Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sing a Song of Singapore...


Sin here.  I do enjoy taking control of young (yeah right) Mr. Allan’s blog to carry out these interviews!  Today, I’m visited by someone who has travelled a looong way to the asylum – Singapore based Giok Ping Ang.

 

What’s your name?

Giok Ping Ang

 

Where are you from?

The small red dot on the world atlas known as Singapore where five million people share 250 square miles of land. We’re busy ants dashing and rushing on a heated pan trying to look for that scrap of sugar or bread accidentally scattered by the big Man. 

 

It sounds a bit cramped.  A bit like the Recreation Room when the Coronation Street Omnibus is on.  Do you like living there?  If not, where would your favourite place to live be?  Is yes, where would you least like to live?

Not really as it is 33 degree Celsius everyday with 65% humidity - climate of a slow cooked stew.

 

It used to be New Zealand until I found out sheep fart a lot, not surprising with the amount of roughage in their gut.

 

Now, I just want to be in a temperate place with fewer people than Singapore and fewer sheep than New Zealand.

 

A place with some decent museums and concert halls, some rivers and mountains and parks would be perfect, and of course, a place where food is abundant.

 

I bet there’s a few ‘dumplings’ in that there stew, too.  I didn’t know sheep farted that much.  I think I would have thought that of cows.  Go figure.  As you’re a writer, is this your ‘day job’?

Yes, it is my day, midday, night and midnight job.

 

Ah, midnight.  A wonderful time – when Death uses the Null to collect the souls of those he’s missed during the day.  Tell me about your latest project.

It is a psychological thriller short stories collection.

 

Cool.  I like the sound of that.  How do you feel about bacon?  A crazy person once said it was the food of the gods.  OK, I admit that person was myself...

It tastes good with anything, and would probably turn the most repulsive food palatable. I am trying to think of a repulsive food but am having a tough time. As you know, Chinese eat anything that moves and does not move. We eat things that are deemed dangerous by others.

 

My mother was from China and went through famine and second world war. To her, any food and every food was precious.

 

So, yes, if you are brought up to eat anything under the sun, you’ll find bacon heavenly.

 

I’ve never actually called bacon ‘My Precious’, but I’m now imagining myself in a Gollum style pose doing exactly that...  What is your favourite film?

This is really tough for I love so many, from Blade Runner to Sense and Sensibility, and everything in between, from Dawn of the Dead to The Sound Of Music. Well, you can pretty much get the picture here. I do however have a preference for dramas. I cry watching Joy Luck Club for the hundredth time, but I will watch The Exorcist again for the hundredth time as well if it is playing tonight

 

Is it playing tonight?

 

Well, there’s some in here who think they’re possessed, if that counts?  Have you always wanted to be a writer, or is it something you found yourself doing one day?

I have honestly never wanted to do anything remotely as tiresome as writing. But I have not been told of the excitement that comes along with it either. So, I have discovered something too exciting to pass up and completely lost myself in it.

 

It’s a great feeling, isn’t it, when the words run away and you’re breathless trying to keep up?  Do you have so many ideas they dribble out of your nose if you don’t get them down, or do you have to hunt around the floor and the back of your sofa to find where your Muse is hiding?

They dribble out of my nose really badly. I see potential for every situation. I seem to be in a permanent trance of visualization of ideas and scenes. It can be disturbing. It wakes me up sometimes. It is more like I have to hide from my muse. It chases me.

 

I should introduce you to Mucous Mickey.  He has plenty of tissue for your dribbles.  If you were in an asylum, what would your particular delusion or psychosis be?

That I am flying over different places, different people all the time. Seeing the world from high up. I live in the clouds.

And when I am on ground, my roommate would most naturally be Van Gogh, who would be trying earnestly to show me the benefits of cutting off one’s ear. But all I would care about would be to ask him for another sunflowers’ masterpiece, dedicated to none other than me, his interesting Asian roommate. We would be having long conversations about painting and why people do not appreciate good art, and why it is so hard for people to understand us.

 

Now that particular delusion is a new one.  A flying fan of Van Gogh.  Connors would have a field day!  What genre(s) do you write?

My first published book entitled ”10276 in Two Months” is a Cyber Romance that has more than a twist in it. Future genres would be Thrillers (tend to be of the mental sort that turns stomachs), and I’d love to try Noir. I am going to follow my muse to wherever it takes me. I do not want to be constrained by a boundary.

 

That’s the best way.  When Shaun writes, it’s whatever is in his head at the time.  That’s not always me!  What genres(s) do you read?

I love the element of magic realism in Gabriel Garcia Marques’ “One Hundred Years Of Solitude”, Japanese author such as Murakami, books with unusual styles or structure such as “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga. French author Marguerite Duras’ delicate prose. There is no fixed genre. I’ll read it as long as the book has a gripping story and not too thick. I’m a slow reader and tend to chew on the words. I am on a perpetual look-out for thin books that pack a lot of punches.

