Author Interview: Christopher Long

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Christopher Long, author of Something Needs Bleeding.

About the author:

At thirty-six years of age, Christopher Long is a relatively young writer. But when you read his writing, you realise he is older than beyond his years. He has the horror and torment of a million tortured souls in his work.
Dark, supernatural stories are his life blood. His first shocking novella, The Compressionist, is a scary tale about a man that feeds on the very life force of people and has done since the dawn of time. It was published early Spring of 2014.
He writes like a man possessed. Maybe he is? He sure seems older than his years suggest. No one dare go up in his attic to see if there is a picture of his good self that might be changing.
His second novella, The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce, a tragic tale of a recently retired thespian who finds something very strange in the grounds of his seaside retreat. Was published in the summer of 2014.
His third novella, The Narrow Doors, a tale that proves sometimes you should leave the past buried, was also published. all three of these were released as part of a novel length collection, Christopher Long’s Unusual Things.
His debut novel Something Needs Bleeding, was a ground-breaking novel where he edited the last stories of mysterious horror writer Thomas Singer is a horror tour de force. A further two novels are in the pipeline, or sewer pipe in Christopher Long’s case. The next is early 2017 and we at KGHH Publishing can’t wait.
Christopher has been writing stories since he was first able to hold a pen. Reportedly his first book collection, Tales from the Crib, would scare any nursery school or kindergarten.
It all began for Chris when someone gave him their copy of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, and he hasn’t looked back since. If only in fear that someone’s going to hit him with the library late returns fee.
For Chris, stories are a means of escape. Not always to a place your average person or writer would go, but a dark, scary place that Chris feels most at home. The dark places that are in all our minds.
He is happily married to the lovely Samantha, or “Her Highness” as she likes to be called. They live in the midlands of England, which is a bit like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but with just a few less Orcs! And where Sam refuses to let Chris read her his bedtime stories, as he told her one once and she didn’t sleep for a month.

Hello, Christopher. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I did start with ambitions but, I’ve got to be honest, they got in the way of the writing. For a long time, I was really only writing for myself. Then, when I self-published a couple of stories, I waited for the praise. The adulation. I know it sounds really childish and naïve, but I assumed that you wrote a story and people came running to you for more. The minute I realised they didn’t, I found it started affecting any story I was working on. It made me question everything I was doing. That’s why, these days, I’m trying to keep one ambition ahead of all the shiny and distracting ones; just enjoy what you’re writing. It seems to be working for me so far.

That said, I will never turn my nose up at thought of fortune and glory.

Which writers inspire you?

Roald Dahl was definitely the first. When I came across his stories as a kid, they caught me off guard. They were devious and cunning. They could make me laugh, scared the hell out of me and never felt like they were talking down to me. I kept waiting for people to come along and confiscate them at first. He taught me a lot as I read everything of his I could get my hands on. Not just about story, but also about the relationship the writer can have with his readers as well.

Neil Gaiman has definitely been a big influence. Although a lot of that influence can also include me hating him for just good his stories are. Pretty much every story I’ve read of his just feels like this perfect, polished gem that’s come from another world. They’re so insightful, yet so deceptively simple. So perfectly designed to fit in a gap in your head that you didn’t know was there until you’ve put the book down. Damn him.

I recently realised Emily Brontë taught me a very important lesson about writing. The first time I read ‘Wuthering Heights’ I was pretty young and I didn’t understand the idea of an untrusty narrator. So, when Lockwood is taking you into the story, I didn’t understand that he was lying to me and trying to cover over his own fault. She had written him so sublimely that all his passive aggressive nature almost snuck under my young radar. Thank you, Emily. Any time I doubt the value of first person narrative, you remind me why it matters.

Tell us about your book?

‘Something Needs Bleeding’ is, on the surface, a collection of ghost stories by recently diseased author called Thomas Singer. However, as you read each of his stories, you’ll start to find links between them that all hint to a secret Thomas kept until his death.

