The joys of a hand to mouth existence…

… don’t make for pretty reading, but it is an interesting state to experience once in a while, so you can legitimately claim to be a writer starving in a garret! *mutters bitterly and at length*

I’m a long way from starvation (obviously), but I do have a ‘cashflow problem’ just now which means I’m maxed out on plastic and online, with only 60 quid in my wallet. The latter will be eaten up (har! har!) tomorrow by petrol money and a good blowout at a local restaurant to celebrate what would have been my 41st wedding anniversary with some friends.
The irony is that this is only a temporary blip as I have $100+ going into PayPal, my pension coming in tomorrow (or next week – not sure if it’s this Friday or next…) and, once my solicitors put a rocket up someone else’s bloody solicitors to get on with providing documentation, over 50 grand winging its way into my savings account. That last windfall ought to have been done and dusted last week and would have meant I’d have cleared the little blip and not had my grocery delivery cancelled today… Just my luck as Adrian Mole would have said!

Anyway – I feel better for a nice moan on here, but this was not the week that I could have done with PayPal having hissy fits with verification of accounts  and cards that I was sure I’d long since finalised, or to discover the hard way that I should have asked for my overdraft to be upped by 300 more quid than I thought I needed. Mea culpa for being so optimistic that sod’s law wouldn’t kick in for this long.

But tomorrow I eat like a creole queen – going to our favourite restaurant where they do a completely wicked gumbo with fish 2 minutes out of the sea! I do have lots of eggs, powdered milk and some bread flour in the larder too, so I’m not going starve over the weekend either! 😛

Hopefully, next week will see a positive flood of filthy lucre flowing my way – if not then maybe I’ll give Trevor’s proposal serious consideration… 😉

#RRBC Springtime Book & Blog Party #Prizes#Books

Welcome to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY 

at Siân Glírdan – The Way of the Bard, the main author blog of RRBC Member of the Year 2016, author Jan Hawke! (aka Siân Glírdan) –  😀
Location: N. Cornwall, UK
***
Today’s giveaways are…

  • *One (1) promotional Guest spot on Siân Glírdan – The Way of the Bard (‘Desert Island’ interview or other feature)
  • *One (1) hand-made deck of Jan’s fantasy tarot cards (the Fool, or Trickster is on the wallpaper this month!)

  • *One (1) $/£ 10 AMAZON gift card

making 3 lucky winners for this stop!

Just post a comment on the 14th April to be in the draw to win – good luck!

Slight change of plan with my second giveaway – I dropped the T-Shirt in favour of my exclusively designed fantasy tarot deck as this formed the basis of the cover design of my latest book, A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac.

Last year I made a decision to start publishing my fantasy titles under the pen name of Siân Glírdan, so, instead of going to my book blogs this time around on the block party tour I’m concentrating on my author blogs instead. Siân Glírdan – The Way of the Bard is my new, dedicated author blog that launched shortly before I published A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac (AFFA) last summer.

My inspiration for the cover of AFFA came from the major arcana characters of the my fantasy Tarot cards, so I’d like to share with you the various design decisions that led to my choosing The Tower, which made the cut for the final cover decision at the end of the post. The brief was drawn up by my Siân persona and the central ‘character’ in the novel, the elf, Janowyn, who is my main roleplaying alter-ego…

First, we were drawn to the Hierophant card, connected to Norse mythology and the god Odin’s gift for prophecy and creativity. Included in those abilities is the willingness to accept pain and suffering…
This particular image did not sit right with the personality of the book’s central elven persona.

Next we considered the Hanged Man, an ambivalent card, normally speaking of betrayal and again linked to Odin when he was hung upside down from the World Tree, Yggdrasil.
The imagery here was too much associated with the opening scene of the fantasy movie ‘Willow’, and so was passed over.

Odin had become a fixation! The King of Swords was briefly considered as a  warrior persona, until we were sharply reminded that this was about a voyage of self-discovery and not the art of warfare…

As you can see, the final image considered for the cover, The Tower (full colour version), does contain mythological and natural elements that communicate the primary theme of struggle with significant challenges. The stormy sea and lightning speak of overwhelming physical and emotional hardships, whilst the god-like figure of Poseidon and white horses represent the Fates. The battered lighthouse shows a precarious hope for deliverance.
The colour change to grayscale on the skyline, for the final cover solution (see below) also helps to convey the fantasy and real worlds colliding.

