Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Interview with Author & Deployed Soldier R. Kyle Hannah




3 Links:
www.facebook.com/rkylehannahwriter
Twitter   @rkhannah


Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book.
Well, I'm a 27 year veteran of the Army, currently on my third deployment; taking the opportunity to write when I can!  I am married, with two children and I enjoy everything from golf, to swimming to computer games.
TIME ASSASSINS is my second book and it's an alternate history story with a twist; you know how it ends, but you don't know how it begins.  A futuristic assassins guild has time travel technology and they send Assassins back to 'tweak' historical events to make the Earth better.  Of course, sometimes it's the lessor of two evils that they have to choose from, and there are rogue elements bent on changing history just because they can.


What inspired you to write your first book?
Boredom, LOL.   I started writing in Jr. High...I didn't want to act out and get into trouble, so I wrote instead.  That carried me through High School when I switched to more of a musical/lyric style.  I started writing again on my first deployment to alleviate-you guessed it-boredom.


Do you have a specific writing style? 
Not to my knowledge.  I do try to outline the story, but once I start writing I usually think of more twists, better angles, etc and the book takes a life of its own.  I usually start and end where I wanted, but how you get from A to B has never been as I originally intended.


How did you come up with the title?
I had the title for TIME ASSASSINS before I had a story...I just thought that sounded like a great title.  I grabbed my iPhone and left myself a voice memo.  Then I came up with the story and it worked out well!!


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
History.  I am amazed at how many people don't have a real knowledge of history; so part of why I wrote TIME ASSASSINS was to impart a little historical knowledge on the reader.  Of course, its cleverly disguised as an action/sci-fi story so the reader won't be put off by a history text.


How much of the book is realistic?
A lot of TIME ASSASSINS is based on actual historical events and HOURS of research went into it.  I studied everything from the Magna Carta, to Hitler, to JFK, to Reagan and Lincoln...and the end result of each event is just like the history books.  I just took a few liberties with the timelines leading up to each event.



What books have most influenced your life most?
I've read Heinlein, Clarke, Dietz and Scalzi...Starship Troopers is probably one of the best books in my collection.  I can relate to the training and the feelings that Heinlein put into the story.


What book are you reading now?
I'm reading SECRETS by Dawn Kirby.  She is an up and coming author and a talented storyteller.  She has woven an intricate web of intrigue into her book about vampires and werewolves...its a great read so far!


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Tyner Gillies debut THE WATCH was fantastic!   I've also got Christine Hughes TORN and Katie Jennings WHEN EMPIRES FALL on my list...in between my own writing, of course.


What are your current projects?
I have almost a dozen different storylines in various states of disarray, but I'm currently working on a sequel to TIME ASSASSINS.  It's a little less history and more of a sci fi tale.  I am also working on two screenplays for TV; one an adaptation of TIME ASSASSINS and the other a book idea that turned into a great idea for a TV series.  Plus a few others...I have plenty to keep me busy!


Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to be able to make money doing this; I have a vivid imagination and think I tell a pretty good story.  But, I know that very few people can actually make a good living doing this, so I'm just happy that people are reading and enjoying my stories.  That's truly the best part.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope.  Not a thing.  It's a great time travel story...read it and you'll see why I wouldn't change a thing!


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Staying on track.  My imagination is on all the time, partly thanks to ADD, and I will come up with a new idea and go with that one for a while...before coming back to my current project.  I've been pretty good over the last few months and have been able to concentrate on TIME ASSASSINS II and its coming along nicely!


Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I like William C. Dietz because he write military sci-fi that glues you to the page.  He has a real talent for characters and putting you in the thick of the action.  I also like John Scalzi because he is one sarcastic and twisted SOB.  He is a brilliant writer and has a great imagination.


Who designed the covers?
One of my best friends is a very talented graphic designer, writer and voice guy.  He has designed both of my covers and they are fantastic.  He is already asking to make a cover for TIME ASSASSINS II, but I haven't told him anything about it yet...keeping him in suspense!


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

TIME ASSASSINS has a lot of history in it, so I studied each of the events in great detail; I learned more than I ever thought I would about JFK, the War of 1812, and a whole host of Presidents.


Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write, write.  Write a story, hire an editor and follow his/her advice.   Take that advice and write, write, write...the more you write, the better you will become.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for giving an Alabama boy a chance and please, always leave a review for any Indie Author.  Your feedback means a great deal and will make a good writer even better!


What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
There was a ton of research in TIME ASSASSINS.  Pages of articles printed out, rewrites when something didn't fit into the narrative and great rejoicing when it did!   Time was also a factor, it's very hard to get a lot of writing done with a job and family...TIME ASSASSINS took almost 18 months to write.  But, I think it was worth it. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Interview with Author Michael Mac Carthy





Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book.
At different times of my life I have been a helicopter pilot flying for the
South African Air Force; an advertising copywriter and creative director
working in Johannesburg and New York; a director of TV local and international
commercials; a screenplay writer of TV series and feature films. (Three of which
are currently in development); a director of TV series and a single feature film; a
Conceptualizer and a partner in the development of Cape Town Film Studios.
End Time is my first novel. It started life as a kind of Stieg Larsson political conspiracy story―but somewhere along the way the story hijacked me and I found myself having to explore how our hubris as a species and how our misconception of the true nature of God had led us to the amoral exercise of power and the abuse of the planet of which we are caretakers.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I can’t really point towards any particular Damascene event or moment as an inspiration for writing my first book. I am a fairly omnivorous reader with an eclectic interest in politics, finance, religion, ecology. So I’d have to say it came more from an inchoate urge to express concern about the way we are conducting ourselves as one of the premier species on earth today.

Do you have a specific writing style?
In general terms I try to keep my writing simple and unadorned. For End Time I strove for a style that was almost laconic, almost journalistic. And I consciously kept the sentences crisp and short to augment the pace of the book and heighten the drama.
How did you come up with the title?
Because the message of the book was subliminally connected to the prophecies connected to the Mayan Calendar – although this not referred to anywhere in the my story - I thought it was appropriate. With the wisdom of hindsight I am not sure now that it was a good idea.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I think it is time for us to take stock and seriously reappraise how we interact with each other, with all the rest of God’s creatures and plants, and with the earth we live on.
How much of the book is realistic?
A great proportion of the book is very realistic. Intentionally so. It is based on carefully researched facts that any reader can substantiate for him or herself. The idea was to lend an authenticity and plausibility to the fictional narrative.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes, many of the events and characters, too many to mention here, derive my experience of life

What books have most influenced your life most?
There have been so many―but the ones that stand out in my mind as life transformative would be: Germinal by Émile Zola; The Lost Weekend by Charles R. Jackson; Cannery Row by John Steinbeck; The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and, most recently, The Mind of God by Paul Davies.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
John Steinbeck

What book are you reading now?
The Great Hunger by Cecil Woodham-Smith

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Abraham Verghese with Cutting for Stone; Carlos Ruiz Zafón with Shadow of the Wind

What are your current projects?
I am about 40 pages into my next novel―The 10% Manwhich is all about the murkier side of diamonds and the exercise of power versus probity.

I am also quite involved with a feature film and a concept for TV series.



Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Google. It was like having an army of research assistants. I couldn’t have written the book without it.
Do you see writing as a career?
I would like to hope so. I have two or three other stories fermenting in my subconscious that I would like to write about before I hit senility.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes, there is a character named Bill Byrd who is a kind of metaphor for the brutality of war waged against people fighting for a righteous freedom. The way it turned out he was rather shoe-horned into the story. I should have edited him out.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think my interest was kindled when I was a young boy. I grew up on an isolated farm with a wonderful library of books are my closest companions. There was a selection of books from James Hadley Chase to Tolstoy to choose from and I read and enjoyed all of them.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure, here’s a taster from The 10% Man:
Hillbrow, Johannesburg. 26 February 1976. 08:43

The three men stood watching the street below like hunters waiting for their prey in a hide. It was raining steadily and the street in the canyon formed by the tatty high rise apartment blocks of Hillbrow looked like a river of oil. The tangy smell of their nervous sweat filled the small room. They had been there for over an hour and they were beginning to get antsy.

