Author at Work

Greetings visitor (and possibly friend),

I am currently in the throes of writing the first Trilogy. Exciting times.

WIP1 is out on submission. Wish it luck, please. WIP2 is under construction and about half written (30,000+ words for the first draft). WIP3 is lurking at the back of my mind but is most eager to leap onto the pages.

Otherwise I am discussing the marketing side with those that know to engage in this better.

Thanks for all your patience. I will resume posting soon…

What’s coming?

A series of articles on Left Brain : Right Brain thinking which links in with my earlier articles on where do ideas come from.

More short stories to entertain.

 

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Once Upon a Page

Firstly I would like to apologise for missing my deadline last month. I would like to say it was because I was away on a much needed family holiday, or that my right arm has been out of commission due to repetitive strain from writing too much in awkward positions, or that writing my latest story for the Everlasting Fantastical Adventures took most of my time and inspiration up, but no excuse is ample or totally correct. Let’s just say I had a sabbatical and am now back.
This month’s piece has turned into the start of a bigger story with part one below …
ONCE UPON A PAGE there were three animals who went on an urgent quest into a deep dark cave. Each one determined to find something they had lost that was very dear to them.

First was Henry, a snow white goose who had had his honk stolen during a flight through a winter storm by a mischievous wind spirit. He had chased the spirit but lost it in the thickest part of the blizzard. A goose without a honk is a sad thing, every time he tried to warn his flock when a stranger approached he looked silly and ended up in a flap. Since then the other geese laughed at him and, what was worse, he couldn’t honk back.

The second was Nicholas, a jovial orang-utan who had misplaced his laugh when eating his way through a field of peanuts. He had searched and searched, opening as many shells as he could, but his laughter was gone. Now when he told a joke all he could raise was a smile and he felt his world was dull without his belly laugh that could shake the trees.

Last was Hugo, a big black-haired rat who went to sleep on New Year’s Eve and woke up the next morning incomplete. It had been dark in the sewer that night and there had been a troop of young rats from the local University prowling around. It was true Hugo had eaten a stash of overripe plums he had found which made him woozy, but he had felt nothing else that night. He had woken up without his tail, a limb no self-respecting rat could do without. His balance, coordination and his dignity were beyond repair.

The three had met in a market place in the town of Everhope on the outskirts of Wishful County. The market was the home of a famous Sage. Each had come to ask about their dilemmas. The Sage had listened to all three animals. She had told them they must go to the mountain of Faith nestled on the edge of the world to find their answers and that all three must undertake this journey together.

Half way up the mountain was a cave. A deep and lonely place in which was hidden a magical chest. If they could unlock the chest then their wishes would be granted. Without any arguments they decided to follow the Sage’s instructions and set out that same afternoon. Three days and three nights they toiled through torturous weather across the wilds. Each finding out something about the others during the hard journey. Now they had arrived and were standing on the brink.

“So this is the place.” Hugo peered into the gloom. “Looks spooky to me …” he said doubtfully, “and I like damp dark places.”

“-”, honked Henry, or rather didn’t. He buffeted his wings and shook his neck from side to side.

“Hugo, I think the goose wants to tell us something.” Nicholas scratched his chin. They hadn’t found out Henry’s name as his honk was gone and he couldn’t write.

“No doubt.” Hugo shrugged. “ What is it, Goose?”

“-”. Henry said silently. His white face and beak beginning to turn red with anger. The Orang-utan and the Rat exchanged blank looks.

“Maybe we should play charades?” Nicholas suggested.

“We tried that already, remember?” Hugo shook his head too quickly and almost fell over. He really missed his tail.

“When we were crossing that stream and the goose tried to tell us something. It didn’t work, so he lost his temper and took off in a flap. Landed on the other side without a care. He was so upset he wouldn’t help either of us across. We got all wet and cold just because I laughed at his antics.”

“Well, you shouldn’t have.” Nicholas grimaced, his eyes flat and his wrinkly face looked all lopsided and wrong. “I’m sure he was only trying to help us.”

“We’ll never know.” Hugo sniggered, “unless we find that Chest of Wishes.” He liked to snigger. It was a very ratty thing to do and he found himself sniggering a lot more now than he did before he lost his tail. With a quick glance at the other two to make sure they would follow, Hugo stepped into the cave.

“Come on, Goose. You know Hugo doesn’t mean any harm. He’s just like any other rat.” Nicholas held one long arm out to the bird.

