Monthly Archives: January 2014

iUniverse Kirkus Reviews Award Winner, Rio Olesky on Writing

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013Kirkus StariUniverse Blog congratulates Editor’s Choice author, Rio Olesky on his book, A Manual for the Modern Mystic, being accorded the Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Books of 2013 accolade. Now Rio has very kindly provided iUniverse with his insights on the writing process, his writing inspiration, book editing and book publishing. So over to Rio Olesky, another iUniverse Publishing feted author.

iUniverse author Rio Olesky on writing

“I wrote a book. Actually, I’ve written two books. This is quite surprising since I’ve made my living for almost 40 years by using the spoken, not the written word. I am a professional astrologer with a global clientele. I read horoscopes. I have also taught classes in astrology at the beginning as well as the intermediate and advanced levels for over 35 years. I enjoy talking to people. It’s something that has come easy to me.

Writing has always been hard. Although I have written monthly columns for several local newspapers, the idea of writing a book seemed overwhelming.

Astrology and ConsciousnessMy first book was fairly easy. It’s called Astrology and Consciousness and was published in 1995. In creating my class in beginning astrology I used a series of 4×6 note cards to write topic sentence outlines to highlight the points I wanted to make. For the book I just expanded the outline. Each sentence became a paragraph or a page. In a sense the book just wrote itself. It was merely me writing what I had been saying in class for years. Of course it helped that I had a strict editor, my wife. Sometimes she would return a typed manuscript that she had edited and it seemed as if there was more red ink than there was typed letters. In the long run, however, I think it’s a good book and I’ve gotten feedback to that end for many years.”

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iUniverse debut author, Milena Banks, is seduced by history 3

iUniverse Riding the TigerKirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013iUniverse award winning author, Milena Banks concludes her excellent series of articles about how she came to write and publish her first novel, Riding the Tiger.So over to Milena to continue her story, laced with a couple of scene setters from the book.

“I wrote the first four chapters in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge only to be interrupted after six months with a move to the green hills of Surrey, England. Yet again my head was spinning from culture shock, but I had a plan this time. I moved around the UK taking mental notes, listening to the British, thinking about the Chinese, and remembering the Japanese . . . It was only natural that I wrote the novel I did.”

iUniverse Riding the Tiger over time

iUniverse Scene One from Riding the Tiger“Riding the Tiger is set in two crucial moments: Hong Kong in 1997 at the time of the handover to communist China, and on the eve of the Japanese bombing of the Pacific Rim. The story begins in present day Hong Kong with a young Chinese orphan, but then dives into the past, uncovering a horrible crime which reverberates all the way to present day China like a chain of dominoes falling and altering countless lives in its path—British, Chinese, and Japanese. The challenging thing about this book was being able to insert cultural observations and still have a book that reads like a thriller. Choosing this time period however, made it possible—for there were so many perilous situations, some melodramatic, some dangerous, some poignant—where people must make quick decisions or suffer extreme consequences. Indeed my characters were placed like pawns into rough seas, and for once I could be God, and watch them swirling along in a terrifying river of human choices.”

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iUniverse debut author, Milena Banks, is seduced by history 2

iUniverse Riding the Tiger“Now, the Chinese believe it’s vital to know their ancestors—for without knowing where their graves are they can’t appease their spirits and will therefore be tormented by their hungry ghosts. Jardine, who is a Chinese orphan, absolutely desperate to know everyone in her past, is about to discover she should be careful what she wishes for. She makes a living jumping out of party cakes and arrives at a would-be client’s flat, decked out in her costume, dancing.”

A short extract from the award winning iUniverse novel, Riding the Tiger, by debut author, Milena Banks; now see more about how Milena wrote the book:

iUniverse author Milena Banks 2“I began thinking about writing this particular novel in 1993 when I first moved to Hong Kong. I found it terrifically hot, unbearably humid, the streets crowded, the air polluted and worse still—everyone spoke Cantonese; I was overwhelmed. I locked myself in my flat and turned the A/C up to Frigidaire. I had painfully studied Mandarin and had just come from three years in Tokyo where I’d learned Japanese—I now deemed my studies worthless and yet another uphill cultural climb threatened to capsize me. Worse still, I had no job, but my husband rushed off to work in his suit every morning with a cautious look back at me as I stood dolefully staring out frosty windows at amazing high-rises, lush vegetation, and the sparkling harbor. It was ridiculous. My curiosity quickly overcame my stubbornness. I could not stand there for three years doing nothing.”

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