It wasn’t what I was set out to write at all. I was trying to write a far more standard dark horror comedy, but I couldn’t get my teeth into it. It made me start questioning where my own flavor of horror came from and what it really said about me. Which, in turn, got me thinking about how horror can affect people both as a genre and as an actual event in someone’s life. That was when I saw that the far more interesting story lay not so much in telling a horror story as looking at how we tell a horror story through a horror story. It let me talk about how we express something which has scared us or damaged us through the stories we tell other people.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I actually got moving on the idea, I think it took me around half a year. Although it felt a lot longer at the time. I remember seeing friends and barely being present when they were talking to me. My mind was forever wandering back to these stories and to the man I was creating to write them.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

The main thing I’m working on right now is my second novel. I started trying to write it back in 2016 and so far, I’ve got to say, it has been an absolute beast. In fact, early this year, I had to drop the story I’d been working on for months and start something new. It wasn’t easy but the original idea had been restarted so many times that I’d completely lost faith in it. On the bright side, doing that has allowed me to start something very different from anything I’ve written better and, so far, it’s going really well.

I’ve also got to get a couple of short ghost stories ready for a Halloween and Christmas collection for this year and I might be getting a story onto a rather popular podcast. Although, I’m worried about jinxing that one. Also, recently, I’ve set up my own website. Which means I’ve entered the glamorous world of the weekly blog. It’s also got me writing poetry again, which I’ve not done in ages. In fact, recently, my poetry got me some incredibly humbling feedback. Someone wants to put one of my poems up on a canvas print in their house. I still can’t quite wrap my head around that.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This is going to sound really tacky, but there’s a possibility it chose me. I never really set out to be a horror writer. To be honest, for a long time, I wasn’t really much of a horror fan. I read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and some early Clive Barker, but I never delved into the dark and gruesome torture fiction my friends were into when I was growing up. I was busy with Arthur C Clarke, Terry Pratchett and Raymond Chandler.

I was writing big, sweeping fantasy sagas back, until I stumbled across Fight Club and Hunter S Thompson. Which led to me writing some very dark, strange tales for a while.

The ghost stories really came about because of M R James. I’d seen a TV show where Christopher Lee told some of James’ classic tales pretty much straight to camera and that always stayed with me, but I never dreamt of trying to write one. Not until I was bored on a long car journey about three years ago. I saw someone standing on a motorway bridge and then thought I saw someone standing on the next one. It got me thinking and I ended up writing a story called ‘The Low Road’ that afternoon. I found it surprisingly easy and enjoyable to do. It also got a great response from people who read it

As I started to explore the genre I found the potential to write some great character driven stories. Really good horror stories push characters into unfamiliar territory. They force them to face the impossible. So far, that chance to disturb the equilibrium of flawed character’s lives has lead me to some pretty interesting places.

When did you decide to become a writer?

That happened at primary school. I was reading ‘James and the Giant Peach’ when I became aware of the fact people could tell stories for a living. I couldn’t believe that was an actual way to live as an adult. In some respects, it felt a little wasted on adults. Everyone I knew had parents who were office-bound every morning or worked in a shop. I still remember walking into our classroom one morning and one of the girls in my class asked me what I wanted to be when I was older. I told I wanted to be an author and I’ve never really looked back.

Why do you write? 

I guess it’s somewhere between a compulsion and an addiction for me. I know I hate not writing, if that makes sense. When I finished ‘Something Needs Bleeding’ and sent it off to my publisher, I opened a new Word file. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was about to start, but I knew I couldn’t just sit back. It felt wrong. There are too many stories I want to tell. I can’t quite imagine a day where I get up in the morning and don’t write for a couple of hours.

Where do your ideas come from?

