Archives for posts with tag: Arts
English: Instruction manual of the Nirvana Sut...

English: Instruction manual of the Nirvana Sutra (大般涅槃経集解, daihatsunehankyōshūge) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi dear readers. I’ve been talking to one of my friends (and fellow author) about this and that and the other, and we got to talking about SELF-HELP books. As many of you know, understanding Amazon algorithms is beyond mere-mortals powers. Their categories are also puzzlement to me. I guess it might work out OK if you start writing with them in mind, but trying to fit in something already in existence to these categories, other than the more general ones, is interesting to say the least. You could always try with one of your favourite books and see how far you get.

I digress, as usual. My friend and I got looking at categories in self-help world and it’s as full of the weird and the wonderful as anywhere else there.

It made me think about one of my “issues”. Yes, I have many of them. You buy a camera; it comes with an instruction manual. Your phone, the same. Even pretty basic things. Life, that’s quite complicated by most people’s standards…nothing. No manual, no video, CD, DVD, no book of instructions. Not even a leaflet. Swim or sink approach.

In one of my short stories, ‘The Novel’ one of the characters, Denver, decides that life would be much easier if we lived it as a genre novel, because we’d know where we stood, understand conventions, characters, etc, and she has a good go at it. As you might suspect things don’t go according to plan. But it was worth a try, I think.

If suddenly you were given the task of creating an instruction manual for life (it would have to be pretty general, just the basics), what would you include? What would be in your table of contents?

And if you were sent one, what would you check first? Keeping healthy? Family relationships? Love? Income and finances? Gaining perspective? Surviving?

I’m curious. Let me know what you think, please.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoy or it makes you think, please, please, please, comment and share!

Hello all:

If you remember a while back I talked about Magda Olchawska and how she was one of the first people to offer me advice and support in this task of not so much writing, but trying to promote your own books. Magda writes, is a very talented filmmaker and offers professional advice on how to promote your books (including creating book trailers. She did a wonderful job with the trailer for ‘The Man Who Never Was’), how to turn your book into a script, and many other things. She’s very generous with her advice and tips and after only a few months I consider her a good friend.  Did I forget to say? I met her through Twitter. Yes, another one of my Twitter treasure finds.

As I’ve said we’ve kept in touch and Magda has kindly agreed to be a guest in my blog. She has replied to some questions for us and at the end of the post I’ll include some links and also the link to the trailer for ‘The Man Who Never Was’ she created for me.

Here I leave you in the very capable and kind hands of Magda!

magda[1]

When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was pretty young. I read a lot of poetry so, naturally, I started writing poetry. However seeing no success in my writing or rather not believing in myself too much I gave up writing for few years before I came back to it full time.

What inspired you to write?

The film scripts I write are usually based on my observation of daily life with a pinch of my imagination.

 

The children books I write are mostly based on my son’s stories and my experience & observation of his behaviour and life.

 

The novel I’ve just started to write is based to some extent on my experience, with rather huge dose of my imagination.

Have you always been intrigued or wanted to write a particular genre?

No, not really.  When it comes to writing scripts I write various genres.

 

When it comes to books I write for children and just recently extended my writing to more grown up writing.

 

What I definitely don’t want to write & won’t write is horror, or zombie or vampire stuff.

How did you come up with the idea for your newest/current project?

“Untitled Novel for Women Only” has been on my mind for some time. However, I couldn’t get the form just right. So it took me quite a bit of time to figure out what would be the best format for the novel. After I had the right format in my head I started writing. To write one novel post it takes me up to a week. I’m planning to post novel posts once a week.

Every week it’s going to be a continuation of the previous post. However, if readers decide to read just one post they will still be able to find their ground in the novel.

Do you write as a full time occupation? If no, do you think your everyday job provides you inspiration for writing or is it a necessary evil?

I’m a full time film director and writer. I also run social media management business so these three related occupations keep me both, busy & inspired.

If you could meet any writer (or writers) in the history of literature (dead or alive) who would you choose? And why?

Oh, dear it’s a difficult one. I guess at the moment I would love to meet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

 

I just love “The Little Prince” and it reminds me so much of my childhood.

What do you think about social media? Do you use it mostly as a promotional tool or is it an integral part of your life?

Social media has become a big part of my everyday life. I work with social media on daily basis to promote both my clients’ work as well as mine. I think social media are time consuming but at the same time give artist the freedom and opportunity we have never had before.

 

If the social media are used in a coherent & wise manner I don’t see the reason why they wouldn’t work to the artist’s advantage.

Any tips for people thinking about writing/publishing?

Just keep writing and re-writing. Don’t give up and don’t waste time on people who try to put your down.

Tell me a new thing you have discovered recently that you think should be shared.

Working hard 4 hours a day is fantastic & very productive .

Tell me an old thing you’ve rediscovered that you think shouldn’t be forgotten.

 

Importance of family in one’s life as well as taking time off and relaxing makes life not only more pleasurable but also more productive.

Magda is so right…Here are her links:

This one takes you to ‘Untitle Novel for Women Only’ that as Magda explains she’ll be posting every week:

http://magdaolchawskablog.wordpress.com/

This is her webpage where you can find more information about her, her projects and her consultation services:

http://magdaolchawska.com

This link is to her page about her children’s books (where she also shares her thoughts and posts):

http://mikolayandjulia.com

Check this link for her online media management:

http://originalmediamanagement.com/

I hope you enjoyed reading about my friend Magda and I leave you also a link to the video she created for my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’

http://www.youtube.com/embed/qvUitFG2D20

I met Diane through ASMSG one of the writers groups I belong to. She’s written a number of Young Adult novels and she kindly agreed to come and talk to us about her writing.

