This blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award!

I can happily announce that this rather small blogging operation has been nominated for an award!

liebster

First and foremost I humbly accept and let me take this opportunity to say thank you to the Thinking Moon Blog for the nomination. This is the first time my writing efforts have ever been recognized in any way, it truly does mean a lot but this award nomination isn’t all about me (begrudgingly moves away from the spotlight…)

As well as being the rules of my nomination (more on that in a bit) it is my duty to say something about the fellow blogger who nominated me. The Thinking Moon Blog  contains a huge and diverse amount of content categories from sustainability articles all the way to Buffy the Vampire Slayer stuff (my favorite category). You can also find more Thinking Moon content via the tweet machine and Instagram. The word on the street is this awesome blogger has got a book in the pipeline! Check out the blog and remember to hit the follow button.

So, what is the Liebster award? 

Well firstly ‘Liebster’ is a German term which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The Liebster award is an award that exists on the internet and is given by bloggers for bloggers. The whole deal is for bloggers to spread the word about each other in a rather nice way. This thing grows year by year as blogging communities grow. 

Here are the rules: (control c’d from Thinking Moon… more info via the Liebster site)

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Answer the 5 creative and unique questions given to you.
  3. Write a small post about what motivates you in life (not just in blogging)
  4. Nominate 2 – 6 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award
  5. Create 5 creative and unique questions for your nominees
  6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post.)
  7. Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post

Unique questions given to me….

Q1: Who was the last indie author/musician/podcast/lemonade stand you supported and why? If not who do you think you will bring your support to this year?

the pass

The last Indie Author I supported was Susan Mary Malone, her immersive collection of short stories ‘Over the Pass and Other Stories’ made for some wonderful reading and escapism. One of my main goals this year is to support as many indies as I can considering I am one. The best way to show support to any author is to leave a review and interact. 

My reason for supporting this author and many others is the fact they all approached me via the tweet machine late last year. I put up a simple request for some reading suggestions which eventually got over 30,000 impressions, I soon installed twitter back on my phone… 

Q2: I’m obsessed with tattoos and I know not everyone is, but if you were to get one what would it be. Or if you have one already what is it and why?

Tattoos are very popular these days but nothing has ever motivated me to get one. I’ve been told that if you want to get a tattoo you have to be really sure, I can’t even decide what I want for lunch most days.

As a kid I was obsessed with drawing stitches on my hands so perhaps I’ve already got enough ink flowing through me, I did become a writer after all… Thinking about it, if I ever did get a tattoo it would probably be something from my books. ‘Twister’ from Open Evening has a rather distinctive bad ass tattoo on his upper arm. (yes I just plugged my own book…)

Q3: What was your favourite childhood television show?

‘The hardest thing in this world is to live in it…’ 

created by

Of course I am quoting Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even though I only caught the final two seasons of this show back during it’s original run when I was 12/13 I still count it as childhood. I have since watched the whole deal (several times, normally every few years).

There are so many things I could say about ‘Buffy’ and even ‘Angel’ equally but we’re only at Question 3 so I will just say this. If I never watched this show then I would never have ever been inspired to become a writer. And even before those aspirations came to me, I viewed Buffy Summers as my first ever television hero. The latter episodes see her become a leader and an adult whom I looked up to an incredible amount. And that counts for all of the characters who spoke to me in different ways. The cast really were that group of older kids I looked up to and this show got me through some real tough times.

Q4: What scares you the most, that most people consider to be irrational?

I really don’t enjoy flying. I know that can be quite common and I did manage to get myself through a long haul flight to mexico and back but I still really, really, really don’t like it. The worst part is literally waiting in the departure lounge before. The waiting to go and do something I really don’t want to, I find quite hard. What I don’t like about flying is the sensation and the lack of being in control. Take off is pretty cool though… ‘you cant take the sky from me’… 

Q5: What is your favourite place to bring an out-of-town guest?

pitch.PNG

on the pitch….rock and roll man!

There is only one place I would class as my home away from home and that is Loftus Road Stadium; the home of my football team Queens Park Rangers located in Hammersmith West London. Since a very young age my Dad took me with my brother to watch them play in what is quite a small but wonderfully immersive stadium. Wherever you sit you’re normally close to the action and the atmosphere is always electric. I may not seem like the usual football following type, and I’m not really, but QPR are my team and if anyone is looking for an afternoon or evening of football culture and atmosphere, I recommend it!

A little bit of motivation for life…

It would be easy for me to say money motivates me in life but in large sums it motivates pretty much everyone apart from Bill Gates and people who own oil. What motivates me in life is balance, and I’m not trying to be super positive or half glass full here.

