Author Blog Hop!

Hey everyone!

Fellow author Marie Lavender has invited me on a Blog Hop. She answered the following questions,  “tagged” me and two other authors.  Here is her original post.

After my post, I will tag three authors as well to spread the love. They in turn will tag three authors and link back to this post. If anybody else would like to get involved please join in and tag my post to keep the chain going!

 

Here are my answers to the blog hop questions:

1. What am I working on?

I am currently just over half-way through my second novel, which is my first proper delve into science fiction. As per most of my stuff it is rather silly, fast paced and full of twists and turns. It is the story of an unfortunate soul, who hates his life and any interaction he has with society. His life takes a turn for the even worse when he accidentally starts an intergalactic war, becoming both a war hero and the most wanted man in the universe.

At the same time I’m working on a few short stories related to my novel “In That Other Dimension,” the first of which I’m hoping to release as an ebook pretty soon!

 

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I’m told it’s wackier. I love Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and that is the genre I write in. Douglas Adams was clearly barmy, and I’m in the same cul-de-sac.

The main reason it is different though is that it is very me. In fact, many of my friends who have read my book have said they can almost hear me reading it out loud. I love to relate back to childhood memories, and twist bits of my own interests and personality into my writing. This is why cake dragons and teenage spots are so influential.

I also have a slightly wicked streak, which comes out now and again.

 

3. Why do I write what I do?

It makes me laugh, simple as that. Yes, I’m not ashamed to say, that my own stories make me laugh. To be fair though, if I didn’t find them funny then who would?!

I genuinely do enjoy to write as a pastime, and to share that with others and hear that they have found it funny makes it even more enjoyable.

I also love to be very creative and come up with concepts and settings and twists that are out of the ordinary. Writing inter-dimensional fantasy, or inter-galactic sci-fi gives me all the freedom in the world to do that.

 

4. How does my writing process work?

Well mainly, I just write!

I don’t really have a process. I don’t plan anything, I make it up as I go along. I might from time to time plan a few chapters ahead, you do need to have little targets and events you are aiming for but generally it takes a while until I actually know what is going to happen. In fact, I’ve just got to the point in my current WIP where I can see how the storylines are starting to mingle back together.

I guess the reason I write like this is because I prefer to know my characters. Instead of aiming for a plot event I prefer to think what would Carlos do in this situation? And that’s what he does.

In terms of actual physical writing, I do it in the Library of Birmingham at lunchtimes!

 

So there’s my contribution to this blog hop. I hope the blog hop reaches far and wide, and a lot of authors can connect. Thank you, Marie (below), for choosing me.

Mariepic2 - small

Marie Lavender is a romance author and a regular blogger, very active and supportive in author circles. Please check out Marie’s blog.

She has many books, seen below.

And, of course, here are my books: 

Written as Marie Lavender: 

UponYourReturn_E-bookCoverMoonlight and Magick by Marie LavenderImage

Written as Erica Sutherhome:

1-hardtogetmemory1 ahintofscandal1withoutyou11strangeheatterrornighthaunted

 

1pursuitperfectgame1AtouchofDawnransom1LeatherandLace

Written as Kathryn Layne: 

AMisplacedLife

Written as Heather Crouse:

expresscafe1ramblings1soulful2

 

And now to the authors I have invited to partake in this blog hop.

The first is Megan Cyrulewski, whose memoir Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again will be published on August 2nd by Black Opal Books. She is also working on her first work of fiction, a legal thriller.

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Please go and find out more about Megan on her website, http://www.megancyrulewski.com/

 

The second is Dr Shay West, a science fiction writer with many books available to read.

The Chosen book cover SD West HiRes eBook Resigned Fate Hi Res eBook Mad Lord Lucian book cover      Battlespace book cover  Orange Karen  Ancient New cover

You can find out more about Shay’s work on http://shay-west.com/

 

An my final linked author is Dan Bracewell, who writes historical fiction.

