A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “Urbane Publications Limited”

Guest Post by Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith

To start off the Urbane Publications blog event here is a guest post from Matthew Smith himself.

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Without you, we are nothing

Despite my cherubic looks and air of sweet innocence, I’ve actually been in the publishing game for quite a number of years. In that time, I’ve heard, discussed, laughed at, shaken my head in weary disbelief, and yes, been guilty of devising and implementing, some pretty ridiculous publishing strategies. All of which, on paper at least, looked very corporate, businessy and go getting, devised to improve the ‘bottom line’ and ‘drive growth’ – and all, without exception, failing to take into account that people were involved in every stage of the publishing process.

As you know I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about collaboration, particularly where authors are concerned, because I firmly believe, rightly or wrongly, that Urbane will survive and thrive because we understand that authors and their work matter and that they must be an integral part of the publishing experience. This isn’t just about finding the right ‘product’, but the right person to work with – and who wants to work with Urbane – because it gives each and every book the best possible chance of success. The advantages are obvious – shared goals, shared effort, shared energy, shared knowledge, and a partnership that can tackle challenges positively, rather than fostering ‘them and us’ attitudes.

So far, touch wood, stroke my rabbit’s foot and thank a few lucky stars, this is a strategy/philosophy/approach that seems to be working. We’ll obviously have to ask a few authors what they think, but it’s allowed Urbane to publish some bloody good books. But of course publishing success, and more importantly author success, relies on another collaboration, one that’s utterly vital. The collaboration with the reader.

Yep, I’m talking about you, the lovely person reading this. We, and I’m using the royal we that incorporates both publisher and author, would be completely lost without you. Now there’s a genuine initial obstacle to any hope of publisher-author-reader collaboration, and that’s the challenge of the reader finding us in the first place. With over 12.5 million books on Amazon, fewer bookstores, and those bookstores being very risk-averse to boot, it is harder and harder for readers to find new authors and authors to find new readers. But you know what, it’s an obstacle readers themselves have the power to break down very, very easily. How? By sharing. It doesn’t matter if you read 3 books a year (all on holiday on your kindle) or you’re voraciously consuming three literary masterpieces a week, your opinion counts. Your thoughts on a book, and its worth, are far more vital than you realise. You have power people. I could spend thousands running a poster campaign but good word of mouth from those who have actually read a book is the only truly effective marketing. A review has impact, it affects visibility, profile, discoverability – not to put too fine a point on it, YOU can make or break a book.

So let me finish this small piece with an appeal. If you love books, even if you just love one book, please, please, please make your opinion count. Let fellow readers know about the books that matter, that entertain, that bring joy, and happiness and provoke thought and feeling. You are the most important collaborator of all and WE need YOU.

 

Visit Urbane Publications at http://urbanepublications.com/

 

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Introduction from Matthew Smith

Urbane Logo

When you spend every waking (and many sleeping) hour devoted to developing and publishing books, you realise very quickly how much the support and enthusiasm of others is essential to your potential success. Key amongst these are those who take their love of books beyond the page and give their time and energy to help publishers and authors grow and thrive. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that people such as Sonya, and all her fellow bloggers and reviewers, exist. Our publishing world would be a much poorer place without them. I feel very humbled by the coverage Urbane will receive this week and I hope you will not only enjoy the wonderful reviews, interviews and articles but continue to follow Sonya as she brings you lots of fabulous books, authors and publishers in the future.

Matthew Smith, Managing Director, Urbane Publications

 

Welcome To My Urbane Publications Blog Event

Urbane Books

This week is all about Urbane Publications on my blog.  There will be guest posts, interviews, competitions, reviews and more.  Over the past year I have hosted a few guest posts and done a couple of interviews but I really felt that the publisher and his wonderful authors deserved more, hence this event.

I have been blogging for quite a while now and have read a number of books.  I support many publishers and authors and hope to continue to do so for a long time.  Through the use of social media, mainly Twitter, one publisher which really caught my eye was Urbane Publications.  The founder and owner, Matthew Smith has already achieved so much and works extremely hard with his authors to deliver a wide range of books to his readers.  There is literally something for everyone and with loads more to come there will definitely be no shortage of reading material.  To me Matthew is the superman of publishing and long may he be successful.

As you can see from the picture above I have collected quite a few Urbane books; a number of them were sent to me by Matthew and I have of course also bought some.  They are very precious to me and I will always treasure them.  I know I will be adding many more Urbane books to my collection over the next few years.

I really hope you all enjoy this event.

Sonya

 

 

Guest Post by Jared A. Carnie

I would like to introduce you all to Jared A. Carnie.  He has recently signed up with Urbane Publications and is having his debut novel published later this year.  Jared has written a thought provoking guest post for my blog.

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Life is a series of mid-life crises.

It doesn’t matter what age you are.

A mid-life crisis is a fracture. A rupture in the balance between adventure and settling. The battle between youth and adulthood.

This is the situation as T.V would have it: You’ve finally bought a house. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you’ve found a job you’ll probably see through until retirement. Your parents have passed away. You realise you’re going to pass away too. Not in some abstract sense in an unimaginable future, but really, at some point, you understand that you’re going to die. And you panic. Is this it? Is this what I’m going to do for the rest of my life? Have I really done enough? What about all those things I always promised I would do? Wouldn’t the young me be disappointed in what I’ve become? And that’s when the cliches come. You get that sports car or get the old band back together or whatever.

So why is it called a crisis? Because that’s not what people want from you. People like you to be a fixed, finite entity. You’ve secured a house! You’re winning. You should stick. You don’t need to twist anymore. You’ve got a family and a job. There are millions out there who would give anything to have what you have. Why isn’t that enough for you? People don’t appreciate you acting out. People don’t appreciate you seeming dis-satisfied. They’re dis-satisfied, of course, but they don’t talk about it. They certainly don’t do anything about it.

Here’s the thing. That’s not just middle-age. That’s every age.

When you hit puberty and you discover sex and drugs and poetry and music it seems impossible and ridiculous that instead you’re forced to learn algebra. What does that have to do with anything? Don’t these people know we’re going to die soon?

By eighteen you’ve probably experienced some tragedy. A friend dying young or a family torn apart or any number of awful things you never could’ve predicted. You’re older now. You want to get out in the world and get started. But instead you’re told about university. You must get your grades. You must choose the right university and get the right degree or you won’t get anywhere in life.

So maybe you do go to university. You get that degree. This is it now, you’ve been held up long enough. Now you’re really done, right? You’re a qualified adult and you can do what you want.

Except, of course, now you’re in massive debt. Now you’ve got to get a job. And that’s not easy. It won’t be the job you trained for. It’ll be whatever you can find. It’ll be exhausting and unfulfilling and everyone will tell you how grateful you should be for it. At least it’s money, right? Maybe in a while you’ll be able to quit and move to South America. Maybe you’ll save enough to take time off work and just paint. But then there’s other people your age. They’re having kids and getting houses. Are you going to be one of those people who hit their thirties with no idea of what they’re doing in life? Potentially still living with their parents and no nearer to being able to afford a house? Everyone tells you: don’t be one of those people. Secure your future. You’ve got to.

Meanwhile, more terrible things are happening. Relatives are passing away at an alarming rate. People you went to school with develop unimaginable illnesses and you watch their deterioration anonymously and sadly on Facebook. There isn’t time. There isn’t time for this.

And suddenly you find someone. Sure, you’ve got a big mortgage now but at least you’ve got a place together. Your job isn’t what you dreamed but you’re doing well. The mortgage ties you down but at least you’ll have somewhere for the kids. And now the kids are here. And you’ve got to stay near the good schools and now isn’t really the time to start your career over with how tight things are. And now your parents are ill. And now your parents are gone. And your children are growing up quicker and quicker and your body is aching in ways it didn’t used to. Maybe now’s the time. If not now, when? Maybe we cut down on a few things this year. Maybe we finally pack up and move away. Maybe now’s the time to explore the world. And that’s when you’re ridiculed. That’s when the cries of mid-life crisis appear. Isn’t this enough for you? Don’t your family make you happy? People would kill for the job you have. Why would you risk all that? And you can’t quite shake the idea that they’re right. Besides, you’ve been paying into your pension all this time and when you retire you’ll really be free, right? That’ll be when it really happens. That’ll be the real freedom.

From childhood to retirement the battle stays the same. Life is long and life is short. You need to prepare for the future. And you need to live while you have the time. How do you strike that balance? When it comes down to it, what is your priority?

It is difficult. It comes dressed up differently but it’s a problem everyone faces. For me, there’s actually something kind of reassuring about knowing that every daring, brilliant thing that human beings have ever accomplished was done to a backdrop of people cynically saying “’yes, but what about your future?”

My debut novel, Waves, will be out Summer 2016 with Urbane Publications. Amongst other things, this is what I like to think it is about.

 

About Jared A. Carnie

Jared A. Carnie is currently based in Sheffield. He was awarded a New North Poets Award at the Northern Writers Awards 2015. His debut novel, Waves, will be published by Urbane Publications in Summer 2016. He can be found at www.jaredacarnie.com or on twitter @jacarnie.