 

I find myself suddenly educated.  I must look into these, though the asylum library is sparse – as in non-existent

 

Bacon – just cooked or crispy?

Haha, food question again. I love it. I would love it if there’s a bacon chewing gum!! Bacon bits in a drink, Bacon jelly, Bacon shortcake, Bacon dumplings! No, I don't care if it is cooked just right or crispy unless I’m going on an expedition where I will surely lose my direction in the middle of no-where. I would then prefer it crispy for I could hear the sounds as I crunch away and feel less alone.

 

Bacon chewing gum!  A definite gap in the market!  Now you’re in the asylum with me, how do you aim to get out?  Do you have an escape plan?

Fly away of course. I don't need a plan, I am on the ceiling, above everyone’s eye level. No one knows that I could just easily think of bacon and drool on them. I rise above them, their panic and worldly worries written all over their faces. I do not have fears nor worries at this very moment. All I want to do is continue flying.

 

No I don't need a plan to escape. Why would I need one when I am home?

 

Well, if you’re home, I’d ask you to pull up a chair and chill with me.  Unfortunately they’re bolted down, so I can’t.

 

-

 

Giok Ping Ang was born in Singapore. She graduated from the University of Oregon in Science and later obtained a diploma in Accounting from UCLA. In 2012, her poem “An Invitation” received an honourable mention in the Writer’s Digest 7th annual poetry competition, and was published in the WD competition compilation. She enjoys painting and photography. 10276 in Two Months is her first novel.



10276 in Two Months:

 

They are hundred thousand miles apart, and could not love in flesh, not in part, so they love with their hearts. Every day they chat on Facebook, and every day they live, love and die a little. 10276 is the number of love messages they chatted in two months. Mark Fallen is a screenwriter from England, and Lim Shi Yi is a poet and novelist from Singapore who is married with two daughters.

 

It seems a perfect love made in heaven as they both share the same interests in calligraphy, music, painting, cooking and above all, poetry. She decides to write a script to document their love entitling The Secret Love Of Two Poets and he becomes her script mentor as they spiral deeper into a painful love affair.

 

Two parallel love stories, both virtual, both intense and life altering yet contrasting in development. She is to find out that it is much easier conjuring physical contacts and rendezvous for her characters in her script than it is for her own love and in the end has to choose between family and success or true love.

 

Lim Shi Yi:

Why did you pursue me? Knowing I am married and we are continents apart.

Mark Fallen:

I don’t know. Maybe I want to die.

 

An Excerpt:

 

I told him I wrote a eulogy for my dear friend and I would like him to read it. So I posted a piece of my love on the message. It was not love for him but I hoped it would help him understand how a woman felt in situations as such.

 

JUNE

 

I met her in an art class when I was painting a lotus and she was painting nudes. I was forty and she sixty-five. She had no breasts so she painted a lot of them, nudes of damsels of all races with creamy succulent breasts. “I have none, and I have to make up for my loss.” She said. Her eyes were teary and her hand moved like flowing water, fluid and soft on the canvas.

 

They cut her breasts off as they were diseased and removed the well where she fed her hungry babies. They removed her pride and identity. She was given six months but she lasted twenty years. “They couldn’t put out the fire in me,” she said. I admired her, respected her and loved her. Her name was June.

 

We sauntered from galleries to galleries holding hands in search for perfect breasts on the walls. We sat on different floors of fancy bookstores flipping through and pouring our love on the beautiful pages till they chased us out the door.

 

We continued painting, she the nudes and I the lotus and sunflowers. Her skeletal arm transferred her pain onto the canvas, the faces became sad and the flesh sallow. We forgot the time and forgot to eat. She was getting weak and her wasted body gave up in the face of her passion and will. One morning, she could no longer hold the brush and although she mixed the ochres and the whites and the blues and the reds, the brush stayed dipped in the palette.

 

Her legs gave way so I brought the galleries to her. We lay in bed and read an art book I bought and gurgled like two little girls gazing at a jar of sweets, pretending nothing had changed. We wanted a last ride before they called her name. That morning in bed, her eyes twinkled with fire, her last flame burned long and bright, her heart beat with passion and filled with beauty as a young heart might.

 

The next day I was on the beach, squatting and picking corals with my girls. The ocean breeze ruffled my peace. “Shi Yi, don’t be sad.” She whispered in my ears. I knew she was gone, but I knew somewhere in space she was watching over me.

 

Somewhere, in a different world she was whole and complete.

 

Take away my pain.

 

I shall die. Only a little.

 

A consciousness is there.

 

To smell the flower.

