Saturday, 10 November 2018

Guest Artisit Andy Gill of Moncton, NB.

I met Andy many years ago when we both worked for a jewellery manufacturing company. He was doing the jewellery designs which were quite amazing. Now he works on portraits of superheroes, famous people and animals. His work is scattered all over North America and as far as Europe with buyers wanting to own his life-like drawings. He has agreed to participate in a 4Q Interview and allow us to show his work.

(All sketches shown here are the intellectual property of the artist, used with permission. They are not allowed to be copied, shared or used without the artist's permission)

4Q: When did you start drawing Andy?

AG: I started very young, around age 3 or 4.

4Q: How do you decide which drawing you are going to do when you stare at the blank page? Do you accept commissions?

AG: I do the eyes first. Mostly I have to feel the subject, then see it in my head. Yes I accept commissions.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

AG: Drawing war tanks on 8.5×11 paper. Green Sherman tanks and Blue Tiger tanks...hours and hours of drawing WW2 battle tanks.

4Q: Tell us about your favorite spot to work and the type of material you use for your drawings.

AG: My antique illustration table, Prismacolor Premier color pencil, on Stonehenge print stock.

Thank you for being our guest this week Andy.

For those of you wanting more information on Andy, check out this link.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

In Memory of Lockard Young - Author & Friend

Lockard - Lockie to his friends and family - was a terrific storyteller.  He was also a frequent guest on the Scribbler and one of his posts reached an all time high of 1005 visits -  he was a popular guest.

Unfortunately, Lockie left us on December 26th, 2016. He's dearly missed, not only be friends and family at home but by the dozens of friends he made online through his writing efforts. He always had a smile and it would be difficult to find anyone friendlier, always eager to help.

This week I would like to celebrate Lockie and share the previous posts with you.

This is the most visited post from September 11, 2016 and I invite you to take a look HERE!

Lockie wrote many amusing short stories. One of them was plagiarized and reached an audience of over 10,000 shares. A testament to his writing skills but he was never paid for it. An author's nightmare.

Lockie's first visit was a 4Q Interview back in 2014. Check it out by going HERE!

His short story - The Lone Shepard appears HERE!

A sample of his poetry here and stories inspired by his visit to Africa with his wife Trish. HERE!

His short story - Are You Sure? HERE!

I hope this post is a tribute to an author I admired. Lockie is gone but his words live does the memories.

Thank you Lockie. RIP my friend.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Visual Artist & Photographer Sylvie Mazerolle

A Dream Come True!

Stunning photos! A happy smile. Sylvie is always a pleasure to have as a guest on the Scribbler. One of Moncton's outstanding photographers, she returns for a 4Q Interview. 

Fresh from a successful showing of her newest collection of photos at the Trinity Galleries in Saint John, New Brunswick, she shares the highlights of her exhibition.

This Sylvie's third visit to the Scribbler. In June/2017 she tells us about the beginning of her photo journey. Go here!  The second visit was with her partner Jason Hamilton - Author. Go here!                                     

Take a few minutes and sign up for her newsletter by going here.

4Q : You have a new collection that just came out this fall. Tell us more about “Mermaids Tears”.

SM: I was doing research for a project I had in mind about getting older and the aging process. I was researching stuff like the passage of time and things that age well such as fine wine & cheese when I stumbled upon this poem titled: “I Want to Age Like Sea Glass” by Bernadette Noll and instantly every line in the poem inspired an image in my minds eye. I knew I had to pursue it. I was on the hunt for locations, model and wardrobe. When I first started I was having a hard time finding models over 40 that were willing to get in front of the lens, but once I had them read the poem and explained that it was meant to empower well cultivated women, the word got out and women were getting in touch with me wanting to be a part of it
The project soon took a life of its own and became much bigger and more important than I could have ever imagined. It took me all summer to produce and I’m very proud of it.

4Q: Was this your first Gallery exhibit?
SM: Yes this was my first official gallery exhibit. Beth at Trinity Galleries in Saint John, New Brunswick fell in love with the series the minute she saw it. It’s a very powerful emotional series. We’ve all been tossed around and thrown off kilter by life crashing waves at one point or another. On opening night people would walk up to the exhibit and one would resonate with them in one way or another to the point of tears. It was such a powerful emotional night in the best way possible. I really hoping to bring this exhibit to a bigger audience.

