it was when I submitted it to her.  No, what this statement means to me is that we must find and develop our own way and have faith in our instincts.
Write the kind of book you like to read.  Write the book you wish someone else had written so you could read it.  Work on your strengths.  Develop your own style.
Raymond Chandler (at last I’m giving a citation for a quotation) said, “Style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time.”
If someone says to you, “No one will ever want to publish this” or “No one will like this, it’s too weird”?  Have faith in what you’re doing, do what you love, and keep going.  One Monday morning you will check your mail and find a nice surprise.
Thanks for listening.
Lyle Blake Smythers
Right now Feasting can be pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble at B&N. It will shortly be available on Amazon and from my publisher at Pink Narcissus Press which is also how people can connect with me if they have comments or questions. I am also on Facebook.

We are going to be giving away a free copy of the novel, either a print edition or an e-book, to one of the readers of this blog. Interested readers should leave a comment here that includes their email address. I will select the most intriguing poster to be the winner. Readers who follow me during this entire virtual book tour and post at each blog stop will be entered for a drawing to win a print of the outstanding cover art by Duncan Eagleson. 

Lyle Blake Smythers is an actor, writer and librarian in the Washington, D.C., area. Since 1976 he has performed in over 100 stage productions, including three appearances at the National Theatre. He has published fiction, poetry, satire and literary criticism in Manscape, FirstHand, Playguy, The William and Mary Review, Insights, School Library Journal and Children?s Literature Review. He is a
former children?s librarian and is currently providing cataloging support for an ongoing project at the Library of Congress.

Website – 

Purchase Link:

Link to Tour on Main Site -

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Daydreams with Lydia E. Brew

Title – Ungolden Silence
by Lydia E. Brew

Format – Print & Ebook
Genre - Fiction

Ungolden Silence will explore the world of rape and expose the myths through articles that are based on facts. The main question that needs to be answered is why one human being would rape another human being. These reasons are explored in a compelling story that will make the reader ask questions. Beatrice James wanted to take her co-worker Elaine on her first professional trip, she had to convince her employers and Elaine’s parents that she wanted to take Elaine on the trip. Elaine was in charge of the campaign.
Thomas Paige is a well-respected community leader, however, there is whole other side of side of him. The man can be charming when he needs to be and that is why he can get away with sexually harassing and raping women. He began to harassed Beatrice did not want Elaine to have to deal with it. Beatrice did not want to deal with the fact that she was being sexually harassed.
When any crime takes place, the families of the victims as well as the criminal are involved. Ungolden Silence will illustrate that the criminal is a real person, and rarely does he commit crimes just for the fun of it.
It is important to know that rape is a part of violence. Through the characters of Ungolden Silence it is hoped that society will begin to find a way to eliminate the acceptance of violence, which includes the act of rape.
It is through Beatrice, Elaine, and their colleagues that Ungolden Silence begins to explore the world of rape. Each of the main characters discovers what he has believed about rape and violence is not entirely true. A good example of this is when the firm’s secretary is told what happened on the trip. She discovered that some things that she was told when she was young was a myth.
Through all of the characters, Ungolden Silence offers an alternative to the everyday acceptance of violence. When it comes to rape, it tells us that the rapists are human beings and there is a way to curb the crime.
What does the author wants the reader to take away is that the story is about a woman was rape while she and her business partner was away on a business trip. Her business partner is disabled but that is an important part of the story. However, it is not the main story.


Daydreams mean different things to different people. For me, my daydream made it easy for me to accept my disability as well as prepared me to become an author.  I remember when the teacher assigned a composition I knew what I would write before the end of that class. I remember one time the main character had to be an animal – mine was a horse I think.  

High school and college writing assignments are different from a novel. Usually, the students are given guidelines that must be covered in the assignment.   However, a writer of fiction, especially first or second time author, can write about what is on his mind. Different authors have different methods of organizing the stories in their minds. This is probably done before the authors sit down to write. The stories have to be somewhere in their minds before the story can flow to their hands to be written. Sometimes I feel that the story is writing itself. No, the story is somewhere in the mind of the author waiting to get out.

Ever since I can remember, I daydreamed about the people I knew. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized I was not the only person who did that. One of the characters did that on the soap opera, Guiding Light. Sometimes my daydream will last for years as if they are stories waiting to be written.

Some writer’s stories are dreams; mine never are. Once I decide to write the story, then I must work out the details. When I sat down to write, I knew that I wanted a story that was different. When most women are raped, they do not want to tell because society does not want to deal with it.  While I was writing the story, I daydreamed about the characters and why they are the way they are.

Daydreams mean different things to different people, authors may or might not use dreams for their stories. Daydreams were a always part of me, and I know that they are the basis for my stories. I loved writing them.