He recently got his short story ‘Pool Sharks’ published in Tales of the Talisman

Tales9-4-cover-big

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about his writing on Dan’s blog site, http://danbracewell.wordpress.com/

 

And that brings me to the end of my blog tour, thanks for reading (if you’re still here!)

My off-the wall fantasy “In That Other Dimension” can be found here or on an Amazon site nearer to your home!

first issue but without price

Cheers!

Matty

 

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Muthafuckin’ Badass Gangsta Prose, yo?

Wassup bitches?!

I’m probably way behind the times but today I discovered a website called www.gizoogle.net. If you type in a web address it basically translates a webpage of your choice into gangsta. Fo’ realz. I’ll probably waste a lot of time on this today.

One of the first things I did was to translate the first chapter of my novel “In That Other Dimension…” Genius.

Particular favourites from the ensuing literary delights included:

“Tall, olive skinned, black afro heavily gelled ta one side. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass.”

“But dis time he’d left tha iron attached ta two welded together saucepans, inside which he was simulatin tha splittin of tha atom rockin some cheddar n’ a miniature colander.”

“And tha feelin of pimpin’ all up in 497 different parallel ghettos in 3 secondz ta git ta tha destination which he had unwittingly dialled, was clearly just Carlos fallin over.”

“As tha metal split, revealin a huge, black, beady eye, Carlos decided it wasn’t a gangbangin’ thugged-out knockin n’ decided ta cook up a run fo’ dat shit.”

“Put yo muthafuckin choppers up if ya feel this!”

But potentially my favourite thing, is that my blog subtitle says that I’m a “Geek, fo’ realz.”

If you wanna read the gangsta version you can find it here

If you wanna read the real version (first draft is available on this “B-ta-tha-L-O-Gizzay” for free) you can find it here. But “y’all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka!” A quick note to anyone who is reading it at the moment. The whole book is now up to read, but I have been doing major work on it ready for publishing. So this first draft will probably only be up for a month or two longer, as to publish via Createspace you’re not supposed to have it anywhere else so I’ll have to remove it (at least that’s what it sounds like!!) So you’d better finish soon! It’s not too late for some much welcomed feedback if there’s particular bits you like or don’t like or want to know more about in the final draft! “I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch”

Anywayz, have yo’self some bangin weekend shenanigans fo’ real, innit blud.

Matty M

Dench.

Be Yourself (Everyone Else is Taken)

Hey everyone,

This is probably the most personal thing I’ve written on my blog so far, so it feels a bit weird. That’s OK though, as 2013 is going to be my year of taking risks and doing things which are outside my comfort zone.

I’ve realised that it’s just too easy to sit and let the world pass by.

I guess that when most people summarise their 2012 it will be full of all the things they’ve achieved or done. Holidays, a promotion, a new baby.

Mine has been a little different as it’s been a year of rediscovering who I am.

Over the last few years a number of things outside of my control have happened, and I’ve not dealt with them very well. I’ve made a few bad decisions (or non-decisions), had the wrong priorities in life and basically over time I forgot who I am. During the hard times it’s easier to follow others than be followed.

Needless to say, going into 2012 I had realised this and I was extremely positive – things were going to change. It was a brand new year and I was turning 30 in January. A new decade, a new start.

This is how I got on, and these are the top ten things I rediscovered. It’s quite a weird collection:

  1. Old Friends

One thing you learn after a while is that whilst you may have lots and lots of friends, it’s those you are closest to that make the biggest difference to your life.

Whilst I’m not saying that all of my friends aren’t important to me – they are, but you have to pick and choose the ones that you want as a constant through your life and ensure you make an effort towards them.

This is what I’ve done. Whilst over my very recent years I’ve made some very close friends who I will continue to see a lot of, I got my life balance wrong which meant that I’ve neglected some others.

2012 saw me spend a lot of time with some of my oldest friends, from university and my home town.

I don’t want to be able to classify my friends into Past and Present. I want my friends to be part of my Present and my Future.