I have an awesome job in science and I have a just as great hobby in writing and blogging. In between that I have a significant other and a great bunch of friends. All of this stuff doesn’t function unless they are balanced. Balance in life leads to variety which in turn leads to being happy. A winning lottery ticket wouldn’t go a miss either!

My Nominations and Questions…

The bloggers I would like to acknowledge and nominate are…

Bookshelf Battle –  a fellow indie author and blogger.  I follow Bookshelf Q Battler because of the level of humor and sheer content all of which I find to be very pleasant. I have even read/reviewed the novel written by this awesome blogger called ‘The Last Driver’. Check it out.

Bookworm –  a reading and writing blogger whom I have recently connected with via the tweet machine and is always there to like or retweet my stuff.

This whole deal is optional so don’t feel any pressure to participate and nominating others is entirely optional but just remember no wordsmith is an island, we’re in this together!

Of course there are numerous more supporters out there, all of which I would like to thank for reading and following this blog.

Questions for nominees:

  1.  You’re sitting in a bar at an empty table. There are 4 seats available, living or alive name any 4 people you would invite to join you and why?
  2. Name a film or television show that has shaped or influenced you in some way?
  3. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in writing or life?
  4. When was the last time you laughed out loud?
  5. You have the opportunity to gain a super power. What is it and why? (invent your own or pick a known one)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Over The Pass, and Other Stories by Susan Mary Malone – review

An anthology of deep and wonderfully descriptive short stories that whisks the reader away…

the pass

Using a combination of vivid settings and a deep immersive writing style, Susan Mary Malone has put together a book of tales that can best be described as escapism in it’s purest form. The american landscape described throughout will make any reader think that they have stood overlooking places of natural beauty even if they have never been there and that is just one of the many values this book contains.

Human feelings and emotion are woven together along with the sometimes grand settings even if they are simply in the backdrop because in the foreground is where much of these stories subtly take place. At a glance it would even appear that nothing really happens throughout the duration of each but there is so much more within and it’s literary art of the highest caliber.

I very much enjoyed the descriptive nature of the writing which was complimented and balanced by the individual stories, all of which are in the moment and are even savored.

In particular I very much enjoyed ‘Winter’s Prey’ which for me set the president of discovery for what was to follow in what I believe to be a unique collection of stories.

5 Stars  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #19

For as long as there are people there will always be readers. No matter how language and writing changes or evolves, books will get written. Technology continually moves on, but writing and reading is an almost invulnerable medium. 

Books are instant immersion, there is no buffering, loading or bandwidth, just pages and words; sometimes illustrations and diagrams all of which sit on the shelf readily available. The epiphany is,this hasn’t changed since intelligent humans emerged or evolved into who we are today. People have always told stories and people have always read them.

I hear people constantly say ‘I don’t write anything with my hands anymore’ and that ‘writing’ is dying. It isn’t, writing is just evolving, the language has always been there and so will the words. From pen to keyboard is just a minor jump but the words remain mostly the same and so does the presence of books.

The amount of people who read is and always will be greater than those who don’t, even with society apparently being ‘dumber’ today. We want to escape, all of us, and we want to escape now, even with all this hyper on demand stuff like Netflix and youtube nothing beats the cinema that is the human mind.

Written words are manifested by each and every imagination differently and that truly defines the wonder of books. Whether they are electronic or not; they are still books and they play out in the greatest studio ever created, the most powerful studio every built, the human mind; the place where these stories are fostered and created.

Whether it be fiction, non fiction, manuals, text books, scripts, screenplays, poetry, blogs, Facebook statuses, tweets and beyond. People will always read and who ever created it is releasing something that is a part of them. Whether it’s a character based on someone they know of, or an experience which has stuck with them, or just the passing of knowledge, when you are reading, you are taking on the essence of somebody else’s mind and their embodiment. Writers have lived a hundred lives and written thousands of words, all of which is created for the reader to live that life also…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of ‘The Last Driver’ – Episode 1 – Old Dogs by Bookshelf Q. Battler

A sometimes absurd but always fun story of the future…

last driverI picked up the kindle version of this book for 99p after noticing it via the blog of Bookshelf Q. Battler which I follow.  Set in a not too distant totalitarian type future where the ‘freedoms’ we have today are severely reduced in some creative and original ways. This gives ‘The Last Driver’ an interesting and potentially limitless premise which carries the central story by comparing the future with present day.

Although I felt ‘dystopian future’ type vibes this book is far from the stories typical of that genre. There are still the usual traits such as media control and censorship but they are cleverly conveyed and even contain a level of humor in which I enjoyed. In fact the humor is what kept me hooked and I read this in a matter of days.

