Possible top read of the year? – Another review of The Recluse Storyteller

Myra from Pieces of Whimsy just reviewed The Recluse Storyteller. Anytime a reviewer says the following in the first paragraph of the review, it’s pretty sweet: “I think this book is set to be one of my top reads of the year!”

Here’s the beginning of her review. Please do click on the link and read her entire take on my second novel.

When the author first asked if I’d like to review this book I wasn’t entirely sold upon it. The idea sounded really interesting but I wasn’t sure if it was my type of book. In all honesty it was only the great Goodreads rating & reviews that made me say yes to The Recluse Storyteller, and by golly I am glad I did! The story was engaging and the writing had me captivated from beginning to end, I think this book is set to be one of my top reads of the year!”

Read the entire review HERE!

Storybook Reviews: Spotlight & Guest Post from Yours Truly

I do hope you head on over to Storybook Reviews at the link below and check out my ever so short guest post about why new readers should give me a try. Or at least I hope they will. Storybook Reviews will also be reviewing The Recluse Storyteller in the coming months. Thanks for your support.

Read the post on Storybook Reviews HERE!

Exquisite Multi-Layered Story vs. Poorly Executed Story – Hmmmm.

I am completely fascinated by book reviews, actually much more so than books themselves. I find it enlightening and interesting to see what someone has said about a particular book. I must admit that there are times I hop over to Amazon just for that reason. I’ll pick an author, possibly known but usually unknown to me, and I’ll read what people say about him or her. The vast array of opinions can be dizzying. But here lies the truth that all authors must embrace: someone won’t like your writing no matter what you write.

Here are two reviews of my second novel, The Recluse Storyteller:

Review A: “Exquisite Multi-Layered Story”

Review B: “Conceptually brilliant. Poorly executed.”

It does make me chuckle how opinions can vary so much. If I had to choose one, I’ll choose the first one. But I don’t get to choose. I have to accept both of them because both are valid opinions.

I’ll admit, The Recluse Storyteller is structured in quite an unorthodox way. At one point, it’s the author, me, telling the story of Margaret, the recluse, telling the story of Quan, a survivor of a massacre in Vietnam, telling the story of Vinh, the person who gave him (Quan) hope and a new life.

Whew! Yes, it can be a little confusing. I’ve heard from many reviewers, actually, that at first, they weren’t sure if they were going to like The Recluse Storyteller because of it’s unique structure.

I knew that some people wouldn’t get it, and I’ll have to live with the fact that someone out there thinks it was a poorly executed story. I’ll respect that opinion.

But I’ll also admit, I feel blessed to see that most of my readers do get what I was trying to accomplish with this novel, and that is satisfying indeed.

I don’t really know any authors who like bad reviews and neither do I, but I also don’t mind them either. I have my opinions about books and movies, and I’m not afraid to share them so neither should others – even when it’s my work they are negatively reviewing. It is a natural part of being any type of creative artist. People are so diverse in their likes and desires that no one can please everyone, nor should they.

Wouldn’t the world be rather boring if that was the case?

Hugging Scrivener

Have you hugged your Scrivener lately?

OK, I had a student catch me in the act of hugging Scrivener. Yes, I do love it that much. Here’s the proof:

hugging scrivenerAnd she happened to catch me with my jersey on to make it all that special.

I have a group of six students who meet with me on Wednesday in a little book club that we have. We are currently reading through “The Recluse Storyteller” together. Each week I’ll do a short oral interpretation on one of the passages from the week, and then I usually pick a topic of interest to discuss with these rambunctious young writers.

Today’s topic was the amazing writer’s program called Scrivener. I told them that when they get serious about their writing to purchase it right away, and they shall never regret it.

We then wrote a sample novel that considered of three chapters, about 25 total words, and an impossibly absurd title which I absolutely loved – so much so that I think I shall write a short play with that title.

Anyways, I showed them the virtues of Scrivener on the big screen and had to give it a little hug to emphasis how much I don’t miss WORD or GOOGLE DOCS.

Just another crazy fun day at book club.