2. Red Dwarf

I’m not really a big TV watcher. When I’m at home I prefer to be doing something whether it’s playing my guitar, writing or reading. However, I had a big stroke of luck when my friend won tickets to the SFX Weekender in March and asked me to go. “We won’t enjoy it, it’s far too geeky” we said. “Yeah, it’s a free weekend in Wales if nothing else isn’t it?”

How wrong were we? We bought our tickets for 2013 the following week.

Sitting in the bar in front of those ginormous TV screens reminded my just how funny a sweaty socked slob, a laundry obsessed robot, a man evolved over three million years from cats and a holographic smeghead can be.

More importantly, it also reminded me how to switch my brain off and do absolutely nothing.

We all need time out to just relax.

  1. Posing

Ok, anyone that knows me will tell you I always look like an idiot in photos cos I pull stupid faces when I’ve had a few.

But this year, I got to pose with hair for the first time in ages.

th.photolist.net

th.photolist.net

Fit, yeah?

Don’t be afraid of looking silly. It can be fun.

  1. Europe

Over the last few years I’ve done a lot of travelling and have absolutely loved it all. I’ve been to far flung places including Australia, Thailand and Peru. This year, with some of those old friends I mentioned before, I had a proper little travel through Europe.

I’d forgotten that you don’t need to sit on a plane for 18 hours to have a decent holiday, and the beauty and character of Prague, the majesty of Vienna, the natural charm of Slovenia, the beaches and general friendliness of Croatia, combined with the mind blowing grandeur of Venice reminded me of that. I even had a brilliant week in Dorset, in a caravan, in the rain.

Shorter, more regular holidays closer to home are looking far more attractive to me than they used to. I’ll still do my big travels don’t get me wrong, but not every year.

venice

This premise can be attributed to more than just holidays.

You don’t have to look far for something amazing to do.

  1. Soup

Last year I went a bit mental and asked for a soup maker for Christmas. (For anyone that’s not seen one, it’s basically a blender with an inbuilt heating element.)

I know, I’m a little ashamed. I’m a single bloke, I should be getting computer games, drum kits, football shirts, or if it has to be something household based – a home brew kit. (Note: As it’s Christmas, if anyone’s feeling generous anything on the list above would be cracking. Cheers)

Still, it was a great present. There are very few things better than soup on a cold winter’s day.

I love cooking when you don’t need a recipe. Just chuck anything you like into a soup maker and it works.

Butternut squash and chilli with a random selection of other vegetables always wins.

In fact, I’m actually supposed to be making soup now instead of writing. Looks like I’m having it after my main course.

Make soup. Oh, and eat your greens.

  1. Heavy metal

I know heavy metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, that’s been my problem.

Since I finished university I’ve found it more difficult to find people to go to gigs with and I’ve found myself just giving up asking, and eventually not going at all. This made me sad, and I eventually realised that I’d pretty much stopped listening to music.

At school I played piano, french horn and sang. I was in all the bands, orchestra’s, choirs etc. After school I played guitar, wrote songs and sang them to all my friends at uni. I even bought a trumpet all because of Reel Big Fish. So it should be fairly clear how important a role music has played in my life, and to forget that is pretty dismal going.

But this year I’ve found that as I’ve been regaining my identity I’ve been listening to lots more music again. I began in February in the 90’s when I regressed to my Brit-pop days. Oasis, Lightening Seeds, Pulp and Supergrass were bizarrely sandwiched between Nirvana and Fear Factory as my musical tastes grew through my teens.

Having re-discovered or found new gig friends along the way this year, I’ve been to see Terrorvision, Marilyn Manson and Less Than Jake in the last couple of months, and have bought my Download ticket for the summer. That’s the way my world should be.

And thanks to a TV programme called Metal Evolution which I watched last night, I discovered a genre called Power Metal. Songs about elvish wars with ridiculously fast guitar solos, where have you been all my life?

If your friends don’t share your interests, search out some new ones that do.

  1. Fish

I just love the word “Fish.” There’s just something so satisfying about saying it.

Take the emphasis off the “i” and hold the “sh”. That’s it, more like “fshhh.”

Makes you warm in the gills doesn’t it?

