Welcome to WordCrafter’s “The Click of a Pebble” Book Blog Tour

The Click of a Pebble

When I picked up The Click of a Pebble to review for this tour, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The cover was ellegant, yet a bit mysterious, which had a certain appeal for me, and the title doesn’t give anything away, although it does add to the sense of mystery. I wanted to know more about this story. Only after I’d begun to read, did I understand why the author, Barbara Spencer, had chosen that particular title, and why it was the perfect introduction to this touching coming of age story.

 Known as swan-people for their ability to shape-shift not only into the swanlike form of the carinatae, but also the celeste, the winged shape of Zeus himself. The children of Zeus although peace-loving, have always been forced to live apart from humans, persecuted almost to extinction.

Three children survive the latest massacre: Yöst, Zande, the son of the Black and destined to be the clan’s next leader, and a small girl, Tatania, who insists on being called TaTa.

This is their story.

The Children of Zues trilogy, of which The Click of a Pebble is book 1, is a delightful coming of age fantasy, which I was soon emmersed in. It’s about the carinatae, or Swan People, decendents of Zues, who live among and pass themselves off as humans. When I started reading, I didn’t know what carinatae meant, or where this wonderful myth came from, but it didn’t take long for my curiosity to peak, and I wanted to know more.

The Children of Zues trilogy

So, I began to explore the internet to see what I could learn. Wikipedia defines carinatae as, “Carinatae is the group of all birds and their extinct relatives to possess a keel, or “carina”, on the underside of the breastbone used to anchor large flight muscles.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carinatae). This makes sense, since swans are then carinatae. But, I still wasn’t familiar with this particular myth, so I set about brushing up on my Greek mythology. The only mytholgy I found that dealt with swans in any way, was the story of Zues and Leda, which seemed to fit in with Spencer’s story.

The Year the Swans Came

When visiting the author’s blog site, Two Sides to Every Story, I learned that this myth was indeed at the heart of The Children of Zues trilogy, which is a prequel to The Year the Swans Came. This information excited me, because what it means is that Barbara Spencer has created a new set of mythologies from the old myths that we are all familiar with. Wow! Isn’t it fabulous that as authors, we can actually do things like that? And Spencer has done an excellent job of pulling threads from the original myth and weaving them into a mythology all her own. Now that is what being an author is all about!

It is my pleasure to present the The Click of a Pebble Book Blog Tour this week. Our wonderful blog hosts have lined up a greast tour for us, with reviews on Patty’s World and Writing to be Read, and an author spotlight on This is My Truth Now, and hear from the author,, on Roberta Write’s, and finishing off the tour on Barbara Spencer’s blog site, Pictures from the Kitchen. I hope you will join us and follow the tour to learn more about Barbara Spencer and The Click of a Pebble.

The Click of a Pebble

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Treasuring Poetry – Meet Arthur Rosch, a brave poet

To day, I am very excited to be hosting author and poet, Arthur Rosch, with his thoughts about poetry. I consider Art to be a brave poet as he poetry is so brutally honest and cuts to the core of difficult and emotional matters.

Over to Art:

My favorite poem is “Prophet”, written in 2001.  Here it is:

Oh lord, oh lord,

what has befallen me?

That which I hoped to make straight

only becomes more twisted.

That which should be understood

only becomes more strange.

How did I come to this unexpected shore?

What am I to make of the walking wreck of myself?

I can still think, still work,

still speak in poems

in the sleepless time of the night.

It is a mixed gift, this life, it is hard

to feel so completely lost

in complexity I don’t know how I made.

I wanted to be a radiance

but I am more like a garbage can

tipped by a raccoon in predawn hours.

I pick myself up,

I sweep my contents

into a tidy pile,

but each time I think to rest,

I am again overturned.

I speak to you, o lord,

like the wounded Jew,

like the baffled bloodied prophet,

like the broken fated sage.

I take help from any quarter,

even those with dangerous denizens.

I take comfort with the scorpion,

I sleep with diseases,

I marvel and lament

at my scattered state,

at my continued surprise that I am alive,

that I move my limbs with some dim purpose,

that I have any faculty left to cry out to you.

Oh lord, what has befallen me?

You see, I have nothing but questions.

It could be much worse, I freely admit.

It could be much better,

I ruefully entreat.