 

Website: www.giokpingang.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giok-Ping-Ang

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/10276-Two-Months-Unlikely-Facebook/dp/1466928271/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349778230&sr=1-1&keywords=9781466928275

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GiokPingAng

 

 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Oblivion or Oblivious? A review...

Oblivion or Oblivious?
 
Well, the former is verging on the latter, it has to be said...
 
I'm a big lover of science fiction, in its many forms.  As a child I avidly read AsimovClarke and many more.  I bought the first issue of 2000AD, the comic which introduced us to Judge Dredd.  I'm sure it had a plastic spinning disc with three arms in the centre stuck to the front as a free gift...  I once had a sew on arm patch from an Apollo mission and a poster for Revenge of the Jedi.
 
That's right...  I said 'Revenge'.
 
As a movie addict, I devour the films.  Whether it's 2001: A Space Odyssey,Star Wars, the X-Men films (I used to read their comics too), Event HorizonBlack HoleI, Robot and more, I'd rush to watch and thoroughly enjoy being taken away to times and realities far from my own.
 
I'm quite partial to most Tom Cruise films too.  Action and adventure, thrills and spills, they all entice me.  I wasn't over keen on the last Mission Impossible film, however.  Great ideas and stunts, but should the gadgets go wrong?  I don't think so.  I love Simon Pegg, and he was great as the franchise's 'Q' character, but those gloves, the mask creator doodad and so on.  Part of the essence of MI was the spectacular inventions as well as the non-stop action.


Cruise was good in Collateral and I thought inspired in Rock of Ages.  Rain Man is a classic (though Dustin Hoffman steals the film).
 
2015, the Year of the Blockbuster brings us another outing from the Mission Impossible stable, but it has to go up against new iterations of Independence DayStar WarsTerminatorPirates of the CaribbeanThe AvengersFinding Dory (Nemo), Fantastic FourJurassic ParkJames BondAvatarHunger GamesAlvin & the Chipmunks (?!) and Inferno (Dan Brown).  There's also slated a Warcraft film, Assassin's Creed, another Kung Fu Panda, the Penguins of Madagascar and possibly even a Prometheus 2!
 

And breathe.
 
Oh, and prepare my tent for camping out at the Parkway (my local cinema in Cleethorpes - great place!)
 
So.  I had high hopes, as Kodaline might say, of Oblivion.  It's a bit of a surprise that I hadn't found myself watching it long before now, but life waits for no film, hence I didn't.  So there.  Last night I had chance of a quiet moment or two and decided, finally, to go for a bit of a Cruise.
 
It started out slow.  Probably, I thought, building the tension.  Waiting for the huge climax.  Interspersing the film with pathos and then flipping into explosions and stunts and breathlessness.
 
After a while of not a lot happening, I interrupted my viewing for 20 minutes of the 30 Day Shred (day 4).   I was certainly more breathless from this than anything Oblivion had thrown at me thus far.  I then returned to the movie hoping things would pick up.
 
They did, but they also didn't.  I won't give anything away about the plot (I had my fingers burned when I accidentally let slip a very important fact regarding the wonderful Judi Dench's brilliant portrayal in Skyfall - oops), but then, there wasn't much of one to give away.
 
The various set pieces, for me, weren't big enough.  They didn't draw out the tension and I couldn't find myself particularly feeling for the characters.  I didn't fear the Predator lookey-like Scavs.  Olga Kurylenko is decidedly lovely, though, but her performance was a touch wooden.  I was disappointed with Morgan Freeman - something I could never imagine myself saying.  Shawshank is one of my all time favourites.  I thought he was a fab God in the Almighty films.  I even liked him in Dreamcatcher.  Unfortunately, his brief appearance in this left me cold.  It was too predictable.  It had been done too many times before.
 
And we knew, didn't we, he'd go for that gun turret?
 
There were many things that could have been built on, the events in the Radiation Zone for one.  I thought many of the ideas were good, but none of this film was particularly new.  And Independence Day 2 is coming out in a couple of years, please don't steal ideas from the first and then do them so blandly!
 
I could go on, but this film did it for me (went on).  It's a shame.  The cast was good.  The ideas were there, but they weren't developed.
 
It was fine for a bit of entertainment, but just a bit.  At the end, I asked myself if I'd enjoyed it, but couldn't really answer.  I didn't NOT enjoy it, but that's not the same thing.
 
The shower afterwards and a mind spinning through various aspects of Visual basic code I was trying to figure out helped me ease into sleep.
 
Oblivion could almost have done that itself.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Radio Moi Moi!

Radio Ga-Ga?  No, Radio Moi-Moi
 
I was delighted, today, to receive an email from Steve Redgrave, a producer at BBC Radio Humberside.  He's asked me if I'd like to visit and chat, live on air, with them for their Saturday morning breakfast show!
 