MY BOOKS

Milele Safari – An Eternal Journey …twines around a single day, in an unremarkable border village that snuffs out the lives of four people and shatters many others, only to draw the survivors back to a different time and, perhaps, a hope of atonement and peace. Step out on the journey and discover an Africa that could have been, is and might one day come to be.

Editorial Review (Sue Bridgwater) ~ It was Dorothy L. Sayers who noted, in ‘Gaudy Night’, the significance of what she called a ‘chance assemblage of persons.’ Who knows what they might talk about? Who knows what each is privately remembering?
In the ‘present day’ of this debut novel, Jan Hawke exploits the potential of such a gathering to the full. Sophie is our main focus and way into the story, and from the beginning we are aware of her memories of previous times in Africa and the pain and loss she suffered then. Meanwhile, on the surface, she and her companions are enjoying their safari, chatting about animals they have seen, animals they hope to see, battling scorpions and drinking beer.
Just to make it really hard for herself, however, Jan Hawke then delves back not only into Sophie’s personal African tragedy, but into the memories and sorrows of many other characters, into the violent history of genocide and civil war, into myth and folklore and into the tangling together of some of those stories.
This is a bold venture for a first novel, but Hawke knows how to do it. The multiple strands of story, the different time-periods, the pain and the happiness, are skilfully brought together so that events and people are solid and four-dimensional, so that the reader can walk into these histories of love and loss and hope and sorrow, and feel as keenly as if they were there.
While reading, one is always aware of how solidly founded the story is on Hawke’s knowledge of Africa and her love for it. All the details that anchor the tale in our own non-fictional world are the fruit, not of targeted research, but of felt conviction.
This is a book worth reading. In the flood of available fiction in which we feel we may drown, this is one to seize hold of and keep. Buy it.

A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac ~ a sort of real cyberspace memoir

This is poetry, wrapped in fantasy, within a memoir… Or, to put it another way, it’s a true tale that applies to many fantasy fans and gamers who can’t be bothered with keeping their realities separated from their more lurid inventions. In my case this is a sort of ‘real’ cyberspace profiling, during a phase of my life when roleplay truly did need to be therapy, because what was happening around me for real, was not what I wanted to participate in. So, buckle up your swash and prepare to witness a titanic battle played out on the field of sanity – where what happens in your head is the only truth that matters.

Editorial Review by Ron E. Yates ~ Writing, as any author will tell you, is an intensely personal endeavor. We scribblers pour heart and soul into the scenes and incidents we create or recreate from our own lives. That’s what makes good writing unfeigned and heartfelt and it’s what brings readers back to our work again and again. What Sian Glirdan has compiled in her “Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac”-a work she calls a “sort of real cyberspace memoir”-is a deeply personal examination of her life. She opens the shutters and windows to reveal “struggles with health, achievement, emotion and, most of all, dreams and imagination.” This is not a linear narrative or memoir, but an effort peppered with original poetry, painful recollections of personal tragedy and suffering, and inspiring reminiscences of happiness and exhilaration. It is a book interleaved with both fantasy and reality-a challenging work that will carry the reader on a journey of discovery. It takes courage to write like this because in doing so, Sian Glirdan has opened herself up to great scrutiny. No doubt the impetus for this work is as much catharsis for her as it is an unearthing of emotion for the reader. The following passage I found especially revealing: “In our inner life we are all essentially alone with our thoughts and feelings, although those can be expressed of course.

“In our inner life we are all essentially alone with our thoughts and feelings, although those can be expressed of course. Thoughts however are another matter. We are selective in what thoughts stay that way, unspoken, and which are communicated. In a way this exercise is for my own thoughts that I hold close and don’t necessarily speak them to anyone, but want to get them out there somehow. Therapy if you like, but not to a person as such. My stunted way of steering my own course ‘as fair and true’ as I can manage these days.”

As a true Freebooter Sian Glirdan is taking us, as she says, “Into uncharted waters without a map of any real description, or even an idea of what to expect.” Climb aboard for a cruise into an inspired sea of illusion and imagination, moored by authenticity and unremitting experience.

Other places to find me & my books!