Pieces of me have gone numb.

Whole continents of my psyche have been submerged,

drowned, forgotten.

I am the world I have made.

I am a man, dreadfully incomplete,

unwilling to meet the terror,

reluctant to behold the fire,

shrinking always from the worst case,

taking the hand of any wiser being,

like a lost child who needs to be led home.

I shall try now, lord, to snatch a bit of sleep

from the bottom of the night’s cup.

I’m glad we had this little talk.

I thank you, uncomfortably,

like one who has opened the wrong gift

at the wrong party.

Oh, is this for ME?

I’m not quite sure it fits,

I’m not sure how to use it.

I’ve broken it a little

but it still works.  See?

I’ve tried, I’ve hopped on one foot,

I’ve danced insanely.

I’m still here,

waiting for your soft voice

to bring me peace.

You can listen to Art reading this poem here:

This poem is first of all my honest expression of vulnerability. It speaks of the paradox of the human condition in a way that echoes biblical expressions.  Hence the name, “Prophet”.  I am admitting to my grave faults, the problems that I have encountered that have led to my loss of innocence.  Once I wanted to be a shining light and now I can barely raise my eyes to the sky.  I have always been a man of spiritual aspirations but I am crushed by disappointment in myself.  What has become of me?  How did I get like this?

The year I wrote this, 2001, was a difficult year.  I struggled with addiction and poverty and wondered whether I would survive much longer.  I love this poem.  There are lines that are like daggers, yet still it is a comfort to make this prayer.  I haven’t lost faith.  I’ve accepted that I have made my own quagmire and must come to terms with it.  I will take counsel with anyone or anything.  I sleep with diseases and ask the scorpion for advice.  That’s my desperation; that even though I’m in the wrong place I can still find ways to make alchemy: that I will profit from this situation in spite of, or because of, my pain.


And another very different favorite:

Ghost Voices

Ghost voices grow

like weaving spires in the corridors of the night.

Stalactites of moonlight,

they hum and fade

through the wake of other minds.

A sheet of star rain in the night,

a mist of lightfall lost from sight,

these spectral hints emerge

from the night floor in the dark.

Silver waving plants recede forever

singing in twinkling winking echoes.

Ghost voices, shadow worlds

arise and converse,

while my sleep waits beyond the hills,

listening.

You can listen to Art reading Crazy here:

This poem came from a dream, or a half-awake hypnogogic state.  I probably wrote it in the early 70s.  I love surrealism and this poem is an artifact, a surreal object that conjures images by way of abstraction.  It was inspired by a piece of music by Tzvi Avni, a composer of dream-like electronic music.  I don’t know if anyone will understand it and I don’t recommend analysis.  It’s meant to be enjoyed, like a painting or a photo.  Images of sleep and dream pervade.  Various kinds of eerie light engage the senses.  Stalactites of Moonlight. Yes, this is way up there in my personal hierarchy of poems.

I think poets write for themselves.  I never expect anyone to read my poems.  And if they do, what will they make of them? I read a few poets. I enjoy Rilke and Lorca,  In high school I had a passion for e.e.cummings.  I still do.  It’s more fun to write poetry than it is to read it.  When a poem occurs for me, I’m in love with the language.  I’ve made it do something it’s never done before.  It takes skill to make language exude vision and emotion while remaining relentlessly original.  Can I possibly convey how I feel in love?  I certainly try, using the magic of words and rhythms.  I once had a dream that people spoke in a magical language that was both alien yet comprehensible.  As they spoke, pictures emerged from their mouths and then faded away.  It’s an apt metaphor for poetry. Or a reality of cartoons.  It was a dream that I’ll never forget.

My favorite poet is Jelalledin Rumi, the Sufi mystic who lived in the 12th century in what is now Afghanistan.  There’s a line of Rumi’s that brings me great peace and comfort: “Don’t worry about what doesn’t come.  By not coming it prevents disaster”. That line had real consequences in my psychological life.  It eased my frustration at my lack of recognition.  It contains a deep truth, which is that things ripen in their own time.  If I had been successful in my youth I may not have survived to old age.  I didn’t have much wisdom or self control.  These days I often read poetry in columns from one of my favorite internet venues.  Otherwise I don’t go out of my way to read poetry.  I give attention to my fellow living poets, to be sure, but I’m not going to offer critiques.  I find that reaching into the deeper layer of emotion allows me access to poetic sensibilities that are rich with material. In this way poetry and psychotherapy are close cousins. 