My Books:  Enmitus – The Transformation, Enmitus – The Children I am Nine, Children of Fury, Like Hell Itself, and Children’s BookMason and Bess, The Adventure Begins

Author: Diane Major

Genre: Fantasy

 Diane Major

 

Author Bio:

I grew up in Horden, a mining village in the North East of England.  I gained my professional qualification in Youth & Community Work, BSc Open Degree (Hons) as a mature student. During my career I worked both in the voluntary sector and then for local government which offered her the opportunity to develop many skills.   I worked with people of all ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds.  I enjoyed watching both staff and service users gain skills and become confident people.

I worked on my first book in the genre of fantasy adventure named “Children of Fury” for almost 2 years and at the same time completed my second novel “I am Nine.”   To date I have published 5 fantasy adventure books, a Children’s Book and am almost ready to publish a young adults story.

Now retired, I enjoy spending time with my family, writing, walking and fundraising for a local voluntary organization.

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A little about some of my books:

Children of Fury : Within a period of turmoil for the immortals Heron is born.  A Fury like no other, Heron has a legacy for vengeance which spans thousands of years.  In England during the 1400’s he meets a young woman named Aimee who has already met her soul mate.  As their paths collide with catastrophic results a story of retribution lasting centuries and continents unfolds.

I am Nine:  Is about Naomi’s journey.  Something strikes and almost wipes out the Earth’s population.  Naomi is taken from her parents and grows up with strangers on a ship.  On reaching America Naomi and two other boys are sent on a scouting mission to find out if the land is safe enough for the community to build a new home.  Naomi is separated from her companions and faces danger, until something saves her.  On her journey Naomi faces great wild dogs and cannibals.

Enmitus – The Transformation: People leave a dying Earth and travel for centuries until they find their new home.  As they travel the people on board the individual ships become tribes.  One of the tribes settle on Serenitus and the adventure begins.  Corinna’s hand in marriage is promised to Omar who is already besotted with an evil woman.  Once this arrangement is made Corinna has to leave her home planet for Enmitus where she finds, hatred, deceit, cruelty, lies and love.  I am currently writing the sequel.

found where we expect it least……

How long did it take to write the books?

It took almost two years to write my first book and after that I found it took less time for each book.

What inspired you to write ? 

My interest in writing really started when I read C S Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia as a child.

When I did start writing I wanted to develop stories that would take people away from everyday life for as long as it would take them to read one of my books.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I write every day but not at any set time.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Having enjoyed an escape from reality.

Where can we go to buy your books?

Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones

Amazon USA

http://www.amazon.com/Diane-Major/e/B008R5S3KO/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1363795100&sr=8-1

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diane-Major/e/B008R5S3KO/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1363795057&sr=1-1

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
www.dianemajorauthor.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/DianeMajorBooks

http://dimajor.blogspot.co.uk/

 Thank you for reading and don’t forget to CLICK!

I met my now close friend Mary Meddlemore (well, Mary is a character, who demanded to write her own story and the author […and although I know who she is I won’t reveal it…you can ask her if you want] seeing her determination and her love of stories could but agree) through the group of authors I’ve mentioned quite a few times now, ASMSG (logo and website attached to my blog). We got chatting on Facebook, then started exchanging e-mails, we organised a joint giveaway in January…and keep talking…and exchanging ideas about promotion, and writing….

I’ve loved Mary’s dedication to writing, and particular her love of stories. She makes no secret of the fact that she loves stories and stories possess her to the point where she has to write them as they demand it. In the case of ‘Forever After: A Dimensional Love Story’ one of the characters in the story, Mary Meddlemore (and she is a character and a half) insisted in writing the story. And it is absolutely wonderful. I’ve reviewed the novel (I leave you the link below) and loved every minute of it. And I’m very happy to say that Mary/Martie is working on the continuation of the story. And she has very ambitious plans indeed.

I leave you a sample of the novel, some links (Mary has a wonderful blog and has recently created a Facebook page that everybody who loves stories is welcome to visit and participate in) and my heartfelt recommendation of Mary’s books.

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www.amazon.com/dp/B009HXI30A

Sample of ‘Forever After. A Dimensional Love Story’

Andrew slowly got to his feet. He felt ancient.

There was a sudden sense of motion.

She was next to him, next to him, but when he turned his head, she was in front of him and he could only see her hair and the elegant motion of her hips and shoulders. He could have touched her. She walked right through the huge glass pane next to the door and was gone.

“Are you all right, Sir?”

Andrew nodded. His legs moved stiffly through the door the attendant held for him. There was no need to ask if somebody else saw her. It was obvious that nobody did, because she was not real. He could not set a trap for her and he would never be able to talk to her. She was some kind of … apparition.

He walked back to the office. It was overcast and freezing outside and he was completely crazy.

Mary’ s author page in Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Meddlemore/e/B009IAJQ26/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Don’t forget to check her other books: ‘In the Reign of Ilev’ and ‘The Seventh Sheep’!

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http://tinyurl.com/bk9pbnq

51F+qa7uqHL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AUFMWC4 

Mary’s blog:

marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com/

And this is Mary’s new Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/MaryMeddlemoresILoveStoriesPage?ref=hl

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to CLICK!

Blogs to follow:

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

http://escritoresilustradores.wordpress.com/

http://plagueofdissent.wordpress.com/

http://theverybesttop10.com/

Today, Friday, and as promised, I bring you Dan O’Brien and his interview with some of the characters from his Sci-Fiction novel The Path of the Fallen. Not that his characters are happy to just be interviewed, but they turn interviewers too at times….Don’t miss the great characters and don’t forget to click on the links!

