Blog 26: I Met The Devil on a Road Trip.

devils-bridge

The Devil is a popular character. He, she, it, appears in literature all the time; Dante’s Inferno, Good Omens, Waywalkers, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea to name a few. However, when and where humanity first developed the idea of ‘The Devil’ is difficult to pinpoint, and whether or not ‘The Devil’ actually exists is an argument that most of us are happy to leave to the philosophers and religionists. One thing is for certain though, The Devil has been around for a long time and this character won’t be disappearing anytime soon. In fact with technology today, this character as close to immortality as it will ever get. Unless humanity is wiped out by an asteroid, nuclear weapons, the inevitable death of the solar system, greedy politicians, or a combination of everything that I just mentioned.

I have lived in the UK all my life but sadly, I haven’t really seen very much of it. I put this down to my terrible ‘small-talk’ skills, lack of funds, and an aversion to driving my metal box amongst other, bigger and superior metal boxes. Still, needs must, I have patient friends, and society demands that I see daylight hours, so I do venture out into the outside world.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve driven up and down the Northern part of the M6, passing Cumbria and Northumbria as I’ve made my way up to Scotland. I’ve spotted impressive buildings and landmarks as I’ve travelled and every time this happens I wonder why they are there and what stories they hold. I tell myself that I’ll find out more about them and visit them when I have time, but this rarely becomes a reality. That is, until now of course. I have found myself in a rather fortunate position where travelling around the UK doesn’t seem so ridiculous anymore.

I will be visiting and blogging about Wigtown shortly, a famous book town in Dumfries and Galloway, and I’ve recently made trips to Penrith and Kirkby Lonsdale. My first impressions of Penrith and the surrounding areas is that it seems to be dotted with Castles, or at least, their ruins. However I didn’t spend an awful lot of time here and I didn’t meet The Devil in Penrith, I met The Devil in Kirkby Lonsdale.

OK so I may have lied, I didn’t actually meet The Devil… but I did stumble across Kirkby Lonsdale’s famous Devil’s Bridge and that is probably as close to The Devil as you’d ever actually want to be. Curious as to why this old bridge is called ‘Devil’s Bridge’ I did a little research and a couple of clicks later discovered that it’s one of many bridges referred to as ‘Devil’s Bridge’. Yup that’s right, Devil’s Bridge is actually a popular name for many old bridges and each bridge has a Devil-related myth or folktale.

The story for Devil’s Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale states that The Devil appeared to an old woman, promising to build a bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross over it. When the bridge was finished, the woman threw bread over the bridge, her dog chased after it, and the annoyed Devil received a new pet.

After reading about this particular legend I realised that there are probably thousands of little legends and stories associated with historic sites and landmarks up and down the UK that I am completely unaware of. To the writer in me, this is fascinating and exciting. Myths, legends, folktales and old stories are ripe with little nuggets of inspiration. Who knows what old concept or idea you may be able to revamp or turn completely on its head in order to come up with a new angle for a bestselling novel? If that thought doesn’t galvanize the writers out there then I’m not sure what will. Of course not everyone will be able to travel, but we are armed with the power of the internet so you don’t necessarily need to leave the comfort of your own home. As for me, I think I will try and travel to new places and learn more about the myths and legends surrounding the UK. This wet little island with its serious, tea drinking, queue-forming inhabitants, has never been more mysterious or exciting.

‘You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand…’ – Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Have you visited anywhere or know about any legends, myths and folktales? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear about it!

Blog 25: An Interview with ‘Consensus Breaking’ author, M.S. Dobing

Consensus Breaking 2

Q1) In one or two sentences, how would you describe your novel ‘Consensus Breaking’ to someone who hasn’t read any of your previous work?

Think an urban fantasy of the Matrix! It’s the sequel in the Auran Chronicles, and follows a young protagonist — Seb — who’s pulled into a secret world within our own where sheol (terrifying daemons that can possess humans) battle the warriors and mages of the Brotherhood and Magistry. In Consensus Breaking the fallout from the events of book one continue, with Seb and his alllies facing a new foe that not only serves as an entirely new level of adventure and threat, but also  serves to delve deeper into the underlying mythology and scale of the Auran Chronicles universe.