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Sian Glirdan blog

Dreamworlds Publishing blog

Milele Safari blog

A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac

and finally a link to the blog for my latest work in progress

The Haven Lands blog

I’m back!

Miss me? This is what I’ve been up to! 😉

Jan Hawke INKorporated

Yes – I’ve been away, so things have been a bit quieter than usual (pauses to watch tumbleweed rolling off…). I’ve had some demolition work done in the living room and needed to get away while it was noisy and dusty, so I decided to decamp off to a ‘little’ thatched cottage in N. Devon where they do Writers Retreats – in style! 😀

I had just 4 days but found it very constructive in that short time in terms of clearing my head and re-assessing how to tackle my long-postponed WIP. The break was brilliant for getting out of my literary-slob routine – having to get up for a proper breakfast, long before noon (it’s a real occasion for me to be out of my pit much before then). Meeting three other writers, 2 historical fiction authors and one academic polishing off a paper was also interesting as well as…

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A Green Room welcome to ~ John W. Howell!

Today, one of my favourite authors and literary friend, John W. Howell, is visiting my island oasis of creativity here in the Seomra Glas (the Green Room)! 

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets

Siân: Welcome once again, John!  I see you’ve got a hankering for the simple beach experience and nothing too fancy – good choice!

John: I’m thinking it would be nice to go off and rough it for a while. I’m choosing a deserted tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific. I think I would like to be dropped off with a Zodiac, maybe ten miles off the coast. I would like the thrill of landing on the shore and having the first impressions of the what will be home for a while.

Siân: Spoken like a true beachcomber! Let’s get down to some desert island wool-gathering now. Can we take a quick peek at your disc selection for your self-imposed sabbatical, please? Where’s that checklist gone – ah, yes, here it is. Great taste, John!

  • Queen ~ Bohemian Rhapsody 
  • Elvis in Concert 
  • Jackson Browne Load out/ Stay 
  • Roy Orbison ~ Blue Bayou from Black and White Night 
  • Rolling Stones  ~ Brown Sugar 
  • Apocolypse Now (movie)
  • Man Of La Mancha (film musical)
  • West Side Story (film musical)

Siân:  Now, before we move onto the main event, I’m very curious about what you’ve chosen to take as your ‘luxury’ item to your desert island destination – that usually reveals a lot about you!

John: I think all I will need is a machete, small knife, matches in a waterproof container, a water purifying kit, some fishing line and hooks, and a first aid kit. I believe my stay will be about a month, so there isn’t much worry about starving to death.  Water will be important as will the ability to build a shelter. I won’t really need to communicate with the world if my pickup is prescheduled. I suppose it would be good to take some sort of hand crank generator in case of emergencies. I would imagine having several battery packs for the phone, but the generator might be handy. I can’t think of anything else except a Gortex jacket and pants in case of tropical rains. I would listen to the songs which have been downloaded on my phone as well as watch the two movies.

Siân: I can put your mind at rest – mostly, with the power. We’ve got state of the art solar panels which are based on ‘cold climate’ technology to cope with all those exotic cloud formations you get in the tropics. Rainforests don’t grow without a lot of rainclouds! The hand cranker and wet weather clothing is a good move, though – some of those typhoons can get very rough indeed!
Now, let’s get up close and personal about your entertainment choices, John! I’m very partial to your first video myself!

John: When I wrote my first book My GRL I listened to two Queen CDs exclusively. Bohemian Rhapsody was playing when I finished the first draft. It always reminds me of that time when I hear it. It was a great feeling and one I don’t want to forget.

I first became aware of Elvis in 1955 while a freshman in High School. I grew up in Detroit and listened to some off-beat performers, and Elvis became the first mainstream star singing the kind of music I enjoyed. I always loved his concerts and attended one of his last which was almost twenty-two years after I became aware of him.  It was a very moving performance and he died shortly after. His rendition of My Way absolutely brought tears to my eyes. The sad thing was he needed to have the words on a piece of paper since as he said, “I have trouble remembering words these days.” None of us cared and the performance left me drained.

Siân: He was an incredible singer and musician – a true icon. This next one was something of a surprise for me as, for some reason, Jackson Browne didn’t blaze out too much on my radar back in the day. This is such a wonderful number, though!