I'm pleased and honoured, to say the least, that someone wants to hear me waffle on about, apparently, ME!  Not only that, but they think the 60,000+ listeners they have might want to as well!
 
Best think of something to say, then.
 
The request came in the wake of the Poetry Workshop I carried out at Humberston Academy (the result of which is on the Primary Poetry page on this blog).  I was blown away by the work the pupils produced and I'm pleased to be able to mention this on BBC radio.
 
I'm already nervous about going.  No, not because I have to venture across the water to Hull!  But because I always do prior to these things.  When I was on Sky TV all those years ago, I was actually shaking, I think.  Before doing the workshops at Humberston Academy, both last year and this, I was a little anxious.  For my book signings, previous radio interviews and my appearance at the Cleethorpes Library, it was the same.
 
Granted, when I start talking, it quickly fades, so I know I'll be ok.  My worst thing is that I start talking about something, then completely lose track of what I was saying and had my dog clipped last night – the poor thing was so hot, she needed a... erm... where was I?  Obviously, I'll be clear and concise and SO interesting during the interview (I hope)!
 
Anywho-be-do.  The show, hosted by Lizzie Rose, will be on tomorrow morning (Saturday 20th July), from 6am to 10am.  I’ll be on it from around 9:35 to 9:55.  This is BST, by the way – British Summer Time.  The frequency is 95.9 fm if you’re in the area, or you can listen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio/bbc_radio_humberside/listenliveI hope you’ll take the time to drop by.  If it’s in the middle of the night where you are, and you can’t keep your eyes open, you can catch the show late in the day at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003khy6. And go to about 2 hours 40 minutes in. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Burlesque, a show unlike any other...


'Burlesque' is often thought of as an excuse for men to ogle women who take their clothes of behind a fan of feathers.  In fact, this image of the art form has brought cries of censorship where town councils have banned shows as being demeaning to women.

I read an article based on the book 'Burlesque and the Art of the Tease' by Dita Von Teese, (possibly the world's most prominent current 'Burlesquer'), published in The Independant newspaper - not often I find something interesting in there... - telling the history of Burlesque.  She follows its growth from music-hall's Lydia Thompson through Gypsy Rose Lee to today's celebrated yet controversial shows.




She says Aristophanes, the ancient Grecian playwright who penned Lysistrata was the original father of the 'idea'.  In this play, the women of the town hold back their 'sexual services' from their husbands until they agree to bring an end to the war that's raging.  I saw a performance of the Germaine Greer adaptation of the story recently.  Far from the bawdy comedy my wife and I expected,  we were, unfortunately, 'treated' to something far more serious and talky, with a couple of bits of crude humour.  The funniest part of the night was when the woman in front of us caught her glass of wine in her bracelet and spilled it over her.  Yes, I may have laughed at her misfortune, but her and her group did not know the meaning of the word ‘whisper’, so I couldn’t be too apologetic for that.

 

Still, I can see where she's coming from (Dita Von Teese, not the woman with the Cleopatra inclinations – OK, Cleopatra supposedly bathed in milk but you get my drift).  Burlesque is more about titillation, humour and entertainment than it is about sex and degradation.

 

I've not seen the Cher/Christina Aguilera film and have only seen parts of Moulin Rouge.  I haven't watched a Burlesque show on TV or YouTube and have only seen snippets from programs that have featured Miss Von Teese.  I have no idea, therefore, if the show I was going to see would be 'real' Burlesque or a version of, or something far remote.  I was excited to see, though.

 

The word 'Burlesque' actually derives from the Italian 'burla', meaning 'joke' or 'mockery'.  As I discovered on Saturday night, this is a very fitting name.



The Yardbirds, in Grimsby, is a rock club.  It's run by the Warlocks, a 'bikers gang'.  It's also one of my favourite pubs and venues for music.  My wife and I both love it there.  Yes, it's dark and yes it's not overly big, but it is most definitely a great place for a night out.

 

One thing you can pretty much guarantee is a complete lack of trouble on a night out there.  The site of the 'burly bikers' behind the bar or collecting glasses - some of the friendliest staff you're likely to meet on a night out - ensures no-one will cause any problems.  As such, every person in there feels comfortable.  As there's a very diverse range of music played, a host of differing generations can be seen on a single night - all mingling together for one reason; to enjoy themselves.

 

I've been to The Yardbirds many times and seen a variety of tribute acts, from U2to the Stereophonics to Bon Jovi.  There's AC-DCMetallica and Slipnot bands playing and a couple of years ago I had a great New Year's Eve watching a group called Six of the Best blast out anthems from the likes of ForeignerWhitesnake and Toto while bar staff served free vodka jellies and brought in free pizza.

