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Let’s face it, it was about time. It’s been a fair few years since I started this.
I still need to amend a lot, but like when it comes to typing out blog posts – I have little time these days.
That is about to change though 😉


‘So you’re here to stop us entering Hell?!’ shouted Darcie, holding her sword up at the demon. ‘Good luck with that!’

Fallen Tears Chapter Header Chapter 10

Back on track with this tale now.
And time to get things seriously messed up as the vampiric twins prepare to enter Hell.

Part 13 (Chapter 10) can be downloaded here!

DISCLAIMER: As always this tale is a first draft. It’s unchecked, unedited, and is pretty much as raw as I can type. Hence why it’s free. So no pointing out mistakes please!  Cheers!


Death as a Lesson

It’s been quite a while since my last post, mainly because of my hectic work life. A poor excuse I know, but it’s the truth.
I had planned on writing a very different post in the near future but the events of this week have pushed me to type out some more thoughts.

For as you will you know if you’ve glimpsed even a shred of the news that it’s been a week filled with death; some events arguably more tragic than others. The scenes and images from the earthquake in Nepal which has claimed over five and a half thousand lives (and counting) as well as the many thousands more that have lost everything have made for difficult viewing, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.

But strangely, it was the much publicised executions of the death row prisoners in Indonesia that included two members of the Australian drug smuggling nonet – the Bali Nine has probably affected me more than it should have done. Regardless of your stance surrounding these two and your probable disapproval of me for mentioning this in regard to the tragedy at Nepal (5500+ innocent deaths against the demise of 2 drug smugglers), the execution has left me reflecting on my own life a great deal.
I guess the reason for this is because the Bali Nine were arrested at a time when I was holiday in Turkey in 2005. Having followed the case for years, read the books, watched the interviews with them etc, I tend to think about my time in Turkey and how it would feel to still be there now if I’d done something stupid like be a heroin carrying mule, imprisoned, having never returned from my holiday. And now as two of them were shot to death I found myself a bit shaken having put myself in their positions.

It’s reminded me to enjoy the life and freedom bestowed on me, not to work so hard and be more aware of the passing of time.
To be in the moment is a tough thing to do, but it’s something we must do in order to remember our experiences later in life.
To really be aware of every sight, smell and sound.
To put away the mobile phone and not view the world through a five inch screen.
To say yes to as many opportunities offered to us.
To explore new places and meet new people.
To truly embrace this world and our short time upon it.
And to do all this with a heart full of wonder and gratitude, and with a smile adorning our faces.

It’s a sad fact that terrible tragedies and disasters like Nepal will continue to happen throughout our history. But if we can extract any kind of lesson from them, it is a solemn one to the living left behind, reminding people not to take life itself for granted, for it could quite easily end in a single heartbeat.

Keep smiling, and never let life pass you by.

x

Life after Death


Surviving – Year One as a Freelancer.

Every morning, without fail, my phone bleeps all manner of notifications – most annoyingly of course are the numerous alarms in place to get me out of my pit. But one particular chime is for that app ‘Timehop’ with the funny looking dinosaur. And before I get up, I usually have a quick scan through it – and it usually drags up memories of this time last year when I had just been made redundant and was frantically job searching.

And yes, that was a scary time. Applying for job after job and watching my bank balance slowly dwindle away. All my years of reinforcing my strong beliefs of Law of Attraction and Positivity was being put to the ultimate test, and my god was it a lifeline!

As I’ve said before I decided finally in February this year to give up looking for employment and employ myself. And why not! I had basically the same pc I had at my old work (modded slightly better) and people were already asking me for work.

So I threw the application forms and CVs from my sight and started putting together my own company. And Phoenix Designs was born! Named after a storyline I’d had outlined for years (19 books in total!!). I sat down and wrote out a plan for self-employment.

Year One was simple – ‘Survive.’
Somehow I knew I would be ok if I worked my ass to the bone and kept a positive outlook, and looking back now I can be proud of myself for getting this far. From working out Daily routines which constantly changed and evolved, to trying out new programs that would aid productivity, to enlisting the help of friends – old and new to get me through. There are far too many to list here who have helped me, but my family know how supportive they’ve been, and how grateful I am. My friends too – driving me around when I needed it (Kev), showing me the ropes (Dan), as well as countless others supporting me have been invaluable. Even my little flat mate Wendy has been amazing, not only for helping me out with rent on the odd occasion I wasn’t paid on time (and never complaining once!), to simply giving me the human interaction that is lacking from a job you do from home. I don’t think her or her boyfriend Steve know how much it means just to say hello to them and break the cabin fever.

Also my fantastic pal Annette – giving me personal coaching and calming my fears etc has been incredible. Reiki healing, EFT, meditation, hypnotism. as well as simply being an amazing friend has proven invaluable and I’m not sure I would have made it through the year without her help.

Those closest to me know how hard I’ve work this year, often easily putting in 20hr days across a week. But I never seem to have any problems sleeping from the second my head hits the pillow. I never seem to need much sleep which is always a bonus.

So I guess now, it’s time to figure out the journey from here for the next year. Obviously my own projects have taken a hit this year, I’ve barely written or illustrated anything. Even my reading has been completely pushed to almost nil (Sharon Van Orman! I promise I’m still on with your book!!! :D). So next year I’ll be dedicating a portion of each day to these tasks as they are still part of my dream and should be nurtured accordingly.

Could I go back to working in an office or studio? Probably not now. It used to take me two hours to get to work and another two home. Now my workplace is roughly three feet from my bed. I also love making up my own rules and systems, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and knowing full well that I have full responsibility when it comes to customer satisfaction.

And so, what can I tell you I’ve learned? What tips can I give to help anyone else starting out this way? I guess I should be careful what I say, as some veteran designers may disagree with me. But you know what? Screw them. This is my blog and I’ll tap out these tips as I see fit.

