Thursday, 28 November 2013

Author Interview Series – Christine Miscione – Q&A + Giveaway winner!

I caught death last week and was unable to do anything but sleep.  I'm much better now and so I give you Christine Miscione's belated Q&A and giveaway winner!

Lori Hayes asked

Do you plan on keep writing short stories or is their a novel in the making also?

For now my heart is with short fiction, but who knows what the future has in store.

Congratulations Lori!  You win a signed copy of Auxiliary Skins!  Please contact me at stephanie.noel.writer(at) to claim your prize!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Review Wednesday – In Falling Snow

Iris is peacefully living the end of her days in Paddington Australia with her daughter and grand-children when she receives a letter from the past.  Her friend Violet, to whom she hasn't spoken in decades, is inviting her to Royaumont, France, to commemorate the old abbeye they turned into a hospital during WWI.  From this moment, we take an erratic trip to the past, voyagaging through Iris's failing memory.

In Falling Snow is the first international publication of Australian best-seller Mary Rose MacColl and what a novel it is.  From the moment I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.  I have a soft spot for wartime stories (and historical fiction in general), especially WWI tales but what makes this book special is that it doesn't concentrate on the conflict itself but on the women and the part they played in it.  We are reminded of the struggle of women who, even while they were trying to give significant help and play their part, we're underestimated and disrespected because of their sex.  Even though this is fiction, it brings an entirely different dimension the events we know from History class.  

However, the story doesn't only happen in the distant past, it also covers the present, the Australia of the seventies.  Through Grace's story, MacColl shows that despite the improvements, women are still struggling to take their rightful place in society. Not to worry, this is far from a militant feminism book.

 Aside from the extraordinary characters, what I really enjoyed from this novel is the narrative structure.  Iris is an old woman and so her memory is failing her.  She loses sense of time and place, can't recall recent event but remembers those of the past perfectly.  MacColl took advantage of this to tell her story in a non-linear way.  We constantly move back and forth in Iris's past without ever feeling confused.  To emphasis this, she intercuts Iris`s narrative with Grace's, which is clear and linear.  The structure is nothing short of brilliant.

Lastly, the ending!  I don't want to reveal anything but I have to say that it surprised me a lot.  It even brought tears to my eyes, which is a feat– the other book to have ever done so is Love in the Time of Cholera.  Just by creating that twist at the end, MacColl made her novel a hundred more times better. 

I strongly recommend this book!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Yestreen

Last week, we added the word xanthic to your inner hipster chromatic vocabulary.  Today, we learn an underground word to talk about yesterday.


n. - the night before

Jill, I told you yestreen!  I will not go to the organic festival if Max is going.

Your turn!  Leave your sentence in the comment section.

Source: Luciferous logolepsy

Monday, 18 November 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Xanthic

I see you got some pills prescribed for that witzelsucht of yours.  Good!  This week a very useful word to discuss hipster fashion. 


adj. - yellow in color

Camille's new xanthic scarve is soooo good for her complexion!

Your turn!  Leave your sentence in the comment section.

 Source: Luciferous logolepsy

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Author Interview Series – Christine Miscione

Today ATUA is proud to host Canadian author Chrisine Miscione.  Her first book, a collection of short stories titled Auxiliary Skins, was realeased in August 2013 and has been extremely well received.  I met Christine at a book launch for Norm Sibum's The Traymore Rooms and immediately connected with her.  On top of being an accomplished writer, she's one of the sweetest persons I've ever met.  A real inspiration!

Information about the giveaway will follow the interview.

Your first book, Auxiliary Skins, just came out in August 2013 and reviews are quite positive. This is no doubt the result of a lot of hard work. How much would you say you invested in the book?

I’ve never thought about it in terms of investment. Directing my effort towards the publication of a book seemed to be a natural extension of what I was already doing. That being said, the project did coincide with my enrolment in a pretty demanding University program. There were many, many months of 4:30am alarm clocks and trying to fit as much writing/editing in as I could before my 8:00am classes. But it was exciting. Truly. And it was exactly what I always want to be doing.

