Mutterings and utterings of a budding novelist

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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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Finding Your Calling

We’ve all seen the scenario – asking a group of young children what they would like to do when they grow up. Inevitably the usual responses crop up – Fireman, Nurse, Train Driver, Pilot. Basically the kind of professions youngsters are exposed to through kids books or children’s television.

But of course the onset of growing up causes that naive chosen job to change and then suddenly at sixteen (in England at least) when high school is over, we are all forced to make a decision on our career. Personally I feel sixteen is far too young to make such a life-altering choice. Another couple of years (like other countries) would mature the individual even more and make a more educated decision. For instance, when I left school I swore I wanted to be a Graphic Designer so naturally I went on to study it at college. But at the end of that course I decided I wanted to be an Animator. Strangely after studying that at university I decided I wanted to a writer/illustrator.

I guess it took me until my mid-twenties before I firmly made a commitment to myself to devote my life to the writing and illustrating of books. Of course I don’t regret the graphic design or animation courses, as they paved the way to where I am now. and now I am extremely grateful that I found what I want to do in life.

But I know many people who don’t have an idea of what to do with the short existence we’re afforded in this world. It can be a difficult decision, devoting yourself to one thing, hoping it makes you successful.

A long time ago I read a perfect way of deciding what to do in life.

Just ask yourself – ‘If money was no object, what would you do?’

Now immediately after asking yourself this thoughts of laying on a beach all day, endless parties, and living like royalty may flood your mind. This is only natural as this life is a fantasy very few can experience. But even so, after a certain amount of time, you WILL get bored of this lifestyle. Trust me! I’ve known very successful people who have become so wealthy they wouldn’t have to work again, yet after nine months of living in paradise, they actually returned back to work – bored.

So, the question remains – ‘Once the fantasy has been lived, and you’re laying bored on a beach, what would you do next?’

After a bit of mental digging, dormant dreams and desires surface. Ideas from long ago may return. Maybe it’s starting a business with an idea you had, writing a book, pursuing a sport, starting a band, or organising a charitable endeavour.

This is your calling, and once you’ve found it, it will envelop your life.

And if the doubts creep in such as ‘I can’t do that’, you must batter them back with a firm belief that you can. ‘I can’t write/draw/cook/play volleyball/play the guitar etc etc.’ – well of course if you’ve never tried it you can’t. Nobody is born an expert in any field. Most professionals will tell you that they only became good at something after hammering hours and hours away at it. It’s the passion that will carry you on, and drag you through the times of despair and doubt. It’s the passion that pulls you away from the TV, from the Xbox, and everything else that eats at your time, and focus on your heart’s desire. They key is to not give up, no matter what anybody says or even what you tell yourself.

Keep on affirming that you can do this, that you can succeed in whatever you choose to be. Believe in this enough and you’ll find any obstacles magically move out of your way as progress on the journey.

I guess that’s why the name it ‘The Calling’, – because it sings to you, pulling at you to keep on trying, keep on developing, and keep on improving at your game.

As the motivational speaker Wayne Dyer has said on numerous occasions – ‘Don’t die with the music still inside of you.’

What a tragedy that would be.

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Seraphim

As my sis has pointed out, I cannot mention Angel without writing something about Angel’s creation – the child-like Seraphim. Described as being built from several suits of armour with six arms and no speech abilities, Seraphim is able to wield six swords at once (4 swords and 2 guns in Tapestry of Fates), and comes complete with a huge sense of justice and devotion to his friends.

As an assault droid, Angel programmed Seraphim to act in an ultra violent, rampaging mania if her life is threatened or if she comes to harm. He is also programmed to obey all of her commands, disguised as kind requests.

His violent side is mirrored in his benevolent nature and innocence, as is shown in Book 2 of Tapestry of Fates (Spirit’s Pain) when he introduced.

   When he got to Gemma, she looked up at him through red ringed eyes; tears streaming down her face.

