Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two by Helena Hann-Basquiat

Evening lovely readers 🙂
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Today is super exciting. In this short post I get to reveal to you Helena Hann-Basquiat’s, one of my favourite writers, forthcoming novel Memoirs of a Dilettante volume Two. As many will know, Helena is a wonderfully imaginative writer with a widely ranging handle on many different genres. I myself have been privilaged enough to read several of her thrilling horrors that leave you desperate for more. However here’s what she has to say on her new book:
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MEMOIRS OF A DILETTANTE VOLUME TWO – COVER REVEAL!
COMING SPRING 2015 — official date TBA

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is the second collection of reminiscences, following Helena Hann-Basquiat, a self-proclaimed dilettante who will try anything just to say that she has, and her twenty-something niece, who she has dubbed the Countess Penelope of Arcadia.

Speaking of Arcadia, this volume delves into Helena’s childhood, as she revisits what she calls the Arcadia of the mind — that place that keeps us trapped and holds us back from our potential. Some of her most personal stories are included here, interspersed with hilarious stories of misadventure. It’s not a novel, really, and it’s not a memoir, by the strictest definition. But most of what follows, as they say, is true. Sort of. Almost. From a certain point of view.

Discover Helena’s tales for the first time or all over again, with new notes and annotations for the culturally impaired — or for those who just need to know what the hell was going through her mind at the time!

Cover art by Hastywords.

Helena is going to be running a crowdfunding/pre-order campaign at Pubslush, a community focused solely on indie writers, and has set up a profile there to launch Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two.

For more information, and to follow the progress, Become a Fan at http://HelenaHB.pubslush.com

If you just can’t wait and you want a taste of Helena’s writing, follow her blog: http://helenahannbasquiat.wordpress.com/

If you just can’t get enough Helena, or you want updates on further goings on, release dates and miscellaneous mayhem, follow Helena on Twitter @hhbasquiat

I know right? Helena is an inspiring woman in that she always strives for excellence in everything that she does. She has developed and set up her own publishing house, Dilettante Publishing, and yet still works on her writing whenever she can. She has been a great friend to me and personally I will always strive to be more like her in the literary World.

She has set up a crowdfunding page on Pubslush where if you support the book you may just get some exciting goodies in return. Imagine helping to support a wonderful writer in her life long dream. You get ooey gooey happy feelings as well as exclusivity in the literary World.

Now, enjoy Helena’s writer bio and burn for the release of the book, coming soon but not soon enough 🙂 Toodles 🙂

BIO:

The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.
She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming.

She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populous or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them.
Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

In 2014, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, several e-books which now make up Volume Two, as well as a multimedia collaborative piece of meta-fictional horror entitled JESSICA.

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One is available HERE in e-book for Kindle or HERE in paperback.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell.
Find more of her writing at http://www.helenahb.com or http://whoisjessica.com or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat.

Fear in a Handful of Dust

Evening lovely readers 🙂

Here is a guest post by yours truly exploring the concept of fear and phobias. Admittedly I have a few so I could pull from life but everyone should have a go at writing out of their comfort zone. I hope you enjoy and I hope you follow Helena for some great fiction with ooey gooey literary goodness 🙂

Thank you 🙂

Jessica by Helena Hann-Basquiat with J.S Collyer et al

Evening lovely readers 🙂

jessica6As promised here is my review of the riveting Jessica by some of the most talented writers you will find. Again I will be sounding like a broken record but I LOVE FANTASY. Heck I’d bathe in the damn thing if it were substantial enough to do so (yes I meant substantial, though not huge there is a fair bit of me 😉 ). I do however try to branch out on the genres I read as you can find some real gems in the most unexpected places. For example, if you get a chance please read my review on the awe inspiring Zero by J.S Collyer. Now I’m not usually one for sci-fi but the story was immense with in-depth scene setting and characters who you saw as human rather then plot points, but I digress… Jessica is one of these lovely little gems that reaches out and grabs you by the throat screaming READ ME, READ ME NOW and not once will you be disappointed that you did.