John: I used to do disc jockey work, and this song was one that allowed enough time to grab a cup of coffee and hit the restroom. It was like Don McLean’s American Pie in length. Also, the idea of thanking those who help make one a success is a thought that should never be forgotten. This includes the audience. We authors need to keep our readers in mind at all times. And be grateful for them.

I love Roy. This was a special night in his life, and if you know anything about Roy Orbison you know he had a challenging life. He was in poor health near the end, and the way all the stars came together to help with this special broadcast is heart warming.

Siân: He was such a legend, known and loved by so many other greats – he’s sorely missed still.

John: I used to use this song to pump myself up prior to giving speeches in the business world. I love the cowbell in this song, and it is a metaphor for getting the blood moving before a stressful situation.

Siân: Haha! I never noticed the cowbell before! Nothing like the Stones to get your feet stomping… Great driving music too – if there’s no speed traps around…
And now we’re going off to the movies! 

John: This movie is an adaption of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. There are many lessons of life, and it is not necessarily just a war story. In fact, it is an anti-war chronicle. There are scenes that point out the ridiculous nature of war.  The lesson is as we give up what we consider decent, moral behavior no matter how justified we inch into a dark place where return is impossible. This is a lesson we all must keep in mind especially in light of the current US administration.

Siân: Now, I have to admit that I’ve never actually seen Apocalypse all the way through, but it’s such an iconic and influential film with some great lines – and some Wagner thrown into the mix too. Awesomely weird!

John: This was a favorite play of mine. I saw it on Broadway and it struck a chord. The idea of chasing one’s dream is one that resonated with me.  The idea is to chase that dream no matter who tries to show you how foolish you are. It may be impossible, but if one keeps the dream alive it may come true. This is especially good advice for writers. I did have a dream which some tried to say was foolish. I now have three books published and the dream is alive.

Siân: There’re some wonderful songs in there as well – I love Shirley Bassey’s version of Impossible Dream.

John: This play came out while I was in high school. It was a moving riff on Romeo and Juliet, and for me, it was the epitome of the angst that a teenager goes through trying to win approval of virtually everyone on the planet. There were those who would deny approval given your address and others by the nature of your clothes or skin color. I saw West Side Story as the tragic result of misunderstanding between people who should know better.

Siân: I’d imagine that seeing it on stage would really get the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention. The movie version was incredible too. And nice to be reminded of how many Oscars it won in the trailer!

And so, finally, we come to your reading choices!

John: I have dedicated the last few years of my reading life to only indy authors. I have found an amazing assortment of authors who are an inspiration. My list can’t be boiled to three so here goes. Gwen Plano and her book Letting Go Into Perfect Love; Mae Clair and her Point Pleasant series; Jan Hawke with Milele Safari; Jan Sikes and her Luke Stone series; Bette Stevens with Dog Bone Soup; Rhani D’Chai with Shadow of the DrillJohn Fioravanti with his Genesis seriesCharles Yallowitz with Legends of Windemere series;, Craig Boyack with The Playgroundand Harmony Kent with everything she writes.

Siân: Aha! Now, this should be the bit where I get all heavy with you and only let you take 3 authors’ work along with you… However, I really can’t fault any of your choices here and, as you’ve made Jan Hawke go bright pink with amazement that Milele Safari made your long-list, we’ll let you have them all! The only one I’m not too familiar with is Charles Yallowitz’ Legends of Windemere books, so perhaps we could start with him and the reason why they’re all going into your haversack?

John: Charles and I started blogging about the same time and, for whatever reason, we both enjoy the other’s work. The main reason I need to take Charles’ books is that in the time I wrote three, he wrote thirteen. I have fallen hopelessly behind and hope to finish his series while on the island. The rest of the books are ones that I would like to read again, so I figure that with time in between Charles’ books I will be able to enjoy the others at my leisure. This applies to all but Harmony. Hers have been on my TBR, and I need the time on the island to get them done.

Siân: Harmony’s books are always a real treat – I’ve given up trying to decide which one is my favourite! John, thank you so much for sharing your desert island ‘must haves’ with us – I hope you enjoy the rest of your ‘getting away from it all’ escape, entwined with all your favourite things!

John’s books

My GRL
John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

His Revenge
America loves John Cannon, its newest hero, and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market. There is no way out as John either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses.
The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle.