Told through the eyes of older gentleman Frank Wylder; his story bounces between the future and 2010 when he was younger so automatically the reader will able to relate with his struggle to describe the world he once lived in. Pop culture references are used frequently in the earlier stages and they tend to mostly aid the story as opposed to some books where they are unnecessary in usage.

Frank owns a classic car in a world of self driving vehicles and driving a car is in fact a thing of the past, this should give enough insight to the world in which he lives. In particular my most enjoyable part of the story was the description and depiction of ‘state approved’ channels and even a ‘state approved newsreader’ conducting an absurd ‘debate’ piece. I used the word absurd but it is also funny and worrying close to how some news outlets already operate.

Overall I found this book enjoyable and very readable. The ending was left open for a potential sequel which I would be interested in reading. I recommend it to anyone looking for a an enjoyable and insightful look into the future.

5 stars.

Click here for amazon link. 

 

Weekly Ramble #15

November is a shitty month. Its a kind of a between space, like an airport or a station, full of people on different paths; all of which are in my way… okay that’s super pessimistic and people aren’t the problem, they are the solution, but the point I’m trying to make is simple, November sucks, and its not a destination, its a holding space…

I’m not currently reading which is a problem. For a writer it’s almost like a blockage. With no reading there is no producing or creating, no flow, just stifling emptiness. Writing books has taken a step back for now; I’m part way through another stage play script, progress is slow like this month.

Everyday recently I am assessing my options, and without seeming above everything, I feel as if I am too good for the writing platform in which I am sat. I’m a higher class player in a lower division and I know that sounds super ego but it’s true. My ‘success’ feels somewhat held back by my lack of salesman skills. I’m not a seller, I am a creator and I have learned they are two completely separate entities.

I watch or read stories thinking I could have done that better or different; my vision for a story has been enhanced through my journey past four publications and two stage plays. I can never sit and not create, even when the pages are blank, my mind is full of ideas. And it’s okay to create.

What I need is someone to sell that creativity to a bigger wider market. Someone who sells like I can create. Do I dare contemplate trying to get an agent? I know this time the circumstances are different but the goal has always been the same, to create, perhaps someone else can deliver…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #14

I’ve had an epiphany. Whilst publishing I became lost. My mind began to reel and wonder why this was all worth it. Why bother when the ‘rewards’ for this deal are pretty much minimum.? Why try to recapture nothing more than a ‘fad’ of deciding to publish a book two years ago? Back then it felt like everyone I knew came out to support me. Today it feels like I stand within a ghost town of that support; not that I hold any anger or bitterness towards the fact I feel very much solitary in my latest publication because I am not. There are only a handful of supporters this time; they are the elite, they will never fail me, they will always support and only partially that is why I do this. 

So why do I do this? That is where my epiphany came from. I don’t do this for reads, for sales, for money, for recognition, for reviews, for exposure or any other temporary possessive thing. I do this simply because it fulfills me. I write stories because ultimately they are truly about life and what I have seen and felt in this life. In essence they contain more truth than any conversation I have ever had. So if anyone ever asks me why my work stands out it is simply that, my stuff doesn’t contain an ounce of bullshit, it is the truth personified and that is all I will ever strife to do in writing, to make it feel real.

I have to create, and I always will. Publishing is more or less just a side effect or even a symptom of that. Hell, I’m just sitting in a chair typing away and playing around in the worlds I build. I know for a fact I am not for everyone in this world and neither is my work, and I am learning to live and accept that. I don’t ever intend to please everyone, because why I write is purely selfish, I do this for me.

My appreciation for those who have paid money to read my stuff will outshine any other feeling I have for this work. That small group I call the elite are there for me and I am ever so damn thankful. Hopefully they’ll feel what I do when I lay down those words, if they don’t I have failed but then again I am just doing this for me, because I am a creator and I need an outlet.

4 books equals experience in not only writing but everything that comes with it. A book series takes time to establish readership, leaning all of you writing efforts onto one series is simply foolish, I have learned that only today. As a writer we must cross genres, test our ability daily, go places even we feel uncomfortable, tell other stories. Good luck writing just a series, unless your J.K it aint worth it, but my all means write. Sit in that chair and bleed for the words, above all create and make, if that doesn’t stick try again, and again and again. For the love of god never give up, a young naive fool walks away from a battle worth winning. A experienced person will only ever wage wars they can win. Life is too damn short to dwell on failure or lack of success when most of the time it is in the eye of the beholder anyway.

So what only a handful of people bought your new release. They are your elite and your tribe. Reward them, let them know they have made you happy for just a second enough to know they care.

Either way I’m already into my next project because I will Always Be Writing…

 

 

Weekly Ramble #11

4 books published in 2 years is pretty good going. That’s the reality I am facing; this time next week I will be anyway.

