Quick Updates – #amwriting

I had planned for 2 short stories and 1 article on Writing to post in through April and May, but unfortunately, things got in the way (as they usually do) and I completely forgot about the drafts (some half-baked some ready to go up) sitting patiently on my dashboard. I thought I’ll get back to blogging regularly now by scheduling the posts โ€“ like I do with my reviews at The Reading Bud, but before that, I wanted to drop by and post updates about what’s been since 8th April, the last time I posted.

Updates โ€“

Books:

  • Deceived has been entered for the Hindu Literary Prize 2017. Hindu is one of the top newspapers in India.
  • Deceived is being translated into Marathi (a regional language of Maharashtra, the State I live in.)
  • The English release of Deceived is set for 24th June and it might be a soft launch by the looks of it because we want to do a big launch cum release with at least 2 languages so most probably, that’ll be sometime in July as the translated Marathi version will be ready by then.
  • Deceived has crossed 66 ratings on Goodreads.
  • Deceived is now listed on Amazon.in (Amazon.com and other Amazons will still take another week or so.)
  • Book reviewers are loving Deceived and I’ve already made a few fans.
  • Sinister Town is going slow and steady and should be ready by the end of this year.

Work:

  • I have 3 Novel Critiques lined up for the coming days and I’m already booked until the 20th of July.
  • I have 1 editing lined up for the month of July so the rest of the July is also packed.
  • I’m working on 2 other projects for Citrus Publishers, mostly marketing and HR related.

Reading:

  • I suffered a reading slump in late March, hence wasn’t able to read much for the last two months. These are the only books I read since April: Under The Dome by Stephen King, Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt, Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow,ย Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber, The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, Something Needs Bleeding by Thomas Singer and Christopher Long, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg, The Bronx Kill by Philip Cioffari and The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
  • I have to read another 6 books by Grand Central Publishing, 2 by MM Publicity and 3 by EG Publicity for review. Other than these I have about 8 NetGalley books that I want to read ASAP and another 10 that I’ve bought. So I’ll be busy finishing these books in the coming weeks and months.

Personal:

  • We had an awesome holiday in mid-April in Goa. Lots of sunbathing and booze.
  • We’re shifting to a bigger house – a row-bungalow on 1st June. And now I can finally get my pets.
  • We’re planning a trip to Thailand in August.
  • Right after the vacation, we’ll start our hunt for the perfect kitten and GSD pup!
  • I developed a bad rash on my arms and later found out that I am allergic to UV rays. The rash was due to extreme sunbathing in Goa last month. So I’m just trying to stay away from the direct sunlight as much as possible. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Right now I’m busy with the shifting, readying the house for the Packers and Movers, so I’ll be seeing you guys next week. Stay tuned to my Twitter as I’ll be sharing the new bungalow’s pics there.

Do let me know how you spent your month. I’d be more than happy to know what you’ve been up to!

Ciao โค

Author Interview: Mark Canniff

Welcome to TRBโ€™s Author Interview Lounge. Today, Iโ€™d like to welcome, Mark Canniff, author ofย Dream, Recurring.

About the author:

Mark Canniff was born and raised for the first twelve years of his life in Seattle Washington. The next thirteen years were spent in England. (Beginning in London, then moving to Cornwall, finally settling in Somerset.)ย He arrived there because his mother remarried after being divorced for about ten years. His step-father was English, asking the family โ€œwhy donโ€™t you come over to my place?โ€.

And so Markโ€™s journey into the paranormal began. Finishing his education in England, obtaining an โ€œAโ€ Level in English Literature (which he feels is about the equivalent to an Associates Degree in the US), his adventure led him to discover an interest in things that go โ€œbump in the nightโ€.

While he hasnโ€™t been on a paranormal ghost hunt, he has personally experienced: demons, haunted locations and many apparitions, plus much more. โ€œItโ€™s not for the faint of heartโ€, as he would later say referring to his experiences. This fueled a passion to create short stories and article writing. (Realizing that he found his โ€œCallingโ€ in life), he began work on a short screenplay (when he was in the film industry) entitled โ€œThe Dream.โ€ย Although the script was never produced, it did show him that he had something. So the road to โ€œDream, Recurringโ€, his first novel, began.

Currently in the Aviation industry, he sees his future in writing. โ€œThis is the first book in a series totaling four stories.โ€ The plan being that each one will have their own screenplay (written by him). Plus much more to follow.

Personally, he has been married to the most amazing woman he knows, since 2004. They have one son. Heโ€™s said many times how complete his life feels because of both of them. They are the best thing that has ever happened to him.

You can reach him at:

Website:ย www.markcanniff.com
Facebook:ย www.facebook.com/markcanniff1
Twitter: @mark_canniff


Hello, Mark. Thank you for being here today.

