The Final Blog Post?

In the best traditions of clickbait, the title is misleading, albeit not by much.  This blog is now on an indefinate hiatus, sadly.   This damp (and unedited) squib was not the way I expected to leave on.

Frustration and fighting against the day to get some quality time in which to concentrate is a daily battle that I constantly lose, and when time does present itself, I am simply too tired to write anything decent.  If I’m not happy with my posts, and usually I am not – I just give up and post them – there seems little point in continuing.

The little time I do get will be for reading which I am just about sustaining.  Again, due to lack of time I am aggressively minimising the book cllection too, only keeping the books that mean something to me.  The I will rely on the library for anything else.

It’s been a blast but I would rather the blog stop before it gets too poorly written and maintained.  Keep supporting books, readers, and each other, and no doubt I will see you around!  Now I shall diminish into the west and remain Galadriel.

Ending Forever, Soon Arriving

In case you missed it last year – as I know I did – Nicholas Conley‘s latest book Ending Forever first came out on Kindle Vella, which allows authors to write the book in installments, harking back toCharles Dickens, et al. 

The book will be coming out for e-readers on 10th May, with a paperback edition at a later unspecified date. With such a goegeous cover I shall definitely be availing myself of the physical copy but will no doubt be reviewing the ARC as and when it arrives in my inbox.

Check out the below synopsis to whet your appetite and also cast your eye over my other reviews for Nick’s books and author interrogations, which can hadily be found here.

Axel Rivers can’t get his head above water. Throughout his life, he’s worn many hats—orphan, musician, veteran, husband, father—but a year ago, a horrific event he now calls The Bad Day tore down everything he’d built. Grief-stricken, unemployed, and drowning in debt, Axel needs cash, however he can find it.
Enter Kindred Eternal Solutions. Founded by the world’s six wealthiest trillionaires and billionaires, Kindred promises to create eternal life through mastering the science of human resurrection. With the technology still being developed, Kindred seeks paid volunteers to undergo tests that will kill and resurrect their body—again and again—in exchange for a check.
Axel signs up willingly, but when he undergoes the procedure—and comes back, over and over—what will he find on the other side of death?

Philosophy and Literature with Iris Murdoch and Bryan Magee

I love doing the washing up, it gives me a chance to catch up with a whole host of interesting YouTube channels.  As you might expect these are a pretty eclectic mix; Agadmator’s chess match analyses, Bob Ross‘ happy little paintings, David Lynch’s weather report, a few channels dealing with apologetics, film reviews, Football Manager (as I have no time to go indepth with such a game), other assorted retro games, and science videos.

This time I wanted something a bit different so typed ‘literature’ into the search bar.  Having previously done this and ended up scrolling through a bunch of identikit YA booktubers I, understandably, left it a few years before trying again.

The below video turned up, and having heard of Iris Murdoch, but not having read any of her works I decided to give the interview a whirl. It’s an interesting chat that takes places in that nostalgically British way of having a dull studio filled with browns and beiges. I already have Murdoch’s Existentialists and Mystics: Writings on Philosophy and Literature, on my list but any recommendations for her fiction would be most welcome.

Moonlight Thoughts

Posting this after a few hours sleep and two cups of overpowered coffee, both with four heaped teaspoons of the good stuff. Suffice to say my brain is now best described as ‘frenzied’.

Lying wide awake at 1am, despite soothing music playing in the background, there is little to do to pass the time except to avoid thinking about how many hours and minutes of ‘sleep’ time there is until the alarm goes off.

Unable to move this particular sleepness night, thanks to having our bed invaded by Amelia who promptly fell asleep on my arm and neck. Naturally thoughts turned to books, and then the direction of said musings ranged thick and fast, the notable being:

  • Which book to read next, ruling out recent genres and country/continent of authors likewise.
  • Pondering on more ways to better support independent authors I like, other than the blog and purchasing their books.
  • Mentally comparing the physical nature of different books like texture of cover and page, as well as the wildcard font.
  • Thoughts on how to improve my writing and where to find the time to read and write more. 1am seems like the obvious answer to that.

Continue reading “Moonlight Thoughts”

Walk of Life: Feet on the Ground – Paul Northridge

What happens when we die? What is the meaning of life? What has ice-cold water got to do with sex? All these questions are answered in this book, well at least taken from my point of view in my autobiography.

I was born with Spina Bifida and therefore ended up with a different kind of a body and different aspect to life compared to the norm. I had a near death experience (NDE) at fourteen years old and I will guide you through that journey and how I reflect upon it more as I grow older.  My late teenage years and into my adulthood I have battled with depression, suicidal tendencies and self-harming. It was a secret battle where I would always put a smile on to show I was fine, and you know what FINE stands for? F’d Up (COULD SAY “FUDGED”UP, A FUNNY ALTERNATIVE), Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. We all have our mountains to climb and with me being as open as possible in this book, maybe you can associate with my experiences too.

I wanted to find love, but I really thought it was an impossible task to be attractive yet disabled. I found love in Russia out of all places in the world and this is an amazing story of synchronicity as I truly feel that things happen for a reason.

Yes, I always kept a smile on my face even though I was in some dark places in my mind. I also have a great sense of humour so please stop from putting the book back on the shelf in thinking this is a doom and gloom book, because it’s funny as anything in places. I hope it will make you laugh, cry and most of all I hope it will help you.