 

Book Cover

 

‘Waves’ can be pre-ordered on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Waves-Jared-Carnie/dp/1911129422/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452108300&sr=1-1&keywords=waves%2C+jared+a.+carnie

 

Book Launch – ‘Simon says’ by Daniel Gothard

Simon says

Happy New Year!  Daniel Gothard’s novel, ‘Simon says’ is out today, published by Urbane Publications.  Read on to find out more about it.

 

Book Blurb

Simon Templar was named after a suave and heroic man of action, but he seems to lack the finer points of his namesake. Slightly hapless, occasionally hopeless, and prone to being chased by angry strangers, he is the everyman who doesn’t fit. When his drunken father-in-law divulges a shocking truth about the love of Simon’s life and takes away his one chance at happiness, it seems the world will always kick him where it hurts. Yet in the aftermath of this revelation Simon is determined to rebuild his life, hopes and dreams. Or at least have a life, hopes and dreams. With the support of his best buddy Sean, and embracing a dating frenzy that would put a lothario to shame (albeit a not particularly successful lothario), Simon goes on a journey of self-discovery. Can he learn to trust again, and finally understand the true meaning of love? In the best traditions of Richard Curtis and David Nicholls, Simon says is a wonderful bittersweet comedy of love, life and longing, and the perfect read for any rom-com fan.

 

‘Simon says’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/simon-says/

Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Simon-says-Daniel-Gothard/dp/1910692484/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451671468&sr=1-1&keywords=simon+says+daniel+gothard

 

‘Being Someone’ by Adrian Harvey

Being Someone

‘Being Someone’ is Adrian Harvey’s debut novel.  It was published by Urbane Publications in 2014.  I was sent a copy to review a while back.

James has gone through life, taking each and every day as it comes, whilst all the time waiting for that special something to turn up.  Amongst other things he loves travelling to India.  His ongoing journey seems to be lacking one vital element though, a fellow traveller.

Then he meets the lovely Lainey.  She is everything James wants and more and he is determined to win her heart.  Lainey gives James a reason to grow and he sees a bright future with her.  She promises him the happy ending he has been looking for.  But will things work out the way he imagines them to?

I really enjoyed reading ‘Being Someone’ and I felt I got a lot out of it.  I’m not sure if this is a book I would have bought had I seen it in a bookshop, but I’m so glad now that I gave it a go and I do truly recommend it.  The story itself starts off in Mysore and it took me a while to figure out what the relevance was, but all soon became clear.

‘Being Someone’ is a beautifully told story about life, love and loss.  I personally find it hard to believe that this is actually a debut novel, so advanced is the writing.  The descriptions of India were wonderful and so very vivid that at one point I felt as I was actually there with James.  I also like how the author has written about Jagganath who James met in India.  James was going through a hard time and Jagganath showed him hospitality, something that Indians are very well known for.

I don’t necessarily condone what James did, but I think it shows that things had changed and couldn’t be rescued.  Life is an ongoing journey that we are all travelling.  Good and bad, happy and sad, we all have to carry on.

I am looking forward to reading Adrian Harvey’s new novel which is out next year.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Being Someone’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/being-someone/

Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Being-Someone-Adrian-Harvey/dp/1909273090/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451575323&sr=1-1&keywords=being+someone

 

Interview with David John Griffin

David John Griffin

David John Griffin recently submitted a short story for my Halloween event.  Since then his novel, ‘The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb’ has been published.  I asked David some questions.

 

I have really been enjoying ‘The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb’.  For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about your book please.

The first draft of The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb was written over 40 years ago when I was a student at Medway College of Art & Design (as it was called then). It took two years to write the first draft. As it was written on a mechanical typewriter, the second draft meant typing the whole lot out again! No computers, cut & paste, etc., in those days, of course. Over the years, it has undergone another 2 or 3 major revisions, and many minor ones. I’m not sure now where the ideas came from though I was highly influenced in style at the time by Mervyn Peake’s books The Gormenghast Trilogy. The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb has been described by one reviewer as “Dickens with a dose of the psychedelic”. It’s published by Urbane Publications, a dynamic and up-and-coming indie publishing house.

Here is a description:

The turn of the last century and Theodore Stubb’s manor house resides in the quirky village of Muchmarsh. A renowned entomologist, he is often within the attic adding another exotic specimen to his extensive collection of insects. But Theodore is also a master hypnotist, holding the household in thrall to his every whim. Theodore’s daughter-in-law Eleanor – returned from the sanatorium two months before – is a haunted figure, believing that her stillborn child Alastair lives and hides in the shadows. Then she falls pregnant again, but this time by the hypnotic coercion and wicked ravishment of Theodore. A dreadful act begets terrible secrets, and thirteen years later the boy Alastair Stubb begins to lose his identity – it is not long before mystery, intrigue and murder follow gleefully in his wake. The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb is a gothic terror of the highest order, delivering a dream-like and hallucinatory reading experience that promises to reveal secrets both disturbing and astonishing.

 

Is this a genre you are particularly interested in?

It’s strange that with The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb I had no thoughts of its genre while writing it. It was only ten years ago or less when a reader described it as gothic. I realized then, oh yes, so it is! Also the aspects of magical realism weren’t consciously added with any thought of “I’ll add magical realism” – I wrote it with the sheer love of creative writing. I’m not sure if I’d ever write another gothic novel. I’ve visited that genre and that’s satisfying enough, I think.

Though I’ve realised that magical realism is important to me and has found its way (and will) into future novels.

 

I see that you’ve also got a novella out which I’ll be reading soon.  Are you planning to write any more?

I enjoyed the novella form very much. The original idea for Two Dogs At The One Dog Inn was for a short story but once I started writing it, I realised it needed more pages than that. Although I learned a lot, in as much as pushing my imagination to the limit then pushing some more, I don’t think I’ll visit the novella form again – though we wait to see. I prefer the novel form (with all its complications and headaches) even over short stories.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m half way through the first draft of a fantasy novel. It’s turning out very strange indeed. Again I’m pushing my imagination – I only hope its not too strange even for my readers! The title of the novel is secret at the moment! I hope to have it finished, final draft, by mid-2016.

Here’s a work in progress description:

Stave Swirler is lost in a nightmarish dream. Or is he? His given mission is to save his Realm before it’s too late. A fantastical journey of strange discovery, in conflict with the malevolent agents of Tremelon Zandar. A surreal and imaginative tale of fantasy and love that will captivate you from beginning to end.

 

Do you have a favourite place to do your writing?

I write mainly in an upstairs bedroom which I call the studio. I used to compose electronic music and had my own recording studio in a spare room so any creative space now with a computer is called the studio.

I also have a writing desk in the corner of my garden shed where I write, during the summer months, on an iPad. If it gets dark, I light candles so it’s very atmospheric.

 

Did you always want to be a writer?

From the age of five! I remember way back then, in class at primary school, when the teacher gave us a piece of paper and a pencil each and asked us to write a short story. After I had filled the first page, I went up to the teacher and asked for another sheet of paper. She replied, in a delighted tone, “Another piece of paper?” I must have asked for at least another three sheets and the encouraging remark with a smile was always the same.

I knew I wanted to write. Though towards the end of this first story, my writing became half inch high letters – despite the thirst to write instilled in me then, I was too young to know what I wanted to write about.

At the age of fourteen, I wrote a 100 pages in longhand at my parents’ dinner table, an unusual science fiction story. Reading it recently, I was struck as to how surreal and naive it is! But that’s to be expected, I guess.

Which leads me up to the ‘70’s when I wrote Alastair Stubb at art college, the urge to write strong within me.

Despite that, my second novel wasn’t started until another ten years after, in the mid 80’s. (Called Infinite Rooms, due to be published May next year by Urbane Publications).

 

How has social media helped you?

Twitter has been the main help – I found my publisher via Twitter and many nice people, all to do with writing mainly. Goodreads and Facebook are fine too and have offered some good contacts and friendships as well.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

When writing a novel first draft, or even a short story first draft for that matter, keep going from beginning to end without looking back. Don’t read what you’ve typed, don’t correct or revise, just plough on to the end. Revision and correction happen in the 2nd and subsequent drafts.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Walk our two dogs, Bullseye and Jimbo, spending time with my wife Susan, occasionally the cinema or out for a meal. The usual really! I also create apps for the iPad as a hobby.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

I have many favourite authors, new and old, but I’ll only mention the ones who have had the greatest influence on me and who I have admired and tried to emulate in certain aspects of creative writing: Charles Dickens, Mervyn Peake, Leanora Carrington, Angel Carter, Jorge Louis Borges, Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, John Wyndham. I could carry on, but leave it there!

 

 

Links

Website – http://davidjohngriffin.com

Amazon: Author Page – http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-John-Griffin/e/B00NQ1GUPY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1449688005&sr=1-2-ent

Twitter – @MagicalRealized

 

Interview with Robert Enright

Author Photo

Robert Enright self-published his debut novel, ‘One by One’ earlier this year.  He has recently signed up with Urbane Publications and has a book coming out next autumn.  I asked Robert some questions.

 

Tell me a bit about your debut novel, ‘One by One’.

One by One is a gritty, violent revenge tale about one man’s quest to avenge his wife, who falls victim to a notorious crime gang. I wanted to write a revenge story where the protagonist could not only match the bad guys, but maybe even exceed them with regards to his methods.