And here I leave you with Dan and his characters!

The%20Path%20of%20the%20Fallen%20Cover[1]

As I sit down at my computer, I am struck by the eerie presence of someone behind me. Leaving behind the blinking cursor, I realize that the cast of my latest novel, The Path of the Fallen, are standing behind me. E’Malkai, sullen and burdened by the weight of the pilgrimage he has undertaken, stands behind the immovable figure of his Umordoc guardian, Elcites. Arms crossed over his chest, his gaze unsettles me despite how much time I have spent in his company whilst writing The Path of the Fallen. Arile, proud hunter of the north, leans against his spear and inspects the wall with a carefree look upon his face. Fe’rein, shrouded in the darkness that complements him so well, seethes with a dark mix of irritation and confidence.

E’Malkai: I heard that you wanted to speak to us.

Me: (clearing my throat) In a manner of speaking, yes.

Fe’rein: (glowering) What do you want? We have business left unfinished.

Me: I am releasing The Path of the Fallen, after nearly a decade hiatus, and wanted to let potential readers know a little more about it. Instead of giving them a dry summary or an adjective-laden exposition, I thought getting to know the characters might be a fun exercise.

Arile: (not making eye contact and looking away with a bored look on his face) What precisely would these potential readers want to know about us? We are an open book (snickers).

Me: Let’s start with something simple: Describe yourself to the readers.

Fe’rein: Darkness. Death. There is little else to know.

E’Malkai: (shifting uncomfortably behind his guardian) I do not know what to say about myself. I thought I knew what I supposed to do with my life, but there was always something missing. When I learned about the history of the Fallen and the journey my father began, I realized that I had to find out more, learn about where I came from.

Elcites: (grunting) I am no more than what is expected of me. I guard E’Malkai. That is all that matters.

Arile: I am the last of my people. We once could hear all the voices of the earth. The world has been broken. I can no longer hear what I once could. My people have been scattered into the winds, but I can still hear their distant voices. They speak of a new age, and of a final war.

Me: That all sounds quite dire. You make it seem like there is only darkness and sadness. Are there no happy moments in your life, memories that give you pause and hope when you consider them?

Elcites: The day I was given my charge, when I first met young E’Malkai, was the greatest and saddest day of my life.

E’Malkai: (looking up at the stoic look on his guardian’s face) I recall playing with my uncle once upon a time. (Pausing) The world changed, and so too did those memories. I cannot seem to look back upon the strained moments of my life and see happiness.

(Fe’rein scoffs and crosses his arms over his chest. He clearly is not going to answer the question.)

Arile: Each day is full of happiness and sadness, joy and terror. I find grace and importance in the simplest of tasks. This day is a gift. We must not look upon it with sorrow.

(I start to speak, but Fe’rein interrupts me, his power crawling over his skin like a swarm of frightening insects.)

Fe’rein: What makes this story any different than any of the other drivel available?

Me: That is a bit strong, isn’t it? I would like to think that my writing offers a fresh perspective on the fantasy and science fiction genre. I always try and include elements of ethics and philosophical assumptions in my novels, and this one is no different. I love to explore the elements of good and evil, as well as the murky gray area that is exposed when decisions and choices and are no longer easy. I think it captures the essence of the monomyth, or the hero’s journey, as well as being a rousing adventure tale that a reader of any age can enjoy.

E’Malkai: How is it doing so far?

Me: It is a bit early in the game to really say much about it. I released it almost a decade ago and it was well received, but it was in desperate need of a strong editing session. Now, I feel like it accurately reflects my growth as a writer and that it has a strong chance of being pretty successful, perhaps my most successful work yet.  Let’s put the focus back on you: What do you want from life?

E’Malkai: I want to set things right…

(Fe’rein stands suddenly. Elcites turns, interceding between the Dark Creator and the youth. Arile moves soundlessly behind the mion.)

Fe’rein: There is nothing to set right. I did what was necessary. They took Summer away from me. They had to pay.

Me: (standing) It seems as though I have struck a nerve. Let’s try something a bit easier, shall we? What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?

Arile: (lowering his weapon) The search for truth, questioning my place in this world. Complacency weakens the mind. I value knowledge, intelligence, and logic.

Fe’rein: (sitting once more with a huff) Solitude. The power to do what I must to keep what I have claimed. Once, I valued family and love, but those times have passed.

Elcites: My charge, my mission.

E’Malkai: My family, the people who depend on and believe in me, even if that faith is misplaced.

Me: Speaking of family, did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?

(Elcites maintains his ambivalent stare and Arile inspects something deeper in the darkness of the room.)

Fe’rein: I did not know my mother and father well. I have memories of them, brief glimpses of who they were, moments in time frozen and exaggerated. I used to wonder how they would judge me, but that doesn’t matter to me any longer. I turned out the way I did because of the choices I made. My father could not have known what would fall into my path. His plan for me is irrelevant.

E’Malkai: (looking at his uncle, Fe’rein, with sorrow) I did not know my father, but as I traveled north I learned much about the man he was and who he wanted me to be. My mother was secretive of my past, but I do not blame her. I realize now that she did not want me to die as my father had.

Me: That is quite sad. The path of the fallen began when Seth, your father, was cast from the Fallen and then ends when you return. Were you afraid of traveling north by yourself, E’Malkai? What is your greatest fear?

