Archives for category: Writing

Hi all:

As all of you who read my blog every so often will know, I try to regularly write and publish books. I’ve also mentioned that my next W.I.P. is a series of NA novels Angelic Business. The three novels are now written and I’m in the process of translating them and revising (and let’s not forget the issues of finding covers, descriptions, blurbs…) them. By the way, if closer to the time when the project is ready people are interested in reading the first one of the novels ahead of publication, just let me know and I’ll happily send it to you in exchange for a comment (unless you hate it, then I might have to…not sure what. I’ll ask one of my friends who write horror novels for suggestions).

Angel in Montjuic cemetery, Barcelona

Angel in Montjuic cemetery, Barcelona

Those of you who are authors I’m sure have read tonnes of advice on having a marketing plan ahead of any publishing, the importance of having an author platform, building your presence in social media and all that blah, blah, blah. For what I see most of us try and follow that advice adapting it to our own abilities and personal style.

Although I’ve done quite a few of the things I’ve read about, there are some I have resisted to and I’m wondering about giving them a try (you know, so I can say I’ve tried it). I haven’t really tried paid advertising (I got my first book listed in a book club site and had an ad for a promo, both very low cost, with no results to speak of, and yes, now I know advertising your first book is unlikely to have much of an effect, but one lives and learns. Also tried a very low cost listing of my audio…not much to tell there either) or blog tours, and I was interested in knowing what you, my author friends who have tried them think of them. I’ve read about analytics and all that, so if you want to give me hard data, it will be welcome, but I’m more interested in personal experiences, gut feelings, and the ins and outs of things that only somebody who has tried can give. (I’m also fully aware that book genre, timing, style, and personal circumstances influence results, probably together with the phase of the moon, the energy of the pyramids and the leprechauns at work on that particular day). I have only participated in blog hops as a host, and I guess there will be differences between those the authors organise themselves, more or less informally, and those organised by a tried and tested company (or perhaps not…what is your experience?).

Another angel in Montjuic

Another angel in Montjuic

I know some sites like Bookbub are supposed to be the bees-knees, but I’m also aware of the difficulties in getting into it, the amount of reviews required, the price, and the fact that now big publishing companies are also using the service, so there are even fewer chances for the rest of us. But anything, anecdotal evidence, amazing discoveries, bitter disappointments, so-so results, will be welcome.

And I also would like to hear from readers who aren’t writers. How likely are you to buy books based on advertisements on book sites, blog tour posts or any other marketing strategies by authors not known to you? (And the offer about the book is also open to readers, of course).

If I get a “decent” amount of replies, I will collect them and do a follow-up post to share the collective “wisdom”. That’s a deal.

He's lost his wings. I wonder...

She’s lost her wings. I wonder…

And I thought I’d leave you with a bit of the beginning of the third book in my trilogy (Pink, Angel or Demon?), where the main character, Pink, is wondering why everything that’s going on is happening to her:

All this is very well and good (not really, but you know what I mean), but nobody had bothered to answer why me. There was some kind of prophecy (or what passes for it in celestial and demonic circles) and I fitted in. One had to wonder where would prophecies come from in such spheres. (Or at least I did. I’ve been known to think far too much, and obeying De Bono, to think sideways. Look how far it’s got me!) I imagine somebody must fit in (and they were very insistent that I was the only one) but again, why me? No false modesty, but there isn’t anything that special about me. This is not one of these paranormal young adult books where the protagonist discovers that there’s a long history going back to the Middle-Ages of witches and special powers in her family. There’s no fay blood in my line, nobody I know regularly becomes a wolf or a dog or shifts shapes as far as I’m aware. And although the world is full of bloodsuckers, I’ve met no official vampires yet. I’ve never seen a ghost, and I don’t live in a haunted mansion. And although recently demons and angels wander around as if they were in season, to the best of my knowledge there’s no portal to the other world open in Hope Springs.

 

This one is a beauty

This one is a beauty

The draft of the first novel in the series Pink Matters is currently available in Wattpad, here. As mentioned in the body of the post, if you fancy getting the ready-to-publish version in a few weeks, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.

Thank you all for reading, and don’t forget to like, share, especially comment, and spread the word. And if you fancy clicking, don’t let me stop you!

I’ve carried on taking pictures of angels and other interesting things in cemeteries, so if you like any of them in particular, let me know. I’m after ideas for the covers!

Not an angel but she's so beautiful

Not an angel but she’s so beautiful

Hi all:

We’ve left 2014 behind and most people tend to take stock of what happened the previous year and think about the future. Plenty of things happened to me last year (and I’m sure the same goes for all of you) but I wanted to look at my writing and books.