The ideas come from the tiniest of details normally. The whole of ‘Something Needs Bleeding’ started off with me walking home from the pub on the first night they turned all the streetlights off after midnight around here. There was that cold, heavy silence that you only get when it’s truly dark. It really got to me and started the wheels spinning in my head. ‘The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce’, which is probably my favourite of all the short stories I’ve written so far, came from a nightmare. I woke up with these strange images of an old man trapped in a house that was constantly changing around him and knew I had to use them. I ended up sitting and writing for that whole day. I started when it just getting light and stopped after the sun had set. I was determined to capture that fear and I think it worked pretty well. One thing I will say is they rarely come fully formed. They’ll start off as one thing and just the process of telling them to myself on that first draft will change them into something far more interesting.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have the worst handwriting in the world. Well, it’s probably in the top ten. I used to write all my stuff by hand, years ago. I would scrawl them down on pads or spare sheets of paper. They were these ever expanding bundles of scruffy looking pages. I always thought a computer would ruin the process, until the day I tried to read one of them back. After spending hours trying to decode the smudged hieroglyphs I’ve covered those pages with, I decided I had to start typing stuff instead. It took me a while to get used to it. In fact, I started with poetry before I went to prose. It helped me get the rhythm right, as pretentious as that sounds.

Annoyingly, over the years, I’ve been given some really nice leather notebooks to write in and I’ve not got the heart to tell people those pages will never hold a draft of a story. Ideas for a story, sure? The odd comic book shopping list, definitely. But not a story. Not if I want to be able to read it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a tricky one. It’s a list that can change from one week to the next. That said, my favourite book is pretty much always going to be ‘Catch 22’ by Joseph Heller. I love the insanity and pain of that book. The dizzying logic of the whole thing. It’s brilliant, hilarious, powerful stuff.

‘House of Leaves’ by Mark Z Danielewski is another one of my favourites. It’s a book that plays with reality and style, but has an ingenious story at its heart.

‘Number 9 Dream’ by David Mitchell is another book I will go back to over and over again. I know a lot of people will say ‘Cloud Atlas’ is better, but this was the first Mitchell book I read and it blew me away. It toys with you and your expectations, but it never feels shallow or like a trick.

‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl is on the list, without a doubt. One of the perfect horror books for a kid. It’s chilling and exiting and, for me, the best use of witches in any fiction.

‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman is close to perfect as well. I watched the original BBC TV show and hunted the book down as soon as I could. It has this wonderful array of strange fantasy characters who are out of this world but have their roots sewn into the streets of any major city. It’s such a great mythology. Yep, now I have to hate Neil again for a while. Damn him.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Very, very badly. I keep writing as often as I can in order to keep The Block at bay, but it can still catch up with me. Take that idea I had for a second novel. I tried any which way to dodge past it, but it tackled me to the ground in the end. If I’m not careful, I get lost in a maze of notes and previous drafts.

What I’m trying to do right now is work around it. So, if I start to struggle with an idea, I set it aside and try something else out for a while. Work on the next blog post, a poem, look over something I need to get written for a future commitment. Sometimes I pick up a really early idea and play with it again for a day or two. That seems to be a pretty decent distraction at the minute.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Everyone is going to tell you to write and they’re one hundred percent correct. The best way to find your voice and to find what you want to on the page is all held in that process of just keeping at it. Keeping writing. The thing is, though, I think every aspiring author knows that deep down, already.

So, the best piece of advice I can offer you is to find likeminded people. Hunt them down on social media. Or at conventions. Or at writing groups. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people. Some really friendly, really open, really creative writers. Reading their work and talking to them about stories has helped me up my own game no end and it’s also helped me to feel like this isn’t just me sitting in a room on my own. Especially when it hasn’t been easy finishing a story or starting one.

So, yeah, that’s my advice. Go find other writers and stick with them. There’s safety in numbers

Thank you, Christopher, for all your impressive answers!