1. Think in terms of ‘Time’ not ‘Money’.
This is something that took me quite a while to figure out. Time is now your currency. So instead of thinking you’ll charge £x for a project, think how long it will take of (uninterrupted (I’ll get to this) work to complete and charge accordingly to a set (immovable) rate of something like £15 or £20 per hour. If you work for a company who pay a set amount for a piece of work, then make sure that this also fits into the time/pay system.
One other thing to be aware of too – now you work at home, many people will assume to do jack shit all day except watch Jeremy Kyle and thus are ok to pick them up, wait for a package, relieve their boredom on their day off etc. Now I’m not saying not to do these things; after all, you’re a freelancer and can work when you please! Just be aware that doing these things cost you time, and in essence money. Give your time with care.

2. Forget your website at the start, get work first.
This may sound like a catch-22, because you need people to know who are in order to get work. But this was advice I was given when I was starting out and it was true! You can spend forever perfecting and crafting the ultimate website to draw customers, only to wait…..and wait……for nothing. Even in today’s world of online dominated culture, nothing does more for advertising than word-of-mouth. Your freelance might cough and splutter for a while whilst you get started, but once you’re rolling then you can spend time on your online presence. If you must, a quick Twitter and Facebook account at the start will be just as effective. In fact! These are probably a must as you connect them to your personal profile letting all your friends and family know what you do. There’s an awesome book for mastering social media called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook which I insist you get! 😀

3. Find your own Routine and Systems,
To date now I have had three revised daily routines stuck to the side of my pc, which I continue to change as time goes by. An 8 hour day is a short amount of time to cram in emailing, ordering, calling, messaging, invoicing, eating, financing, and of course – actually working! So getting a routine sorted is paramount in succeeding.

4. Using to-do lists and programs to aid productivity.
It took a while to find a program or combination of programs to feel right in helping to get things done. I’d say Evernote is great but I found myself barely using it. And the same story is with a lot of other programs. In the end I settled on using a combination of Asana for all my main to-do lists and Wunderlist for everything else (money owed, money earned, amends received etc). Asana is great and I have it running constantly on my laptop at the side. If a project comes in you can log it into the site and work out what day you can do it. Then when that day arrives it automatically populates the day’s tasks with the project. Simple yet awesome.

5. Exercise to maintain energy.
Again this comes as almost a paradox as how can you burn energy to get more of it? Bizarrely it’s true though. Now I’m no gym freak or anything like that, but I do have my kinect set up in the living room and do my best to do an hour’s exercise a day. I notice on days I don’t do any exercise I get lethargic a lot earlier. So get out of the chair and do a little exercise.

6. Get out.
Since my desk in my home it’s easy to be stuck in all day and not get some fresh air. I’m fortunate to live beside the sea and a lake which makes my lunchtime breaks a lot more peaceful. Of course if it’s hammering down with rain I won’t go out at all! Ha!

7. Clearing your mind.
This seems to be the biggest cause of procrastination ever, and it’s made even worse when such vast amounts of information is at our fingertips. All day your mind could be buzzing with a million thoughts – I wonder what I’ll have for tea? Who was the lead role in Flash Gordon? I wonder how Aunt Bertha’s 90th party went on. How were the pyramids built? Does Kim Kardashian’s arse have it’s own Twitter account? Before you know it, google is opened, searches are made, Facebook is delved into, 15 things you never knew about Made in Chelsea is read, leading into an endless line of humourous Youtube videos, and shit!! Four hours have passed! What the hell happened?! Even worse, you can barely remember a thing you’ve just looked at?!
Then of course you begin kicking yourself over it, promising tomorrow you’ll do better. Then the cycle repeats.
So the key is to remove this chatter from your mind so you can focus on more important things – like earning a living. But how do you do it?
Well personally I use the first hour of my day to quickly scan what I need to – get out my social network cravings before my brower locks out Facebook for the day (using a Firefox add-on called Leechblock). Then before I exercise I’ll do fifteen minutes of meditation. If you’ve never done it you’ll be surprised how just fifteen minutes of sitting in silence can calm the mind. Try to remove all distractions too. Having an xbox or tv in the room is just asking for trouble.
This is now where I’ll sound like a hypocrite! Sometimes if I’m doing a mundane piece of work, I’ll put on a film (one that I’ve either already seen, or one I don’t have to pay much attention to (so something action packed is out!) as I find the ‘moving wallpaper’ easier to work to.
Also something minimalistic to listen to works wonders too. Spotify has plenty of focus related playlists.

8. Communication.
I think this is one area I excelled at from the start. I guess in today’s society, online scamming and corporate cold-heartedness have made many customers wary. If you can talk to them as a real person and get your emails and phone calls clear and upbeat, then client’s will realise you’re an actual human being, rather than a faceless set of templated responses. I’ve realised that a informal email to a client works better than a stiff multi-syllable worded one. You’ll come across as far more trustworthy and have their interests rather than their payment as the main priority.
Obviously don’t go overboard with this as some clients will see you as a walkover. Keep a level of professionalism and dignity. It helps if you get across you’ve been doing this for years – subconsciously people believe if you’ve been around a while, you obviously know exactly what you’re doing and will be thus less likely to be played like a buffoon.

9. Get your finances in order.
It’s hard to get this right after a long time of having a set wage paid directly into your account. But you’re in the thick of it now. Invoices, chasing payments, dealing with clients who refuse to pay, working out taxes and self-assessments – it’s a complete pain in the arse, and also very rewarding. I’m no expert in this area so I can’t give out any real advice – except this. Log and note down absolutely everything. Receipts, invoices and expenditure. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.

10……….you know……screw it! Ignore everything I said.
Take what you will from what I said above, but everyone’s situation is different. I think the best advice I can give is to dive in head first and make your own systems and way of working. If it doesn’t seem to work, then change it until it does. There will be a lot of trial and error but that’s how we grow and evolve. If you’re struggling for work, hammer everywhere you can online and offline. I was doing facebook cover photos on FiveSquids and contests on Freelancer. It all helps. And if you only put out work you’d be happy using yourself – you can’t fail to have clients drawn to you.