 Did you write most of the short stories for the book or did you edit work that had already been published?

I imagine with most writers’ first publication – especially a publication that takes on the form of a collection – there is some digging into the past in order to compile a book that feels honest and whole. Approximately half the stories in Auxiliary Skins were written before I knew about the possibility of a collection – and almost all of these were previously unpublished. With the other stories, I knew about the collection, but wouldn’t say I wrote them for it. I wrote a bunch of stories and then chose the ones that seemed to complement and make the most sense in relation to the others.

Your prose is very poetic, with vibrant decriptions, rich alliterations and vivid mataphors. Are you a poet at heart? Have you ever considered publishing poetry?

I am not a poet, no. I have written poems, none of which I’m certain are any good. If my prose style leans towards the poetic, I think it has to do with my fascination with language (it’s thrilling!) Otherwise, I am not sure my prose has any of the same concerns as poetry.

Are you currently working on a new project? A next collection of short stories, maybe?

Yes – a new short story collection. I’m hoping to amass around twenty-five stories and then trim out roughly 1/3, always with an eye for that point at which the stories together feel like a cohesive whole.

 Painter Chuck Close Once said, "Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just shows up and gets to work." How do you "get to work?" Do you have any ritual or specific requirements to get the juices flowing?

I have (unconsciously) developed a regimented writing program for myself. 7:30am wake-up. Copious green tea. Tasteless oatmeal, hardboiled egg. And words. Lots of words — writing (hopefully). I spend every morning this way, regardless of anything.

What is your definition "writer"? What does it take to be one?

This is a hard question to answer. Writer is a noun from the verb to write, so naturally a writer writes. Must write. But it’s more than that. There’s a kind of integrity and love of writing and language that a writer should have. Also, a particular way of engaging with the world. ‘Writer’, though, I’ve come to learn, takes on many different forms; it’s difficult to pin down in definition. I’ll just say that it seems the writers I most admire and who most satisfy the definition in my eyes, live and breathe their craft. Writing is them, the same way a tree is a tree or a dog is a dog. They are a writer before thought. And their end goal isn’t publication, but to simply write more.

Our previous dreamer, David Radcliffe, would like to ask you the following question:
Hardcover or paperback? Why?

Forever paperback. Paperback is for reading. Hardcover is a trophy on your bookshelf.

Our next featured guest will be Parham Yazdy, a professional photographer.  What would you like to ask him?

Two questions: How might you design a camera for someone who has no hands? And if you could invent a new type of lens that could do anything, what would it do?


For a chance to win a signed copy of Christine Miscione's book, Auxiliary Skins, leave her a question in the comment section.  Giveaway ends on Tuesday November 19th at 11:59 ET.  The winner and the answers to the questions will be published on Thursday November 21.  The winner has to contact ATUA to claim his prize. 

Are you an author? Would you like me to interview you? Drop me a line at stephanie.noel.writer(at)gmail(dot)com.  It will be my pleasure to shocase your work!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Review Wednesday – Breaking the Mold: Confessions of a Hippie ex-Pastor

Meet Charles McGarry, an ex-pastor with very interesting world views (hence the "ex"!),  In his short essay – a mere 50 pages or so – he shares with the reader everything he's come to discover is wrong about the Church (not to be confused with Faith!) and offers viable alternatives to make this world a better place.  The best part in all this is that The Confessions of a Hipie ex-Pastor is accessible to everyone, believer or not.

I have to say that when I saw the title of the book, I was a bit put off.  I am weary of non-fiction books where the name of God is constantly branshished as the solution to all of mankind's problems.  This book, however, was not one of them, and I am glad I didn't let the title deter me.  McGarry's thoughts are extremely well structured.  His references to pop culture (who would have thought God and the Matrix could coexist on the same page?) lighten a topic that could have been much more arid.   To boot, his personnal stories help the reader connect with his ideas, which are very progressive.

