Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Music: Interview with talented Italian Singer and Songwriter Francesco Liccari


We're pleased to introduce Francesco Liccari, an Italian musician who sings, composes, and plays the guitar. Find out more about this talented singer/songwriter by reading his interview and listening to his songs!

Please tell us a little about your background and where you are from.

I’m from Trieste (Italy), a border city where different cultures meets together. There, I started taking lessons of classical guitar when I was a child. Under the guidance of my teacher, Andrea Massaria (professor of Jazz guitar at Venice conservatory), I’ve learned almost everything I know about music. 

And since you’re been playing since you were a child, what made you fall in love with music?

Listening made me fall in love with music. I’ve always listened to a lot of music since I was a child. I began with the artists my father listened to (the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd) and then with the ones my brother listened to (David Bowie, Queen, Cat Stevens, Fabrizio De AndrĂ©, Donovan). Then, I found my own tastes, listening to Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Woody Guthrie, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, Francesco Guccini, Edoardo Bennato, to name a few. At some point, I felt the need to write my own songs and so I did it.

You’ve mentioned several of your favorite singers. Can you consider any of them as your greatest influence to follow in the music career? Why?



At the beginning, it was Bob Dylan. His lyrics taught me the importance of words and feelings, and through his music I learnt my own way of writing. The second greater influence is David Bowie. He taught me how to change, how to make my music different. As a songwriter, I can find my way of writing music and then continue all my life with it or I can change it, like Bowie always did. This is the most important lesson, do not copy what you have already done but strive to always be different.

That’s a really good lesson for every artist. I’m assuming you also write the lyrics and compose the songs?

Yes, I do. I love to create something new every time, writing the right words for the right music. 

When was the first time you performed live and how did you feel?

The first time I performed live was in 2009. My songwriting project had yet to come and I was playing in a cover band at that time. I felt scared and also excited, and it was funny but totally awful! The first time I performed live as Francesco Liccari was in 2010. I played just a couple of songs I wrote the year before but was definitely better than my first performance.

That’s great. Is there a specific performance you feel was your best so far? If so, where and why?

No, there is not. Certainly playing at Sofar Sounds was a nice experience and I also think I did some really good performance after Enrico Casasola joined my project, playing bass. However I can't pick one as the best. I usually perform trying to share my feelings (through music) with the audience; if I succeed, that is a great performance. So every performance is different; it can be good or bad, but a good one can't be better than another good performance.


It makes sense. What do you enjoy the most about your interaction with the fans? Who is your audience?


Talking with them after a gig, or on social network. It is extremely important to me to get to meet my audience not only in general, but every single person. They give me strength and the reason to keep playing. Music is made for listening; without my audience, my music would be useless. Who is your audience you ask me? People with something in common with me; they find something in my music that they also feel. I see that like an invisible thread linking each other.

It’s a wonderful thing when your music resonates with your audience. And how do you draw inspiration to write your music? 


Everywhere: from real life, from stories I hear, from my lucid dreams, from the emotions I feel. A mix of memories, time and irrational. The inspiration for the lyrics I write comes to me like a stream of consciousness, all at once.

What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future? Where can we find and buy your music?

I’m working on my third EP. I'm going to reveal the title in a preview to you; it will be "Four letters: love". Its main theme will obviously be love. However it won't be a collection of love songs but a reflection about love.
You can find my previous EPs on Soundcloud, you can buy them on Bandcamp and you can find some videos here: http://francescoliccari.it/video/
I hope you’ll enjoy them!

I’m sure we will, and thank you so much for revealing the name of your next EP to us! That’s special. And is there anything else you'd like to add?

Support independent music/musicians, we have a lot of independent music out there. Do not let the majors choose which the right music is for you. Same goes for movies, books, paintings and all the arts. Don't let others decide for you, choose by yourself.
Finally, and in conclusion, I would like to thank you for the interview!

Thank you for your time, Francesco, and we wish you much success in your music career! 

To follow Francesco and find out more about his music, click on the links below:
 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Franz_Liccari

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrancescoLiccari/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/francesco-liccari

Bandcamp: https://francescoliccari.bandcamp.com/

Website: http://francescoliccari.it/

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Books: Interview with Historical Fiction Greek Author Lefki Sarantinou


We love a great historical novel and just found out one of the newest releases by Quest Publications is an intriguing tale in the times of the Crusades. Read on to find out more about this great Greek author!

Tell us where you are from and a little bit about your background.

I was born in Rethymno, Crete (Greece). My family adored everything related to music, art, and books. My parents were teachers of math and biology, so I learned to love studying from an early age. Our neighbors were both history professors in the University of Crete. My elementary teacher and these neighbors were the ones who taught me to love history. 