11. Never Give Up!
This goes without saying. Some days you may be riding the highest clouds, the next you may be wondering if you’ll even make it through the day. Nobody said it’d be easy, but once you’ve made it you’ll be so happy you did. Just remember, bad times come and go. And if in that particular moment of strife you’re still alive, then you’re able to change the future. Just focus on the present, and do what you need to. Be the inspiration to others and show the haters you won’t ever back down.

And so, on that note, I’ll get back to my day’s task at hand. 😀
Here’s to 2015!
And if you’re still reading this, thank you so much. It’s very much appreciated. Have a fantastic New Year!

Much love!

 

Ken xx

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A Year Later & Life Coaching

It’s almost one year since I got that phone call on holiday telling me that I was one of several people up for redundancy for a job I’d held for ten years. Back then it came as a massive shock – especially after I’d just been made ‘Employee of the Year’ several months previously.

Initially terrified at not knowing what the hell I was gonna do (as evident from my previous posts) I can now say it was the best things that has ever happened to me. One thing I am proud about myself is that I have a sickening work ethic and unshakable self-discipline. I can quite happily work my ass for 20+ hours straight and be happy for it. So I guess if I’m gonna work as hard as possible, I might as well do it chasing my own dreams. 

One year later, and I like to think I’ve finally made a success of things. My little companies are finding their feet. When you see work piling up, whilst debts start coming down, then I like to think all the ridiculously long work days and moments of sheer “huge bill coming out tomorrow – no money in bank” panic and terror have been worth it.

I’ve always been a big believer in not sending out any work that I myself wouldn’t use, and that being friendly and informal with every client helps build rapport. Anyone that’s had an email off me with usually find it littered with smileys. I believe this has been a key in getting to where I want to be. Being friendly and kind has helped build up so many opportunities and I’m grateful for everything that has come my way.

The other key I think, is belief. Belief in my own work, my own self-worth, and belief that the client will love what I send. And I’ll admit in the past year I’ve struggled with all three. During the months following my redundancy and sending my CV and portfolio to various agencies I received a bit of feedback that actually halted my applications for a few days. One recruitment agency told me they’d sent my portfolio to one Manchester design studio, Their reply – ‘”Is this some sort of joke?” Yep, that sort of comment will batter anyone’s confidence!

Thankfully though, things have gotten better, much better since then.

I owe a massive amount of thanks to a wonderful life coach who got my beliefs back on track, whilst providing me with all sorts of helpful affirmations, exercises, visualisations and even hypnotherapy. I can say I’ve never felt so happy in myself in all my life. I’ve been doing visualisations for years, but the first time I did one with Annette my mind was actually blown. Within one week, all manner of synchronicities began occuring and I had the most profitable week of this year! And now things just keep getting better and better!

An amazing life coach and an even better person you can find her here. http://youniquetransformation.co.uk/

She’s also has book coming out very soon so keep an eye out for that. 🙂

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So if I could speak to myself a year ago I think I’d utter my favourite phrase repeatedly. 🙂

“Never Give Up” 😀

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The Wings are Built, it’s now Time to Fly – 2014 So Far.

I always knew I’d be a published writer.

I always knew I’d be a published illustrator.

I always knew one day I’d be my own boss.

Looking back now I’m proud to say I’ve accomplished all three. Even if I reach the end of my days without achieving anything else I’ll still be proud I chased these dreams tenaciously. My close friends and family have watched me work my ass off to reach my goals.

And now I’ve done reached my sixth month running Phoenix Designs and Creative Covers in self-employment. Has it been hard? Shit yea. Has it been scary? Too bloody right it has. There have been some terrifying moments of wondering whether I could actually afford my bills, and then times when I’ve earned two or three times what I did in my previous job.

It’s something I’m still getting used to, taking the rough with the smooth and the hard times with the easy times. I’ve noticed that as I go on, systems and procedures seem to have set themselves up. From organising my work load to corresponding with clients. It’s a learning curve, and I’ve had to fend for myself (apart from the helpful words of friends who have walked this road before me) to get things ticking along.

I now can feel the tide shifting once more. Things are feeling easier, more settled. I worry less about where fate is taking me, and completely trust what the universe has in store for me. I’ve never been busier in my life, and sometimes work 20 hour days – every day of the week. But I know I can cope with these things, and feel empowered with each completed project. Receiving great feedback from elated customers makes me so happy.

Over the past six months I’ve made some truly amazing friends and contacts, and the long time pals of mine have supported me no end.

I know things will continue to grow and strengthen. I’ll set bigger and more ambitious goals and hunt them down relentlessly.

To anyone who feels they can’t make their own dreams come true – quit the worry, quit the negativeness, and have faith in yourself. You’re amazing, and amazing people accomplish great things.

😀 x

Let the good times continue.

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…the chains and shackles fell from the red-haired woman, and her two captors quickly jumped back several feet. ‘Kill them all Kaitlyn!’ roared Celeste.

Finally! Another chapter added!

And a massive battle for the Dancescu twins in this one. I’ve always tried to keep this tale a little bit gory and horrific, but I’m not sure if I’ve gone too far with this chapter, especially with it’s ‘Scanners’ type influence.

Anyway, I’m happy with the direction it is going now, and it’s growing into a far larger story than I originally envisaged.

Chapter 9 can be acquired from the page at the top, or here. 🙂

DISCLAIMER: As always this tale is a first draft. It’s unchecked, unedited, and is pretty much as raw as I can type. Hence why it’s free. So no pointing out mistakes please! ;) Cheers!

 

Fallen Tears Chapter Header Chapter 9

 


The Fall and Rise of Kindness.

There’s a quote that has stuck with me for years now – “People want you to be successful, just not as successful as them.”

It’s a terrible quote, implying that the world is generally selfish and egocentric.