If you have not heeded my advice before pop on over to Helena’s blog now, she is one of my most favourite writers. There you will find a scrummy assortment of literary ooey gooey goodness that will leave you in awe of the very writer you seek. Helena herself is a writer and dilettante of such high calibre that I feel honoured to review her work. As icing on the cake this collection includes another of my most favourite writers, J.S Collyer. The author of Zero lends her literary genius to this collection to help complete the the dazzling effect of the overall narrative.

The book entitled Jessica is a bid to answer the question who is Jessica B Bell. It is essentially a horror story told from the perspective of other people with one character seeming to be the more main narrators throughout. Now if you have been on Helena’s website you’ll see the mysterious Jessica figure mentioned a lot, in both passing and as author of some fantastic narratives of her own. But who is she? What ensues is such an adventure of intrigue and questions for the protagonist Helena that you are left reeling even as you continue to read. We’re never treat to interaction with Jessica ourselves but multiple points of her life are related by those who have met her, those who have met her and gone mad and those who have met her and stopped themselves before they went mad. Is Jessica such a demon to be feared? The great thing about this book is that you can relate to the stories as you read them and I can’t talk for others but I certainly found my heart pounding as I read the horrors these tales related. Imagine mutilating your own face so you don’t speak of the demons you know are real? Or witnessing the birth of a demon child through the face of the mother, a mother who has been plagued by a demon voice for so long?

This collective narrative is very well written, encompassing the more thrilling aspects of horror without being too overtly gory. The language used is also exceptional in that it’s used to the greatest effect,

‘Then she twirled and sauntered away, though in my eyes her head twisted and her eyes stayed on me right until she was out of sight.’

I know right? Ahhhhhhh that was chilling and gave me the creeps at the same time, but I have to say one of my favourite sentences came from the very beginning of the book. It’s decadent and lavish and as if you’re rolling around in velvety caramel,

‘There are rumours that I keep a writer trapped in my basement, chained to a chair, writing stories by candlelight in her own blood on dirty yellow parchment, but I assure you, those rumours are exaggerations, darlings.’

It’s this level of creative genius that flows straight through the book. Undoubtedly it’s a brilliant piece of well written horror that you will find engrossing, thrilling, scary and unique. I urge you to pick up this book today as you won’t be disappointed. I really cannot say one bad thing about any of the writers as they all work in such an exceptional way that it really makes a literary geek such as myself happy.

Thank you 🙂

What’s Your Panic?

Evening lovely readers 🙂

I’m still hard at work on the edits of my novel. It’s interesting to see how I can improve my work without losing the core of the narrative, but I digress. Let me ask you this, is there anything that terrifies you? Do you have a phobia you just can’t explain? Is it enhanced by any other mental states? My friend and fabulous author Helena Hann-Basquiat has set other writers a challenge: to write a short fiction about a phobia. Thankfully it can be any genre and any word length be it two hundred or two thousand; but where to begin…

Now, I’m going to admit something here that may shock you (well unless you know me in real life lol) in that I myself suffer with one or two phobias. Well, when I say one or two I mean aquaphobia (fear of water), mysophobia (fear of uncleanliness/germs), arachnophobia (I know, I know, who isn’t afraid of arachnids?) and mild claustrophobia (I just can’t take small enclosed spaces sometimes.) I can already hear you running away screaming from the mad woman 🙂 well let me put more speed in your step. These phobia’s are only enhanced by the fact that I’m a paranoid obsessive compulsive too lol. Stop laughing and don’t have me committed just yet as although I suffer with these I believe that even they are part of my creativeness and make me the wacky writer I am today.

So where am I struggling? I hear you ask. Well, for this subject at least I find it hard to write fiction about something I’ve suffered from forever.But wait, shouldn’t writer’s write what they know? Yes and no to be honest. Yes I’ve suffered with these all my life but how do I put into word the complicated and often nonsensical thoughts I have? However, in a sense perhaps it will be easier after all. The thoughts from my phobia’s are nonsensical so I just need a genre that fits that aspect. I could write a fantasy based in an aquatic World or a horror about killer germs. Whatever I decide I know that it will be based on my own experiences and of that I’m not ashamed 🙂 so keep an eye out for my writing to appear. I hope you will not be disappointed.