Q2) How long did it take for you to finish and publish ‘Consensus Breaking’?

It took about 6 months, which included first draft, multiple edits, a professional edit, and then final rewrite.

Q3) Have you always wanted to write and when did you first discover that you wanted to write?

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Around 2004 I started writing “properly” and published a few short stories with online e-zines. Then kids came along and I took a long break. I started again in 2014 after seeing how the indie author revolution was taking off, and thought, why not?

Q4) Many writers, particularly young writers, have difficulty convincing their family and friends of their career choice. Have you found this, or society’s expectations, a problem?

Not really, not at this stage. Whilst I’ve told everyone that I’m publishing, I’ve been realistic in managing expectations. I have a day job that pays the bills, but ultimately I’d love to be able to write full time. I imagine for a young writer choosing this as a career choice you would face some challenges from family. The money isn’t great for the majority, but on the flip side it is is possible to make a living as an author if you’re willing to invest the time, effort and money (depending on your path) into making it happen.

Basically though, I’d say as long as you have a realistic understanding of what you can achieve, if you love writing, just go for it. You can always supplement with a day job until such point that your earnings from writing mean you don’t need to do it anymore.

Q5) How do you spend your average writing day?

My “writing day” is actually limited. Daylight hours are spent with family, work etc. I write from about 8pm to 10pm daily and try to get at least 1000 words down. The aim for me is always to get something down EVERYDAY, otherwise my natural lazy self kicks in and I start skipping days.

Q6) Is there a specific message, theme or idea that you wanted to get across to your readers with your novel ‘Consensus Breaking’?

Hmm, I think the underlying questions/ideas are – “what is the true nature of reality?”  I think this question on its own spawns so many other questions but specifically it serves as the underpinning of the entire series — the Weave, the magi, the Aware/Unaware, the sheol, the Shards etc.

Q7) What do you feel is the best piece of writing advice that you have learnt to date?

I’ve heard/read a lot, but I think the best advice is just to read lots. When you read something with an author’s eye, you begin to pick out the particular nuances about how other authors do things – description, voice, narration, etc. There are tons of self-help writing books out there, which serve to teach the foundations, but you learn much more by simply reading lots.

Q8) What inspires you?

The unknowns in science. We know so much as a race, especially in physics, but the more we learn, the more we realise what we don’t know. The very questions posed by quantum physics (the role of the observer, what is reality) are some of the most fundamental of our time, and I drew on these questions heavily when designing the Auran Chronicles universe.

Q9) In this modern age of self-publicity, which social media platforms do you use and find the most useful?

Facebook and Twitter are my main ones. I also have a blog which syncs to twitter, facebook and goodreads, so try to keep it all in one place.

Q10) What novel have you read that you wish you had written?

Oh, good one. None, specifically, although I’ve read many where I’ve thought “wow – brilliant idea”. I suppose if I had to pick anyone novel, it would be The Stand by Stephen King. I love all of King’s work, but that one in particular was so epic in scope, story and questions that I was just mesmerised by the whole thing from beginning to end.

Q11) If you could be a character in any novel you’ve read, who would it be?

Harry Potter. What a great life he leads – aside from all the death of course 😉

Q12) Have you ever fallen in love with a character of your own creation?

I once created a character called “Legion”, who ran a greasy spoon cafe in my short story Cafe Diable. He was actually some kind of devil in disguise (I never fully explained what he was), but he was brilliantly creepy and scary.

In modern works – I like all my characters in different ways. Seb is the “everyman”, who views things from our normal view of the world. Cade is the traditional hero, willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good, and Sylph (who seems to be everyone’s favourite) has been through the hardest life of all but has come through with a mental toughness and resilience that belies her young years.

Q13) Do you have any favourite novels or authors?

Stephen King. Anything by him.

 

Some less serious and extra questions…

Q14) If you could travel to anywhere in the world where would it be?

Canada – Lake Banff specifically. Never been to Canada but would love to go.

Q15) Do you have any pets?

