Monday, 24 November 2014

Hunting Hearts...

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
I met a friend online who gave me a prompt for Hunted Heart. Her idea was to have a strong heroine as the Hunter from Snow White who is given the job of killing the prince. Heartbreak, magic mirrors, and poisoned apples all wound themselves into the plot, and fifty thousand words later I had an adult take on the fairytale.

My publishing group, Myrddin Publishing, does a charity publication each year in December. This year my Myrddin effort is Hunted Heart and all royalties will be donated. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, and you can add it to your reading lists on Goodreads.

When Tali is hired to cut out the heart of Prince Kas, the huntress can’t refuse. Tali realizes there is no escape from the dark magic of the queen’s mirror, even though her own feelings for the prince are far too complex to understand.

As they try to run from their shared destiny, Tali and Kas have to rely on their wits and each other as hunter becomes prey and hearts are won and lost.

A genderbent Snow White for adults (18+ only.) All royalties go to Save the Children.

My illustrator did a lovely job with the book. Here is Lisa Daly’s cover for Hunted Heart:

About the author: Alison DeLuca is the author of several fantasy and steampunk novels. Currently she lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, where she wrestles words and laundry.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tearing Through the Tears...

Well, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything on here, and you have my sincerest apologies for that.  Life is very hectic (for a change) and I’m doing my best to complete Darker Places, the follow up to Dark Places, in time for Halloween.

Anywho-be-do, what better way to return than with the help of a friend of mine, someone who’s had a book bubbling inside of them for quite some time and has just recently stepped out of the shadows of Authordom.  Say “Hi” to Wayne.
Hi there! My name is Wayne Sharpe, aka: Bloomdell, to those on Twitter. I am the author of 'Humboldt's Tears' which can be found on Wattpad or by searching Barkermouth & Bloomdell. (Self promotion ahoy).
I am privileged to have been asked by Shaun Allan to scribble a few of my erratic thoughts across this here page on his blog. I'm flattered to think that anyone would be interested in my mental leakage. I would both, like to thank and apologize to Mr Allan up front for what follows.
Here goes.
It has been said that everyone has a book somewhere inside of them, I don't know who put it there, but there it is. The problem is, not everyone realises this to be the case and not everyone knows how to reach it. Like the proverbial block of marble, somewhere beneath its milky veined surface is hidden their very own David or their Venus de Milo, just waiting to be freed. Rather than a mallet and chisel they cry out for you to put pen to paper and tell their story. But so few ever do.
Well, like many before me, I decided to rise to that call and place pen to paper or more to the fact, fingers to keyboard and write my book.
For three years I mostly kept the knowledge of my book to myself and a few close friends as I wrote it. Not that I was embarrassed or ashamed of my creation, far from it, I’m proud as punch. But I found that it became quite an integral part of my personal life. I woke up with it, ate with it, worked with it and slept with it, all the time with it floating around my head. I brought the characters into being, and I felt a true sense of guilt as I ended the lives of characters. I found that as I worked on the book, it seemed only right to keep it close and keep it secret. Having finally finished it, it didn't seem right to leave it languishing in Microsoft hell.
But there it sat, on my computer, unread but by a few. My David (not quite a Michelangelo) had been freed from its marble bonds, only to be imprisoned by Windows (8.1, argh. Bring back 95).
Turning to my friend, Shaun Allan, author and creator of the marvellous Sin, I ask for advice and guidance, which he happily and freely gave. He pointed the way to Wattpad, our favourite online self publishing website. My book was released at last to roam free through the fibres of the web, to be read by anyone willing to give it its day. And now, like a proud parent, I watch on as people from around the globe journey through my creation. I found the book inside, I moulded and shaped it, and freed it. Job done?

All that said, I still feel like a pretender, someone who has written something, rather than an author who has published something. Yet I'm happy with this arrangement. I will allow others to make their minds up as to what title I should take.  
I feel like a busker, a one man band, harmonica between lips, cymbals between knees and bass drum strapped to my back, playing noisily on the street corner. A busker who dreams of one day being a musician, a writer who dreams of one day being an author.
So, if you have taken the time to read these spilt thoughts of mine, please, look inside yourself, find your book, mould it, shape it and free it. Above all else, be happy and busk away!!!!!!
P.S. The distinction between biscuits and cake, is that, when stale, the cake goes hard, yet biscuit goes soft. So, when you curl up quietly to read your favourite book tonight, a hot coffee by your side, which do you reach for, the stale cake or biscuit.
I ask, is it hard or soft?
P.P.S. Innuendo should always be crass, otherwise what's the point. In your endo, oh yeah!!!!

So, there you have it.  The musings of a good friend of mine.  I'm currently reading, and enjoying 'Humboldt's Tears' - and that's not because I'm biased as Wayne is my friend.  He wanted honesty and I'm honestly enjoying it.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Finale Eve...