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

Absolutely! My ambitions are to grow into a full-time writing career. Quite simply, I feel this is my calling, I have this strong sense that I can author some fantastic stories that readers will like with messages they will appreciate.

Which writers inspire you?

Dr. Wayne Dyer and Terry Pratchett.

Interestingly they arenโ€™t in my genre (obviously), however those two have inspired me the most. Not only as an โ€œauthorโ€ from their own work but helped me to constantly drive towards the one thing that I love to do.

Which I think we all have a special gift to give. Discovering what that is can sometimes take years. The funny thing is, for the longest time I wanted to become a pilot. Flying a 747 or a helicopter was a dream of mine. Neither one of those things I could do.

Going from โ€œpilotโ€ to โ€œauthorโ€ is Iโ€™m sure a curiosity. Iโ€™m certain thereโ€™s a story there somewhere.

Tell us about your book?

โ€œDream, Recurringโ€ is a paranormal mystery. The short description which I think describes it well is:

โ€œCynical by nature, a photographer discovers that sheโ€™s haunted by a being after she starts having a recurring dream. Revealing a secret that only the dead know – with the entity bent on keeping it.โ€

How long did it take you to write it?

Okay, so hereโ€™s the fun partโ€ฆ

It took a total of 18 years from concept to publication. The genesis of this novel began life as a short screenplay when I was in the film industry. The name of that script was called โ€œThe Dreamโ€.

During that time, I let my friends read it and they all really loved it. Then I had a Producer read it (he really enjoyed it too). So much so that he said if I could make it a full-length feature, he would fund the movie. I laughed when he said it, so he repeated it. He was very serious.

Unfortunately, I couldnโ€™t turn it into a full two-hour film at the time. I didnโ€™t have all the pieces together.

Then I thought what better way to bring the story to life than a novel? This was where the idea was really born.

I thought, at the time, if I could do that, Iโ€™ll be able to โ€œreverse engineerโ€ it back into a screenplay for film later.

Now that the book is here, I fully intend doing that.

However, little did I realize what that really meant at the time. Itโ€™s been an incredible journey of ups and downs as I put the pieces together. Of course, it still isnโ€™t over because it ultimately needs to be turned into a movie. Which I believe will eventually happen.

The actual โ€œwritingโ€ of the book began in 2012 when I wrote the first chapter. I still didnโ€™t have the final โ€œsectionsโ€ together even then. However, in 2014 is when I really had everything that I needed and two years after that was when I could publish it as a self-published novel.

Iโ€™ve learned so much during this whole process and I continue to gain more insight into this journey daily.

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

Oh yes! The great thing about creating a story is that you can do with it whatever you want. The one book has grown into a four-part series. All of them will be under the banner โ€œIsland River Talesโ€.

The second novel, which Iโ€™m currently working on is called: โ€œWhen Night Has Fallenโ€.

When the series is done is when I will focus on the script of the first one. I donโ€™t aim to do any more than that from that set of stories. (From a film perspective.) Because Iโ€™ll want to devote my time in creating another novel.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Great question! For me, this genre allows my imagination to wander. Iโ€™ve had countless paranormal experiences, starting when I was about six years old (but really โ€œkickedโ€ in when I became a teenager) that it just seems a natural fit.

I like to explore what โ€œcould beโ€ and fiction allows me the leeway to do that. So, putting the story in that kind of setting really worked for me.

If you put those two together what you get is a tale that hopefully the reader will enjoy.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Oh wow. Well, I think a part of me has always known. In my younger years, I would write short stories, or outlines to possible concepts that might become novels one day.

However, it wasnโ€™t until I was in my thirties that I became drawn to writing articles, which were about things I felt I needed to say.

What I learned there was the โ€œcadenceโ€. For example, writing three or four pages a day is of very little effort for me. Plus, I always make sure the story is moving forward in that time-frame.

This I learned from writing articles.

Novels became the next โ€œnaturalโ€ step as I wanted to create something in-depth. After writing the screenplay for โ€œThe Dreamโ€, putting two-and-two together was something I absolutely needed to do.

Why do you write?ย 

I want to tell a tale that leaves you thinking about it long after youโ€™ve read it. There is always a subtle message underlining the book. Each theme is different for every novel.

It would be my hope that as my writing career grows, Iโ€™m able to have a body of work that people will want to read more and more.

At the end of the day, if I can resonate with one person, then I will have done my job.

Where do your ideas come from?

Thatโ€™s kind of a multilayered answer. I pull from my lifeโ€™s experience, imagination and sometimes even my dreams become the outline for the story. (In the case of the latter, for example, the fourth book in this series came from a โ€œvisionโ€ I had while I was sleeping.)

