family

New interview with Vincent Domenico

Vincent Domenico just popped in to give us a third interview.  He tells us of the events told in the fourth volume of The Lilean Chronicles series, Avalanche Effect and how they affected him and his family.

Click here to visit Vincent’s third interview.

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The end of the year blog

It’s that time of year again.  I don’t just mean Christmas; I mean it’s the end of another year and the start of a new one, which means one thing in the blogging world – the end of the year review blog.  This is something I started way back in the day when I first joined the internet and got myself a myspace page.  I loved myspace in those days and still look back on it with affection and sadness at myspace’s demise.  Anyway, I digress.  I began a tradition of doing an end of the year – looking forward to the next around Christmas each year and even though I’m not a huge fan of senseless tradition, I wish to continue this one.

2012 has been a tremendous year for me.  It began with me being fresh into self publishing, with my debut novel under my belt and the second written and being edited.  Four novels have been born this year and my space opera series, The Lilean Chronicles was completed.  I had my first go at NaNoWriMo and wrote a 75k word novel in 20 days, which will be published in June 2013.  I also began a new series featuring a new main character called Sam Sinclair, the first of which will be published in February 2013.  I also wrote a third of my planned short story anthology and had several shorts published in Schlock Webzine.  I’ve actually sold a few books too..!

Yes, writing wise, this year had been wonderful.  I’ve learned so much about writing and the process of self publishing and am gratified to see my work on sale all over the internet.  The Lilean Chronicles has received wonderful reviews for which I am truly delighted.  Writing a book is one thing but having someone read it and say they loved it, is on another level altogether.  I have the next two books already taking shape in my head; a second Sam Sinclair novel and an epic adventure quest novel that I will start writing in the summer of 2013.

2012 also saw me meet a wonderfully talented artist who now does all my book covers.  His name is JL Stratton and he is an awesomely talented artist who won’t rip you off.  Find him on facebook by clicking here.   I end 2012 not only feeling like a writer, but knowing that I am a writer and I feel happy and comfortable with it.  I may never be a rich writer, but I’m a writer.

On a personal level, nothing much has changed.  I’m still single, still cripplingly autistic and body dysmorphic and still lonely on an emotional level.   I’m still broke but just getting by and I’ve managed to maintain the inner knowledge that I’m destined for great wealth someday.  I’m still crazy about Riddick and fond of Vin Diesel, although I’ve taken a little bit of a mental step back from the crazy infatuation I used to have for Vin and I feel more balanced about him.  I still have a love/hate relationship with Dwayne Johnson but I am trying to take the same mental step back I took from Vin, although I haven’t quite managed it yet.  There’s something about Dwayne that holds me and I can’t quite yet break away from it for long.  It’s one of the things I intend to work on during 2013.

So what of 2013?  Well, the first Sam Sinclair novel will be published in February and my NaNo novel, Acts of Life will be published in June.  The second Sam Sinclair novel should be ready for publication by the end of the year, so maintaining my 3 books a year tradition.  I intend to continue writing content for my short story anthology and hope to finish it and have it published by the end of 2013, which will bring my total to 4 books next year.  I should end the year deep into writing my epic adventure quest novel.

I’ve managed to save a few pounds over this past year and intend to treat myself to an elliptical cross trainer in the January sales, which I will use as part of my annual, lose weight/get fit campaign.  I know I know, but c’mon, what would New Year be without a pledge to lose weight huh?  Another thing I’m doing next year is going it alone work wise.  I’m quitting my cleaning job with the cleaning company I currently work for and intend to try to work for myself.  The company I work for sometimes only give me 3 or 4 hours work a week, which isn’t enough to live on and I can undercut their prices and be much better off financially.  Hell, I can’t be any worse off so why not have a go?

I’d like to be able to say I intend to find a man during the coming year but I don’t feel confident I could deliver on that pledge, so I’m not going to make it.  I would like to meet someone and I know that my heart is ready for love now.  I just have to get my body into better shape first, hence the weight loss/get fit campaign.  2013 might even see me moving house, as the housing benefit system here is changing and because I have an extra bedroom, they want to cut my housing benefit.  One of the ways around it is to downsize to one bedroom, so I may just be packing up and moving  sometime.

