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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Author Names and Male Readership.

I have had a Harper Collin's review on BEHIND THE HOOD stating this:

"The novel shines a light on a cultural sector rarely addressed in fiction writing, and the fast-paced narrative befits a contemporary thriller fiction novel for a predominantly male market."

The reason I have highlighted this is because I've noticed that my readership so far have been predominantly female.  And lately I have been wondering why.  Today I came across an article on Amanda Hocking's website amandahocking.blogspot.com mentioning the author's name and its relevance to sells.  It says that J.K. Rowing didn't put here full name in because publishers didn't think guys would buy a book by a female. Now this has got me thinking about my book, because I've put my full name on there.  Have I made a mistake in doing this?  And have other authors made the same mistake, even though their book may be more geared towards the male demographic?

To back up why I'm thinking this is because so far I have only had reviews from females on all my book sites.  Plus, on Goodreads I have more females putting my book on their to-read  list than males (although it is only a 15 to 9 margin).  Yes, my book only came out on August the 11th (2011), but I still believe that there may be a case to what the publishers have done in relation to J.K. Rowling.

Also, J.R.Ward, the writer of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (a paranormal romance writer), has also kept her full name out.  However, I believe her series is definitely geared towards females, the romance side of things and the way she depicts the males are obviously to please a female readership.  Yes, she has some characters and story-lines that may interest males (although not my husband, who read it because he'd finished all of his novels, then to my annoyance made fun of it).  But still, did she not include her full name because she also wanted to attract a male readership as well as female? 

So, what do you think?  Does the author's name make a difference?

Chapters 1 to 8 of BEHIND THE HOOD

This post has been removed due to a contract with Kindle Select. If you wish to read some free chapters please click on the Amazon Links below then click to look inside the book.




LINKS to BEHIND THE HOOD:


Monday, August 29, 2011

People following my blog

Everyone that is following my blog will be automatically put into the draw to win my ebook BEHIND THE HOOD. And anyone that signs up by Friday the 3rd will also go into the draw.

LINKS:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Author Interviews: Joseph Beekman.





Marita: Which of your books would you like to tell us about?

Joseph: Well, my first book, a short story or novella titled "A Tail Spun."  It is something that I really enjoyed writing.  It centers around a time when mankind has fallen and no longer exists, and Earth is now inhabited only by a select number of species, including mythical and fantastical creatures. A centuries-long war rages between the surface alliance, led by the brave and colorful cats, and the vile underground rats.  The alliance fights for survival and peace amidst a haunted world in a post-apocalyptic and mythical age of Earth, while the rats want nothing more than total annihilation of the remaining species.  To survive, the surface alliance must not only defeat their age-old enemy, but must also face an ancient foe from the birth of existence.

Marita: Where did you get the idea for the title and story from?

Joseph: "A Tail Spun"  The title is a play-on-words (a tale told), plus it worked for the story with it having cats, rats, and even spiders!  It is the first volume in what may very well be a trilogy. I have always loved mythology and old history, and with a love for animals and a passion for storytelling I decided to write this story.  But the spark that ignited the idea was when I had adopted a 4 week-old street kitten from a friend.  My friend had named him Jack.  I later extended his name to be Jack Galapagos Mesopawtamia! lol.  He became the main focal point and fictional character in the story.  He is now twelve years old, so I have had the story rambling around in my imagination for a bit.

Marita: Where can people learn more about you and your work? 

Joseph: People can learn about me through Facebook, or through my books on Amazon books, "A Tail Spun" and "Little Orphan Anvil".  Also, at Amazon central for my info/books.  I am a graduate from the University of Arizona in Fine Arts/Media Arts, (1994), and have always been involved in creative ventures.  Storytelling has been my passion since childhood, so writing books, short story adventures, etc..., is something I will continue to pursue.

Links:
"A Tail Spun"  http://www.amazon.com/Tail-Spun-1-Joseph-Beekman/dp/1451547153/
"Little Orphan Anvil"  http://www.amazon.com/Little-Orphan-Anvil-1/dp/1460979796/ 


Sample from "A Tail Spun."

Chapter VIII
the Black Sea Rendezvous
A heavy, dreary mist blanketed the rock strewn shoreline of the Black Sea where thousands of allied forces had assembled, awaiting the great doomsday invasion.

Jack sat upon a high ledge extending from one of the many crannies in the cliffs that overlooked the blackened waters. Muin and Nemone walked along the shoreline in the distance, just two silhouettes in the grayish light. He glimpsed a few blackbirds that flew above the water on routine air patrol for signs of any unwanted activity.

Looking far to his right, Jack made out a dark cave tucked into the cliffs that extended down below the level of the Black Sea. He then saw the large cat-form of Bardaboo prowling back and forth by the entrance. Bardaboo was either fine tuning the layouts of the Tail Runners entry assault, or, as had been a more frequent obsession with him, searching for another eye.

