Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Concert At The Birchmere: Loreena McKennitt

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Few forms of art tell stories as well as the old songs and poetry of Ireland and Scotland, and few musicians can bring these to the masses as well as Loreena McKennitt. I attended her concert at The Birchmere last night, and I wasn't disappointed.

Image of the entrance to The Birchmere
Entrance to The Birchmere auditorium
(this is inside where the "Flex Stage" and bar is located)
First of all, if you've never been to The Birchmere, it's a little different. It isn't a huge place, more like a big cafeteria with a stage up front. You buy your ticket (online is best as a lot of the shows are sold out) and when you arrive they give you a number at the box office (in the order in which you arrive). After a while, they start calling the numbers for seating. Advice: get there early.

When you go into the auditorium, you pick your own seat. The tables seat anywhere from 2 to 8 people. The location can make a big difference in your concert experience, so being among the first to choose does help. My party was not among those, but we did all right. Almost immediately, waiters/waitresses come around to ask if you want to order anything to eat. Yes, they do serve food, which wasn't too bad, though it isn't cheap. They come back during intermission for additional orders (coffee, dessert).

Loreena did two shows at The Birchmere. Both were sold out. Accompanying her on stage were Brian Hughes (guitar and bouzouki) and cellist Caroline Lavelle (cello, recorder, and "squeezebox"). There was also another fellow that joined them on the fiddle briefly, but I did not catch his name. Loreena said he is often found selling their merchandise at the shows, but tonight he was helping them out on stage.

The show was in two parts (or three, if you include the encore). The first part was heavy into Celtic history and a lot of stories concerning here travels to Ireland and other places where the early Celts lived. She also included readings and music from a play she worked on (though didn't bring to fruition) concerning Irish history.

The is one note I'd like to add. Near the beginning of the first part, Loreena explained how distracting it can be for people to take photographs while they are playing. She did, however, play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for a short while asking everyone who wanted a picture to take it then. There were lots of laughs and lots of pictures taken. I tried, but my photo do not come out well. I did get a picture of the stage before the show started (below).

Image inside The Birchmere for Loreena McKennitt's performance
The stage for Loreena McKinnett's performance

The second part of the show was more music and less history than the first half. Towards the end, she performed several of my favorites including The Stolen Child and The Bonny Swans. And yes, when performing live, she sounds just like she does on her recordings. The acoustics there were actually quite good for this type of performance, though the guitar was a little loud at some points. It was interesting to watch Brian Hughes play as he was sometimes using more than on instrument during a song, once for only one note (or effect, if you will). It all went off without a hitch. Caroline Lavelle also played flawlessly (or so it seemed to my limited musical knowledge), and added her voice to the mix at times.

So, yes, it was a good concert!

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Publishing Update: No Good News

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This is going to start just like several other posts I've made on this subject. I used copy and paste for most of this post. It ends about the same, too.

If you've read my previous blog post you know I've been waiting for some time for Fringeworks to publish the Dead Men's Tales anthology. It (should) include my story, Skarett's Treasure. Their last blog post hinted that it might be out by late September. I'll have to check my calendar, but I think September has already passed.

Now on to Horrified Press...

I submitted a story back in February 2015, to an anthology listed on the Horrified Press site. Never received any reply from the editor. So I posted a note at the bottom of their submissions page. Got a reply saying they'd contact the editor and let me know.

I finally received an answer.
Apologies for the late reply, but we have been unable to contact this editor. If this project doesn’t move forward by November end then I will be putting out the call for those already accepted to re-forward their contracts and pieces directly to me, so that the book can be completed for an Xmas release. It wouldn’t be an ideal scenario, but I would like to see this book completed for all concerned. 
 Nathan J.D.L. Rowark
 Horrified Press

As I've never received an acceptance (or rejection) letter, I can assume I won't be in the book. That's OK. At least I can move forward and submit elsewhere.

And I don't blame Mr. Rowark for this, either. If an editor disappears there's not to much more he can do other than what he has suggested. I can imagine he's not too pleased with the situation. And I hope there isn't some horrible reason for Mr. McLean's failure to communicate. I like horror in stories, not real life.

So, I still have the story and I can find another market for submission. That's what writers do.

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Book: Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook

Here's the second new book coming out from folks I know. This one is by Lisa Shambrook called Beneath the Distant Star. Though I don't have a copy yet, I've read Lisa's previous novel, Beneath the Old Oak, so I know she's capable of writing a great book. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Again, enough of my blather. Here's the book!