Mother is coming to stay for a couple of weeks for my birthday in February, so I have that to look forward to.  She’ll pay for everything while she’s here and she’s a laugh.  She’s very elderly now and I don’t know how much longer she’ll be around and as we’re getting along better now than ever before, I want to make the most of what time we have left.  Next year will be my turn to have her for Christmas, so that will be fun too.  I’m alone this year as she spends every other year with  her other daughter, with whom I’ve had no contact in many years.  I’m the black sheep of the family and was ostracised many years ago for telling the whole family about the sexual abuse I endured at the hands of my father for ten years as a kid.  I didn’t realised that in ‘good’ families one doesn’t tell..!  At least it means Christmas is a cheap time for me, as I don’t have to buy presents for everyone.

Overall, 2012 has been a year of furious movement in a totally new direction – writing.  It’s been exciting and wonderful for my writing career and I’m very happy to have finally found my true calling, my true destined path – as a writer.

I wish everyone who stumbles across here a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Open Letter to Male Actor

Dear Male Actor (insert name of choice here)

I have been inspired to write this letter by my experiences of being your fan and I think it’s way beyond time that someone pointed a few things out to you.  You can of course, ignore the following (and you probably will even if you do find yourself here and reading) but that fact doesn’t negate the pertinence of what follows.

As with most of your female fans, I first noticed you because of your looks and my first thought was “phwoar” or something along those lines.  Shallow of me I know but then again, you trade on your looks for the most part and your acting is of secondary importance so you cannot justifiably mark me down for it.

Due to the elevated position you hold, you wield a lot of power but you often misuse this power, either due to ignorance or evil intent.  Your fans often look to you as a role model and they will take your example when acting and interacting with others in their own lives.  Many fans will choose to ‘adopt’ similar views and opinions as you, as a way of trying to be like you in the vain hope that their life will take a similar path as yours.  If the influence you have is a positive one, then they will hopefully grow in a positive way but if your influence is negative (which it often is unfortunately) then you are helping to create a new generation of maladjusted miscreants without a single compassionate bone in their bodies.

The monotonous regularity with which you hop from one casual affair to the next, the very public sexual liaisons you fail to control, the public infidelity, the self degrading alcohol/drug addictions you indulge in, the violence you publicly display towards those you are supposed to love and/or those who never deserve it and the complete ignorance of the fact that your fans finance your privileged lifestyle make you a very bad influence on today’s younger generation.

In any other profession, any employee who behaved in ways similar to those displayed by you would be summarily dismissed but again, because of your unique position, you get away with it because you can.  Just because you can, doesn’t make it right that you should.

In an ideal world, you would be constantly aware of your power to influence the very maleable minds of your fans and you would wield that power with humility and compassion.  In an ideal world you would always remember how much you owe us who have made you rich and adored by millions and you would take more time to interact with us because you’d know you owe us at least a moment of your time.  We know there aren’t enough hours in the day to spend time with each one of us but you could make a little more time to allow us to ‘reach’ you somehow.  In today’s technological world it is easy for us to reach you, if you make it possible.  In an ideal world you would realise that what the world needs now is positive role models so that our younger generation can grow up to be dependable, compassionate family men who don’t cheat on their women with every available attention seeking whore who manages to crash the Hollywood parties you cannot live without attending.  In an ideal world you would encourage those who listen to you, to honour their bodies with healthy nutrition and sensible exercise without life threatening addictions so that they can live long and healthy lives.  In an ideal world you would treasure all your fans, even those who aren’t 20 years old, skinny and blonde and surgically enhanced.

But we don’t live in an ideal world and you will continue to abuse your position.  I will still say “phwoar” whenever I see you but I will know that whilst beautiful on the outside, you’re not beautiful at all on the inside.

Brand new interview with Leon Domenico

Just to let everyone know that Leon Domenico stopped by and gave another interview about the upcoming fourth book in The Lilean Chronicles series.

Leon is Vincent’s father and spirit guide to Farra Duncan and he tells us a little about this new adventure.

Take the link below to read his interview.  Scroll down the page, the new interview is right under his first.

