Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Paradox is a timeslip story, a genre that has fascinated me long before Diana Gabaldon made it both fashionable and a top seller. How would a modern man or woman cope with the society norms and customs of past centuries? Admittedly, I only touch on it briefly while my trapped hero slips in and out of consciousness, but I'd love to explore it in more depths in another story [or two].
In Paradox, Phil finds himself leading a double life. He's trapped in his crashed car in rural England, and at the same time, he's taken over the life of Caius, a Roman living in the same area. Not only is Caius's personality entirely different to Phil's, the man seems oblivious to the fact someone wants him dead. So Phil has to do the detective work without the taken-for-granted backup of his realtime partner and best friend.
Reese Dante, the cover artist, has done an amazing job - as usual. Her talent never ceased to impress. I gave her the photo elements I would like to see on the cover - a crashed red car, a Roman mosaic of a horse and rider, and faces for Phil and Ryan. I wondered if I'd asked for too much detail and it would be artistically impossible to make an uncluttered eyecatching cover using all the elements. I needn't have worried. Phil's unconcious features dominate, with Ryan a misty face in the background. The red car and the mosaic are there, too, vague and dreamlike. And the clock around the O of Paradox is a master-touch...
Blurb: Phil has a job he loves, full of danger and excitement most of the time, and a working partner he trusts with his life. Until Ryan kisses him. It's only meant to be a diversion tactic to convince the heavies they're two harmless gays, but that kiss shakes Phil's word to its foundations. He doesn't do commitment. He doesn't need or want a longterm lover, but that's what his heart is reaching for.
An accident leaves him drifting in and out of a dream-haunted coma, trapped in his wrecked car waiting for rescue, and he is sharing a parallel life. Centuries ago, someone is trying to kill Caius Marcellus Valens, and Phil must find out who and why. The trouble is, he's alone. No partner, no backup - or is there? But nothing is the way it seems. Phil must solve the mystery before the plot succeeds, but when the dream invades his waking life, he must also separate past from present before it tears apart his world—and the best relationship he’s ever had.
Paradox is available for pre-order from Silver Publishing HERE
Saturday, 14 April 2012
It's been a while since I had a Chez Chris coffee morning, so today I'm curling up on the couches with RJ Scott and Meredith Russell. Help yourselves to coffee and calorie-free virtual goodies, ladies, and let's get cozy...
CQ: So how long have you two known each other, and how did you meet?
RJ: Years and years and YEARS ago... at least 5... round about the time Sam still had cute flicky hair in Supernatural... season 2 ish...
MR: Seriously, it’s been that long? And yes, Sam had lovely hair back then, though I was more interested in Dean and his shotgun.
RJ: I was equally interested in Sam’s weapon...
MR: See what I’ve put up with for 5 years?
RJ: You know you love me! Really. You do. How did we meet? MR has been writing longer than me... writing for an audience that is! I read some of her writing and then stalked her. Yes, I mean literally stalked her. Employing all my wiles and by bribing several mutual friends I finally tracked her down. She is from oop North... where it is cold and windy... I haven’t looked back since!
MR: Yep, exactly like that.
CQ: Meredith, how did you keep your sanity working with RJ?
MR: Sanity? I think I left that behind years ago. It was the only way! She’s lovely really, in an annoying itch that won’t go away kind of way.
RJ: and I say again :O... I’m moving on to the next question...
CQ: Tell me about your new book!
RJ: Well I wrote it and MR made the coffee... JOKE! Don’t hit me MR...
MR: I’m trying really hard not to!
RJ: So I said... Hey MR, let’s write a book together, and she had this character in her head, an artist (she has a lot of imaginary friends you know!). We named him Blu. Poor Blu has dyslexia and is the son of parents who spent their lives moving from one campaign to another. Imagine outside nuclear power stations, or even now as part of the campaigns in financial districts. Blu didn’t really get caught by the education system. Anyway, he didn’t need words, he has his art.
Over to you MR...
MR: Obviously Blu needed a lovely man to fall in love with and up popped Tom. He’s charming, educated and rich, and perfect for Blu.
