Iain Parke – Author of the Day

cc710a65iainparkeIain Parke is my author of today and he has an amazing tale. One I envy him for and maybe even one day hope to follow.

How did you get off grid? And what was the most difficult thing to get right?

We bought a remote farmhouse high up in the hills and about a quarter of a mile down a track across a field from the road, where the only link to civilization was the telephone line (which it turned out after we moved in was too far away from the exchange to get broadband so we went back to dial-up for 2 years until the telephone company put a new piece of string up the valley).

So water comes from a spring up the hill which is fine until the pipe freezes in winter and leaves us cut off until it thaws. We can tell when something has died in the tank as the water develops a distinctly metallic taste and then the toilet ball valves stop working as small bones get stuck in them.

wind turbineHeating and cooking are from oil and electricity comes from a generator and a wind turbine, supplying the biggest set of batteries you have ever seen.

Before we had to do it, we didn’t really think about what running our own power station was actually going to involve such as servicing a diesel engine every month or so.

And when winter comes, the key thing is to make sure we have the tanks filled up to the max before the snow arrives. Spending a few weeks lugging five or six 25 litre jerrycans of fuel at a time down across a field that’s waist deep in snow to be able to keep the lights and cooker on, just because we’ve managed to let them run out, is quite a good reminder not to let it happen again.

What made you decide to want to be off grid?

Complete, unadulterated, insanity.

Are you completely self-suffucient?

As far as utilities go, yes. It’s quite fun seeing the look on salespeople’s faces in shopping malls when they try to sell us on switching suppliers. They can just about cope when we say no we don’t have gas, but saying we don’t have an electricity supplier just freaks them out.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Err…well, whether it was amongst the ex-pat crowd in my first book set in Africa or amongst the bikers of my more recent series, beer, and lots of it, seems to crop up quite a bit for some reason that I can’t quite fathom!

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

tarte tatinMy other half is an excellent cook who does some great things with chocolate and makes a tarte tatin to die for.

I quite enjoy cooking but I tend towards a fairly blokeish approach to cusine involving either some old standby favourites like a good chilli, or a fairly experimental and decidedly non-menu driven approach based on ‘what have we got in the fridge and let’s see if it goes with those herbs, veg or whatever?’

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s usually interesting.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

Heavy_Duty_People_Cover_for_Kindle

It’s Heavy Duty People which is the first in my series of ‘biker lit’ books. It is a hard-nosed crime thriller set in the world of outlaw bikers. His club and his brothers have been Damage’s life, but when the gang starts to become gangsters and brother starts killing brother, Damage has to choose which side he’s on and what he’s prepared to do.

To quote one of my reviewers: “Damage is the show-stealing superstar of the book and he really is a fantastic anti-hero. A rule-breaker, a loyal servant and a pragmatic murderer; he’s positively Shakespearian in his moral complexity.”

But to let him speak for himself as he does at one point

“Just think, next time one of your mates has a snort at a party or your bird drops a tab at a club, someone’s had to source it for you, someone like me. This coke and shit doesn’t smuggle itself in y’know? It takes a bit of good old entrepreneurial risk-taking and effort on somebody’s part so’s you can get off your face. There’s demand, we take the risk and supply, and we get the rewards. Ain’t that how it’s supposed to work? Anyway, big tobacco sells stuff that kills you and if you’ve got a pension I bet you own some of it.”

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

I’m a bit like a magpie with words and phrases in that things I hear seem to get picked up and hidden away somewhere, for years, decades even, until it’s time to bring them back out and use them.

This was actually a phrase I overheard once about twenty five years or so ago being used as a sort of code. Someone I knew was in the early stages of being sounded out about hanging around the local outlaw club and was told that he (and not me I have to say), really ought to go to a party that was coming up the next weekend because ‘some heavy duty people’, referring to the club, would be there.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Undoubtedly the thing that sells books is people I don’t know talking to other people I don’t know about them, that’s to say, good old word of mouth. The tricky thing is, what can you do as an author to help generate that? I’m active on social media, both on my own and as part of the great ASMSG group and the thing that I think is most important is engagement with the people who respond to anything I put out there.