Thankfully though, it’s a deep rooted belief of mine that has been fragmenting and breaking over the past few years. Major changes recently in my life has led to some truly uplifting moments, as well as some very low ones. But it’s the kindness in people that has kept fully believing that the world is inherently a good place, full of beauty and wonder. I’ve moved away from a place where money appeared to be more important than the well-being of others, to one that allowed me to meet amazing people who will selflessly give up their time and money to enrich the lives of others. It’s been a remarkable shift, and even though I still have days where I think otherwise, something good will happen and I’ll be snapped back into the wondrous belief that great people can accomplish great things when they help each other out.

Now I know the title is a little deceiving as it really applies to my own life. But we all see things differently – something I find beautiful, like an abandoned building reclaimed by nature, could evoke feelings of sadness in another.

But that’s life, and naturally we all think and feel differently. Yet kindness is something that evades a lot of people. Smile at someone in the street or talk happily to a stranger, and often that act can be met with suspicion and distrust. As if they believe everyone has some hidden agenda. It’s sad we live in a world where such things are common place. Where kindness is mistaken for weakness. Or that you cannot be successful, strong, or even dare I say it – ‘manly’ without being unkind.

I know many people who truly think that to get to the top you have step over your peers, belittle others, or even sabotage the work and name of people in order to get what you want, or where you want to be. Even more bizarre, I know people who were kind and pleasant, got successful, let it go to their head, and believed they now had to be mean to everyone ‘below’ them.

I find this to be so stupid. We all came into this world the same way, and we’ll all leave it the same way too, regardless of how much we have accumulated, whether it be money or power. Life isn’t a race to hoard as much ‘stuff’ as possible before the end, it’s a journey of experiences that have to felt at each stage of life.

Now don’t think I’m being hypocritical here – I believe everyone should be allowed to have abundance in life, and be able to live in happiness. But I don’t think anyone should cause havoc in the lives of others to get there.

Many will say I’m being idealistic, and that business is business, or that it’s a dog-eat-dog world.

But there’s a fine line between success and greed.

I’m happy to see the world in a brighter light. I decided a long time ago if I can help others achieve success I will. I’ll do my best to give time and advice freely to whomever asks. And through this sort of tithing, many people have in turn come into my life to help me. I’m truly grateful to the support of my amazing friends and family, and to the remarkable people who have entered my life over the past few years. I love you all, and you give me faith in this amazing world.

I guess through all my blathering what I really am saying is that despite the negative and distrustful people, you really do receive what you give out. Be kind to others, and eventually kindness will be given back to you. Those corrupted by greed and selfishness will slowly disappear from your life, allowing the space to be filled with more radiant individuals.

I think I’m going to keep my initial quote as a belief, only I’ll break it in half and discard the part that no longer serves me.

“People want you to be successful.”

And even if we don’t find the success we desire, at least we’ll be surrounded by astounding people who make life worth living.

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Tapestry of Fates – Kickstarter Project

So the time has finally come. I have to admit I need help driving this project forward.
This set of books that has consumed most of my life (probably even more so than Phoenix!) is progressing at a complete snail pace. Maybe it was a mistake illustrating them (as some have told me in the past) and because I’m not the fastest artist, so much time has now passed since the first book was released, that the artwork from that one is now looking dated and shabby.

I did make a pledge to spend an hour a day on illustrating the second and third book, but other commitments have increasingly encroached on this precious time.

So I’ve decided that maybe a Kickstarter project may be the way to go. Offering pledgers artwork and characters dedicated to them if they aid me seems like an attractive path to take. The story is so vast, with it being spread over many millenia and worlds that adding important people into the mix without spoiling the narrative would be so easy. Secret chapters (many of which have already been written for other characters) is another way I’d hope to gain favour. There’s even the offer of one character that was instrumental in defeating Eclipse thousands of years previously. I’ve always planned on mentioning this legendary heroic character many times in the third book but thankfully never actually named him or her (or both – there were actually two).

Now I know many other authors will be thinking – “Cheeky shit! We all write books without funding, just get it done!” But the fact is, is that the books are almost pretty much completely written. It’s the fifty plus illustrations that require the massive amount of time to complete. And with the first book having already been out for a few years, it’s becoming frustrating that I cannot find time to devote to my labour of love. Funding would help free up time from my freelance work in order to get these pics painted, as well as pay for editing, typesetting, and publishing.

Even finding time at the moment to get the actual kickstarter page sorted is proving hard work! Haha!

But of course, it’s a risk. I may not get the funding at all, and may look a bit foolish for trying. But should that happen, what the hell eh? I gave it my best shot! More publicity for the work will be achieved and I’ll just find another way to get it done.

So watch this space.

Hope you all have a great Easter! 😀 x

 

Ken Dawson Kickstarter

 

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Never Giving Up

So it’s now been ten weeks since I declared myself self-employed and went full freelance….and somehow…I’ve survived.

I’ll admit, it’s been hard so far, very hard in fact. Some weeks I’ve been terrified I’m not going to be able to keep up with paying my bills and avoid slipping into tremendous debt. I’ve worked every single day, almost every hour I’m awake, pouring my soul into every project that comes my way, cherishing each one with the upmost gratitude as I receive and work through it. I can honestly say I’ve loved every single moment so far. Knowing that I myself am responsible for my own work, as well as my professional ethics and reputation, and being in full control of what I earn is unbelievably satisfying. Likewise, being aware that I’m not being paid a weekly set amount is both frightening and encouraging.

I had to convince myself that getting full time employment was not secure anymore (as I found out whilst on holiday last year), and working for myself is just as risky as working for someone else. For years I took a two hour bus journey every morning to work, and used the time wisely – reading and listening to personal development. I got through so many books and audio files it was untrue. People like Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor, Zig Ziglar, Bob Doyle, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, J.B. Glossinger and countless others became my heroes. And now I can see all that time devoted to hearing them was actually preparing me to confront this change of direction.

All my life I’ve wanted to be a full time Author and Illustrator and now I feel I’m getting closer than ever to it. Of course Graphics will probably always play a part in my life as it’s my trade and couldn’t survive without it. I’ll always study it just so I’ve something to fall back on if times get hard.

