A wonderful review of “Under The Same Sun” by author and quilter Nita Beshear!

Nita Beshear - A Patchwork Life

What happens when a quilter starts writing?  Scraps of fabric make beautiful quilts, word scraps create wonderful stories. At least in the hands of former quilter, Mariam Kobras.

Mariam has gone from sewing scraps of fabric together to form a warm, comforting, cover to stitching words together to create an entertaining, enjoyable read.  Under the Same Sun, is the second in The Stone Trilogy, and follows Naomi, Jon and those close to them as they try to regain control of their lives after the shooting of Naomi. The event  affected  them all in different ways. Added to the mix is Naomi’s desperate wish to have a second child and her difficulty in conceiving.

Mariam’s characters and situations, while figments of her imagination, are real and she could be telling the story of their lives were they actual living, breathing, people instead of just “real” characters from her fertile imagination.


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Please Follow Me!

Dear new blog followers: Thank you for joining me on this blog here.

For various reasons I gave it up a while ago and moved to Blogger. Please follow me there! Here is the link:


Thank you all! Cheers, Mariam

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Bye Bye wordpress

For all of you following this blog:

After thinking long and carefully about it I’ve decided to move my blog back to blogpost.

Here is the address: http://mariamkobras.blogspot.com/

Go have a look! It’s way nicer than this here.


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Talli Roland Writes

Today begins a series of guest posts on this blog, to celebrate the launch of my own book, “The Distant Shore”, in January. I have invited twitter friends who have arrived at the same stage in their lives, where their books have just been or will soon be published. We share the excitement and  to some point disbelief at what is happening to us, and the wonder. Please welcome my fellow authors, and go look at their books!

The first blog post is by talented, funny and very pretty Talli Roland. Thank you, Talli, for sharing!



Chick Lit is Dead. Long Live… Chick Lit!


Chick lit has been through the wringer recently, with critics and authors alike on the warpath. It’s too pink. Too girly. Too sweet. Agents won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole; publishers run shrieking in horror (slight exaggeration, perhaps…). But the demand for curlicued covers seems to have abated… or has it?


Well, it certainly hasn’t if you look at e-books. Over on the Kindle Top 100, chick-lit novels are going strong. Readers are buying in great numbers, driving their favourite reads – with those pink, pretty covers –right to the top of the chart. No matter what the people ‘in charge’ say, to me, it’s obvious readers are devouring these entertaining reads, and asking for more.


I didn’t set out to write chick lit. Coming from a background of English Literature and trained as a journalist, initially I longed to pen something serious; something with staying power. But my inner writer didn’t want to comply. Whatever I scribbled always had a bit of humour to it; even the most tragic moment, I couldn’t resist livening up.


The more chick lit I read, the more I became convinced this was the ideal genre for my voice. And it was! I love writing stories featuring modern women who try to find themselves and discover what they want from life – with a little bit of snark and a touch of romance along the way.


And you know what? Whether or not chick lit is dead, it’s what I’m going to keep writing.

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. Her first novel, The Hating Game, was an Amazon UK best-seller, remaining in the top 100 for almost three months. Her second novel, Watching Willow Watts, is available now as an ebook (paperback coming in November). Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.


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You’re Human. Forgive.


Today I’m honored to present the first ever guest on my blog, my dear friend Jessica Luton, @serenitywriter on twitter.

We were talking about creativity and writing the other day – well, we always do; it’s either that, or cupcakes – and she said she was stuck because “real life” stuff was keeping her down and occupied. To cheer her up, I suggested a guest post. Here it is. Thank you, Jess.


These past ten days have been very strange for me.  My creativity seemed to get shut off.  I love baking, sometimes I make jewelry, and I play with words.  I couldn’t write anything that expressed what I felt.  I continually began a piece on forgiveness.  It was about other people, past experiences, in a word, trite.  Select all, delete.  Try again.


Ignoring my intuition, I picked up a book to read, and stopped two paragraphs in.  It was as if a part of me had sighed disapprovingly.  The gentle insisting to look inward, still rather fledgeling, was drummed out by the urge to cram as much productivity into my day as possible.  I was hired to create a necklace, and rushed to begin.  It wasn’t long before I could see that it wasn’t coming together cohesively.  Put it aside, you should look at this.  I didn’t want to see or hear, and continued with my forced busy-ness.


I was offered to write a guest blog.  The more I tried to bring words together, the more they seemed to tell me to piss off, and form jumbled ideas.  “I thought it was confetti in our hair.”  To appease all I think makes me who I am, I had a long lunch with a friend.   There, I’ve had a lazy day lunch, it was great.  I enjoyed every moment of it.  Now, NOW can I get something meaningful done?  No eh.  What the heck was going on?  And since when does my intuition sound Canadian?


Continually old songs came to mind, they pointed to someone specific.  “Every precious dream and vision underneath the stars…”  I acted like a kid sticking my fingers in my ears, loudly shouting, lalala, I can’t hear you!  If I don’t want to look inward, and I can’t occupy my mind, I’ll watch T.V., and shut all thoughts down.  Ha!


Friends who needed help with forgiveness, cropped up.  To help others, sure, I’d delve into the facets of forgiveness and where it might be applied.  To myself though, I had closed my eyes, hadn’t I mastered that lesson?  Don’t laugh yet.  If I had opened my eyes right then, I would have been shown…myself.  But I kept thinking, it’s nothing to do with me.  Did I mention that I hadn’t been meditating lately?  Whatever the message, I went to extremes to avoid it.  Really, watch T.V., me?  More music came to mind, “That was the river, this is the sea.”