Yes – two cats – Crackers & Marmite.

Q16) What is your favourite food/beverage?

Anything spicy 🙂

Q17) If you could have dinner with anyone alive today (famous or not) who would it be and why?

Stephen King. I’d love to chat more about his worth ethic, how he gets the words so often and with such quality. I’d ask if he fancied doing a collaboration 😉

Q18) If you had a single trip in a time machine where would you go?

I’d go into the future. Perhaps a thousand years. I’d want to see if the human race had made it to the stars or had succeeded in wiping ourselves from the universe entirely!

Q19) And lastly, can you tell us a random fact about yourself?

I failed Chemistry in my first attempt at university (I was too lazy!) two years later got a degree in Physics and IT from the Open University.


 

A huge thank you to M. S. Dobing for taking the time to answer all the questions above. I hope you enjoyed this blog interview. If you would like to find out more about M. S. Dobing and his works, you can check out his social media links below!

Website: http://msdobing.com/

Twitter:srealms_author

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

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8391541.M_S_Dobing

Blog 24: If you can’t write, then READ instead.

Sometimes writers just don’t feel like writing. We’re all human at the end of the day and sometimes we are busy but often we have times where we lack motivation. I’ve spent the last couple of days distracted by other things in my life and unable to write a word. Even writing this blog has been difficult. I’ve been umming and ahhing about what topic to cover and how to give old topics a new spin, but my brain wouldn’t work and I was getting nowhere with it. Then it struck me, ironically I thought to myself ‘why don’t I write about not writing?’ I dug into my old topics and decided to take the advice I had already written in other blogs, if you can’t write, then READ instead.

Some people would probably groan at the very idea of reading a book. Unlike listening to the latest chart songs, books require hours of dedication and in our busy world some would say that they simply do not have enough time. However, not all books are epic fantasy novels with hundreds of sequels and prequels, there are short stories out there too.

Why am I championing reading? read more »

Blog 23: Inspiring Authors

There have been a number of authors who have inspired me over the years and some of them I have only discovered recently. Whether they have made me laugh, cry, or just hooked me into buying more of their work, there are just some books that you will talk about and remember forever.

Unfortunately I don’t have the time to write about all the authors who have inspired me right now, so I’ll save them for future blogs. However, I have noticed a certain trend that crops up amongst some of my favourite books. If the author’s writing style or ideas are quirky, funny, clever and/or unusual, then it will most likely snag my attention. With that knowledge in mind, I couldn’t resist writing about these three particular gentlemen… read more »

Blog 22: Reactions Make Stories Believable!

Emotions

Have you ever read a book where a character does or says something that seems to be completely bizarre? I don’t mean a plot-twist, I mean when a character literally does not follow ‘normal human behaviour’ causing the story to lose its believability and you, as the reader, end up questioning what planet the author was living on when they wrote their book? Unfortunately this seems to happen from time to time and it can cause readers to lose interest in, or give up on, a book entirely.

As much as every person is unique and reacts differently to different situations, and of course you will always have the anomalies (or rather the few that don’t behave like the majority), sometimes characters react in ways that you just cannot fathom, and when this happens your brain will point out everything that it views as flaws. Sometimes this is down to the individual reader but often it is the author’s fault, whether it be poor writing, or poor structural editing, or a seemingly lack of understanding in basic human reactions. Sometimes authors write sentences, paragraphs and even chapters that your brain just cannot get on board with. Before I go further, it is important to point out here that not everyone will enjoy or understand a particular book, everyone has different tastes, and even the famous authors receive bad reviews. read more »

Blog 21: Social Media for Authors, Writers and Readers.

blog 21

I’ve scoured Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the internet for groups, pages, blogs, channels and websites specifically aimed at authors, writers and readers. I’ve picked out a few and listed them below to help you get started, but there are plenty more out there to choose from…

facebook logoFacebook pages & groups for Authors/Writers

BooksGoSocial Author’s Group

BooksGoSocial Book Review Club

The Writer’s Circle

Writers’ Group

Writers Write read more »

Blog 20: Six Villainous Character Types.