4Q: Where do you get inspiration when you need it most?

SM: A few things helps me find ideas and inspiration. Music has to be my first. Especially when I am in post production. I have a specific play list that helps me get into a creative flow. It’s like meditation for me. I forget about everything else except the image that it right in front of me and the emotions the music bring forth. I can get lost for hours.
I also get a lot of idea’s while cleaning my house. Clutter free home is a clutter free mind. But once I start creating, it all falls to the way side. My house can be a disaster once I’m in creative mode. *LOL* 

4Q: If anyone is interested in purchasing your art, where can they find it?
SM: My current series of “Mermaids Tears” can be found at Trinity Galleries in Saint John exclusively at the moment.
For any other works you can contact me directly via my web site or Facebook messenger.

Thank you for being our guest this week Sylvie. Wishing you continued success.

Both Sylvie and I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Miramichi Reader with James Fisher

Our guest this week is James Fisher of Miramichi, New Brunswick. 

Those of us that know James, know how much he loves to read. He also enjoys sharing his thoughts about the books he reads (both fiction and non-fiction) and is the owner of the splendid review website – The Miramichi Reader.

Visit his website here.

He is kind enough to participate in a 4Q Interview.

I was born in Kingston Ontario. After finishing high school there and loafing around at various jobs, I met the woman who is now my wife (of 31 years) who encouraged me to get a career. So I did. I am a Medical Radiation Technologist as well as an MRI Technologist. After living and working in Toronto for about twenty years we chose to move to the east coast to Miramichi where I work at the Miramichi Regional Hospital.

4Q: How did the Miramichi Reader begin James.

JF: It began at the lunch table at work one day, almost four years ago now. A fellow technologist and one of our radiologists were at the table and since we are all "friends" on Goodreads, it was suggested that I start a book review blog since they enjoyed reading the short reviews I would post at Goodreads. This was all the encouragement I needed since I had recently closed down my Microsoft Windows support blog I ran for many years. Windows had become more and more user-friendly over the years and I had no interest in the ins and outs of an operting system any longer. I always enjoyed reading book reviews and I thought that would be a great job: reading and writing about books! I have tried to focus on Atlantic Canadian authors and publishers, but I have strayed into Quebec (there's some great English-language translations of contemporary Quebec French novels coming out now) and Ontario.

4Q: On your website you’ve created The Very Best Book Awards. How did this come about and tell us briefly about this years winners.

JF: Initially, I created them as a tongue-in-cheek take-off on certain national book awards, which - while important to the industry - rarely, if ever acknowledge books from small press publishers or even self-published authors. There's no big-budget publicity department to get their books out into the wild, so to speak. I felt I could do my part for these authors and publishers by instituting my own little award.
This year's winners were fortunate: I actually had a little gift for them! A small Miramichi business that makes soap and candles generously supplied the award in the form of a small book with a bar of "Miramichi Sunrise" inside.
As for this year's winners, I had to narrow it down to three categories: Best Fiction, Best Non-Fiction and Best New Book (Fiction or Non-fiction). There were also "Notable Achievement" winners, one in each category.
The three main winners were: Catherine Graham for her novel (her first): Quarry, Melanie Grondin for Best First Book for her book on the life of stained glass artist Guido Nincheri, and Lorri Nielsen Glenn for her memoir Following the River (Best Non-Fiction).

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory.

JF: I suppose my best book-related memories are of my parents' instilling the love of reading in me. They would always be going to the library to get a book to read, but they only ever read in bed. Dad was for westerns, Mom for mysteries. I've always read, from Kindergarten on. In the public school I attended, they would take us to the library once a month, on a Friday, to hear the librarian read a story. The library, although just a small branch one, was a magical place.

4Q: How does The Miramichi Reader decide which books to review? Can you be contacted by authors to have their book reviewed?

