Saturday, November 17, 2012

Author Interview- Dan O' Brien

It's been a long while since I reviewed an author. Here's a new author interview from an upcoming fantasy writer, Dan O'Brien whose novel 'The Path of the The Fallen' has received rave reviews on amazon.


Favorite color- Blue

Favorite author- Ernest Hemmingway

Favorite book- Les Miserables

Zodiac sign- Libra

Place of your dreams- Mendocino Coast

Your motto- "There are no limits, only mountains you are unwilling to climb."

On to the serious questions....

Is the life of a writer as you imagined it to be?
When I first started writing and publishing over a decade ago, I had very different ideas about what being a writer was. Now, it is as I imagine it to be: a joyful struggle tempered by a will to succeed. I love writing and I love sharing what I have written with others.

What genre do you write and why?
I write in a variety of genres; the only genres I have yet to write in are romance and Westerns (though a Western is the works). I love to write fantasy and science fiction, though horror can be fun as I end scaring the daylights out of myself.

What inspires you the most?
People who do more than is expected of them, or what they are told they can achieve. Despite the content and endings of my novels, I like when there is a happy ending, though it has to be believable. Life has too many unhappy endings as it is, so I love to watch or read something that pushes the limits of the human experience and then believably overcomes the obstacles.

What kind of characters/ settings do you like?
I love any book as long as it is well written, though I do love fantasy and science fiction the most. Lost worlds and distant realms top my list of settings that I love. Characters who are not predictable or push the boundaries of an archetype are by far my favorite, with antiheroes and villains topping the list.

As a reader, what is your favorite genre? What is your least favorite and why?
Fantasy would have to be my favorite, though I adore historical fiction. Romance would be at the bottom. I never really got into them and I imagine I am not the target audience.

Have you ever suffered the dreaded writer's block? How do you deal with it?
I generally don't get it because I have so many books going at any particular time. If I reach a point in the book where I want to contemplate where it is going, then I simply jump to another novel I am writing.

What message would you like to give to your fans?
Support of indie authors makes this whole process so rewarding. Leave reviews and tell your friends, as indie authors need that word-of-mouth. Be sure to visit my on blog ( to stay up-to-date on what is going down with my publishing schedule.

Thank you and wish you all the best for your latest novel!

You can find information about Dan's other books here:
You can purchase his latest book, The path of the fallen here:
The kindle version can be purchased here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Zard Golden best ~15th Anniversary~ jpop album review part 2

Sorry for not posting anything in almost a month. I will try to be more regular in November. Anyway, here is the review of CD 2 of Zard's Golden best. I already reviewed the first CD in the previous post which also contains information about the album like sales etc. Here is the CD 2 review

1. My friend- The lyrics of this track are heartwearming and the bittersweet relationship between friends is expressed in an optimistic way by the cheerful tune accompanied by brass instruments and a cheerful instrumental. This was the ending of Slam Dunk and sold more than a million copies. Agin, ZARD's vocals sound happy as she remembers her childhood friend. Sakai reaches some really high notes on this track with effortless ease.

2. Kokoro wo hiraite- My friend is followed my another upbeat track. It strts out a slow tempo acoustic track. Then it explodes into a cheerful chorus while still retaining its feeling.
Rating- 4.3/5

3. Today is another day- This also starts out slow with just a piano intro then the guitars come in along with the brass instruments to create a lively atmosphere. There is something very feel good about this track. As Sakai sings the verse, there is a feeling of just riding a bike in the wind. This song seems like a tribute to everyday. The chorus is not high but flows well with the song.

4. Don't you see- As most ZARD songs, ZARD sings the verse to an accompaniment of piano and guitar. It has a calm and mellow atmosphere, but the energy level keeps building up. Even though there is nothing special about it, it is just an uptempo pop track, it's chorus is very powerful and Sakai's clear vocals are the highlight. \

5. Eien- Unlike most songs on this CD, Eien is a pure slow, acoustic ballad. The background instruments are kept to a minimum to ensure that ZARD's voice shines. It sounds like a ballad that plays in dramas at the scene when the main character is looking back at memories. It is a very relaxing track.

6. My baby grand- A typical ZARD uptempo acoudtic track. Not as good or catchy as some other tracks on this album. But it is not bad, either. It is something that could keep playing in the background and you would never notice.

7. Unmei no Roulette Mawashite- This has a darker tone. It also has heavier guitars. It sounds a bit like Ai ga mienai. It is fast paced and could almost be a dance track. The beat is strong.

8. Get u're dream- Another track with a dance feel. The instrumental has a retro feel to it. The verse is mellow but good. The beat is very rythmic. ZARD's singing shows a lot of dynamics on this track.

9. Motto chikaku de kimi no yokogao miteitai- The chorus, if it had a different arrangement would be an epic ballad. It has a japanese feel. The chorus is very loud and powerful. In contrst, the verse is almost like mumbling. It has a very mysterious tone. Listening to the track, a strong feeling of longing takes over.

10. Kyou wa yukkuri hanasou- A track that has some folk elements. It flows easily and is accompanied by a bright arrangement.

11. Hoshi no kagayaki yo- An average pop track which doesn't have anything unique. The chorus sounds like an anime song, it's fast paced. It has chime instruments which make it sound like stars after the chorus.
Rating- 4/5

12. Natsu matsu sail noyouni- Clearly the most mediocre track on this album. It's too laid back to be good, and even though it is uptemp, the melody fails to make an impact.

Heart no hi wo tsukete- It has a clapping kind of rhythm, which make sit easy to listen to.


Overall, Golden best is a must buy, whether you are a new fan or an old fan. It contains ZARD's best tracks in a great sequence. Even though some of her amazing new songs like Tsubasa wo hirogete and Shoujo no koro modotta mitai ni were not on it, it is neverthless the best ZARD compilation till date. All other complation, even from the same time period don't contain all these great single tracks together.

ZARD's brand of pop is easy listening, but not boring. It has a lot of emotion (especially songs on CD1) and most melodies are very catchy. CD 1 was slightly better in my opinion because of variety while CD 2 was also great but was filled with very similar upbeat, uptempo pop tracks. ZARD's lyrics and voice will definitely mersmerize you. It might sound a bit oldish to some people, but you will start loving it after a few listens.

Overall rating-4.9/5