 

Click here to read the interview with Leon Domenico

After the hiatus, getting back into the groove

I haven’t been able to write for the past 3 weeks.  This wasn’t because of writers block.  It wasn’t because my imaginative flow decided to flow away.  It wasn’t even because my characters went on holiday without me.  The reason is Mother.  My mother visited me for 3 weeks and that means that all writing stops while she is ensconced within my living room.  Oh she likes books and is proud as punch that I’m writing them, it’s not that.  I read her the draft of my upcoming fourth novel, Changing Faces and she loved it.  I read her the 5 chapters of my fifth novel and she loved them too.  I even read her my two flash fiction stories and she positively gushed.

I just feel self conscious when she’s around and I don’t seem to be able to sink myself low enough into the creative flow when I know she’s lurking 5 feet away doing her cross stitch or soduko.  She also has the annoying habit of peering over my shoulder at the computer when she shuffles past on her way to the kitchen to make a cuppa.  That annoys me and makes me self conscious about what I’m writing and gives me a childish urge to wrap my arms around the pc monitor like a kid in school trying to stop the big ginger kid at the next desk from copying my answers on the math test.

I’m one of those writers who needs silence.  I can’t write to music.  I have tried but I find myself concentrating on the music instead of writing.  My mother is great and she would happily sit and do her cross stitch or puzzles for hours (she does anyway) while I write but she can’t stop nattering.  She can’t seem to go for more than a couple of minutes without making some sort of comment or conversation, about anything at all and the interruptions really take me off my stroke.  From the regular “oh there’s another emergency vehicle siren, you get a lot of them here don’t you?” to the occasional “must pop to the loo, my pills are working,” and everything conceivable in between.  Then there’s the coughing, sneezing and farting..!

No, I need silence to write.  I need to be able to focus my entire mind on maintaining that intuitive link with my characters so that I can hear their voices and take dictation from them accurately (yes that’s right, I don’t write my stories, I just take dictation from my characters.  I’m one of ‘those’ writers). Once I get going, hours can go by without me noticing and I ‘awake’ to find myself sitting in complete darkness at 2am, desperate for a pee and horrified that I have to be up at 6am to go to work.  I sometimes think that the ease with which I switch into my alternative fantasy-reality is what enables me to focus so entirely when I’m writing.  I don’t just invent the people, their lives and the situations, I actually know them and experience them with them.  It’s a total and real connection and if time and my bladder allowed, I’d write for days on end without stopping.

So now mother has gone home and I can get back to it.  Book 4 needs another proof read/edit and book 5 needs more chapters.  My characters have had a well deserved holiday; I just hope they’re back and ready to work..!

Is Blood Thicker than Water?

It’s one of the most familiar sayings ever, blood is thicker than water, but what does it mean and is it really true? Well we all know what it means, don’t we? It means that whatever our views and opinions, morals or standards, where family is concerned normal rules may not apply. It means that we are prepared to put aside the normal moral standards we live by when interacting with others and the world in general if a family member is concerned. Adherance to this belief can, if taken to extreme, mean that murderers are shielded by their family members who would never dream of turning them in because ‘blood is thicker than water’ and you don’t dob on family!

Why is that we are expected to put our normal rules aside just because a family member has done something wrong or stupid or illegal? Why should we be expected to pretend we don’t know anything when there is a parent mourning the loss of a loved one somewhere out there? Why is it okay for someone to behave badly and get away with it just because they’re genetically related? It’s happened in my own family a few times during my lifetime and it always irritates me to see someone getting away with bad behaviour because the other family members don’t want to cause a stir. My grandmother was a horrible person, the whole family thought so and times without number she said or did things that really upset whoever was her current target (often it was me) but never once did I see any other family member say anything to her about her behaviour or bringing her to task over something she’d said.

I remember once many years ago during a family get together my nephew trod muddy footprints all over the hostess’s pale carpet. I lightly chastised him (verbally) about it and my grandmother immediately started shouting at me to shut up and be quiet. The whole table went silent, everyone was too embarrassed even to breathe. After a minute or two conversation gradually resumed as if nothing had happened but not one of the relatives came to my defence either in public or private. This episode was a turning point for me and since that day so long ago, I’ve made the conscious choice never to have any contact with any family member other than my mother. I’ve never regretted the decision and I’m sure they haven’t either and I’m still curious as to why many more people aren’t doing as I did.