JF: Sometimes I pick the books, other times the publishers will send books they want me to review. I have sought out small publishers and contacted them. They are always eager to have their books reviewed, I have found. The same with authors who contact me (via my Contact page). While I may not accept fiction books from time to time (due to a large TBR stack) I do encourage authors to at least contact me, even if I cannot get to their books in a timely manner. 

4Q: Any last thoughts you want to share?

JF: I am so thankful for the all the wonderful authors, publicists and publishers I have met over The Miramichi Reader's brief existence. They have been generous with their books, their time and their social media support. It makes it all worthwhile to hear an author or a small press publisher tell you how much they appreciate my reviews. It has also been encouraging to have some of my reviews quoted in print form, too.

As well as the website URL above, you can find James at these links;

Thank you James for being our guest this week.

The Miramichi Reader’s review of Wall of War -

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Excerpt from The Alexanders - The First Decade.

As many of you know, my work in progress involves Dominic Alexander and begins in Scotland in 1911. Due to unfortunate circumstances Dominic has had to move in with his Uncle Duff and is a stranger in his new surroundings.

The following excerpt is taken from 1912 and tells how he becomes friends with a poor Russian boy who is also friendless.

(copyright is held by the author)

Being in the cooler northern region of Great Britain, Scotland is one of the windiest countries in the world with higher than normal amounts of rainfall. Winter usually brings copious amounts of snow in the Highlands with lesser accumulation in the lower regions. The days are much shorter. This twenty-third of February, a Thursday and the last day of Dominic’s work week is clear, a cool breeze chills from the southeast as he walks along Langlands Road. Bluish shadows from a gibbous moon accompanies him home. Pulling his parka tighter about his face, he hurries his step knowing Uncle likes to eat at six o’clock and he guesses it must be a half hour later than that. He’s usually home by then now that the days are not as long but he and Tubs had to finish replacing the door in Danny Meek’s bungalow in Ibrox.
He’s tired, his shoulders are slouched. One gloved hand carries his still stiff tool belt. A well-used hammer Tubs gave him hangs from one of the side loops and bumps against his leg. The repetitive slap in the only noise except for the distant clanging of the Fairfield Shipyards which go all night. The other holds the front of his coat tight at the neck. A well-used canvas lunch bag is slung over one shoulder. He was up at 6 this morning and helping Duff in his shop. The security men that pick up the repairs come every Thursday at noon delivering the jewellery to be fixed and pick up the completed jobs. Dominic spent the morning polishing chains that Duff had repaired. There was a silver one he really liked and hoped to own one day. While thinking of how much he needs to put aside when he turns onto Drive Road that will take him by Elder Park, he encounters three boys roughly his age.
Two of them are pushing and shoving a smaller boy that is doing his best to hold his own pushing and shoving when he can. The larger of the aggressors gets in close enough to grab the smaller one by his jacket collar and shove him against the wrought iron fence that surrounds the park. His companion steps closer and hits the smaller boy in the stomach. When the injured youngster falls to the ground Dominic is close enough to hear them. They don’t know he is near. Not liking what he sees, the fallen boy much smaller, he sets his tool belt down gently and creeps closer.
We told you before Pestov, you stay in the Gorbals. You Russian scum need to stay in the tenements where you belong. We don’t want you ‘Pests” around…”
Tall boy is interrupted by a blow to his left ear that causes him to stagger and cartwheel his arms before careening into his helper knocking them both down, the bigger one on top. Dominic steps up to them, his gloved fists in the fighter’s pose his father taught him, taught all his boys. His left foot back for balance, both feet on their toes.
Try someone your own size ya bullies.”
Dominic is a scary figure, only his silhouette is visible to the downed ruffians, the partial moon shines over his left shoulder exposing his upraised defensive fists. The downed boy is surprised by the aggressive act of the stranger and sits up trying to catch his breath and watch. The two on the roadway are scrambling backwards. The bolder one shouts while rubbing his ear.
What’s it to you…and ya shouldn’t sneak up on people.”
