Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Author Interview – AFN Clarke

What are you writing now? I’ve just released The Orange Moon Affair which is the first in a new thriller series with many more to follow soon.  I wanted to create a central character, Thomas Gunn, and other key figures that I could grow and develop over time and in different situations. Thomas Gunn is dear to my heart and loosely based on a brother-in-arms and great friend, the late Terry Forrestal. I’m hoping he’s looking down, chuckling and urging Thomas on in his exploits in unraveling international conspiracies, dealing with love and relationships, being a rascal and a rogue and trying to stand for truth and what’s right in the world – while getting shot at, hunted down and all that fun stuff that goes on in any thriller, of course.

I’ve also started a sequel to An Unquiet American which is called The Most Dangerous Man on Earth and the third book in The Book of Baker humorous satire series, Genesis Revisited – so have to get those books finished soon as well. Sometimes I start a book and then leave it, often for months maybe even years – and in hindsight it’s an instinctive thing, but I realize that I don’t have the capacity, the maturity to finish it till I have grown in my own life or writing process or am willing to focus on the issues that the book requires of me – and then it flows as it should. It requires patience and trust in the process.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? I’ve written seven books to date and never stop writing.  I already have at least another seven books, so far, in my head ready to be written. Once they are published, there will no doubt be another seven following on from those. The only way I will stop writing is when I stop breathing.

Have you developed a specific writing style? I write in what is called a “stream of consciousness” style, but my own particular form of this discipline. I do not write notes or sketch out the characters or plot before starting a novel. I have the entire book in my head, which is to say the story line, places, and characters. As the book progresses, the story tells itself and the characters develop as they experience the events that occur. I find this gives me an immediacy, which I feel I would lose by constructing a novel from notes.

What contributes to making a writer successful? There are obvious things like discipline, persistence, perseverance in the face of rejection, the ability to take criticism, learn from mistakes, let go of negative thinking, being brave enough to try new ways of expressing yourself, learning from other great authors and being able to market yourself or have someone do that for you.  But for me, I think a major part of becoming successful is the state of your own psyche, your own emotional health and wellbeing as a person.  That wellbeing is heightened with strong personal support through all the ups and downs that being a writer entails.  My mother was my greatest support in getting my first book published. Now, my wife’s unwavering presence over the last 15 years has allowed me to be more consistently prolific again and I owe so much of my progress as a writer and a person to her. Writing may be a primarily solitary activity but success is not solitary – and it’s an important distinction to make.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I have been fortunate and lucky enough to win awards, accomplish everything I have set out to do, and have best selling books as well. But the most cherished things in my life are my children and grandchildren. Whether it is my accomplishment is for others to judge, but they are all successful, happy, intelligent, compassionate and vibrant human beings and that is an accomplishment in itself.

What do you do to unwind and relax? I’ve always been very active physically so contrary to a lot of people who love to be still and lie on the beach and do nothing to unwind, I need to do something – go sailing and become one with the wind and the waves, ride a motorbike on an open highway and open up the throttle, or even just get up and make a fool of myself dancing myself silly to some ageing rock band’s greatest hits!

If I do sit around then it has to be with family or a few select friends enjoying a meal with a glass of good wine discussing everything under the sun – heated discussions are my idea of fun, the louder the better, the more passionate the more appealing – anything for a stirring debate and then a heartfelt laugh with no hard feelings and just a great sense of satisfaction at having had a fabulous time and stretched the brain cells till they nearly popped.

What is the hardest part about writing? One word springs to mind. Discipline. Basically I am lazy, so sitting down to write every single day for months on end can become a very hard thing to do, especially if I’d rather be sailing, or flying, or hiking or just watching sports on TV at the weekend. But writing requires discipline because I know that for every day I do not write means an extra two or three days getting back into the rhythm.

Do you have any advice for budding authors? This is one of those questions I get asked a lot and feel uncomfortable answering, as I still don’t think I have earned the right to become a sage. But I do think that there is one piece of advice I could offer that I have found to be true. Write from your own knowledge and experience. This gives even a fictional book an authenticity and depth that is otherwise difficult to create.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? The biggest dream was to become a best selling author and prize-winning screenwriter. Two things I always thought were beyond reach when I first set about trying to find a publisher for my first book. Another dream was to be able to work from home, for myself, and earn living from my writing, which happily I have been able to do for more than twenty-five years.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing and look back, what thoughts would you like to have about your life? I never want to end my career or stop writing!  May I take my last breath with a pen in my hand, (well, more realistically with a keyboard under my fingers or a microphone nearby) feeling like I still have so much to say and so much to explore in a world that is endlessly fascinating.  As a writer I’d like to think my words made a difference by having been written and added to the quality of people’s lives.  So when they read my obituary they would smile and sigh.  A sigh of contentment, of remembering that sense of expansion and fullness of spirit they felt after turning the last page of my books and reading my last lines. That would be more than satisfying. J

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.afnclarke.com/

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Amidst Traffic by Michel Sauret @onewaystpro

That morning after work, Eli lay in his bed thinking of drinking straws, and all the things you could build with them. His sense of imagination wasn’t good. So instead, he kept picturing piles and piles of white straws with pink stripes and bendable necks. They kept multiplying in his mind, which was okay. Even that was better than the children. But then, there it was. That’s all it took. Just the word brought their faces back, and their teeth were sharp, exposed behind their chewed, cut-up lips.