 

One of my favourite performances - if not my actual favourite - was by Mike Trampfrom the group White Lion.  He sang an acoustic set of hits whilst telling of his memories and inspirations between the songs.  My wife was a White Lion fan, though I have to admit to barely hearing of them.  The show was, however, brilliant.  The acoustic arrangements made the 80s hits sound extremely contemporary and I told Mike this when he was done.  Great stuff.



My wife and I are always looking for an excuse to visit the Yardbirds, and we'd long been wondering about the Burlesque shows that go on there regularly.  Friends had told us what a great night was to be had, so we finally managed to arrange a babysitter (thanks mum) and off we went.

 

I have to say, Saturday night was an experience.  It seemed clear many people in the audience  knew what to expect.  The ladies were dressed in a mix of colourful vintage dresses and basques and stockings.  There was a man with a grass skirt and flippers.  A group of girls on a hen night all in fifties style frocks.  We, ourselves, were Burlesque virgins.

 

Well, that cherry is well and truly popped!

 

Neither of us knew exactly what to expect from the show.  There was, apparently, to be some audience participation.  Sweets (sex candy) and ice creams were on sale and (a good idea on what had been such a hot day).  In anticipation, we waited for the show to start.

 

The hostess, Snappy O'Shea, was fab.  She had a great rapport with the audience, with a quick wit and patter.  What I didn't expect, was to have such a big smile on my face, and laugh as much, for almost all of the night!

 

There was, initially, a comment about the council not allowing the show on their own premises due to it being degrading to women.  If that's your opinion, then you are entirely entitled to that.  There were certainly more women in the audience than men, however, and they were having a great time.

 

Yes, there were boobies, it has to be said.  The boobies had their nipples discreetly covered.  But it was all done in fun, and a lot of fun at that.  The highlights, for me, were Brenda the lollipop lady and Fifty Shades of Beige, in which a 'lucky' man from the audience was brought on stage to act out a hilarious version of the popular 'mommie-porn' phenomenon.  There was also the woman who had 'scored' that night and had a man in her room - if only she could quickly get out of the umpteen layers of body-smoothing underwear she'd squeezed into.

 

Add to this a Birdy Dance unlike any other I've seen, some traditional strips from behind feathers, much laughter and the cheap drinks I'm delighted the Yardbirds continue to sell, and this was certainly a night that was DIFFERENT.



 On reflection, I think the Cats Pyjamas Burlesque Company could possibly have swapped the two halves of the show about.  I felt the first half was stronger than the second.  This, though, didn't spoil the night for me.  It was very enjoyable and (for the first half very and for the second half a fair amount) a lot of fun.  We were teased, we were entertained and we were very pleased we had finally given in to the lure of the feather fan.

 

Their next show is going to be a Halloween Spooktakular and is on the 26th of October.  I'd thoroughly recommend going, especially if you haven't already.  We spoke to a young man stood next to us.  He'd not been to the Yardbirds before and having such a display as his initiation has simultaneously caught him in the headlights and thrilled him.  You may feel the same, but you won't be able to help enjoy yourself.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Like a Moth to the flame...





Sin again, hijacking away!  Today, I’m chatting to a fiery red-head named Scarlett.  Scarlett is a woman of many talents and it’s a pleasure to have her with me.  I think, perhaps, she enjoys this asylum more than she possible should...
 
What’s your name?
Scarlett Flame
 
Interesting name.  It fits.  Where are you from?
Manchester, England, UK, The World lol
 
Do you like living there?  If not, where would your favourite place to live be?  Is yes, where would you least like to live?
Yeah I do love living here because my friends and family are here.  But I would love to live somewhere near to a beach (I love the sea you see!).  Not somewhere too hot though as being a redhead with freckles I would burn too easily.  I am open to suggestions though.
 
I used to live near the sea, before my current residence, of course.  You sort of get used to it and forget it’s there!  If you’re a writer/film-maker, is this your ‘day job’?
No, I wish it was but I am still a struggling writer
 
I wonder if even Stephen King and Dean Koontz see themselves, still, as ‘struggling writers’?  Not financially, I’m sure – but struggling with the ideas and wrestling the words?  So, tell me about your latest project.
I have two projects on the go at the moment (three if you include my blog!).  The first is my novel The Prophecy Unfolds (Dragon Queen).
 
The second is an Anthology of short erotic stories, I haven’t decided on a title yet!
 
They sound intriguing.  Two differing versions of ‘fantasy’!  How do you feel about bacon?  A crazy person once said it was the food of the gods.  OK, I admit that person was myself...
love bacon.  Yum.  Crazy about the stuff - especially smoked bacon.
 