Escaping Psychiatry cover by Ernesto Valdés

Escaping Psychiatry cover by Ernesto Valdés

In January 2014 I published Escaping Psychiatry. This book is a compilation of three novellas (psychological thrillers) with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer whose attempts at dedicating herself exclusively to writing are thwarted once and again by friends or circumstances that keep dragging her back (kicking and screaming) into psychiatry. The three novellas: Cannon FodderTeamwork, and Memory are quite different in subject and touch on abuse, racism, prejudice, police corruption, murder, serial killers, rape…

If you want to check in more detail you can always look inside or get a sample, here:

http://bit.ly/Z4MyhI

Or in paper:

http://bit.ly/1uNckVu

This book is also my first one to be available as an audiobook:

http://bit.ly/1yFL1PC

And if you fancy listening to a sample you can check this video in You Tube:

http://youtu.be/oZyVpOdgqtc

Family, Lust and Cameras

Family, Lust and Cameras

In May 2014 I published a story that I had written a while back, but I felt was very appropriate to the times of surveillance and privacy invasion we live in, Family, Lust and Cameras. It’s a dark story of obsession, mind control and abusive relationships. Can you imagine what would you feel if your life became The Rear Window and you knew somebody was watching you all the time? Well, you can read this novella and see.

http://bit.ly/1uNdLDz

I Love Your Cupcakes cover by Lourdes Vidal

I Love Your Cupcakes cover by Lourdes Vidal

In September 2014 I published I Love Your Cupcakes, a sweet romance, where the three protagonists (Dulce, Adelfa and Storm) end up taking part in a TV baking competition and discover that one can find love in the most unlikely places. An upbeat and fun book to read, I recommend it if you’re having a fed-up day.

http://bit.ly/Z4QU8l

And in paper:

http://bit.ly/102LkEv

Angelic Business 1

In November I took part in NaNoWriMo and won! I decided to write the third in a series of Young Adult/New Adult books I’ve been working on. For the time being the series is called Angelic Business and the books are: Pink Matters, Shapes of Greg and Pink, Demon or Angel?

Angelic Business 3Pink Demon or Pink

Angelic Business 1 (mask)

As you can see I don’t have a cover yet, and as it’s going to be a series I’ll have to give it some thought.

I’ve published the draft of the first book in Wattpad (I’ll remove it when I publish it) and at the moment I’m editing and translating them all, with the plan of publishing them fairly close to each other…

Here is the link to the first one in Wattpad:

http://www.wattpad.com/myworks/12042085-angelic-business-1-pink-matters

Ah, and I leave you the link to another story I also published in Wattpad that at the moment I’m not thinking of publishing anywhere else:

http://www.wattpad.com/myworks/17213556-we-are-family

In case you want to check on the rest of my work and links to other versions of my books, here is my website:

http://www.OlgaNM.com

Now that I’ve told you what I’ve been doing and what I’m going to be doing, it’s time to wish you a Happy Year 2015, ask you about your projects and wish you good luck with them . And as always:

Thanks for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment, and if you fancy, CLICK!

Ballerina Tower Cupcakes. Gorgeous!

Ballerina Tower Cupcakes. Gorgeous!

Hi all:

Sorry to start the post with such a dramatic title, but I’ve read that a call for action and requests for help work.

If you’ve read my recent post about my future plans, featuring Escaping Psychiatry and other ideas, you’ll remember I mentioned I was thinking about a new romantic book. Somehow, although it was not my first priority, I keep coming back to it and keep writing down more and more ideas and details about it. I suspect it might take precedence over other plans I had.

I started checking the internet and created a board in Pinterest (real fun, and there’s so much more to add to it).

Just in case you need some inspiration, I enclose the link here, although I’d advise you not to visit if you are hungry or thinking of taking up a diet.

http://www.pinterest.com/olganm7/food-ideas-for-pos-book/

“So,” you’ll be wondering, “what does she need help with?”

I don’t want to give you too many details about the story, because at the moment it’s only a few ideas in my head, but unless I decide to change it completely, I’m thinking about a female protagonist, with a friend (at the moment the friend is female too, but that could change…Now, that’s an idea). There will be a cupcake shop (or bakery).

I don’t have names for the characters yet, although I haven’t thought about them that much, but suggestions are welcome (throw in some male names, because yes, it is a romantic story, and there will be a few male characters too).

What I’ve been looking at so far are names for the shop. I’ve looked in the internet and found some real names I liked (but won’t copy):

Fab cupcakes

My Delights

Iceing on Your Cupcake

Cupcake Heaven

Lola’s Cupcakes (or any name’s and Cupcakes. It’s simple but I quite like it).

Lickylips Cupcakes

Sugar Baby’s

The Cupcakery

Cupcake Couture

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Sugar Bliss

Eat Cake

Dream Cupcakes

Sugar Daddies

Swirl Cupcakes

Sprinkle Cupcakes

Your Cup of Cake

Maison Cupcake

Cupcakers

I’m not sure about “Sweet” in the name, but on the other hand…

I’ve thought about a few names myself, but I’m not sure of any of them:

Killer cupcakes

Cupcake Madness/Paradise

Cupcake Magic

Cupcake Love/Cupcake Lovin’

Sweet Surrender

Lady Cupcakes

Sweet Temptations

I’d like to know if you think any of them are winners, and I’m open to suggestions (I suspect I’ll have some of my own by the time I read the post, but if I do I’ll try and add them on).

Blueberry cupcake (No, I haven't made it. Belongs to a blogger)

Blueberry cupcake (No, I haven’t made it. Belongs to a blogger)

I don’t have a title for the book either. It could be the name of the shop or something related to it, or something completely different.

I’m thinking of including some recipes for cupcakes or other cakes, so if you think of some fairly original and delicious and want to share, I’d love to hear them (and possibly feature them).

If I come to use your ideas or suggestions and you want me to include you in the book, let me your name and link and I’ll officially thank you for your contribution, and I’d be happy to also gift you or send you an e-copy when it’s ready.

Thanks so much for reading, for all the suggestions, and you know what to do, like, comment, and please share if you can!