Ungolden Silence is a story about a rape.  Once the characters are over the trauma of the rape, they search for answers. The information they found is what society needs to know and change. My daydream is that when Ungolden Silence is read it will make the reader think about the way society deals with violence against women. 

Book Excerpts:

Excerpt #1 Let me set this up. Beatrice and Elaine are out of town on business. Beatrice and Elaine are at the home of their client, Mrs. Stevens and a community leader, Mr. Paige comes in. Mrs. Stevens take Elaine to see something.
As the four talked for an hour or so, Mr. Thomas Page did not take his eyes off Beatrice. He ignored Elaine completely. He would often sit by Beatrice and after a few minutes; she would move. Elaine could see that Mr. Paige liked Beatrice, but she didn’t return the feeling and was uncomfortable and a bit irritated with his attention. When Mrs. Stevens offered to show Elaine the baby grand piano in her music room, Mr. Paige and Beatrice were left alone. Beatrice decided she needed to get a few things straight.
“Look, you seem to be a nice guy, but I’m not interested.
You’re making me very uncomfortable,” Beatrice added. Mr. Paige did not seem to hear her.
“Alone at last, Miss James,” he said in a soft gentle voice as he stroked her face.
The second that Beatrice felt his fingers on her face, her anger turned to fear. She did not want to let Mr. Paige know that he frightened her.
“I did not give you permission to touch me! Listen, I’m not interested in you, in any way. Please, just leave me alone!” Beatrice said angrily. The pleasantness was gone and her teeth were clenched. However, before she finishes her statement Mr. Paige had his hands on her buttocks. In that instance Beatrice remembers when she was sixteen. It was a hot summer day: she was lying on the sofa half asleep. She awakens to her uncle kissing and caressing her face. He did not stop there he unzipped his pants and began to slide his hand and was pulling down her panties when Judy came into the room. Beatrice’s mind came to the present.
“Oh now, I think that we can have a good time this week,” he said in the same manner as before.
“I said no! Now get your hands off me!” Beatrice snatched her body away from his reach knocking his shades off. The man’s breath had a faint odor of alcohol. His eyes were glassy red. However, Beatrice did not take notice because she was so shocked from the memory of what her uncle did to her and the fact that this man was making a move on her was overwhelming. Mr. Paige returned to his seat and put his shades back on his face only because he heard Mrs. Stevens and Elaine returning.
When Elaine walked in and sat down, she picked up on some strange vibes from Beatrice. There was a strange look in her colleague’s eyes. This troubled Elaine because she knew something was upsetting Beatrice.
This man had just made unwanted sexual advances to Beatrice and she tells Elaine and Mrs. Stevens that she had a headache?
Excerpt #2 This is at end and this is a part of a speech that its being given at a launch of a magazine on domestic violence.
Shara stepped to the microphone and said “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Attitudes must change if this problem is going to be solved. I went to Washington the second that I heard Beatrice had been raped. The firm had a limo for Elaine and Beatrice so that Elaine could be as independent as possible. When I got to Washington, the rape and the act that a “community leader” was accused of rape was a major story. The limo driver just knew that the lady was a hooker, and he was mad. Again, it was the victim’s fault. This driver did not have the facts. Why didn’t I set him straight? Well. I thought I had to protect Beatrice’s privacy right?”
“Right,” the crowd answers slowly.
“NO, WRONG, ladies and gentlemen. This is what we are talking about; wrong because RAPE IS A CRIME! When it comes to sexual harassment or anything about sexual dysfunction, we don’t listen, we don’t tell. It is personal, private. NO! It is a crime and everybody needs to tell the world. Beatrice was not the first female that the man raped not even close to the first.”
“Each case of rape is different. In Beatrice’s case, this man was chasing her all the time that she was in Washington. Am I blaming her? To a degree, yes.”
“The audience seemed repulsed; “People. Please understand that what is being said here tonight is known by all people in the firm, especially top team members. I am not saying this to hurt my colleague. This is to make you see and understand what we are saying. The man who raped her stalked her all week. The women who saw the “bad” side of him kept quiet. That enabled him to cause more pain. He used that silence, and his list of victims got longer and longer. The women kept silent because they did not want to face the attitude that we as a society give them; oh, it was nothing. It was something when Mr. Paige touched my colleague inappropriately the second they were alone. She did not want him. We must allow women to say what they do and do not want men to do to their bodies. We must change the attitude about sexual problems, and we must listen when a woman is trying to get a man to stop. When a woman says a man is bothering her, we must hear and make sure the man understands that he must stop.”
Publisher - Xlibris
Release Date – 2008

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