In the dim light of the darkened apartment they looked like successful business execs in their expensive suits―until you looked closer. Chief Inspector Floris de Lange, head of von Oppell Diamond Inc.’s Illicit Diamond Buying Unit was a short, powerfully built man in his 60’s with the eyes and physical menace of a pit bull terrier. The craggy faces of his subordinates, Lieutenant Willie Maree and Sergeant Wilson carried scar tissue that spoke of lessons learned, and survived, in the University of Life.

They tensed as, illuminated by a flash of lightning, a lone taxi entered the street from a side road, cruised slowly to a position right below them. Stopped. Lt. Maree lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes and examined the scene close up. He let out a grunt of disgust as a young couple exited the taxi and ran giggling towards the entrance of an apartment block.

“Damn. Not him”, he muttered defensively.

Chief Inspector Floris de Lange turned and aimed a baleful look at Maree.

“Nine minutes late. You think he’s chickened out?” Maree swallowed hard. This whole operation had been his idea.

“I think your mate’s chickened out, Lieutenant.”

“Nah, Chief. He may be a nebbish, but ten thousand’s a big score for him. He’ll come”

“Yah? We’ll see.” De Lange didn’t sound convinced. “Give me those binocs.” Taking them from Maree he scanned the street below. There wasn’t even a hooker in sight. Peevishly he tilted up the binoculars and checked out the activities of the apartment dwellers across the street. People were eating supper, watching TV, putting the kids to bed. Boring.

“What’s Page doing Chief?” Maree asked, trying to get back on de Lange’s good side.

De Lange swept the binoculars across the building and settled on the brightly lit bedroom of an apartment opposite. Through the open French doors he could a see a giant of a man rogering a full breasted young black woman from behind. With his long mane of tawny hair, his lips drawn back from his large yellowed teeth and the muscles of his powerful arms and torso tensed into ridges, he looked like an old lion close to coitus. This was the man they were hunting tonight. Paddy Page. The grizzled survivor of three decades of African mercenary wars – and illicit diamond smuggler extraordinaire.

“The same,” said De Lange laconically.

“Bliksêm. Give him one thing. The boy’s got stamina,” Sergeant Wilson couldn’t keep the admiration out of his voice.

“He’s coming, Chief,” said Maree tersely.

“I can see that, Lieutenant,” De Lange answered dryly.

“Not Page, Chief, Jabor.”

De Lange whip panned the binoculars off the couple and tilted them down to search the street below. A short, rotund man with a pronounced limp stepped into frame out of focus. De Lange tweaked the focus and found himself looking at the Middle Eastern version of Popeye’s pal, Wimpy. He was in his early 40s and, apart from the thick Groucho Marx eyebrows and pronounced Lebanese conk, he had the same pudgy moon-face, the same wispy hair glued by the rain to a balding head, same pregnant paunch beneath a scruffy old raincoat that looked like it came from the Salvation Army. Incongruously he was carrying a smart leather briefcase.

“Jeesh, Maree, you sure about this guy?”

De Lange tracked Jabor as he awkwardly crossed the street favouring a gimpy leg supported by a heavily built up orthopaedic boot. He paused at the entrance to Page’s apartment block and looked up nervously straight at the detectives’ hideout with the big trusting brown eyes of a puppy.

“Don’t look at us asshole.” De Lange seethed.

Jabor flapped open his coat and bent his head to speak into his hidden radio mike. He voice came through, tinny and shaky, to the detectives.

“Testing, testing. Is okay I go in, Lieutenant Willie? You hear me, Lieutenant Willie? Is okay I go in?”

“Oh Jesus,” De Lange rolled his eyes. “Wait one” Whipping the binocs off Jabor he ran them up the block and found Page’s bedroom again. Just in time to see Page, naked, walk through to his lounge and pull a beer out of a bar fridge. Popping the cap with his teeth, Page poured half of the beer over his head before swallowing the rest with gusto. Then he disappeared into a bathroom for a pee.

“It’s okay,” said De Lange, “give him the signal.”

Maree picked up a torch and flashed it rapidly three times in Jabor’s direction. Down on the street Jabor smiled with relief and gave him a big thumbs up before turning to limp into the building.



Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The days went absolutely nothing gels and the words won’t come and you wonder if they ever will.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
John Steinbeck. He writes with such exquisite purity and simplicity. I remember reading a short story of his called Breakfast. It was just one-and-a-half pages long and was so poignant it reduced me to tears.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I didn’t need to travel to write End Time. I have lived in or visited most of the principal locations in the book. Those that I hadn’t I researched intensively.

Who designed the covers?
A fabulously talented lady by the name of Caitlin Truman Baker who runs her own design studio: ctbdesign.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Studying and understanding supercomputers and the global economic system well enough to write about them intelligibly.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, and that if you methodically keep putting one foot in front of another you will reach the end of your journey.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Invest in a good editor and a good proof reader.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Interview with Author Gary Beck

 
 
3 Links:
Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book.
 
I was a theater director most of my life and worked as an art dealer when I couldn't make a living in theater. I ran an arts and social services program for homeless families with children, as well as arts programs for other disadvantaged youth. I started writing poetry in my teens, then was totally absorbed in theater playwriting and translations of the classics, Moliere, Aristophanes, Sophocles. My book, “Extreme Change” is about a young family that flees crime and poverty in Detroit, for a fresh start in New York City. After a landlord dispute, an arson fire forces them into the nightmare of the homeless system. A determined woman keeps her family together, makes interracial friends who unite to survive the system. They end up in a midtown Manhattan welfare hotel ruled by a violent gang. They are menaced, then two of the women are abducted by the gang, then daringly escape being raped and murdered. With nerve and willpower they force the former landlord to give them apartments in the East Village, where they excitedly start a new life.
 
 
What inspired you to write your first book?
 
The first novel I wrote is the actually the fifth book to be published. “Acts of Defiance”, to be published by Artema Press, came out of my personal experiences growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, then living through the turmoil of the 60’s. The book poured out in a passionate rush recollecting what I went through.
 
 
Do you have a specific writing style?
 
The basis is story and character driven realism, with a step by step process of enrichment and revision.
 
 
How did you come up with the title?
 
It seemed to characterize the extremes that the characters experienced from early romance through personal disaster and homelessness.
 
 
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
 
“Extreme Change” is first and foremost a story to involve the reader with people whose hopes are suddenly shattered, who then have to fight for survival. I hope readers experience the emotional life of the characters, who reflect the need never to give in to oppression.
 
 
How much of the book is realistic?
 
Much of it. Some elements may be conjectural, but the events either could happen, or have occurred, with fictional reconstruction. The homeless sequence may be dramatic, but the reality is much grimmer, not very uplifting.
 
 
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
 
I've lived and worked in diverse worlds, including theater, the art world, homeless families, many more, so I have a store of material that I draw on. Some of the homeless mothers I worked with showed incredible courage in a system that crushed the spirits of the vulnerable.
 
 
What books have most influenced your life most?
 
“Look Homeward Angel”, a fictional concerto that I read when I was a young teen desperately hungering a better world and was swept away by the rapturous prose. “In Dubious Battle”. an heroic, losing struggle against wealthy oppressors reinforcing the knowledge that resistance must always be doomed, but the fight to the end is man's noblest quality.
 
 
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
 
John Steinbeck - He looked into the heart of American life, with profound emotional depth, created on a canvas that portrayed a fight for survival by humble people, who would not quit.
 
 
What book are you reading now?
 
Don Quixote
 
 
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
 
Jonathan Franzen, if he is still considered a new writer, a brilliant wordsmith, who extends the nature of American fiction to dazzling verbal pyrotechnics.
 
 
What are your current projects?
 
I’m editing my novel, “Acts of Defiance”, a story about two boys who meet when they are 7, one wealthy, the other from the other side of the tracks. They become best friends, tennis players, and have many adventures together and have many adventures together as they develop social consciousness and work to change their society, that will be published by Artema Press. I’m finishing a poetry book, “Redemption Value”, that explores different elements of society and the vast gaps between the haves and have nots. I’m working on a new novel, “Enhanced Life”, about Vampires working on behalf of humanity to preserve the blood supply.
 
Do you see writing as a career?
 