Oh and for your information, I will be bringing a book review out soon of Helena’s fabulous novel Jessica. A collaborative effort, which includes work from the always wonderful J. S. Collyerthis book seeks to determine who is Jessica. B. Bell. Those familiar with Helena’s work will have heard mention this name before. It’s a literary slice of ooey gooey suspenseful cake that I firmly have my pearly ivory’s in to. I just have to finish it 🙂

Love to you all 🙂

The Best Medicine by Jessica B Bell

Evening lovely readers 🙂

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I’m sorry this post is coming out a few days after I promised it but due to certain health issues I am only coming back to my beloved laptop now 🙂 Just recently I have had the honour of being asked to review the exceptional Helena Hann Basquiat’s writing so every Friday I will post a review giving a thoroughly objective view of the book with a smidgens of personal opinion at the end… Oh who am I kidding? What follows is a passionate view of some amazing work that will keep your attention far longer than when you finish reading and will call you back time and again.

My first review is on the wonderful short story recently published in the above ‘All Hail the New Flesh’ by the epic Dagda Publishers. I can think of many words to describe the ‘The Best Medicine’ by Jessica B Bell; thought provoking, terrifying and heartbreaking to name a few. Could you survive the concequences of the mistakes you made in your life? Are you willing to lose those you love in the name of Science? Could you redeem yourself?

The story begins in such a poignant moment. You literally have no chance from the off set of the narrative; you are treat to such a sense of loss and heartbreak that you gasp and read on quicker to determine what had happened.The sentences ‘… The familiar loops and whirls of Helena’s bloody fingerprints on the glass as the World rushed by were something for Judy to focus on, but they were poor comfort – her daughter was gone. Left behind, and only twelve years old…’ Wait, wait, wait; what??? How fabulous is that language use? Within the first few lines you are given a narrative hook that you can’t tear away from and don’t even want to try. Sidenote; I also like that Jessica went on to kill quite a predominant aspect of her writer life Helena, or Helena Hann Basquiat. I found that an inspired twist 🙂

The story continues as Judy and Helena must escape their diseased dad/husband and try to survive escaping the diseased city to a place of sanctuary. Hang on, did I say diseased? Well it turns out Judy worked for a chemical company and the rest, as they say, is history. Imagine the guilt of knowing something your work contributed to created a race of diseased, zombie like beings. What was worse? The creation of the zombies or the deaths of the innocents they feed upon? The story is really jam packed full of vivid emotion. You feel their terror as they escape as if it were your own; you gasp as their desolation fills you; you cry at the lost soul lost so soon within the narrative. Such exceptional emotive language is used that you feel it within your very soul. Jessica uses description such as ‘mad chortle,’ ‘bloodcurdling laughter’ and ‘distended mask of pain and horror’ which gives you a sense of hopelessness and fear of the monsters that surround them.

One last thing I will mention is the ending; MY GOD the ending… At a first glance you may think ‘hang on, she told us the end at the beginning.’ You are, however, mistaken my friend. In a stroke of pure genius we are treat to a final twist in the narrative that leaves you gasping in fear and awe; it’s inspiring and terrifying and you’ll love it but I won’t tell you what that is here 🙂

I will leave you now by merely stating that you NEED this writer; her work is inspired and you won’t regret reading her. Search her out now.

Thank you 🙂

Helena

Evening lovely readers 🙂

This is just a quick post to say keep an eye on my blog. As of tomorrow I will begin to post reviews on the exceptional work of Helena Hann-Basquiat, or Jessica B Bell as some may know her as. She is without a doubt one of my favourite Lady authors and I was honoured she asked me to review her work 🙂 so keep tuned.

Thank you 🙂

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Dilettante!