links:

www.writingtoberead.com.

www.artrosch.com

http://bit.ly

About Arthur Rosch

Arthur Rosch is a mid-westerner, who became a Californian as a young man. A lover of jazz, poetry, painting and photography, and writing, as well as a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. After receiving Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders, he was immersed in circles that could have taken him to the top, but it was short lived. Arthur found himself reeling, struggling with depression and addiction on the streets for almost a decade, and repairing and rediscovering himself was a defining event in his life, nurturing his literary soul. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Come visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv

Purchase Feral Tenderness

Amazon US

You can read my review of Feral Tenderness here: https://writingtoberead.com/2021/02/19/blogtour-day-5-my-review-of-feral-tenderness-by-arthur-rosch/

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.

Children’s picture books – available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook

Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)

Poetry book:
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)

Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate

Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Spellbound
Nightmareland
Dark Visions

Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past

Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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#Blogtour Day 5 – My review of Feral Tenderness by Arthur Rosch

Join us over at the Roberta Writes blog for Day #5 of the Feral Tenderness Book Blog Tour, where Robbie Cheadle offers a review of this collection of poetry and photograhs by Arthur Rosch.

What Amazon says

A lifetime of poetry and photography gives a unique view of life, nature, the world, and the universe. 

My review

Feral Tenderness is an extraordinary collection of poems that strike right to the heart of human conditioning, frailty, and behaviours. Through reading these poems you will be removing the rosy coloured spectacles through which you have watched life until now, and will be exposed to the raw reality of human existence, both with its fatal flaws and also in its bountifulness and excesses.

The poet uses words to spear his reader and force contemplation of certain realities. There are unforgettable and powerful lines that will lurk in your subconscious to be drawn out and examined when you are confronted with certain emotions and situations. Some of my favourite of these lines are as follows:

“The glue that holds shut
the eyelids of your sightless soul
can be dissolved”

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Loving Art

We’re a little tardy in getting the Day #2 stop out to you. We lost it temporarily. So for Day #2 of the “Feral Tenderness” Book Blog Tour, you’ll find us over at Pictures from the Kitchen Window, with Barbara Spencer as she brings us an interview with author and poet, Arthur Rosch. Please drop by and join in the fun.

Pictures From The Kitchen Window

Arthur Rosch – poet extraordinaire.

I haven’t met Arthur Rosch. He is from California and me, from a tiny corner of the UK. Never mind about that – just look at the image above! Wow! If that doesn’t get you reading what will? It certainly did me and when I remember the fun I had hosting guests on my site – although they were all authors – I thought it was time I undertook a new journey and one likely to prove equally an inspiration.

A journey with poetry.

Philistine is the word I would use to describe my knowledge of poetry but other words come to mind too – total envy plus a heartfelt wish that I could manipulate words in such a way that a line of maybe five words has the same relevance as an entire page in a book.

And so my own journey begins with…

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Feral Tenderness – Just My Opinion

Feral Tenderness Book Blog Tour

Feral Tenderness, by Arthur Rosch, is a poetry and photography collection like no other I’ve ever encountered. I can say this with confidence, because I am the editor and compiler for this book, however it exempts me from posting my opinions of this collection on Amazon. But Writing to be Read is my blog, so I’d like to tell you about this interesting and unique collection of creativity here, taking into account that the author is a friend of mine, so the opinions expressed are likely to be biased. Be that as it may, I’m proud to associate myself with this work of creativity, a collection of poetry and photography worth more than just a casual glance. Arthur’s works need to be savored, like a fine wine, simmered over, like a sweet glaze, and appreciated for their unique and delectable flavors.

As I’ve mentioned on several occassions, Arthur Rosch sees the world in a unique way. Through his creative endeavors, those who care to look are allowed a glimpse of things through his eyes. His photography is amazing. The images that he captures with his lense say so much in a single moment. His poetry, on the other hand, is often a lengthy, social commentary on higher powers, human behavior, or the world at large. Yet, even his short poems seem to have a lot to say.

To illustrate my meaning, the following poem is minimal, yet it speaks volumes. It is my favorite of Arthur’s short snippits of poetry and the only one for which a true companion photo was also available from his photo library for inclusion in the collection.