Speaking of those, what are the main ideas in this essay? McGarry addresses first and foremost the very delicate topic of the Church as a financial institution.  He explains how, in his opinion, this has put Faith on the back burner in favour of a business Church, catering less and less to the needs of those it was supposed to help in the first place.  Then, he addresses the close affiliation of Church and State, underlining the pernicious consequences this has brought about.  Faced with a growing obese American population (which he partially links to evangelical potlucks!), he believes it's aboud time for his fellow countrymen to wake up and take the green shift, not only in terms of nutrition and well-being, but also in terms of the environment as a whole.  He encourages the readers to take action to proctect the planet.  

Through all these topics, there's a constant theme: breaking the mold.  McGarry is clear on this topic; everyone is different and has different needs.  As human beings, we should be able to questions and analyze the dogmas passed down to us by Church, society and even our families, in order to be our true selves.  This way, we may achieve much more as individuals and thus contribute to society.

Lastly, I would like to add that McGarry's prose is a delight.  It is simple and straight to the point.  It doesn't hinder the reading, thus allowing the message to be conveyed with all its force.  This little book is a gem.  Take a moment and read it. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Are you ready for the results of the giveaway?

And the winners are...

*drum roll*


Teodora you win the red prize and RJ Blain you win the blue prize!

Please contact me by email before Friday November 15 to claim your prize and give me your shipping information.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Witzelsucht

Have you brought your vade mecum with you today?  This week ATUA brings you another hipster health condition.  It's so obscure, you've probably never heard of it.


n. - emotional state characterized by futile attempts at humor.

I don't know what's Mandy's problem.  Her jokes are so inappropriate that you'd believe she suffers from  witselsucht!

Your turn! Leave your sentences in the comment section.

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review Wednesday – Auxiliary Skins

Auxiliary Skins, A Collection of Stories, is Canadian author Christine Miscione' first book.  However, her work has been publish in numerous literary magazines and her story "Skin, Just" – which happens to be the first story of this book –  has won the first place in the Vanderbilt/Exile Short Fiction competition in 2012.

Through her stories, Miscione explores the human body from every angle.  Proper and improper bodily functions are examined and exposed without discrimination for once every judgment and social consensus is removed, this machine is glorious in its perfectly rendered imperfection.   However, those auxiliary skins the author speaks of are not limited to the physical realm.  Rather, they tell of these imaginary walls we build around us and that provide us with auxiliary life support. Through the characters' very physical experiences of discomfort and pleasure, the reader catches a glimpse of what is hidden behind those walls which protect their true selves.  Despite their different settings, all the stories belong to this cohesive collection..

Speaking of this collection without mentioning author's amazing prose would be a crime.  Miscione has a wonderful way with words; her descriptions are so vivid that they sometimes nauseate the reader.  She has this uncanny power many great authors have to make you see exactly what she means, as if she's sharing images with the reader directly from her mind.  It's worth mentioning as well that her metaphors are dead on and that her alliterations make you want to read her work out loud.  Her scrumptious prose flirts with poetry which creates a haunting contrast with the often raw content of the stories.  Her tales stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.

I truly enjoyed all the stories, however, I would have to say that my favourites were Skin, Just, Winter Immemorial, Herkimer and Lemon Tart.  I realize this makes for almost half the book, but it's very difficult to choose.  Do pick up a copy of Auxiliary Skins, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Want to know more about Christine Miscione?  Don't miss the interview next week!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


A Truth Universally Acknowledged is 1 year old!  Hooray! 

I would never been able to make it without you, my loyal readers.  And so, to show you how much I care, I am hosting a giveaway!


Enter and you could win one of two prizes!  The Red Prize is Camilla Gibb's Sweetness in the Belly and a fancy pink notebook.  The Blue Prize is Veronica Roth's Divergent and a classy blue notebook.  Leave a comment to tell me which one you want and earn an extra entry!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Will ship internationally.  Giveaway ends Tueday November 12th at 12 am.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Vade mecum

Is your inner hipster uxorious?  Well, it doesn't matter because this week we're teaching him an awesome word.  I think this one is my favourite so far.


n. - a favorite book carried everywhere

My vade mecum?  Oh it's Steve Job's biography, of course.