Some of it was a little tricky to write as it is graphic in its depiction of violence and how it only leads to more, however I feel confident that I wove a real love story that drives Lucas, the hero, onwards on his quest for vengeance. Also, as a big fan of action and revenge movies, it was great fun writing some of the fight scenes!

Book Cover

How long did it take you to write?

It took me just under a year from start to finish. I did however, write it as a movie script the year before which I guess is a little cheating as I already had the storyline and large parts of dialogue already written. However, weaving a 97 page script into a novel of 129,000 words was quite the task.

 

What does self-publishing involve?

A lot of hard work and knowledge of Microsoft Word! The slightest mistake format wise and the book looks like someone has shaken it. So definitely getting clued up on formatting. I downloaded a couple of free books on my Kindle that were step by step guides and they really helped.

Also be prepared to slog it out. There are millions of books out there and a large number of them are independent authors with the same dream. So making sure you find the right interest groups, the right Facebook groups – it can make a huge difference.

 

Congratulations on signing with Urbane Publications.  Can you tell me a bit about ‘Doorways’?

Thank you very much. I still cannot believe that this time next year, I will be holding a hard copy of my book. It still hasn’t sunk in and I know how lucky I am.

‘Doorways’ is hopefully the first novel in the ‘Bermuda’ Jones series. It is about an agency which deals with a world that runs parallel to ours. The inhabitants of that world are granted asylum in ours, however they are monitored by the organisation Bermuda works for. The catch is, only a select few humans, who have a gift/curse known as ‘the knack’ can see them. Bermuda is the anomoly, as he is the only recorded human who can physically interact with them.

A pattern emerges of people going missing from places they physically cannot and Bermuda is assigned the case. He and his partner, a warrior that has defected from this parallel world begin to uncover a greater threat to our world and face a race against time to stop it.

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

I honestly do not know. I am a big sci-fi, comic book geek. I enjoy a good story and this one has developed from a private investigator with a medical condition to a whole organisation and different world. I just let my mind wander and eventually, big pieces of the puzzle emerge and they go down on paper and the idea truly took off. I think once I decided to introduce another world, the idea took over and just grew.

 

You have said ‘Doorways’ is hopefully going to be the first book of a series.  How many more are you planning to write?

I currently have, beyond ‘Doorways’, another four Bermuda books planned, and potentially have the idea for another one. I do have definitive ending to the whole story, yet how many cases we go through to get there depends on how many people enjoy them and how many ways I can keep the stories fresh.

 

Do you see any of your books being made into a TV series in the future?

I would never rule it out. The idea has a lot of things going for it, however, just having it out as a book is beyond anything I ever thought I would achieve.

If they do make it as a TV show, I know my cast! Haha!

 

Have you got any other writing projects planned?

I have a ‘to write list’ which has in total, 33 books on it not including One by One and Doorways. Five of those ideas have come in the last 4 months so it just keeps getting bigger. My brother, who is an independent games designer (Windy Beard Games) has approached me to write a story for an upcoming game and I have designs for 2 more revenge books to compliment One by One as a revenge trilogy.

It never stops!

 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write their first novel?

Literally, just do it. I don’t mean to sound like Nike, however it will not write itself. About four years ago, my brother and I saw an advert for a run of the mill, terrible Adam Sandler film. I started whinging about how rubbish like that gets made and my brother made the good point: because someone wrote it

There is no point talking about it unless you are going to get on with it. It will not happen overnight and sometimes it can be a bit of a slog. But if you can put the hard work in, you will get so much out of it.

 

Describe a day in your life.

I usually wake up tired because I really should go to bed earlier. I go to my job (such fun times) and then when I get back, I regularly exercise, ensure I get an hour of writing in and then usually chill out with some TV, a film or Xbox. The lovely lady has gotten me into The Apprentice this season, so I watch that on Wednesdays.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

I have a number of authors that I avidly read. Justin Cronin has written my favourite book, The Passage and its sequel, The Twelve. City of Mirrors, although 2 years delayed, has been confirmed for next year so I cannot wait. Big, heavy books but never has a vampire/wasteland/end of the world story been so compelling.

Others such as Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly are a given. I have been reading Leigh Russell’s Geraldine Steel books and am looking forward to her spin off series. I have met Leigh a couple of times and she is a real inspiration and is always so lovely and encouraging. I highly recommend her.

I have become acquainted with a number of authors this year. We are a crazy bunch but they are all so talented and great to chat to. I cannot recommend Karen Long, Tim Adler and Paddy Magrane enough if you want a good crime thriller. If you want to be creeped out, then I suggest picking up Hellbound by David McCaffrey. All of them are must read authors for me from now on!

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Usually wish for more spare time!

I do keep very busy. I work a full time job so a lot of spare time is taken up with writing and other book related things. I like to keep healthy and exercise regularly. Beyond that, I like reading, films, TV, gaming and winding up my lovely lady. The usual stuff really.

 

Author Bio

Born and raised in North West London and now residing in Hertfordshire, Robert Enright has been writing for over 10 years. His debut novel –ONE BY ONE – was self published on Amazon in March 2015, receiving critical acclaim and was nominated for Books Go Social Book of the Year 2015. The violent, revenge thriller gave Rob a path into crime fiction, but the constantly embraced geek within him went a different way.

2016 will see the release of DOORWAYS – published by Urbane Publications – the first in the Bermuda Jones series, a dark sci-fi about an agency dealing with the threat of a parallel world. He can’t wait to write the whole series – if he can put down his Xbox controller or his Nerf Guns!

 

Links

‘One by One’ Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Robert-Enright-ebook/dp/B00UUBNRHW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/REnright_Author

Urbane Publications Author Page: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/robert-enright/

 

Guest Post by Tracey-anne McCartney

Author

This is the last post of this event.  Tracey-anne McCartney has recently had her debut novel, ‘A Carpet of Purple Flowers’ published.

 

The ramblings of a debut author

~ Slipping through the veil of worlds on All Hallows Eve/Samhain

Merry meet at the time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

The old year has passed and sunset on Samhain marks the beginning of the Celtic New Year. So what better time to introduce my very own new beginning ~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers.

I believe that a certain magic is carried from our soul through to our creations – be it a piece of art, dance, poetry or form of storytelling, etc. With this belief in mind, I hope that I can spread a little magic your way.

Writing ~

My mind raced as folklore came entwined with love, fate entwined with choice, science with spiritual teachings – all guiding me to write a romance that revolves around a karmic cycle.

Magic is many things, but for me, it stems from love, that unseen force elusive to science, baffling all logic. Learning to love yourself can be one of the most difficult lessons, but eventually, we can learn to let go of the things that no longer give our life purpose, though it can take time. Often, we go through life in automatic mode, sticking with what we know or feel comfortable with. The main book character Bea, discovers that strength comes from an inner light which secretly masks eternity.

Let me share with you a secret place, in which only a parted veil exposes. Briefly visit an ethereal plane in which Otherworldly, angelic-type beings, tend to a well of souls. It is there, in Calageata that the purple flower of Vororbla (karma) grows, emitting a thick mist, ready to greet the essence of a soul.

Love and light,
Trace

 

Meet Tracey-anne

When did you begin writing? Have you always envisaged being a writer?

As a child I was pretty creative, of which my hippy upbringing definitely encouraged. My beautiful, incredibly diverse family and friends have always been supportive of any crazy project that I threw myself into, usually involving art or writing. I’ve never envisaged myself as a writer, more a mixed media artist with a very active imagination. ;o)

Without any of high tech stuff we have today: TV, phone, internet (godsend), etc. (Wow, I sound ancient!). I often found myself sprawled over the bed writing or drawing. I would immerse myself into a world of fairies, sunshine/moonlight and Otherworldly realms. I’m not so very different now. ;o)

 

Tell us about the novel, title, and what inspired you to write?

The novel revolves around the life of a young woman named, Bea. She works in a secondhand bookshop in SW London. One evening, her normal quiet life turns upside down as she slowly starts to unravel a secret past after an encounter with two sects of an Otherworldly race. She soon discovers not everything is what it seems. A Carpet of Purple Flowers is a story of love and growth.

Once you read through the book the relevance of the title becomes clear. There is a certain scene that captures it’s importance beautifully. I used ‘Purple’ in all of the trilogy titles as it relates to the flower of Vororbla – a soul flower. This connects all souls in an ethereal home called, Calageata.

Purple is the colour most often associated with royalty, magic, and mystery, it is also the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow.

 

What POV do you use?

I write in ‘Third Person Omniscient’. I completely resonate with this style of writing, perhaps due to the way I see my initial story idea play out as a film in my mind – via scenes. When you watch a film there are different camera viewpoints, I use this method in writing. I focus on the scene/character that I need to tell the story in that moment. It works best for me as I’m an extremely visual person. :o)

 

What theme is strongest in your book?

Romance essentially, a karmic cycle of love. Elements of folklore mingled with my own imaginings.

I’ve tried to create a story that feels real, incorporating places that actually exist. Such as, Coldfall Woods, and Inchmahome Priory in Scotland. More information can be found on the book website.

 

What would you like readers to come away with from your novel?

Ideally, the message that no matter what happens in this crazy life, to always keep your inner light bright and to believe in yourself. We all have ups and downs and when you’re at your lowest ebb, to remember that the magic begins within.

‘Keep your light bright’ – Is a phrase used throughout the story.