'What a character you are Bardaboo...' Jack mused. 'Always keeping your one eye on the look-out for a so-called bionic eye that will replace your other missing eye…'

Along with an end to the war, it was Bardaboo's never-ending hope to one day come across some sort of electrical imaging lens, unearthed from humanity's former technological past, and somehow have it fused to the nerve endings within his missing octave cavity.

'We truly are a curious and crazy lot, Bardaboo...'

It was in this cave that their forces would enter. And with the grace of the Gods and the hope and strength in their hearts, they would have a chance to change the tide once and for all and bring about a new beginning for life.

Mesmerized by the sinister hole, Jack reflected on how the Root of evil had been conceived. Not exactly the way the old ages of humanity had cemented their belief in evil’s existence, but a variation, nonetheless, amongst the other Earth-bred life.

After the fall of humanity, the varied conception of evil had been implemented in the existing species through the Gods of old. A mere blink in the creatory space of time's birth, evil began as a fragmented shell of chaos, defective and exiled to confinement in the deepest bowels of Earth, never to exist among the light of order. For it was this spoiled shell's refusal to unite with the Gods and their harmonious wellspring for life, that it was cast into darkness.

It was down in the dark nest of Earth, what had always been referred to as Hell, that this shard of chaos grew into a central, transforming orb of evil. Extending itself in the form of a root, it had, over countless centuries, mainlined up through an already cruel rat-infested underground to the edge of the Black Sea.

Thus, the Black Sea, once an oasis of birth, was now a hauntingly dead sea, having been infected with Root’s evil and the foulness of the rat.

"But tomorrow, we shall change that…" Ankou whispered into Jack's ear.

Jack reeled around, startled by the ghostly voice and Ankou's spooky ability to read thoughts. Ankou was the shadow of death, however, and once-appointed guardian for any stray-ing souls attempting to exit Hell.

"Sorry, Jack! I do fathom quite the scare in cats, don't I?" Ankou said sarcastically. He stood a few inches taller than Jack, and exuded a ghostly presence and appearance whenever on the brink of war.

Jack nodded; the hairs on his back easing down. "I'll give you that, Ankou," he said heartily. "Good to see you again, my friend.” Jack looked back to the cave. "Seems not long ago we made our way out of there, and then you were granted leave from the Gods to help in the war."

"Yessss…" Ankou recalled. "Plus, the fact that the exit we fled out of is now a sealed scab, since the Root lashed it closed after your crazy little escapade with Zeta's rescue. So basically…I was cut off from being invited back in as the river's caretaker."

Jack looked back at him with a sly smile. "Hey, you became a part of all that when you helped lead us out - remember? And now the only way back is at the tail end of the Root."

"The original way you and Muin first went in was an ancient sewer, now, no longer existing. How you managed to get past those rats…" Ankou thought aloud, shaking his head.

Jack straightened up in a defiantly proud stature. "You're not the only one with a legendary mark of mythical lore on his skin, my friend!" he said amusingly.

"All right…well, we are all prepped and primed to annihilate without mercy!” Ankou stated heroically. “Adonis has filled me in on the final phase: the extraction of The Root. I'm quite impressed by this momentous act, Jack…‘Operation Damnation and Uproot!’"


Saturday, August 27, 2011

SAMPLE SUNDAY: BEHIND THE HOOD (Chapters 1-3)

This post has been removed due to a contract with Kindle Select. If you wish to read some free chapters please click on the Amazon Links below then click to look inside the book.


LINKS to BEHIND THE HOOD:

Friday, August 26, 2011

MY ART BIO.

I won't tell you when I was born (as an upcoming birthday isn't making me happy), but I can tell you a little about my history as an artist.  I started painting and drawing from a very young age.  My first experiences with art, minus the crayons, was pencil drawing.  Originally I did a lot of portraits, but as I  got older I became more interested in creating unique drawings, such as below in my artwork "Canned." 


This is a pen and pencil drawing on illustration board.  Iron bars have been placed over the top of glass, and an aluminium frame (cut from an old fridge) has been used as the frame.  I remember when I went to show this work to a company. Halfway through our talks I mentioned something about pencils and the main guy looked at me stunned, then said he'd thought it was a photograph. 


Once I left school, I was trained as a graphic designer at Auckland's Technical Institute, then worked in this field for a local newspaper.  But I eventually decided that graphic design wasn't for me and did a Bachelors, then an Honours degree at the University of Auckland.  I continued drawing, but started to concentrate more on painting as drawing was too easy for me, and I got sick of people thinking they were photos.

My photo-realistic style, mixed in with the beginnings of my compicturistic style,  can be seen in this oil painting of my daughter.