Whenever I get an email, tweet or whatever from anyone who’s contacted me about one of my books I make a real effort to build up a relationship with them, partly because it’s really great to hear from them and that they’ve taken the time to make contact, but also because I find they are the people who then become real ambassadors for my books.

Okay, now tell me something none has ever heard before from you, maybe something about class A drugs in industrial quantities, and killing? Hehehe, I just love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. :-) 

Well, I can tell you that the TV development process is as slow as hell and seems to require all the planets coming into alignment at the same time but that’s my problem really.

I can tell you that when the NSA look at my google search history I’m going to be in real trouble and might want to know why I’m looking into how to use washing powder to get rid of a body.

I can tell you I’ve worked out a way to win the lottery and I’m working that into a plot.

And I can tell you that successfully laundering money involves there stages, insertion, getting the dirty money into the banking system in ways that mean it isn’t questioned, layering, which is the moving of money around inside the system so that it’s origins are disguised, and then extraction which is how you then get the money back out again in a way that enables you to make use of it as clean money. And come to think of it, there’s probably an ebook in there…

Thank you Iain, let me finish with telling the readers they can get their copy of Heavy Duty People from AmazonSmashwords, and from Bad-press.co.uk.

How To Write Like a Goblin on The Past

Today’s post by the Goblin is one that once again had me thinking, this time of my own past.

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the goblin’s ghosts made a queue to be posted here, the first one said “…I was the you in the troubadour coffeeshop remember, you would learn languages there only to then say goodbye to everyone leaving them for that disco alone where you danced for hours until finally the disco closed and still alone you walked home along the thames river bank, you had the light body of cat that belonged to the night with its two moons like eyes, one reflected in water to other in sparking night sky, yes, you had your full youth, your power and in that ever intense silence and freedom you had in an overwhelming sense of self existence too, didn’t you goblin, all cloaked in a “warm night” that, as if, gave you its body as your partner…”, the ghost fell silent now, looking at the goblin the way people do when they are powerless, so the goblin just promised “… no don’t worry ghost, I will never go back there looking for my past body of you, I am not that stupid…” a smile, perhaps even a tear came across ghost’s face, and with that he slipped back into the depth and darkness where the goblin’s memories reside

***

Would you ever want to go back in time?

Author of the Day – Delora Dennis

Profile PicHi Delora, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions.

What does it mean to you when I mention ‘Six Feet Under’?

The ground-breaking television series, Six Feet Under, was extremely difficult for me to watch. In fact, I didn’t see it until it was given to me on VHS, long after it had gone off the air. Having grown up in a funeral home, the show hit a very personal nerve. I told my sister it felt as if people were peering into our home through the windows. She had the same reaction.

I know you have a degree in psychology, do you think that helps you when you need to create a new character?

I’d love to think my education paid off in such a tangible way. But sadly, no. Most of my characters are based on people I know. And the ones I make up from whole cloth are simply fancies of my imagination. Hmmm. But now you’ve planted a great idea in my head. Thanks.

You’re welcome. :-) Would you say having had a very diverse career path helped you in writing?

Yes. Despite all the diversity, the common denominator was always writing. Fortunately, the type of writing I’m doing now is enjoyable. Being able to entertain readers with my stories is much more fun that writing job descriptions, obituaries, dry product reviews or video scripts about living with peritoneal dialysis.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Anyone who has read my novel, Same Old Truths, will notice banana bread makes several cameo appearances. I have to admit it’s a reoccurring theme in my life as well. I’ve never baked it myself, but I’m happy to be kept supplied by my sister AND sister-in-law.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

My favorite dish is called Birthday Chicken. It was so named by my sister when she was little because she always requested it for her birthday. It was/is a family favorite. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 chicken cut-up (or 1lb. of any of your favorite chicken pieces)

1 large bottle of A-1 Steak Sauce

1 stick of butter

Four large cloves of garlic, crushed

Instructions:

Wash chicken pieces and pat dry. Leave or remove skin according to your preference.

In a medium sauce pan, add steak sauce, butter and crushed garlic cloves. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted and blended well into sauce.