The Otherworldly use the word ‘Ameusouya’ (Am-e-us-ou-ya) meaning complete/whole (you, me, us =one).

All are inspired by the word, Namaste.

 

Who are the authors that inspire you?

The crystal cave – Mary Stewart, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, There are too many to mention here, pop over to Goodreads to see some of the books I’ve listed – ongoing.

I read a lot of non-fiction, I have a thirst for knowledge, especially of anything that involves folklore/art.

Possibly one of my favourites is ‘The mists of Avalon’. I really resonate with this type of theme – the goddess, ancient wisdom, etc.

Devoured ‘The Game of Thrones’, and at present I’m on the fourth book of the ‘Outlander’ series by Diana Gabaldon.

I also really enjoy Dan Brown’s style of writing, his play of fact and fiction – very clever. He excites the mind, daring you to apply your own research, to see things a different way. His books have interested many readers that wouldn’t have normally read that genre/topic.

Oh, let’s not forget WB Yeats, CS Lewis, Conan Doyle, Fiona Macleod / William Sharp, and many, many others.

 

Do you see yourself as a one genre author, or are there other elements in your writing that you can see yourself developing in the future?

Hmm, I see my story as being quite diverse, and hopefully, my writing reflects this too. Actually, when I was trying to decide on what genre ‘A carpet of purple flowers’ would fit into, I noticed that it contained various elements – undertones of spiritualism, fantasy, paranormal and romance. I would really like to see ‘Spiritual Romance’ become a stronger genre in the future.

I would love to create a little separate book of the Sindria elementals. How they came to be in more detail and to include the ‘The Heaven Stone’ teachings. While editing, I had to condense the book and really don’t want to lose those parts. Perhaps, I’ll write a book on the Deisi too, their original purpose, origins, etc.

It would be quite interesting to create Jonathan’s journal, including artwork – via collaboration of other artists. Little steps. :o)

 

What inspired your book?

Another story, ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ was floating around inside my head for about two years prior to ‘A carpet of purple flowers’. Everything stemmed from the visual inspiration of a small, serene waterfall existing in a world far from prying eyes, hidden in a glade by dense woodland. Opposite the waterfall stood a large, ancient Oak tree which later became the focus of a special meeting.

This visualization was initially a place for me to rest my busy mind before drifting off to sleep, but one night, a young woman appeared by the waterfall, her name Enna – and that was the starting place of all my later writing.

I knew that ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ would take quite some time to write, as quite complex. So, I decided to start from a place that I knew well – SW London. This story very quickly grew into a bigger tale, and would need to be a trilogy – A Carpet of Purple Flowers. It was then that I decided that ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ was to be the fourth book, a pre-history, stand-alone addition.

 

Is there a lot of research involved in your writing?

Ha! Ha! Yes, there is. I never stop researching. ;o) My mind needs to be permanently fed information, not that it all stays in there. I research everything, then sift through what I feel is relevant to the story. There are few notebooks that I use to store factual, mythical information, and I usually refer back to that at a later date – cosmology, astrological, historical, pieces of lore etc. I find it all extremely fascinating – soul food.

 

Do any of the characters in the book relate to your own life?

*Giggles* I think with any writer some element of the self flows onto the pages. I probably relate mostly with Bea, the main character. However, I can also see a bit of myself in Kitty, Pia and Asta – depends what mood I’m in. ;o)

 

A Carpet of Purple Flowers is your debut novel. How does it feel to be published?

Absolutely amazing. Matthew at ‘Urbane Publications’ has created a wonderful concept, an author ‘family’. He truly delivers on ‘collaboration’. I’ve been able to discuss areas such as cover design, and most of the publication process, not many publication houses offer such unique involvement. The other authors have been fantastic too, and genuinely care about each other’s progress – it’s such a humbling experience.

Overall, writing my first book has been a very positive journey. Yes, there’s been some very difficult moments when I have questioned myself/abilities, but something has pushed me on – the need to share the ‘Otherworld’ that lives in my heart.

Absolutely none of this would’ve been possible without my super family, old friends and new, for supporting me through this whole process. Woohoo! Exhale…it’s finally there! ;o)

Thank you too Sonya, for asking me to be a guest on your blog. It’s been a pleasure.

‘Keep your light bright’

 

Links

Publisher: Urbane Publicationshttp://urbanepublications.com/books/a-carpet-of-purple-flowers/Book

Book Websitehttp://www.traceyannemccartney.com

Author Biohttp://www.traceyannemccartney.com/authors-bio.php

Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/Traceyannemccartney

Tracey-anne’s Twitterhttps://twitter.com/jasmoonbutterfl

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7734566.Tracey_anne_McCartney

 

Book

 

Competition

Matthew Smith is giving away 5 copies of ‘A Carpet of Purple Flowers’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think of the cover.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 14th November 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be given to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