“No I’m not!” Hugo snapped over his shoulder, but he didn’t stop to argue. He did not dare to turn in case he fell over. Henry flapped once and then gentle pressed his wingtip into the offered hand of Nicholas. Together they followed the rat into the gloom.
To be continued…

A Supernatural Short Story

This month’s short story prompts were …

Character – Short, Supernatural,

Traits – Arrogant, Curious,

Conflict – Weather

Location – Forest

 Objects – Message and Vehicle

 I hope you enjoy this tale.

Trouble at halloween …

The rain pelted past the trees, thudding on my skin like I was a drum.

“BLARRR! Enough, foul weather!”

I move under an oak tree, pressing myself up against its trunk. Just as well my skin‘s so tough the rough bark was just a small annoyance, much less than the thudding rain. Here I was, trapped in the forest. Trying to get back to my garden in time for the midnight feast. But time and the weather were conspiring against me.The incessant drumming was hurting my head so much I couldn’t even rhyme.

It was the squirrels fault of course. If he hadn’t stolen all the chocolates I wouldn’t have had to chase him into the depths of the woods. The squirrel had scampered for his drey thinking he would be safe to scoff all the treats, but he hadn’t factored in me. I suppose he didn’t get to see me most of the year; I only come out on Halloween.

When I fired my stream of seeds and pulp at the wee thing he had jumped out of his skin. His tail standing out like a pine tree, stiff and smelly. He didn’t moved a muscle as I collected up the treats, hiding them away and his eyes had popped when I blew  a last noisy rasping raspberry. That had been fun!

With the treats in my  possession I set out to return to the garden. But on my way back the storm hit hard. Buffeting winds, thudding rain, extraordinarily nasty weather. Things would have been fine if it had been blustering in the opposite direction, but no, that would have been too easy. All of that horrible wet windiness was set to blow right up my nostrils as I flew home. It was almost blew my lights out.

What was that? I thought I heard something; a message on the wind.

There it is again! I can hear someone calling. It must be the children. They want to see me! Etching my features in a grimace, I prepare to face the pelting raindrops. I am needed and nothing but death can stop me. As I launch myself out from the trees, a few choice words pop into my head.

The rain is fierce with hasty schemes,

               It batters my mind with nasty dreams,

               But weather won’t cause me inner shame,

               Long will burn my internal flame.

I race through the air, skirting around branches and over logs. Lightning strikes stab me and thunder rages. The rhymes inside have inflamed my spirit and I feel invincible. Around me sizzling rain flashes past in streaks of orange as my fires roar higher and higher.

I hear the children again. Their shouts growing larger, “Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head! Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head!”

With a final push I scream out of the storm. Silver lightning carves the sky in two behind me as a great rolling thunderous echo erupts from the clouds. I have defeated them and they are annoyed.

But what’s this? The children’s faces are full of terror! Silence grips them as they stare at me. My light spills out, filling their eyes. My inner flames blaze with the strikes of the midnight clock. It’s Halloween and the supernatural stalks the night.

With a laughing rush I soar over their heads, making them duck and dive. As I pass just above them I pour out my treats; chocolates and candies galore. All the flavours of Halloween and the children cheer for more!

 

 

For next month’s tale, here is the prompts… (only one of each category – I will set up a new box to use from January onwards)

Character – Tall
Traits – Quiet
Conflict – Money
Location – City
Objects – Horn

 

I hope you all have a wonderful and rewarding Festive Season. May Health Wealth and Happiness surrounding you all like the treats from Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head in the coming year.

 

Cheers,

Grumphspawn!

 

“Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head”- is a character from the “Everlasting Fantastical Adventures” and is protected by Copyright. Please ensure you have the author’s permission before any replication of this blog post.

A Journey’s End

Everything felt bone dry. The sand under my feet, the scorching air around me and, most especially, the skull watching me from the top of the dune. This was why I was here. It had taken too many arid days to locate. Now it was almost within my reach… yet still a world away. I was tired, so very tired, I wasn’t sure I had the strength, or the heart left to finish this.

The sun flamed on, red-hot, merciless. The sand became a sea of glass beneath my worn out shoes. My long years hung on my frame like shackles, each step harder, more painful. I felt ancient, every joint aching deep into my shrinking marrow.

I had always been a curious soul, questing from place to place. Thinking back, it was my curiosity which had caused me all this trouble. If I hadn’t wanted to cross the desert, I wouldn’t have had my world ripped apart.

They said no one crossed the desert, it couldn’t be done. No…worse, it shouldn’t be done. Folk like us, just don’t do that sort of thing. It’s too dangerous and our bones don’t travel well. I didn’t argue, just up and walked out one night, without telling a soul.