I had a great time being interviewed by the very perceptive Simone Da Coste. She asked some great questions about my novel, The Recluse Storyteller.  Below is an excerpt, and make sure you click over and read the rest. Thanks all!

SD: Could the tragic death of Margaret’s mother have had an effect on her unconventional behaviour leading her to not face the reality of her mother’s death and to fight her inner demons by using storytelling as an escape?  

MS: That’s a good question. Certainly Margaret’s mother’s death had a profound impact upon her. What it seems to have done is to sharpen her senses, making her especially vulnerable to the stories and actions (whether hidden or not) of her neighbours, whom we can assume used to have contact with Margaret’s mother. This makes the storytelling not an escape. In fact, she can’t escape from the stories and the truth in front of her eyes.

SD:  When people think of the word ‘recluse’ and the character Margaret, they will automatically think of someone who is a loner and they would say that Margaret is a hermit who has a vivid imagination rather than someone with discernment or psychic abilities. Would this be a fair assessment of Margaret?

MS: Not at all. Margaret’s neighbours, perhaps, have that perception about Margaret at the beginning of the novel. They all think she is at least a little weird and most probably a little crazy. But there is always more to Margaret than meets the eye and everyone who encounters her certainly finds that out.

Read the entire interview: HERE!

FREE – The Recluse Storyteller – First Time Ever

I’m very pleased to offer my second novel, The Recluse Storyteller, for free over the next two days – February 20-21.

It’s free in every Amazon store worldwide. Please pick yourself up a copy and share the link with a friend. And if you like it, please write a review.

Thanks so much!

Here are a few of the links:

USA: The Recluse Storyteller KINDLE VERSION

UK: Amazon UK Store

Canada: Amazon Canada Store

Australia: Amazon Australia Store

India: Amazon India Store

Round Table Chat with Annamaria Bazzi

I recently had a wonderfully fun Round Table Chat with Annamaria concerning a wide variety of topics – writing – characterization – my latest novel – and other tales of a more whimsical nature. Please head over to her site and check it out. It was very well done and exceedingly enjoyable for me. I’ll post an excerpt below. I hope you like it.


Annamaria – I love to write and started writing when I was about eight years old, wrote my first novels by the age of sixteen, and to my heartache lost the novel when I moved from Michigan to Virginia. Then real life happened and I raise four daughters and one husband. Now I’m back to writing novels.

Students? Are you a teacher during your daytime life?

Mark – Oh, I feel your pain. To lose writing, well, it makes me want to dig into that banana bread. And I tell everyone I meet now that writes to make sure everything is backed up automatically off-site! OK, enough of that. Yes, I am a high school social studies and drama teacher – a strange combination, I know. I never do the conventional. I was an English major that began teaching social studies. But I’ve gotten heavily involved in drama these past few years, and I love it! Are you a theatergoer?

Annamaria – I hate to say it, but no. I love ballet and opera, I love to see musicals, but have never been to see a play. Maybe one of yours will entice me to go. By the way, what kind of plays do you write with your students?

Mark – Never seen a play? May I borrow that butter knife to stab myself and fall dramatically onto the ground? Better yet, I’ll use it on my next croissant. Anyways, the plays we write are quite varied. We did a wonderfully funny comedy last year called “Grandparents’ War” and this year we are staging a full-fledged original musical called “Boardwalk Melody.” I love musicals, too, but this one may be the last one I ever produce! They are so much work, but it always pays off at the end. We’ll be performing at the Penang Performing Arts Centre in May, so if you have your Malaysian vacation booked, you really should stop in and see it.

Annamaria – I think it’s time I get my passport in order… boy that’s going to be a long plane ride! I’ll need to pack a lot of Dramamine. I’m sure musicals are very hard work to produce, with the singing and dancing on top of the acting. I bet you need a lot of patience to produce them.

You’ve also said you’ve written a novel or three, is that right? What are they about? What genre do you enjoy writing?

Mark – Is the Dramamine for the dancing or the plane ride? Both? OK.

Annamaria – Um! I guess I could try it for the dancing also…

Read the entire chat HERE!