E’Malkai: Not being able to do what is necessary. Turnabout is fair play: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Me: A meaningful question indeed. I think I always knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was about six, I designed an entire play for my cousin’s birthday: sets, script, and little figures on Popsicle sticks. As the years went by, I found that the notion of storytelling was very attractive. This pursuit led me to writing my first novel in high school, a space opera that I published in 2002. Since then I have published ten novels and plan on telling stories until someone spreads my ashes over the sea. (Turning to Fe’rein) Fe’rein, what is your greatest regret?

Fe’rein: Beyond being summoned to this ridiculous farce, I would imagine the content of my life was the result of walking down a path to darkness. It was not sudden or abrasive, but instead incremental and engrossing. My greatest regret is taking my brother’s life. It was too late for me by then. I could only see darkness, despair.

Elcites: (clearing his throat) What was your intent with writing The Path of the Fallen? Why did you set us down this path?

Me: I wanted to tell a very particular story: one in which the line between good and evil become blurred and the consequences of a hero’s actions mean much more than defeating the bad guy. I liked the notion of a family saga wrapped up in an epic science fiction/fantasy novel. The hero’s cycle makes for a powerful story and often answers fundamental questions about the human condition. Hopefully, my book is successful to that end. (Taking a step forward and gesturing to Arile) Arile, how do you decide if you can trust someone? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?

Arile: Trust, like respect, is earned. When I first met E’Malkai, it was his naivety and simple manner that let me know that I could trust him. Generally, the test of whether or not a person is trustworthy is created by the environment, selected for by pressures that challenge a person. The idea of being predisposed to trust, or not to trust, is born of not trusting oneself. Have you written many more stories? Are we to carry on, storyteller?

Me: As the book closes, the story does not end. The path has ended, at least metaphorically, but the journey is far from over. Book of Seth returns to the beginning, giving us a glimpse of the life of Seth Armen, as well as Ryan Armen before he was corrupted. The sequel, which takes place after The Path of the Fallen, is called Breath of the Creator and weighs in on what comes next. There are several other novels with transient beings not of your dimension: a supernatural detective solving murders in San Francisco; a young man who discovers what it takes to be responsible as the world falls apart; a love story set in an epic fantasy world. (Spreading my hands wide, acknowledging all of them) This question is for all of you, what is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

Arile: I will never forget when I returned home from a hunt and found my village decimated, wiped from this earth by Umordoc. I took the long walk into the tundra, to die, but found peace and a new home. The winds have been my companion ever since.

Fe’rein: Your question is foolish, storyteller. My childhood was a lifetime ago. I am no longer that frail boy who walked beside his brother on the tundra.

Elcites: I do not recall my childhood. I was born on Terra and raised in Culouth. My youth was devoted to learning everything I could about human beings and their ways so that I might one day protect E’Malkai.

E’Malkai: Once I had fond memories, but now they all seem like lies meant to obscure my path. Storyteller, do you read other stories? Are you reading anything right now, or have you read anything recently that is worth mentioning?

Me: I have been reading A Dance of Dragons by George R. R. Martin. I have become very invested in that world, though I will admit that the pace of the narrative has slowed dramatically. I find myself undulating between being surprised and intrigued by the story and then suddenly being quite bored.

Elcites: How did we come into being?

Me: I am assuming you are asking me about my writing process. For The Path of the Fallen I wrote it for four months straight, including Book of Seth. Generally, I like to create a living outline that evolves as the characters come to life and begin to guide the narrative. It is dependent on the world I am invested in at any given time.

E’Malkai: Are our names meaningful?

Me: They are not derived from other lore, if that is what you meant. E’Malkai was named as homage to the naming scheme of the tundra people. It really depends on what I am writing. For instance, The Journey has names that are quite significant in terms of their meaning. Otherwise, I like to invent names for a particular world.

Arile: How do you define success as a writer? Have you been successful?

Me: Success is elusive once you define it. It becomes something that you aspire for regardless of the process and the craft. I would like to think that success is writing stories that people in enjoy and connect with, even if it is negatively. I think I have been successful in a very limited way: people have read my books and enjoyed them.

E’Malkai: Do you have words of wisdom about writing that you want to pass on to novelists and writers out there who are starting out?

Me: Write what you love and learn from criticism. The publishing world has changed. I have been writing for nearly a decade and I find that every year there seems to be a new opinion on which way the wind is blowing for fiction. Stay the course and do what you love. If writing novels and telling stories is what you want to do, then do that.

Fe’rein: I have noticed that you ask this ridiculous question of other storytellers: What is your End of the World Playlist? Why do you ask this question?

Me: I like hearing what people think about the notion of an end-of-the-world scenario. Also, I have a zombie novella of the same name and I like having the vibes out there for it. Do you guys have anything specific that you want to say to the readers?

Arile: E’Malkai of the South will do what he must to set the world right. His story will be passed on for generations.

Elcites: The path of the fallen is filled with both adventure and sadness. Follow E’Malkai and be transformed.

Fe’rein: I will have my day, in this life or the next. I am not evil, nor is E’Malkai good. We are merely opposite perspectives. You decide who visited more harm upon the world.

E’Malkai: I would like to think that I have done the right thing, taken the right path. The storyteller will not give away his secrets, but he might give you a glimpse. The greater question is: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers, storyteller?

Me: I am honored for anyone to read my novel. I hope that it will foster and appreciation of reading and the arts that is slowly disappearing among children and adults alike. I love to hear back from readers, so if you would like to get in touch with me, please be sure to check out my links below.

Bio: A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, Deviance of Time, The Portent, The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog at http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com.