I had been fine under my hat, until the vulture. Its brim had shielded me from the worst of the sun during the festering days. But the scavenger had swooped and now it was gone. Without my hat I knew I’d turn to dust in this remorseless oven. Maybe they had been right, maybe I should never have crossed the desert.

Stumbling, I persisted. Finally reaching the beach. Now my curiosity came down to this one last thing. The answer to my ultimate question which I hoped would make me complete.

I paused, wiping my ribs. I had long since stopped sweating, there was no moisture left, not for years. It was as if I had shed most of my skin. My chest hair was brittle, like withered grass. A gentle zephyr crackled my hair. The tang of the sea taunting me. All that water out there and yet I knew I couldn’t drink a drop. My eternal thirst would never be quenched by seawater.

The skull’s eyes were deep shadows, impassive, without compassion. There was no emotion inside, only logic. Cool and calculating.

I stretched my fingers up, grasping the skull. It felt light and airy.

I raised it high above me.

With a sigh I lowered the skull.

A shudder rattled my bones as life raced through me again. With a laugh of delight I moved my head from side to the side testing my neck. It was a perfect fit. I was whole again.

Now all I had to do was find my hat …

And for next month’s piece we have

                Characters = Hairy and Fit,

                Traits = Kind and Greedy,

               Conflict = Love,

               Location = Ocean,

              Objects = Ruby and Vehicle,

I wonder what will come to me?           Anyone else want a shot?

Taking over

Well its another Monday morning and I find myself wondering where the last week went. Between life the universe and everything time just flies by. So where do i find the time to write? I must have at some juncture as I have over eighteen thousand new words on file for the next project.

To be honest the thoughts and characters I am living with don’t go away, they are there all the time. You know all those moments of daydreams when life’s pressures allow you the space? Well they are taken over now by the characters. Sometimes its Grumphspawn who can be a bit of a grumpybum and very demanding, or Rodger Meles (a talking  badger) who’s curiosity is hard to contain. But equally demanding are both the Twelve Toed Ugly Troll (he likes to go on the rampage) and Shehalogon the Grimlee (pulling strings and setting traps in the shadows of my mind).

All in all, I find that the stories and characters are taking over, filling the cracks and gaps in daily life and gate crashing my dreams.

So when people ask me where do I find the time to write, its an easy one to answer. I am living full time with my stories and sometimes I even get a chance to put some of it on  file.

Just as well I enjoy it all really.

 

 

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Memories as muses

My memories of my childhood in Malta are still precious to me, even if it was the other end of my life. We lived in Malta for three years back in the sixties. The world felt different then, but the eternal qualities of the island were easy to see, especially for one so young.

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The spectacular fireworks of Valletta are amongst my fondest memories. Evenings full of magic and surprise without needing to leave our home. You see we had a grand stand view from our flat as we lived in Sliema and Valletta harbour, with the city’s majestic walls and bastions, was our backdrop. I can still recall the feelings of excitement and joy as the star-filled summer skies were brightened with the colourful explosions which went on for what seemed like forever.

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The history of Malta is abundant with heroic stories and tales of knights. The island saw many different civilisations and influences over the centuries, from the neolithic people before the Romans and Carthaginians came. After the collapse of the Roman Empire the Arabs and Byzantines fought over the Island until the Normans took the island. Since then its government has been influenced by France, Spain and Britain. Now its independent from outside rule, though it did join the EU. But that was after our time on the island. With all this history the island saw a lot of castles and temples built and we often toured these, filling my head full of daring deeds and heroic adventure.

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The beaches and rocky shorelines were a constant source of fun. My brothers and I enjoyed chasing crabs and lizards in the pools and rocks. Sometimes we even went out on a boat and swam out in the Mediterranean. I used to daydream about adventures at sea (maybe these thoughts are one of the reasons I spent much of my life at sea).

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Then there are the catacombs, rumoured to run from one end of the island to the other before they were sealed up. Legend has it they may contain strange creatures and were used in neolithic religious ceremonies by the island’s previous inhabitants. Their look and smell still hang in my mind and I often wonder about the secrets they are hiding, secrets only children can reveal.

 

These memories of Malta and Gozo islands have inspired my creativity for my forthcoming series under the working title, The Everlasting Fantastical Adventures. From the warmth of the Inland Sea to the magic of the Azure Window, my thoughts delve deep and enter the catacombs then soar high into the air to explode as fantastical fireworks.

 

When people ask me if I have any problems thinking about new worlds and adventures, I just smile and say I am lucky, I don’t have that problem. I have the memories of Malta as some of my muses.