A truly talented and wonderful Lady; a genius such as this should always be celebrated. One of my very favourite Ladies to be sure 🙂 Happy birthday Helena 🙂

1WriteWay

A little birdie (well, actually, a big birdie) told me that today is Helena Hann-Basquiat’s birthday!  And what better way to celebrate her birthday than by heading over to Amazon and picking up one or all of her recent publications:

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, available in both ebook and paperback.  I highly recommend the paperback.  The printed format is candy for the eyes.  If you are a fan of Helena’s blog (and how can you not be), then you will love having the adventures of Penny dammit, Countess of Arcadia and Helena all in one beautifully designed place.

Three Cigarettes, available as an ebook and only 99 cents.  By the way, I’ve read and reviewed Three Cigarettes and found it to be both thrilling and chilling.  Although Three Cigarettes was written by Jessica B. Bell, Helena was the editor.  More importantly, she is Jessica’s keeper and…

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All Hail the New Flesh by Dagda Publishing

 Where to even begin with this book? As previously mentioned this is the new anthology from the epic Dagda Publishers. It contains within thirteen futuristic tales of dystopian Worlds and technology gone mad; and my God it’s a cavalcade of creative goodness that has your mind soaring from a mix of imaginative stories and language so delectable you feel full just from the one reading.

I had initially intended to speak of only one or two of the stories within but I now know that is a distinct impossibility. Many of the stories called out to me in various ways that has my mind returning to each tale again and again. You may think I am going overboard with my description but believe me, pick up a copy, you’ll be in my mind set before you know it.

I must begin with the story from one of my best friends and my writing hero. Isaac Heights by J S Collyer is such a fantastical journey of science and emotion that it’s hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. A perfect image of a young moralistic Dr, Jasper, struggling to establish himself in a mental institute for androids is painted before your eyes in such a way that you can almost physically see the moral dilemmas he finds himself in. In retrospect, his almost fateful meeting with one of the inmates perhaps was not best for his career. Would his morals be tested? Would his belief in equality be heard? Would the ultimate freedom for all be achieved? One aspect of this story I loved was that the language use, while detailed, didn’t serve to alienate the reader from the subject matter; the language was so well written that alienation from the narrative was in no way a possibility. If I take, for example, this description ‘She was one of the most early models before they’d refined the iris spectrum. Instead of the delicate sky-blue of the newer makes he’d worked with at college, her eyes were the colour of burnished bronze,’ how wonderful is that combination of language? You have the cold description of models and spectrums expertly meshed with the almost reverent description of colours. In turn, the story flows in such a creative way that you find yourself ensconced in the narrative and eager to find out the climax; and I can promise you in that you won’t be disappointed either. This is a wonderful story of technology, suffering, conflict and perhaps, in the end, misplaced trust.

I now have to move onto the exceptionally written At the End of the World, My Daughter Wept Metal by Eric Robert Nolan. Now first off, how great is that title? I am absolutely in love with concepts of literature that sound to be idealistic but turn out to be a wonderful description of the narrative itself. It reminds me greatly of the novel that the film Blade Runner was based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, another brilliant title. But sojourn into the random aside, I have to say this story perfectly establishes for you the struggles of genius when striving to cure the World of all ills. The protagonist represents said genius in the form of Jacob Farmer, a scientist determined to advance past his research into artificial hearts to create something that would cause Human kind to heal itself of all ills. Little did he know that essentially he was catalyst to a certain type of apocalypse… but I won’t give up any spoilers here. I strongly suggest that you pick up a copy as there are twists and turns here to fully engulf you and leave you literately sated afterwards. The language use here is also exceptional; for example look at the description the protagonist uses for himself ‘The point is this – I created thinking organs. I have a genius for mechanics that rival’s Strasburg’s own. (I am not a modest man.)’ How fabulous is that? The personality of Jacob really shines here through expert language use, from his belief in his abilities to the knowledge that one day he would do something great, all portrayed in a few sentences. The effects of this wonderful narrative are one of a well written story filled with achievement, love and inevitably sadness.