Villains 2

The villain or antagonist will usually play a crucial role in any good novel. So, after reading hundreds of novels and watching hundreds of films over the years, I decided to analyse some villains for myself. What exactly makes a good villain and do they fit into different categories? Well yes they do in my opinion, though it is likely that a memorable villain – just like any person – will fit into more than one category. With a little bit of research and reading, here are the six broad categories for different types of villains that I decided upon… read more »

Blog 19: My Average Writing Day…

MAWD

I wanted to post something a little more humorous and hopefully somewhat insightful. All of you writers, authors and freelancers out there who don’t adhere to the 9-5 hours and work 7 days a week, this is a post for you.

My average writing day doesn’t begin at 6am or even 7am like most people. It’s not because I’m lazy or because I don’t work for the same amount of hours, it is because I have often been up the night before writing til dawn. My day begins at around 10am, and sometimes my alarm clock is the sound of window cleaners banging their mops and brushes against my window. In my half awake state I’ll head straight for the kettle for some glorious caffiene. read more »

Blog 18: Six Paranormal Fantasies for the Summer.

1) She Never Got To Say Goodbye by Ica Iova

A Paranormal Fantasy and Thriller with a splash of Romance. She Never Got To Say Goodbye follows the lives of Olivia an aspiring lawyer, and Brandon the already established lawyer. The story starts off fairly normally, Olivia and Brandon coincidently meet at a restaurant, start talking and then later fall in love, marry and have a child. However, that is where the ‘normal’ ends. After a particularly bad case, Brandon ends up falling into a spiral of guilt and depression, turning to drinks and drugs in an attempt to drown his sorrows. Brandon’s addictions drive a wedge in his relationship with Olivia, and after a drunken argument, Brandon wakes up on the floor of his home to find that his wife has been murdered. Olivia returns as a ghost, and with little recollection from both sides as to what actually happened the night of her murder, she immediately blames Brandon. Furious that Brandon could do such a thing, Olivia is hell bent on making Brandon’s life as difficult as possible. However, as time goes on and Brandon is cleared of murder, Olivia is left wondering about who murdered her and why?

Beautifully written with humour and heartbreak, this is a story with many twists and turns, and although the murderer is easy to spot, this story will still surprise you.

Amazon: Kindle Ed, £2.12. Paperback, £8.99.

2) The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here

Weird but brilliant, The Rest Of Us Just Live Here is a quirky coming of age story. Focusing on the minor characters and their lives rather than the main characters (aka The Indie Kids), Patrick Ness has managed to write a compelling story from a completely different viewpoint. The story follows the life of Mikey and his friends, who in normal fiction would be the background characters, yet they catch glimpses of the ‘heroes’ who are out there saving the world. Cleverly written and packed with humour, Mikey and his friends just want to make it to prom and graduation. Despite Mikey’s OCD’s and his unrequited love for his friend Henna, he just wants the last few weeks of school to run as smoothing as possible. However, not everything is as ‘normal’ as it appears. One of Mikey’s friends happens to be a demi-god, a new kid called Nathan appears to be a former indie kid, and a car accident involving a deer leaves Mikey both battered and confused. Will he ever conquer his OCD’s? Will Henna return his love? and which indie-kid will save the world this time?

A must read for anyone who is looking for something a bit different.

Amazon; Kindle Ed, £4.99, Hardcover £9.09.

3) Message Bearer  by M.S. Dobing

A Paranormal, Urban Fantasy with plenty of Mystery and Thriller thrown into the mix. Message Bearer combines the real world with magic and multiple mythologies in one action-packed adventure. This story centers around a young, homeless man called Seb, who ends up crossing the path of a woman and a terrifying creature. Unfortunately for Seb, the woman gives him a hidden message just before she dies, which makes Seb the creature’s new target. Seb is thrown into a world of magic and daemons where he discovers his own hidden magical talents and a secret magical world. Seb is not welcomed with open arms and is only tolerated because he is the only one who can reveal the secrets of the hidden message. As more daemons appear and the fabric of reality starts to break down, it is race against time for Seb to break open the hidden message. However, the bad guys and good guys have mixed motives, leaving you wondering who is truly good and who is truly bad? Will Seb be able to uncover the secrets of the hidden message in time to save the world?