Guest Post by Sara Bain

Halloween Tree 2

It’s time for another guest post, this time from Sara Bain.

~~~~~

I grew up in a house haunted by spirits – or so I was told.

I was seven years old when I moved into one half of a Georgian mansion in south east London and remember one of our Great Danes would sit at the top of the basement steps and growl into the darkness below. The ghost of the basement still haunts my imagination.

My three sisters were once so spooked after hearing ghostly footsteps ascending into the attic that they armed themselves with hockey sticks and tennis rackets and jumped into the wardrobe. They hid there for a while, stuffed into the closed confines of their wooden sanctuary, until they thought it was safe to breathe again.

I, of course, saw and felt nothing during my childhood in that house – nothing, that is, but fear.

Up until very recently, I couldn’t sleep with the cupboard door open and without the soft, comforting glow of the hall light spilling into the bedroom.

Fear is a very powerful emotion. It is a state of mind that both fascinates and appals the logical thinker.

I hold a grim fascination for all things frightening. Whether this can be attributed to an addiction to the adrenaline rush or a perverse form of intellectual resistance is a moot point, but fear of those things that cannot be explained by the canons of natural, religious, logic or scientific laws, holds an ultimate terror for me.

My favourite parties are those when everyone gets together at the end of a meal and, in front of the fire, recount their own ghost stories until everyone is too terrified to leave the room on their own.

I once heard a story of a ghost that opened the door of a hotel bedroom and sat on the end of a couple’s bed before it moved to the next room where their daughter was sleeping and terrified her. There was a small fire in the reception area of the hotel that night but, in the morning, patrons were more horrified to hear that someone had experienced a visitation from the paranormal than ponder on the dangers of being burned to death in their sleep.

During my time as a journalist, I have visited many allegedly haunted houses and have reported on some of the most terrifying haunts in south west Scotland. Each place I visited – sometimes with a spiritualist medium, sometimes just with a camera, once with a minister and often solely accompanied by my own terror – the presence of the supernatural has always managed to evade me. In consequence, I am not convinced that the spirits of the dead can return to haunt the living.

It is for these reasons I wrote The Ghost Tree.

Based on an historically documented account of a poltergeist that pestered a stone mason and his family in south west Scotland at the end of the 17th century, the novel was a personal journey for me into a definitive answer as to whether or not a paranormal dimension exists in the living world as we know it.

The minister, Alexander Telfair, who performed the two-week-long exorcism and 14 other members of the clergy and community of Rerrick, certainly believed the steading was haunted by a mischievous spirit, for they all signed the statement which was published that year in a pamphlet.

That said, this was a time the church was still burning witches and when demons were abundant through the preachings of a misguided clergy that remained under the spell of the vivid imagination of a maniac Scottish king long after his reign had ended.

Whatever happened to Mr Mackie and his family in 1695, however, still baffles the experts and Rev Telfair’s “true account” has gone down in history of one of the only officially documented reports of the existence of the “noisy ghost”.

In order to write my own terrifying account of a 21st century man plagued by the Mackie poltergeist, I had to recreate my childhood fears. I wrote it at night with my back to an open door and a dark, empty hall. I decided that, if the story didn’t scare me, then it certainly wouldn’t make my readers jump. In consequence, parts of the novel are terrifying. Often I would get so frightened that my poor husband would have to accompany me to the toilet in the middle of the night.

I undertook a lot of research for the book – from ghost hunting experiments by paranormal experts, to religion, to quantum physics – in order to put my demons to rest inside some comfortable box that would give me an authoritative explanation for the phenomena of paranormal activity.

After all the reading, the experiments and the visits to allegedly haunted places, however, the jury remains in deadlock.

As well as a crime thriller and a romance, The Ghost Tree is an audacious exploration into the supernatural. All the theories are there to be discovered, yet do they come up with an answer? You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself.

 

Competition

The Ghost Tree - Cover

Enjoyed this guest post?  Well, you’re in luck because Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications is giving away 5 copies of ‘The Ghost Tree’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me whether you believe in ghosts.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 14th November 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be given to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

‘The Ghost Tree’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Tree-Sara-Bain-ebook/dp/B015FJYG7I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446316645&sr=1-1&keywords=the+ghost+tree

 

A Ghost Story by David John Griffin

Scary Stories Banner

It’s time now for a short story.  Enjoy!

 

THE BENEFACTOR AND THE GHOST

By David John Griffin

Lightning appeared as jagged streaks above the charcoal sea. And a voice was heard inside of the Smugglers Arms, muffled and echoed as though spoken from a distance, ‘Do you believe in ghosts?’

Henry Sims was startled. It was difficult for him to locate the source of those words with their melancholic tone and strange reverberations. He looked about the small beamed room with its abundance of wooden panelling. First to the cast iron fireplace, then through the flickering flame of a candle on his barrel, to one of the room’s sides lined with chairs and more barrels. And when lightning lit the sash window panes once more, a grumbling of thunder came from across the bay and Henry said, ‘Who’s there? Show yourself at once.’

At the precise moment of his demand, he became fully aware of his surroundings as though he had awoken from a tiny place within the back of his skull.

A change in the ambience outside: a street lamp, casting puddles of light across the cobbled street, went out, and even distant hissing from the waves became silent. And there, in an unlit alcove of the snug, a distinct bluish glow could be seen.

Henry called out, ‘What the devil?’ as the glow pulsed, taking on a stronger outline, appearing to shift in an organic way like some phosphorescent sea creature. And when it formed into the distinct shape of a figure, a chill ran through him. Surely he was perceiving nothing less than a ghost in the snug of The Smugglers Arms.

To stand and run would seem an unmanly act but he was compelled to get away from that spectre. Yet it held some power over him, draining his strength and sapping any will to move.

By an unknown cue, he heard more echoed phrases spoken clearly and the ghostly apparition took on more substance. Distinct elements could be made out: features on the head, a shirt collar and jacket with sleeves, and hands even, those seeming to be resting on a luminous, open book.

Henry’s voice trembled as he asked, ‘What do you want of me?’

The words emanating from the ghost continued, now more insistent, ‘So you can hear? Can you hear me?’

‘I can hear you, yes. What have you done? I’m unable to move although I can think clearly but without memory. Are you a spectre sent to bring evil puzzles to warp my mind, to drive me insane? Already I feel…’

‘Unreal?’

‘Quite the opposite: too real. A waking dream of a high perception that I am certain is about to change into a terrible nightmare. I should flee from your alarming entity if only I could move but my limbs have turned to heavy metal.’

The spectre’s voice continued, tinged with excitement. ‘So you can see me as well?’ The glow gained strength, showing the ghostly form accentuated like a neon chalk painting.

With Henry’s brow creasing with perplexity, he asked, ‘I see your strange phantom presence more defined by the moment and wonder why you haunt this snug. Is this a personal visitation?’

The voice still echoed though now stronger and without sibilance or distortion. ‘You could say that.’

‘For what reason? I have done nothing wrong; never have I harmed a soul.’

‘This I know. In fact, the opposite would be true. Much right, helping many,’ the visitant replied. ‘What do you remember?’

‘I do believe I have been suffering from amnesia,’ Henry answered, his tone, previously edged with worry, suddenly transforming with elation. His mind was opening again like a blossoming flower, senses refreshing as though muffs to his ears were being taken away and blinkers lifting from his eyes. ‘Now recalling much – I’m here in the snug of The Smugglers Arms waiting for someone. Yes, I await … I will say no more.’

The spectre now stood in impressive detail as if a real person bathed in a full moon’s cold light. ‘But you must. For your own good. Although I know the identity of your visitor, as well as the reason for his visit. You have nothing to fear. I’m not here to judge, turn your mind or worry you. My mission is to help, nothing more. You are a respected benefactor to many; consider me your benefactor.’

The reaction to those words was swift and abrupt. While Henry nervously stroked his greying beard, he replied with annoyance, “Why do you call me a benefactor? I know of no such person.’

‘But you are known for your help with the poor houses as well as improving conditions in the mills and factories. Your reticence to take any praise is now well-known. Take that beard off.’

Henry’s cheeks reddened with anger. ‘It is one thing to be tormented by a ghost but another to be insulted. I have no shaving equipment and even if I had, why should I shave off my beard, for you or anyone else?’

‘You know as well as I do,’ the spectre continued, ‘Please, remove it, now. I wish to see your fine features.’

‘For what reason?’ said Henry but began to remove the false beard all the same. Once he had peeled the beard from his distinguished face, he laid it on the barrel next to his tankard of ale. ‘Are you satisfied? I have done as you asked. Now my request — it’s time for you to leave, to be swallowed back into the miasmic pit from whence you came. I have been haunted enough. Go back to the past and may you rest in peace rather than your insistent stubbornness to remain on this Earth.’ The volume of Henry’s words had risen to the height of a pulpit-like sermon and, as if his words had taken his strength, he leant forward with his head hanging low.

The blue-illuminated spectre’s reply was precise: ‘I will tell you this much. I’m not from the past, nor am I in your present. Listen and try to understand. I’m from a time ahead of you.’

Henry was unimpressed and merely snorted. ‘Just as I guessed, one of Dickens’ ghosts from a Christmas future. Then what are you called, if spirits can still have names.’

‘There’s no need for you to know. I visit here to tell you something of the utmost importance.’

‘How can I believe a word you say?’ Henry replied. ‘ This could be some demon trick. Already you are becoming bluer and light up even more strangely, there in the corner. Why should I trust you?’

’I know much about your situation. I repeat, I’m here to help. Let me start by asking about the money pouch that was hidden in a secret pocket of your waistcoat. It contained two hundred pounds and five guineas, am I correct?’

Henry stood, swaying, pushing back the captain’s chair so that it scraped across the floorboards, and he bellowed, ‘No thief will come near, no matter how ingenious their entrapments! I begin to understand; it’s becoming as clear as that lightning in the black sky: here we have a Pepper’s ghost trick albeit a sophisticated one. Come out of hiding, you smoke and mirror criminal!’ But clasping the place near his heart where the money pouch should have been, Henry’s previous confidence vanished. ‘You insult my intelligence by taunting, after you’ve stolen from me? What disgusting creature are you?’

The ghost spoke quickly: ‘I will endeavour further explanation to our unique situation. Please listen carefully. I am, to you, indeed an apparition – but from your future, 2025 to be precise. I’m able to communicate with the aid of highly sophisticated equipment. You have become temporarily aware again, finally broken from your repetitive behaviour over more than a century. Before our contact I learnt a lot about you, Henry Sims, respected politician and public speaker, who has a secret not many people are aware of; and those that do know, are sworn to secrecy. You are a benefactor of the highest generosity helping those less fortunate ones. You’re here in the snug bar of the Smugglers Arms tonight, having again rented the room from the landlord for your private use only, to pass on another magnanimous money gift to Sir Christopher Plumber. He was due to arrive in less than thirty minutes time.

‘The money meant for Sir Plumber, for the aid of orphans in London’s workhouses, was stolen by the landlord of The Smuggler’s Arms.’

Henry said, ‘You somehow take the money and then accuse the landlord of doing so? You stoop low, sir.’

‘Not so.’

‘This is preposterous,’ Henry continued, ‘He is in the saloon bar, serving customers. I am here talking to a villainous actor involved with an intricate ploy.’

‘Of course you wouldn’t believe me. You must prove it. Do you see anything in the room, other than myself, appearing to be supernatural or other-wordly?’

Henry glanced over to a rectangle of golden light seen to hover above the floorboards, to the left of the fireplace. ‘Now perhaps I do. Seemingly a magical door.’

The spectre spoke clearly and precisely: ‘Then you must walk through that door. Pass through to heaven, your paradise, to final rest and peace. But first, go to a window and look over your shoulder at the reflection. Then you will see the truth.

‘At nine thirty-five on a stormy September night in 1879, a man you trusted, and paid to rent a snug bar in this public house, walked in unexpectedly and after a particularly vicious act of violence, stole the money pouch from your person.’

Henry was inspecting his wavering reflection in the darkened panes of the bow window, seeing a large kitchen knife buried up to its hilt in his back. And as a blanket of confusion descended, he staggered towards the door of golden light while the shimmering ghost hunter spoke on: ‘The landlord killed you in a terrible act of cowardly, cold blood. You see, Henry Sims, I am not the ghost. You are.’

Copyright © David John Griffin, 2015

 

About David John Griffin

David John Griffin

David John Griffin is a writer, graphic designer and app designer, and lives in a small town by the Thames in Kent, UK with his wife Susan and two dogs called Bullseye and Jimbo. He is currently working on the first draft of a third novel as well as writing short stories for a novel-length collection.

His first novel – published by Urbane Publications in October 2015 – is called The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb. The second novel, due for publication by Urbane in spring 2016, is a literary/psychological novel, entitled Infinite Rooms. He has independently-published a magical realism/paranormal novella called Two Dogs At The One Dog Inn. One of his short stories was shortlisted for The HG Wells Short Story competition 2012 and published in an anthology.

 

 

Competition

David John Griffin - book cover

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications is kindly giving away 5 copies of David John Griffin’s new book, ‘The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb’, out next month.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you thought of David’s short story.

 

Terms and Conditions

​This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 14th November 2015

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date. Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

Good Luck! 🙂

 

‘The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb’ is available to pre-order on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unusual-Possession-Alastair-Stubb-Gothic/dp/1910692344/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446292693&sr=1-3&keywords=david+john+griffin

 

Guest Post by James Silvester

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‘Escape to Perdition’ was published by Urbane Publications earlier this year.  I have heard a lot of good things about this book and am really looking forward to reading it.  James Silvester has written a wonderful guest post for my blog.

~~~~~

I’ve learned something about myself since I wrote my debut novel, Escape to Perdition, and that’s boy, can I talk about myself.