Dewdrops
Dewdrops on spiderwebs:
sit lightly with life

Little Web

Another of Arthur’s profound poems, “Stars“, declares, in part, (I did mention that some of his poems are rather lengthy, too much so to be reprinted here in full),

” …Stars know what they are.
Stars are alive and individual,
quirky with personality,
often pulsing and drawing
gravity blood, gas and heat,
combining with other stars
combining and mating with other
stars and forming unions of
higher imaginations
in order to serve the Master of Stars… “

Another poem is an expression of nature, as seen through Arthur’s eyes. This one is one of my personal favorites.

Hunted By The Hawk

Make joy from stones.
Make wit from mud,
make humor from blood.
The tiny finch flies crazily,
for the sheer fun of it,
though it knows, each morning,
that it’s hunted by the hawk.
We too, each morning,
are hunted by the hawk.

The cover image for Feral Tenderness also came from Arthur’s photo library. With this photo, I was able to create an awesome cover design, if I do say so myself. We created cover images using several of Arthur’s photos, but in the end, this one grabbed both author’s and publisher’s hearts.

Feral Tenderness Cover

The poetry and photos featured in this collection are so varied in subject matter and tone, that several book promotions with very different appeals seemed applicable to me. I used one of Arthur’s photographs for the background of one of them. Can you guess which one? Let me know in the comments which you like better.

Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribe to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.


#Booktour – Feral Tenderness, a book of poetry by Arthur Rosch

On Day Three of the “Feral Tenderness” Book Blog Tour and we’re over at Robbie’s Inspiration with a post from the author, Arthur Rosch about the realization of a dream. Join us.

Robbie's inspiration

 A lifetime of poetry and photography gives a unique view of life, nature, the world, and the universe

Today, I am delighted to welcome poet and author, Arthur Rosch, to Robbie’s Inspiration with his new poetry book, Feral Tenderness.

Fulfillment of a dream

This book, Feral Tenderness, is the fulfillment of a dream.  This volume has both poems and photographs. It unites two of my four creative media into a single opus.  You may ask, (please) “What are your other two media”?  I dabble, (I say modestly) in music and dance. 

One night in 2002, I was performing at a venue near my home. I was reading poetry and playing drums. The drums were to accompany another poet who enjoyed my mallet work, the throb of tribal call and response. Two of my thick black notebooks of poetry lay at the lip of the stage. When I finished…

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Craft and Practice with Jeff Bowles – Throw Away Your Outlines FOREVER!

Craft and Practice

Each month, writer Jeff Bowles offers practical tips for improving, sharpening, and selling your writing. Welcome to your monthly discussion on Craft and Practice.

My wife recently showed me a new favorite anime series of hers that perfectly illustrates a point I’ve been making about storytelling for years. I didn’t used to like anime all that much, and I’m not sure how you feel about it (if you feel anything about it whatsoever), but like many writers from my part of the globe, I had a certain bias toward a more Westernized approach to storytelling. I didn’t much like the aesthetic of anime, the tropes or the style, but I also wasn’t seeing the big picture. Anime is often judged on its aesthetics, but it should be praised for a preference for bold storylines, creativity, color, imagination, a kind of libertine approach that is no-holds-barred, that exceeds and usually subverts audience expectations.

The truth is there are a million writing advice columns saying it’s a bad idea to head into a writing project without some kind of plan. Sometimes, especially in speculative fiction, copious amounts of planning are advised. Character sheets, outlines, beat sheets, world building tools, map making, story bibles, and a number of other idea-gathering methods are common, and for good reason, I suppose. But in the traditions that gave birth to a medium like anime, form follows function, structure often inhibits form. In other words, rigidity and an unwillingness to let stories guide themselves is at the heart of lots and lots AND LOTS of bad writing.

To produce an animated television show, of course, quite a bit of planning is required. Scripts have to be written, art must be created, there’s a need to hire actors and hold recording sessions, and then post production is always a long process. Large groups of very talented people make this stuff. The animation industry is a machine, one so well-oiled the product itself is viewed and loved all over the globe, regardless of culture or regional storytelling preferences. In contrast, someone who writes fiction or poetry or who dabbles in screenplay, stage production, or even video game writing, is very much a free agent. But I’d like to ask you to throw all that out the window for a moment, because I want to direct your attention toward something crucial. Storytelling can and perhaps should be artful in addition to being solid, confident, and competent. Storytelling, the best kinds of it anyway, should meet and then exceed audience expectations, and I know of one sure-fire way of doing that: be the author who surprises the author.