That is the most likely the longest blurb I have yet featured on the blog, I say likely because I am too lazy to actually check.  Autobiographies are something I delve into relatively rarely, but the reading of is a whole different kettle of fish when you have spent some time with that person.

Paul Northridge was a colleague at my last place of work, and is a bloody nice chap to boot. During one particular conversation comparing the respective lack of candidate interest for the apprenticeship vacancies we were trying to fill, we ended up meanering into other topics – including sadly departed comedian George Carlin –  it was then that Paul revealed he was an author.

I said, “I didn’t know that, I review books”, to which he replied, “I didn’t know that about you either”.  That sorted out, I got a copy of Walk of Life and read it fittingly on the often delayed bus that took me to work. Continue reading “Walk of Life: Feet on the Ground – Paul Northridge”

Scènes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris) – Victoria Leigh Bennett

“Paris was glorious in the summer mornings! The air was as fresh as a grackle’s wing…”

In Scènes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris), Victoria Leigh Bennett takes us back to her teenage years, as a first trip abroad opens her eyes to the possibilities of the French metropolis, and of the first buds of romance. This playful, tender memoir shows us the wonder of the city of love seen through fresh eyes. It is ripe with youthful adventure, and as bitter-sweet as a coffee and croissant.”

Scènes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris) is a playful riff off of Honoré de Balzac‘s work Scènes de la Vie Parisienne, and sets the mood for a thoughtful memoir of youthful experiences abroad in the French capital.  A city that has inspired so much literature, now has another view, which is a pleasantly nostalgic one.

It is difficult to talk too much about the book without giving away spoilers, so please forgive me if I am somewhat vague on the content and don’t expand on the blurb too much hereafter.

The reader is treated to three vignettes which give a wonderful sense of not only place and time, but also of self. Vicki’s introspective reminiscences make for a wonderful read and not only brings out the misty-eyed ememberance of travels in past days but also a yearning for more of her words. Continue reading “Scènes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris) – Victoria Leigh Bennett”

Dune – Frank Herbert

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

Fondly, yet hazily, recalling David Lynch’s attempt at bring Dune to the silver screen, and wanting to avoid spoilers from the new version, my hand was ‘forced’ into reading this.  Dune is an impressive, epic space – or should that be spice? – opera and sci-fi classic which stands the test of time.

From the off the world building feels fully established, and as the reader follows 15 year-old Paul Atriedes, we learn the complexities of life and the relationships of powerful factions as he does.  It really helps push the story along so there isn’t a lot of stopping to go into minutiae. There is also some of the usual jargon that comes with alien languages but it’s not too elaborate, thankfully so doesn’t get tiresome and distracting.

Speaking of worlds, Arrakis is a looming brooding presence, It is open, vast and unforgiving. The atmosphere is one of ancient mysteries with plenty of secrets left, even after the book is finished.  That all known universe interests centre upon this unique planet makes all events much more significant. Continue reading “Dune – Frank Herbert”

Another Worthwhile Read

Two reblogs in two days because quality stuff should be shared. This time it’s the turn of my very good friend Vicki and her short memoir about her younger days in Paris, a city that seems to encourage so many memorable works. I will be purchasing my copy soon, so come join me.

creativeshadows

Here you can see at top above the cover art and back cover (with blurb by the stupendous and kind Katy Naylor, of Postcards from Ragnarok and the voidspace) followed in the second image by the internal frontispiece of the book, which is being published by the equally magnificent and kind Alien Buddha Press.  Look for me on Amazon, and acquire a copy for yourself!  Shadowoperator (Victoria Leigh Bennett)

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The Swing Set in the Backyard (Or . . . So, You Want to Write a Novel?)

As ever Mike’s word are a great source of inspiration for the writer in you.

Eye-Dancers

When I was eight years old, my parents bought a swing set for the backyard.  It was red and yellow, with two swings.  My father installed it at the extreme northern end of the yard, a few feet to the left of the brick fireplace he had built upon moving into the house, years before I was born.  I cannot say I remember whether or not I had asked for a swing set or if my parents decided it would be a good idea to get one.  Either way, that summer–the summer I was eight–I spent a lot of time on those swings.

Well, I mainly used the swing closer to the fireplace.  If anyone wanted to join me, they needed to use the other swing.  Sometimes, I’d swing for hours.  I used to love swinging on July evenings, the air warm, the yard fragrant with flowers and freshly cut…

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Where I’ve Been

With a mad end to the year and the customary beginning to the next, you may or, most likely,  may not have wondered where I have been.  Well the answer is precisely nowhere.  A lack of reading hasn’t helped but I have now returned to readerly and writerly ways.

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I have been keeping myself creatively busy doing some writing for World Football Index, so if you fancy a gander at the articles that I have thus far written, you can my specific author page here.  I also missed my 13th anniversary with WordPress notification which really shows my age.

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The photos in this post were done by Cris as I am shambolic when it comes to anything visually creative. These are most of the books picked up in the back half of last year that I didn’t get a chance to show you.  Reviews of four will be forthcoming soon and my previous blog post covered the excelleny Poems from the Northeast. Continue reading “Where I’ve Been”

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