My foundation of words has been built, and that foundation is something I am more proud of than anything else in my life. Not to say it’s the only thing in my life because it isn’t, but the ground has been laid into what I hope will one day be more than just a hobby, after all writing has become my calling in life and it will be for many years to come.

The truth is I am mentally tired, this year has kicked my ass, its also been rewarding in some senses but recently above all I have felt tired. Right now I’m staying away from the laptop to regroup, writing books isn’t something I am looking to do very soon in fact I think next year may even see just one release if that. Of course I am talking about the next Darke book, its already been drafted and a lot of work is required to bring in line with what I consider to be publishable.

With a book release literally around the corner my efforts even if I am tired are channeled towards getting as many book sales as possible. Then I will  be walking away from social media, or at least reduce my efforts for a while. This stuff doesn’t pay the bills and what does needs my attention now, also I am moving into my own place in just over a months time. Things are busy like always; as a creative I don’t know what will become of me if I don’t create; but other things require my attention like sleep, especially sleep.

It’s now up to my readers to help promote and help sell my books, there is a wider choice now and choice is what all customers look for in books. With the foundation built, I will eventually look to build that into something bigger but right now I am happy to step back and look at what I have achieved, as I said 4 books in 2 years is pretty damn good work.

Weekly Ramble #10

The 4th book release is nigh, and things have been taking off, but this isn’t just all me. My projects are brought to life by the efforts of some real dedicated people. As a writer I would simply be lost without my editor. There is a hell of a lot more to editing than most people think. All of my stories have been painstakingly crafted, long after my work has been done.

This one may the best work I have seen not only from an editing point of the view but the cover artwork also,  a reveal will follow, and I am sure it will impress, it blew me away and conveys exactly what I want to say in this story.

Readership is growing by the day with my most loyal readers leading the charge with reviews and general buzz about my words. The tribe is small but very effective and dedicated, something which means more than anything else. This thing will take time, it always does, in essence writing a book feels like sending a letter two years ago and finally getting a response this week.

Reviews really do sell books but most importantly above all, people talking to one another sells them more than anything. We live in a world where spoken communication is dying, maybe talking about books will keep it alive for a little longer, we’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #4

Responsibility is something that keeps jumping out at me seemingly. I feel a changing or shifting in life as of recent with some things being inevitable whilst other stuff is just appearing.

I turned 29 this month and I stand at the end of one interesting decade in my life. There were a few years in which I couldn’t accept what is just a number, then like this year I’m handling it. Life can distract one from the deep thoughts, it’s good to go deep every so often but this train is moving full steam ahead in what has been a volatile yet rewarding 8 months. Maybe there isn’t time toreflect that I am now a fully fledged adult in a world where responsibility seems to be the defining word.

This week my first full length script moves to center stage and is responsible not only for the story I have created, but for 18 cast members who will be auditioning and then bringing that tale to life. As much as the burden is shared by directors, cast members, ensemble artists, sound tech’s, back stage crew and lighting designers, the actual story falls upon my shoulders. A responsibility I am coming to terms with. This is the first occasion where my work stands open and ready for judging in such a capacity, maybe  inevitable but still all the more daunting. And after all of that, I still have to audition myself and continue on wards as a performer who is in the final days of a near 10 year run of lead parts.

I decided to write this script in order to create first and foremost, secondly I did it because there are performers who deserve better opportunities than the usual elite few, and if I wrote those opportunities, people would take them. As much as I would love recognition, I haven’t done this for the audience, I took this opportunity to give back to a drama club which has given me so much, even confidence to write in the first place. And now a new generation deserve their start via a project which will hopefully provide it for them, my script.

My work life destiny sets to come to a head as I work my way towards a promotion, a life changing prospect where my job environment won’t change but the level in which I am held accountable will. Responsibility emerges yet again where it hasn’t before. First I will have to pass an interview which includes a presentation. Ground which I have never covered before. This truly is a make or break moment for me and my future, although right now I feel no pressure, maybe I am ready, we’ll see.

Moving into my own home is the inevitable responsibility which shall emerge by the end of this year, something I have worked towards since I was sixteen. Now I am 29 and in the final stage as what the world perceives as youth. I have zero regrets in any of the live’s I have led, work, performer, writer and even partner to my significant other. All of those pillars have created the life I have led and so I stand face to face with the next chapter, in order for me to pass on to it, I must embrace responsibility and take it in my stride.

Quite recently I have taken on the responsibility to look out for fellow authors, some have even come to me about previous gripes and compared notes with me. First and foremost I am here to speak with fellow authors and to help prevent them from being taken advantage of.