You were born in a country that has so much history, too. When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

The truth is that when I was a young student, I wanted to become an author, but as I grew up, music took over as my future occupation. So I forgot my “childhood dream”. Then I studied history, along with music, and read many historical books. When I was twenty six years old, a book about the crusades inspired me to try to write my first historical novel, but when I started it, I didn’t know that this would become a published historical novel and that I could write more novels, history articles, book for children etc.

So your childhood dream came true! Although you already mentioned above, can you tell us more about the book that inspired you to write your first novel?

It was Steven Runciman’s history book “A history of the crusades”. I found this part of history and the author’s narration very amazing, so I thought this part of the history with the battles, the sieges and the rivalry between the Templars and the Knights of Saint John could become a fascinating historical novel. That was how “Hamsin, wind of the east” was born.


How much research did you do to ensure there’s historical accuracy in your novel?

A historical novel that follows faithfully the historical accuracy demands a lot of research and studying. I attempt, in my novels, not to write anything that goes against proven historical facts, and this makes the whole process even more difficult. If it is necessary to make a change in a particular historical fact, I always mention it in a footnote, but I try to avoid it and follow the row of history in my plot. I intend to make the plot from history and adapt the plot to it, not the opposite.

I’m sure that requires a lot of research but it’s worth it. What is your favorite quote and who wrote it?

Unquestionably “Carpe diem”! I try hard, every day, to live by this motto, which means I live and enjoy every moment of the day! This quote comes from the Roman poet Horatius who lived between 65-8 BC.

That’s a great quote! Do you have a favorite author? Who? Has this author or their books influenced your writing in any way?

Many authors are beloved to me, Greeks and foreigners alike. But I think that the way Ken Follett writes influenced my writing. Ken Follett has written many fascinating historical novels that teach and amuse the readers about history. Another thing I appreciate in Follett’s books, which I try hard to do also in my writing, is the fast, cinematic plot. Furthermore, in Ken’s work, you will not find unreal facts that are part of his plot and that’s something you will not find in my work either.

Wonderful influence and advice. If you could be a character from any book, who would you like to be and why?

Definitely Scarlet O’Hara from the novel “Gone with the wind”, written by Margaret Mitchell. I admire the courage, the independent spirit she had and her dynamic character, all these I don’t possess, so I admire it a lot when I see them in other people!

What a great character indeed! What are you working on now?

I have just finished the second part of “Hamsin wind of the east” which concerns the two sieges of Rhodes when it was under the rule of the Knights of Saint John, from the Ottomans in 1480 and 1522 AC. Simultaneously, I write Greek mythology and ancient Greek history for children.

That’s fabulous. I love Greek mythology and history. Your new book sounds exciting! Where can we find more about you and your writing?

At the homepage of Historical Quest and Quest Publications, my publishing house.

 
Is there anything else you ’d like to share with our readers?

I think that all the people must study History, so they can understand the present global events. I advise them to read, first of all, history of course, and books that can leave a stamp, in any way, on their souls! Reading, art, and music make us better persons and spice up our lives, so we ought to keep ourselves busy with these things as much as we can!

Excellent advice! Thank you so much for your time and we wish you a lot of success in your writing career!  

To purchase this great novel, click on one of the links below:



 
 
 


Monday, March 12, 2018

Music: Interview with talented UK musician Matt Steady



We have a great interview today with Matt Steady, a talented musician from the UK. Read on to find out more about his work and upcoming release!



Matt, tell us a little about your background and where you are from.

I’m from Leicester (in England). I’ve moved around the country all my life with my Dad’s job, but when I went to university, I met my wife and settled down here and we’ve been here ever since! I had a successful career in IT for 20 years, but 18 months ago I took the plunge and went full-time as a musician.

That’s fantastic and good luck with your leap of faith! What made you fall in love with music and play?

I was brought up listening to and loving music – from classical to jazz to the Muppets! Eventually I started finding my own tastes, moving through the Beatles to Dire Straits and Pink Floyd. Every few years I’d discover a new genre and devour it! Blues, metal, folk, prog … I haven’t collected everything yet but give me some time and I’ll get there!

There’s so much to listen to! Who was your greatest influence to follow in the music career?

So many to choose from! I think the biggest inspiration that actually made me get off the sofa and start playing in front of people was Damien Rice.


Do you also write the lyrics and compose the songs?

Yes. I occasionally do covers, but I much prefer to write my own. They mean more to me and I can perform them better as a result.

Indeed, I’m sure it’s much more rewarding playing your own music. When was the first time you performed live and how did you feel?