About a month ago, as you’ll see from my previous post (sorry about the wait for a follow-up), I was asked to write a story.


This story was written in conjunction with NBC Universal and Wattpad to help promote their new film The Purge: Anarchy.  To say I was honoured to be asked is an understatement.  I was blown away and was worried I’d do them justice.


It appears my fears were unjustified.  It appears my story wasn’t too bad at all.  The comments I’ve had for Mr. Composurehave been so amazing, I’m staggered by the amount of love given to this story.  So many people have said how much they’ve enjoyed my writing, with many begging for the update.


Unfortunately, of course, the updates are governed by the executives at NBC Universal and Wattpad.  They have said the updates will be weekly, leading up to the release of the film.


There’s been three updates so far.  The first part went live on the 24th June.  Part two followed on the 3rd July.  Part three was uploaded last Tuesday, the 8th July.


Part four, the grand finale, goes live tomorrow.


I mentioned in my last post that writing this story was out of my comfort zone.  I normally write either paranormal thrillers or children’s stories.  I’ve dabbled in science fiction and erotica too, but, normally, it’s the paranormal thrillers than win out.  So, to have such a huge positive response to Mr. Composure, is quite humbling really.  At the time of writing, I’m coming up to 80,000 reads, which is phenomenal, really.


And tomorrow, the last part is uploaded.  I have to admit to being a little anxious.  I’ve deliberately been somewhat vague about the main character but I knew exactly who he’d be when I started.  I had the final two sentences written pretty much as soon as I’d written the opening!  I think people are going to be surprised – and shocked – by two things in particular.


In fact, I hope they are.  That was my intention.


The story will be, I’m told, used to help promote the film over the next year.  I have no idea what form that promotion will take, but I’m looking forward to finding out.


Whatever happens, I do hope, if you’ve read Mr. Composure, you’ve enjoyed it (and voted!).


Either way, I sincerely thank everyone who has dropped by the story or my page for their support.  It honestly does mean SO much.


And, this comment by a reader made me feel I must be doing something correct with my writing.  This is what really makes my day.


“I just found a new role model in writing. YOU! Thank you for sharing your works!!! I just stumbled across your account and read one of your excerpts. Fantastic. Amazing. No words to describe my emotional disbelief that an individual can write so well. Keep it up, and never, ever, stop improving because my goodness, I don't even know if you CAN improve. I don't mean this in a bad way. I mean this in the way that you are literally the best, and your works are the best that I have ever come across. So well written!”

Monday, 23 June 2014

Composing Mr. Composure

Well, isn’t today an exciting day?

Why?  Because it's a Tuesday!  
Is that not a good enough reason?  You want to know more?

Well (again)...

Last year, my novel Sin was serialised on Wattpad – the YouTube of books with over 14 million unique hits per month.  I’d posted samples before this point and was surprised and delighted to be asked to put the whole book up there.  Of course this was a risk.  If people could read it, why would they buy it?  In the end, however, this hasn’t mattered.  At the point of writing, Sin has had over 607,200 reads and some very humbling comments.  The fact i now have such a large fanbase wipes out any concerns I had about book sales.  I’d much rather have someone tell me they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written than have a couple of quid and not hear anything.


Earlier this year, my wife and I watched a movie.  The premise of the film was that all crime, for twelve hours, would be legal.  The movie was called The Purge.  It was a little disturbing, to be honest, as it showed what some people might possibly do just because they could.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by the lovely Caitlin at Wattpad with another opportunity, one she wondered if I’d be interested in.

It seemed NBC Universal were bringing out the sequel, this time called The Purge: Anarchy.  It also seemed Wattpad were involved in the promotion of the film and had contacted their “top writers” (!) to ask if they’d like to write a story, based on the premise of the film, to coincide with the release of the film.

Would I be interested?  WOULD I??

That’ll be a yes!

Now, I admit to a little concern about this.  Not only was the story going to be tied in to the release of what I don’t doubt will be a successful film, but it was also outside my comfort zone.  I generally write paranormal thrillers.  Yes, I’ve dipped my toe in the waters of children’s poetry and erotica, but mainly it has a supernatural side.  For this, I figured ghosts or Death would be a little out of place.  Wattpad had said they wouldn’t mind a paranormal twist, so I set about writing.

I surprised myself.  The story seemed to come quite naturally, and I’d taken a different, hopefully original, path to tell the tale while still keeping it true to the premise.

It wasn’t easy going, to be honest.  I desperately needed a new computer at home so thought this was the perfect time, and excuse, to buy one.  It turned out my new PC didn’t want to download anything on Windows Update.  I spent two nights, when I should have been writing, trying to solve this issue.  Once I did, I then spent time getting the machine all set up.  Then I began to write.  Then the wireless keyboard decided to not want to play.  Then the helpdesk warranty people instructed me to do a system restore – back to just before I’d installed all the software.  Then I had to mess about doing it all again.


