Sunday, 17 March 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honour of St. Patrick's Day, I'm posting one of my poems of Ireland from my book, Reflections of Poetry.  Enjoy.


Irish Sons and Daughters

Sing a song for the Emerald Isle
All you Irish daughters and sons
All you sweet, fortunate ones
Sing a song for the Emerald Isle

All you Irish daughters and sons
Show me your nation’s pride
Leave no listener here dry-eyed
All you Irish daughters and sons

Show me your nation’s pride
Remember olden days of glory
Ring out each and every story
Show me your nation’s pride

Remember olden days of glory
Tell the gathered, lads and lasses
While the ale and whiskey passes
Remember olden days of glory

Tell the gathered, lads and lasses
Sing a song for the Emerald Isle
A song of cheer and stay awhile
Tell the gathered, lads and lasses.






Reflections of Poetry is available at:
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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Book Review: Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream)

My Review of Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) by Caddy Rowland:


Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) by Caddy Rowland is an interesting novel, a blend of history, sex and artistic dreams. It is an illustrative glimpse into a past world decorated with steamy sex and colour.

Set in 19th century France, book tells the beginning of Gastien’s story, a French peasant who wants to be an artist. It details his abusive childhood, his escape to Paris, new friendships and sexual relationships, and the suffering he endures to fulfill his aspirations.

The novel’s strength is in its main character, a well-written and relatable persona. You do feel for his trials and get a good sense of his personality when reading, as well as engage with his life. Plus, the author did an excellent job with the details of an artist’s existence in the time period and the details of painting and technique; I found them realistic. There are some nice historic particulars, too, and the sex scenes are vividly portrayed.

However, the novel does have its problems. I found the prose did get repetitive at times, the plot to be stretched a bit thin, and the story lagged in the middle of the book. Some of the characterization (other than Gastien) is a bit one-dimensional, especially with secondary characters and I found much of the dialogue peppered with too many modern phrases such as “okay” and “gig”. These words detracted from the historic feel of the book for me and I felt the characters’ speech was at odds with the setting. The author also had the occasional tendency for explanative narrative regarding Gastien’s state of mind which I found unnecessary and distracting.

Overall though, I did enjoy the book, so I give it a mild recommendation, though readers should be warned this novel is quite explicit in the portrayal of sex and abuse.


Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) is available at Amazon

 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A Conversation With Author Michael Brookes

Today, writer Michael Brookes stops by for a chat as part of his blog tour for his new book, Conversations in the Abyss, the sequel to The Cult of Me.  So read on and enjoy...


An Interview with Michael Brookes


Let’s start with introductions. Who is the writer, Michael Brookes?

By day I work as an executive producer for a video game company. I spend the day working with one of my passions – computer games and in my spare time I get the chance to indulge my other love – writing. I guess I’m fortunate to have both of these opportunities.

Tell us about your new book, Conversations in the Abyss, the sequel to The Cult of Me.

In ‘Conversations in the Abyss’ I continue the story from ‘The Cult of Me’. The protagonist has stolen Lazarus’s miracle and becomes immortal. The miracle wasn’t meant for him and so comes with a price, an eternal fire that burns within his flesh. To protect the world he is imprisoned within the walls of a monastery.
He retreats deep within himself, finding the border between his psyche and death. There he discovers some of the secrets of the universe and that the apocalypse is coming. And only he can stop it.

How did the idea for Conversations in the Abyss, and its predecessor, The Cult of Me, originate?

The simple answer is ‘Paradise Lost’. For me, Milton’s book is the greatest story ever told. However I find it strange that in his work God isn’t portrayed that well. I’m sure this wasn’t Milton’s intention, but it did interest me. So I started thinking how I would write the story.

This book deals with many mental and emotional aspects of horror. Do you find writing these psychological terror scenes difficult or challenging?

I think the real challenge is trying not to overdo it. I think horror works best when the reader fills in the blanks. The fear or unease comes from their mind when they read the story.

One of the plotlines in the book deals with a coming apocalypse. What was your approach in writing this well known horror staple?

In this case the apocalypse is a means to an end, rather than the end in itself. You’ll need to read it to find out more.

As a writer of horror and dark fantasy, what do you think the main appeal of these books is to readers?

People like to be scared. That’s why they ride rollercoasters, read scary books and watch frightening movies. Of course, most like to be in a controlled environment. And I think we all have a dark part that likes to be fed sometimes.

You’ve also written a book of dark short stories, An Odd Quartet. Tell us a bit about that book.

As the name implies it is a collection of four short stories. In it you meet the Yellow Lady, a ghost seeking revenge. You also meet Death as he contemplates his existence after the heat death of the universe. There’s also a hostage rescue where the special forces team encounter more than they bargained for. And finally there is the tale of a young demon taking his first possession exam.

What are some of your favourite books and authors?

Ian M Banks is my favourite modern author, especially his Culture series. I’m also a fan of Terry Prachett and Clive Barker.

What other books do you have lined up for the future?