Peacock cupcake. Amazing!

Peacock cupcake. Amazing!

 

And just to leave you an update, Escaping Psychiatry is now available in a few more formats:

Banner for Escaping Psychiatry. By Ernesto Valdes

Banner for Escaping Psychiatry. By Ernesto Valdes

In Barnes and Noble (for Nook readers):

http://bit.ly/1f0qHfL

If you have a Kobo, you can get it here:

http://bit.ly/1ciNl2G

Sweet and dark… a bit of all…

Hi all:

In the last of my holiday season special posts, I thought as we’ve just had the big opening of the year 2014, it might be the time to think about what we’re going to be doing next year. I don’t know you, but I’m planning for big changes. Job, life in general, writing… Probably writing is the thing I’m clearer about. My first plan is to publish Escaping Psychiatry (that I had published as three separate novellas) as a single book, with an epilogue and a fabulous new cover by the very talented Ernesto Valdés.

I’ve mentioned a Young Adult series in the past. I’m planning on finishing writing the whole of it before publishing it, and I’m at the moment writing the second novel. We’ll see. (The title of the series, if it doesn’t change, is: Angelic Business). Recently I’ve had some ideas for a new romance (as it seems that Click Me Happy! has been well received by those who’ve read it). I’m also planning on revisiting some of my finished works and there’s one I think will see the light soonish…

As a teaser, and because I hope Escaping Psychiatry should be published (with a bit of luck, and I must confess I haven’t had much of that recently) by the end of January, I leave you with the description, the cover, and a bit of the second story ‘Teamwork’. I hope you enjoy it and I’ll keep you up-to-date on my progress.

Description:

‘Escaping Psychiatry’ has it all: intriguing characters, noir style, thrilling pursuits, dangerous situations, crime, serial killers, religion, family secrets, murder, psychological insights, mental illness, trauma, debates about prejudice and morality, heated trials, police investigations, corruption, and mystery. If you enjoy ‘Wire in the Blood’, ‘Cracker’ and ‘Lie to Me’ and you are not scared of going deeper and darker, dare to read on.

‘Escaping Psychiatry’ is a collection of three stories with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer. She is trying to develop her literary career but circumstances and friends conspire to keep dragging her back to psychiatry. Initially published as three separate novellas, this volume compiles the three stories and adds an epilogue that brigs closure to previous narrations whilst at the same time opening avenues for new adventures for Mary and her friends.

In ‘Cannon Fodder’, Phil, a lawyer who is good friends with Mary asks her to provide a report on one of his clients, a young African-American man called Cain White. Cain is a very religious man and has been accused of inciting a riot at a religious meeting. Although his actions have never been violent, some people find the content of his speech inflammatory and disturbing. He says he can hear God’s voice. And more important he insists that God is black and his appears to be a Black Nationalist message. Is Cain insane, deluded, misguided, looking for media-attention, or a Saint? To find an answer to these questions Mary talks to his family and friends. Although she concludes he is sane,Mary’s investigation uncovers some very damaging revelations about his family life, beliefs and local attitudes. Who is a saint and who is a sinner is a matter for debate. The more Mary gets involved in the lives of Cain and those close to him the more she realises how dangerous secrets are. Like time-bombs ready to set off any minute.
‘Teamwork’: Captain Tom McLeod, from the San Francisco Police Department, invites Mary for a meal at home with his wife. When she meets their other guest, a young detective called Justin, she quickly realises there is an agenda well beyond a friendly meal. Justin’s partner, mentor and father figure, Sgt David Leaman, was killed a couple of months earlier during a routine investigation. Justin witnessed the event but he insists in going back to work and refusing any therapy or counselling. Tom and others at the department are concerned about his mental state but have failed to convince him to accept professional help. Both Mary and Justin are reluctant to engage in the ambush/informal consultation organised, but eventually decide to give it a try. At first sight it appears to be a straight forward case of unresolved grief, but things aren’t as clear-cut as they appear and Mary ends up getting too personally involved with the case, to the detriment of her professional objectivity. Who is the real expert in matters of the heart and soul?
In ‘Memory’, Mary runs out of her apartment after a difficult encounter with her friend Phil, and goes missing. When she is found it seems that she was hit in the head, abducted and raped. As a result of the head injury she initially cannot recall what happened or remember many details of her life. She never recovers memory for the assault and finds it difficult to come to terms with something she cannot recall. Her relationships and her whole life are left in turmoil following the traumatic incident. The clues point towards a serial killer who could not finish his job in her case. But some things do not fit in. Who disturbed the killer? Why was she left there? The crime and the investigation surrounding it have a profound impact on Mary who decides that she needs to reconsider her life and start anew.
The epilogue revisits Mary at the point of the trial of her abductor and sees what changes have taken place in her life. Will she finally manage to Escape Psychiatry?

Although these stories are fictional, the author, a forensic psychiatrist, brings her expertise and insight to the material, lifting it above a standard crime caper. Olga is thinking of writing more stories in the series. If you’d be interested in reading them, let her know.Links and points of contact available at the end of the book.