The story is to be written in four parts.  The first part of my work, Mr. Composure, will be going live today - 24th June - with subsequent parts being uploaded weekly.  Not only will it be going up on my own page, but NBC Universal will be featuring it on their page too.

And it will be used, over the course of the year, to promote the film!

Can I just say WOW!?!

So, please drop by and take a peek.  I hope you enjoy it!  And, watch out for the release of the film next month!

My Wattpad page is here.  You'll find Sin, along with lots of other stories by me and, now, part one of Mr. Composure!

NBC Universal's page is here, where you'll find my story plus others and a whole lot more!

Have a look at the trailer for The Purge: Anarchy.  Looking good!

Update!  As of 10:33am (UK time) on 28th June, Mr. Composure has had a massive 21,565 reads!  It's also been called 'the best story on Wattpad' and 'simply stunning'!


Update 2!  As of 07:55am (UK time) on 30th June, we're at 27,146 reads!  That's unbelievable!  Thank you so much to everyone who's dropped by.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and so many of you have left incredible comments!  Part two will be uploaded tomorrow (Tuesday).

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

It's an ePODemic

Print on Demand.  There’s so many options, it’s difficult to know where to turn.


And that’s my problem.  I don’t know where to turn.  A veritable plethora of PODs to pick from.  But which is the best?


Everyone seems to have their own opinions and pertinent points.  One offers free alterations, another has lower shipping costs, another better distribution.  But one might insist on a larger wholesale discount and another has greater printing costs.  It’s a conundrum which has my head spinning.


I’m looking from a UK point of view, remember.  I don’t know how these companies work in your respective countries, but the main options here include:





Lightning Source

Ingram Spark


FeedARead is sponsored by the UK Arts Council, I believe, and Ingram Spark is essentially Lightning Source for people with less than 30 books – which removes Lightning Source from the options anyway.  CreateSpace doesn’t actually print in the UK (I could be wrong) and I’m worried about shipping costs.  Lulu is OK (I’ve used them before), but the shipping costs aren’t cheap and others have less production costs too.


Then there’s ‘Global Marketing’ or ‘Extended Distribution’ or whatever each company wants to call their particular flavour of getting your book out into the big wide world.  They don’t all take returns, which could rule out independent bookstores taking on copies.


CreateSpace are part of Amazon, so your books will be on there, which is great, but they all, pretty much, get your book on the Mighty A.  With CS, your book will always be in stock, whereas with others it could say it’s normally 3 weeks delivery.  Or 6 weeks, even.


Ingram Spark are, as the name suggests (and by association Lightning Source), part of Ingrams.  This means your book is automatically on the Ingrams catalogue, a very useful thing to have.  FeedARead apparently make sure you’re listed on Bertrms and Gardners, again, very useful when you want your baby in bricks’n’mortar stores.  In the UK, some of these list on Waterstones too.


I’m heard the CreateSpace interface for adding your book is fantastic, a real breeze.  Lightning Source, on the other hand, is meant to a real pain.  Lulu isn’t too bad but is somewhat awkward.


Who do you use?  And why?  And why not one of the others?  Of course, it’s each to their own.  It could come down to the toss of a coin, but I’d be interested in views.


It’ll help me make my own mind up!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Stealing Moments...

Some ideas come from nowhere you can properly our your finger on. They seem to leap into your mind as if they were hiding behind that door wanting to make you jump. Or they feel like they've always been there, sneaking into your thoughts to the point where you can't actually remember not having the idea in your head at all.
Then there's the idea which comes from a word or a phrase or a picture or TV show. One that pops like a lightbulb and gets it's claws into your brain and refusing to shake its grip. 

Last year, I went to the Manchester Ethiad stadium to see Bon Jovi.  It was a concert is wanted to go to for years and I have to admit I wish I'd done it years before as it didn't live up to expectations. But that's as may be. 

One if the support acts was excellent. James Walsh, ex of Starsailor, was grey and a pleasure to watch and listen to. One of his songs was Precious Stolen Moments, and an idea formed. 

Or the hint of an idea, at least. 

In fact, I don't think it was even that. I think it was more like the title dug in for the winter, hibernating until the spring came and it could germinate into something much more. 

Well, spring is here. 

And the idea is germination and blossoming. 

Only the other day something was said about 'stolen moments' in a conversation with my wife, and that became the fertiliser I needed. 

Last week, I finished my story Secrets, the latest entry for my Darker Places collection - the follow up to Dark Places. My intention was to finish off Puddlebrain and continue to work on Mortal Sin, the sequel to Sin

Things don't always happen as I intend, and I felt the need to finally begin the story about these 'stolen moments'. 