Good girl.  That’s what I like to hear.  What is your favourite film?
Hard one this.  I love Avatar (I want to be about 10ft tall and blue after watching it!).  But also love all the Lord of the Rings films too
 
Avatar is excellent, but I would have to veer towards LOTR myself.  I wanted to be Gandalf, though a younger and less ‘beardy’ version.  Have you always wanted to be a writer, or is it something you found yourself doing one day?
No, as a child I wanted to be a vet but I have always kept diaries and wrote some poetry too.  I started to write due to my love of reading really, with the thought that I too could produce a work of fiction equal to or excelling them.
 
I’m sure you can.  That’s exactly the right attitude.  Do you have so many ideas they dribble out of your nose if you don’t get them down, or do you have to hunt around the floor and the back of your sofa to find where your Muse is hiding?
Ha-ha.  Yeah I have epiphanies sometimes as I am driving or when I wake up and then I have to write down scenes I have dreamt.
 
At least it’s not waking up as you’re driving.  I hope not, anywho.  If you were in an asylum, what would your particular delusion or psychosis be?
Being watched I think.  I used to imagine pictures could watch me as a child, lol.
 
You should be glad you didn’t go to school at Hogwarts, then, with all those moving paintings!  What genre(s) do you write?
Lots.  Paranormal Romance, Erotica, Fiction, Steampunk (really a subgenre).
 
Wow!  You’re head must be swimming with ideas!  What genres(s) do you read?
Virtually everything from scifi, thrillers, erotica BDSM, paranormal romance, nonfiction, cook books, you name it.
 
Do you have time to sleep?  Oh, that’ll be where the sleeping whilst driving comes in, I suppose...  If these are the same, what attracts you to them.  If they’re different, why do you think that is?
I am better at writing in my own genre (I think), but I intend to test this by writing in some of the others too.  But I still enjoy other genres, especially thrillers and horror too.
 
Bacon – just cooked or crispy?
Crispy of course!!
 
Of course.  How else?  Now you’re in the asylum with me, how do you aim to get out?  Do you have an escape plan?
Well, in real life I am a nurse, so maybe I could pretend to be a member of staff and sneak out by pinching someone else’s uniform!
 
A woman in uniform, hmmm?  Well, good luck with that plan.  It may even work!
 
-
 
My pen name is Scarlett Flame, and as well as writing my first novel I write a Blog under my pen name (don't forget it's two t's!).  My Blog includes book reviews, band, hotel and restaurant reviews around the area of Manchester where I live. Music is a bit of a passion of mine, so I include information of venues and live music. If you follow me on twitter you will often find me playing at being a DJ.  Writing and reading are my two main passions.
 
My interests include reading, writing, especially the genres Paranormal Romance, Thrillers, Scifi and anything that involves fantastical beings. I also like going to the gym, especially weight training and Pilates!
 
Some of my favourite books are The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings Trilogy and books by authors such as Anne Rice and Dean Koontz (especially the Brother Odd Series).
 
The working title of my first book is The Prophecy Unfolds (Dragon Queen). This is the first in a series of books and is an erotic Paranormal Romance set on a Steampunk world called Syros. In my book there are werewolves, dragons, dragon riders and many other paranormal characters.
 

An excerpt from The Prophecy Unfolds (Dragon Queen) by Scarlett Flame:
 
I'd sat there enjoying my book for about ten minutes when two things happened.
 
Firstly, I became aware that a hush had suddenly descended on the forest and I could no longer hear the scampering of the squirrels or the birds singing. When I looked up I could no longer see any of them around the area they had occupied only a few minutes earlier.
 
The second thing was the sound I did hear. I can only compare that to the sound of a barrier being broken, a whoosh and a slight popping noise. Yet immediately after this, the birds and squirrels were back, chirping and moving through the grass once again.
 
I shrugged, went back to the page in my book and continued to eat. However, after a while a feeling of uneasiness descended on me. I raised my head to find myself being watched.
 
The watcher was a tall, broad-shouldered man with dirty blonde hair tied at the nape and vivid blue eyes. I estimated him to be about 25-30 years old. He was regarding me silently and with intensity. His odd clothing caught my eye. Old fashioned garments, dark trousers laced up the front, a long-sleeved suede jacket of a similar material, and leather boots.
 
I turned my head to look for any cars or vans on the car park and jumped as I spotted two more men - one to my left and one I could see in my peripheral vision to the right.
 
The man on the left was dressed similar to the first, but had sandy hair and sea green eyes. In contrast he wasn't quite as broad, although equally tall (all three were over six foot). The last had dark hair to his shoulders that hung loose, and the most amazing violet eyes.
 
The appearance of these men with no noise and staring at me in rapt fascination, not uttering a word, spooked me. My heart was beating so loud and fast I thought that I was having some kind of heart attack.
 