RJ: It’s a story about lies and trust and love and lust and all the things in between, set against a backdrop of Blu’s art.
MR: And there had to be a happy ending!
RJ: MR and I don’t write anything BUT happy endings...
CQ: I'm intrigued by the title, going by the fascinating blurb, it seems to match the story perfectly - who came up with it?
MR: I’d love to take credit but that was all RJ’s doing. We discussed titles and then she came up with a couple of options and have to say this one worked, particularly in light of the two conflicting focal points of the story, Blu’s art and Tom’s ‘words’ ie the business world he inhabits.
CQ: Meredith, what interesting things do you have in your Work In Progress folders?
MR: Currently I am working on a summer story for Silver’s Special Submissions (try saying that fast!), also the first book in a new co-authored series with RJ (details below!), and then my second solo project that has a working title of Secrets.
RJ: Don’t forget the super sekrit squirrel writing with some other UK authors...
MR: Well I thought it was a secret!
RJ: It is...
MR: Can I ROFL in an interview? Well I just did!
RJ: You can ROFL, LMAO and LOL as much as you want here... we’re amongst friends... ROFLMAO LOL...
MR: Anyway, I thought this was my section! I can never get a word in LOL. Oh and...
RJ: Talk to the hand...
MR: See! Anyway, hopefully more exciting things will make their way into the WIP folder soon.
CQ:: RJ, Your Sanctuary Series is taking off in leaps and bounds - how many projected titles/books do you have for the series?
RJ: Guarding Morgan up to and including the as yet untitled Manny’s story is a five book story arc based on the Bullen family. I have had so much fun writing this series and I get as many emails about it as I did on Texas or Throwaway. Book five is my current WIP, I just wish I could think of a title for it. You know what, it may well stay as being ‘Manny’s Story’. So after the five books I also have another one planned for Christmas this year. Jake and Sean’s story and a Sanctuary cabin in the snow... watch this space!
CQ: Ladies, do you have any more joint ventures in the pipeline?
RJ: As MR said, we are currently working on book one of our Sapphire Cay series of books set on a beautiful island in the Caribbean...
MR: It’s about the only sunshine I’ll get this year!
RJ: Aye, pet, it’s cold oop in north England...
MR: I’m in the middle!
RJ: London is closer to the equator you see... ROFL...
MR: Anyway, the series will hopefully include lots of romance and happy endings set in the sun! I’m looking forward to writing them. Honest. Even though it means working with Little Miss Scott again. I love her really.
RJ: And I love you too... *lies* *sniggers*
MR: *rolls eyes* I’m not sure I’ve thought this through LOL
RJ: *twirls moustache* aha young innocent writer I have you now... soon YOU TOO will get 1s in reviews...
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RJ: Thank you so much Chris Q for having us! Say thank you to the nice lady MR...
MR: Thank you to the nice lady MR
RJ: ROFL... loves ya squishy...
MR: It’s like the Two Ronnies!
RJ: Not sure our friends over the pond will get that joke...
MR: That’s what Google and Wiki are for!
RJ: That and for looking at pictures of nekkid men.
MR: Naked men? I don’t know what you mean *polishes halo*
RJ: You know... the ones you send me... Sniggers... Well it’s goodnight from me...
MR: ...and goodnight from her.
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It's been great meeting both of you - RJ for the umpteenth time [virtually and in the flesh], and Meredith for the first [but not the last] time - and OOOOH! All the cream cakes are gone! Not even crumbs left! ... RJ Scott!
Buy Link for Art of Words HERE
Blurb: Tom offers Blu his dream of a gallery show. Though an attraction exists, their worlds collide because Blu speaks through paint and brushes and Tom's life is filled with words and paperwork. Though opposites attract, these differences might push them apart.
After years of following his activist parents, artist Blu Taylor finally found somewhere to call home.
He sees art in the world around him yet is never truly part of it. There's a line that keeps him just on the outside of everything and everyone except his best friend.
Thomas Harrington has everything--the money, the car, and the designer suits. But something is missing from a seemingly perfect life, lost when his mother fell ill.