And so it begins. I keep writing little bits as time allows, thankful for finally discovering OneNote on my iphone to let me keep track of such scribblings. 

Here it is so far. It's not much but, and this is something which happens very rarely, I know where it's going. I've even, after a fashion, written the ending. 


Stolen Moments
I help people. I help them. 
I don't kill them. I... I help them. I...

When they have nowhere to go except into the hearafter, I bring the hand of Death and theirs together, to be led peacefully wherever they would be taken.  

When the edge of night threatens to darken their day, I bring a torch with which to guide them on.

I don't kill them. 

I don't...

It started…  Oh God, when did it start?  It seems so long ago. Another lifetime. Another me. Another town. Another…

Well. Just 'another' everything.

Then things changed. Things changed so much. It was as if space and time were spinning about their singularity and one dipped its toe into the chaotic waters and I was one of the ripples. 

The crow, I think. 

It started with the crow.


I hope it shows promise. I think it does. It has its claws in me anywho, so I'm stuck with finishing it. I'll let you know when we're done! 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Rocking the Ages...

It was a wet and dreary day in Grimsby.


No, they’re actually not all like that.  It started bright and sunny.  I popped off into town to have my eyes tested (no, not to be able to see the weather properly, thank you) and then we dropped our youngest off at her nanna’s for the day.




Because we were going on a road trip!  Manchester, here we come!


But before I get to that, let’s take a moment to step back in time.  Not too far back, but, without a big blue police box, we’ll do our best to return to a day in 2012


Now, music is a big thing in our house.  Once or more of us is prone to bursting into song (badly in my case), or dance to something on the TV.  Only the other day, my 10 year old and 2 year old were singing the songs from Disney’s Frozen, and acting them out.  Whilst out driving somewhere, my 2 year old will ask for anything from Over the Rainbow to Cyndi Lauper to ACDC (one of her current favourites is Highway to Hell, which she’ll happily be air guitaring to).  My 10 year old is much the same.  My wife and I regularly go to concerts or The Yardbirds, our local rock club.


As such, it won’t be a surprise to tell you my wife was eager to see the film Rock of Ages.  So, being the wonderful husband I am, I took her.  At the beginnng, I was unsure.  A bit too cheesy.  It didn’t take long, however, for me to be swept up in the music, the comedy and the fact that Tom Cruise was actually decent in this.  I took the gleeful burst of applause she gave at the end as a sign she’d enjoyed it.


Unfortunately, when it came to be attempting to get tickets for the actual stage show, I was disappointed to find it had closed.  Ah, but it was on tour!  Yay!  Christmas was coming so tickets for the show would make a perfect present for my wife and ten year old.  As the best venue for us was Manchester (Palace Theatre), that’s what I booked.


Only to find out, a couple of weeks later, it was coming to Hull.  Manchester is 2½ hours away.  Hull is less than 45 minutes.


Oh well.  It would be a nice trip out, and we could grab something good to eat on the way.  A proper night out.


My girls were overjoyed when they opened the present to find the tickets inside.  None of us could wait.


So, tick, tick, BANG!  And we’re back to last weekend.  A dreary day that began quite pleasantly.


Manchester and Grimsby are virtually opposite sides of the country.  There’s a pretty straight road (the M62) which stretches across and it’s one we’ve travelled many times to various concerts and shows (30 Seconds to Mars, Snow Patrol, Bon Jovi and more).  It’s not an unpleasant drive.  The scenery is beautiful – and we like the little house stuck firmly where it always has bene, causing the road to split around it.  Yes, there’s roadworks.  Yes, there’s 50 mph limits with average speed cameras.  None of it matters.  Only once, when we went to see Snow Patrol the first time (excellent, though the second time we saw them thye were amazing), was the weather really bad.


Saturday, the weather was bad again.  It rained, heavily, for most of the way and when it didn’t, we were attacked by the spray from the cars on the wet roads.  Not nice, indeed.


But we got there and it was in time for that nice bite to eat.  There was only one choice for us, really.  Nandos!  Yum.  The car park, Nandos and the Palace Theatre were only around the corner from each other (luckily because of the weather, which had reduced form an onslaught to a drizzle), so we made it to the theatre in good time.


Our seats were two rows from the front, next to the aisle, and were well worth the extra money they cost.  We were in a prime place for the way the cast would come down to the front of the audience (singing to my daughter atone point), and the guy who was running along getting everyone to do a Mexican wave etc..


As for the show itself...?


Well, we we surprised, initially, to find it didn’t follow the film – or rather the film didn’t follow the show.  We weren’t expecting that, thinking it was the one story.  That didn’t matter though, it was still all great fun.