It's certainly a constant preoccupation. It will be a career if I become well known.
 
 
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
 
I would certainly correct any typos, other offenses, try not to refight the battle of the commas.
 
 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
 
I read at an early age to escape from some negative elements in my life, Dickens, O Henry, De Maupassant, Shakespeare, devouring these wonderful books.  I started writing poetry in my early teens, imitating the British romantics, Byron, Keats, Shelley - it grew from that.
 
 
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
 
Here are two small excerpts from “Extreme Change”, recently published by Cogwheel Press:
 
***
Jaime Perez crept up the fire escape as quietly as he could and stopped at the third floor. He leaned over the guard rail to the kitchen window that he had been told didn’t have a gate. He waited patiently to be sure that no one on the street had noticed him, while vapor from the cold steamed out of his mouth. He pressed his short, skinny, drug-ravaged body against the wall until he felt ready, then he took a metal tool from his pocket and stealthily pried the window open. He couldn’t hear any sounds from the dark apartment, so he carefully slipped over the rail and climbed inside. The landlord had assured him that they didn’t own a dog, so although still alert, he began to relax. The landlord had also carefully instructed him how to place paper next to the pilot light of the stove, run a paper strip to the nearest inflammable material and ignite it so it would appear to be an accident. There was a cardboard cake box on a table next to the stove and he ran the strip of paper to the box. He paused and listened intently, his body a menacing hulk in the darkness, then greedily opened the box. It was some kind of pound cake, not his favorite, like chocolate or pineapple, but better than nothing. He broke off a chunk with a gloved hand and stuffed it in his mouth, crumbs dribbling on the floor.
 
The landlord had insisted that he not take anything, but a piece of cake didn’t count. Besides, the greedy pig would never know. Jaime needed a hit on the crack pipe and the sugar from the cake would settle his jangling nerves. He silently cursed the landlord for a moment. He knew why the landlord wanted this family out. Then he could renovate the apartment cheaply and triple the rent. When the tenants rejected what must have been a low offer and other pressures failed, the landlord sent for him. Jaime was known as ‘the torch’ to a few pitiless landlords on the lower east side, whose lust for profit at the expense of decency was aroused by gentrification. He could smell the paper by the pilot light smoldering, so he lit a match, put it to the middle of the paper strip and made sure it was burning both ways. Then he slid out the window to the fire escape and closed it behind him.
 
***
 
Peter and Beth saw the cop get out of the patrol car and beckon to them. They were already getting used to bad news and they could tell from his expression that more was coming.
They herded the children in front of them and as they approached, Peter asked the cop
 
apprehensively, "Did you find out how to help us?"
 
Coro was a little embarrassed, "Officer Warren and I’ll take you to an Emergency Assistance Unit."
 
Peter was confused. "What’s that?"
 
"It’s a temporary shelter and they’ll take care of you until you make other arrangements."
 
"Where is it?" Beth asked.
 
"The Bronx."
 
"The Bronx? I don’t want to go there," Peter blurted. "I’ve heard that it’s full of drug dealers and gangs. That’s why we left Detroit, to get away from that element."
 
"There are a lot of nice places in the Bronx. You’ll be all right," Coro said.
***
 
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
 
The need for more art in the work process. I tend to be involved with several projects at once. I have to make sure I am giving each project my best and thorough attention. In “Extreme Change” I explore that juncture where humanity meets the inhumane, which we know happens to other people, but could happen to any of us. The challenge is writing on the hard edge of realism, without sinking into overwhelming graphic depiction that distracts from the character life.
 
 
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
 
John Steinbeck has a great sense of the evil men do to others, and the struggle that good people go through to maintain the decency in life. He writes with a powerful awareness of the nature of  American life, especially the oppression the wealthy inflict on the needy, the vulnerable. He also has a wonderful grasp of the comic, a nice supplement to his life and death like novels.
 
 
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
 
No.
 
 
Do you have any advice for other writers?
 
If you must be a writer, decide what kind, and go for it. Different genres require different skills. Learn what you do best and start with that. Then make sure to grow in your craft.
 