I mean really, really talk about myself. Every chance I get I talk to anyone who’ll listen (and several who won’t) about my book, what inspired the story, what I wanted to say in the prose, how long it took me, what frustrated me, elated me, had me face-palming in anger or fist pumping with joy. I could tell you about the first time I knew I wanted to write, the reasons I never got around to it, the bad day at work that finally convinced me to sit down and type out that first scene. I could tell you about endless re-writes, discarded characters, crushing self doubt and staggering over confidence. I could even go for the sympathy vote and tell you about the asthma attack I took months to recover from after I’d worked myself into sleepless ill health (violin time). There is, I’ve found, no end to the ways I can turn a conversation with strangers around to books, literature and, “Oh, by the way…” And that’s surprised me.

I’ve always been a bit of an introvert if truth be told, certainly in recent years. I’m the quiet guy at the conference table who sits back in sage consideration, letting others shout over each other before offering a considered opinion at the end. At least, I’d like to think I am. So it was a bit of a shock to discover that I’m actually just as gobby as anyone else. But I have to be, you see? If I’m going to get my book to sell, if I want to be entrusted to write another one, if I’m ever going to realise my aspiration of being a full time writer, then I need to shout about it. I’m a new indie author trying to get noticed in a flooded market; it’s like being a green shoot in a field of flowers, hollering at occasional passers by to glance in my direction. Not always easy.

My publisher, the quite splendid Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications, is phenomenally good at promoting his authors, but I have to play my part and work as hard as possible to get the book ‘out there’, and one of the best ways of doing this, for us indies, is by working with bloggers.

Bloggers are nectar to writers; they ‘Like’ our posts, they re-tweet our thoughts, they push our promotions and they give thoughtful, constructive reviews, all for the pleasure of reading and a new book in their collection. But I’ve a horrible feeling that sometimes writers take bloggers for granted. We don’t mean to of course, but sometimes it can happen. In a writer’s enthusiasm for spreading the word, maybe it can sometimes seem that bloggers become are simply a means to an end; that we’ll be all over them on social media before a review, before instantly forgetting and moving on to the next one, hoping for more of the same to a wider audience.

At Urbane, I am delighted and proud to be fully signed up to the principle of collaboration which underpins the ethos, as, I think it’s fair to say, are all of my writery comrades. On Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else we can think of, we plug each other’s work, recommend each other’s books and offer genuine congratulations when one of us gets picked for a promotion or invited to a festival. We sometimes flippantly call ourselves the ‘Urbane Family’ but there is little flippant about the spirit of that label. And I hope that the bloggers we work with and who promote our work feel every bit as much a part of that family as the rest of us.

I’d like to think that I’m not guilty of under appreciating the support of the blogging community, but hand on heart, I know there are times when I could have done more than just say ‘cheers’ and moved on. That’s why, instead of another post about my book and my motivations (and there’ll be plenty of those in the future, believe me), I wanted to use this opportunity of a guest post to properly acknowledge everyone who has supported me this far and who will do in the future. The blogs you write, the reviews you give, the time you spend giving a leg up to people like me is truly and always will be appreciated. Without your efforts, this really would be like pushing water up a hill in the rain, with no shoes, and a headache, instead of the pleasure it has been. So, on behalf of struggling newbies and established writers everywhere, I’d just like to say that Bloggers, we salute you all.

Thank You.

 

About James Silvester

Author Picture

James is an HR professional and former Mod DJ for internet radio, with a neglected talent for the harmonica. He first began writing during his University days, re-discovering his passion for storytelling after delving into the rich history of Eastern Europe.

First and foremost he is a proud Dad of two wonderful kids and is likely an infuriating husband. When not writing, James is happiest not acting his age with his children.

 

Competition

I am running a competition to win 1 of 5 x copies of ‘Escape to Perdition’.  To enter just leave a comment about James Silvester’s lovely guest post.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 10th November 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

Good Luck! 🙂

Guest Post by Tess Rosa Ruiz

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‘Freefall into Us’ by Tess Rosa Ruiz is a compelling collection of unique poetry and prose that provides an emotional mosaic of the path of relationships.  It was published by Urbane Publications Limited on the 11th September 2015.

Below is a guest post written by Tess Rosa Ruiz.

 

~~~~~

In the 80’s, I wrote the author, Stephen King, a letter. You see, he is one of my favorite writers ever and I was a bit obsessed with him, had even thought of going to Bangor, Maine just so I could possibly catch a glimpse of him walking down the road or drinking coffee in his favorite café. The letter wasn’t very nice. He had disappointed me. I didn’t feel his recent work was up to par with the standards I had held him to, with the greatness that he was and is. To my utter surprise, he wrote me back. He told me he was under contract to write three books in a small amount of time and he agreed that his work may not have been his best. He promised me if I would stay with him and not stray, he would be back to his old self. I fell even more in love with him because now to me he was a real person, with real feelings and not just a writing machine pumping out book after book with disregard to his readers. He cared.

He cared enough to not only take the time to respond to me but to respond to me in an apologetic way. In a human way, in a way that I could grasp and understand, with passion. He could have easily told me to go fuck myself. So moved was I by his response, I would sit down a few days later and attempt to write my first short story.

In the early 90’s I became obsessed with the writer Anne Rice. I consumed her Vampire Chronicles and the lives of the Mayfair Witches. But her work as A.N. Roquelaure, The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, would have a huge impact on me. The beauty of the erotica and the grace and elegance with which she wrote it was not comparable to any work I had ever read. She was in a league all her own. I would be further moved by her bout with alcoholism, her weight, the death of her child. I realized then her writing probably helped heal her, mend her, fill that void. I would have an ah-ha moment over this.

There would be many writers I would fall for over the years. Henry Miller, Raymond Carver, Tom Robbins, Joan Didion, William Styron, Charles Bukowski, Anais Nin, to name a few. They have all inspired much in me.

When I was 16, I took a creative writing class simply because the instructor was a beautiful man. I wrote a lot of poetry and short pieces in that class. My teacher was the inspiration for most of the writing, unbeknownst to him. On the last day of class he pulled me aside after everyone was gone and told me I had a gift, a true gift and that my destiny would be to become a writer. Although it would be many, many years later before I would dig my feet in and plant myself, he had been right.

You have heard many writers say they didn’t choose their profession, it chose them. I don’t choose to spend most days alone, holed up in a café or the confines of my small apartment. I don’t choose to watch every penny, or cancel hair appointments because I didn’t make enough last night waiting tables. I don’t choose to have fits of sadness, anxiety, angst, self-doubt or extreme loneliness. Yes, I miss my daughters and lots of social time with friends. I thought after my marriage ended I would miss being in a relationship, having a partner. I couldn’t imagine going without sex for more than a week. I have been constantly in a relationship since I was 14. I have gone this entire year without a man and the truth is I have never been happier. The truth is, I feel a pull, a need to write, a want, a desire. I feel this is my time. This is my call and right now it prevails over everything else.

Hell, I even took Stephen King’s advice and got rid of my television yesterday. I am excited and I look forward to what 2016 holds in store for me.

 

October 6, 2015
Tess Rosa Ruiz

~~~~~

About Tess Rosa Ruiz

Tessa Rosa Ruiz

Tess Rosa Ruiz hails from a small town in Western Montana. She left for Seattle with two bags and a lot of passion at the age of 19. An established photographer, she met a group of writers from New York and through them, found her voice. Freefall into Us is her first published collection of prose and poetry. She currently resides in Seattle, and has been known to quote Kerouac and sling the finest of wine.

 

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Competition

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications Limited has offered 5 paperback copies of ‘Freefall into Us’ for a giveaway.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think of the cover of this book.

Terms and Conditions 

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 22nd October 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified of their win within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

Good Luck! 🙂

‘Remember to Breathe’ by Simon Pont

Remember to Breathe

I was sent an e-copy of ‘Remember to Breathe’ a while back by Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications. This is actually the first book by this publisher that I have read and I look forward to my ongoing journey.

‘Remember to Breathe’ is set in London and takes place over 3 months in 1999. It is the story of Samuel Grant, an ordinary man who hasn’t had much luck in love and who isn’t overly enamoured by his job.

Sam ponders life and tries to work out where it’s going. But will he get there? That’s for you to find out.

I started reading ‘Remember to Breathe’ without really knowing what to expect. At first it reminded me very slightly of Adrian Mole but I soon changed my mind. This is a story from a man’s point of view about the highs and lows of life and it’s one I think many people can relate to, male or female.

I found Samuel Grant to be quite an interesting character. He didn’t exactly do himself any favours in his love life but somehow that didn’t put me off him. In fact, I could really sympathise with Sam at times and I felt that he did talk a fair bit of sense. I enjoyed reading about the different pubs and restaurants that Sam went to and meeting his mates.

This is a book which made me smile. Some of the lines Sam came out with were just great, my favourite being, ‘Of all the curry houses in all the world…’. That tickled me for some reason.