The band were brilliant, smashing through rock classics with the whole audience, more or less, singing along.  The cast were excellent too.  We were surprised (again) to see the lead was Noel Sullivan, whom we’d only seen fairly recently in Pricilla, Queen of the Desert.  It was a dramatic change of character for him, but one he handled admirably, and proved he can definitely sing.

The rest of the cast were great too, including the scantily clad backing singers and dancers.  In particular, Stephen Rahman-Hughes, who played Lonny and the NarratOR, shone.  He was hilarious and had everyone laughing and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself.  Daniel Fletcher as Donnie Dupree was very good too, and came down to the audience throwing bits of silver foil about – and had a little battle with it with ym daughter.

Of course, when the finale of Journey’s Don’t Stop believing started, everyone was on their feet, clapping and singing, testament to the fact we weren’t the only ones having a great time.


I liked the various touches where the narrator would talk directly to the audience, for example with his Dummies book and when he spoke to Drew as Noel (named after Christmas).  They added a quirkiness to a show that had already won us over easily.

We arrived home at around 1:30 am after leaving at just after 3 in the afternoon.


Was the journey worth it?  You’d better believe it!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Me, Myself and Cindy...

"An ordinary woman (?) with an extra-ordinary collection."
Here’s something a little different.  It’s an interview.  Yes, we’ve been there before, but not quite like this.  This time, Sin and I are joining forces to chat to long time fan and friend, Cindy Harper.  Now, you know Sin can ramble on, so I’ll try to keep him in check.  Not sure how successful I’ll be.
Ey up, me ol’ china!  Sin here.  Me and what’s his name were wondering if you’d be willing to answer a few questions.  Not in a ‘You’re nicked’ police kind of way, more in a ‘You’re a fan?  How weird!’ kind of way.
Shaun: Hi Cindy.  What he means is, would you mind being interviewed about your ‘love’ of Sin?  Before he gets excited, I mean the story, of course.
Cindy: I'd be happy to.  Good thing I just finished reading his story again.
Sin: Again?  How many times is that now?
Shaun: Are you finding new things each time you read it, or are you simply enjoying the ride (I assume there’s enjoyment in there)?
Cindy - Sin: I've read your story close to a dozen times now. The prologue maybe a half dozen more.
Cindy - Shaun: I do find new things every now and again. Or certain parts will resonate stronger than before. The first time I read Sin's story, it was the shorter, original version. I could only get a few pages in at a time, because it was so strange being that far inside someone's head. Then, the longer version came out. Once I'd gotten through the complete book, I was going along for whatever ride Sin wanted to take.
Sin: Wow.  And they call me insane!  I have to admit to feeling a little flattered though.
Shaun: That’s impressive.  I’ve watched the same film more than once and occasionally read a book a few times (The Belgariad and Ocean at the End of the Lane) but none that many times.  What is it about Sin which captivates you so?
Sin: Yes.  What he said.
Cindy: OK.  Why am I insane?
Sin: Reading my story so many times!  I didn’t realise I was that interesting!
Shaun: He said it, not me.  I think reading my book so many times is a little weird.  I mean a sign of impeccable taste!
Cindy - Sin: You are unlike any other character I've ever read. That you openly allow your reader so far inside your head? I can only marvel at,  and wonder where and what you're going to do next.
Cindy - Shaun: Admit it, you're pleased. I know I've told family and friends that if they don't want to read the whole book, at least read the prologue. After that, then decide if you want to read the rest of the story.  More often than not, I end up loaning out my printed copy of the book.
Sin's story will stay with you long after reading.  I know a couple of friends that won't pick up coins from the ground anymore. I've watched them reach for a penny, but pull back at the last moment before touching said coin. They'll laugh at themselves,  and then move on. The coin left behind.
For a while there, I kept finding dimes. Even when I knew my pocket was empty, a dime would show up. No clue where it came from; it was just there. Creeped me out for a bit. I laughed about it, but it was still weird.
I do know the "Flip. Catch." has captured my imagination. I've been designing a quilt based on some of the imagery from the story. I've been given a two pence to work and play with. It's been an interesting experiment to try and photograph the coin flipping in midair. I haven't gotten all of the quilt designed yet. I'm still trying to decide if I want to storyboard key scenes, or just focus on the coin. You'll know once the quilt is done.
Sin: Hey, if I have to walk through the darkened halls of my mind, I want someone there holding my hand!  Who knows what might jump out at us?!
Shaun: OK, I admit it.  You’re my very own stalker cheerleader and it’s very flattering.  As for the coins, a few people have told me that.  I think it’s so cool that my book can have that effect on them! 