With my interest in photographs and photocopies, I eventually developed a style called 'compicturism'.  The name compicturism is a combination of the words ‘component' and ‘picture'. This is evident throughout my works where the smaller components of my pictures become more prevalent, seen in the many specks, dots, lines and other broken up elements of solid images. At times compicturism also allows areas of white to cross over the boundaries of different forms.  Compicturistic images are done through the process of placing thin layers of paint upon the canvas. The base colour is applied, followed by black, white and a number of other tonal variations (often in thin lines). A very fine triple zero brush is used to do the detail.

 Here is a close-up of one of my compicturistic paintings:

The March of Summer (Acrylic on Canvas)

These types of paintings are influenced by the diminished effects of photocopies and the tight detail involved in photographs. Everything is done in a very flat style. There is no texture involved, so as to further reflect the flatness of photographs and photocopies. My influence of photocopies can also be seen in the domination of lines within these images. Often when photocopiers run out of ink they leave lines running through the image on the paper. I have taken this further by accentuating these lines in full colour.  In some of my more recent paintings these lines start to run not only in horizontals and verticals, but also in diagonals. The use of lines is probably the most characteristic element of my style.

My work has won art awards and recognition from a number of notable people and groups.  When I was in New Zealand, I won two awards at the Art Auckland 2008 show: The Ngaire Stewart Award for Best Work in Show, and the Open Oil/Acrylic Category first prize.  The winning work "On Patrol" depicted a moment in time showing two New Zealand Military officers talking to Afghanistan Refugees.  In the background I depicted the local Afghanistan landscape in a detailed compicturistic style.  The Mayor of Auckland (at the time) Hon' John Banks, who had previously purchased my award winning "Aspects of Auckland," presented me with the main award.  Another major work completed in 2008 that gained a high amount of recognition was when the Dalmatian Cultural Society commissioned me to do a very large series of paintings detailing the past 150 years of Dalmatian history in New Zealand.  I'm often inspired by my Dalmatian (Croatian) heritage.  I have also painted other images detailing the Dalmatian culture in New Zealand (Dalmatian picnic scenes, kolo paintings and more).

In addition to my compicturistic style, I've also ventured into the world of children's illustration. This can be seen in my large drawing of the world, where each country has iconic images within their borders.  The sea instead has drawings of fish and boats relating to that area of the world.



On a larger scale, I have painted a couple of rooms (one ceiling and a number of walls) with my brother David Matulovich (an established interior decorator and artist).  This was at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital.  We did a space theme for one and a mixture for the other.

Next week I will talk about my history in writing.  And when I return to New Zealand I will photograph more of my artworks and popped them up here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Author of the Week: Louise Wise.

Louise Wise
Author of A Proper Charlie

Although on the surface A Proper Charlie seems like a light-hearted romantic comedy it delves into the dark side of prostitution on the London Streets. Based very loosely on Jack the Ripper the police become alarmed when prostitutes begin to go missing, and tabloids are thrust into a race for the best headline. Charlie (Charlotte) Wallis envisions herself being a journalist at London Core, unfortunately she’s nothing more than the office gofers. A new boss means fresh beginnings – and someone to impress. She dresses as a hooker and sets about getting The Big Story. But hang on … isn’t that her new boss kerb-crawling? Charlie the Investigator? Heaven help us all!


Louise Wise was born in Northampton, England (where the late Princess Diana grew up). A Proper Charlie is her second novel, the first is called Eden, is a straight romance in a science-fiction setting. She’s an active blogger and by day works as a pharmacist.

What age group is you book geared towards?
Sixteen to sixty.

Into which genre would you say your book falls?
Contemporary Fiction.
Tell us a little about your book?
During writing Eden I discovered chick lit and found I really enjoyed the style. I love books to be realistic at the same time though, and so didn’t want to write about shopping, shoes and anything too “girly” and so when a copy-cat Jack the Ripper type nutter hit the headlines I came up with an idea of Charlie Wallis who means well but gets things wrong. Charlie’s background is a sad one (she grew up in a care home) and really all she wants is security and acknowledgment.  I love her.

A PROPER CHARLIE – part review from Amazon:
Excellent!
 
A Proper Charlie is Charlotte Wallis, a girl who isn't entirely sure what she wants to do with her life career wise. She knows she's insecure due to her parentless background and clings on to men for all the wrong reasons. She's had a poor upbringing and little education but knows she can do better. She sets out to "prove herself" when local prostitutes begin to go missing by researching them and writing an article. But the prostitutes become her friends and so when another of them goes missing, it becomes personal to her. 
Her boss, Ben Middleton, has suffered a bereavement and family breakdown. His mother has died, and his volatile father and head-strong sister have become estranged. He hires a private investigator to find her, and the PI discovers she befriended a prostitute - the same prostitute that went missing. Ben is worried about his sister, and goes out looking for her. 

Unbeknown to Ben and Charlie they meet several times on the streets. At work they both feel an attraction, but Ben feels Charlie's too modern and "out there" for him, in turn Charlie thinks Ben wouldn't look twice at an ordinary office worker such as her. 

And then Ben becomes a suspect for the missing prostitutes... It's an excellent story. It has to be read! Funny and profound all at once.
 