Next time your boss asks you what you think about something, just simply say “Fish.”

Being a bit weird is healthy.

  1. Making People Laugh – Literally

I’ve always had a creative streak which has always involved humour. When I was at school I used to write stupid stories and poems to make my friends laugh. When I was at uni I invented “Prank Rock.” That’s comedy acoustic punk to you. In the last few years I’ve got into my writing properly again, but have mainly done it for myself. I’ve shared it with one or two of my friends, but until this year it has been a largely solitary hobby.

That is until I began writing my novel “In That Other Dimension…” on my blog here. I really enjoyed it, it felt good to share my writing and my sense of humour with people. Even more so, having my friends, and on occasion complete strangers, tell me that it was good and it had made them laugh made my writing more worthwhile.

blog

Blogging my novel really spurred me on to finish it and get it ready for publishing. I have now edited it three times and passed it to my beta-readers for Christmas. Aren’t I kind?!

Sharing an interest is rewarding.

  1. Enjoying waking up to go to work

Haha. Did you really think I’d discovered how to do this?

Fools.

The implied title of point 9, is “Sarcasm.”

Maintain your sense of humour through everything.

  1. Me

And through the nine points you have read above, you can see that over the year I’ve begun to rediscover exactly who I am.

If you forget who you are, it can be hard to find yourself again. You can’t instantly force yourself to enjoy things, and some things you do just grow out of (like trousers. It’s well annoying.)

I’m not 100% there, but what I do know is that this is the most positive I’ve been going into the New Year for a long time. I’ve got a whole long list of things I want to do this year and I am pretty sure I’ll knock a fair few off fairly soon.

Anyway, if you’re still with me I hope that you enjoyed the read and it might even have helped you in some way. Here’s to doing what is important to you, and having a positive and successful 2013.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

But don’t do that just cos I told you to 😉

Fish out,

Matty

© Matty Millard 2012

http://www.mattymfiction.wordpress.com

Matty M’s Top Tips for Keeping Safe at Christmas

Hello everybody.

It’s been a long time. Don’t worry, the new project I spoke of is on its way, but it’s better than it sounded I promise. Much planning involved. Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of weeks.

But before all that happens, we have a rather important time of year to get through. A time of year fraught with risks and dangers. People hanging precariously off ladders with lines of twinkling lights draped everywhere. Dad’s setting fire to cakes in your front room. Eating til your stomach is ready to burst. Drinking until the mulled wine tastes nice. The office party….

It is well known that fun and high spirits are the cause of at least 7 headaches and 12 paper cuts every second. But don’t you worry, Matty M has got your back. Here are my top ten tips for keeping the whole family safe over Christmas:

1) Accidental auto-surgery is the cause of at least three injuries every Christmas. When you’re preparing the turkey on Christmas morning, please be careful not to remove your own giblets.

turkey-carving-2-300x214

2) Gift-wrapping razor blades may be funny, but its not nice.

1048122-Cartoon-Man-Screaming-Over-A-Cut-Poster-Art-Print

3) Don’t panic! Its not a bomb, it’s just a cracker. There is no need to jump out of the window.

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-7772944-cartoon-christmas-cracker.php

4) Don’t drink and drive. Get a taxi. Remember, the office bike will not get you home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tandem

5) No matter how irritating it gets, you must not punch Cliff Richard. (Ok, so this one’s optional. Sorry Cliff, but you ruined both our summer and winter holidays)

http://cliffricharddyinginside.tumblr.com/

6) Drinking makes everyone think they are Superman. Christmas sherry makes you think you are Santa Claus. You’re not, he has a better beard. Please don’t climb onto your neighbour’s roof and down their chimney.

Bad-Santa http://armchairaudience.blogspot.co.uk/2010_01_01_archive.html

7) Using up the left-overs is good. Sprout curry is not. Put the loo roll in the fridge.

http://depositphotos.com/5730475/stock-illustration-Constipated-Man-on-Toilet.html

8) Too much computer gaming is bad for your health. At least have New Year’s Eve away from World of Warcraft. Watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, don’t duel trolls and shoot a granny.

http://www.epilogue.net/cgi/database/art/view.pl?id=128887

9) Sexual health is especially important at this time of year. Wear a femdom at all times, immaculate conception is at its highest in the winter months.