But the most unnerving thing of all was all three men looked familiar, a déjà vu sort of moment. I had dreamt about these three men for so long. I knew immediately these were the shady characters from my dreams. Dreams that repeatedly haunted my sleep.
 
 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

They're poets and they know it!


And the results are in!

Well, the poems are anyway. I have great pleasure in showcasing the wonderful works of the four primary schools who joined me for the madcap poetry workshop at Humberston Academy. The workshop was part of their Festival of Literature and I had a fantastic time with the students, as you'll see from my previous blog posts. 

To see the fruits of their labours, please drop by here : http://flipandcatch.blogspot.co.uk/p/humberston.html

Thanks, once again, for the pupils of Humberston Primary, Middlethorpe, Primary, New Waltham Primary and Cloverfield Primary. It was great to meet you all. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

We are SALEING!!


Books set sale on a free ride to literary escape!

 

Or, in other words, I've lowered the price of my books for a limited time in a couple of promotions.

 

I’ve been meaning to this for a while as a thank you to all the wonderful comments I keep getting for my stories.  As life tends to get in the way of everything I plan to do, this hasn’t happened up until now.  But, I do end up getting round to things in the end!  And here we are.




Firstly, it's the 4th of July in a couple of days.  Yes, I'm sure you already know that.  The thing is, here in the UK, it's another box on the calendar to strike through on the way to the weekend.  Saying that, I'm sure many would like to join in the celebrations that go on across that big pond thing in the middle of us.

 

As such, on Amazon, I've reduced the price of both Sin and Dark places to only 99 cents.  This works out to about 79p in the UK, and relative prices around the world.  This is valid until the end of the week, Friday (inclusive).




Sin is available from Amazon at:

US: http://amzn.to/SinUSEB

UK: http://amzn.to/SinUKEB

 

Dark Places can be found at:

US: http://amzn.to/DarkPlacesUSEB

UK: http://amzn.to/DarkPlacesUKEB



 

For those of you who use Smashwords, they are holding a 2013 Summer/Winter Sale, in light of the fact that up here (top of this ball we're flying through space on) it's apparently summer.  I'm sure in places other than the UK that's probably true.  In the Southern hemisphere, it's winter.  I'm told my Australian friends are having to wear jeans instead of shorts and put a t-shirt on.




I've joined this great offer and my books are now either free or half price at Smashwords and can be found at:http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/singularity.  The sale extends until the 31st July.

 

I do hope you'll drop by and peruse and, hopefully, grab yourself a bargain.

 

More so, if you do, I hope you enjoy it.

 

For those of you celebrating Independence Day, have a good one.  For those not, have a good one too!



Monday, 1 July 2013

Windows: Love or h8?


Windows 8 or Windows HATE?

 

Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 POINTLESS 1?

 

What's your opinion of the latest version of Microsoft's operating system?  Love it or hate it?

 

Now, change anything, and there's a whole load of people who won't agree.  When Microsoft put the 'Ribbon' into Office, I, myself, didn't like it.  I couldn't find half of the stuff I regularly used.  Now, of course, I'm used to it - though I do customize the Quick Access toolbar to put my favourite tools there.  It's fine.  I accept it.  I actually think it works quite well, though it often still takes me a bit of searching to find stuff.

 

Windows...

 

I remember, when Windows 3.1 came out, and we had it installed on our company computers, that my boss complained.  It'd never catch on.  What was wrong with Dos?  But, we complied.  And adapted.  Windows progressed and evolved, with 95, 98, XP and so on.  Each version had its slaters.  I'm sure, also, that some of those that slated the new version in favour of the previous had also done the same with the last incarnation.

 

At work, we had Windows 2000 for what seemed like EVER.  At home, I always had the latest version, preferring to keep up with trends, functions and my innate desire to know new STUFF.  Eventually, in the office (as opposed to the Office), we had Vista.

 

Hmmm...  Now, throughout the various versions I'd tried, I wanted to like Vista.  It looked the part, but I found it, like so many others, clunky and hungry.  As such, Windows 7 was a breath of fresh air.  It took a little getting used to, but I got there.  And I quite liked it.

 

But then...

 

It happened...

 

They dared...  TO CHANGE IT.

 

No, really?  SO many people seem to have a problem with the Windows 8 Start screen.  The Modern UI.  I don't know why.  Sure, the app store needs work, but then, so did the Android Store to begin with.  One of the reasons iPhone users laughed at Android (I was an Android user myself) was because of the plethora of apps with Apple and a lack (comparatively) with Google.  But, the iStore had been around for so much longer.  And now, Android has a huge amount itself.

 

In some cases, better ones.  Look at Twitter.  Why, oh why, does the iPhone app not have LIST functionality?