Cover:

 

Cover of my new book

Cover of my new book

  

Beginning of ‘Teamwork’:

It’s true what they say. ‘There’s no such a thing as a free lunch.’ She should have known. Mary had wondered why Capt. Tom McLeod had invited her for dinner at home. He was one of Phil’s friends and she’d met him while Phil was giving legal advice to one of Tom’s men regarding a complaint of police brutality. He’d also been instrumental in helping her research the role of the profiler for one of her books. She owed him one. When he asked her to a family dinner she couldn’t say no. Now, at his door, with a bunch of flowers for his wife, Maureen, and a bottle of Spanish wine, she wondered how he knew she was in town, and why he had bothered to trace her. Only for dinner? It seemed like too much of an effort. Maybe it was her suspicious mind…

“Hi Mary. Lovely to see you after all this time.”

Tom McLeod was as smart as usual. Not the typical image of the cop with a fag in his mouth and an untidy shirt. Although in his fifties and with greying hair, he was always dressed in neat dark suits, clean-shaven, and with shiny shoes. Even at home, though?

“Hi Tom. These are for your wife. And this…for you” she said, handing him the flowers and wine.

“Thank you. Excellent choice.”

Mary smiled, although she wasn’t truly convinced of the honesty of his comment. She had asked for the shop assistant’s advice when choosing the wine as she understood nothing about it and hardly ever drank.

“How did you know I was here?”

“I was talking to Phil and he told me you were coming to San Francisco. Research? He didn’t tell me much about it.”

“Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The scenery, the buildings, the old San Francisco, Spanish colonialism…Maybe…Depends on what I can find.”

“It sounds good. Maureen is in the kitchen putting the last touches on the meal.”

A young man, ash blonde, with blue eyes and a baby face, stood up from the sofa when they walked in.

“Oh. This is Justin Kelly, one of the detectives in my department. Dr. Mary Miller. A friend of the family.”

“Mary, please” she said, offering her hand. He shook it, looking at her with…worry?

Mary went to say hello to Maureen and do a bit of gossiping, leaving the men alone. Maureen was one of the very few women she knew who seemed born for the role of housewife and mother and truly enjoyed it. After some chitchat about the McLeods’ two sons, Tony and Patrick, Mary decided to proceed with her investigation.

“Who is this Justin, then?” Mary asked.

“Oh…Poor guy. He’s going through a really hard time. He comes from a very traumatic background. One of Tom’s men, Sgt. David Leaman…did you meet him?…took him under his wing and…treated him like a son. A truly good job he did with him. Recently…about two months ago, they were working together in a case and…Sgt. Leaman was killed. Tom is quite concerned about Justin, who seems to have reacted very weirdly to the whole thing. He just wants to go back to work, won’t talk to anybody, won’t have counselling…”

So that was it. An informal consultation. That’s what Tom wanted. Fair enough, but at least he could have told her. However hard she tried to leave psychiatry behind and get on with her other career, it didn’t seem to work. She was always pulled back.

“Is it nearly ready?” Tom asked from the dining room.

“Yes. Ready!”

Dinner was somewhat weird. It was evident that Justin wasn’t a regular visitor to the house and didn’t quite know what to say. And he didn’t seem the talkative type either. He was sitting opposite Mary, and asked her:

“Doctor in what?”

“Literature and film, aren’t you?” Tom replied for her. Once Tom got distracted by his wife’s conversation she added:

“I also studied Medicine. And Psychiatry. I still work at it sometimes.”

She’d hit the target. His face changed and he became even quieter. Shortly after, he said that he needed to make a phone call. He wasn’t too long and remained as quiet as before when he returned. Both Justin and she made their apologies quite early and left together. Once in the street, as he opened his mouth to say goodbye, Mary said:

“Listen, I didn’t know anything about it. I asked Maureen in the kitchen and she told me what happened to Sgt. Leaman. I’m terribly sorry. But Tom hadn’t told me anything. I can see why he invited me, and I must say I found it a bit weird at the time, but he’d always been helpful and kind to me, I couldn’t say no for no reason. I just wanted you to know that I didn’t come here with the intention of analysing you or anything like that. Goodnight then. And good luck.”

As she turned to leave, he asked:

“Could we…talk? In confidence?”

“If you think it might help…”

“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t talk much. David was one of the few people I’ve ever talked to…And his wife Lea, but less…She’s too distraught to bother her with the way I’m feeling right now.”

“Let’s go somewhere. Do you know any place?”

“There’s an all-night diner not very far away from here. There’re never too many people there.”

He was right. There were a couple of people having something to eat, but otherwise the place was dead quiet. Mary ordered a hot chocolate and he had some ice-cream and coffee. He had a spoonful of the ice-cream and put it to one side.

“No appetite? You didn’t eat much at the McLeods either.”

“No. I don’t feel like eating.”

“Have you lost weight?”

“Probably. Clothes seem loose now.” He went quiet. Mary asked.

“Are you sleeping all right?”

“Not really…I fall asleep easily enough, and then…I wake up in the middle of the night. I keep having these horrible nightmares…I can see David being shot in the head over and over again…”

“Did you see it?…I knew you’d been there, but I didn’t realise…”

“Yes. I was there. When I close my eyes I keep seeing him…falling down…Yes, I know…post-traumatic stress and all that crap. I don’t care what you call it; I’m not going to let it beat me. Not after what I’ve been through. I was beaten up by my father, tortured by him, really…He sent my mother and me to hospital time and again until one day…he hit her; she knocked her head against a banister and died. I pushed him downstairs, he was drunk…He didn’t die but ended up in a coma, like a vegetable. He finally died a couple of years ago and I couldn’t have cared less. It was a relief. I was 14 when all that happened. And then…They put me in a children’s home, and I did drugs, and drank, and…other things…And David caught me at a robbery…I was 16 at the time, and…I don’t know what it was, but he felt sorry for me. Lea says I probably reminded him of the son he lost as a child. Anyway, he took an interest, took me home with him and…He can’t be dead!” Justin burst out crying and Mary kept quiet, offering him a tissue after a few minutes.