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And finally,

10) Whatever you do… don’t feed them after midnight.

gremlins3

Remember kids, your safety is my number one priority.

merry-christmas-banner

Enjoy the festivities, and remember…

Don’t. Kill. Yourself.

Fish out,

Matty M

(Disclaimer: The statistics in this highly factual piece of fiction may have been completely and utterly made up)

Literary Likes and Loathes

Ladies and gentlefolk, I write for you a normal blog for a change. That is, a prose about some of my thoughts. A strange thing to do on a blog page you might think.

More than a blog, I would like ideally for it to be a discussion. We’re all here blogging because we like to write and therefore, I assume, to read.

My thoughts today are, what do we particularly like to read, and more controversially, what do we dislike?

Now by like and loathe, I don’t mean “I like to read books about kittens with chainsaws trying to take over the world.” We all like different genres and feline world domination gore is undoubtedly one of the best. But what is it inside the books that you particularly enjoy? You know, those little gems, the tiny details that really make it stand out. An unexpected twist in a plot line, or a character so well developed that you feel you know them intimately. A particularly smart turn of phrase or that little bit of hidden clever humour that feels like an inside joke.

I’m intrigued.

johnlund.com

I have my little peculiarities that make me smile or make my blood boil, and my top three of each are here.

Likes:

1) Side-jokes:

One of my favourite authors is the one and only Terry Pratchett, and I absolutely love the way he makes little comments in his footnotes throughout his writing.

Sometimes he gives a little bit of extra information on a character, sometimes a little tangential story. I think it’s the way he does it in such a dry and unassuming manner that I most like though.

For example, from Terry Pratchett’s “Moving Pictures” where Ruby is giving Detritus the troll advice on courting:

“You got to, to sing outside a girl’s window,” she said, “and, and you got to give her oograah.”

“Oograah?”

“Yeah, pretty oograah*”

*Trolls have 5,400 words for rocks and one for vegetation. “Oograah” means everything from moss to giant redwoods. The way trolls see it, if you can’t eat it, it’s not worth naming it”

By hiding it in a little joke, it’s actually a really subtle and clever way of giving the reader more information about a particular character or race, without them realising it. We’ve found out that trolls eat rocks, have a limited vocabulary and enlist eating as one of the most important things that they do in their lives.

Commenting in footnotes is something which I enjoy and include in my writing – and I have to say a good footnote gives me a lot of satisfaction. I’m afraid to admit though, that I do laugh at my own jokes!

2) Big shocks:

I don’t particularly like books where it’s shock after shock after shock as they lose their resonance, but when a really good one arrives unexpectedly it’s really satisfying and it can really shape the story and characters.

My favourite example I’ve read so far is in the second book of Fiona McIntosh’s “The Quickening” series. It was one of those proper shout out loud moments when you really want to warn a character of what is happening. I won’t spoiler this, but it really made the character Wyl Thirsk for me. Highly recommended.

3) Short chapters:

I love books that have really short chapters. They just work better for me. None of these thirty-odd pages of sprawling prose, I like it short and sharp.

Douglas Adams had short chapters in “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and this really worked for me. I think that he possibly had the chapter breaks in the same place as other authors would have in terms of plot, but his chapters were shorter because he didn’t like to over-describe everything. The reader is given plenty freedom in which to make up their own mind about how characters should look.

Description of Zaphod Beeblebrox from “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

“He was roughly humanoid in appearance except for the extra head and third arm. His tousled fair hair stuck out in random directions, his blue eyes glinted with something completely unidentifiable, and his chins were almost always unshaven.”

Adams gives you a few pointers about the character and then lets you make up your own mind. I do like this, but maybe this is why few of the characters in the film were as I had imagined?