 
What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
  
Charlie watched as he fell back onto her settee, and then straddled his lap. Oh my God! What was she doing! She was having an out-of-body-experience, she thought. Only she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Very much so. She wriggled against him wonderingly and excitement flared in her body as his own rose to her teasing.
  His lips parted on a groan, and his Cadbury eyes blazed. She was rocking on Ben Middleton’s lap like she was in a third-rate porn movie. Rocking on the man of her dreams’ hardening lap.
  A criminal’s lap.
  She had recognised him the instant he pulled up beside her in the Audi. The hair curling around the ears, the way he held the angle of his head, the slight slip-up on the stupid Scottish accent. Oh, yes, here at her disposal was Ben Middleton. And boy, was she going to see justice done!
  But then he kissed her.
  She felt her body relax like she had been steeling herself against this passion but had now given up. His tongue entered her mouth, and when she met it with her own she knew she was lost. The kiss was explosive and volatile, and suddenly she was lying on the settee and he was on top. His hands were in her hair, as his tongue explored the moist softness of her mouth.
  She wasn’t setting him up in a honey-trap, he wasn’t an abductor or even Ben Middleton. She wasn’t a pretend prostitute, a journalist or Charlotte Wallis. They weren’t even people anymore. They’d melted and fused in a tangle of passionate chaos.
  She felt his hand mould around her breast; her jacket was open at the front revealing the plain white T-shirt. He pulled it up, clumsy and impatient in his desire, and this power she had over him drove her wild! Her flimsy bra was no barrier as her breast came alive under his inquisitive fingers. She moaned and arched towards him. That she’d hate herself afterwards; that he’d hate her didn’t seem to figure in her enflamed, glazed mind.
  Their unchecked passion was frightening. And all at once, he was on the floor and she on top, mouths still together, hands pulling at one another’s clothes.
  The telephone rang.
  Charlie froze. Then all her senses came flooding back. She scrambled up, and ignoring the phone patted her jacket pockets for the knife.
  ‘What’s the matter?’ Ben croaked, he didn’t appear to hear the phone. He looked as soppy as she felt. He held out a hand to her. ‘Come back.’
  ‘Condom,’ she said, and forced a smile. She felt sick. Sick with that she’d lost control so easily. He’s a criminal, she reminded herself. He abducted Sally Readman.
  She pointed the knife at him. ‘I’m armed.’
  ‘Charlie…?’ Ben lowered his hand. He stared from the knife to her. ‘Is this a joke?’
  Charlie’s chin trembled and tears spilled from her eyes. ‘I’m deadly serious.’
  Ben sat up. ‘And I’m deadly confused. One minute we were… and the next you’re holding a knife to my face.’
  ‘It’s a lock-knife, and it isn’t in your face.’ She moved forward and bent slightly so she was at his level. ‘This is at your face.’
  Ben flinched, and Charlie swallowed. She tried to stop her tears from falling and her chin from wobbling, but she couldn’t. She rubbed her nose and almost stabbed herself in the eye.
The phone stopped ringing and the answer machine kicked in. ‘Hi, Lottie, it’s Andy. Just to say, I forgive you and I’ll be home by Friday. Get the beers in, eh? Bye darlin’.’
They both stared at the phone, then Ben scrambled up and grabbed her hand around the knife. Charlie brought up her knee like all girls are taught.
  ‘Ben Middleton,’ she said as Ben sank to the floor once again with an anguished cry of pain. She held the knife out warningly towards him. ‘I didn’t listen to the rumours about you. I believed your innocence,’ she swallowed on some emotion, ‘b-believed you. God, how stupid. I e-even felt sorry for you!’
  Ben stared up at her from where he knelt; his face still contorted in pain.
  ‘You s-seemed sad a-and haunted by something. Now I know what it was…’ her voice broke and her tears fell freely. ‘Guilt!’
  ‘I don’t under –’ he began. His expression was changing to bewilderment. He began to stand.
  ‘No!’ she shouted. She moved towards the phone. ‘Stay where you are. I’m making a citizen’s arrest!’
  Ben’s confusion was swapped with shock. ‘You can’t think I had anything to do with the abductions? Charlie, I was cleared! It was a misunderstanding, that’s all!’
  Slowing standing, Ben held out his hands in a gesture of innocence. ‘OK, I know how this looks, but I don’t normally pick up prostitutes. The only reason I did this time was because I knew it was you.’
  She glared at him and he coloured.
  ‘That didn’t come out right.’
  ‘Sure didn’t.’ She looked away to reach for the telephone and Ben moved in, quickly grabbing the wrist that was holding the knife. Charlie yelled angrily and brought her knee up again, but this time he was ready, catching her leg between his own.
  The close contact reminded her of their earlier desire and embarrassed her. She pushed against him, but he easily held her and the knife slipped from her fingers to fall noiselessly to the carpet.
Breathing heavily, Ben pushed her away from him onto the settee, so he was free to pick up the knife unchallenged. ‘I’m not the abductor,’ he said. ‘I don’t suppose I’m any more a kidnapper than you’re a hooker, eh? What’s going on Charlie?’
  ‘Maybe that’s what you could tell me!’ she shouted at him, but watched miserably as he folded the lethal blade away and pocketed it.
  Ben nodded towards the phone. ‘I trust you not to call the police. You wouldn’t want to be arrested for wasting police time, would you?’ He stared at her, rubbing the back of his neck. ‘What were you doing out on the streets? It was you in my car last week, wasn’t it?’
  Charlie was shocked. He knew it was her? What was going on? Her head began to pound, and her heart-rate gathered pace. Knowing what was coming, she tried to calm herself.
  ‘This is so weird,’ he said. He paced one way, and then the other.
  Charlie said nothing. She couldn’t. She was battling with her breathing. She continued to stare at him.
  ‘I didn’t connect that it was you until after we’d sorted out the overly large stationery order.’ He finally stopped pacing and turned to look at her. ‘Stop looking at me like that! I’m not the abductor. The idea is lunacy.’ He gave a low chuckle. It didn’t hold any humour, but to Charlie it didn’t matter. Her hackles rose. ‘Madness,’ he muttered. He moved towards the armchair as if to sit down, but Charlie launched herself from the settee and began striking him on the chest and shoulders.
  ‘Don’t you dare laugh at me!’ she yelled.
  With all the fist waving and batting of hands, her fist connected with something hard, and with a grunt Ben was knocked backwards against the chair. The momentum caused him to sit down hard so that the chair went backwards, and with him in it, tipped all the way over.
Charlie cupped her mouth in shock. Ben, his feet in the air, didn’t move. Oh, God, had she killed him?