“I hadn’t cried…for a long time. It makes me feel stupid and…”

“Vulnerable?…We’re all human and we hurt. It’s allowed, you know?”

“No. Not me. If I let everything come out…It’s a can of worms, Mary…Can I call you Mary?”

“Sure you can.”

“It’s…The only way I can get on with my life is by forgetting what went on before. Dave used to tell me that I didn’t have control over what the bastard of my father did to me, and that he’d been punished for it, and I might as well concentrate on the rest of my life, because over that…I had some control and I could decide what to do. I could change it over; I could become anything I wanted if I just tried hard enough.”

“He was right, of course. But it isn’t always that easy. We need help sometimes, we aren’t that strong. We need to understand how we feel to move on. We cannot block everything out.”

“I am trying. I am trying very hard…Dave was…I was going to say like my father, but that’s an insult given the circumstances. He was like my father would have been if I had been given a choice…He accepted me when I was at my lowest, helped me through all the crap of coming off drugs and alcohol, taught me how to behave in civilised company, and managed to convince the police department that I deserved a chance…with my past…Oh, I don’t know why I’m telling you all this shit.”

“It’s fine.”

“I don’t talk. It isn’t my way. Even with Dave…We did things, he gave me advice, but he wasn’t the touchy-feely kind of guy, and he always taught me to put a brave face on things and get on with it.”

“He must have been a very strong man.”

“Yes. He didn’t…Not long ago Lea told me about the son he lost. From his first marriage. His son drowned in an accident when he was six, and his wife died in a car-crash a year later. He never told her anything else about them, or talked about his feelings. And he never mentioned them to me. He had a picture of his son in his bedroom, but I never dared to ask.”

“That was his way of coping, then. Not everybody is the same, Justin, and it isn’t a weakness to talk about the way one feels. It’s OK.”

“I’ve been trying to go back to work for ages. They gave me time off following the shooting, gave me compassionate leave, and now don’t want me to go back. They insisted that I have bereavement counselling, but I refused. I know Capt. McLeod wanted me to have an assessment, a psychological assessment, of how I was before I went back. I imagine just in case I became a homicidal maniac and shot everybody in sight or something like that.”

“As I said, he didn’t tell me anything, so I don’t know their worries. Although Maureen told me that they felt you’d reacted in a rather weird way to his death, not saying anything, not expressing any feelings.”

“What do they want me to do? Cry? I won’t. Why do I have to express myself their way? And what do I need counselling for? Is it going to bring Dave back?”

“No. Of course not. It might help you come to terms with…”

“The only thing that could help me come to terms with it would be to catch the fucking bastard who did this to him, and kill him.” Justin’s eyes were bright, his lips trembling, the veins in his neck bulging, and his breathing had become shallow.

“Justin…You’re a policeman. You can’t take justice in your own hands.”

“And who is going to stop me? Who? This hatred is the only thing that makes me get up in the morning, the last thing I think of before I go to bed.”

“Revenge and hatred are destructive emotions. You’ve learned to control your behaviour and your anger, don’t let them get the better of you.”

Mary wondered if her advice was the wisest thing to tell him. That young man was evidently not only bereaved, but also depressed, and maybe his anger was the only thing he was living for. The only person he trusted had died. He must have felt an orphan all over again.

“Maybe you’re right. I know Dave wouldn’t have approved of what I’m saying, but it drives me mad. I keep fantasising over it. I think about killing him. Not shooting him, but killing him with my own hands. I want to see the life escaping from that bastard…Sorry…I shouldn’t talk like that.”

“Talking about it isn’t a problem. If you came to do it…that would be a problem.”

Justin looked at her in the eyes, and then looked down.

“I know. I know. Now you’ll talk to Capt. McLeod and I won’t have a chance of ever going back until I’ve undergone therapy. It’s my own fault. I should have shut up.”

“Justin…Capt. McLeod didn’t ask me to assess you. At least not yet. And I could only talk to him about whatever you allowed me to. There are confidentiality issues. I would never agree to do anything without your consent. Although, if you ask me, I think you need to ventilate your feelings and not let them destroy you. What you feel is perfectly normal and reasonable. If you refuse to allow yourself to feel it, though, it might become a problem.”

“Who can I talk to about it?”

“Maybe counselling isn’t such a bad idea.”

“Oh no, I can’t talk to one of the police counsellors. I don’t trust them. And they don’t know what they’re talking about. But I’ll talk to you…You’re easy to talk to.”

Thank you for reading. Sorry it ended up being a bit long but I wanted to give a bit of an idea…And if you’ve enjoyed it, please comment, share, and like! And Happy New Year 2014!

Hi all:

As you know I had promised revisiting some of my old posts over Christmas. I was going to repost some classics so you could enjoy a free read over Christmas, but then I thought maybe you’d fancy a seasonable read, and brand new too.