Also since becoming freelance, some amazing people have entered my life and lifted me up when I needed help. Those people know who they are, and I’ll forever be grateful. Similarly, those closest to me have proven to me why I keep them so close, for without them I would have folded at the first hurdle.

I feel the end of these ten weeks is a milestone –  a test that proved I can do this. Yes I’ve spent it completely skint, and unable to buy anything of luxury, but I also know that these times won’t last, and that more prosperous times are heading my way.

The company that made me redundant – I will always appreciate. Because without that push I believe I would have never jumped. It’s through their actions that I learned to build my wings whilst plummeting to the ground. I think I missed the floor by mere inches.

I do not know what the next ten weeks will bring, but I know that I’ll follow the motto that stares at me every day.

I’ll never give up.

And I’ll be happy. 🙂

Dreams

 


‘I think you know this already Kaitlyn,’ whispered Razvan, sensing the girl delving further into his mind, pulling his thoughts and memories around. ‘But there are two unwelcome strangers who march across these lands. Would you like to go and kill them?’

A delayed chapter this time!

But back on track, and preparing for an exciting fight for the Dancescu twins!

Part 11 (Chapter 8) Can be downloaded here, or from the page at the top.

DISCLAIMER: As always this tale is a first draft. It’s unchecked, unedited, and is pretty much as raw as I can type. Hence why it’s free. So no pointing out mistakes please! 🙂 Cheers!

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A Simple Tale About Creating Unlimited Wealth.

Once upon a time in a far away land, a young man went to the forest and said to his spiritual master, “I want to have unlimited weath, and with that unlimited wealth, I want to help and heal the world. Will you please tell me the secret to creating affluence?”

And the spiritual master replied, “There are two Goddesses that reside in the heart of every human being. Everybody is deeply in love with these two supreme beings. But there is a certain secret that you need to know, and I will tell you what it is.

Although you love both Goddesses, you must pay more attention to one of them. She is the Goddess of Knowledge , and her name is Sarasvati. Pursue her, love her, and give her your attention. The other Goddess, whose name is Lakshmi, is the Goddess of Wealth. when you pay more attention to Sarasvati, Lakshmi will become extremely jealous and pay more attention to you. The more you seek the Goddess of Knowledge, the more the Goddess of Wealth will seek you. She will follow you wherever you go and never leave you. and the wealth you desire will be yours forever.”

There is power in knowledge, desire and spirit. And this power within you is the key to creating affluence.

Taken from ‘Creating Affluence’ by Deepak Chopra.

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From the Ashes

It’s no secret that the past few months have completely altered my life, tested my mettle as well as my faith, and pulled me into a lull that many years of LOA has trained me to confront head on.

I recall the time when a very good friend went through the exact same situation – losing his job and struggling to find employment. I used to tell him that it’s fate’s way of creating a better life. For you can only build a better way of living after the old one has been torn down to it’s foundations. I’ve kept this theory at the forefront of my mind as I’ve spent the last couple of months endlessly applying for jobs, and sending out my CV and portfolio to every design agency in the North West. Yet whilst I’ve been pouring over the numerous job sites, I’ve still had requests from people for various bits of work.

I’m not sure at what point the epiphany clicked into place, but suddenly I realised that rather than struggling to find an opportunity to make someone else’s dreams come true, I had a a perfect opportunity to make my own dream a realisation.

I sit here at my own fully equipped home office, completely capable of providing freelance graphic design and illustration to anyone. So why not take the time of applying for jobs and use it to search for clients instead.

The bizarre thing is, the second I made the decision to go self-employed, a great dark veil seemed to lift from me. The frustration of unemployed appeared to just blow away, and those closest to me have noticed my sudden happiness. It’s because of this I know I am on the correct path.

I’m under no illusions that this won’t be tough – I’m fully prepared to work my absolute ass of to make this work.

So now I had the decision, all I needed now was to create my business. After much thinking and tinkering it seemed only right to name it after my obsession with Phoenixes. So here you go – Phoenix Designs.

www.phoenixdesigns.uk.com

The website is far from perfect and needs lots of examples on there. But I’ll get there eventually. :)Time to make this dream a reality! 😀

Phoenix Logo

 


Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions!

Well, it’s that time of year! Parents of hyperactive kids are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief, santa is already flying off around the world and gorging himself on mince pies and sherry, and taxi drivers are ramping up their rates to ‘Tarif ‘WTF” for all the yuletime revellers.

But once the last piece of turkey has been chomped, and every male in every household is snoozing away to the Queen’s speech, another tradition begins to rear it’s ugly head; the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. Now if you’ve been with my blog for a while you’ll remember I grumbled about these last year, for the exact same reason I’m going to moan about them now.

They simply don’t work.

Ok, that’s a bit harsh. I’m betting quite a few escape through the net and are eventually cemented into truth by the invidual who made them. But on the whole, they fail, and they do so because they put too much pressure on the person who happily declared them. Lifestyle changes do not happen in one single night. They take persistance and determination over time, and gradually become habits. If you have a resolution to lose weight, completely changing your diet and exercise regime overnight and attempting to stick with it puts massive stress and pressure on you and eventually you return to your original way of living.

I believe by making well thought out goals, whatever time of year, you can ease into whatever you wish to accomplish. So if you want to lose weight, you should write this goal down now, think how you’re going to achieve this, and then take small steps towards it. As J.B. Glossinger always says, if you work towards a goal by just 1% a day, you can transform yourself steadily, and you’ll find the transition much, much easier. As the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A lot of people are beaten down by life. They are on one knee, looking on as the rest of the world jog or sprint past them, wondering (sometimes in jealousy) how they’ve got the strength and luck to muster on. Some are even flat on their face, refusing to go on. The hard truth is, nobody can help you up and onwards, nobody can carry you in their arms and rush you forward like some knight in shining armour.

