Dwayne Johnson

Happy New Year

I can’t believe how fast 2014 went by. I always thought it was an old person’s thing to comment on how fast the time is going, but now I’m doing it myself. Maybe that means that I’m now old instead of just middle aged. I don’t feel like an old person despite being 53 in a couple of weeks, I still feel 25 inside my head. I often look back and think, “where the hell has the last week gone?” It’s not just me experiencing this either, many people I speak to say it too.

2014 saw some changes for me, most of them welcome. My beloved car finally broke down and had to be sold as I could not afford to get it repaired. The head gasket had gone and I don’t have that kind of money. Having no transport meant I could no longer keep doing my job, which entailed me driving to different peoples’ homes to clean their house. This meant I’ve had to start claiming benefits, which is a laborious process designed to make you feel like a scrounger. It is taking forever, but I hope it will be all sorted soon.

My health problems have caught up with me more than ever before, and I spend a lot of time in pain. I have what is called a Pars Defect in my lumbar spine, which is now affecting my life far more than ever before. It seems to me that being forced to give up my job, which was very physical and left me in agony most days, was timely. It is nice having more time at home. Being able to lie in is a treat I haven’t experienced for years. It is a blow to my ego to  have to use a walking stick, but it does help a little so I try not to complain. I never realised how difficult it is to go shopping with a handbag, several bags of shopping, and still be able to effectively use a walking stick. It’s impossible, so I often find myself unable to use my stick. Luckily I can do the greater part of the grocery shopping online, which saves me having to haul too many bags on the bus.  That’s another thing, the bus fares around here are criminal!

2014 also saw my mother sell her house in Cornwall and move up here near me. I’ve been trying to persuade her for ages and am delighted that my persistence has finally paid off. She now has a lovely ground floor flat a couple of miles away, in a nice area near to all the amenities she did not have in Cornwall. It will also be nice to have someone to pop in for a coffee and natter a couple of times a week or go for a meal on a weekend. When she first announced she was moving away down to Cornwall, I felt very abandoned for a long time. It was weird and not something I expected to feel. It was not pleasant and although I got used to being so alone, I was always aware of how alone I was. She has been away visiting relatives for Christmas and New Year, so we will be out buying her some new furniture the moment she gets back.

My other excitement is that I am now a proud cat mommy. I named him Samelan, after the main character in my Sinclair V-Logs science fiction novels. He’s a beautiful stripey tabby and has the most hilarious nature. He has a foot fetish and will bite my feet and toes whenever I go barefoot, he likes playing football with his toys (and is a very skilled dribbler too), and is toilet training with the Litter Kwitter system. He doesn’t meow very often, but ‘trills’ all the time, and will reply when I talk to him sometimes. Every morning at 7am he wakes me up by trilling and batting me with a paw, after which he sits by my alarm clock as he knows I always reach for it to check the time before getting up. I’m fully expecting one day for him to learn to press the button on the top which lights up the clock face. I cannot express how much of a difference it has made to my mood, having someone pleased to see me, seeking my company, and eager for me to get home just to spend time with me. I’m sure he’s saved my life.

So what of 2015? I did make a New Year’s resolution to give up chocolate, and I am determined to stick to it. Rather than go on a typical diet as such, I have tried to introduce permanent healthy food habits, one at a time. Years ago I gave up sugar in tea and coffee. A couple of years ago I gave up milk in tea and coffee. Last March I gave up smoking, and this year I intend to stop eating chocolate in any form. It is an education trying to find desserts and sweet things that don’t contain chocolate. This substance seems to have infiltrated into every area of our diet. It’s even in breakfast cereals now, crazy. At the same time as I shall be learning to do without chocolate, I shall be eating more fruit and veg, which I already love so no problems there other than the cost of them. Once I have eliminated the worst stuff from my diet, I can turn my attention to reducing portion size. I hope to end this year with a far more healthy relationship with food, even if I have not lost a significant amount of weight (which would be nice too).

So far I have 2 novels to publish in the coming year. One is finished to first draft and the other will be finished to first draft within the next couple of days.  I shall probably participate in the July Camp Nanowrimo, as I have done in the past 2 years, which will take me to 3 books this year. I like to do 3 a year, it’s a comfortable workload for me.