Our Justice
The terrorist leader and financier Matt Jacobs figured out a plan to eliminate the President. He is relying on John Cannon’s stature as a hero to help him carry it off. John finds himself walking the fine line of pretending to help Matt while trying to figure out a countermeasure to the plan.
The third book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy brings together two strong wills for a showdown. The question to be answered is who will feel the satisfaction that the achievement of justice delivers? John, Matt or neither?

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Writing Speculative Fiction – Guest Post by Craig Boyack…

Glorious post from C.S. Boyack (guesting on Chris the Story-reading Ape’s blog) on researching speculative fiction – the best sort that takes reality and gives it a tiny twist to mess with your head and fantasy perceptions! 😀

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

I write what I call speculative fiction. Many of the definitions out there never really give a crystal clear idea of what the genres mean, so I picked this name and made my own definition. To me, speculative fiction involves at least one unreal element.

Speculative fiction is a big enough field to keep me happy. It includes paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, super heroes, and everything similar. I think I’ve dabbled in all of it to one degree or another.

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One of the things I try to do is enough research to make it digestible. I’ve always said, “I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be plausible.” The plausible parts make it easier for the reader to take that leap of faith when I need them to.

I did an extensive amount of research for my novel, Panama. I set this during the…

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THE DRY WELL 1

Yay! The Dry Well’s nearly polished and ready for print! 😀

Skorn

lowresdw

March is here! Apart from being 120 years since the birth of my Grandma Tapson, March 1st 2017 opens the month in which i have promised myself I will bring ‘The Dry Well’ out – no later than 27th, as I go away for a break on 28th!

So today I’ve completed the loading of the text into Pulp for typesetting, and submitted a giveaway to Goodreads for a copy of ‘Shadows of the Trees’, to mark the planned event. ‘The Dry Well’ is a direct sequel to ‘Shadows of the Trees’, and will be the third Skorn novel to be published.

IF APPROVED, THE GIVEAWAY WILL START ON MARCH 8TH!

I’m sure the cats won’t mind if I turn the blog over to ‘The Dry Well’ for this month, although of course I’ll mention any major feline news too.

Please share the news of the new book and of…

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The Goblin Trilogy, on Lisa Burton Radio

Entertaining Stories

You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, the show that brings you the characters from books you love. We have a very special guest with us in the studio today. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today is Haghuf the goblin. “Welcome to the show, Haghuf.”

“I trust your guest status is like ours, that none will attempt harm to me in your dwelling?”

“Of course. My bio tells me that you’re hundreds of years old, and can legitimately call yourself a warrior, a scholar, and magician. That seems like a pretty full life. What did it take to draw you above ground, away from your library and apprentice?”

“I came to the surface for the first time in 800 of your years because a human was dancing in a time long after humans had forgotten magic and the power of The Dance. I discovered Count Anton…

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THE best Indie Book Club on the Planet… or how I became MEMBER OF THE YEAR!

Jan Hawke INKorporated

It’s the award season of course! However, this isn’t going to be about plaudits for bands, vocalists, or actors of the big, small, and live screens and stages, for the movie and music industries. Just thought I’d put that out there so any celebrity-junkies who’re expecting something glitzy can jump blogs to their usual trysting places. This is about books, first and foremost. All sorts of books, not just fiction, but memoirs, self-help, erotica (well-written raunchy tales) and non-fiction of every stripe. So, in a way, this is about the INSPIRATION behind a lot of those other, much more famous award ceremonies that have been going out with a raucous fanfare since the New Year. Because a lot of those Golden Globes, MoBOs, Emmys, Brits, BAFTAS and uncle Oscars started out in life as part of a book!