   Did you kill him?’ She whispered to the tall droid as he freed her from the shackles.

   Seraphim paused and then slowly placed a finger under Gemma’s eye, carefully wiping her tear away. His eyes shone a deep blue. Softly bleeping he nodded at her.

   ‘Thank you.’ She quietly choked, embracing Seraphim tightly, who in return held her back.

 

Here is an excerpt from my other tale ‘The Lost Flame’ that perfectly describes the nature of Seraphim.

Please excuse the very poor grammer – it is over ten years old.

The Lost Flame excerpt

Seraphim and Boddington

Old illustration of Seraphim and Boddington

 


Website – Character Profile Test

Here is the test for a character profile on my website.

It needs a back button.

Only eleven more to go ha! 😀


The Secret Service – Flash Mob

In a previous post I spoke about my friend who was fulfilling her dreams through her own business – a unique gift service called The Secret Service.

Well, in order to garner interest in her new endeavour she successfully organised a ‘Flash Mob’ in the streets of Blackpool. For a few dynamic moments, a group of seemingly unrelated people broke spontaneously into a music filled dance routine, stunning shoppers and passers-by.

If there’s one that seems to propel great businesses forward, it’s unique ideas carried out effectively. This is one of the best I’ve ever heard of.
And now my friend is planning greater things for her dream company.

Well done Cheryl. 🙂 I wish you all the best for the future.x

The Gazette’s cover story:

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/local/flash_mob_dance_shocks_shoppers_1_3659912


Website In Progress

image

Hope I can get it to function correctly ha!


Norway Massacre

Just a short post to express my sadness over the 90+ killed in the terrorist attacks.

Please don’t give the mass murderer responsible a stage to express what he has to say. He deserves no rights.

My thoughts go out to the families of those tragically lost.

xx


The Secret Service

I love it when people accomplish their dreams, even more so when it’s somebody I know.

So when one of my friends announced she was setting up her own business I was so happy for her, especially since she had found a fantastic little hole in the market (as far as I know).

Here is what her website says:

So… Imagine your calendar… Now imagine your calendar does everything for you. You will have your very own Secret Service Agent who will remind you of your events, organises your occasion, finds your gifts, present wrapping, delivery, table booking, arranges tickets and much more including our very own secrets.

From being a guest at a wedding, date night, arranging your loved ones birthday, valentine, Christmas, you name it we are at your service. Each event is tailor made to your specific requirements no matter how big or how small. So that’s no stress, no parking, no wrapping, no searching, no delivery, no organising and the secret all at a low cost!!

What’s the secret?

It’s date night, and you’re going for a meal… How about inviting your loved one in a different way? Have drinks ready for your arrival? A special song playing? A message in a fortune cookie? A favourite flower delivered? oh the list is endless to make your event as special as possible and…It’s a secret.  None of  our products have our own  branding,  we leave no trace, so you can take all the credit!

All you need to do is email us your event or your calendar and we do the rest!

To see what the Secret Service can offer, go to http://www.secretservice.me
(at present only Blackpool area of England is being served but they are hoping to expand soon)



Final Cover

The printers in China have sent the cover. I was huming and harring about the barcode but at least it doesn’t cover the illustration.


Wolcanoes and Cocoons

No I haven’t spelt that wrong. It’s how my and Wendy’s friend Krisztian pronounces Volcano. 🙂

I guess I should put a post about our holiday Tenerife. I can honestly say it’s one of the most chilled holidays I’ve been on. Our villa, was stunning and spacious, reminding me how much I prefer them to hotels. Despite me and Wendy being in a sort of children’s room.

We did the usual tourist thing, going up mount Teide (for a mini snowball fight), trips out looking for dolphins, and basically lounging around the pool and beach with ice cold San Miguels. Went to a fantastic waterpark called Siam Park which looks like something resembling an ancient Thai city and boasts the world’s biggest man made waves.