 

Windows has a long way to go.  No official Facebook.  No Google Plus.  No many more, too.  But, that's ok, for now.  Of course, these gaps must be filled for the Windows Store to be taken seriously.  They will be, though.  When those apps do come out, they do, in lots of cases, look wonderful.  The Windows interface gives apps the opportunity to really shine.  Bold, colourful and swipetastic.

 

I have a Windows 8 tablet.  I did own an Asus Transformer Android tablet, which was excellent.  However I found it limited when I wanted to properly work on my website or writing.  As such, I went for the Asus Vivotab Smart (ME400).  It'd not super powered, with an i7 processor and such, but it more than does the job for me.  Great screen and decent specification for the price.

 

Granted getting hold of the official cover and keyboard was SUCH a nightmare - delays and stock problems - that I ended up buying a cheap bluetooth keyboard, mouse and a small stand.  The keyboard was from Maplin and the mouse and stand from eBay.  All in, it cost me less than the price of one of the official items and works very well.

 

Anywho.  I love my tablet.  It's nippy, very functional and has an astounding screen.  I have Office for my writing, can update my website (something that was a struggle with the Android web browsers, though they're excellent) and can happily stream video through my home network.

 

I also like, shockhorrorscream - the Windows 8 interface.  The live tiles and the layout and so on.  Yes.  I like it.

 

AND I USE IT.

 

Apparently, there's many who don't.  At all.  They go straight to the Desktop.  Well, sometimes, I do.  I have desktop only applications - Office included.  I use Audacity and others which just don't work as 'apps'.  Though that's the case, of course, I still have them pinned to the Start screen as a tile.  I prefer it.  I like to swipe through to the apps, which I have in relevant sections (internet shortcuts, games, media etc.) rather than through menus.  Sure, they could be - and are - shortcuts on my desktop, but the world is changing.

 

I have plenty of Store apps installed.  These include games for me, games for my two year old - touch games are perfect for her - and things like TV on demand, such as the BBC iPlayer and 4OD and so on.

 

I remember the first time I watched Minority Report, with its screens that Tom Cruise could pull items onto and move about.  How cool did that look?  And how close are we to that now?

 

I haven't used a physical keyboard on my phone in years.  For ages, it's all been touch screen.  Apps.  Swiping.  Apple dumped their interface designer bloke (I forget his name) because Android, with its live widgets and active screens, was getting all the glory.  People wanted more information at their fingertips, without have to press anything.  The time.  The weather.  How many messages and emails they have.  Snippets from those messages and emails.  Android gave you that.  Apple did not.

 

Soon, the iOS 7 will be released.  It's already been unveiled.  It's already been hailed and derided.  No surprise there.  It'll try and recover from some of the wounds inflicted by the advancing behemoth that is Google (are they attempting world domination?  Just wondering).  It may well go a long way to doing that.  I shall wait and see.  I'll take it on board and find out.  I may regret that, but that's how it goes.

 

So, when Microsoft do exactly the same thing - bring in an era of touches and swipes and live updates and more - there's an outcry?  Many from the same people who so love the way their smartphones become an extension of themselves?

 

Well.  I, personally, have welcomed it.  I can see, on one screen, a flowing update of news, Twitter, email and photo updates.  I use it all the time, happily.  I like the gestures.  I find it comfortable whether I'm using my fingers or a mouse.  I, yes, I will say it again, like it!

 

Now then.

 

Microsoft are bringing out the 8.1 update, codenamed Blue.

 

Nice of them.  It's got plenty of things that will be welcomed - the return of the Start button for one (I didn't agree with THAT particular omission).

 

Microsoft have released a preview version of this update.  Again, nice of them.

 

OK.  Unfortunately, they limited this preview to 13 languages.  Not countries or cities or states.  Languages.  Fair enough.  Unfortunately (again) one of those languages was NOT English UK.  I'm from the UK, so my base language is English UK.  No offence to my American friends (of which I have many), but we have a few keys in different places to yours, and you spell things funny.

 

This meant the preview (I had to test it out) wouldn't work here in England.  It didn't take much hunting (PC Advisor website) to find a workaround for this problem - surely an oversight.  The workaround was fiddly and meant a little work in Dos (it's still there) but I managed to get it done so the preview update appeared in the Windows Store.

 

Great.

 

Except it now just says that the update 'isn't available right now - please try later'.  And my Store has a habit of hanging occasionally.




Grrrrrr......

 

No doubt this will all be sorted soon, but I spent a fair amount of time trying to get this working.  Thanks Microsoft.  Should I bill you?

 

Oh well.  I find it funny, actually, that I'm writing a blog post to say how much I like Windows 8, just to complain about it.  But, it's about the corporation and they're update procedures.  It's not about the software itself.

 

Anywho-be-do.

 

Like it or h8 it, it's here.  For me, it's bringing all my devices together with a more common way of using.

 

I just need to stop touching my work PC monitor to change something.