About The Book:

Kensington Gore is a man on a mission. He always aims to give his readers something fresh from the world of horror. Only this time he is offering you something a little different. This time he is offering you a piece of horror history to call your very own. Collected in this volume are the final works of one of the great unsung heroes of horror, Thomas Singer. Singer was a man who truly knew how to terrify his readers with his strange, nightmarish tales. Sadly, though, he never received the acclaim in life he so rightly deserved. Following the mysterious death of the reclusive writer earlier this year, Kensington Gore Publishing author Christopher Long was invited to help edit Singer’s final five bone chilling tales and introduce them to the world. There are many rumours and theories about what secrets these stories may hold. Singer himself selected them from his extensive back catalogue and held them back to be released only after his death. So read Something Needs Bleeding, if you dare. See what you can find hidden in the final pages Thomas Singer had to offer the world. Just be careful you don’t come away with blood all over you.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Birth of Death (The Legacy of Evorath #1) by Joseph Macolino

Author: Joseph Macolino 
Release Date: 8th June 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Edition: E-book
Pages: 1,378
Publisher: Create Space

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal, is disturbed when he discovers that the culprit behind a recent string of kidnappings presents the greatest threat the world of Evorath has ever seen. As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding a great secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the crown. Meanwhile, Irontail, a young centaur warrior, endeavors to find his way in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged.
When their paths cross, the entire forest must unite, performing an ancient ritual to combat this new evil. While the world of Evorath deals with this great threat, Artimus and his companions must put their internal conflicts to rest as they work together to combat this harbinger of death. As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer. But, will they be strong enough to survive?
The first of many stories taking place in the world of Evorath, this series gives readers the thrill of an epic fantasy while introducing characters who are struggling to balance the demands of society with their own personal desires. One thing is for sure: at the end of it all, nothing will be the same.

Review

The story follows Artimus who is the head investigator for the Elvish kingdom. Artimus comes across an interesting investigation and falls in love with a beautiful elvish druid named Savannah. Artimus must fight off the dangers all around the kingdoms while balancing his personal life and his love to Savannah. This was a very nice story to read. This book is a great fantasy book and I enjoyed the classic fantasy feel of the book. I fell in love with the world from the beginning till the end and the author shows us many races and gorgeous places. The land of Frovath seems perfect and the story is full of adventures and friendships.

This book has lots of races, wonderful adventure, magic and tons of action. All these make the story a fast pass read and a fun story to follow and I can’t wait to read the next book.

 

You go through everything with the characters and feel their problems. I loved the Dryads, they are so intriguing and they bring a lot to the story. My favorite character is Irontail, but they are all written in a wonderful way, even the bad guys (this was important to me).

 

I loved the author’s writing style. The author has done something unique here, he shows us the character as humans that need to cook or clean, even when their world is in danger. These simple acts show us, just how much we need to feel normal and do normal things, even if the world around us is in chaos.

The story follows different characters, through the different point of views, but the author did a great job following them and describing everything that you knew who the character was, just by how they moved and did things, even before they spoke.

The first 3 chapters were a bit slow to read, but as an avid Fantasy reader, this is a common thing so I was used to it.

The ending of the book left me with wanting more, and more questions were asked. I want to know of this world and about the characters, can’t wait to read the next book.

The cover is gorgeous and once you read the book, you’ll know who it is on the cover.

The blurb was nice and intriguing and made me want to read the book.


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Patrick A. Roland

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Patrick A. Roland, author of Unpacked Sparkle.

About the author:

A new voice in self-help, author Patrick A. Roland, in partnership with Az Publishing Services, has released his new memoir about grief and recovery, Unpacked Sparkle, now available on Amazon.
Unpacked Sparkle chronicles Roland’s transformative journey upon finding his partner Pack dead in January 2014. It begins on the day of the funeral that he was uninvited to by Pack’s homophobic family and details the nearly two year journey back to a now thriving, joy-filled life he experienced after attempting to jump out of a twenty-six story Vegas casino after a weekend of intended Britney Spears and Mariah Carey concerts that he mostly missed in the throes of grief and addiction. He was instead hospitalized there after his mother miraculously found him. There, he began to take the vital steps necessary to take back control over his life.
The book discusses addiction and the recovery from it, grief and the journey to acceptance that ensued, the family dynamics and DNA that resulted in a live-saving bi-polar diagnosis, and the importance of civil rights and marriage equality. This miraculous journey is threaded together by a tapestry of amazing friends who helped him find his way back to happiness, as well as signs from beyond that his partner is still with him spiritually, even though his body is not.