This is about theclick HERE or image above to go to RRBC…

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A Green Room welcome to ~ C.S. Boyack

Siân: Today I’ve set up a challenging environment for the fantastical C.S. Boyack, aka Craig, author of the hoopiest, twistiest speculative micro and macro-fiction on the planet, in a far-flung orbit of creativity! You saw what I did there, huh?
Craig’s a pioneering type and waxed long and eccentric when I asked about his preferred, year-long, castaway requirements. So, as I’m currently working on something in the furthest flung of galaxies, I’ve cherry-picked a rather spiffy desert planetoid that isn’t infested with giant semi-sentient worms, for him to go play in the biiiig sandpit…

Craig: Wait, a year? I thought this was a trip to a recreation planet! I’m calling that travel agency. I like deserts, and grew up in one, but at my age maybe one with a hot spring and a bar or two. I mean, I’m sure it’s nice and all, but–

Siân: Yes, well… sounds like a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ with the hot springs, Craig!! At least you’ve got guaranteed sunshine…
Anyhoo, let’s get right down to your desert planet paraphernalia manifest! We can have a bevvy or three while we’re looking that over – you can have any known drink around the Universe, including a Pan Galactic Gargle-blaster… Oops! I spoke too soon – looks like we’re very low on rum again.

image2Craig: Why is the rum always gone? Maybe just a nice glass of porter, a nice big glass.

Siân: Ah – an aficionado of the dark and cream are we?  We have it chilled or ambient Dublin style – however you like it!
Moving swiftly on – let’s get a quick look at your entertainment selections.

*checks off the baggage list*

  • Dwight Yoakum’s Greatest Hits
  • ZZ Ward
  • ZZ Top 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Box set 
  • 20000 Leagues Under the Sea – 1954 edition
  • Around the World with Niven – 1956 edition

You like your classics, huh…?

  • The Mummy Series
  • Pinky and Brain
  • John Wayne movie assortment

Siân: Hmm… very revealing! Now! Before we get stuck into that little lot I’m intrigued to find out what you’ll be taking down with you as your ‘luxury item’ on this arid little hell-hole?

Craig: Ha! Got you there. I’m bringing Lisa Burton, and you can’t accuse me of bringing a friend, because she’s a robot. She also comes with the B.A.G, and that stands for Big Assed Gun. Semi-sentient worms, take that.

Siân: They’re not so bad – it’s the Goliath land crabs you’ve gotta watch out for!
OK, I’m sure Lisa will do up to most things with her BAG and the other gizmos! Now, let’s have a close-up look at your entertainment selection before we venture onto the literary frontiers…

Dwight Yoakum’s Greatest Hits 

Siân: Dwight’s new to me but I really like fusion music and he’s done some brilliant covers on here, Elvis, Prince (or indecipherable Squiggle), Sheryl Crow – hoopy stuff!

Craig: I got caught up with Dwight Yoakum’s greatest hits while writing The Playground. It only applies to a character named Clovis, but the background music of Fast As You kept going through my mind while I wrote The Playground. Not for every character, but for Clovis, my anti-hero. (Seriously, play it in the background and read his chapters.) . It hasn’t let go either, and that rockabilly style is calling to me on a future project I’m calling The Hat. This will be a paranormal avenger kind of story. Seems kind of fitting that Dwight does one called A Thousand Miles From Nowhere. Maybe he should call it billions of miles from nowhere for this trip.

Siân: A Thousand Light Years from Nowhere makes a good trip anthem for you, I believe… :-P It’s a very big galaxy out there!

ZZ Ward 

Siân: Not come across this lady before either, but this number instantly caught my eye!

Craig: Whilst surfing through Pandora one day, I discovered her music. She’s got an amazing voice, and her music really appeals to me. I love Put The Gun Down, and she has a fantastic voice for this kind of music. I think she’s a rising star, and hope she does well. Plus I might need a gun out here on a desert planet. Will there be wifi?

Siân: Erm, yes – probably… Oh yeah – you’re bringing your own solar panels, aren’t you?
*absently checks list again* Yep! Heavy firearms are mandatory for this resort – hope you’ve been getting lots of practice in at the firing range recently!

ZZ Top


image3Siân:
Now, I can see the attraction for you here… 😛
You’ve gone for Stages from the Afterburner album!

Craig: Right, I want to round my musical selections off with ZZ Top. I’ve loved ZZ Top since they first came to prominence. Stages is a favorite of mine, and maybe it’s appropriate for whatever kind of rocket-ship you’ve found to deliver me.

Siân: Em… well, we’re using a sort of retro industrial-sized Star Trek beamer – it’s more steampunk and has a cute baroque feel to it…

Pirates of the Caribbean

Craig: I believe you said I could have some movies. I’ll take the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series. Can you send me a copy of the new one when it comes out? How deserted is this place? Will there be a theater somewhere?