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
As I said earlier the idea of writing about prostitutes and the streets of London came about by a real news story.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
A passionate story of mistaken identities, misunderstandings and class divide.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I’ve three main characters: Charlie, Ben and Melvin. I love them all equally. Charlie because it’s her story and she’s so vulnerable but doesn’t realise it. Ben (love interest) is a bit of a geek and feels a little intimidated by Charlie. Melvin – well every girl should have a GBF (gay best friend) and although he’s a little arrogant he’s also adorable.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
Neither. I think of a story line, then the characters and then the plot. My stories are all character led.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
A PROPER CHALIE is available as an eBook or paperback from any on-line (paper back is available in stores too) such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and so forth. 

LINKS

Contacts:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIN A FREE COPY OF "BEHIND THE HOOD."

Be into WIN a free copy of the ebook BEHIND THE HOOD from Smashwords by either tweeting about it on Twitter, retweeting my messages, or liking or sharing it on Facebook. Also, get double the chance by answering the question below.

QUESTION: Who is the friend that Tama goes to see in this sample: Sample Sunday: BEHIND THE HOOD (Chapters 1 and 2)  Clue: Tama thinks his friend looks like a famous US television star.

Send me the answer in a Direct Message via Twitter or Facebook.  (If you are not following me you can do this by clicking on the connections made available at the side and bottom of this page, then click follow or add friend.  Once I have accepted your request you will be able to send me the answer in a message).  

And to triple your chances IN THE DRAW follow my blog.

BOOK BLURB:

Life on the rough side of New Zealand.

In this South Auckland neighbourhood where gang culture, drink, drugs, sex and violence is already a way of life, a vicious attack on a teenage girl sparks a ripple effect of revenge and fury. Live the carnage through multiple viewpoints as the tale unfolds to a bloody climax.

Warning: NOT for the fainthearted.


An Amazon review of "Behind the Hood."





5.0 out of 5 stars Intense!!, August 16, 2011
By 
This review is from: Behind the Hood (Behind the Series) (Kindle Edition)
INTENSE! I could probably leave my review at this one word and that would say it all. What a nerve wracking read. At first I thought there were going to be too many point of view characters for me to get involved emotionally, but they all tied back to each other perfectly. I had no problem keeping track of who was who and how they related back to each of the other characters. By the last three-quarters of the book I had the phones turned off and the Do Not Disturb sign hung on the door. I had to know what was going to happen and I didn't want any interruptions. Marita Hansen did not disappoint. I can't wait to read the sequel.

(Middle cut due to spoilers in chapter 1).

This novel is brutal in its honesty, giving a true-to-life picture of gang life and the destruction that goes along with it. If you're at all squeamish, this is probably not the book for you. Lives are destroyed, whole families destroyed, in a matter of seconds because of selfish desires. I'll read just about anything I can get my hands on and it had me cringing in a few places---praying in others. I got attached to these characters in the short time it took me to read it and it hurt me when they got hurt. At the same time I'm being repulsed by what's taking place, I'm also getting pulled in. It takes real talent to pull off a story like this. I can't wait to read the next one by Marita Hansen. This story may take place in New Zealand, but the same story could be told in any gang territory in the States. Definitely earned the five stars I'm going to give Behind the Hood.