My third choice is one of the stories that really had an effect on me; one of emotion and I will admit, almost a kind of fear. Taking direction by Samuel Barker is an effectual tale of loneliness, begrudging friendship and reliance on technology that borders on the extreme. We are introduced to the protagonist Ben, in his dark grey World of loneliness, and Derek his almost absent minded neighbour and occasional friend. He goes over to Derek’s house sometimes so that they can share coffee and Derek can talk of some of his inventions; at the moment he is intent on finishing a highly intellectual sat nav like device. They both make believe that Ben understands what he talks of as it relieves Derek of some of his loneliness too. What would happen if one was so lonely they were extremely susceptible to any power of persuasion? What follows is a tail of loss, obsession and at moments we are led to believe that there are aspects of the occult. Such wonderfully descriptive language is used that I am certain it will have individual effects on each and every reader; I personally was chilled after the climax, that kind of I-just-watched-a-horror-movie chilled but it may be different for other readers. I loved this descriptive section ‘”Ben.” I heard it again, so familiar, like a sheep’s bleat. But I was awake. I felt my body going rigid. Cold sweat formed under my arms… “Ben.” My heart seized up. It was Derek’s voice and it wasn’t outside; it was in the room, somewhere to my right. Close.’ Placed where it is in the narrative this served to begin that aforementioned fearful feeling and had my mind racing at the possibilities of the ending. What followed was highly intuitive, extremely creative and very thought provoking; a great story.

I have to now move onto the wonderfully written The Best Medicine by Jessica B. Bell. Again I will admit that this too started to provoke in me that same fearful feeling but this was quickly overridden by my sense of enjoyment at the well thought out story, brilliant language use and, much as the previous mentioned tales, fantastic character development. What would the World be like if it were ravaged by a disease so virulent that even loved ones became horrendously deformed, mindless enemies? Where would the search for a cure lead? This story expertly delves into the recesses of such a narrative that even from the beginning you are presented with a World left with no hope but only desperation and the will to survive. I felt that in a way I really connected with the story as the protagonist is a mother Hell bent on protecting her daughter at all costs. Having recently become a mother myself, and having the rampant imagination necessary for the survival of us writers, I could really project myself into this narrative and could easily feel the emotions that character felt as if they were my own. The part of the text that really stuck with me was ‘”Shhh!” Judy hushed her, holding a hand firmly over Helena’s mouth. The older woman’s heart was trembling in her chest, and her mouth was dry and cottony. She licked her lips and whispered: “We’ve got to get out of this house.”‘ This was just the beginning of some excellent descriptive language and I myself could feel the panic rising in me as if it were tangible. It only goes on to get better and you are ultimately left feeling satisfied with the excellent ending; one that presents sadness, loss and a twist so well written you are actually left smiling.

And lastly I want to mention the excellent Retrograde written by Seppo Kukri. This is one narrative that quite expertly melted my brain through twists, turns and language use so good you follow the story without being aware that you do; your brain is still five pages behind trying to gather up all the different detail. Now I can’t say much about this story in all without giving too much away. You are presented with a forgetful protagonist that knows he has to do something important, it’s why he is on the train, but he can’t remember what. You are eventually treat to his past and this part does actually flow so well it’s like water, even though there is literally a narrative twist on each page. A military operation left him as the sole survivor, having witnessed the gruesome deaths of his colleagues and experiencing a madness so deep no one believed him. A botched experiment on the operation had far reaching consequences that would last the rest of his life. You read and you start to think that perhaps the author missed something as a certain integral detail was different two pages before but they haven’t; this is an expertly written piece designed to leave your mind reeling while efficiently describing the unstable state the protagonist is in. I can’t even tell you much about the language without giving spoilers away. Just trust this is an exceptional piece.

Sorry for going on so long, I do tend to ramble a bit, but I just had so much to say about this wonderful book; and hopefully in a coherent manner. I have attempted to leave major plot points out while telling you of the stories so you can find out yourself about the brilliance of these new authors and what they can contribute to the literary World. Buy this book, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

And yes I too am published in here but it’s bad taste to write about my own work, especially when the genius of these above authors, not to mention the others in the anthology, is so plain to see 🙂

Thank you 🙂

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