 

As the newest author to Link our pages I would like to introduce:

Nomanono Isaacs  who has authored the book – Escaping Apartheid – A Letter to My Mother

Check out her website at:  http://www.nomanono.com/

 
Testimonial:

From Roseanne May:

I was heartbroken, not just from romance but from the deep emotional wounds of life. Nomanono Isaacs offered vital support in my own need to understand and undertake a healing journey. In essence she was a loving, caring mentor who was willing and able to navigate alongside me. Nomanono guided me to the value and worth of my own inner self.Without fear of judgement or rejection, I was able to show and tell who I was, and reveal my emotional responses to life. Nomanono gave me wise and loving and honest counsel her sound advice came only from ‘a loving yourself’ place. In so doing, I found the strength to change what wasn’t working for me. It will be a dynamic, healing relationship with Nomanono, ever-changing ever growing, best of all there may be tears but there will be laughter too.

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Who am I and what am I writing?

Hi
I’m Sean and this is my new author’s info site (hence the name). In it you can find out what I am and my myriad characters are up to.

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You can also find out about other authors and their work. I hope you enjoy visiting. 

 

My Bio: Born in Scarborough and fortunate to grow up in different parts of Europe, finally finishing school in the Kingdom of Fife. The Author first went to St Andrews University, but preferred adventure so spent the next 20+ years as a Salty-Seadog sailing the Oceans and being fascinated by its wonders.

Finally he ‘swallowed-the-anchor’ and came ashore as a Management Consultant.
Married to Liz with two kids. They live in Scotland and look forward to entertaining youngsters of all ages in the years ahead.

 

1. What am I working on? Currently I am writing a series of books with the working title of the Everlasting Fantastical Adventures. The books are about an adventurous place where two children go to escape from the rules and restrictions of their parents and other interfering adults. The tales take them deep into this other reality which is filled with a variety of characters such as a talking Badger called Rodger Meles who knows where the best fun to be had is; a Twelve Toed Ugly Troll who doesn’t yet have a name and is totally troublesome; and a Great Wizard called Grumphspawn who likes fireworks, but is otherwise quite a grumpybum. The stories are for middle grade readers, though I am lucky to have quite a few adult fans around the world from earlier versions of the tales.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre? All writers live in a world created from their own experiences and learning. Each will be different. It’s the ability to fully reveal those inner thoughts and visions in a way best accessible to the readers that set the great writers apart. There are two main characters in my stories, a brother and sister, who venture into a different reality. A place with many characters and an abundance of magic, all in the background of danger as the influence of the alien race of Grimlees disturbs the peace and harmony in this Land of Dreams.

3. Why do I write what I do? For fun, adventure and the characters I have in my head won’t let me write anything else until they have had their day, especially Grumphspawn the Great Wizard and Shehalogon the Grimlee.

I started writing just to make a better connection with my own kids as I do travel a lot, even now. The stories always bring us closer together and they often ask to read the latest episodes I’ve written. It’s a wonderful feeling to see the look on your own kids’ faces as they enjoy the stories.

4. How does my writing process work? I am an unconventional writer. I had no literary background, being a seafarer and adventurer by nature. I even won an award for the Worst Writing in primary 7, in front of the whole school. A strange day I’ll never forget, but I didn’t let that stop me. I have done a lot of work and research, particularly with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in the last three years.

Now before I write I always visualise, like I am running through a movie set in my mind. I believe that writing is a link between the conscious and the subconscious, a mixture between the science and the art of it if you will. This is something that each writer does in a way which is unique to them.

I have always been a dreamer and my first quote (in a school magazine from Malta) was “I enjoy school, because I get to take trolls in my pocket”. Nothing more needs to be said about that.

Often when I write the world just fades into the background, once I remember sitting down to type when I was in Alexandria, Egypt. I wrote for what I thought was a couple of hours, but when I checked my watch, ten hours had flown by. This was quite a shock to my stomach and it protested loudly, as you can imagine. This ability to shut out what is around me means I can write almost anywhere, I just have to remember to set an alarm if there’s an appointment I need to attend.

I am about to start work on what I hope is the ultimate version of the stories, probably a twelve book series.

Wish me luck please!

 

 

For other author’s blogs please follow these links.

http://www.christinabanach.com

I’m Christina Banach, author of Minty and other young adult fiction. I’m in a state of excitement right now because it’s only a few weeks until Minty is published. Here is what Helen Bryant of Three Hares has to say about the book:

Minty is one of the most moving books for YA I’ve read in a long time. It’s a real weepy from start to finish but with heart and warmth at the core. It’s a cross between The Lovely Bones (without the grim murder) and Ghost and it stays with you long after you’ve finished the book.