Tired of the creative block, I got quiet.  I turned my gaze inward.  I needed to forgive someone for not being who I thought he should be.  Not just past tense, but now.  It’s who I think he ought to be today as well.  What does that say about me?  “These things you keep, you better throw them all away.”  If I let go of all the anger, and clear out the clutter of the life I picture for our daughter, does that free him and me?  How open we are to seeing solutions makes all the difference, and there I was doing the limp-as-a-wet-noodle-drop toddlers are famous for.  You can lead someone to a fire, but you can’t make them throw water on it.


The point, I ignored all of it and held onto resentments, … no, TIED them to me like badges of pride.  This one is from the time I was right about _________, and this one, with the gold star shows I am the better person.  And this big one here, it gives me free reign to kick his name to the curb.  That one?  That’s just for sticking pins in.  Not really, but you get my meaning?  Now you can laugh.  What was I thinking?  I’m not better than anyone else.  If I truly believe that, can I be selective in that ideal?  No.  The questions this is bringing up are wonderful.  It all boils down to being given a key to a closet door that’s in need of clearing out.  What was I thinking?

You’re human.  Forgive.


Here you will find Jessica’s blog: http://serenitywriter.wordpress.com/

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Sense and Nonsense of twitter #ff

Good morning, Friday, as always you bring us the joys and tribulations of the twitter #ff lists. There are  many who refuse to do the #ff honors completely, some who believe they only work of you do a few, individual #ffs, and some who do nothing but send out long lists with recommendations all day long.

Just now a discussion about the value of the FollowFriday  cropped up on twitter. There seems to be a general tiredness about the whole thing, and a doubt that it does any good at all. I think originally the #ff were meant to connect people, to get a chance to easily meet friends of friends, but that’s not how I see it anymore. With the many, many tweeters out there right now, and growing numbers in followers, introducing ALL of your friends is insanity, would take about twenty-four hours and bring on the infamous twitter whale for two days.

No, here’s what I think.

There is a whole different meaning to the thing, and that’s why I still do them.

By giving people a #ff shout, I show them how much I appreciate their tweets. This might be for different reasons: because they are my publisher, and I want to promote them (and myself, ahem), or the authors I connect with most (because by talking to them on twitter I feel a little more like an author myself), they tweet delicious recipes (yeah, I like to eat; who doesn’t), they send beautiful photos (Paul Steele; the grand-master of amazing links!), they tweet funny stuff (ScoDal; follow or die!), they are literary agents (Janet Reid; hilarious, useful blog! And Rachelle Gardner, twitter friend, full of good advice.), or simply because they are beloved, friends.  There are many others, not listed here now because this is only supposed to be a short, dashed-off blog and I want to get back to the REAL writing.

So you see, I do #ff. With them, I tell people, “Hey, I know you. I read your tweets. I like them so well that I think others should read them too. I love being your friend. I love that you think my tweets are worth your time. In this very second, typing your name, adding #ff, pressing “enter”, I’m thinking of you. Have a wonderful day, and thanks for talking to me!”

That’s all. Please proceed with your Friday. 🙂

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I Am, I Write

I’ve been in a mind to write about writing for a while now, but it always seemed presumptuous, and I don’t really have time for it, and anyway, I don’t care too much for blogging. Yes, I know, big mistake, authors have to have a blog and post regularly, and so on.  Have you ever had a feeling of distance on your computer? Like, some pages, files, whatever, are simply farther away from what you do daily than other stuff? Well, that’s how I feel about my blog. It’s in the farthest corner of Safari, somewhere DOWN THERE WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and I don’t like to go there. It involves work.

Sometimes there’s a subject I’d really like to rant blog about, but I’m not that stupid, and I keep my trap shut until the moment is over, or I do in fact write the blog post, but then my poor publisher gets dumped with it, and of course has to comment or leave me still in ranting mode, and unhappy. Publishers have a hard life sometimes, and sometimes they are more babysitters than publishers.

Anyway. I’m rambling.

What I really wanted to write about today is… writing.

I don’t believe you can teach writing. There, it’s said. I believe you can teach technique, grammar, maybe even style. There may be a way to teach plotting, storyline, dialogue, characterization, even description. You can put all these together, and maybe a couple more that I forgot, and you have the classic creative writing program. Oh yes, punctuation. Ah, and… contractions (*doffs head to publisher*).

But if you put all these together and shake well, all you have is CRAFT. I want to compare this to creating a clone. You can grow a perfect clone, the prettiest girl on Earth, or the most adorable male, and yet they are empty husks, nothing but bodies, because the main ingredient is missing: the soul. The thing you cannot teach is the feel for writing, how to make it come alive.

A writer has to be able to observe. I’d almost go so far and postulate that this is a major ability for a writer. Everything that goes into a story, every emotion, every expression, the way a twig bends under snow, you must have observed it to put it into words. If you don’t see your surroundings, you can’t describe them.

Just as important, I believe, is visualization. To write a scene, you have to see it in your mind. It’s as if the characters are doing private theater scenes in your head. They act them out, you write them down. They deliver the dialogue, all you have to do is listen. And write.

Writing is not a job. It’s something you do, or you don’t. There’s no half-way writing. It happens all the time. Either you’re at your desk, typing, or kneading the story in your head, or collecting impressions, or doing research or playing out dialogues while you clean the bathroom. You may not even notice you’re writing, but the next time you sit down to actually type, you’ll notice.

Either you’re a writer, or you are not.

That’s basically all. I said, BASICALLY. This is a declaration of faith, and nothing more. I’ve said my piece. Generally, I think talking about writing is a waste of time, when I could instead by writing a story.

To say it in the undying words of Yoda: There is no try. Either do, or do not.

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