Recently we have seen one or two examples of people turning in their criminal family members and this has delighted me no end. Since the recent riot troubles there have been a number of parents turning in their children after discovering them having been a part of the looting and rioting. I’m so pleased to see this happening because it means that at least a few kids will grow up with the knowledge that you can’t do wrong and get away with it and that there is no one who will put up with such behaviour, not even family.

My own mother is one of those who believes that one doesn’t ‘wash one’s dirty linen in public’, which I take to mean she doesn’t want the embarrassment of other people knowing that there’s a criminal or nutjob in the family gene pool. My response to that is simple; if more people showed that they’re not prepared to put up with such behaviours, less people would do it and society would clean up a bit. Maybe I’m seeing it all too simply. Maybe it’s a far more complicated issue than I’m able to understand but then I do tend to live in something of a black and white world. My thinking is that if I can exist happily enough in a black and white world, then you should be able too as well.

As humans we are pack animals and our family is our pack. In order to grow and develop well we need a strong and supportive family unit around us. Each person within that unit would ideally have their own unique experiences and their own take on life which they would pass on to the growing child to help them form a well rounded view of life in general so that each new experience adds to their growth in a positive way. As we’re all too well aware though, this doesn’t often happen nowadays and most families are fractured in some way or another and many young people are largely left to bring themselves up with only their peers or movie stars to look to for guidance or as role models. Most of their peers will be doing exactly the same and it becomes a classic case of the blind leading the blind and we all know where that ends up.

So what is the cause of all this moral breakdown and is there really more of a moral breakdown now or has it just been more widely reported lately? I often hear older folks saying “when I was young this never happened” and words to that effect and I’m inclined to believe them. When my mother was a girl there was a war on and those left at home had to keep things going as best as they could so folks tended to work together more. Families were much more disciplined in those days and there wasn’t the political correctness then that there is now. The fashion nowadays is not to discipline your children at all and they even have the right to prosecute parents now for trying to bring a bit of discipline to their kids. When I was young my father used to dish out the punishment when I was naughty and he had a very effective way of doing it. He would stand sideways in the doorway and call me inside and as I went through the door he would slap me hard on the backs of my thighs, and god did it hurt! No matter how I ducked, twisted or tried to rush through quickly, he always caught me square on the back of the thighs and it was enough to act as a deterrent to me.

Another thing we’re seeing nowadays is a much higher birth rate and much younger people having children. Nowadays, kids are having kids before they’ve finished their own growing up and without the right kind of family influences around them, they’re bound to get it all wrong. Kids nowadays are not much younger than their own parents and often they act more like friends to their kids than parents. It’s like a sort of gang culture where everyone is genetically related. Similar rules apply in these families as apply in gangs and with the employment situation being what it is at the moment, many of these families have two or three generations who have never worked or known a work ethic. Large numbers of them live in sub standard housing in areas that are fast becoming no go areas for anyone who values their life and so crime becomes a normal and accepted part of their lives.

So what can we do to change things? The first thing is to stop breeding like flies and let the population decrease to a more sustainable and healthy level. There are just far too many people, full stop. Better education, more employment even if it means pseudo employment to qualify for state benefits and an end to the politically correct human rights compensation culture we’re living in now. Punishment needs to fit the crime and families need to start realising that blood may indeed be thicker than water, but a crime is a crime and whoever you are, you’ll be turned in for it.

I know I make it all sound so simple but it is really that simple. It really is just a case of being brave enough to make the changes, strong enough to see them through despite the protests of thousands of armchair bound single parents. Of course such measures won’t be popular and nor will the brave politicians who bring them in, but they will sort out our society before we anihilate ourselves. Or maybe we should just let society commit suicide and then just start all over again? Maybe that’s the answer to it all. It would certainly be the easiest way for the politicians.

I often think to myself how lovely it would be to find myself washed up on some uninhabited desert island out in the middle of nowhere like a modern day Robinson Crusoe. I could at last find some semblence of total peace from this terrifying world where I cannot go out after dark for fear of being mugged, raped or murdered, where I cannot go out to a bar for fear of date rape drugs or kidnap and torture and where it is even unsafe to remain inside my own home with the rise in burglary, breaking and entering and murder. At least on my peaceful paradise I could walk around in the dead of night without fear of being accosted by a criminal in nappies who can’t be punished due to his/her age.

Blood is thicker than water? Not in my house it ain’t!