He burst out of his bed. He hurried out to his backyard, where the hole was now as big as a basement. It could have devoured his small little trailer, it was so big.

He didn’t have it in him to keep digging. The strength wasn’t there. But he had to. It was the only thing that would stop him from imagining the faces. So he dug. Slowly. Pacing himself.

“Could I stop at three?” he asked. He didn’t know who he was asking, but the question was valid. Could he shovel three scoops at a time and stop?

He tried. Stabbed, scooped and flung the clump of dirt over his shoulder. Stabbed, scooped and flung. Stabbed, scooped, flung.

Eli stood there, his hands clutching the shovel’s handle. He tried to calm his breathing, his nerves, but now he felt as though the piles of dirt might fall over him and bury him there.

I can’t stop. I can’t do it.

So he went on until the pain was too much, which was better than anxiety, and the hole grew deeper. Which was fine, because this would eventually kill him. He would never finish the hole. He would die before he would see the bottom.

What the hell are you digging anyway? What is your purpose? What will you do with all this dirt?

He knew those questions. They were all false. Even if he did come up with a purpose to his digging, he would always know it for the lie it was. He was digging because he was digging. He was digging because he wanted the faces to stop. There wasn’t a larger scope, a deeper meaning to this work. There was no redemption at the end of this act. He would just have to keep going. This wasn’t an obsession. It was consumption. He wondered how long before he tore a muscle.

I hope not long.

Why he prayed for this harm, he had no clue. But he welcomed whatever physical pain came of this. He invited it. Begged it to come.

Only the rising of the sun came, and he finally reached the point of exhaustion that would bring him through sleep: in one end and out the other, without any trail of cut-up children’s faces in between.

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Genre – Short Stories / Literary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Constantinopolis by James Shipman @jshipman_author

In 1453 Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. It has stood as the greatest Christian city for a millennium as hordes have crashed fruitlessly against its walls.
But Mehmet II, the youthful Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, has besieged the city. His opponent is Constantine XI, the wise and capable ruler of the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmet, distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizer, must accomplish what all those before him have failed to do: capture Constantinople. To prove that he deserves the throne that his father once took from him, Mehmet, against all advice, storms the city. If he fails, he will not only have failed himself and his people, but he will surely lose his life.
On the other side of the city walls, the emperor Constantine must find a way to stop the greatest army in the medieval world. To finance his defenses, he becomes a beggar to the Pope, the Italian city-states, and the Hungarians. But the price for aid is high: The Pope demands the Greeks reunite the Eastern and Western churches and accept the Latin faith. If Constantine wants aid for his people he must choose between their lives and their souls.
Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Relative Malice by Marla Madison @MarlaAMadison

Relative Malice by Marla Madison

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Suspense

Rating – PG13

4.4 (60 reviews)

Free until 15 October 2013

When four family members are found dead after a home invasion, Detective Kendall Halsrud takes charge of the case. In the murder house, she discovers an empty crib with blood drops next to it on the wood floor. The family: a father, mother, teenage daughter, and young son have been fatally shot . . . but where is baby Philly?
The desperate search to find the child derails when a man is arrested for murdering the family and claims to have killed the baby. Suspecting he had an accomplice, Kendall isn’t convinced. Refusing to give up on finding the child, Kendall persists in unearthing the family’s secrets. With the help of a hacker turned spurious fortune-teller and a former cop hired by the missing baby’s uncle, she discovers a furtive pedophile ring is planning on buying and sharing a baby. Can she stop them while there's time to save Philly?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

#Free - Allingham by John Horst @TheMuleTamer

Allingham by John Horst

Amazon Kindle

There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. ~ Louis L'Amour
The place was a giant cesspool turned whirlpool that pulled all the badness of the land into it, until the vortex contained the giant soup of decadence and evil, contained the worst of human kind.
But Hell Street has a new enforcer, a lawman who has honed his skill in Hell’s Kitchen, the meanest of the Five Points district of Manhattan. Will it be enough?
Allingham is the story of one man’s struggle to face down his demons along with the meanest and most degenerate of human kind in the worst town in the last frontier of the West, Canyon Diablo, Arizona Territory.