 

A World of Joy, Christmas stories by Grey Mouse Publications

A World of Joy, Christmas stories by Grey Mouse Publications

You might remember I belong and follow a number of authors’ groups. One of them ASMSG (Authors’ Social Media Suppport Group) has been publishing a number of anthologies of stories by their members, including a general mixed-genre short-stories one, a romance one, poetry, science-fiction, horror… and the latest one, ‘A World of Joy’, and anthology of Christmas short stories. My story ‘Christmas On-Call’ is there (yes, it is not your standard Christmas story, you’ve guessed right) and those of many other talented writers. The anthology (and all the others published by the group) are free, so go and get them!

This is the link in Smashwords for ‘A World of Joy’:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/383338

This is the webpage for ASMSG:

http://asmsg.weebly.com/

And here you can find all the FREE anthologies by the group:

http://asmsg.weebly.com/grey-mouse-books.html

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it I hope you like, share, comment, and especially CLICK! And Merry Christmas!

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph...

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Is translating an art? I would say it depends on what you’re translating, but it can be. Is it curious? I find it so.

I’m from Barcelona and speak (and write) Spanish and Catalan (Catalan although I’ve always spoken it was not officially taught when I was very young due to…politics and the government of General Franco. That’s not terribly relevant to the post, but I’m gifted, or plagued, with lateral thinking processes). I studied French at school for a few years and then English at High School. I moved to the UK in 1992 and since I’ve spent most of my life speaking, reading and writing in English (although of course Spanish and Catalan are also there). Even my fiction, that I started writing in one form or another when I was very young, moved from strictly Spanish (less often Catalan) to English.

Now as you know I’ve taken up self-publishing some of my stories, and as part of the process I’m doing some translating. Sometimes in either direction, mostly from English to Spanish. I decided to have guest authors in my blog and as I had been posting in both Spanish and English, I’d also translated the guest posts from either Spanish to English or the other way round, depending on the main language of the guest.

It is a rewarding and sometimes difficult task. I’ve come to love the fact that you get to know the original material much better than you would do otherwise. You go through it with a fine toothcomb, trying to find expressions that might mean the same or something equivalent in the other language, and sometimes you need to determine what’s exactly being said.

Interviews in general I don’t find too difficult. Actual samples of a book are much more precious, as not only content but style come into play and some of the author’s decisions you might not agree with, or might not be easily (if at all) translatable into the other language. And what about the titles? I find titles particularly challenging. Sometimes I give up and leave the original, but even then, if it’s not just a name, I’ll try to provide a translation (in order to at least give some information to the reader). But how to know if that would be the other person’s choice?

I have written a Young Adult novel, the first in a (somewhat) planned series and decided I was going to translate it from English to Spanish. Well, it’s not that difficult when it’s your own book, because at least you know what you’re trying to say. Or so I thought. And of course, I started with the title. Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters. 1 is easy. Does not need translation. Angelic pretty straight forward too (Angélico or Angélicos if plural). But Business. Several meanings. Did I want business as an enterprise, the world of business, or as a matter (“none of your business”) kind of thing? Negocios Angélicos? I finally decided (so far) to go with Asuntos Angélicos.

English: rose bunch, Rosa sp. cultivars, flowe...

English: rose bunch, Rosa sp. cultivars, flower market, Place Monge, Paris Français : bouquet de roses, Rosa sp. horticoles, marché aux fleurs, Place Monge, Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that was nothing compare with ‘Pink Matters’. Pink is the name of the main character (she’s named Petra but hates her name and as she likes the pink colour, she goes by Pink). Pink (the colour) in Spanish is rosa (as a colour). But Rosa is also a name (Rose). But I didn’t want Rosa, so I decided to stick with Pink. No reason why children reading this book (I’m not specific about the setting but it’s a world with High Schools and football players, so)  would not know enough English to know what Pink is, and of course there’s also the singer. And ‘matters’? Matter again could be a thing to talk about…(sort of ‘related’ to Pink) but I like the possible double meaning, as in, the girl, Pink, matters, is important. She’s the centre of the novel. I could not think of any word similar in Spanish and I wanted to keep the symmetry. I didn’t fancy using several words and making it a really long title. So far I’m working with ‘Alerta Pink’ (yes, Pink Alert) that’s fairly different, but I like the interplay with red alert. (Alerta Roja in Spanish). And all this for only 4 words and a number. Can you imagine the whole process? Of course, the title is very important and I hope I won’t agonise so much over the rest of the book but…(so far I’ve only translated a chapter and a bit, but I’m currently translating a book from Spanish to English for somebody else. Challenging indeed!)

Yes, I would say it is a curious art, don’t you think?

Thanks for reading!

Hi all:

Thinking about my writing and particularly with the publishing of my new YA novella Twin Evils? I’ve noticed I’ve talked a fair bit about The Man Who Never Was and more recently I’ve launched Twin Evils? but I never talked much about my series: Escaping Psychiatry. It came out just before Christmas and with the hustle and bustle of Christmas and one thing and another, other than showing you the covers and links, I’ve not brought it to anybody’s attention much.

I thought maybe it was time to do something about. Escaping Psychiatry is a series of 3 novellas (Cannon Fodder, Teamwork and Memory) all linked by the same main character, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer (like me) who in each one of the novellas gets involved in a case (sometimes more personally than others) and has to work through sometimes not only the patients’ issues but also her own.

I’ve decided to offer you the description and a sample of each one of the novellas and see if you find them interesting. I also have an epilogue that have not published, but in time I might decide to publish the three together in a volume, depending on the response. I’d really appreciate your comments. And share if you find it interesting.