The first time I sang in front of a large group of people was when I was very small singing “If I was a
butterfly” as a solo in church. Haha! I can remember it now. There’s one line that says “If I was a fuzzy-wuzzy bear, I’d thank the Lord for my fuzzy-wuzzy hair” or something similar, and one of the band members, who was very bald, started rubbing his head. Everyone was laughing and it put me off a bit!

I sung and played in choirs and orchestras for years, but the first time I played solo as an acoustic artist in front of people was in my 30s at a barbeque. I did a mix of covers from Martyn Joseph to Eric Clapton. I muffed up a guitar solo and was mortified!

That sounds like fun, though! And now you can laugh at it. Is there a specific performance you feel was your best so far? If so, where and why?

I think my best performance so far may have been at the Fuse Theatre in Manchester. The evening had a whole load of wonderful artists all brought together by a guy called John Reed to celebrate music together. I did my own set which went extremely well, but the funny thing was I somehow ended up playing fiddle with pretty much all the other artists and bands. Brilliant fun – exhausting but brilliant!

Must have been a great performance! What do you enjoy the most about your interaction with the fans?

I love showing people that I’m as normal (or completely non-normal!) as they are. I’m just a person, and I love to encourage other people to get singing in front of other people, or paint, or read, or work at their job, or enjoy their holidays or whatever it is that they do. You meet some wonderful people when you’re in the music business, and I’d say that most of the people I talk to end up as friends rather than faceless fans.

What a wonderful thing to meet fans like that. How do you draw inspiration to write your music? 

There’s inspiration everywhere! I was in the car this morning and heard the start of a program on the radio talking about the “Highland Clearances” in Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries and immediately my brain started whirling! I don’t write a lot of love songs – I prefer to be inspired by scenery and history and people and events. There are a million and one love songs, but there’s not many about the Magna Carta being signed at Runnymede, or the moon landings. So I prefer to be a bit different and cover tackle I haven’t covered before. Whatever I write about, I try and link that back to everyday life and things in our own lives. It has to be relatable.

How unique! What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future? Where can we find and buy your music?

I’ve got a new album coming out in a couple of weeks called “Echoes of Albion”, which I’m so www.mattsteady.com if you’d like to listen to and/or buy the music. Everything is available in the normal places like iTunes etc., but I much prefer it when people buy direct my site – there’s more of a connection and it doesn’t end up feeding half the money to the massive corporations.
excited about. I’ve spent 7 months crafting it – it’s an earthy mix of Celtic Blues, which is a sound you won’t hear very often. It celebrates the landscapes, people and legends of Britain from ancient times to today. Pre-orders are open still for a very short time. It’s best to head to

Congratulations on your new album. Sounds great! Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Support independent and local music – musicians and venues! Without the grass roots, we’ll have nothing left. Don’t be content with listening to what commercial radio force-feeds you. There’s some amazing, wonderful, almost unheard-of music out there that will suit you much better. All you’ve got to do is take the time to find it!

Thanks for your time and we wish you much success with your career!

To follow Matt, click on the links below and support his music:







Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Blog Tour: Brian Harrison's The Vault - release March 6th



The Vault

Why would a multibillionaire create a customized vault that is controlled by watch mechanics inside and have a self-destruct mechanism inside to destroy the billion dollars worth of artifacts inside?

Simple, because he can.


On paper, Sam Montgomery is your typical eccentric philanthropic pharmaceutical billionaire whom has literally mailed five dollars to everyone in the US so they can “pay it forward.” But what people didn’t know when made a rare public appearance was that he was announcing he had leukemia. And more shocking was that when he said, “I’d rather die than give my sister the opportunity to save my life,” no one even knew he had a sister.
Elena Diamante nailed the sit down interview – at his small home on the tiny island of Antikythera in Greece. She was only planning on getting the scoop about Sam and his apparently estranged sister but she was also going to be the first journalist to see inside Sam’s custom made vault. It was built using watch mechanics, so it was completely self-sustained, and only opened once a year. It was even rumored that if it were ever tampered with, everything inside would be destroyed in a custom acid.
Come to find out for Elena, there would be one item inside Sam’s vault that could save his life, or end it even quicker, it was just a matter of whether or not the vault would open in time.
The vault explores Sam’s family dynamics and how they inspired him to become the successful man he is. The story is also told using Sam’s own family photos growing up, as well as text messages and Facebook/Twitter. There are even
hyperlinks within the novel as “Easter Eggs” for those readers that want to explore even more of Sam’s personal life, further blurring the lines of fact/fiction.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Music: The rock sound of Banana Blonde - interview with the band


We have a terrific band on the blog today. Read on to find more about their music and support their next album that will be released soon! 