You have to do this for yourself. Only you hold the key.

Look up, look ahead. What’s in front of you? What does the finish line look like? These are your goals, and they can only be set by you. The problem is most people don’t even know what they are running towards, what their goals are in life. Most see the finish line as death, hoping they get there intact peacefully. And it’s over before they even have chance to wonder what the hell they did with their time on this Earth.

So carry on looking forward, ignore everyone else, for their goals will not match your own. Create the goals, and see them along the path. Get up – somehow, any way you can, grit your teeth, and start stepping forward. Even if it’s just a small shuffle at first. Before you know it, you’ll get momentum going, and suddenly you’ll see your legs begin to run, faster and faster, sweeping you towards a life you’ve always dreamed of.

And not the ticking of the clock, nor the changing of the year can ever halt it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, AND NEVER GIVE UP!

EVER!

XX

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The End of 2013, and the Future on the Flip of a Coin

Well I can honestly say it’s been a turbulant yet welcome end to the year in which big changes in my life have occured. I think now more than ever I’ve gained greater faith in my future and allowed myself to ‘let go’ of things which no longer serve me. Time to step into 2014 with my head held high and a wonderful sense of fresh hope.

But enough of that, and more about the work! I’m underway with the character designs for Bloodline Saga, with Sammy’s characters sketched and ready to be done. Also I’ve got lots more planned for Fallen Tears, with new twisted enemies and situations to throw at our determined and vengeful Dancescu twins.  I am even in the process of illustrating a large painting with most of the main characters on it. Once this book is finished I’ll be releasing it for free digitally aswell as print a few copies for whomever wants one.

Kens Characters 4

I’m still planning the massive amount of images for Spirit’s Pain. The book itself is just about to be edited. Because this is my most cherished piece of work I don’t want to rush it and screw it up. The last book Spirit’s Fury will be fully penned soon too, leading the way for the next three installments – The Shadoed Brethren.

Along with this, the planned nineteen books for Phoenix await my attention patiently. This could take many many years to write. I’m just glad I won’t be illustrating them ha!

So nobody can say I’ve got no work to be getting on with.

Which brings me to a great little story I was told a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst searching for design jobs, a pal of mine got me a job at her work, as a hotel porter. Obviously this means doing the usual stuff entailed with this role, carrying bags around, moving furniture around and helping guests etc. It’s a far cry from sitting at a desk calmly ploughing through design work, but the change of pace has been great. I’ve enjoyed the experience so far, and all the staff are awesome.

One of the staff, the head porter called David, who is an awesome jovial man and has been showing me the ropes, told me a story of how he came to work at the hotel, and stay in the position for over thirty-seven years. I liked it so much I thought I’d share it on my blog.

For those who know or have been to Blackpool – most will be aware that on the Southern edge of the resort, situated amongst the sand-dunes was a Pontins holiday camp (now sadly bulldozed to the ground). Many years ago David and a pal of his would venture to Blackpool from Liverpool in search of Summer work. One particular Summer landed the pair working at Pontins. Whilst checking in, David enquired where his room key was. He was politely informed that there was no need for a key, as the door was hanging off. Not a great start as you can imagine. So now David and his friend found themselves residing in the staff quarters – affectionately referred to as ‘the jungle’. Apparantly fights between the staff (mainly women David tells me!) happened constantly in the jungle, and the relentless rowdiness caused the pair to leave Pontins in search of alternative work.

As they stepped out onto the road outside Pontins they looked around, debating what to do next. The obvious choice would be to head into the bright lights of Blackpool, as the other direction seemed to be an empty road, with a quiet looking town in the distance (St. Annes! My town if you didn’t know!) But the two decided to flip a coin instead. Heads they turn right and head into Blackpool, where work is pretty much guaranteed. Or Tails, turn left and head down the long sandy road towards St. Annes (they didn’t even know its name at this point).

It was Tails.

To cut a long story short, after trekking into St. Annes David ended up working at the hotel I am now, and his friend started working at the town’s Conservative club.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a great believer in quantum physics and this implies that another David landed Heads and went into Blackpool, thus taking his life in a completely different direction and changing his world as well as the lives of everyone at the hotel. I wonder if he found a job as a porter in Blackpool and stayed there for as long as he has in St. Annes.

It just shows that sometimes you need to place your destiny in the hands of fate.


Living a Synchronised Life

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Everything happens for a reason’, whenever inevitable changes or obstacles occur in our lives. It’s a saying that helps many of us push on, safe in the knowledge that the Universe (or God, or whatever term you prefer to use) is pushing us down a better path.

But what most people fail to understand is that this term has a dual meaning. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ could also signify something you did in the past that led a ’cause and effect’ situation in your life. Yes, it did happen for a reason, and that reason is because of something you did.

Anyone who has a bit of knowledge about LOA (Law Of Attraction) will understand that self-talk is a truly powerful thing. Whatever thoughts you feed your mind gear up your conscious and subconscious mind into preparing and expecting these things to happen. Tell yourself that ‘you’ll never be happy’ and your mind will find ways into making that happen. Tell yourself ‘you’ll never find a significant other’ and your mind and ego will go out of it’s way to avoid people. It’s a vicious circle, and only you can break it. As Will Smith once said ‘He who says he can, and he who says he can’t, are both usually right.’

Many will argue the effectiveness of affirmations – the repeated thinking or speaking of positive phrases in order to drag your mind away from the negative self-talk. But I can only go off my own experiences and what I’ve seen in others who use them. They really do work and they actually help you to open your eyes, and remove the dark mist that clouds your vision.

By using affirmations, you build up faith for the future, believing good things can and will happen to you, and that the Universe is actually conspiring to bring you towards the life you desire. By having faith in the future, we can let it go from our thoughts and concentrate on the present.