 
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
 
I write my novels, poetry, plays and essays for my readers, not for fame or fortune. My fulfillment will come when I have a wide readership who enjoy my work.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Christian Brothers"

 
No bad dream f*cker's gonna boss me around
Christian brothers gonna take him down
But it can't help me get over
Don't be cross
This sick I want
I've seen the boss blink on and off
Fake concerns is what's the matter, man
And you think I ought to shake your motherf*cking hand
Well I know how much you care
Don't be cross
This sick I want
I've seen the boss blink on and off
Come here by me, I want you here
Nightmares become me, it's so f*cking clear
Nightmares become me, it's so f*cking clear 


Link to the song:  Elliott Smith - Christian Brothers

These are lyrics from an Elliott Smith song called "Christian Brothers."  Elliott Smith has been one of my favorite musicians for years and years.  I've been listening to this song over and over, just trying to understand it.  Elliott Smith was a troubled soul who struggled constantly with depression and drug addiction.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliott_smith) 

He died at the age of 24 from two stab wounds to the chest, it was uncertain whether they were self inflicted or not.

I've always wondered if Elliott Smith is waiting in the next life.  Listening to this song I had hope that he might have been, however, Christian Brothers is a brand of liquor.

All the late years of his life Elliott Smith was plagued by constant alcoholism, depression, and drug addiction.  He was also incredibly talented, writing lyrics like this song describing his struggle.

I can relate, because during my struggles with addictions I often wrote lyrics, poems, and prose on the daily struggles.  These lyrics really ring true to me, recalling that time in my life.

To me it really shows the struggle that was going on in his mind.  This "boss" he talks about seems to be describing that insatiable desire to use and drink, despite knowing it's not the right thing to do.  I recall the constant battles in my head as I tried to stay sober.  It was so exhausting, because I didn't have any help.  It was just me verse the addiction.  I knew deep within that this addiction would kill me.  I knew I wanted to be a good person, yet there was this strong desire that I couldn't explain.  This "boss" that was always fighting me, the bad side of me if you will, demanding that I go get some drink, or drug.  The drink or drug would quiet the boss, the accuser.  However, this cycle only fed the boss.  It was an endless cycle.

It was so hard.  I struggled against it always, yet it would always grab me by the neck and drag me back in.  For weeks it would take over, and that good voice would be locked away.  It could cry and shout, but it wouldn't matter, the boss had me.

Occasionally that voice of righteousness would make a struggling return to the forefront of my mind, and again it was on: the battle between the good I wanted to do, and the bad I wanted to do.

That dark voice of insanity has been locked away now, in the back of my mind, by the grace of the Father.  The Father was my friend then, but I wasn't doing any the foot work he required of me for his victory in my mind.  Now that I do that foot work, which is attending support groups, church, bible studies, and just getting into his word... that dark monster has been locked up tight and I cannot even hear the boss's voice anymore.  The boss has been defeated by Christ.  However,  I know if I ever fell away from my recovery that I work everyday, that voice would return.

The same is true in our spiritual journeys.  The more we dig ourselves into the entrenchment of God's love and his body, the more we become righteous beings.  Is the struggle against sin so different from the struggle with addiction?

I don't think so.  Romans 7:21-24 says:

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 


Amazingly, during my time enslaved to addiction the answer was right there in front of me:  Christianity.  A deep connection to my creator and my savior.  

As I mull over this Elliott Smith song, I imagine him struggling with that voice of depression and addiction demanding of him to do evil, as the bottle of Christian Brothers sat in front of him.  And there on the label, looking back at him was the answer to end his struggle: Brotherhood and love in Christ. 

One line of the lyrics says "This sick I want."  That's really a big part of it.  But I know from reading books by Neil Anderson that often that voice requesting me to do evil isn't of me, but dark thoughts put in by evil forces. As I read the lyrics it seems more and more that God was trying to get through to Elliott.  The word "Cross" appearing twice.  The title "Christian Brothers" and other things

The last line "Nightmares become me" is really what its like.  It's groping in the dark and having no answer.  But there is an answer.  It's life through Christ and actively working that life.