Cannon Fodder

In ‘Cannon Fodder’, Phil, a lawyer who is good friends with Mary asks
her to provide a report on one of his clients, a young African-American
man called Cain White. Cain is a very religious man and has been accused
of inciting a riot at a religious meeting. Although his actions have
never been violent, some people find the content of his speech
inflammatory and disturbing. He not only says he can hear God’s voice,
but also he insists that God is black and his appears to be a Black
Nationalist message. Is Cain insane, deluded, misguided, looking for
media-attention, or a Saint? To find an answer to these questions Mary
talks to his family and friends. Although she concludes he is sane, some
very damaging revelations about his family life, beliefs and local
attitudes result from Mary’s investigation. Who is a saint and who is a
sinner is a matter for debate. The more Mary gets involved in the lives
of Cain and those close to him the more she realises how damaging
secrets are.
Cannon Fodder contains damaging family secrets, court
procedures, psychological insights, discussions around morality and
religion, sin and ultimately redemption. This novella offers you an
emotionally affecting and challenging read in a small package. It is
well worth the time and investment.

Extract from Cannon Fodder

“I’m only me, Cain White, a fairly normal boy.”

“Do you think fairly normal boys say they can hear God?”

“I don’t know any who say that, but that’s probably because they can’t hear him. But I do.”

“Do you hear his voice as you hear me? Is it a voice outside your head?”

“It’s difficult to explain. It isn’t a voice like anything I’ve ever heard before. It isn’t a man or a woman, it’s God.”

“How do you know?”

“Because the voice says so. And I believe it.”

“Does it talk to you or does it talk about you or others?”

“It talks to me.”

“Does it call your name?”

“Yes…It says something like: “Cain, listen. There’s something I want you to tell the others. Tell them they must love themselves. Tell them they are beautiful.””

“Who are the others?”

Black people.”

“You mean God is talking to the black people through you.”

“I mean God is black.”

Mary had to bite her lip not to smile. Cain wouldn’t stand a chance if the judge were white.

“You don’t believe me.”

Mary looked at him straight in the eyes.

“I’m not trying to determine if God is black or white or any other colour. “

“You only want to know if I am mad. I guess I must be a raving lunatic to say things like that to a white psychiatrist.”

“Do you think black psychiatrists have different criteria for diagnosing madness?”

“Probably not.”

“This voice, is it inside you head or outside?”

“Outside. I’m not imagining it.”

“I didn’t say you were. Do you hear it at any particular time of the day or in a particular place?”

“No. It comes to me any time, any place.”

“When was the first time you heard that voice?”

“I heard it once as a child, just after my father died, telling me that I should look after my mother and siblings. And then, a few months ago. First I thought I was tired and I was hallucinating. But I had to accept it. It was God.”

“Are you taking drugs?”

“I don’t touch the stuff. I’m not off my head or anything like that.” he said in a brisk manner.

“I must ask this type of questions.”

“OK.”

Teamwork

In ‘Teamwork’ Captain Tom McLeod, from the San Francisco Police
Department, invites Mary for a meal at home with his wife. When she
meets their other guest, a young detective called Justin, she quickly
realises there is an agenda well beyond a friendly meal. Justin’s
partner, mentor and father figure, Sgt. David Leaman, was killed a
couple of months earlier during a routine investigation. Justin
witnessed the event but he insists in going back to work and refusing
any therapy or counselling. Tom and others at the department are
concerned about his mental state but have failed to convince him to
accept professional help. Both Mary and Justin are reluctant to engage
in the ambush informal consultation organised, but eventually decide to
give it a try. At first sight it appears to be a straight forward case
of unresolved grief, but things aren’t as clear-cut as they appear and
Mary ends up getting too personally involved with the case, to the
detriment of her professional objectivity. Who is the expert in matters
of the heart and soul?
‘Teamwork’ combines police procedural/crime
thriller format with psychological exploration of characters’ insights
and motivations. Despite its length this novella will have you enthused
and guessing from beginning to end.

Fragment from Teamwork

“Hi Phil. How are you?”

“I’m fine. I was a bit concerned. Tom phoned me saying that you’d disappeared and he was trying to contact you. About that guy…whatever his name is, one of his men you’ve been seeing. He wants him back working for him and he’d been phoning you with no reply.”

“Justin.”

“Yes. Justin. What’s the problem?”

“What is not the problem would be a better question. This guy is the young man I told you about.”

“The guy whose partner had died, but who was like a father to him.”

“Exactly. You were listening to me.”

“I always do. The young attractive guy.”

“Yes.”

“Do you fancy him?”

Mary went quiet. Phil waited and finally said.

“So you fancy him.”

“He told me he liked me. One night we went out to meet his mates from work, he got drunk, Tom drove us back, and Justin kissed me. Then he told me he liked me, and what was wrong with that, and…”

“You gave him your usual blah, blah about transference, vulnerability…Maybe at some point you should believe that somebody can like you for yourself, and not only because you’re a psychiatrist.”

“Fair enough comment if it wasn’t because in most cases it’s only my patients who seem to fancy me.”

“Oh, please, Mary, come on…Give a guy a chance, eh? If you don’t want a relationship, don’t blame guys for it. And I know what you’ll say. Mea culpa. I don’t want a relationship either. Does that disqualify me from giving you advice?”