‘Remember to Breathe’ is a story which will give you a lift if you’re feeling low. With its short sections its ideal when you only have time for a quick read. I would truly recommend giving this book a go. My only regret is that I didn’t read it earlier.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

Guest Post by Simon Michael + Competition

Book Cover

Simon Michael’s novel, ‘The Brief’ is out in paperback on the 28th September, published by Urbane Publications Limited.  I am very pleased to be hosting a guest post by Simon Michael on my blog.

~~~~~

I guess mothers are always proud of their sons. I’m tempted to say Jewish mothers especially so, but I suspect Asian, Italian and African mothers – indeed all mothers – are no different. So the publication of a mother’s son’s first novel was never likely to pass unnoticed. And while it’s easy to deflect the “So, when can I read it?” during the gestation period, it’s more difficult after it’s been accepted for publication; more difficult still once the proofs have arrived; pretty much impossible once proofed, mere weeks before publication. She wants a copy of the book – several copies in fact – one to read, one to show her friends at the bridge club, and one for “best” to lie artfully on her coffee table, my photograph ready to greet her guests. And there’s the difficulty. There are sex scenes. Sex scenes which, if I’ve written them properly, will make the reader’s blood pump slightly faster, their pupils dilate and their breathing catch slightly in their chests. It’s not just sex; it’s sexy.

Of course, I can tell her that the book isn’t autobiographical, and there is much truth in that. But all authors draw on personal experience even if they then twist, expand and embellish. The uncle who might have been the genesis of a character in the book becomes almost unrecognisable by the end. That’s when the writing process is at its best – when characters start breathing, speaking and acting for themselves. When that spark of life you have tried to breathe into them suddenly glows of its own accord and – what do you know? – the character starts acting in ways which you would never have expected. But still…they start life rooted in real experience. Just like those sex scenes. And while I may not have done precisely what the characters are doing, it’s close enough.

My mother’s no prude, and she isn’t shockable. In fact on the extremely rare occasions when she has one sherry too many, she is liable to tell quite a risque joke. [1] And when I was little, and I asked how babies were made, she gave me a precise and extremely detailed explanation, using proper biological terminology and diagrams, until my seven-year-old eyes glazed over and I became so bored that I didn’t ask again for another five years.

But still… I cannot escape from embarrassment as I picture my mother reading in detail what I may, or may not, have been doing with parts of my body she last saw in (or, more accurately, out of) swimming trunks several decades ago. I’m married with children, so we both know I figured out what to do with those parts long ago. But still… demonstrating the detail of my knowledge is something else. And it’s not just the technical aspects of the act… it’s the… peripheral stuff… less procreative, but more fun.

The situation takes me straight back to when I was 14 or 15 and my mother insisted on taking my younger brother and me to the cinema on the last day of half term. I knew all my mates would be there, in the back row, and I resisted going, but to no avail. She was on a mission, and she thought it would be fun. After the lights went up at the end and we filed out, and my mother’s eyes lighted on the canoodling couples in the back row, several boys’ hands indiscreetly inside the clothing of several of the girls. “Oh,” she commented, rather too loudly, as we were forced by the exiting crowds to pause at the end of the row. “Isn’t that disgusting? You wouldn’t do anything like that, would you?” My mates all grinned at me, and I knew I was in for it on the Monday. Of course I would have done something just like that, given the chance. I used to dream of getting that lucky, and if mum hadn’t insisted on taking me to the cinema, I’d have hoped to be in the back row with them.

But I’m no longer 14 or 15. I’m a man of the world, and there really is no need for me to be embarrassed… is there?

I know I can’t avoid it any further. She knows my contract allows me a certain number of copies and she’s placed her order. In any event, there’s always Amazon. So, no amount of equivocation or explication is going to help. She will read it, sex scenes and all… and I will do my best not to blush.

__________________________

[1]  And seeing as you asked, here it is: A young man takes a young lady on a first date to the cinema. After draping his arm nonchalantly around her shoulders for the first half of the film, and receiving no rebuff, he puts his hand on her knee. Then he gradually moved his hand up her thigh. The young lady lets him continue for a few inches, but then slaps away his hand. “Manners!” she hisses. “Tits first!”

‘The Brief’ can be pre-ordered now, but if you don’t want to wait the eBook can be downloaded from Urbane Publications website:-

http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-brief/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brief-Simon-Michael/dp/191069200X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442151944&sr=8-1&keywords=the+brief+simon+Michael

 

About Simon Michael

Author

Simon Michael was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1978. In his many years of prosecuting and defending criminal cases he has dealt with a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.

A storyteller all his life, Simon started writing short stories at school. His first novel (co-written) was published by Grafton in 1988 and was followed in 1989 by his first solo novel, The Cut Throat, the first of the Charles Holborne series, based on Simon’s own experiences at the criminal Bar. The Cut Throat was successful in the UK (WH Allen) and in the USA (St Martin’s Press) and the next in the series, The Long Lie, was published in 1992. Between the two, in 1991, Simon’s short story “Split” was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan/Perrier Short Story Award. He was also commissioned to write two feature screenplays.

Simon then put writing aside to concentrate on his career at the Bar. After a further 25 years’ experience he now has sufficient plots based on real cases for another dozen legal thrillers.

The Brief, a reworking of The Cut Throat, now set in sleazy Soho of the 1960s, will be published in September 2015 and Simon has almost completed the next two books in the series.

Simon still practises law countrywide but now works only part-time. He lives with his wife and youngest child in Bedfordshire. He is a founder member of the Ampthill Literary Festival.

 

~~~~~

Competition

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications has kindly offered 5 paperback copies of ‘The Brief’ for a giveaway.  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you want to win.

 

Terms and Conditions 

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 28th September 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified of their win within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications who will send out the prizes.

Please note that whilst I don’t mind that this competition has been added to a forum, I do expect entrants to be genuinely interested in the guest post above and the book and not just be after a freebie.

 

Good luck! 🙂 Read more…

‘Eden Burning’ – Competition

Eden BurningBack in June I hosted a guest post written by Deirdre Quiery on my blog.  You can read it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/guest-post-by-deirdre-quiery/

‘Eden Burning’ is Deirdre Quiery’s debut novel and it was published on the 10th August 2015.  As well as writing, Deirdre is also an established artist.

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications Limited recently contacted me with regards to running a special competition on my blog.

 

Eve Print

This is the original print of Deirdre Quiery’s painting which is also called Eden Burning.  One very lucky person has the chance to win this print plus a copy of Deirdre’s novel.  4 x runners-up will each win a copy of Deirdre’s book.

To enter just leave a comment telling me what you wanted to be when you grew up.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 1st September 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified of their win within 7 days of the closing date.  Details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

Guest Post by Deirdre Quiery

Author Pic

Deirdre Quiery is back on my blog with another guest post.

 

The Writer and the Artist – Not One, Not Two? – Deirdre Quiery

Even though I write, I don’t think of myself as a “Writer” and even though I paint, I don’t think of myself as an “Artist”. Maybe that goes back to a dislike of labels and breaking things down into discrete parts to understand them!

I like it better when everything is messy and confusing – when the writer isn’t really a writer and the artist isn’t really an artist – but something is created and we look back to investigate who is the guilty party and there is a whiff of Deirdre over there typing away on her laptop or splashing paint on the floor.

What I love about both writing and painting is that something is created from somewhere mysterious rather than someone mysterious. When I am writing or painting, I feel myself sinking into somewhere – a falling into a place beyond the easily recognisable surface of reality. It’s a letting go of what I know to allow something completely new to emerge. I think that’s why it is right to consider writing or painting courageous because the writer and the artist have to be prepared to be ripped apart in the act of creation. They do that by sitting or standing still – not moving – waiting for a stirring to happen and then surfing it with the tapping of the keyboard or swirling colour onto a palette.

So this falling into emptiness for me is what writing and painting have in common but I also see their differences. For me my love of writing started with a passion for reading. I remember receiving my first three library tickets at the age of seven accompanied by the thrill of reading late into the night, tucked into bed with a torch under the sheets.

By the time I was twelve, I not only loved the characters in the books I read, but I now also loved the writers. I was grateful to them for opening up these vast new worlds for me. I remember the intense sadness I experienced when I finished the last available book by a treasured writer. It was then I learnt what it means to mourn.

My experience of falling in love with painting was different. It didn’t start by being inspired by the painting of others. Only recently I ran from the Louvre after spending only thirty minutes inspecting masterpieces depicting naked bodies with their delicate parts covered in fig leaves, plunging knives into one another. I did not find the act of looking at art at all interesting. If given the choice, it might appeal to me to observe buttered Tibetan sculptures melt in the heat of the mid-day sun, but only because the art itself was disappearing without regret.

I went to my first art class in Palma with Argentinian artist Carlos Gonzalez with the intention of exploring how painting could help me write better. I was lucky with Carlos. He was a marvellously talented painter who could paint like a Michaelangelo, a Picasso or a Goya. He knew how to encourage the faint hearted students in his class saying, “Don’t paint what you see.” He would then ask questions like “What colour do you want to paint that olive tree? Please don`t say brown and green.”