Not how I imagined Zaphod. knaster.com

Another author who utilised short chapters in a very different way is Kurt Vonnegut. I’m currently reading “Cat’s Cradle” and I love it. There is so much information in this book, but the fact that every chapter is only a couple of pages long makes it far easier to take in. And it looks friendlier. “Yeay I’m on chapter 30 already!!” you think. It’s page 43.

As a kid I would have hated this book though – the “I’m just finishing my chapter” excuse to stay up later would never have helped me!

Loathes:

This is the harder part, as I do like more things than I loathe (I wouldn’t be a writer otherwise would I?!) However some things do get on my nerves.

1) Over-used vocabulary:

My first loathe is over-use of a particular word. We all have our favourite words (my current favourite is “fish” which fortunately isn’t too easy to over use in novel writing.) And it is quite easy to think of a good word and use it a few times in succession. This kind of problem is what editing is for though.

I don’t really like to give examples of authors who’ve done these things as it’s a little unfair to criticise people’s work – however I will with this one as the author is very successful and undoubtedly talented and I’m sure this minor moan wouldn’t cause any offence! Plus I loved the book anyway.

In the book “The Last Gospel” by David Gibbins, the main character Jack Howard grinned lots of times in the space of a few pages (I counted it once, but I can’t be bothered to go back and do it again!) I was ready to throttle him (Jack not David.) Why couldn’t he smile or laugh for a change?

Anyhow, a few pages later Jack stopped grinning so much and I didn’t want to wipe the look of his smug face any more.

We all do this – I find myself editing the words “anyhow” and “anyway” out of my writing ALL the time!

2) Spelling:

It’s very occasional, but sometimes the occasional spelling mistake creeps through an edit. It’s also very understandable, there are a lot of words in a book. And it’s not really the bad spelling that irritates me, it’s the fact that I notice it and it interrupts my concentration.

But it’s not just bad spelling that does this, it’s different spelling too. I’m UK English so of course we spell a lot of words differently to US English – colour, humour, centre – just a few examples.

So although it’s obviously not wrong, as the majority of books I read are by American authors, whenever I see a word spelled in American English I slightly double-take because it just doesn’t seem quite right to me!!

If I had spelled the word “humour” without a u in a spelling test at school, I’d have been marked down and told it was WRONG! So I just can’t help but notice these things!

It would have been so much easier if we just spelled things the same!!!!

3) E-books

Although, hypocritically, once I’ve finished my books they will probably make their way to E-book (whether published or self-published) I still think that E-books are a sad state of affairs for three reasons:

1 -I like to hold a book. Call me old fashioned, but I like to turn pages of a real book and not stare at a screen for at least part of my day.

2 – I hate the thought that art could fall out of the literary field. There’s something about the cartooned pictures on the front of a Terry Pratchett, and the mystical landscapes and dragons on a Tolkien that give a book some added charm and character. There are many books which I have been drawn to because of their front covers – such as the ninjas on the spine of Brent Weeks’ “Night Angel” Trilogy.

Night Angels Trilogy cover
and-the-plot-thickens.blogspot.com

One day books and music could go entirely electronic and we could lose this character.

I believe that e-readers are useful for when you are travelling and you cannot carry a bookcase with you. I prefer to trade at a second hand book store myself though.

3 – It is already so easy to publish an e-book, that it doesn’t matter whether or not you can write well, you can still publish. Traditional publishers will struggle or have to adapt accordingly. Will this make it harder to find good authors as a reader in the future? Will the e-shops of this world become so over-saturated that the next Terry Pratchett or Stephen King is not discovered because he is rubbish at self-advertising? Who knows..

My final point on e-readers is that you’ll all be bored when there is a really long power cut. I’ll be sitting in the dark next to my bookcase.

That brings me to the end. I quite liked doing a proper blog entry for a change, maybe I’ll do it again.

Anyway, if you’re still awake I hope you’ve enjoyed my literary likes and loathes.

What are yours, and why?

(Please don’t say you loathe my writing!)

 

Fish out

Matty

 

Copyright © Matty Millard 2012

http://www.mattymfiction.wordpress.com