Mary sighed and Phil continued.

“So you ran away from him.”

“No, Mr. Know-it-all. I didn’t. I told him that if he felt that way I couldn’t carry on working with him, and he said that he’d try and keep a lid on it. But, apart from all this, there’s something rather weird going on. Justin had told me that Lea, David Leaman’s wife, the dead policeman I mean, was a few years younger than him and he’d left her well covered with his insurance policy. Three days ago they had his memorial and Tom asked me if I’d like to go with Maureen and him. Justin had never mentioned it to me. Once there, I discovered that Lea was much younger than Dave, at least 20 years, if not more. She is in effect quite a few years younger than you and me, and only 4 or 5 years older than Justin himself.”

“And?”

“Why did he lie? One of the other policemen made a strange comment that I can’t quite work out, but seems to insinuate that there is something between Justin and Lea. I don’t know what to make of it, but it all seems a bit fishy.”

“Didn’t you talk to the guy? Justin, I mean.”

“I bumped onto him as I was leaving the chapel and he accused me of going there behind his back, told me he needed some space…”

Memory

In the third novella, ‘Memory’, Mary runs out of her apartment after a
difficult encounter with her friend Phil, and goes missing. When she is
found it seems that she was hit in the head, abducted and raped. As a
result of the head injury she initially cannot recall what happened or
remember many details of her life. She never recovers memory for the
assault and finds it difficult to come to terms with something she
cannot recall. Her relationships and her whole life are left in turmoil
following the traumatic incident. The clues point towards a serial
killer who could not finish his job in her case. But some things do not
fit in. Who disturbed the killer? Why was she left there? The crime and
the investigation surrounding it have a profound impact on Mary who
decides that she needs to reconsider her life and start anew.
Exploring issues such as mental illness, memory, police investigation, trauma,
serial killers and life as a single professional woman, ‘Memory’ is an
intense and intriguing novella.

Fragment from Memory

At times when he felt well, he was grateful to Mary for helping him and making him accept his illness. When he was a bit high he resented her for it and blamed her. About a week earlier Phil had done something he hoped would have no negative consequences. He had a very important case to represent in court and he was feeling quite tired. He decided not to take his mood stabiliser for a couple of days. The surge of energy served him well in court, but made him irritable and impulsive. After winning the case, he decided to take a drive and go to see Mary on his days off. She was working as a locum in a private psychiatric intensive care unit upstate and it took him less than an hour to get there. The hospital was renting her a small studio-flat and he went directly there. She wasn’t at home when he arrived and he sat in his car for about half an hour, waiting. She arrived carrying some shopping bags and while she looked for her keys he came out of the car. He’d been replaying what happened next in his head over and over again since.

If you’ve liked  what you’ve read, please click the links!

CannonFoddertitle

Cannon Fodder:

http://viewbook.at/B00AKWO8Z6

Teamwork2 V 0065

Teamwork:

http://viewbook.at/B00AKWSQJA

Memorycover

Memory:

http://viewbook.at/B00AKWVRCS

As always THANK YOU FOR READING! And feel free to leave COMMENTS. And Friday guest author Eduardo Perellón.

Good morning, all! My “Chatting with the Authors” segment this morning is with my pal Olga Nunez Miret and “The Man Who Never Was”…come join us!.

Check out Thomas Rydder’s interview with…me!

Hi all:

I don’t know if I’m unique in this, but I not only love reading and writing, but I’m fascinated by books and films about writing and writers. I can listen to interviews with my favourite writers without ever getting bored and I love it when authors I like write about…writing.

I was reflecting on how many horror stories there are about writers who end up locked up in a nightmare of their creation, or stalked but their fans (Stephen King‘s     Misery is a great example of the genre, and the film adaptation, like many of King’s materials, good in its own right). Crime writers see their crime novels copied by killers. And of course now we have Castle but who could forget Murder She Wrote?

I recently watched Ruby Sparks that I loved. Young man who wrote an incredibly successful novel when he was really young but 10 years later hasn’t managed to write anything else (yes, the one hit wonder). He starts dreaming about this girl, talks to his psychiatrist (great Elliot Gould) who suggest he writes about her and that seems to solve his writers block. Better than that, she comes to life and then, the story changes from wish-fulfilment into a strange version of Pigmalion where the writer can’t decide what he wants her to be. The story is really about him and about his need to realise that dreams are not real and nobody is perfect. Or, if you love somebody  you have to set them free.

This is all a roundabout way of getting to what I wanted to tell you. I hope you have the same love of writing and writers than I have because I’m planning on getting guest authors to come to my blog and talk about their writing process, their inspiration, their likes and dislikes, their projects…anything they like, really. For the moment I’ll let it be a surprise, but I’m hoping for guest next Friday.

In the meantime, so you don’t forget about my book, I have a new trailer that Magda Olchawska has created for me (I’ve posted about her before).

I’ll have to give you the link as it seems I cannot post the video itself.

The link to my book in Amazon (not sure the ones in the film work) is:

English:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

Spanish:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWEGC8

 

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

Opinión y actualidad

Opinión sobre noticias y asuntos de actualidad

Los escritos de Héctor Browne

Blog (algo literario y algo viejo) de un Licenciado en Letras, diplomado en edición, y Profesor de Lenguaje.

Priscilla Bettis, Author

The making of a horror novelist.

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