THIS COMPETITION WILL END ON THE FIRST FRIDAY OF SEPTEMBER (9 A.M. Singapore time). The winner of the DRAW will be notified by either Facebook or Twitter.  If you have any questions please either contact me via this blog or direct message me.

Art.

Prior to moving to Singapore in December 2009 I only wrote as a hobby, with the dream of being an author.  Instead I was an artist that did paintings for exhibitions and galleries as well as commissions.  Though, making a living from being an artist is very hard.  You don't get paid a lot even if your painting looks like a photograph.  Like authors you will do hours and hours of work just to get your name out there: To get recognised.
I chose competitions and acquired commissions with the hope that one day my work would be put into art history books, regardless of how much I got paid.  In doing this I won competitions.  The one that pleased me the most was from a painting of two New Zealand officers interacting with Afghanistan refugees (Unfortunately I don't have the photo with me in Singapore to show you).  Not only was the prize very good, but the recognition was even better.  I also sold the painting, plus the person who bought it acquired one of my other military works, the painting of TGCrib (the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan) performing the Haka.  

 Here is another image that I won a prize from (which eventually was sold to Hon. John Banks, who was the mayor of Auckland at the time).
But my biggest commission was the four paneled painting that I did for the Dalmatian society in Auckland, New Zealand (the size of a queen-sized bed)  Out of all my works, I believe that this is the one that will get put into New Zealand Art History books.  And it's also my only painting that brought people to tears (it was unveiled at a large event, where the Prime Minister of New Zealand and other officials attended).  I'm a photo-realisic painter (as well as a compicturistic artist), and because of this relatives recognised their loved ones in my work.  Some of the people depicted where fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and uncles and aunties that have long since passed away. That is the beauty of painting, it keeps people alive in our memories.  Plus, several people standing in the audience were also in the painting, my father and daughter among them.

In the first image from this painting you can see when the first Dalmatian person arrived in New Zealand over 150 years ago on the ship.  From then onwards I've depicted iconic images relating to the Dalmatian people (people from the Croatian coastline) living in New Zealand.  The second image is of a gumdigger.  My great uncle came to New Zealand to dig gum up North in Dargaville, a town where a lot of Dalmatian people chose to settle.  In the third image is a wine-maker.  Often Dali (Dalmatian) people in New Zealand have their own wine cellars.  Dalies were known for their wine making skills.  I remember crushing grapes as a kid for my father, and often swiping a handful for myself.  The last image from this panel shows stonemasons.  My grandfather made a very good living as a stonemason and owned his own business.  There were stone quarries in many different locations in New Zealand, but the one in Mt. Wellington, Auckland held the most significance for my family.

In the second panel I depict a fruit grower, fishermen, a Dalmatian man standing outside of his fish and chip shop, and the traditional barbecue with men holding the long sticks.  In the third panel we have the Yugoslav ship the Radnik being farewelled (we are no longer known as Yugoslavs).  In the second image from this panel I have the traditional Dalmatian dance called the Kolo (which I danced in as a child) and the first Dali football team in Auckland, forming the club "Central."  My father is the goalie here.  And it's nice to know that my daughter inherited his skills as a goalie.  She has represented the top Auckland team in her age group and also the Australian and New Zealand team in Singapore.

In the last panel you will see an iconic image of the Dali picnic where the married men are going up against the unmarried men in a tug of war.  My father, plus two of my uncles as well as my brother-in-law, are depicted in this scene along with many other people.  This picnic is held every Sunday on Auckland's Anniversary (the last weekend of January).  I have also painted other scenes from the Dalmatian picnic at Long Bay.

In the middle, of the final panel, is the Orchestra and my daughter dancing in the children's Kolo (the round dance). The last image is of bowls, a very popular game with older Dali men.

Here is another depiction of the "Tug of War" done as a separate painting.

 Below are two more scenes from the Dali Picnic done in my compicturistic style.
The March of Summer.

Long Bay.

More of my paintings.

Pippi Collecting (at Marsden Point)

 To The Point (at Marsden Point)
("To the Point" was also another prize winning work.)

Tahuna Torea (Point England in Auckland)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Feature: Murderson.

Today I'm featuring Mark Yarwood's book MURDERSON. Here's a little about it:

London and the South West of England are the hunting grounds of a serial killer. The brutal killer, nicknamed The Clock, hunts men in their thirties, kills them and turns their bodies into macabre clock faces at each crime scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Webb, a tired middle aged policeman with a failed relationship still haunting him, investigates the series of murders with the help of Dr. Kirill Fedorov, a man who believes he can spot potential serial killer behaviour in children and cure it. Webb also persuades the now fully-grown Luke Wind, the only British boy that Dr. Fedorov cured to help him find the killer.