Siân: ??? Is there something you don’t understand about the term ‘castaway retreat’, Craig? Nope. No theaters, but we can get the next one over to you easily enough.
Soundtrack’s on all of them’s not so shabby either! Do you have a favourite movie from this franchise?

Craig: I love mash ups, and paranormal with pirates is just so creative. I think my favorite has to be Dead Man’s Chest. Davy Jones has to be the coolest character in decades. I loved Imhotep and Gollum, but Davy is the best. These films also do double duty with the soundtrack.

Siân: Bill Nighy must have been in make-up soooo long! Worth it though.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea  

Siân: You were very specific about wanting the classic mid-fifties version for this – I’m actually impressed that the effects are still looking as good as they are!

Craig: The effects were outstanding in their day. Not everything has to be computer generated. They had good stories behind them, and that’s the important part.

Around the World in Eighty Days 

Siân: Ah! David Niven… what a Phileas Fogg he made! He was a hell-raiser who was actually tougher in real life than on the screenDid you know he had an illustrious WW2 on active service with the newly formed Commandos. That led to the formation of the SAS and SBS units post-war?

Craig: I heard some of that years ago. Many of the old Hollywood types had a history you rarely heard about. The most recent one that came out was Hedy Lamar.

Siân: That reminds me – hope you have some strong sun-screen. The UV levels are brutal down there.

The Mummy 

Siân: I love how Brendan Fraser doesn’t put a foot wrong in these movies, with the comedy never getting in the way of him being a true action-hero. Rachel Weiss is great as well!

Craig: They were fun and creative. A new spin on a classic. The idea of the seven plagues at Imhotep’s disposal is brilliant. I think there’s always a bit of room for some humor in all stories.

Pinky and the Brain 

Siân lead-in: This was ‘must see’ Saturday morning TV in our house. Do they still make them?

Craig: Sadly, their run is over, but they are one of my favorites

John Wayne catalog


Siân:
This was such a great film for John Wayne, even though it was close to the end of his career. Westerns were never the same when he finally hung up his cowboy hat!

Craig: The Shootest was the last one, and that was great too. People don’t often remember how many times John Wayne won World War Two in his films these days, but his westerns are outstanding.

Siân: Oh, man! I just hope you have the time to get through all that lot in between pacifying the local critters. I’m glad you’re not taking Otto with you – he’s far too sweet and juicy!
OK – time for my favourite part. The books! Who’s going to be on your nightstand?

Cherie Priestcp

Jim Butcherjb

Michael Crichtonmc

Siân: They all come with a great pedigree! I just got some random choices there, but of course, you’ve got your own favourites.

Craig: They inspire me for their originality. I’m sure none of them single-handedly created a genre, but they all seemed to put the cherry on top. Maybe that should be Cherie. We have some near future science fiction, some steampunk, and some urban fantasy. These folks do, or did in Creighton’s case, it well and we can all enjoy their stories. Writers could learn a thing or two from them as well.

Siân: Well, Craig – it’s been a real hoot looking over your essential supplies. If you do get any downtime down there on Sandpit Central, I’m sure you’ll be well entertained. Don’t mind the Goliath land crabs too much – they’re quite tasty I’ve been told… That’s if the BAG can get through the exoskeleton without vaporising all the meat!
Now, if you and Lisa could make your way into the Transmat Portal, I’ll see you in a coupla lunar cycles. That’s roughly 12 months in Earth reckoning. Enjoy your extra-terrestrial sabbatical!

Craig on Craig 

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I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Author links:

Blog – Entertaining Stories

Facebook – Lisa Burton page

Twitter

C.S. Boyack’s Amazon author and book  page

Cover Reveal: A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair #RRBC Author

I’m already hooked on Point Pleasant books – have got Bk 2 today and put this latest one on pre-order 😀

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m kicking off the week by doing a cover reveal for A Desolate Hour, the third and final book in my Point Pleasant mystery/suspense series focused on the Mothman of urban legend.

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white lettering

A DESOLATE HOUR
Book 3 in the Point Pleasant Series
Genre:
 Suspense/Mystery
Length: 79,000 Words
Publisher: Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Underground Imprint
Publication Date: July 18, 2017

BLURB:

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .

For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While…

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