They’re standing now and maybe street tough but they’re leery of this stranger who is not an adult. They strike their own poses, the shorter one a step behind and bobbing his head back and forth from Dominic and his companion not sure what to do.
Ya shouldn’t be picking on people smaller than you and you’re obviously not brave enough to do it on your own, takes two of yas.”
Dominic starts to bob lightly like a trained boxer.
Step up now you cowards and let’s finish this…or bugger off!”
Tall boy and Uncertain give each other a glance before deciding that buggering off is probably the best option, turn and scamper away behind one of the apartment buildings on the other side of the street. Dominic relaxes and turns to face a bedraggled figure sitting with legs flat, holding his stomach and taking short breaths. The head is uncapped and hanging down. Even in the low light, Dominic can see the jacket is light and tattered. Gathering his tool belt he wonders at the boy’s silence.
Ya could at least say thank you.”
The voice is deep for someone so young and heavily accented from a foreign language.
I didn’t need any help.”
That’s not what I saw.”
No response. He reaches down with his free hand.
C’mon, I’ll give you a hand up.”
Hesitant at first, the younger fellow offers an uncovered hand, small and delicate like a girl’s. Dominic is startled by the uncovered limb. Grasping the hand, Dominic helps him to stand.
Don’t you have any mitts?”
Tucking his hands in his jacket side pockets belies the next statement.
No, I don’t, but I don’t need any.”
Stepping back Dominic tries to see his face but the low light only casts shadows. He can see that it is wide, lots of stray hair. The chin is up. He stands at least five or six inches taller.
So, what was that all about? And do you really live in Gorbals?”
They just think that all Russians are like the Ivanov gang and all we want to do is steal everything. And yes I do live in the Gorbals and I do live in a tenement before you ask.”
Dominic heard about the squalid buildings that housed immigrants in crowded quarters, often four to five in one or two rooms, lured by work in the yards. Always a shortage of homes drove the rents upward. Sanitation is a problem. Many do not eat properly. He didn’t believe it at first. He knew his family was poor but they always had a roof that didn’t leak, clean beds and food.
What are you doing here? And at night?”
I…I just need to get away from all that noise and dirty smells and…”
Dominic senses discouragement in the voice, a lower tone. The pitch changes, bolder.
It’s not your business. I should be going, my brothers will be home later and I need to be there.”
Without any further comment, he sets off towards the other side of the park. Dominic can see the figure shaking from the cold and stares at his gloves. He has an older pair at home, not as new but just as warm. Removing his gloves, he chases after the boy.
Here, take these.”
Surprised by the command, the boy stops and faces Dominic, seeing the gloves in the outstretched hand. He is affected by the offer.
You’d give me your gloves?”
Well it’s two or three miles to Gorbals and I have another pair.”
He can’t say no. He can hardly grasp the gloves properly from chilled fingers. He stares at Dominic while twisting them on.
Why are you doing this? You don’t know me.”
Not so long ago I didn’t always have mitts either and I know what it is like. Now I’m working and can buy my own.”
There’s a moment of silence. Dominic puts his own hands in his coat pocket.
What’s your name?”
It comes out in Russian, eeVAHN. Not I-van like Scots call him.
Ivan Pestov and what’s yours?”
Dominic Alexander, but most people call me Dom. You can if you like.”
Why would I like, I’ll probably never see you again. I doubt you hang around the Gorbals and I’m not welcome here.”
Sure ya are, ya can come home and have a bite with me and Uncle if ya like?”
Dominic is worried about his spontaneous suggestion not sure how Duff will react to an uninvited guest but he needn’t be. Surprised by the stranger’s generosity, Ivan waves him off and starts towards the Gorbals.
Thanks for the gloves and for getting those jerks off my back.”
Watching until the retreating figure is in darkness, Dominic hitches his lunch bag straighter on his shoulder and heads home wondering what the surprise is that Duff said would be there.

Thanks you for visiting today. I'm excited that my novel is nearing completion, I've been working on it since January, 2016 and I expect to be finished by the end of this year. Then comes the revisions, beta reading, editing, cover design and finally - a book. More info to follow as the journey of The Alexanders - The First Decade comes to and end - and a beginning!

Watch the coming weeks for new guests on the Scribbler.

James Fisher - The Miramichi Reader.

Andy Gill - artist.