Would’ve liked to stay an extra few days, but I’m not complaining. One bizarre thing to mention is that I bought a beach towel with the image of a 200 euro note on it, and I came home with 200 euros. Law of Attraction maybe?

My sister Kel, Tiny, my cousin Lee, Krisztian, Sarah, me and Wendy at our villa.

 

Also a week later we headed to Cocoon, a techno type day festival in Leeds. Within 5minutes I saw a guard chase down a lad who had scaled the fences to get in – made me laugh. It sounded like the same track to me being played all day but everyone else seemed to notice the shift in song every few minutes. 🙂

Although it’s not really my thing, I love seeing my cousins and their friends, whilst mixing with my own mates there.

Me and Wendy

Me and my big cousins Wayne and Lee.

 


College Reunion

Many people count school as the best days of their life. I’m afraid I disagree, mine were my college years – namely 1999-2000.

I managed to meet a fantastic group of people who I’m glad to say I’ve (mostly) kept in contact with. Over the years our paths have divulged away from each other, but we still stay in touch.

Last week a few of us (Me, Ella, Danny, Gemma, Emily) met for a ‘Come Dine With Me’ style dinner, with each of us bringing a course. Mine was the cheese board, overloaded with probably more cheese than there should have been. I did throw a few babybels on there too 😀

It was a fantastic evening and many pictures were taken. Hopefully I’ll see some soon to upload with the picture below. This was taken during our college course to Amsterdam – Jan or Feb 2000.

From left to right Ben, Liz, Lyndsey (my then gf), me looking all cool!, Caroline, Gemma, Emily, Danny, Ella, unknown lad.


Money

Ain’t it great? 😀


Hurdles

As a big believer in personal development, law of attraction, reapng what you sow etc, I’ve heard countless stories of successful people facing all manner of obstacles before they attained their ‘glory’.

Now I’ve encountered numerous obstacles along the way in getting this novel sorted. Some are learning curves like getting to grips with software like InDesign. Others are downright ridiculous like arguing with printers in China about shipping to Liverpool instead of Felixstowe.

Now because I’ve heard all these hurdle stories, does this mean I’ve attracted the same situations into my life? After all, if all these successful folk needed bumps in the road, then surely I do!

Either way, I’m grateful for my determination to soldier on through and put the dedication in where it is needed. I rarely blow my own trumpet but for someone who was once told ‘you can’t draw, you can’t paint, and you have no imagination.’ I’m mega proud of myself being able to fully write, illustrate and typeset an entire 280 page novel!

Big cheesy smiles all round! 😀

Right, back to the battlefield!


Progression 4

Entire novel fully typeset, preflighted, packaged, tied up with a nice bow and sent away!! WOOHOO!!!!


Progression 3

Chapter 10 out of 14 fully typeset. 😀


Progression 2

Chapter 9 out of 14 fully typeset. 😀


Progression 1

Chapter 8 out of 14 fully typeset 😀


The Big 30

Well today is my birthday! I’m pretty sure I remember telling myself when I turned 30 I would have done something spectacular with my life. I suppose I could have done worse. 😀 I know I’m supposed to spend this day getting drunk (which will be done later), but for now I’m finishing typetting this novel.

I guess getting this finished would be pretty spectacular! 🙂


Website A Go Go!

Finally my website http://www.tapestryoffates.com is up and running.

Mind you it’s only a simple page at the moment. It’s time to build the site now 🙂


3 FREE Chapters

To garner some interest in my novel I’ve decided to post the first 3 chapters of my novel Tapestry of Fates: Spirit’s Destiny which can be seen at the top.

Please excuse the formatting issues I had. The final product is of a much higher quality 🙂

Enjoy. 😀

Back Cover


5 Signs You’re a Novelist

1. When in conversation you pay more attention to how the other person is articulating, rather than what what they are actually saying. “Wow! Her nostrils really do flare when she laughs!”