Speakers like Bob Proctor often tell us to live in the present, and be truly living in the here and now. They tell us to be fully aware of how we’re feeling at any given time, and experience this very moment in its entirety. By living in the now, and armed with affirmations spoken until they’ve been drilled into us, our minds – conscious and subconscious will begin to look out for for messages, clues and opportunities in order to bring us to what we want. Once you start to see these, you’ll notice synchronicities happening – remarkable coincidences that seem to amaze you.

For instance, many years ago I always dreamed of becoming an author, whilst working at a pub. A girl came to work there and we ended up chatting and later she told me her mother was a published children’s author. She introduced me to her mother who ended up helping me publish my own book. This may seem quite simple and you may say ‘well if you wanted to be a author you would have found a way eventually’ and that’s the absolute truth! Because I spoke about it often to people, and had passion in it, people hear and pick up on these things. If I didn’t have passion, didn’t believe it could happen, I would never have spoken about it, and this girl would never have mentioned her mother.

Another example – I sometimes buy a magazine about writing and in one issue was an article about the Harper Collins website called Authonomy, a site where aspiring authors put their work to be critiqued by their peers. If a book gets enough positive reviews it ends up on the desks of Harper Collins themselves for possible publishing. Thinking it would be a good idea I placed my novel ‘Fallen Tears’ (which can be read for free on this site!) on there. Immediately (as the magazine warned) many authors messaged me requesting me to review their book. Only one person reviewed mine straight away. Obviously I was inclined to review theirs in return. That person is now my good friend Sammy who I know owe a great deal for getting my Creative Covers site (www.ccovers.co.uk) set up, as it was her own publishing company that gave me the opportunity to create many book covers. She is also my future co-author for our online blog novel ‘Bloodline Saga’.

I truly believe that the more you grasp this concept, you’ll notice more parts of your life slotting together, clicking and connecting into place; cementing a web of fortune that will pull you into a life of happiness and fulfillment.

If you do start to use affirmations remember to use them in the present tense, because if you use future tenses, then your desire will always be in the future, and thus never come! So a great example is ‘I am so happy and grateful now that I…. (your desire)’. Gratitude reinforces the energies around your desire, so you should always be grateful for what you want.’

So keep smiling, keep believing, and keep telling yourself great things can and will happen to you – right now, and sooner or later you’ll notice things in your life begin to shift. Don’t resist the changes, go along with them, take whatever opportunities are placed before you and accept that great things are always possible.

Remember life is a journey, not a destination.

Good things happen to happy people, not the other way around.

So enjoy every moment as if it’s your last. 🙂

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New Book Cover Design Website

Well I finally got around to redoing my Creative Covers site.

I’m no website coder (but can do layouts!) so I used Squarespace to make it. I think it looks much cleaner than it did before!

So if you know anyone who wants a book cover creating send them my way! 😀

http://www.ccovers.co.uk

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‘Ok, let’s go to Hell then. Let’s destroy that bloody demon, and rid ourselves of this curse once and for all.’

Chapter 7 of Fallen Tears has been uploaded and can be viewed or downloaded here.It can also be taken from the link at the top of the page. 🙂

DISCLAIMER: As always this tale is a first draft. It’s unchecked, unedited, and is pretty much as raw as I can type. Hence why it’s free. So no pointing out mistakes please! ;) Cheers!

Fallen Tears Chapter Header Chapter 7


‘You’ve had this coming for a long time my friend,’ Chantelle whispered. ‘Ever since you bathed that town in blood.’

Another chapter of Fallen Tears is complete – and a fight between two friends of mine.

Part 9 (Chapter 6) can be downloaded here! 😀

Or it can be taken from the link at the top with the other chapters.

 

DISCLAIMER: As always this tale is a first draft. It’s unchecked, unedited, and is pretty much as raw as I can type. Hence why it’s free. So no pointing out mistakes please! ;) Cheers!

Fallen Tears pic


The Last Sister of Vyse – Vixen

This is the last of the portraits of my female droids, but certainly not the least important for she is based upon my best friend Victoria.

Like my sister ‘Lil-Vix’ has a number of characters in my books and given her wacky, awesome personality in real life she is a fantastic person to write about.

Saying this, very little is written about the robot Vixen; like Dominion she doesn’t even show up until ‘The Shadowed Brethren’ books set after ‘Tapestry of Fates’. But I do have a great idea for her, and I’ve already decided she’ll be full of rage and mania similar to Eclipse-2.

Vicki and her boyfriend James (another awesome friend of mine!) are still travelling around Australia – as I stated in a previous post.

I miss them both.

Vixen

Vixen


‘You ready Chantelle?’ Lauria laughed. ‘For today, I promise you will die.’

At last, I finally found time to write another Fallen Tears chapter.

This is part 8 (Chapter 5).

My friends Laura and Chantelle both have characters in this chapter, and both have spoken to me that they want their own character to win if there’s a ruckus between the two. This could prove to be either a nightmare for me or a great deal of fun! 😀

It can be downloaded from the top with the other chapters. Or here. 🙂

 

DISCLAIMER: As always this tale is a first draft. It’s unchecked, unedited, and is pretty much as raw as I can type. Hence why it’s free. So no pointing out mistakes please! 😉 Cheers!


As One Door Closes, A Thousand Open

Well, after precisely 9 years, and 11 months (could’ve rounded it off with another month guys! :D) I’ve taken voluntary redundancy from my place of employment.

Today’s journey there to pick up my stuff was actually a little surreal and even after years and years of going the same way, I was actually more aware of the passing surroundings than ever before. I’m glad I’ve had time to get used to the idea of leaving (the other members of my department had already left whilst I was away on holiday) as I wasn’t quite as emotional as I could have been. Clearing your desk and pc for the last time is a daunting experience, but strangely I feel almost excited and curious about what the future now holds.

So now, sat here at my home desk, now resembling my work’s one a little more (complete with plush Angel Kenny and digital photo frame) and after a welcome cup of coffee, I’m now ready to figure out what I need to do with this new opportunity I’ve manifested into my life. 😀

First off the bat – driving! Having stopped short of going for my test years ago I now plan on booking my theory and a quick crash course in the next few weeks, and then buying a car in order to throw away my bus pass once and for all.I guess this will allow me to travel further afield for work instead of relying on local advertising agencies.