He also works as an editor at Empirical, a national magazine with a strong West Coast vibe. Find out more about the magazine at www.empiricalmagazine.com.

AND DON’T FORGET TO CLICK ON THE LINKS

Links:

Path of the Fallen (US): http://www.amazon.com/The-Path-Fallen-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B009D2PNIU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348005293&sr=8-1&keywords=the+path+of+the+fallen+dan+obrien

Path of the Fallen (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Path-Fallen-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B009D2PNIU/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348194299&sr=1-2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordanobrien

Bitten (US):  http://www.amazon.com/Bitten-Lauren-Westlake-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005METJLU/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328663974&sr=1-1

End of the World Playlist (US): http://www.amazon.com/End-World-Playlist-ebook/dp/B0072KE9EO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328663887&sr=1-1

Cerulean Dreams (US): http://www.amazon.com/Cerulean-Dreams-ebook/dp/B005S9ZKLM/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664085&sr=1-1

The Journey (US):  http://www.amazon.com/The-Journey-ebook/dp/B005MEND1M/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664146&sr=1-1

The End of the World Playlist (UK):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/End-World-Playlist-ebook/dp/B0072KE9EO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664608&sr=1-1

Bitten (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bitten-Lauren-Westlake-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005METJLU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664631&sr=1-1

Cerulean Dreams (UK):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cerulean-Dreams-ebook/dp/B005S9ZKLM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664681&sr=1-1

The Journey (UK):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Journey-ebook/dp/B005MEND1M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328664706&sr=1-1

Blog: http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorDanOBrien

Thank you for reading!

Hi all:

I’ve come looking for some help. I don’t know if that’s the case with other writers, but I seem to accumulate beginnings of stories that sometimes get parked because I’m too busy, or because another story comes up in my head, or because I get stuck, or life gets in the way…And every so often I revisit this orphaned stories and sometimes I think…nothing doing, but sometimes I wonder if it might be worth investing more time or carrying on writing and seeing if it gets anywhere…

I’ve decided to try and rescue the beginning of some of these stories and bring them to your attention. I’d be really grateful for your feedback, positive or negative. If positive I’ll put them in the pile of ‘future work’. If negative, I’ll put them out of their misery.

In no particular order…I’ll start with this one….

Xenon

Xenon. Billie always tried to guess things about her patients by their names, even before reading the referral letter, or the notes, but somebody called Xenon…It said something about his parents for sure, but…

It was a referral letter in his case. Very vague. She wondered if it would be one of these cases where somebody who should have been referred to a counsellor, or told to get a life, had been referred to a psychiatrist. No specific symptoms, asking for help…Drugs maybe?

He was a young man, 27 nearly 28, quite attractive, the tall, dark and handsome type, dressed in a casual but expensive manner. He shook her hand and sat in front of her, at the other side of the desk. He appeared quite relaxed.

“Dr Curtis…”

“Mr Taylor…”

“Call me Xenon. Or Xen. Everybody does.”

“Thanks.” She must have looked intrigued or puzzled because he felt obliged to explain.

“My parents wanted to call me X but they weren’t allowed to. The guy at the registry thought Xenon was a real name.”

“Everybody always asks you the same, I imagine.”

“Not always. Some people pretend they know the name or they’ve heard it before. In a human being, not a gas.”

Billie smiled. At that point she wasn’t really sure that it was going anywhere.

“Sorry but Dr Asley’s letter isn’t very specific. Why do you think you need to see a psychiatrist?”

“Oh…I have problems…I don’t mean I’m mad, or depressed, or anything like that. It’s just…I’m different…”

OK. One of those. Nobody understands me, I’m trying to find myself…Bo-ring.

“I don’t mean all that crap… ‘I don’t fit in’. ‘Nobody understands me’. No, I mean…I don’t….I’m not a human being. I’m different.”

Billie knew her face was not showing anything. She was a professional and had heard a lot of things. But now what? Humour him, or send him on his way? Was he genuinely mad? How had he not come to the attention of mental health services before if he was really mad? Had something happened recently?

“I’ve lived with it all this time but it’s getting too much.”

OK, the next question was self-evident, but that didn’t mean it shouldn’t be asked.

“If you’re not a human being, what exactly are you?”

Xenon smiled and as he did opened him mouth wide. His canines had become fangs and his eyes had changed, showing elongated pupils, like a cat’s.

“Oh, I see. You’re a vampire.”

“Yes.”

How unoriginal! Billie sighed. It was a reasonable trick, but she had things to do. Better things to do.

“Have you come on behalf of my friend Cynthia? She’s been talking about secret societies and vampires since we were kids. I’m not that interested.”

“I’m not joking. It isn’t a trick!” He said, holding her by the wrists and leaving marks there. That was much more than she was prepared to take from somebody who wasn’t even a patient yet.

“What do you think you’re doing? I don’t care if you’re Count Dracula in person, but don’t touch me! Do you understand?”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to…Look again…” He showed her how his teeth transformed into fangs, step by step. OK, no tricks she could see. He then smiled.

“I can do other things too.”

Suddenly the things on her desk moved without his touching them, including the computer and all the papers, lifting up and floating as if not subject to laws of gravity and then twirling around. He then just gave a short nod and all went back to its previous position.

“Telekinesis…”

“Amongst other things. Your friend has been right all along.”

Maybe he should be telling Cynthia rather than her. The guy was definitely different, but from that to needing a psychiatrist, and her in particular…

“Well…What do you expect from me?”

“Help. It’s difficult to live between humans and pretend to be like them when to us they are only…”

“For feeding. Cows?”

Xenon nodded and then a smile toyed in his face.