Sin: I think I’ll avoid all currency that isn’t in note form from now on!  Much safer.  You can’t flip a tenner!
Shaun: Chicken.  So, Cindy – What do you think to Joy?  Do you think she helps or hinders Sin?
Sin: Don’t just be nice because she’s my sister!
Cindy - Sin: The idea that you'd "want" someone to hold your hand... I'm almost speechless. That you'd be afraid of what might jump out at you?!? Who are you? And what have you done with Sin??
*peers at Shaun a bit closer* Cindy - Shaun, are you messing around with Sin's psyche again? I'd have never thought Sin would be the one to be 'afraid' of anything, let alone what might be in the dark.
Unless... *pauses to consider* Unless... Sin's getting sweet on a dame. *eyes twinkling* Sin? Have you gotten yourself a dame stashed somewhere?
Cindy - Shaun: I am but a fan. Ok, a cheerleader, too.  I'm working hard at not falling into the 'stalker' category. :-P I've met stalker-fans. *cringes* Yeah, so NOT want to be like that. As my job as cheerleader, how goes the sequel "Mortal Sin"? Please don't tell me I'm going to have to wait 10 years before getting my fingers on a copy of that story. 
Cindy - Sin: Or, you could just get yourself a debit card. You'd never have to touch currency of any sort. Although, it might be interesting to see what would happen if you did a 'flip, catch' with any other sort of currency. I'll admit to be curious about what other sorts of things may or may not happen. *pauses to consider* Or, is it just that particular coin that forces you to focus?
Cindy - Shaun: Joy adds depth to Sin's story. While I get that she has "rules" she can't break, it's interesting watching her try to bend them to attempt to help Sin. As for whether or not she's there to help him? I haven't quite decided. She's there for a purpose. At first, I thought she was more of a manifestation of his conscience, and this was just another way of showing how he's trying to deal with himself (and what he's done).  When Joy's story came out, I needed to reassess my original thoughts on her. The Matthews family has issues. Like SERIOUS issues. Where did those come from? Why did they manifest the way they did? Was there more to the parents (in particular, the dad) that we've been shown? 
Cindy - Sin: You should know me well enough, by now, to know I'm not going to hold any punches about your story or the characters in it. Joy is a beacon. I'm reserving judgment if she's there as a savior or destroyer. 
Sin: Wouldn’t you be afraid wandering around inside my head?  If not, then maybe you need to be in the asylum yourself!  As for me getting sweet on a ‘dame’, my lips are sealed.  Nothing and no-one stashed here, no way, no how.
Shaun: Don’t be blaming me.  He’s a law (of physics) unto himself!  I don’t think he’s afraid of the dark, I think he’s afraid of his dark.
Sin:  Ohhh, get you, Mr.  Deep  Thinker.  Didn’t know you had it in you.
Shaun: Don’t start.  I’ve got you in me!  Anyway, Cindy.  You’re more than a fan.  Definitely cheerleader material, with everything you’ve done for us.  We appreciate it.  The sequel is going…  Sin, being Sin was meant to visit a certain place.  Unfortunately for me, he didn’t and it’s kind of surprised me, so I’ve stalled a little.  I need to research with a policeman what might happen next.  I do hope it won’t be ten years!
Sin:  Hey, don’t blame me.  I didn’t mean to get myself arrested!
Shaun:  Shhh…
Sin:  A debit card is a good idea.  Saying that, I never had an issue with, say, a fifty pence piece.  It was always that two pence coin.
Shaun:  I did, actually, think Joy may have been Sin’s sub-conscious.  Things are often not as I expect, though, so it turned out she wasn’t.  She holds him in check as much as she can but can’t help certain things happening.  Hopefully, in the sequel, she’ll have more success.  She’ll certainly try.  I think their parents may have an appearance, and we may see behind the boarded up door.  Not sure yet.
Sin:  Joy is bacon?  Oh, you meant…  Well, we’ll see.  So, this all happens where we grew up.  Could you see stories written about where you grew up, or is it all too ‘normal’?
Shaun:  Good point.  I always thought Grimsby was a bit ‘grim’ and here am I writing about it!
Cindy - Sin: Oh, Sin. Whatever am I to do with you? There are days you give me hope. In the most unexpected ways.
Cindy - Shaun: Now that Sin's story is released as an audiobook, how do you feel about the 'voice' that's been given to him? How close is the actor's voice to the voice that ping-pongs inside your head?
Cindy - Sin: How close is this bloke's voice (on the audiobook format) to your own? 
Sin:  Cindy, the fact that I could give anyone hope gives me hope.  And proves the world is weirder than I ever imagined.  Or you are, not sure which.
Shaun:  At first, I wasn’t so sure.  Because Sin is so much a part of me (Sin: Or you a part of me…), I expected him to sound, well… like me!  The fact he doesn’t took some getting used to.  Roger, the (Grammy nominated) narrator, put on something of an accent to ‘Northernise’ his own accent, but still, it didn’t sound like I thought he should.  It didn’t take long, however, to become accustomed and then to feel he had it spot on.  The depth and warmth to his voice matches perfectly.  Now, I can’t imagine any other voice.  He’s going to be doing Dark Places soon, I believe.