Fedorov convinces Luke that he should still be able to understand a serial killer's mind, but when Luke looks into himself he begins to doubt that he's been cured after all, especially when the killings begin to look personal.

Reader Reviews:

“A clever and truly surprising crime thriller.”

“So good it made me a crime novel fan.”

“Gripping, clever and original. This is a cracking good read.”

“A must read. Absolutely gripping.”


Mark Yarwood was born in Enfield, North London (scene of the recent London riots), but now lives in Plymouth, Devon. He's been writing stories for a long time and started his first novel when he was about nineteen. He's got a back catalogue of about 25 books and plans to upload most of them onto Kindle over a period of time. Writing is his life and he would keep doing it even if he didn't have a readership. He's so glad that Amazon Kindle's Direct Publishing has allowed him to find an audience.

His next two books on Kindle should be UGLY THINGS and LAST ALIVE. Last Alive is set in the same police station as Murderson and Spider Mouth, and featuring some of the same characters.

Links to Murderson:

Murderson on Amazon UK

A Sample from Murderson:

MONDAY, 13th APRIL 1981
The policeman stared at the eight year old boy and the bloody handprints all over his clothes. He had never seen such anger in a child’s blue eyes before. All the time the officer stared, Doctor Kirill Fedorov was crossing the living room, his long arms outstretched. The doctor approached the child from behind as if he were a wild horse. It was a stupid thing to do, the policeman thought to himself, while the child’s mother tutted and lit another cigarette.
The doctor did not remain silent. He began to calmly whisper the boy’s name. The child spun around and fixed the doctor with his twisted eyes, but did not flinch, just bared his teeth and turned to run away.
The policeman watched as the doctor swept the child up into his arms and held him to his chest, ignoring the nails that clawed his face. He turned away from the two figures as they waltzed around the room, to look out at the front garden where two cats lay side by side. They would have looked peaceful if they didn’t both have their guts hanging out of their bellies. He turned back to the child, who now lay quietly in Doctor Fedorov’s arms, and noted the blood all over his tiny hands. The policeman shivered and turned away.

Here are the links to his other books:





Monday, August 22, 2011

Debbie Bennett's Blog-site.

If you want to read Debbie's post on my book "Behind the Hood" here's the link:





Writers' Websites Reviewed: Youwriteon and Authonomy.

Youwriteon.com

This is the first website that I went on when I decided that I wanted to be an author.  And it taught me a hell of a lot.  Though, my YA story did suffer a death because of it, but out of its stomped on ashes "Behind the Hood" was created.

What I learned the most from youwriteon was the techniques of writing a story and getting the attention of the reader right from page one.  A few of the techniques that I learned was to not start off with so many gerunds at the beginning of a sentence (-ing words), to be careful about repeating a word too close together, and to show and not tell...  This last one, to show and not tell, is still damn hard to do even after writing for a while, and is why an editor is important because they see what you can't or have missed.  If you can't afford an editor then you can find someone in the same boat as you, from this website or one of the others, and do an exchange.  But the show and not tell gig is more important when one is writing for adults, because they don't need the same information that the younger reader does.

However, if you do go on this site don't take everyone's word as gospel.  If you don't agree with someone's assessment of your work don't do anything unless you get more people repeating the same thing. Also, some people say that getting reviews are slow in coming. I didn't have this problem, but I have been told this.

If you want to join youwriteon, they take the first 7,000 words of your story, so it's a great tool to set up your book.  But, if you want advice on more of your story then Authonomy is a place that can help you with this.


Authonomy.com

Authonomy, authonomy, authonomy ... a lot of fun, but can take over your life if you want to go for that editor's desk ... which may not always be worth the effort. Plus, you will get loads of people giving you a one line review telling you that your story is brilliant.  I cottoned onto the bullshit pretty quick, because those reviews are just a waste of your time and are only written to get your backing.  Also, you will get people spamming you in the message system, trying to talk you into backing them.  This backing system is totally different from youwriteon, where you can get some very harsh reviews.

HOWEVER, all this said Authonomy is still very useful and has helped me greatly.  Even though you get a lot of self-serving people on there, there are also those gems, the people that will go out of their way to help you, or just give you honest reviews and good advice.  So, the best thing to do with Authonomy is to not get a bloated head with all the "love" given out, and to find the right people to do reading swaps with.

The forums on both Youwriteon and Authonomy can also be helpful, as well as a little bit crazy. You guys from Authonomy know what I'm talking about :)

Both sites also have an editor's desk, but don't go in it for that as it's unlikely that you will get your work picked up through this avenue.  The most important thing is to go on there to better your work.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Author Interviews: Chrystalla Thoma.

Today's Author Interview is with Chrystalla Thoma.

 
Marita: Hi Chrystalla. Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Chrys: I am Greek Cypriot, raised on Greek mythology and mousaka. I am married to Carlos, who is Costa Rican, so I am famous for importing handsome men to Cyprus. When not reading or writing, I work as the European countries officer and Magazine editor for the Thalassaemia International Federation.