There’s the final book in the trilogy – “The Last True Demon’ and I have a few first drafts that need developing. The first is a story about an Internet chatbot that starts granting wishes. I also have the official novel for the upcoming Elite: Dangerous to write.


About Michael Brookes:  

Michael Brookes is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and considers himself  fortunate to be able to indulge them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping. Which is good as that is where many good ideas come from.

To check out his books, visit his Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Brookes/e/B008OGD8KG/



‘Conversations in the Abyss’ is the sequel to the 5 star rated supernatural thriller ‘The Cult of Me’ 

Stealing Lazarus’ miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.
But the miracle came with a price for those it wasn’t intended for. Tormented by perpetual fire and having also been imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery he delved deep within himself to find the some solace.
Hiding within the depths of his own mind he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.



Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Interview with Matthew Horn

Please welcome author Matthew Horn to the blog.  Matthew is current on tour for his new book, Nothing Good is Free (a sequel to The Good Fight) and stops by here today for an interview...



Interview with Matthew Horn


Why don’t you begin by telling us a bit about yourself?

Well, I was born and raised in small town Indiana.  My grandparents lived on a lake close by so we always had something to do during the summers, but I think I used reading and writing as a way to help avoid the sheer boredom of living in flyover country.  My mother used to give my sisters and me writing courses in the summers.  As a result, I’ve always loved to read and write.  My first published book, The Good Fight was released by Brighton Publishing in September 2011, and my latest book, Nothing Good is Free is the sequel.  I’m currently writing the third instalment and have eight or ten other ideas in various forms of completion.  

Can you describe your new book, Nothing Good is Free?

This book continues to follow my vigilante hero, Jeff, after the death of his friend and mentor, Jim.  As Jeff continues in his role as a vigilante he starts to confront the same pressures that caused Jim to stray from being a true hero.  To complicate matters the Chicago Police Department has come up with a new scheme to catch the famous vigilante, and has put Detective Martell, Jeff’s only ally, at the head of it. 
Additionally, Jeff’s romance with Brooke is put under strain as she travels more and more for her work.  Her new Boss, Rick, seems interested in her, but may have his sights set on something else. 

How did you come up with the ideas for Nothing Good is Free and the previous book in the series, The Good Fight?

I remember writing my first book, Heroism, (currently unpublished) and having a desire to write something completely different.  Heroism is a fantasy epic with many different characters.  I wanted my next book to focus on only a few characters and to be bound in reality.  I came up with an idea to have a young hero come of age with the help of a mentor.  My wife suggested I add some conflict with the mentor and a few months later I had The Good Fight.  It met with a great response from readers and because I had left the ending mostly open, it was a given to write the sequel.  I believe that it is my best work so far and am extremely excited for the print release in a few weeks.   

Your book is a suspense thriller. What do you like best about writing in this genre?

It is a great genre to create a hero that is completely realistic, yet lives just past the edge of normal capability.  My hero, Jeff, is a normal guy and uses equipment that can be found using any search engine on the internet.  He trained with a great mentor and finds himself very lucky or amazingly blessed depending on how the reader sees it, but he’s not something that a real person couldn’t do if they put the time in.  I love creating a dream world that is so in tune with reality that the two blend easily and I think this is one of the best genres to do that.

What is the most difficult part of writing a thriller?

It is hard to be creative in the thriller genre anymore, especially crime thrillers.  The first thing I wanted to do was come up with a crime that hadn’t been written of before.  That, of course, is nearly impossible.  So I based the activity in this book not on the crime itself.  The crime is a backdrop to everything else Jeff is dealing with, and I think that gave me a creative storyline people will love. 

You’ve stated you also write in other genres. What are some of the ones you’ve tried and why?

I’ve started a sci-fi novel mainly because it’s my father’s favourite genre.  I love titles like Star Wars though and am intrigued to try a sci-fi that combines elements of a fantasy novel and a thriller.  I’ve also stated a humorous detective story, a fantasy series, mental thriller, and even a zombie apocalypse novel.  All of them are in various stages of completion, but are coming along nicely.

What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Frankly, finding time.  I am a Chief Financial Officer for my small family company and work nine or ten hour days regularly anyway.  I often find myself writing chapters over lunch or sneaking in interviews whenever I can.  It’s a difficult balance, but I love writing too much to give it up.

Do you have a favourite author who has inspired your writing?

CS Lewis is hands down my biggest inspiration as an author.  The way he was able to combine a gripping story with deep spiritual symbolism was wonderful.  I hope first and foremost that my readers enjoy my books, but I also hope that they can see what lies underneath as well.  CS Lewis achieved that in wonderful form and I hope to do the same.

What’s next for you?

I hope to get the final instalment of The Good Fight series finished and ready for publishing by the middle of next year.  Beyond that, my heart lies in the first book I ever wrote, Heroism.  I plan for it to be a trilogy with a prequel, but it’s so large that even just the first two books total almost 1500 pages and the revising is such an incredible and daunting task.  I can’t wait for it to hit the bookshelves, but it must be ready first.


You can find out more about Matthew and his books at his website:  http://www.matthewrhorn.com/


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