A must read for those who love action-packed adventures, and/or are interested in mythologies. Another extra addtion, this story is set in the North-West of England with references to real places.

Amazon UK: Kindle Ed, £0.99. Paperback, £8.99. Amazon US: Kindle Ed, $1.43. Paperback $11.99.

4) The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Beautifully written and historically educating. If you love Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, you will love The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo.

Set just a little before modern times, The Ghost Bride follows the story of Li Lan. Since the death of her mother, Li Lan’s father has amassed debts and lost most of their former wealth. Li Lan’s father is then approached with an unsual but not unheard of proposal. Li Lan is asked to marry the recently deceased and wealthy heir of the Lim family, in complice with ancient chinese traditions and in order to satisfy and honour the spirits of the dead. However, Li Lan is understandably a little hesistant. The idea is outdated and she doesn’t want to tie the rest of her life to a ghost, despite the fact that the Lim family’s wealth would help her father. When the Lim’s deceased heir starts to torment her dreams, Li Lan accidently slips into the spirit world where she uncovers some terrible secrets about the Lim family, and where she meets the mysterious Er Lang. Can Li Lan find the truth and avoid her marriage, and can she escape the spirit world and return to her body in time?

UK Amazon: Kindle, £2.63.  Paperback, £7.99.

5) Wild-Born by Adrian Howell

Wild Born

A more sinister Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, this story is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Wild-Born follows the life of Adrian Howell (also the author’s pen name), a young teenager who discovers he has telekinetic powers. When Adrian is attacked and kidnapped, he is plunged into a brutal world with complex governments and waring groups (factions). Adrian discovers he is a psionic and that there are many psionic’s like himself. He escapes his captor and is rescued by another psionic, Cindy, who gives him a home and introduces him to a young, psionic girl called Alia. It is not long before the trio are discovered, and Adrian is captured again, along with his new little sister Alia. They are taken to a government, underground facility, where other psionics are being held and experimented on. Adrian and Alia are forced into making tough decisions that even adults would struggle with, as well as dealing with dark and sinister elements of the real world. Will they be able to hold out whilst Cindy tries to bring together a team to rescue them?

Wild-Born is unique in the way that you experience this world through the eyes of two youngsters and not older teenagers or adults. Despite being a bit sinister at times, there is still plently of action and humour throughout. Wild-Born is a more mature read and makes refence to some sensitive topics, if you are ok with this, then you will find it easy to devour these error-free pages.

Amazon: Kindle Ed, free. Paperback £8.07.

6) Anomaly (The Soul Prophecies) by Caitlin Lynagh

A Paranormal Fantasy about life and death.

Anomaly follows the story of Kyle Hunter, a business undergraduate at Red Oak University, and Alice Lynam, a recently deceased soul.

At the start of Kyle’s second year, and two years since the death of his childhood sweetheart, Kyle is trying his best to move on from Alice and get on with his life. However, unbeknown to Kyle, Alice is still around, and she has been watching him closely. Alice knows that her death prompted Kyle to give up his aspirations as a physicist and to follow his father’s dream to follow a business career instead, but Kyle along with the majority of the living are more important than they realise. Every decision that each person makes, from something small like a smile to something major like a scientific discovery, causes fluctuations in the future, and not all of them are good or positive. Armed with the knowledge of the afterlife, a book she left behind, and the memories from an ancient and extra-terrestial prophet, Alice needs to find a way through to Kyle and reawaken his old ambitions and dreams, if she fails, then the future for humanity could be lost forever.

A story that will resonate with all young people feeling the pressure of society’s expectations as they embark on their journey into adulthood.

Kindle ed: £2.99, Paperback £9.99.

Blog 17: Promoting Your Book, Advice from a Marketing Consultant.

Promoting book

We all know how difficult it is to sell books, and for the majority of authors, we just don’t have enough time or funds to market our books in the first place. So I decided to talk to a Marketing Consultant and ask them questions about how to go about marketing books, where to start and what an author needs to know. Here is our conversation… read more »