Marita: Tell me a little about your book.

Chrys: Rex Rising is a Young Adult Science Fiction novel about Elei, a young aircar driver in a world where parasites create new human races. He leads a peaceful life — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, although that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows in a mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret – a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known – or die trying.

Marita: Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Chrys: You can follow my ramblings and news about my writing and stories here: http://chrystallathoma.wordpress.com/

You can find Rex Rising at the following distributors:



Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akSOTTlW_Ks&NR=1

Sample from Rex Rising:

Wheezing, Elei took a faltering step before his knees gave way and the sidewalk rushed up to meet him.

Hands grabbed him just in time. Still blinking at the cracked cement, he was lifted from the armpits and dragged into the building. Disconnected images teased his vision — doors opening into squalid interiors, red-rimmed eyes curiously staring as they passed, and then he was pushed through a double door. Elei tripped on the step, but the guards’ momentum carried him inside into a dark lobby.

“Customer, Mr. Timmy,” announced one of them and Elei was deposited on a metal bench. The world blurred and pitched, and he gripped the edge of the bench.

“Gods in the deep!” Timmy stood behind a scratched counter — a well-fed young man with rounded cheeks and belly. A lit ama cigarette hung from his lips. He wore a white, button-down shirt that looked expensive, despite the yellow stains on the collar. Business was good. “Damned brigands, shooting my customers on my own doorstep. Very bad for the image.”

Elei looked down at his blood-drenched pants and didn’t bother to correct him. Let him think he’d just been shot. A moment of respite, of safety, that was all Elei wanted. His pulse beat in his head, in his throat, in his fingertips. If he felt safe, cronion would relax too and release its iron claws from inside his skull.

“Be sure to keep pressure on that wound.” Timmy sniffed. “Is it serious?”

Elei shook his head.

Timmy brightened immediately. “Excellent. So, to business. Where to?”

“I need to go,” Elei had to stop and cough, “to Artemisia.” Coming through his bruised airways, his voice was a raucous whisper. He raised a hand to his throat and watched in fascination as his fingers shook like an old man’s. He clenched them hard.

“Listen.” Timmy puffed sweet smoke into Elei’s face. “A friend of mine has an aircar. For the right fee, she can take you anywhere you want. Do you have money?”

Elei coughed again. “Isn’t there a streetcar going that way?”

“No streetcars; the Gultur stopped the service. Rent the aircar or go walking.”

“Shit.” No wonder business was good.

“Artemisia center or suburbs?”

“Aerica.”

Timmy took out his cigarette and flicked the ashes to the floor. “Aerica? That’s technically outside

Artemisia. It’s toward the old mines.”

“Your point?”

“Hey, no problem, my friend can take you there.” Timmy smiled, his eyes narrowing. “It’s three hundred dils, though, up front. You need to book the entire aircar just for you, see.”

Elei stared, unblinking. Three hundred. A month’s salary. But he had to get there, and his body wasn’t likely to co-operate much longer. Screw it.

The problem was he wasn’t even sure he had that kind of money with him. He dug into his pocket, took out his last bills and scrounged for all the loose dils. Timmy reached over the counter to take them and then heaped them on the top like some sort of mythic treasure. His eyes glinted while his lips moved, calculating.

“This is two hundred seventy,” he said eventually, looking up.

Elei fished into his back pockets. “It’s all I have left,” he said stonily and waited, because there was nothing else he could pissing do.

“Tell you what.” Timmy leaned toward him, his voice low, and Elei could smell something rotten coming. “I could buy the Rasmus off you. It’s in good shape for such an antique gun. I’ll give you five hundred and you can ride for free. It’s a bargain. What do you say?”

Pelia had given him that gun. It was her gift. Elei’s right eye twitched and Timmy’s shape wavered. The colors changed, flaring into bright red and yellow, centered on the man’s heart. Trust cronion to suggest a direct and final solution. “No way.”

Timmy must have seen something in Elei’s expression because he backed off and sucked on his cigarette, his face going sour. “Fine, don’t get all worked up. I have another idea. Plenty of ideas, see. So, why don’t you give me the two hundred and seventy, and my friend can drive you to Ponds, not so far from Aerica. You can walk to Aerica, not four miles away, and she can take the heavenway from there. How about that?”

Elei clenched his teeth. “Just give me a discount. It’s not a big difference.” He wouldn’t beg, dammit.

“Sorry, my friend, but I can’t. The cost of dakron has skyrocketed and the taxes for this business…” Timmy tsked.

Elei bowed his head. Screw you. Four miles. He wondered if he’d make it. He took some deep breaths, willing his heart to slow. Too much adrenaline could kill you eventually, even if you didn’t bleed to death. “Fine.”
--

Author Chrystalla Thoma

http://chrystallathoma.wordpress.com/