Surprise yourself. Anime is an interesting medium to study because it absolutely loves the element of surprise. I know that in the new show my wife introduced me to, every episode contains a wealth of sea changes that completely redirect the flow of the narrative, creating an experience audiences simply cannot predict from one half-our segment to the next. It’s an intense ride, one that has equivalents in Western storytelling. Stephen King, for instance, is famous for espousing a very seat-of-the-pants approach to writing novels. He’s struck by an interesting what-if scenario, starts writing an introductory scene, establishes some initial paradigms, a few working story dynamics, and then he’s off to the races for the next couple months, having no clue where he’ll end up or how he’ll get there.

It’s worth noting that story synthesis requires the introduction, development, and resolution of disparate elements. For example, if I tell you to write a first chapter including a gun, a nun, an assassin, and a vengeful widow, you’ve got four disparate elements that must follow that exact line: introduction, development, resolution. So let’s say the widow is on a quest to kill the assassin who took the life of her beloved, but her religious convictions lead her to a local church where she gets down on her knees and begs a nun to talk her out of committing the ultimate sin of murder.

Where does the story go in chapter two? Imagine the possibilities, reason out the next most likely scenario to occur, given what’s just happened in chapter one (have to use your reasoning, logical brain for this). Repeat that method throughout approximately thirty or forty chapters, and you’ve got yourself a book. Again, if the author of a great story is surprised while they’re in the process of telling it, the reader is likewise guaranteed a similar reaction. It doesn’t mean you’re a sloppy storyteller. It means you’re willing to take a leap of faith, play jazz a little bit, stretch your abilities and find out in an improvisational way what works and what does not.

As you come up with ideas in the moment, you’re likely to want to check them against a few basic questions: does this concept make sense in context? Would my characters really do this and why? How does this dynamic irrevocably change the narrative, and does it take the story in a direction I’m not prepared to go? Constant alterations, redirection, redactions, and tweaks will be required, and you may also find your finished rough draft is in need of serious inserts, deletions, and edits, but the benefits outweigh the grief. Stories that surprise, that don’t hold the audience’s hand, that respect the audience’s intelligence, that’s what can result.

To return to Stephen King for a moment, there is a preponderance of disappearing, reappearing elements in his stories. Some of his most famous novels set, break, and then reset paradigms constantly and consistently. In The Stand, for instance, notice how a story initially about a small group of disparate and scattered pandemic survivors becomes a tale of strong familial community and then a post-apocalyptic holy battle of good vs. evil. King wrote that book without any planning at all, and whenever he got stuck because, you know, he hadn’t planned anything, he simply did something drastic and unexpected to break paradigms he himself had set. Gathering all the pandemic survivors in Boulder, Colorado and setting them up with good lives isn’t enough. There has to be a traitor in their midst, and if a bomb suddenly goes off and kills some fairly important protagonists, what’s the difference? At least we get some more breathing room to play with that wicked story.

Anime also teaches us paradigms can be created and implemented with the intention of shattering them and reassembling and continuing a story on the fly. Just like, I’m afraid, too much outlining can turn an otherwise well-written book into a predictable mess. Decent surprises telegraphed and ruined, characters that behave irrationally because they were and are slaves to dense, inhibiting structure, it’s a bit of a nightmare. It must be noted that in the professional world, a writer isn’t always given the opportunity to create stories on the fly. Publishers and studio executives, game developers, whoever you’re writing for, they like to be sold on ideas before they see a finished product. Call it an insurance policy. But if by chance you don’t care too much about impressing or working for these folks, if you’re of a more independent disposition, I urge you to try a writing approach that eschews too much planning and allows for absolute spontaneity. You may just be thrilled with the results.

I’ll be back next month for another Craft and Practice. See ya, folks, and thanks for stopping by!


Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!

Love Madness Demon Cover Final

Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!