“You know? You seem very calm and cool about all this. You aren’t thinking about telling anybody, are you? You’re bound by clients’ confidentiality.”

“I’m not sure it applies to non-humans.”

Xenon looked at her with incredulity and menace in his eyes.

“If you try…I’ll hunt you down and…kill you.”

“That’s what I call the beginning of a good therapeutic relationship. Why did you choose me?”

“I sensed something about your name.”

Billie couldn’t help trying to get some amusement out of the situation.

“Shouldn’t you be in your coffin or something? It’s day time.”

“Oh, there’re a lot of things people believe about us that are pure crap and lurid imagination. For some reason we appear to be a never ending source of desire, fear and inspiration to humans.”

The uncanny, as Freud put it. He was right about human’s fancy with vampires and other monsters, although vampires more than others.

“But you suck blood.”

“Sure…”

“That’s a relief. At least they got something right. I’m not sure I could have coped with such disappointment and let down.”

Xenon laughed.

“I like your sense of humour. Very…dark.”

“It helps in my profession.”

They looked at each other. Surprisingly Xenon gave up first and looked down.

“I’ll bring you our book of rules and laws…It might help you understand my issues.”

“Do you have a code of conduct, rules, regulations…?”

“We’re a very ancient…people…Yes, we have some laws…”

“Good…Isn’t all this supposed to be a secret? Aren’t you breaking the rules here?”

“Billie…Yes, of course. But then…I’m trying to avoid breaking more serious rules. There are rules and there are rules…and as you know rules are made to be bent…if not broken. I hope you don’t mind if I call you Billie.”

“I’m not that bothered.”

“Could we meet in the evenings? Yes, we can walk around and all that, but we’re creatures of the night, that’s true enough. We function better at night.”

“I only have use of my office during standard working hours.”

He might be prepared to break or bend the rules, but Billie didn’t want to set a precedent. It was quite clear this was a guy who didn’t take no for an answer if he could help it. He needed boundaries…and many other things, although she didn’t have any idea of what those might be.

“Could I come to your place? Or we could meet somewhere else. I have a nice apartment.”

No way.

“I don’t do home visits…If you insist…If you give me your mobile number I’ll let you know of a convenient evening, if you don’t have any…”

We normally meet on Thursdays, after midnight. I don’t imagine you’d want to meet that late. Otherwise most of my business is conducted at night.”

“Give me your number.”

Xenon gave her a card. Black, red letters, very stylish.

“Very you…I’ll call you.”

He looked at her fixedly.

“I will call you. Honest. Can’t you read my mind? Or is that also part of the folklore?”

“We’re quite good with some people. Some better than others. Particularly if the person isn’t very complicated.”

She guessed that was as close to a compliment as she could expect to get from him. He then gave her a thick envelope. It was full of money.

“What is this for?”

“I want to pay you in advance. Just tell me when you think we’ve run out of money and I’ll keep topping up. It isn’t a problem.”

“But, how many sessions do you think you need?”

“No idea…Anyway, pleasure meeting you. See you next week.”

“Listen, this money…”

“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll earn it. Don’t be concerned about that. I don’t give anything for nothing.”

He shook her hand and left swiftly.

Thank you and don’t forget to leave a comment!

Hi all:

I mentioned that I’m working on a YA series (and I’m in the process of translating it to Spanish) but as an introduction to that I’ve decided to publish (within the next few weeks) a YA novella that I wrote some time ago. It has a touch of the paranormal and a bit of romance although that is not yet evident in the little taster/teaser I enclose.

I hope you enjoy it! I’ll keep you updated on its publication.

And without further ado, here it is:

Twin Evils?

Hilda’s friend, Ruth, was the prettiest and loveliest girl in town. Her blond hair was fine and silky, her eyes blue like sapphires, her mouth red like coral. She would have been chanted by the poets of old if she’d lived in a different time. Ruth was the pride and darling of Yorktown. And she was clever enough, and generous and kind. She had it all.

Ruth had a brother too. Max was her twin, but hardly anybody would have guessed that they were related. He was very tall and thin, his hair was thick, curly and black like coal, his eyes grey like slate, and his mouth had thin lips that hardly ever smiled. He was the black sheep of the family, and Ruth and him were known as ‘the angel and the devil’ by the population.

Hilda had known them both all her life. They were the same age, and, in fact, their families were friendly before they were even born. Their parents used to go out on double dates and they got married on a double wedding. They lived in contiguous houses and it was as if they were all members of the same family. Hilda had always felt that it was her duty to befriend Ruth and Max. The task had been very easy with Ruth, she was friendly with everybody, but Max wasn’t an easy boy. As a child, when they played together, he used to torture animals, insects, fight with other children…Ruth always shied away from him, she couldn’t bear any type of violence, but Hilda wasn’t squeamish, and Max had always assumed that Hilda approved of what he did. She told him many times that she didn’t like his behaviour but he insisted that her words were only a pose. Max was always as nasty as he could be towards his sister. He put dead animals in her bed, maggots in her food, ruined her dresses…Once Hilda stopped him when he was about to set his sleeping sister’s hair on fire. Ruth woke up with the discussion and slapped him when she heard what he was about to do, but he only laughed. No threats from Ruth, no warnings from his parents, no punishment from his teachers made any difference to him.

The summer of the twins’ seventeenth birthday, Max had given everybody a break by deciding to go camping with some other youngsters. They had had two weeks of peace, and the two families had been preparing the twins’ birthday party at ease, in perfect tranquillity.

“Hilda! Hilda!”