As for the rest of what I plan to do, I think I’ll have a bath, cleanse my thoughts and mind, do a bit of meditating, and then write down my dream life in detail. I’m already still working through my ‘Project Conrad’ I talked about in another post in order to attract more fame and wealth.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have a bash at getting as much illustration and novel work out as possible in the next few months. This must be my priority now.

I know my colleagues – both that have left and those that have stayed, are going through some trying times.

My message to them is to not lose faith, accept whatever comes your way. and gratefully take whatever is placed in front of you. Everything happens for a reason, sometimes that reason is because we wanted it to happen, other times it’s because life is pushing us down a better route. Sometimes life has to be smashed to it’s foundations in order to rebuild it better than before.

Here’s a video which I’m sure will empower your thoughts and give you hope.

And another! 😀

To everyone at CNetwork, and those who have recently left – goodbye, good luck, keep on believing, and never give up.

Love you all! 🙂

X

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Sisters of Vyse

I’ve wrote posts posts on who I like to think is my signature character – Angel. I’ve also stated before that I have put her in every piece of literature I’ve ever written, whether in her robot or human form. But her are her ‘sisters’ – collectively called the ‘Sisters of Vyse’. Without revealing any spoilers to Tapestry of Fates, this is because they are all versions of her, and are all based upon the doomed silicon based inhabitants of the planet Vyse.

Recently I decided to make some portraits of all the sisters.

Angel’s is in a post further down, and the final sister ‘Vixen’ will be drawn and painted next week.

This is ‘Punishment’ – built to be the strongest and heaviest of the Sisters, and is equipped with shoulder mounted missile launcher and a five foot rifle down her back. She makes up one third of the ‘Anti-Angel’ trio. She is based on my sister Kelly.

Click image to see full resolution version.

Punishment

Punishment – Tapestry of Fates

 

 

This is ‘Sin’ – the fastest and most nimble of all the Sisters. she has no weaponary but up for it with blazing speed. She is the second of the ‘Anti-Angel’ trio.

Sin

Sin – Tapestry of Fates

 

 

This is ‘Justice’ and is by far the most advanced of the ‘Sisters’ and makes up the last of the ‘Anti-Angel’ trio. She has the ability to self heal and even has a floating companion called ‘Sabre’ that hovers above her shoulder and provides assistance during combat. She is based upon my friend Hazel Tyler.

Justice - Tapestry of Fates

Justice – Tapestry of Fates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally this ‘Dominion’ – the final Sister to be built. She is built with bio-mechanic technology. She cannot self-heal but possesses psychic ability and can hear the thoughts of others – living or artificial. She is based on my good friend Wendy.

Dominion - Tapestry of Fates

Dominion – Tapestry of Fates


Book Review: Season of the Dead

Here is my review for ‘Season of the Dead’ by Sharon Van Orman, Paul Freeman, Gerald D. Johnston, Lucia Adams

Zombies – how we love them.

How is it the simple premise of a human returning from the dead to walk amongst the living can inspire not only a multitude of tales and scenarios, but a diverse array of comedy and horrific genres.

So with this in mind I guess it’s hard to create something truly original when you fill a book with undead flesh chompers.

‘Season of the Dead’ is one of these books. Written by four authors, each from their own viewpoint as zombies take over the world. Two from America, one from Canada, one from Ireland. It’s a unique blend of cultures that fits remarkably well in the telling. I’ll have to admit the cover reminded me a little of the game ‘Left 4 Dead’, but aside from having four protagonists, the similarities end there.

What’s great about this book, without giving away any spoilers, is that the four seperate experiences truly give the feeling of this being a worldwide event, and that you secretly hope throughout the book that these characters will meet one another (I think I beamed with excitement when they finally did).

The twists and turns the four take as they carve, blast and chop through hordes of munching zombies leads towards an epic finale, beautifully crafted by the four writers who even though speak in their own voice, manage to keep the tale from diversifying into a jaunted quartet of seperate novels. Everything moulds seamlessly together like a literary synchronised swimming session. Even better is the fact that they use their own names for their characters, hinting further that they have actually used their own personalities to flesh them out.

All in all a great book, with thrills, chills, chuckles, and a sprinkling of gore. Well worth a read.

And one tip – should you ever encounter a zombie apocalypse – a full size squirrel outfit trumps full military body armour against the undead anyday!

 

 

Blurb:  “It is said that unto everything there is a season…these are the stories of a group of survivors during the season of the dead.”

Four individuals fight to survive as the zombie apocalypse crashes over the world in a wave of terror and destruction. Color, creed, and social standing mean nothing as the virus infects millions across the planet.

Sharon: a zoologist from Nebraska, USA, has worked with the virus, and has seen the effects on the human mind. She knows more about the virus than nearly anybody alive, and far more than she wants to. Gerry: from Ontario, Canada, he gets his first taste of the virus from inside a prison cell. Locked up after an anti-government riot, his prison guard transforms before his eyes into a flesh craving zombie. Lucia: a chemist from Pittsburgh, USA, flees from a furry convention dressed as a giant squirrel, and escapes from the city in a Fed-Ex van. She’s a girl who knows when to run and when to fight. Paul: thinks he can sit out the apocalypse in his apartment block in Dublin, Ireland, until the virus comes to visit, bursting his bubble and leaving him with no choice but to face reality or perish.

All four begin perilous journeys in mind and body as they face daily trials to survive: Four threads, four different parts of the world, one apocalypse!

 

Amazon US linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Season-of-the-Dead-ebook/dp/B00DYIUB4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374135237&sr=1-1&keywords=season+of+the+dead

Amazon UK link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Season-of-the-Dead-ebook/dp/B00DYIUB4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374135810&sr=1-1&keywords=season+of+the+dead

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18210441-season-of-the-dead

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeasonOfTheDead

 

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