I had “proper painters” on either side of me producing, shaping, and polishing their skills while I spent those Saturday mornings laughing at what appeared on my canvas. Then the day arrived, after mastering watercolours, acrylics and tempera – that Carlos thought we were ready for oils. It happened. As I mixed Prussian Blue, a Zinc White and a Cadmium Yellow, I started to sink. I fell into that magic place where art and writing are one and where I could disappear without a trace.

~~~~~~~~~~

I really hope you enjoyed this guest post.  Look out for a special competition coming soon.

Guest Post by PJ Whiteley + Competition

Close of Play

‘Close of Play’ is PJ Whiteley’s first novel.  Below is an interesting guest post from the author.

 

Men don’t ‘do’ romantic drama. Or do we?

Recently, I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. As expected, there are rather more women than men. I thought that the ratio might be 85-15 or 90-10. In fact, it’s more like 99-1, and a few of the male card-carrying members use female pseudonyms. There is a similar story in the readership profile. The extent to which the cover and other aspects of marketing of my first novel Close of Play, a romantic comedy, have been tilted towards the expected female audience has been a fascinating learning experience, as my publisher applies the finishing touches.

If you read the mini-biographies on the Romantic Novelists Association’s site, many relate how they grew up as bookworms, typically devoted to fantasy tales and romantic melodrama. My CV is very different. I didn’t read Jane Austen or Jean Plaidy as a boy. I played sport, read about sport, made Airfix kits and watched war movies. The books I enjoyed usually had a male lead figure and a fair amount of sport or danger. So it was a long and very indirect route by which I came to pen a romantic novel in my early 50s. My childhood influences can hardly have had any impact at all.

Or so it would seem. But if one uses an expanded definition of romantic drama, my early years were filled with the most heart-rending, achingly emotional tales, often rendered by alpha males. Their names included Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and John Lennon. There were a lot of tears and much insecurity; probably more direct soul-baring than any female scribe would dare, until Alanis Morrissette came along. Above all, these and other singers expressed an intense longing; this desire really to know a woman as well as love her.

So what is it about songs that gives blokes permission to get in touch with our inner feelings (or any other feelings, for that matter)? And why do we struggle when it’s on the printed page or at the pictures?

I’m afraid I can’t provide definitive answers, only a few observations. There is something about the ‘will they/won’t they’ drama that struggles to hold the male attention as the main or sole story arc; especially in a movie featuring Kate Hudson or Reese Witherspoon because, of course, we know they will in the end, after a break-up 20 minutes from full time as she discovers the secret that he had kept hidden (I still enjoy them, mind – guilty pleasure).

Humour helps. I might not have struggled with Far From the Madding Crowd at O-Level if Gabriel Oak hadn’t been so dour and earnest. Or a bit of political intrigue or philosophical depth. Or at least a car chase. Somehow, the question: ‘Is he The One for me?’ is not enough to hold our interest for 90 minutes or 288 pages. But for three and a half minutes, with a soaring chorus, and a macho guitar solo to come, we can give our passion a full-throated roar. We do have a romantic heartbeat, but it’s detected in different ways.

Close of Play has many ‘romcom’ features. I make no apology. It has a slightly different slant in that it’s from the man’s point of view. The two main male characters have been a bit sniffy towards love n romance n girly stuff in their early adult years. They prefer playing cricket and drinking beer. But each of them aches for the woman they really, really want, and fear that it might all be too late. I hope the female readers will be touched by their longing and forgive them their mistakes. And maybe, just maybe, the occasional bloke will read it, disguised inside GQ magazine, as he listens to Blood on the Tracks via his headphones.

PJ Whiteley, March 2015.

 

About PJ Whiteley

Author

PJ Whiteley, who writes non-fiction as Philip Whiteley, is an experienced author, principally about management. He has written extensively about how low wages are bad for business, as part of a bid to try to convince economists that society consists of people. Taking a break from this Quixotic task, he has turned his hand to romantic comedy, seizing on the potential of men preferring to play or watch sport than talk about their feelings and stuff.

Close of Play is the first novel, centring on perennial themes of the human condition: love, loss, hope, life choices and that nagging feeling in the back of the mind that you may not fully be up to date with how your team is doing.

PJ Whiteley’s boyhood ambition was to represent Yorkshire Cricket Club. He gave up playing as an amateur a few years ago when facing the quicker bowlers became a bit too tricky, but still plays five-a-side football. He works from home full time as an author and is married to a sex therapist, so things could have turned out worse.

 

Competition

To celebrate the publication of ‘Close of Play’ I am running a competition in which 10 lucky people will win a paperback copy of this book.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think is romantic.

 

Terms and Conditions 

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 16th April 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Urbane Publications Limited who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

Another Guest Post by Albrecht Behmel

The Stronghold

Albrecht Behmel is back with another interesting guest post.

 

AM I AN ARTIST OR A WRITER?

When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually lie. I either tell them that I am a writer or I tell them that I am a painter. I rarely say that I am both – which would be the truth. Okay, it is only a lie by omission but most people don’t like the idea that one person can be both. In my eyes, however, these two things are almost the same. Traditionally, painters were storytellers just like film directors. This is why we use the term “moving pictures”. A picture that moves. Writing a story is like painting in many ways as anyone can tell who has seen a Delacroix, Rubens or an El Greco. Paintings are about stories, characters, situations and emotions that take place in our minds when in fact, what is really out there hasn’t even a colour. There is nothing but wave-length and shape. All the rest takes place in the human mind. The brain is the one and only storyteller. I believe it is the artist’s job to facilitate this transition. We have to put stories into the minds of our readers, viewers or, simply, the audience.

Funnily, it also works the other way round. Stills or screen shots from films sometimes make great images, think of the scene where Darth Vader beckons Luke Skywalker and says, “I am your father” or with the T-Rex chasing the car in Jurassic Park? Would a painter like Goya have said no to a commission?

All a writer needs to learn is how to hold a brush. All a painter needs to learn is how to spell and how to be patient because putting word after word is a much slower process than arranging shapes on canvas. What I am trying to say is that the mental process in the artist’s mind is very similar. The goal is to interest the reader or viewer in the outcome of a conflict because art is usually about confrontation. That says a lot about our species. Homo sapiens – we are a violent lot, there can be no doubt about it; the most vicious monster that ever walked on canvas (and the silver screen is canvas, too). Who killed the Alien, King Kong or the great white shark? Who defeated the Martians, Predators or Zombies? Yes, it is us, the deadliest of them all. Humans love wars and fights, just open a history book! To understand and to examine this human thirst for violence is an artist’s job and it does not matter where the discussion takes place. Being an artist is about understanding human nature. The expression is a matter of the craft we chose, writing, painting, drawing, dancing. Are all arts basically one? When it comes to a deeper level of meaning, I suppose they are: the big dividing line running not between the different types of the arts but between those who think and work like an artist and others who do not.

 

About Albrecht Behmel

Albrecht Behmel

Albrecht is an award winning-playwright and novelist. He studied history, arts and philosophy at Heidelberg University and at Humboldt-University, Berlin before his career as a writer for German tv, radio and film in Berlin. He has written over 20 novels and non fiction books, games and plays. Almost a renaissance man, Albrecht is also a painter and designer He enjoys the nature of the German Black Forest where he lives with his family.

Cover Reveal / Guest Post – ‘Eden Burning’ by Deirdre Quiery

Eden Burning

This is the cover for ‘Eden Burning’ which is being published by Urbane Publications in June of this year.  Below is a lovely guest blog from the author, Deirdre Quiery.

 

The Making of “Eden Burning” – Deirdre Quiery

“Eden Burning” started as a flicker of an idea almost fifteen years ago. I remember sitting on a red sofa in Oxford watching logs sizzle in the inglenook fireplace. My mother walked into the sitting room holding a plastic bag filled with letters which I had written to her from University in the 1970s. She said, “You have to do something with these.”

She smiled at me. It was one of those smiles in which a bond is created – a conspiracy even – to which no-one else is invited. I took the bag from her.

I wonder what she would now make of “Eden Burning”. I think she would like it. She would see herself in there – not as Rose or Eileen or Lily – but she would know that she was there.

In the plastic bag stuffed with letters still in their envelopes were stories which I told to my mother in the days before the internet – stories of University, of friends and expeditions – which I knew would provide a relief from the reality of Belfast in the 1970s. I knew the importance of being an “entertainer” in a crisis. There were also in the bag some letters which my mother had written to me. It is strange to see a person’s hand writing on a page when they are dead. The writing seems every bit as unique as a fingerprint, louder than a spoken word and more visual than their face in front of you. I filed the letters in date order and wondered what I could do with them.

The letters came with me to Mallorca when in 2001 my husband and I decided to come here, leaving the security of full-time employment, the company cars and more importantly friends. We sold our house, gave away all our possessions, boarding a plane for Mallorca with two suitcases and our cat Ziggy.

We rented a house in an olive grove, high in the mountains above Soller. There was no running water. A lorry delivered water once a month, winding its way around the twenty seven bends to the house. There was no fixed line telephone and no television. There was no work. I felt for the first time in my life rooted in the earth. There were no neighbours – only sheep. I had time to look at the orange blossoms change into a small green fruit which grew in size and changed in colour. I marvelled at life. Everything seemed miraculous. Clouds appearing, disappearing, birds singing, dogs barking. Everything was imbued with a sense of wonder. I felt a part of it all – a part of nature. I knew myself to be connected to the earth.

I opened the filed letters which my mother had given me. I began to write “Eden Burning.” I didn’t want to write an autobiography about Belfast during the 1970s. I did want to honour the spirit of the people who had suffered and who I had met. I wanted “Eden Burning” to offer something positive to the world. There is nothing so dark that cannot be turned into light. There is always hope because fundamentally everything is good as Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”  ― Julian of Norwich

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