2. You compare your made up characters to your real life friends. “Well Obi-Wan would’ve swung that around like this.”

3. People on a whole become more fascinating. The weirder the better! “Please tell me again why you lived in a giant bird’s nest for a year, eating acorns!”

4. Instead of saying ‘that book would make a great movie’, you say ‘that movie would make a great book’. “No seriously, the events of Death Race could’ve been much more deeply explored!”

5. Your life is thought of terms of chapters, rather than lengths of time. “C’mon! I quit my job way back at the end of Chapter seventeen.”


Means to an end

In the past few days I have made this remark in deliberate reference to my job. I have also said a few times I wish I could pause time itself in order to blast out as much of my own work as possible.

Now I should probably be cautious when discussing my place of employment on my blog; you never know who’s watching or snooping. Speaking your mind on certain sites or social networks tends not to go down too well with superiors. Especially when you belittle them. Ha! But then again I’m a big believer in fate, so if any of my bosses read this and are offended, well I guess I’m sorry, and I’ll expect my P45 pronto. Futhermore, this isn’t work time, nor am I naming individuals, or businesses. It’s merely a record of my opinion at this moment in time.

Over the years my employers have shrunk our department repeatedly, which in turn puts added pressure on us that remain as we struggle to cope with the added workload. Now, in the past two months they’ve reduced us again – from five to two. Our department boss was one of the unfortunates to get the cull. So of course all the responsibilities he had have been passed to us, ramping up the workload to the extreme. Having already given up my breaks, I’ve now had to start splitting my lunch in half, and sometimes I go without any lunch at all and work straight through. All the time I’m sure our bosses feel we’re not working hard enough.

I guess it’s not the lessened breaks that bother me, it’s the fact that I used my lunchtime to work exclusively on my novel, and was a valuable window in which to hammer out some important illustrating and writing. Not that has basically gone, I’m finding the road towards fame and fortune is growing ever longer. I can’t believe I even felt guilty about working on it for twenty minutes today during lunch whilst customers endlessely griped where their advert was through email and telephone.

So what I’ve been debating about on the way home is wondering how much I can take of this Draconian regime. How much should I give up of my own life for a company who gives nothing in return. I’ve even debated with myself about taking more work home in order to lessen the burden during the daytime.

At what point do we stop following the dream and give in to a life of mundane, drab and bland obscurity. Currently I’ve been working on this novel for seven years now, with plenty of previous projects before it. I’m reaching thirty now and I’m pinning all my hopes on making this book a success and breaking free from the chains that demand so much of me and my collegues.

I see my dad, now in his late fifties, finally waking up to following his dreams and looking to escape his workplace that have held him for over twenty years. I envy him haha!

I make a vow to myself that I will never lose that passion, and I hope to look back on this in a few years and be proud that I never gave up.

Everyone I know who has a dream, I constantly tell them to never stop following it. If by some chance we really do only have one life, then I’m determined to make the most of it. And I hope everyone else does too 🙂


Finding Time

Ok since I’ve started this I better had post something!

When I get a chance this weekend I’ll write up a bit more about what I hope to gain from this blog. I guess should also put a little bit about myself. If you haven’t guessed, my name’s Ken. The username kennydreadful came from a friend of mine who after suggesting we try collaborate on a book of Victorian style horror stories (Penny Dreadfuls) my submissions should be called Kenny Dreadfuls.

I was born in Leeds, moved to Lytham St. Annes at 11, studied Graphic Design, Art, and Animation at college and uni, and then went on to work as a graphic designer at an advertising company where I still work today.

At some point during my further education I decided I would rather write for a living, be it through screenplays or novels, rather than be an animator. The study of art helped to illustrate what ever I was writing and even though I’m not the most gifted artist, illustrating your own novel, rather than get somebody else to do it, is a double whammy of pride.

This is the offending item taking over my life at the moment.

Needs editing though 🙂