Sin:  I don’t sound that much like you, Shaun.  Too nasally.  Roger is a well-spoken Southerner, as he describes himself, so he doesn’t particularly sound like me either.  But yes, I agree.  Once you get well into in, it feels natural.  Maybe more natural than I do.  It’s very strange having someone else read my words as me.  What do you think Cindy?  Do you know how Shaun speaks?  Is it anywhere close to how you imagine I speak?
Cindy - Sin: The only time I've heard Shaun speak is on random videos he's posted to Facebook and on radio interviews. We've never called each other to speak on the phone.  As for whether I think either of you sound alike? *shakes head* No. The both of you are vastly different.  Listening to your words for the first time was an adjustment. It took me a couple of chapters to get used to this voice. I'd been expecting something a bit more 'rough around the edges'. However, now that I'm almost all of the way through, it's easier to accept the actor's voice as yours.
Cindy - Shaun: Where will you go from here? What will be the next step(s) in Sin's world?  I am curious about something, if I may. How did the idea of telling Sin's story from inside his head germinate? Why tell his story from this view point? I know it took a few years to write. I get that.
Sin: Ah, I’m pleased you feel we’re so very different.  I’d hate to think that people see us as the same person.  I’m sure Shaun would too, considering what I’m like.  Not that I’m bad or anything – just misunderstood.  By the Grim Reaper.  Do you like how the audiobook turned out then?  I have to say I do.  Well, I don’t have to say, but I want to say.  You know what I mean.  You’ve been in my head almost as much as I have!
Shaun: Well, there’s Sin’s blog, which he’s a bit lax on writing recently!  And, of course, I have his sequel in process.  I think he may write another short story, but I’m unsure about the how and where.  Perhaps after Mortal Sin is done.
Sin:  Lax?  Me?  Do you know how hard it is to get time to write, either here in the asylum or there in your head?  And, talking of lax, the sequel…?
Shaun: Yes, I know.  I need to work more on it.  I had to finish Home and now I’m working on getting Singularity Books up.  It’s going around in my head.
Sin:  Yes, I know that – I’m getting dizzy!
Shaun:  Writing Sin from his point of view was accident, really.  I just started writing and there he was.  I had no idea what sort of story it was going to be, it went the way it wanted to.  I possibly needed to write it to let out my inner demons.  Now I have, they still want to play and he still doesn’t want to shut up!
Sin: You just be careful with those demons.  They bite.  Cindy – How did you start on the quilts and so on?  I’m looking forward to a certain one!
Cindy - Sin: *laughs* The two of you... sheesh. It took me a while to like the audiobook. I'd been waiting for one to come out since your story was in its shortened version on Smashwords. *pauses* That seems so long ago.
Cindy - Shaun: I've noticed a curious lack of journaling on his blog. I'm going to assume it's because you've been so busy with promoting and helping others get their stories out. (Quite noble and interesting to watch it all unfold.)
Cindy - Sin: You complain of difficulty trying to write because Shaun is so busy. Maybe you ought to try talking him into getting you some sort of tape recorder. At least you can get the words out. Have Shaun play secretary, and type up the dictation.  ;-)
Cindy - Shaun: Just kidding. I hope.  Singularity Books? I saw you were working on a logo. Will you be publishing works by other authors, too?
Cindy - Sin: How do I start the art quilts? Usually, it's one of two ways. The easiest is seeing a completed image done by someone. I've been working with an artist that draws his own art and an actor that does photo-art.
The more difficult way is when I think of an image. I stink at sketching and drawing. (It's not where my strongest skills are.) I have to figure out how to get the image out of my head and into a format someone else can see.
Once I have an image I can play/work with, it gets turned into a digital image (if it isn't already). From there, I process said image in photo imaging software. This step is the crucial part. If I can't get the image to work here, it's not going to work later.
At this point, I begin figuring out how big I want to make the art quilt. I try to keep the image within standard quilt sizes, as it's more comfortable. I print out my newly manipulated image in the size I want, and then start piecing my base pattern together. (Yes, this is all the prelude to working with the fabrics.)
Once the base pattern is assembled, I put it on my light wall. (It's like a light table, only bigger.) The design goes through another round of inspections. I'm looking for any areas that aren't as well defined or may give me some trouble.  I'm also looking for where to start and figuring out a general path/pattern to complete the design.
By now, I've already sorted my collected fabrics and have a background picked out. From there, it's making all those pieces. Each piece is drawn (traced out) and cut out by hand. It's time consuming and tedious work, but this is where I can finally get the image completely out of my head and allow someone else to see it.