After attending a local art show, Blu is contacted by Tom and offered his dream--a chance to show at a gallery.
Though there is a growing attraction between the men, their worlds couldn't be more apart. Blu speaks through paint and brushes, and Tom's life is filled with words and paperwork.
Though opposites attract, these differences might push them apart.
"Just a minute!"
Blu Taylor was an outsider, lost in a world he knew nothing about. He'd been invited in, and he'd accepted, but the experience had so far left him with sweating palms and the inability to string a sentence together in conversation. He just needed a moment to collect his thoughts. These people were so different from him and everything he believed he stood for. Rich men in expensive suits and perfectly made-up women in cocktail dresses circulated the studio, and money was being thrown around like it was going out of fashion. The music was loud and the lights dim, and his best friend banging on the bathroom door was only adding to the pain growing behind his eyes.
"Blu, you need to be out here," his friend called through the locked door.
Blu turned on the faucet and held his hands under the cold running water. He wasn't sure he needed to be anywhere. He wasn't sure this was actually real.
"I know you're in there!"
Just go away. Blu shut off the water and closed his eyes. Nobody would even notice he'd disappeared. His name wouldn't even provoke a raised eyebrow among these people. He was no one, a wannabe. Shaking the water from his hands, he pressed the backs of them to his cheeks as he looked in the mirror above the sink. It was warm in the studio, and he had heated red patches down the side of his neck and beneath the collar of the simple white T-shirt he wore.
"Blu," his friend said, persevering despite being ignored, "don't make me cause a scene. Because I will, and you know it."
He did know it. This was all Jackson's fault anyway, his and that stupid flyer's. So, a month ago, Jackson had come home after a night of heavy drinking, burst into Blu's room at three in the morning, and dropped less than daintily on the end of Blu's bed. He'd been at some swanky party, where drinking anything other than the hundred-dollar bottles of champagne would have been frowned upon, and there apparently it had been--a flyer on the bar for an upcoming art show, and with it a call for unknown artists to compete for an invitation. Jackson knew the word to focus on. Free exhibit space, free drink, free food, and with it, free promotion. It was all free, assuming Blu entered a portfolio piece and got selected. At three in the morning, and with Jackson bouncing above him on the bed, Blu would have agreed to anything.
Sighing, he moved his cool hands down across his hot skin. What the hell had he been thinking? He could have been back at the apartment working to earn the advance he'd been given just that morning.
"Blu. Blu. Blu."
Was he five years old? Blu listened to the continual call of his name. It was getting louder. Wiping his hands dry on his jeans, he looked in the mirror at his glassy hazel eyes. He'd never put himself in the spotlight like this before. The whole experience of these people and their money was overwhelming. Taking a deep breath, he flashed himself a smile. It was only half-convincing, but it would have to do.
"Blu. Blu. Bl--" Jackson shut up as Blu pulled open the bathroom door. He eyed Blu up and down and flashed a mischievous smile. "I'm slightly disappointed." When Blu looked at him curiously, he added, "I was hoping you'd hooked up with one of the suits. Thought maybe I'd be getting that rent you owe me."
"I haven't paid rent in three years," Blu reminded him.
Jackson sighed. "Exactly."
Blu studied his friend for a moment. Jackson was someone Blu could never quite figure out. He had a dry, yet wicked, sense of humor, and Blu was often confused by it. Like now. Did he want Blu to start paying rent? His answer came eventually, as Jackson's composure cracked and he began to laugh.
"Your face," Jackson said, and raised the beer bottle he had in his hand. "To relaxing and enjoying ourselves." He met Blu's eyes as he made the toast. "To getting you noticed."
"To making it out alive," Blu added, and took Jackson's beer. "To keeping our wits about us." He put the bottle down on a nearby table. He watched Jackson's face fall as his friend looked sadly at the half-finished beer. It was for his own good. Jackson had been brought up with these kinds of people, and now at twenty-five, he had a silly notion of rebelling. Blu was already uncomfortable enough without Jackson acting out.
Luckily, Jackson seemed to take the hint. "Fine," he said, and ran a hand through his short, spiked blond hair. He spun around as Blu motioned back toward the main exhibition area. "But we're going to mingle, and I mean we."