Place chicken pieces into a large mixing bowl. Pour sauce over chicken, making sure all the pieces are well-covered. Place into refrigerator and marinate for a minimum of four hours.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken, with sauce, into roasting pan. (I use a rectangular cake pan). Cover with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Turn up heat to 400 degrees and remove foil. Bake for another thirty minutes, or until the sauce forms a caramelized glaze on the chicken.

Enjoy!

That sounds delish! I shall give that a go next time we have chicken.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?

The title of my book is Same Old Truths. It’s the second story in my series, The Reluctant Avenger. I’m currently working on the third.

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AMAZON

Here’s a  little taster of the book for those that are curious


“I know you think I screwed you on the whole child support thing. But, you have no idea the financial load I’m under,” Dave said.
Now Kay shifted her gaze from the road rapidly passing under the carriage of the truck and looked at Dave.
“What are you talking about?” she said, not bothering to hide her indignation. “You make almost four times the salary I do. AND you get free medical.” She decided to throw that last part to underscore her disgust at his bonus perk.
“That’s right. I do. But I’m still paying off creditors from the old business, including the IRS. I had to use up my savings to cover the cost of moving here.”
“So why didn’t you just tell me that in the beginning? Why the song and dance about a salary cut?”
“I was embarrassed,” Dave said quietly. “I didn’t want you to know about the mess I’m in. Anyway, with all the money going out, it might as well have been a cut. I was desperate to find some relief somewhere. I had no choice. I didn’t know what else to do. You have to believe me.”
Kay’s eyes narrowed and her throat tightened. “I have to believe you?” Kay said. “I have to believe you?” she repeated, louder this time. “That’s rich. Let’s see…I believed you when you said you weren’t having an affair with Sandy. I believed you when you said you’d never leave us. I believed you when you said you weren’t leaving me to go to her – that you didn’t know where she was. I believed you when you said you’d never marry her.” She stopped and looked hard at Dave. “Shall I go on?”
Dave didn’t respond. He just looked straight ahead, tears still streaming down his cheeks.
“Look. Why don’t you cut to the chase and tell me what it is you really want? It must be pretty important if you’ve gone to the all the trouble of staging today’s comedy-tragedy show.”
This time he didn’t hesitate a moment to answer her question. “There’s no way can I afford to pay you the ten thousand right now. With my legal fees, mom, and your full child support added to my debt, I’ll be lucky to put food on my table. For godssake, Kay, I haven’t had a new pair of fucking underwear in two years.”
Kay couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Or maybe she could.
Kay extended her palm toward Dave’s face. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, Mr. Rotting Fruit of the Loom. I seem to remember hearing about a recent trip to the mall involving the purchase of big screen TV. Maybe you should have held on to a couple of those twenties you were brandishing about and spent them on some new tighty-whities,” Kay said. It gave her great pleasure to tell him she knew about his little spending spree.”

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Not at all. Of course, the title is a play on the words, same old lies. But that would put the focus on Dave, Kay’s lying ex-husband – something I wasn’t interested in doing. The story is about Kay and her struggle to move past all the hurt, betrayal and deceit inflicted on her by Dave. It’s really the same old truths Kay must embrace if she’s going to move forward with her life.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention o your books?

I’ve been getting some encouraging traction with word of mouth. I’ve also been participating in tweet and voting teams, but I think it’s a little early to gauge the success of these methods. But I love interacting with, and supporting my fellow self-published authors. I’ve met some pretty wonderful people.

I’m working on a book trailer and will also make an appearance at a networking luncheon group which is featured in my book.

Okay, now tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. Hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. :-)

When I was nineteen, I worked as a secretary at a Catholic college. My boss was a nun who ran the alumni association. Sister Edwina was hell bent on recruiting me into her order and was convinced I’d sign up if only I could see myself in a habit. Against my better judgment, I allowed her to dress me up in one. Unfortunately for her, I was horrified at my appearance. I still have nightmares about it. I’ve never told that story to anyone.

Now that sounds like what I would call a horror story. :-) But then again I guess I’m a bit of an odd ball, with not doing religion and such.