By the time I get done, the finished quilt is usually a fair size bigger than I intended. (I still haven't figured out how that one works.)  I've been accused of painting and/or printing the image onto fabric. I don't. I do, somehow, manage to get a fair amount of 3-D effects. It's really neat how that works out.
Oh! I just realized you were asking how I got STARTED doing art quilts! *laughs* Oops.
A friend of mine sent me a few photos that I thought would look neat in fabrics. I asked if he was ok with letting me try it out. After a bit of negotiations, an agreement was met. My first art quilt can be seen in my Facebook photo album called "Quilts". The quilt is called 'Dream Lover'. (I know, I know. Lack of imagination on titles.) This is really the quilt that started it all. I suppose I should finish it some time.
As for a very specific quilt I've got percolating in the back of my head, I'm still trying to capture the image of a two pence coin flipping in midair. I know the effect I want, can even see it in my head. Trying to get the digital version has been entertaining.
Sin:  It does seem an age ago.  I still remember well churning out the words on the bank of the Nile, but the actual completion of the book feels beforethat, weirdly. 
Shaun:  I don’t know about noble, lol.  We just know how hard it was for us when we started out, so wanted to pass on some knowledge to others.  It’s taking off quite well, with local towns showing an interest and, potentially, a TV show in the offing!  As for the audiobook, I spoke to the narrator a few days ago.  He wanted to touch base on my feelings for the stories and the voice I felt was required.  He sees some of the terminology and ways the stories are written to be quite ‘Sin-esque’ and wondered if Sin’s voice should be used.  We’re going for something more with a hint of Richard Burton though.  With the blog, I’m trying to fit it in around my own blog and promotion and, well, life generally!
Sin:  Fit me in?  Fit me in?  Excuse me while I sit idly by and watch the world spin.
Shaun:  Hey, don’t pout.  It doesn’t suit you.  You know you’re never far from my mind.  There’s only so many hours in a day.  Maybe you should add time-travel to your repertoire?
Sin:  I wouldn’t put it past whatever’s inside of me.  Anywho-be-do.  Cindy.  A tape recorder?  He has voice memo on his phone.  Never uses it.  Oh, once he recorded the sound of the sea whilst in Majorca.
Shaun:  I like the sound of the sea.  He’s right though – I wouldn’t remember to take it out.  It’d be the same if I had a notepad.  I’d probably not have a pen.  I get there in the end, though.  And hopefully, when I do, it’s worth the wait.  Regarding Singularity Books, I want to collect all my books under my own banner.  They’ll have an identity and, hopefully, people will like it.  I hadn’t thought about taking others on, actually.  I was just doing it for my own books.  I suppose it’s something I could potentially look at one day, maybe.
Sin:  Your quilts do look amazing.  Some of the depth to the images is brilliant.  Yes, I did mean how did you start doing them in the first places, but thanks for the info.  It was very interesting.  You mentioned my quilt sooo long ago.  You can’t complain about me keeping you waiting!
Shaun:  Yeah, what he said!
Cindy:  Alright guys, I'm sure Shaun has a lot going on. Plus, Sin -- you, my dear, have a sequel to finish. Whereas I've been not so subtly reminded I've got a "special" quilt to work on. I can't thank you enough for all the time you've given me. It really means a lot.
Shaun:  Thanks for joining us!  It means to lot to the both of us that you’re such a fan and unfaltering advocate of our work.
Sin:  I agree.  It’s a pleasure to know you and know I have, at least, one friend!  If you’re ever passing, I’ll keep a seat warm for you, though I can’t promise Mucous Mickey hasn’t been there first.


I asked Cindy to remind me how we met. This was her answer:

"You followed me on Twitter. You kept promoting this book you'd released on Smashwords. One day, you offered a 50% discount on it. So, I looked it up. The prologue sounded intriguing, and I bought it. That's how I met Sin.

Basically. Once I'd found your webpage, I started looking into anything else you'd written. Imagine my surprise when I found Sin's blog. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Here you have a fictional character writing a not-so-fictional blog about fictional happenings. You'd grown Sin from just words on a screen to something that was as tangible as any other human that writes.
My first thoughts were, "Now that's a neat shtick." I had no clue how you were going to be able to separate yourself from your creation, or how long it'd last.
As the blog posts went up, there was a certain amount of charm to them. Since I didn't really want to let Sin go, this was a neat way to watch him grow and develop even more.
Yes, I treat Sin like he's a 'normal' human being. That's because of how you've presented him. Do I understand he's a fictional character?  Yes. I'm very aware he's not a living, breathing human being. That you have the skills to make him transcend mere words on a page is incredible.
Thank you for allowing me to be part of his world."

Thank you, Cindy, for helping Sin become more than simply words.