Beneath the Distant Star
    by Lisa Shambrook

Cover image: Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook

The Story:

“Discover what you already have.” LIFE IS TO LIVE, TO HOLD AND CHERISH...SO EMBRACE THE STARS Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember. Her existence reminds her mother she has something her sister never will—life—and their fragile relationship shatters. Jasmine craves love and acceptance but refuses to be her sister, Freya, and fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and resolves to live her life to the fullest. Jasmine’s reckless abandon threatens to destroy the very thing she needs most.

Available on Amazon
    US Kindle 
    US Paperback
    UK Kindle
    UK Paperback

About the author:
     Lisa began weaving intricate stories inside her imagination from a young age, but these days her words find themselves bursting forth in the forms of flash fiction, short stories and novels.
     She was born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, and living by the ocean heavily influenced her lyrical and emotional writing. She works with the senses, description and colour, and her readers will easily visualise the narrative. A wife and mother, Lisa draws inspiration from family life, faith, memory and imagination. Since having her first of three children, Lisa has lived in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore.
     Lisa loves family time, walking the family's excitable German Shepherd, beaches, photography, art and last, but not least, writing. She says, "There's nothing better than losing yourself inside your imagination!"
     Lisa's debut novel 'Beneath the Rainbow' and its sequel 'Beneath the Old Oak' are both available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.
     You can follow her blog at or checkout her website at

If you are wondering who does Lisa's covers (and interior design), it's a company in Michigan (USA) called Blue Harvest Creative. They do some pretty nice work!

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Book: Terri Deno's Seeing What Develops

There are a number of new books coming out from writers I know, and the first one is Terri Deno's new romance novel Seeing What Develops. It was just a few months ago she released a novella, Melody of Love, using Amazon's Kindle Worlds platform, so I was a little surprised she had another book ready so quickly.

I've read part of it while it was being developed on Amazon's Write On site, but I'll have more to report once I have a real copy in my hands and a chance to read it. Terri has a smooth style, so I can count on the pages turning rapidly.

But enough of my blather. Here's the book!

Seeing What Develops
    by Terri Deno

The Story:

Lindley Neil is perfectly happy working as a photographer's assistant in her small, Midwestern town. As her boss Lexi LaPort starts getting bigger and better gigs, Lindley gets to follow Lexi around to L.A. and New York to photograph movie stars and models. What she didn't expect was to fall in love. Twice. With a movie star and a prominent journalist vying for her affection, Lindley also knows that her job with Lexi won't last forever. Lindley has to choose her own path, even though it means she has to break someone's heart. Will it end up being be her own?

Available on Amazon
    US Kindle
    US Paperback

About the author:
Terri Deno is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. When she's not writing, you can find her consuming massive quantities of books and rocking out to her vinyl collection. She is the author of Unfolding Life: A Book of Haiku, and her work has previously appeared in Luna Station Quarterly, Full of Crow and The Poetry of Yoga, Vol. 1.

Click HERE for Terri Deno's Goodreads page.

If you like romance, you might want to give this new book a try!

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hello, Fringeworks? Horrified Press? Anybody?

Just a reminder: It's okay to leave comments!

If you've read MY PREVIOUS BLOG POST you know I've been waiting for some time for Fringeworks to publish the Dead Men's Tales anthology. It (should) include my story, Skarett's Treasure. Their last blog post hinted that it might be out by late September.


Edited by Mellissa Black, DEAD MEN’S TALES is another of those infuriatingly slow books in happening. Originally scheduled for publication in July 2014, it has been slowly progressing towards publication ever since.

The anthology will focus on the pirate stories told from the perspective of the dead.
In case you were wondering, it is now October. Still haven't seen the book...

Just a gentle little reminder.

Update: Just to let everyone know, Dead Men's Tales, with my story Skarett's Treasure, was published in February 2017. You can find it HERE.

Now on to Horrified Press...

I submitted a story back in February (2015 - I have to be clear on this, all things considered...), I believe, to an anthology listed on the Horrified Press site. Never received any reply from the editor. So I posted a note at the bottom of their submissions page. Got a reply saying they'd contact the editor and let me know.

Any word on the status of Ad Nauseam: A Return to Splatterpunk? I tried e-mailing T.M. McLean, but haven’t received a reply. I’ve submitted a story, but I don’t know if it has been accepted/rejected or even received.

    • It’s been over a month and I still haven’t heard anything. I really would like to know what’s happening with this. If this anthology isn’t going forward I would like to submit my story elsewhere, but I’d like to give this one a chance before I do that.

I'm still waiting... BTW, love the little smiley face. Makes me want to post another comment to see if you would give me another one. By another one I mean a smiley face, at least for the moment. The anthology (as of this posting) is listed as "DEADLINE EXTENDED: Until Full."

Is it just me? I'm sort of getting an inferiority complex here.

If it is me, just let me know. I'm cool with that.

© 2012-2015 K. R. Smith All rights reserved