“Oh no, he’s back” Hilda’s father, Steph, mumbled under his breath.

“Hilda!”

“Go to see what he wants, before we all end up deaf or mad.” Mandy, Hilda’s mother, ordered.

“All right, all right. I’ll go.”

“Hilda!”

Hilda marched into the garden feeling like a martyr. The sacrifices she had to make to keep the peace! Max was restlessly running up and down his garden. He opened his mouth and began:

“Hi…Oh, you are here.”

Yes, Max. Here I am. Do you always have to be so noisy?”

“Shut up! I must show you something.” He grabbed Hilda by the arm and dragged her over the fence.

“Be careful, will you?”

“Sorry. Come, quick.”

Hilda and Max entered the house through the back door of the lounge, opening into the garden. Hilda said hello in passing to Max’s mother, Eleanor, and his father, Patrick. Ruth was sitting in her room, with the door open.

“Oh Ruth, how…?”

Max pushed Hilda into his room.

“Don’t talk to her. You aren’t here to talk to her. You’ve come to see something.”

“When will you grow up, Max? I’m your sister’s friend too, and…”

“Stop it, please. Look…”

Max switched the lights on. His room was painted in black, walls and ceiling, with strange cabalistic inscriptions and devilish drawings. It was always dark inside. Once he made light, he took his T-shirt off and showed Hilda his back.

“What do you think?”

Hilda was speechless. It was an incredible tattoo. A black eagle, with spread wings, attacking a white dove. The eagle’s beak was dripping blood, and the red colour of the tattoo was very intense, quasi pulsating. The dove had blue eyes and was carrying a branch of wheat. The eagle’s eyes were grey and the wings looked shiny and iridescent. It was an extremely vivid tattoo. And the meaning was too clear for Hilda to be able to ignore it. Max always called Ruth ‘the white dove’. It was horrible.

“Why did you do that, Max?”

“There was a guy incredibly good with tattoos nearby. It’s my own design.”

“I’ve noticed that.”

“Why don’t you like it? Isn’t it good?”

“It’s good. Real good. But, what does it mean?”

“Mean?…Nothing. It’s only a tattoo.”

Max tried his most innocent expression, but it didn’t come natural to him. Not convincing at all.

“I don’t like the imagery.” Ruth said.

“Imagery. Lovely word. I love how you talk, like a book.”

“Bye Max.”

Ruth turned her back on Max and stepped toward the door.

“Wait, wait! I have another tattoo!”

“If it’s like this one I’d rather not see it, thank you.”

“Oh no, it’s very different. Guess where it is.”

Ruth had stopped and turned to look at Max, but shook her head and carried walking.

“I’m not interested in games, Max. I have things to do.”

Max ran to the door to prevent Hilda from leaving.

“Come on…I’ve been away for two weeks and you haven’t even asked me how it was or how I am, or nothing. I’ve missed you, you know? And you don’t even care enough to ask.” He whined.

“You haven’t asked me either. You only came shouting…”

“OK, I’m sorry. I just had to show it to someone or I would have exploded. I haven’t showed it to anybody.”

“Is it a surprise then?”

“Yes, yes. You won’t tell, will you?”

Max and his secrets. Hilda had been selected as his official confidant many years back and she had never managed to get rid of the privilege. Although, Max never quite confessed everything. He always kept something to himself. That made things slightly easier for Hilda. Sometimes. Sometimes it made them worse.

“You’ll have to show your parents. They’ll find out.”

“I will, soon…But keep it quiet in the meantime, OK?”

“Fine.”

“Now, guess where I have the other tattoo.”

Thank you for reading, and of course…feel free to guess…I might or might not reveal the location of Max’s second tattoo…

Ah, on Friday guest author Judith Priay!

JOINT GIVEAWAY WITH MARY MEDDLEMORE

I promised I would be writing about this wonderful giveaway we have organised. WE as in Mary Meddlemore and I. “Who is Mary Meddlemore?” you will ask? Excellent question, as questions go. Mary is a character. And a writer…Or something like that.

Mary is also writing in her blog about the giveaway and the process of setting it up and all. Well, I don’t know exactly what she’s writing as we were both going to post on the same date, so I haven’t seen her post. But if you check, she might explain it more and better…

Here is her blog page:

http://marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com/

So, what’s the story? Mary and I met through a group of writers. ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group). I was happily Tweeting about all kinds of things, but doing a fair amount of retweeting about other writers and the founder of the group (R. Grey Hoover, great man) contacted me and there I was…a member of the group. We have a variety of fora, one being Facebook, where people post about their writing, interesting stuff they’ve come across…you know…(By the way, if you want to check the webpage of the group, here is the link: http://asmsg.weebly.com/index.html   Plenty of useful stuff.) Somehow Mary and I got talking (or messaging), and got on like a house on fire. Yes, we live very far away from each other, in different time zones, completely different climates (luckily for her), and we’ve never set eyes on each other (only our avatars or some pictures) but what does any of that matter? We shared the joys, the frustrations the misunderstandings, the hopes and aspirations, the gossip, the ups and downs, and we enjoyed each other’s companies. If nothing else comes out of this writing thing, meeting Mary and some of the other wonderful people I’ve come across along the way will make it well worth it. (I would add some nice sentimental music here, but you should see how difficult it was to just do a sound post, so…sorry…).