Hello, Patrick. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’ve been a writer for my entire career, more than 20 years now. I think I probably always wanted to be an author, but I’m not sure I ever thought I would actually do it. I’m glad I did. The whole experience has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wrote myself out of pain and made it my power. My whole being shifted as a result of this experience.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ve always been inspired by female African-American writers like Maya Angelou, Alice Williams and Toni Morrison. In fact, Morrison inspired the time-jumping, kind of jumbled narrative in my book because that’s truly what grief is like – it’s all over the place – one day you are lamenting one thing and the next you are fixated on another. But as I was looking at it afterward, it all fit together like a puzzle that I had to put together to heal. Morrison often does that too. I also like authors who are really bold like Augusten Burroughs. I feel like he and I probably have a lot in common.

Tell us about your book?

It’s mostly about the two year period following the sudden death of my partner, Pack. It’s about what happens at the intersection of grief and addiction; but then it’s about what can happen afterward once you overcome it and become sober. It’s about finding the beauty even amid the most horrible thing that ever happened to you. It’s about taking pain and making it power. It’s about loving yourself as you are and letting your inner light – your sparkle – shine the brightest it possibly can do that you can live a beautiful life of joy and purpose despite what your past may have dealt you. It’s about experience, strength and hope. I’m showing readers what I got through in the hope that they realize they can get through things too. You just have to love yourself and believe that you can.

How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the majority of it in about 12 days. It poured out of me. I was never more inspired. But I was only about 100 days sober at the time and I felt like I needed more sobriety for it to have impact. So, about a year later I wrote some chapters to flesh out my first six months of sobriety since that’s when it ends. I also wanted to redeem my mother more, because at the time I wrote the book we were not getting along. As a matter of fact, the earlier drafts of the chapters about the difficulty of that relationship were much harsher before the editing process, which took about six months.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I wrote a children’s book that needs to be illustrated and I am hoping to turn Unpacked Sparkle into a screenplay. I think this could be a movie. I want this to be a movie!

Why have you chosen this genre?

It was the most honest. I felt like I had been through something that was really hard that I also felt could help other people. That’s what this is about: sharing my story so the next person doesn’t have to hurt as much as I did.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Ironically I wrote a poem about my dog dying in the sixth grade that won a pretty major award and now 30 years later I’ve written a book about grief. Maybe this subject matter chose me. I think I have something inspiring and moving to say about a subject that might seem grim on the surface.

Why do you write? 

I think I needed to write this book to work through the grieving process. I started it as one person, and emerged a whole different one by the time I was completed. Even if I never released it, the result was already a major success for me. But I felt like what I had survived could offer others hope. So I wrote this for others like me who are struggling. It’s for the beautifully broken. I hope they unpack their own sparkle and learn to love themselves as they are.

Where do your ideas come from?

For this project, I made a list of all the things I wanted to write about and checked them off as I went along. I had a lot of chapter titles in my head already (many are song titles that pertain to or are an homage to the events that transpired within the chapter). Like I said before, when this was finished it didn’t feel “done” until I wrote those later chapters, one of which – “Safe and Sound” – is the most beloved of the whole book by audiences.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I actually wrote this whole book in the notes section of my iPhone. I later put it all together in Word and it was edited that way, but I usually get ideas very quickly so I just grab my phone and get going.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. Waiting to Exhale – Terry McMillan
  2. Dry – Augusten Burroughs
  3. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  4. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  5. The Color Purple – Alice Williams

I’d say those are my favorite authors too, but I’d add Maya Angelou in the mix.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I meditate or try to center myself with relaxation or positive self-talk. If you reframe the situation, you can usually power through anything and make the situation bear fruit.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Keep going and don’t give up. You can do and be anything if you believe in and love yourself. It all starts with you!

Thank you, Patrick, for all your exciting answers!