Blu knew Jackson was right. What was the point in being here if he wasn't going to make the most of it? "Sure, but don't you dare leave me alone with any of them. You chase women on your own time." Jackson disliked the arrogant divas, but it wouldn't stop him from banging one, given the chance.
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Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Autism Awareness continues for the rest of the month with more blogs from some of your favorite authors, and there's the Spectrum Competition being run by Silver Publishing in support of Autism Awareness, and hosted on Silver Publishing's Forum. If you haven't already, register to be a part of the Forum and have a chance at the Awesome Prize.
For more information on Autism, visit the WorldAutism Awareness Facebook page.
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Sunday, 8 April 2012
AUTISM FACT - The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 1,100,000 cases of autism in China; 650,000 in the UK; 500,000 in the Philippines; and 180,000 in Thailand. Approximately 67 million people worldwide are affected by autism. The rate of autism is growing at 14% per year around the world. In China it is growing at a rate of 20% a year.
Autism has a wide spectrum, as anyone with kids suffering from it can tell you, and somewhere along the graph is ADHD. My two grandsons, Nerd-Boy and Geek-Boy, both have ADHD - Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder - the younger more so than the elder. Both of them swing between the inability to concentrate to total obsession/fixation/concentration, which, in two very intelligent children, was and is frustrating for all concerned *g*. Their schools varied in their ability to cope with them, especially Geek-Boy.
With Nerd-Boy, always a quick-witted [and manipulative!], articulate child, older by two and a half years, ADHD was controlled by Ritalin during school days. Weekends and holidays he was pill-free. When he was fourteen, something changed, and the symptoms of ADHD lessened. Puberty kick-starting the connections in his brain? Maybe. Oh, he's still an argumentative, manipulative little sod at times, but what teenager isn't? *g* The Clinic decided he might be able to manage the condition himself, so the treatment was stopped. Yes, he managed it with few problems, and at eighteen he has a part-time job in a pet store chain, is taking his A Levels and has a place in a nearby University waiting to study Organic Chemistry, if he makes the grade. If he doesn't, he's thinking about taking an Education degree course and becoming a teacher in Maths or Science.
Geek-Boy ticks more boxes in the spectrum, showing signs closer to Autism and Aspergers on occasion. At sixteen and a half, he is still on Ritalin for school, and while just as bright at Nerd-Boy, his grades are a lot lower due to his lack of concentration [and stubbornness!]. In junior school he would solve the maths question on the chalkboard almost as soon as the teacher finished writing, yelling out the correct answer before anyone else had a chance to put up their hand! He is currently in a smaller school that has a good track record with Special Needs kids, keeping them in the mainstream rather than excluding them to their own classes. His grades took a sudden improvement last term, and out of the blue in this term he had an A grade in a Science exam. We're hoping he'll get good enough marks in his GCSEs to allow him to go to the local college and study his first love, Computer Games Design. Failing that, he wants to take a Cookery/Catering course, which doesn't require such high qualifications.
To be honest, living with their ADHD isn't been as hard as it is in the more extreme forms of Autism. The temper tantrums, arguments, stubborn refusals to do as they're told [the Naughty Step got a lot of use] were no worse than kids without the excuse of ADHD. Their mother is an avid researcher, and she scoured the internet to learn everything about the condition, what foods seemed to trigger adverse reactions and experimenting at home to eliminate them from the boys' diet, and how to help them maintain concentration on homework and chores at home. As a family, we found ways to work with it, and they've grown to be happy, affectionate, active, well-adjusted and articulate kids despite the ADHD handicap. Both boys are avid readers [thank God!] and like so many of their peers, addicted to computer games.
We are so lucky.
Then there's the Spectrum Competition being run by Silver Publishing in support of Autism Awareness hosted on Silver Publishing's Forum. If you haven't already, register to be a part of the Forum and have a chance at the Awesome Prize.
For more information on Autism, visit the WorldAutism Awareness Facebook page.
Don't forget, comment here and you could win an ebook *g*.
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