I often feel that there is no โ€œoneโ€ source for storytelling. If you are to really find inspiration then you should let it flow. You have no idea how the next concept is going to come.

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

I used to write longhand then transfer to computer but once I started writing novels (Iโ€™m currently working on my second), I found that it was better for me to just go straight for the computer.

The writing flows easier for me that way, plus I donโ€™t have to transfer it to the โ€œelectronic mediumโ€. It ultimately saves a lot of time.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I love this question. Here goes:

  1. Terry Pratchett: โ€œMort.”ย This was my first introduction into the โ€œDiscworldโ€ series and I loved it! Basically, itโ€™s about Death taking on an apprentice, whose name is Mort.
    It was a great introduction to the Discworld series. Itโ€™s funny, imaginative, tells an incredible fable and kept me thinking too. I think from an โ€œauthorโ€™sโ€ perspective, he was a huge inspiration in becoming a writer for me.
  2. Dr. Wayne Dyer: โ€œThe Power of Intention.” Anything from this man I love but what I really enjoyed about this book was that it introduced me to the concept of โ€œThe Law of Attractionโ€.
    This law has become a guiding principle for me over the years and I have him to thank for planting the seed, as it were.
  3. Maurice Sendak: โ€œWhere the Wild Things Are.” This was the first book I ever read. I poured over it again and again. I loved it. I imagined their world, through the eyes of the story and couldnโ€™t get enough of it.
    It showed me what the power of a great book could do to your own creativity.
  4. Anne Frank: โ€œThe Diary of a Young Girl.” This was just so powerful. It was hard to read in places but was so inspiring at the same time.
    It impacted my life in many ways. Mostly, it showed me the power of the written word and how it could draw the reader into real life. At a time when I had little insight from โ€œinsideโ€ that world, she enlightened me to her experiences. Wow!
  5. Stephen Hawking: โ€œA Brief History of Time.” I loved this. It was easy for me to read and understand the concepts being discussed. I obviously couldnโ€™t get the mathematics but that didnโ€™t matter. Stephen put it in a way for the reader (in this case, me) to explore Quantum Mechanics. I had read the โ€œvery largeโ€ from Albert Einstein and now I read the world of the โ€œvery smallโ€. Totally awesome.
    It was just pure enjoyment from the very beginning.

How do you deal with Writerโ€™s Block?

Uhโ€ฆ hmmโ€ฆ let me see…

Sometimes I simply do nothing. I walk away for a while, taking a break for as long as I feel. (Itโ€™s surprising what โ€œdistanceโ€ can do to a story.) In instances like that I would make sure that Iโ€™m not thinking about it. In fact, the less I do wonder about where Iโ€™m headed next, the better it becomes when I do go back.

Other times I push through with only one page at a time. Doing that, helps me to drive my story forward at a faster pace than โ€œstepping backโ€. Sometimes thatโ€™s whatโ€™s needed though.

In either case breakthroughs happen and I can drive on. It really depends on how fast I want to go.

They both teach me something about myself, as an โ€œauthorโ€. I love that process as much as I enjoy the writing.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

If you are considering a writing career because you feel itโ€™s something you should do, then do it!

Everyone has a good story in them. Relatively few can sit down and do the work.

The best advice I could give is to make sure you are reading too. It is amazing how much you learn from other authors. I would also say practice. Just get in there and write something. Doing that action leads to more.

Once you have an idea, then enjoy it as you see your story come to life. (From concept to synopsis to finally a novel), it is a beautiful process.

Finally, once as you are seeing it develop, switch your thinking to holding the book in your hands. Visualize that so completely that you can feel it there. Itโ€™s especially at that point that doors really start opening. Inspiration comes from goodness knows where but you can see it. Maybe no one else can, however you donโ€™t need anyone else for this task in the beginning (for the first draft anyway).

Itโ€™s that movement that will really bring the โ€œAuthorโ€ out in you. Then thereโ€™s no stopping you!

I look forward to hearing about the tale(s) that you can bring to life.

Thank you, Mark, for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

Can there be a mystery that goes back over a hundred years, that only the dead can reveal?

Lucy has been having a recurring dream. Night after night she finds herself driving on a winding road with her best friend Sam. She feels lost as this path seems to lead to nowhere. That is until she discovers a house. Curious, she goes up to investigate, discovering that the place is empty.

The mystery of the dream deepens when she realizes that sheโ€™s being haunted by an entity. Why is it attached to her?

Both Sam and her uncover a piece of history that only those that have passed on have kept secret. Why is it so important and does it have anything to do with the dark being?

It suddenly becomes a race against time as they grasp that their very lives might be at stake.

Can they uncover what is really going on in time, before itโ€™s too late?

Is there a connection between the house, the uncovered past and the evil entity?