Through chatting about writing we discovered we had published in Amazon around the same time (in October 2012…it seems years now!) and therefore chances for using our free giveaway days were running out. And, hey presto! Light bulb! Why not combine the giveaways? Yes, our writing is quite different, but that should make it far more interesting. Mary was working on her new collection of short stories The Seven Sheep (it’s fabulous, but don’t take my word for it! Download it! It’s free from the 10th to the 14th January!) and wanted to give all her books away. She’s a truly generous soul. I started with my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’ but then thought…I should give the Spanish version away too…And…Maybe we should make it half a dozen, so why not add one of my novellas?

We had some comings and goings and thankfully Mary organised our blog/webpage for the giveaway. Although you can choose to go to each one of the books and get them, why make life difficult for yourself? If you follow the below link, you can click on all the books and download them to your heart’s content. If you’re not in Amazon.com we have the ASIN of the books and they should be available in all Amazon stores (beware of time zone differences.) Not only that. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, Mary has also added the link to download the Amazon PC e-reader App, so you can always read them in your computer.

http://freestuffolgamary.wordpress.com/

And Mary kept going with her writing and editing, and I kept investigating how to promote our giveaway and sending information to Mary (who had sent me information before. We’re like explorers in an alien planet trying to understand the language and laws of this book marketing thing) and started pestering people and posting things on websites…and of course, here…

Now, the time has nearly come. From the 10th to the 14th of January Mary and I are giving away 6 books. Sci-fiction, short-stories, novellas, family sagas, humour, absurd, magical, tears, laughter…Why? Because we love stories, and without stories we’re nothing.

Or as Mary writes in her introduction to The Seventh Sheep:

“Stories cannot be contained. They can be labeled and sorted into categories, but readers read and make of them what they will and so it should be.

Stories have wings. They fly where they want to.

Stories are the soul of mankind. It doesn’t matter whether the story is “intellectual/literary” or just fun, whether it is meant for children or adults etc., all stories contain the same story elements, namely: characters, settings, actions (or non-actions), consequences of actions or non-actions, story moments and a story line etc.

Whether you read just for pleasure or whether you study a story, the story elements invade your being, because your life, is a story too. Stories merely mimic human existence, because being human, human authors cannot think of anything outside their “human” capabilities.

Extraterrestrial intelligence will be elegant, complex, internally consistent and utterly alien.

Carl Sagan in Cosmos

 

Stories bring extra experiences, because when you read, you get to “know” thousands of “characters”. There is no way that you could ever “know” so many “real” people intimately. Thus, reading automatically widens your perspective.

Stories can also bring awareness if you “read/notice ” yourself, or others  or specific familiar circumstances in a story.

Awareness brings the possibilities of change, if it is wanted or needed.

Each story is experienced and interpreted differently by every single reader and so it should be, because you are all unique.

The gifts of stories are immense!”

Readers, here are our stories. Please help us share them with others! If you have any ideas of how to spread the word, please leave a comment and we’ll be on your eternal debt!

And thanks for reading!

I'm a featured author at Freebooksy

Illustrations de The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,...

Illustrations de The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi all: I’m Olga and as I’ve been promising you I’m going to be bringing you authors as guests to my blog once a week. I am leaving them tell you in their own words what they think any readers would like to know.

My first guest is Gem Thomas, who is indeed a Gem and real character. See what you think and support his work! I for one I’m fascinated by his new project!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is GEM. And I am a writer and can firmly state that my recent work is above all the rest in the UK and US.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?

Live it up. Have fun.

3. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?  

I first started writing when I was a child. I created all types of fiction. Action stories were my favorite. All the time, superheroes would be fighting villains in my stories. I recall writing what is now called fan fiction. At the time, I did not know of this genre. It was my story about another boy who floated down the Mississippi river, next to Tom Sawyer. I stopped writing so much in high school. By college, I was too busy to write fiction. After college, I finished my first novel in September of 2010.

4.How did you choose the genre you write in?

I cover many genres and plan on moving into more, once I am clear of my newest novel. The Strong Roads Series are historical-fiction works. I went to Hawaii right after college to learn more about myself. While in the local library, quite early in my adventure, I learned about an amazing tale of the Spanish being in Hawaii centuries before Captain Cook. I was immediately intrigued. I always enjoyed learning about world history so, I was able to turn this legend into a narrative. I am excited to say I am the first person to have done this.

5. Do you want to talk about your newest work?

My newest novel is titled Strong Roads: Blues and Greens and Blood. It is the continued story of the main character in sixteenth-century Hawaii. What interests so many people, I think, is the potential of it being a true story. My main character is made a high chief by the aristocracy and he falls in love with an even higher-classed woman. Their relationship breaks social norms. Then, war erupts in the Island and their lives are forever changed. I combined ingredients from literary classics and am pleased to share it with everyone. But, what I am doing different is releasing it in a digital format. Readers will be able to tap a character’s name and hear how it is pronounced in the ‘native’ tongue of Ancient Hawaii. This is only possible, because of modern technology. Everyone will enjoy the story and love the interactive medium it is told in.

6. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Yes. I have a crowdfunding campaign. I am raising money for advertisements associated with the release of Strong Roads: Blues and Greens and Bloods. Indiegogo.com is hosting the project and allows for international contributors, which is perfect because my story is able to be enjoyed in the international scene, especially throughout Spanish-speaking countries. There are plenty of rewards for everyone that donates to my crowdfunding project. www.gemthomas.com has information.

Thanks!

*********************************************************************

Just a reminder of the details of my own book:

The link to The Man Who Never Was is:

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

You can access the book trailer for The Man in my author’s page in Amazon, or directly in U-tube but if you wish to use links, please use the one above:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/qvUitFG2D20

Next Friday, author Simon Jenner will be my guest. I can’t wait!

A.J.Lyndon

English Civil War historical novelist

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