Tell us a little about your background and where you are from.

I’m Zach Sheffield and I play guitar and sing for Banana Blonde. I grew up in Northeast Alabama and played in all kinds of bands since I was about 15. When I was 12, my older brother had an electric guitar in his room and I asked him if I could play on it for a little bit. I was hooked immediately. It was the same old story that you hear with guitar players. You can’t wait to get home so you can pick it up and play it. You learn every song on the classic rock radio station, and then you start trying to learn all of the songs in your music collection. The bug either bites you or it doesn’t.      

You definitely got the bug! And what's the story behind the band's name?

I was reading a story in college and they used the words “banana blonde” to describe a color. My friend and I thought that would be a cool band name. We liked the alliteration, plus I had really long bleached blonde hair at the time. Band names are way too serious now. When I think about it, most all of my favorite bands have unusual or comical names. It’s rock and roll. It’s supposed to be fun sometimes.        

Wow, who would guess it’s a color? Unusual and very cool. Who was your greatest influence to follow in the music career? Why? 

Zach Sheffield, singer and guitar player
It’s difficult to narrow it down to just one artist because I listen to so many things, but I’ve always admired the career of Iggy Pop. I like everything from the early years with The Stooges, his weird French albums, the unusual collaborations, and the current album with QOTSA. He always seems to do his own thing no matter the surrounding circumstances. That’s an important element to rock and roll…and art in general. When everybody starts marching to the same drum, that’s when the music becomes boring and stagnant. I think rock and roll is going through that right now. 

That’s right, there are always periods of stagnation and rock and roll does seem to be going through that phase lately. Do you also write the lyrics and compose the songs?

Yes. Well that’s mostly true. Chris Harrington (bassist) wrote the lyrics for a song on the first album, and he has written some lyrics on the new album. He has a lot of great ideas!




That’s great to have collaboration from different band members. When was the first time you performed live and how did you feel? 

The first time I played live with a band was my high school band Prophecy. We played in the basement of our singer’s house and invited all of our friends from school. We even invited a few teachers. One of them came too! It was a trip! We personally called everyone on the phone and invited them. There were lights in the basement ceiling that we covered with blue and red cellophane. I have a video from that night that I still enjoy watching. The drummer of that band, Chris Sims, plays drums in Banana Blonde. The feeling of that first performance in front of people was great!  We had practiced so much and we were so nervous, but it was awesome! I think we were famous at school for at least a week after that.

Sounds like it was really a lot of fun! Is there a specific performance you feel was your best so far? If so, where and why? 

My favorite Banana Blonde performance was the first. We played at Jake’s Music Hall in Gadsden, Alabama. I liked it because it was our first, and because we worked so hard to organize the whole thing. The audience was mainly family and friends who were there to support the kickoff of the band.

Must have been exhilarating to play for the first time, and I’m glad it was successful! What do you enjoy the most about your interaction with the fans? 

I enjoy the interaction with the fans online. It still amazes me that someone in New Zealand can listen to our music and send us a message saying how much they dig the song. The Internet has really opened things up for independent and new artists.

Indeed, that’s really awesome. How do you draw inspiration to write your music? 

Honestly, it comes from everywhere. I can be inspired by an emotion or something I see or hear. My music is just a reflection of what I’m experiencing around me. 

What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future? Where can we find and buy your music?

Right now we are working on our second album. It should be finished in April. Once the album is done, we’ll play a few gigs and promote it heavy online. I am really excited about this album. It took longer than we thought, but it’s worth it. Our first album The Great Pendulum Swing can be found on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and any digital provider. You can also buy a physical copy on Amazon or Cdbaby.

Excellent, it’s great to know. Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

Thank you for doing this interview! This type of exposure has been really helpful to our band. It’s great being an independent artist because you have so much freedom, but we still need the promotion and support. To all the underground music lovers out there, if you like the band, buy their music and spread the word!

Thank you so much for your time letting us know more about you and the band, and we wish you guys much success with the release of your next album!

To purchase Banana Blonde on Amazon:


Follow the band:


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fun: games, giveaways, writing contests!

We're almost done with January and Valentine's Day is lingering around. Some authors have come up with giveaways and virtual parties that you can join in for free and get a chance to find new books, play games, have fun, and win prizes. Check the links below.