Thanks for being here and telling us about the book and a bit about yourself. 

Three Romances by Tom winton

Three romances? By who?

ONLY £1.99 today and tomorrow!

HA! Don’t tell me you’ve not heard of Tom Winton. The author of

Four Days With Hemingway’s Ghost

Still not sure why you should know this author? Read my review on the above book here and know that the romance box set is on my e-reader ready to be read.

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Right, about this romance box set. Today is your chance to get three great books by a more than talented author (best-selling author) for only £1.99 in the UK!

3 Romances box (1)

AMAZON £1.99 ONLY!

I’m eager to dig in, but I can imagine you want a bit more info, even if they’re all together in a box set and for only $0.99 (can’t go wrong there). Hurry because tomorrow (Saturday April 12th) it will be up to $1.99 and the day after (Sunday April 13th) you will have to pay $2.99. Which still isn’t bad for three great reads.

But, let me give you a small taster for each individual book first.

Beyond Nostalgia
Many readers have said that Beyond Nostalgia is a story that kept reappearing in their minds long after they read it. A multi-category Amazon Bestseller, it is book that will make you laugh and make you cry. It will break your heart and then it will heal it again. You’ll love the main character, and you will hate him as well.


“Dean Cassidy looks back on a life filled with hardship and remembers Theresa Wayman, the bright spark that lit up his world when he was eighteen. As an adult, many years later, Cassidy continues his struggle to be successful in life, but can’t move past his betrayal and loss of Theresa.

Beyond Nostalgia is a poignant story about growing up, making choices, betrayal, forgiveness and moving on. Cassidy and Theresa find inspiration, joy and acceptance together in their world of dysfunctional families and economic hardships. But one night Cassidy, in a drunken stupor, makes a terrible choice that costs him his relationship with Theresa. Twenty-five years later, with the encouragement of his devoted wife, Cassidy focuses his sadness and angst into writing a book – a book that will eventually lead him to another crossroad in his life and redemption from his suffering.

Within A Man’s Heart

Four years after burying his young wife, New York sales executive Christian Crews still can’t move forward with his life. Day after day, treasured memories of his beloved Elyse continue to drift through his spirit like an endless procession of mournful ghosts.

Chris wants to leave Manhattan—walk away from his job and the apartment he and Elyse once shared. He dreams of moving to New Hampshire, where he feels he just might have a chance of finding peace. But in his grieving mind, breaking away from those memories would be the same as abandoning Elyse—an unforgivable act of betrayal he could never live with.

Then, on the fourth anniversary of Elyse’s death, Chris makes two shocking discoveries, and a part of him begins to believe that she would want him to go on with his life.

Two weeks later he makes the move to New Hampshire, and minutes after arriving in the small rural village of Mountain Step, he meets a beautiful local woman with mesmerizing gray eyes and a heart as big as the surrounding mountains. Beginning another emotional relationship may be the last thing on Chris’s mind, but he soon finds himself falling for Gina Elkin, every bit as hard as she’s fallen for him.

Could there be a future for them? Will Elyse allow it? After all, she’s still deep within Chris’s heart—a place no one else has ever been.

A Second Chance in Paradise
Long Island salesman Sonny Raines has had it. He’s sick and tired of living in a world where wrong always wins over right. Then, on his thirty-ninth birthday, when he loses his job and comes home to the most devastating shock of his life, that’s it. He’s dropping out.


With nothing left to lose, and little in his pocket, Sonny chucks it all and drives his aging van fifteen-hundred miles to the lower reaches of the Florida Keys. All he wants is to get over his recent losses and simplify his hectic life, and that’s exactly what he thinks he’s doing when he settles on a paradisiacal speck of an island known as Wrecker’s Key. While surrounded by the warm aquamarine waters of two tropical oceans, he not only falls in love with the key but also establishes a close bond with the free-spirited locals who call it home.