About The Book:

Over a year ago, I left a Mariah Carey concert in Las Vegas after six songs. I had gone on the trip as a present to myself for turning forty. But I couldn’t enjoy it. I was high on multiple drugs, but mostly crystal meth, and extremely drunk. I had been this way the majority of the year and a half since my partner Pack had suddenly passed away.
I found him dead on the bathroom floor one January morning while I was getting ready for work. The police told me I had no rights in my own home and asked me to leave. This was before gay marriage became legal. Life as I knew it changed instantly.
His family pretended I didn’t exist. They mauled our home the day he died, leaving it a ravaged mess. I was kicked out of that home. I was also disinvited to his funeral. In eight days I lost everything that mattered. Not even the law protected me from this.
So I got high in an effort to shoulder the pain. It didn’t work. I carried the heavy weight of unresolved complicated grief and addiction on my back. It was like an elephant. A large, unwieldy elephant that wanted me to die.
No longer able to participate in anything that mattered and unwilling to bear this burden anymore, I went back to my hotel room on the twenty-sixth floor of a casino and looked out on the sparkly lights below. I wanted to be in the light. So I opened the window and decided to jump.
But God intervened. My mother had somehow found me. Help came and I surrendered to the powerlessness of my situation. I asked God to help me. I stayed and I fought and I learned how to love myself. I put on a pair of sparkly shoes I had bought for that barely attended concert and I walked in to the rooms of Crystal Meth Anonymous. I had bought the sparkly shoes hoping Mariah would see me in the audience. Though she didn’t get the chance, you did. You all embraced me and my sparkly shoes. They have become my calling card of experience, strength, and hope.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: New Megiddo Rising (The Apostates #0.5) by Lars Teeney

Author: Lars Teeney
Release Date: 14th September 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 87
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★+1/2

Blurb:

At the Dawn of the Texas Republic declaring independence from Mexico, New Megiddo was born. Created by a death cult led by the Reverend Brigham Wainwright, who actively works to flood the empty, barren land with his American followers; undermining his Mexican overlords.

Fast-forward several centuries and America has become New Megiddo, a theocracy run by the Schrubb Administration, where order is kept using the technology of the [Virtue-Net] to feed the Reverend Wilhelm Wainwright’s sermons to the minds of the people. In the slums the humble beginnings of an insurgency of Apostates take shape. The cruel and clueless policies of the Church of New Megiddo and the ruling Regime push the disenfranchised masses one step closer to all-out rebellion.

Review

This is the prequel novella to the Apostates Series.

In my opinion, it will help you a lot if you’ll read the 3 books in the Apostates Series, or even just the first so you’ll be familiar with the world, characters and overall the plot of the story.

This novella flew by fast and I when I finished, it left me craving for more of this world. You could easily see that the world was well thought-out. The author is giving us a bleak view of a future and keeping us wanting more of this world.

This novella is a wonderful background story that shows us how it all started and how this dystopian world came to life and why. This book is not centered on a plot, and at first, it was hard to connect and read, but as soon as I had a few moments to myself, I was quickly reading through the book, and before I knew it, I’ve reached the end.

Each character has their own story but they are not connected. I think this is a wonderful origin story and Lars did an amazing job and even the gorgeous cover, made me enjoy this book a lot.

I love the cover art of this book so much, it’s so pretty.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Rustle Of Silence by Lalitha Venkatraman

Author: Lalitha Venkatraman
Release Date: 10th September 2016
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Edition: E-book
Pages: 131
Publisher: 

Rating: ★

Blurb:

Christopher is a handsome and brilliant businessman. His business empire had sprawled across several countries and he could have any woman he wants. His is a loving and caring nature and people adore him for his sterling qualities. For the outside world, Christopher has it all, did he really?
Preeti is an intelligent, savvy professional who has spent her life consumed with work. She lived the life of a Saint, happy to bask in the glory of her parents’ love.
Pulled together by peculiar circumstances, Christopher and Preeti quickly tear down each other’s barriers, bonding over a deep passion for their loving families as they explore the vibrant cities and rich, exotic culture of India. They grew quite close.
Preeti makes a startling discovery in Christopher’s house and to a certain extent, about the man himself. Suspicions run wild. Inexplicably, Preeti becomes the centre of accusations herself when a mysterious man with a traumatic past questions whether her love is truly for Christopher or his incredible wealth. Will Preeti be able to prove her good intentions, or will she have to make the ultimate sacrifice for the man she loves?
And then there is a jungle and people say that it is cursed. The forest is alive and breathing; from time to time, one could hear a huge rumbling noise from within. The trees shed millions of leaves. The hills move a few miles from their places. The river water rises to form solid arches. The forest dazzles the surroundings with its own magical light show. People are terrified of the living, breathing woodland and keep their distance from it.
De Silva lives all alone in the cursed jungle and he rushes to meet total strangers, Christopher and Preeti in the middle of the night…

Review

I tried really hard to not give up on this book and have faith that it will get better as the story progressed, but it just wasn’t for me.

The plot wasn’t entirely original and my main problem with the book was the writing and narration. The narration lacked cohesion with weird time jumps and the pacing was erratic. The book also had too many metaphoric descriptions for mundane aspects and didn’t spend enough time explaining the actual plot.

There was a subplot plot with references to slightly supernatural elements. But it was never properly explained or explored and it just existed to tie up loose ends of the main story. The characters and dialogues were unrealistic and flat.

The book had a decent build up, but around 40% I started to lose interest and ended up skimming over the rest of it. The ending was rushed and predictable with too much exposition crammed into the last few pages.

I feel that strong editing and a better plot structure would have helped this book, but right now, it just didn’t work for me.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Lake Of Fire (Apostates Book #3) by Lars Teeney

Author: Lars Teeney
Release Date: 1st July 2016
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopian
Edition: E-book
Pages: 250
Publisher: Xcism Press

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Archon Greta Sanchez and Strategos Evan Nubia struggle to hold together the Manhattan Union, amid Acolyte Possession Attacks, factional strife, and Database cartel crimes, while Sister Consuela Grajales tries to provide spiritual guidance to the people after she has renounced violence. But, when the Acolyte Possessions threaten all of their families directly the former Apostates consult Simon Schrubb about this mysterious threat. Simon Schrubb directs them to seek out Paradise, a hypothetical super backup server that just may hold the key to the Acolytes. And so, they set off in an armored convoy across the radioactive city ruins and dead tree littered wastelands on their perilous quest.
Little do the Apostates know that Apedemak Nubia and his Nubian Braves fight for control of their home, Sulfur Springs, which is said to hold Paradise, against the Trinity, a being that somehow controls the Acolyte Horde. As the Nubians split up to search out allies east and west, the Republic of Ukiah finds unlikely allies in the Nubian Braves, and the former Prelate Ayane Inoguchi, who struggles to reconcile her past, while helping to defend the Republic from an all-out Chinese invasion of the West Coast.
But, amid all the chaos the Lake of Fire burns deep below the Earth and threatens to undue all labors to consume the world and usher all souls to Paradise in the name of the Trinity and the Proxy Messiah.

Review

I must say that this story was surprisingly quick read. Evan nubia fights to keep the Manhattan Union from getting in the middle of the Acolytes attacks while others fight against Trinity and protecting their home and themselves. Sister Gvajales is offering spiritual guidance and Apostate Simon is trying to find the Super server that is so important to the Acolytes.

This book has everything in it: Those who fight for power, those who fights for justice, war, betrayal. These elements make you want to read more and be more engaged with the characters. They try to find the answer for the Acolytes while trying to find the right man for the job. Everyone here has neural implants and this can bring all sorts of problems to regular people.
Everything is falling apart fast and Lars did a wonderful job of keeping the suspense until the end.

The characters are well written and well plotted out, that as a reader you get deeply involved with them. I really loved most of the characters, their determination, and strength to keep on fighting. I didn’t have a favorite character like the in the other books, everyone here plays their part beautifully.