This rafflecopter giveaway has over 60 prizes & chances to win with a grand prize of $100 Paypal Cash. Prizes include Gift Cards, Books, Tee, Mystery Prizes, Jewelry & More. Free to enter and you can follow lots of cool romance writers.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f85/


If you're on Facebook, sign up to attend this virtual party. It's free, you can be on your computer or phone during the party, play, have fun, meet new authors, and win prizes as well. Check it out and share with your friends:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1221758924623478/


If you're into writing, the following is currently open for submissions - and it's a paid market:

The Ocotillo Review:

Welcome to Kallisto Gaia Press, home of "The Ocotillo Review"  and "The Texas Poetry Calendar". We are a nonprofit literary organization supporting writers at all stages of their careers. Although we welcome experimental or unusual approaches to literature, our goal is to promote finely crafted work with an expressive and meaningful voice. We pay our contributors upon publication because we feel that too much art is taken for granted. Thank you for supporting Kallisto Gaia Press.  We have an all volunteer staff. Thank you for your understanding.
>>>The Ocotillo Review will accept submissions January 15 through March 31 and August 15 through October 31.


Your brief poems related to the culture, geography and iconography of Texas are welcome for the 2019 Texas Poetry Calendar. Submissions open December 1st of 2017 and run through midnight CST on February 20th of 2018.


https://kallistogaiapress.submittable.com/submit

http://www.kallistogaiapress.org/




Have fun, read, and write!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Blog Book Tour: Live A Life Of Abundance! Angelic Insight Book 1-Archangels Whispers

Archangels Whispers
from the Angelic Insights Series
Universal Link To Purchase

Available right now at 50% off regular pricing!
Archangels Whispers, Sparkle Kiss: Angelic Missives, Divine Life Purpose Spiritual Wisdom, Healing, Vibration, Abundance, and More!
(Angelic Insight Book 1)

Archangels Whispers, Sparkle Kiss guides you on your journey to fulfill your dreams and Divine life purpose. Learn to hear the Angelic missives, discover your divine life purpose and spiritual wisdom, heal your vibration, create abundance, and More! 

I believe it is a great starting point for you to call upon the Archangels utilizing prayer by using your own words that you hear in your heart. 
The act of meditation is an enjoyable mode to access your subconscious soul by raising your vibration. Once you have high vibration, light, and love, you will be able to connect with the Archangels.

Angelic Missives, Divine Life Purpose, Spiritual Wisdom, Healing, Vibration, Abundance, and More!

Check out the companion Journal To Archangels Whispers, Sparkle Kiss Guide (four different companion journals are available). 

The journal has a daily planner which guides to learn to meditate, daily affirmations, goal setting, dream boards, and exercise objectives to raise your vibration level.

This journal will guide you on your journey to learn about your Divine life purpose, connect with the Archangels and Angels, and so much more!

Angelic Insights series is about journals and guides that will start you on your journey to your Divine life purpose, dreams, self-development, and meditation. Archangels Sparkle guides you on your journey to fulfill your dreams and Divine life purpose.


Time is measured by your heartbeats, the moment that you take the first breath of life awakening your soul.

Every person is born with their distinct Divine life purpose, but it is often forgotten.

This book will help you start by guiding you to learn your Divine life purpose with the aid of the Archangels and your Guardian angels.
You have your own personal Guardian Angels that were chosen to guide you throughout your life. They are assigned only to you, and this should give you peace.

The Guardian Angels are appointed to love, protect, and help you on your life journey. Your Guardian Angels are always with you and never leave your side. They are ready to help you, you only need to give them permission to do so since you have free will. You can talk to your Guardian Angels as if you were talking to a friend and they will take your prayers to God.
I pray that you will open your mind and heart to welcome the Archangels and Guardian Angels into your world as great spiritual friends that will guide you.

Genre: Religion & Spirituality, Spirituality, Angels, Chakras, New Age & Spirituality, Angels & Spirit Guides

Full Copyright © P.T. Macias 2017
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
      This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination, obtained with permission of use, or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
I live in Calif with my husband and children. My grandkids are my
treasure. When I am not writing, I enjoy going to cruises, concerts, eating white peaches, pistachio ice cream, and sipping margaritas.
I have been reading the romance and suspense genre since I was a young girl. I always dreamed of writing paranormal tales that are full of love, incredible sexy wild men, mysterious realms, and a dash of suspense.
I love writing in the paranormal genre because of the limitless range of characteristics, powers, and weaknesses available to develop the characters' and realms. I love sexy angels, gods, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and other entities.

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P.T. Macias Fiction Series
Archangels Insights

Multi-Genre
Paranormal Romance Fantasy Suspense

The Watchers
Wolff Dynasty
Vhampiers Realm
Dragon Blood Legacy
Vhampiers Realm
Razer 8