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Welcome to the First Blog Stop on the Feral Tenderness Book Blog Tour

Feral Tenderness Book Blog Tour

I first met Arthur Rosch online. That was back in 2008, when I was just dipping my toes in the as yet uncertain waters of the internet, and although I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, I started my own social network called “Writer’s World”. Art stumbled onto the “Writer’s World” network somehow and he’s been loyal follower and supporter, and over the years I’ve come to respect him and his writing, and also to call him a friend and valued team member for Writing to be Read.

Arthur Rosch Author/Poet

I’m introducing Arthur Rosch here today because he has a great new poetry and photography collection out, Feral Tenderness. I’m excited about it because I had a hand in editing, compiling and publishing Arthur’s book through WordCrafter Press. Art writes poetry that remains down to earth and real, while hanging out with universal truths. It’s true that some of his ideas may be a little wild, but so are the ideas of many writers. Maybe writing is a safe outlet for all of our crazy thoughts and that’s what motivates us to put words to paper, or screen, as the case may be.

His biography, from the back of his wonderful new release reads:

Arthur Rosch is a mid-westerner, who became a Californian as a young man. A lover of jazz, poetry, painting and photography, and writing, as well as a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. After receiving Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders, he was immersed in circles that could have taken him to the top, but it was short lived. Arthur found himself reeling, struggling with depression and addiction on the streets for almost a decade, and repairing and rediscovering himself was a defining event in his life, nurturing his literary soul…. “

All of the above is true. These are all truths about Arthur Rosch, yet they are surface level truths; truths that the author chose to share with the world at large, in the back of his book. Let me introduce you the Arthur Rosch, the author who I know.

Art is an undiscovered talent, who once was near the threshold of discovery, only to plummet back down into the depths of reality. But he never let go of the dream, although at times it altered its shape and appearance. He is a literary craftsman and wordsmith, whose words can be found on his blog, Write Out of My Head, on my blog, Writing to be Read, in his books, and various other places online.

Stepping into the world of Arthur Rosch can be a surreal experience, as it was for me when I reviewed his science fiction novel, The Gods of the Gift, because he is a talented craftsman of the written word. Quite a different effect was achieved with Confessions of an Honest Man, a tragic tale of familial dysfunctionalism, mental illness, drug addiction and emotional abuse that has the ability to make the reader suspend disbelief and feel for the main character beyond the conclusion of the book. And his humor shines through his words and is sure to leave readers chuckling in his memoir about life in an R.V., The Road Has Eyes.

Feral Tenderness

His poetry has this same ability to evoke desired images and emotions from within the reader. His photography captures views seen with a unique and unusual eye. The cover for Feral Tenderness was created from one of his photographs, and others are interspersed among the poetry throughout the book, making it an extra special treat for readers.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction enough to make you want to get to know more about Arthur Rosch and his poetry and photography, by following this tour. We’ve got two interviews with Arthur, and a review of the book coming later in the week, plus some author generated content that promises to be interesting. Stay with us and visit each blog stop as the tour progresses, with a closing post on Art’s blog, Write Out Of My Head, on Sunday. Please join us. You can purchase Feral Tenderness in digital and print on Amazon.

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Mind Fields – Driverless Car Traffic Jam

Mind Fields

Traffic Jam Of Driverless Cars

January 31, 2026

It was unprecedented, the gridlock on 101 at the San Rafael cloverleaf. Driverless cars are everywhere and drivers are now texting, talking and watching videos. Their indifference is striking. The vehicles no longer require attention to drive down the road. In effect,  automobiles have become alternate living rooms, dens, dining rooms, even bedrooms. 

The Law Of Unforeseen Consequences has won the day. No one anticipated the social impact of driverless cars. Americans don’t like them. Americans enjoy driving, in spite of their endless complaints about drive time, gridlock and Highway Patrol robocycle stops. Americans miss the power they felt at the wheels of their four ton pickup trucks. 

Interviewed at the site of the traffic jam, Ernesto “Corker” Levine said this: “Driverless cars suck!” A chorus of whistles, cheers, and high fives erupted from the crowd that had gathered as drivers left their cars running and milled around on the pavement of Northbound 101. “Suck suck suck” they chanted. Many exchanged business cards and personal porn videos. This kind of traffic jam has replaced tinder as the sex market of the twenty first century.