This book like the others in this series was well crafted and lots of mystery and suspense. Lars did even better with this book’s descriptions; it felt like I was watching an action movie. I loved the advanced technology so much (omg). With all the different factions that are fighting for the power to rule, gives us a wonderful view of a potential future and how our world can change so drastically.

From the beginning, I was hooked on the story and the characters, but what made me turn the pages more than anything was this world and see what the characters will do next.

The story ended in a perfect way (I will not spoil it for you). The ending truly surprised me, and I’m usually good at seeing what the ending will be. It was truly the perfect ending to this story.
I enjoyed this series a lot and this book was even better than the rest. Even though this series has ended, I can’t wait for what Feeney will write next.

I think the cover is simple and pretty and I like it.

The blurb is very accurate in the story’s plot and of what the characters will have to deal with. I think it’s witty and very engaging.


Goodreads and Amazon

Naming The Writer’s Unconscious – A Little Girl And Her Puppy

I always read craft books not once, but several times. I guess that’s the best way to really get the techniques and the wisdom they have to offer. Lately, I’ve been re-reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott and came across a concept, more like a paragraph or two, where author Lamott mentions about naming the unconscious:

“My friend Carpenter talks about the unconscious as the cellar where the little boy sits who creates the characters, and he hands them up to you through the cellar door. He might as well be cutting out paper dolls. he’s peaceful; he’s just playing.”

I paused at this particular bit, as I did the first time I read this book, and started thinking about how my unconscious would be?

Here she describes her friend’s version as a boy sitting in the cellar. But I don’t like the pictures of him sitting in confinement. I like her version of the unconscious better, “instead of a little kid, there’s a long-necked, good-natured Dr. Seuss character down there, grim with concentration and at the same time playing.”

So as I said earlier, I thought about my unconscious and this is what I came up with:

A Little Girl And Her Puppy

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

My unconscious, The Boy In The Cellar if you will, is a Little Girl. And this Little Girl is me, of course.

And the Little Girl is not alone; she has a puppy with her. A GSD puppy of about 4 months. And yes, this puppy is Tiger, my deceased pet.

So that’s my unconscious.

The Little Girl sits in the middle of the aangan of my childhood bungalow, on a stone-tiled floor on a thick faded rug called dari. She’s sitting cross-legged, wearing a beautiful white frock that hangs loosely from her thin wiry shoulders. Her dark-roasted-coffee-brown hair hanging down in waves reaching her waist.

Fair as she is, she has a small mouth and small ears but big brown curious eyes. She’s sitting with her coloring book sprawled luxuriously in front of her among her uncountable Camlin crayons of every color you could possibly imagine. They are the ones that her father gave her.

Now she’s bent over her book and scribbling away with cyan color. She looks happy today.

The Puppy is sitting beside her in a relaxed fashion that only 4-month-old puppies can manage. His head is resting on the girl small knee. He is looking at whatever the Little Girl is drawing with his droopy doggy eyes that look like they’re falling down. He’s a healthy Greman Shepherd and is big enough to come to her knees when she’s standing. He loves the Little Girl immensely and enjoys looking at her draw.

As I said, she looks good, happy. That makes me feel very good. And the important thing is she is not alone, she has the Puppy with her.

She loves drawing and therefore she is always drawing something or the other. Sometimes it takes her days, sometimes weeks and sometimes months or even years to complete a “masterpiece.” And when she’s done, she looks up from her work and calls me and hands me over those drawings.

Sometimes these drawings are so clear that I can clearly see what she has come up with, but sometimes they’re all blurred and abstract and it takes me a while to figure them out, to understand what is it that she wants me to see.

This is how my ideas come to me or rather delivered to me by my unconscious. The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she

The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she is me. This is how I get countless ideas for my books, characters, plots, sub-plots, short stories, flash fiction pieces, poems, etc.

This is how I write.


Takeaway:

If you are new to writing or if you are struggling with it, then I highly suggest this exercise. It’ll help you attain the very focus you need to center your creative mind.

What about you? Have you ever thought about how your unconscious works? Do you have a particular image of that unconscious?


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