I want to pay a little more attention to marketing this year. I am in the process of building a list of tweets that I can use with the new drip feed app I’ve found. Due to Feed 140 breaking down, I had to find another drip feeder, and Dropial is the only one I’ve found that allows you to build a list that will drip in a continuous loop. The only downside to Dropial is that it insists on the list containing a minimum number of tweets, so I’m busy building it at the moment. Once that is done, I want to blog more, and use all the other social media I am part of, a bit more often. I cannot afford to pay for advertising, so free social media is my shop window at the moment. I would like to do interviews, but no one is asking  – unless you’d like to interview me or do a spotlight for me?

One other thing I want to pledge to this coming year, is to begin re-editing and re-releasing my backlist. As time has gone on I have learned more, and I can clean up the early books and make them slicker and more error free. There is also one I want to do a new cover for. I want to do at least 2 of my older books this coming year.

As for other 2015 bucket list items, there’s always the following:

Meet Dwayne Johnson

Meet Vin Diesel

Meet Misha Collins

Have Peter Jackson talk me into allowing him to turn one of my books into a movie

Win more than a million on the lottery

Become a best seller for at least one of my books on Amazon

If anyone would like to help me achieve any of those items, let me know. In the meantime, I wish you all a prosperous, educational, and happy 2015.

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GI Joe Retaliation – Review

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This film finally came out on DVD and Blue Ray last week.  Starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Bruce Willis and all the usual characters, I’d been waiting for this ever since Dwayne announced he was to be in it.

The Joe’s as they are called in the movie, find themselves being hunted down by an imposter posing as the President.  All but three of them are killed, the character Snake Eyes having been away at the time, on another mission, escapes too.  Snake Eyes and Jinx are sent on a mission to capture Storm Shadow, which involves some fantastic action that takes places in the mountains.  Loads of abseiling and other impossible feats while dangling from a wire, ensure this sequence is a white knuckle ride.

Dwayne Johnson’s character, Roadblock, is a very typical Dwayne Johnson character.  Always the guy in charge, a permanent sour expression on his face and the usual Johnson-esque attempt to be humerous which just always seems to fail to be actually funny.  C’mon Dwayne, have you no more depth to your acting?  Can you not play a character that has any real depth?  These roles are getting seriously old buddy.

This movie delivers all the fighting, explosions and action that you would expect from such a tale and it is fun and exciting.  There is a great twist involving Storm Shadow, which I sincerely hope they build on, should there be further sequals.  There is the ever present and rather shmaltzy ‘proud to be a Murican’ theme that tends to run through most American made films these days, but if you can ignore that, this film does provide some fun entertainment.

Loads of action sequences, guys in cool costumes, big guns to give the guys a hard on, and, the best thing of all, no sex or love interest.  That fact alone, encourages me to give this movie 4 stars.

Endorsed by the Great & Mighty (part 4)

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Dream Project

Someone over on facebook had a great idea for a blog hop.  Taking place every day of February, one person blogs each day and answers questions relating to your own personal ‘dream project.’

You’re supposed to tag the person who is due to blog the next day and so it continues etc.

Maybe you’d like to join in and do your own blog with these questions.  Leave your link in the comments.

Writers dream. Now it’s time to dream BIG.

You have the opportunity to hire anybody as your cover artist, who would you get for the interior artwork?

I write space opera/science fiction so for my space opera series, The Lilean Chronicles, I would need an experienced concept artist. I don’t know the names of any and don’t have a favourite but I like what I’ve seen of Lik Studios in Taiwan. As you can see in the pictures below, the realism is amazing. To have these guys working on my books would be simply awesome.

Visit Lik Studios on this link.

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Who would you co-write your next novel with? What genre? Why?

I couldn’t imagine ever writing in any genre other than space opera. All the books and movies I love are space opera/science fiction/fantasy and all of my own daydreams and personal imaginings are in based in such a world. I’m a very creative person and have always had a very vivid imagination and a yearning to escape from this world, this life and everything within it. It stands to reason therefore that my creativity takes me as far away from this reality as it’s possible to go and that is the only place I find joy and fulfilment.  If I could co write a space opera/science fiction novel I’d love to work with Dave Twohy, the movie Director of Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick fame.  He wrote the Riddick story and directed all three movies and he has great imagination and the ability to bring the imagined into being.  I believe he would help me to make my story more real.