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

 Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Friday, 1 November 2013

Spooky readings at Drawn & Quarterly – Launching Not your ordinary wolf girl

Mile End's Drawn in Quarterly bookstore was all prepped for Halloween last Wednesday with an impressive roster of guests ready to make the crowd shiver and tremble.  Each scarier than the previous, they prepared the avid listener for the piece de resistance of the evening, Emily Pohl-Weary's new teen novel.

From left to rigth: Mike Spry, Marianne Ackerman, Adam Leith Gollner and Mary Soderstom
Mike Spry opened the event with a short story called Small Crosses. Although it was cleverly peppered with humor, it also had a darker, scarier side.  It told of life lost through normality.  It spoke of society's power to kill people's dreams and originality.  A beautiful story.  

Marianne Ackerman followed with the frightening story of a bad haircut.  The anecdote was told without any written support, another proof – as if we needed convincing! – of Ackerman's great storytelling abilities. For a change of pace, author Adam Leith Gollner read a condensed version of Hans Christian Anderson's Auntie Toothache.  According to Gollner, he chose to do so because he feels he's never written something scary.

The gathered crowd was lucky to get an avant-goût of Mary Soderstrom upcoming short story collection called Desire Lines.  She spun an eerie tale of God and the Devil that left the audience wanting more.  Patience, patience.  The book launch is on November 6th, at Drawn & Quarterly!

From left to right: Suzanne Sutherland and Emily Pohl-Weary
Susan Sutherland, with her first novel When we were good and Emily Pohl-Weary with he latest novel, Not your ordinary wolf girl, read from their books before taking part in a nice Q&A chat.  The content of the reading and the chat are condensed in what follows.

Suzanne Sutherland's monsters are not ghouls or vampire; from the outside, they look entirely normal.  Her monsters are high school girls.  In her novel, Sutherland addresses the question of teenage girls mistreating their peers, but especially themselves.  She speaks of this constant feeling of not being enough.  The author says that the first draft of the book was the result of a sudden idea.  Six weeks and a wrist brace later, the – terrible – first draft was born.  It took her about a year to edit it into something good.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, only Sutherland may say), that meant sacrificing a talking fifty dollar bill as main character.

Sutherland said that setting is very important in her novel.  Inspired by In the Skin of a Lion, which uses a bridge as a central element, she decided that she may well use a venue she used to call home as a focal point for her novel.  Music is also omnipresent in her novel.  She mentioned that band practice probably is what helped her survive  high school.  And thank God she did, for her lively presence on stage was much appreciated.

Emily Pohl-Weary finally got on stage, her soft-spokeness contrasting with Sutherland's vibrant energy.  As soon as she started reading, it didn't take long to realize that she is a master of her craft.  Her descriptions were rich, her prose mellifluous. It was easy to picture the whole scene in one's head. The author said that the idea for her wolf girl was born after reading a famous vampire series in which the protagonist was an empty vessel, a helpless girl with no strength (Guessed what series she meant?).She felt that teenage girls needed a strong model, a fierce and powerful monster girl.

When ask if being a teen is like being a monster, Pohl-Weary replied that the werewolf form was a metaphor, an outside manifestation of teen girls' pent up rage.  She continued by saying her favourite scenes to write included one where her protagonist wants to eat (literally) her boyfriend and one, which was unfortunately toned down, where she devoured her neighbor's chihuahua.  Many a listener would have liked to hear her read out that original scene.

Pohl-Weary confessed that the most difficult thing in writing for her is plotting.  She explained that she easily gets side-tracked with details and characters, which means that she constantly needs to outline over and over as her characters take her in different directions.  When asked what monster she would be herself, she laughed and said that she felt she had turned into a werewolf herself.  She joke that although she's not a dog person, the number of cheeseburger she had had in the previous week didn't lie.

The evening ended with casual talk between the guests and the crowd and, of course, many a book signed.  Many thanks to all the authors who contributed to this wonderful night of monsters.