The jam finally broke up as drivers began to smell burnt wiring. Exploding batteries accelerated the resolution of the epic backup. The farcical dummy cops were instrumental in sorting out the mess with their Skyhooks… Robotic Highway Patrolmen lifted Chevys, Oppenheimers and Teslas and deposited them helter skelter on the margins of the freeway. Owners had difficulty identifying their cars but at least traffic was moving between San Francisco and Santa Rosa. The record-breaking traffic jam extended for thirty miles in both directions. The event was covered by journalists from as far afield as Indonesia and Japan. Some have begun calling it “The Second Woodstock”. Spontaneous appearances by Blue Detergent and Jimi’s Homunculus added luster to the event.

Lead singer Denzel Spurlock testified later at the inquest for “The 101 Incident”. He said, “I know people died, but Man, the whole jam was a gas. We should do it again, soon!”

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Feral Tenderness

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at Write Out of My Head

Photos at Art’s Digiphotos

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Growing Bookworms – Does speed reading matter for kids

When I was ten years old, I was one of a handful of kids in my grade who were selected to attend a speed reading programme. We attended a separate class where we were given a machine with a screen that displayed a page of text. There was a solid covering which moved down the page, covering the text as it descended. I remember having to read quite quickly to finish reading a sentence before it disappeared. The speed with which the covering moved could be increased or decreased by twisting a knob on the side of the reading machine. This was under the control of the reading teacher.

Speed reading suited me and with practice I became a very quick reader. Some of the kids never took to the exercises and gave up quite quickly. I was keen to learn to read faster. Faster meant more books in a day or week. By the following year I was reading 14 children’s books a week and making two trips a week to the local library on my bicycle. I bribed my younger sister into giving me her three library cards. I had four of my own.

I am still a fast reader and can read an average book in a week. I only read for leisure for approximately one hour a day. I rarely read one book at a time and usually have at least two physical books on the go and one audio book. If I get a little tired of one book, I switch over to the other which makes it harder to measure the speed with which I read. Of course, the most important thing with reading is comprehension, there is no point in reading fast if you don’t comprehend the story.

I like to believe I do understand and remember everything I read (unless it is testing my oldest son on his chemistry – that is so deadly boring for me I never remember a single word afterwards). Has my ability to read quicker helped me in my working life. I think it has, I can read and summarise contracts and documents a lot faster than many other people.

This brings me to the benefits of teaching children to speed read.

The way I understand the learning to read process is that young children first learn to recognise and assign sounds to specific letters. Those letters become words that the young reader must decode in order to read. Practice enables the child to recognise words and their reading becomes more accurate and automatic. Once the brain no longer has to focus entirely on decoding words, it is able to focus on comprehension. This is why reading teachers concentrate on reading fluency which is a combination of rate, accuracy and expression. It is, therefore, obvious that rate is not the only factor, but it is important. The quicker a child develops reading fluency, the faster they will achieve good comprehension of the reading material.

Neither of my sons have had the opportunity to learn speed reading. I assume this is because this type of learner extension is no longer provided by schools. It could be because speed reading is not considered to be particularly necessary as one contributor out of three to effective reading. My oldest son reads very quickly and with excellent comprehension. He reads his complex school set works in a short period. His comprehension is good and he scores high marks on language comprehension tests. He would probably be a good candidate for speed reading as he would enjoy the challenge and not lose out on comprehension by reading faster.

Michael, on the other hand, is a slow reader, but he is now quite fluent and accurate. I always start Michael reading his school set works at the beginning of the holidays or school term so that he has lots of time to read the book at his own comfortable pace. I often buy him the audio book too, so that he can listen to the story again after he has read it. Michael also usually scores well on comprehension tests. Michael is motivated by interest and often finds his school set works boring. Trying to get him to read quicker would certainly backfire as he would have to sacrifice comprehension for speed. Slow and steady works well for him.

Possibly the answer is the same as always, you need to understand your child and appreciate their strengths and weaknesses when accessing the best approach for teaching them to read.

Have you done a speed reading programme? Did they offer this at your school or your children’s schools? Do you think it helps to practice reading faster? Let me know in the comments.

If your interested in teaching yourself to speed read, you can learn more about it by watching this YouTube video:

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.

Children’s picture books – available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook

Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)

Poetry book:
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)

Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate

Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Spellbound
Nightmareland
Dark Visions

Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past

Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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