Visit Dave on this link

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Your publisher wants to do an audiobook version of your novel and they’re not sparing any expense. Who do you think can narrate your masterpiece?

Well certainly not Morgan Freeman..! Seriously though, my narrator would need a deep velvet voice with a calm flow and not too strong an accent. The Lilean Chronicles, although basically a space opera novel, has a strong spiritual thread running through it and some of the main characters are deeply wise spiritual guides and nothing else but a deep, warm and slow voice will do. A warm deep voice relaxes you and allows your mind to absorb the words more easily and really live the story. My choice would be James Earl Jones, without doubt the best voice for my project.

Visit James on this link.

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They’re really going all out! Your novel is getting a full soundtrack. Who should compose it? If your novel uses a lot of songs, list your compilation here.

Now this is one of the easiest questions to answer. Without a second’s hesitation I choose Heart of Courage by Two Steps to Hell, closely followed by Asimov, Archangel and Dragon Rider, all by Two Steps to Hell. Bringing up the rear would be Bravest of the Braves by Kosinus Music. I was halfway through writing the first of The Lilean Chronicles series when I first heard Heart of Courage and the moment I heard Heart of Courage, I knew it was perfect for the soundtrack of the movie. When I’m writing or editing, I take regular breaks and during those times I often listen to it a few times, to keep me in the right zone.

Congratulations! Your novel is being turned into a major motion picture. As the creator of the original work, you get to pick the director.

Easy peasy, Dave Twohy for all the reasons mentioned above in the co writing question. To have this amazing man direct The Lilean Chronicles movie would be mind blowing. His ability to bring what I see in my mind into reality, to create the imagination in physical form is simply awesome. If anyone could bring my characters to life, it’s Dave Twohy.

The director has some ideas on who to cast, but you get to cast one character. What role/character is it and who portrays them?

Well ideally I’d like to cast two characters, but if I had only one, I would have to lay claim to first choice of actor to play my main male protagonist. The Lilean Chronicles’ main male character is called Vincent Richard Domenico and there is only one man alive suitable to play him and that is Dwayne The Rock Johnson. The main reason is his size; Vincent is a very big and muscular man and therefore needs a very big actor to play him but also for his racial look. Vincent comes from a planet called Lilea and their physical appearance is what we would term ‘mixed race’ – light brown skin and black eyes. When I was a few chapters into writing the first volume of The Lilean Chronicles and just getting to know Vincent, he began to show me the kind of look he wanted to have and by the time I’d finished chapter ten, it was Dwayne I saw in my mind whenever I wrote about Vincent. I tried to change this image, to make it go away because I originally had another actor in mind for his look but Vincent knew what he wanted and he laid the law down, so Dwayne it is.

Visit Dwayne’s facebook page on this link.

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 You’ve been hired to write a novel based on a preexisting character or franchise from another medium. Which character or franchise is it?

It would be Riddick. I would give my right arm to write a Riddick story and that is in fact how I first began writing. I wrote short fan fiction pieces, new adventures for Riddick and that’s how I was first inspired to write my own character and story. It was great fun and satisfied my need to connect with the character as a fan of his but pretty soon I realised that it would be so easy to just carry the story on and let it run. Once I got to twenty thousand words I realised that this could be a whole book if I just kept going and let it have it’s head and lead the way. I then had a dilemma though; Riddick has already been invented. He’s a copyrighted trademark and I’d probably end up in trouble if I wrote a book with him in it. I almost gave up but then I thought “oh what the hell, just start again with my own character.” The background could stay the same and the peripheral characters could stay but the main protagonist must be new. So Vincent was born.

It’s the anniversary of your favorite literary character’s debut. You’ve been hired (yay, work!) to write an anniversary novel. Who is the literary character?

This would have to be Willis E Davidge, one of two main protagonists from Enemy Mine by Barry B Longyear. The movie that was made from this book is one of my favourite space operas and the character Davidge is everything I love my protagonists to be; fearless and flawed but with an over riding sense of what is right and a willingness to give his life in the quest for justice and truth. He’s not bad looking, funny and the adventure he has with his co protagonist, the Drac, is heartwarming and emotional. Writing an anniversary novel of Willis E Davidge would be huge fun and something of an homage to one of my favourite movies.

Visit Enemy Mine on this link.

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Visit the next stop in the Dream Project Blog Hop with this link.