For more author interviews, clickย 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:ย thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Post: Why I Write By Patrick A. Roland

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Patrick A. Roland, author of Unpacked Sparkle.

Presenting Patrick A. Roland…

Why I Write

For 40 years of my life I was basically a victim. I was the type of person things – usually bad – happened to. I did absolutely nothing to change my fate. I was simply a bystander in life, moving from one abysmal low to the next.
You know how you see a car accident when you are driving on the road and no matter what you do, you can’t turn away from it? You see the mangled debris. The charred flesh. The danger. The destruction. People crying. Lives forever altered. That was me; I was the car accident. And for the longest time, I couldn’t get out of my own way. I just kept staring at the mangled mess that was my life. I was paralyzed with fear. I didn’t want to change. Well, maybe I did; but I was too afraid to change.
Then I started writing. Soon I realized my pain could become my power. I knew I was on to something as what became my book poured out of me in about 12 days when I had 100 days of sobriety. It was during this time that I wrote myself out of pain and morphed from victim to survivor. It was the first time in my life I stood in the truth of everything that had really transpired in the wake of my partner’s sudden death. Yes, it had all happened. Yes, it had all been painful. Yes, I had tried to end my life on more than one occasion. Yes, I had been saved repeatedly. And yes, I ultimately felt telling my story could benefit others. I knew I had been spared to give others hope that they could make it through whatever trial or tribulation you are going through. Because the truth is – you can and you will.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Committing to being happy is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. It takes work every day. Remember, I’m bi-polar. I have a symphony of loud voices in my head trying to cause my very undoing on a daily basis. But I have to keep fighting because I’m worth it. And guess what? So are you!
The truth of the matter is that in every situation that caused my downward spiral, the common denominator was me. I was there for all of it. I allowed it. I was party to it. But I’m not willing to allow it anymore. You could say that I’m woke. Im no longer afraid to use my voice. And I’m calling out all the bullies who made me so afraid And feel so worthless I tried to jump out of a 26-story window in Las Vegas, my final act of cowardice that gave birth to two years and counting of sobriety that now makes me fearless and strong.

To the boys in Kindergarten who used to throw rocks at me at the bus stop, making me scared to even go to school: I’m not afraid of you anymore.

To the boys in the third grade who mocked and ridiculed me the day I wore a black and red jacked like the oneย Michael Jacksonย wore in “Thriller”: You probably wouldn’t like my sparkly shoes. Too bad. I do.
To the boys in sixth grade who pretended to be my friend on the last day of school and tricked me into eating a Ding Dong laced with Ex Lax: I’m not falling for crap like that anymore.
To the boys in high school who were so mercilessly cruel they dubbed me “The Whipping Boy” when they weren’t drowning me in the pool or trying to push me off roofs: My friends call me “The Sparkle King” now and we will never see each other again.
To the guys my freshman year in college who attacked me in the hallway, forced me to the ground and beat me in the face with socks they stuffed to resemble large penises: I question why you were all hanging out making phalises out of socks in the first place, but whatever, I’m undaunted by your attempts to make me feel bad about being gay.
To the boyfriend who beat me, kicked me, chocked me, tried to kill me, spit on me and violently berated me with a daily mix of harmful names: you don’t ever get to hurt me again.
To the family of the man I loved, the one who made me a stranger in the home I built with your father, brother and uncle and forbade me from attending the services that would have allowed me to grieve the way I deserved to as his lover and best friend: he was right; you didn’t deserve to know me and you’ll never get to.
And to the drugs I did to the point of near death to get over all of the above: you have no power over me anymore; I choose sobriety because I deserve to live a life filled with joy and possibility.
That’s what Unpacked Sparkle is to me. It’s not just a book about things that happened to me; it’s a movement about me taking my pain and making it my power. It is my hope that in doing so, I will inspire others to take a look at their lives and find the strength to move through whatever they need to to survive and thrive. I didn’t want to go through this for the sake of going through it, I wanted to be an example – a cautionary tale even – of what happens when you become a bystander in your own life. Because the fact of the matter is, what you want in life is yours for the taking, but you have to want it and you have to fight for it. You have to believe in yourself and know your worth. I do; and I’m never backing down from myself again.
And that’s how I shifted from feeling worthless to knowing my worth. I now identify as a bi-polar, drug addict, alcoholic, widow who is sober, happy and healthy; and I do so because as long as I stand in my truth and own my stuff, nobody can hurt me anymore with their words or their actions.
I didn’t choose to be bi-polar. I didn’t choose to be an addict. I certainly didn’t choose to be a widow. But I do choose to sparkle. And you can too. It all starts with love.

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 Rolandโ€™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 Packโ€™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.

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 couldnโ€™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 didnโ€™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 didnโ€™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 didnโ€™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.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your authorโ€™s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail atย thereadingbud@gmail.com