But all isn’t blue skies, swaying palms, and coconut oil on Wrecker’s Key. There’s trouble wafting in the warm breezes that caress the island. Although Sonny certainly isn’t looking for romance, he finds himself falling for his next door neighbor. Ex-model Julie Albright just may be the kindest, most beautiful woman to ever grace his eyes, but there’s a snag. She has a small physical flaw that, no matter how hard he tries, Sonny can’t overlook. And his feelings are no secret to Julie. She can read them, and they weigh as heavy on her heart as they do on his. Then things get even worse. One night, under the cover of darkness, danger drifts up the deep, silent currents from the lower keys—serious danger—life and death danger. And Sonny Raines finds himself right in the middle of it

***
I must admit I’m a big fan, but as you might know, I’m not easily impressed, so when I say this author knows how to spin a yarn and deliver a punch, there’s a big chance I’m not talking rubbish. :-)
But let me introduce Mr. Winton to you by letting him do the talking. I asked him to give me some really fast answers to a few questions that I think show us more about the man behind the author.
Tom 004Hi Tom, thanks for taking the time to do this Fast Ten with me. Hold on to your seat because here we go.

Sweet or savoury? – I’ll run with savory/savoury for right now, Lucy. Love the aroma of something tasty cooking on the stove.

 Coffee, tea, or anything else? – Just had two cups of Joe, so I’ll take a decaf this time around. I’m wired enough.

Dark or milk chocolate? – Either is terrif, but I’ve been known to walk a mile for dark chocolate.

Favourite dish? – That’s a tough. The best I can do is narrow it down to either seafood or Italian.

Mountains or sea? – For many years I’ve lived near the sea and spent literally tens of thousands of hours fishing either out on the sea in a boat or along its shores. Now I’ll take the mountains. I lived in a rural setting near Maine’s North Woods for five years and still dream of going back. I’m also considering moving to the Great Smoky Mountains in either North Georgia or North Carolina.

Staying or moving? – As soon as I can swing the cost I’m going to move out of Florida and go to one of those places I just mentioned in the previous question.

Organised or go with the flow? – I’m definitely a flow-goer!

Morning or evening? – Morning for sure. Far and away the best time of each day is just moments before a morning sun rises–when that rose-colored glow of new hope appears on the eastern horizon.

Complain or act? – I’m one heck of a good complainer, but when it’s time to act I can really kick it in gear too. The hard part is to get me moving. At the only parents/teacher meeting my mother and father ever bothered to go to, my second grade teacher told them that, “Tommy can do anything, BUT he has to be pushed.” It’s too bad I never liked to be pushed. Ha!

Fight or flight? – Lucy, although I could write an entire trilogy about all the fights I’ve had in my life, I’m at the point now where I let a lot of negative events slide by. But if I get cornered, I’m gonna come back swingin’ — hard and fast. I have absolutely no room for blatant injustice or instigation. Thanks heaps for having me on your great site, Luce!

You, and your books are more than welcome anytime! Well, readers, didn’t I tell you his answers would reveal more of the man behind the author? But now you want to know where to find and follow him online, I guess? Let’s not keep you waiting then, You can stalk, erm I mean follow, yes follow, Tom Winton on:

Have you got your copy yet?

How to Write Live and Truly Be Free

“How can the government ration rationality? They feed their humans reasons to justify rationing of free will in bite-sized portions for humans to digest without a massive roar of the people, but then again, the lack of usage of free by most humans leaves room for governments to step in and decide what is right and just, and then reason their rationing of the amount of free will humans have left to use, leaving little or no room for free will in the free Western society where humans point their fingers at oppressive regimes but lack the eyes to see the restraints their own regimes oppress them with.” Lucy smiles and sips her hot coffee. “But not all humans can see reasons for opening their eyes to what is in front of them and drone on along the path to their final destination. One that might lure and shine with a glimmer of hope for better days, but life is only what one makes of it and does not happen if one does not work at it. If only humans would ration their greed and ration their wants and wishes to suit their needs, and do not rationalise the government’s reign over their free will, wouldn’t that be another step towards a perfect world? But then again, perfection doesn’t exists …” And Lucy looks at the picture, one she changed to suit a need. “Yes, it can be done without greed. A trade is made which suits a need without rationing or interference.”

surveillance-money