I'm going to rewrite the lyrics as they ought to be, as a salute to the dear friend Elliott Smith who helped me with his whispy vocals through so many troubled times.  These were times of darkness Elliott.  And here is how I would say it could be reversed:

No bad dream f*cker's gonna boss me around
Christ and his brothers gonna take him down
  And it can help me get over
 I see the cross
This grace I want
I've seen the boss blink on and off
Fake concerns is what's the matter, man
And no way I'm gonna shake your motherf*cking hand
Well I know how much you care
 I see the cross
This grace I want
I see the boss blink on, now off
You're here by me God, I want you here
New life becomes me, it's so f*cking clear
New life becomes me, it's so f*cking clear 

God rest you Elliott, and thank you for the lyrics that helped me understand my struggle.

Praise God for his endless grace! 

Have a blessed day :)

Interview with Justin Steckbauer on Mz Optimizm Speaks radio

Interview Link

Have a listen! 

This is an interview Mz Optimizm did with Me!  Just so you know ;)

Heres the page for her radio program.  

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mzoptimizmspeakz/2013/02/21/we-welcome-justin-steckbauer-christian-blogger-and-more

Interview with Author Ann Snizek

Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book. Thank you for interviewing me! I am a home-schooling mom working on an empty nest. Recently, I have become a volunteer tutor for our local Adult Learning Center. Writing has always been my passion, and now have the confidence in my writing to publish. I am my own worst critic, and a hopeless book addict.
What inspired you to write your first book? It started as a way to escape from daily stress and a challenge to myself that quickly grew. I had wanted to write for NaNoWrMo, but due to family life and obstacles it was a month late. I don't remember where the idea came from. My youngest daughter was a great assistant with feedback and as a sounding board for me.
Do you have a specific writing style? I write Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi in what I consider a natural style. Life is a mixture of elements and I try to make my characters come to life for the reader as much as they do for me.
How did you come up with the title? Well, with my first book (Tunuftol's Fortress of Light ) the Tunuftolates originated as creatures I created for a writing exercise with my children. The Fortress is the destination in the story. With the second book of this series (Secret of the Shielded ) the title came from one of the poetic "prophecies" at the end of book one.
However, with To Eris - Human (Payton Chronicles book 1 ), The title came before the story ended as a play on words. I watched the movie of The De Vinci Code and they mentioned A. Pope... My daughters did research papers on him and I played off the quote, "To err is human, to forgive divine." I'm working on book 2 for this series, already named For: Giva De Vine .
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I don't write with a specific message in mind. My only goal is to encourage my readers to use their imaginations and never give up on their dreams. It is a constant battle, but don't give in to the negative.
How much of the book is realistic? All of the names and situations are only as realistic as my imagination allows them to be. I try to visualize my stories as if watching a movie, only I "know" the characters as if they were real.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Some of the experiences are drawn from a blend of my own life, others take inspiration from a blend of people that know. I don't focus on any one event or person, but try to be consistent with the traits of each character blend.
What books have most influenced your life most? This is always a hard question for me. I demanded to learn how to read early with the Dick and Jane books and Dr. Seuss. Books were always encouraged and I loved to read everything I could. The first books that I became "lost in" were Madeline L'Engle's series of A Wrinkle In Time . Then I fell in love with Anne McCaffrey's Pernbooks.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Definitely Anne McCaffrey, then Madeline L'Engle and Orson Scott Card. Although there are many new writers that I have fallen in love with also. I'm a sucker for series, but love when I can find a stand-alone book that catches me.
What book are you reading now? I am actually working on reading seven books. Thunderstormby JM Schroder; Tasting Never by CM Stunich; Unraveled by Gena Showalter; The Vampire Chronicles by Jodie Pierce; Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins; Hummingbird by Kimberly Greene Angle; and Castles in the Air by Christina Dodd. It all depends on where I am and what mood I'm in. Most are from Indie Writers that I have just met. I also have a long list of books I want to read.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? JM Schroder, Tressa Messenger, Jodie Pierce, and CM Stunich are some Indie Writers that I have found. While they aren't necessarily new authors, I have absolutely fallen in love with Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series (read them all before the movie), and The Mortal Instruments series by Clare.
What are your current projects? I have several projects going right now!
Two blog tours that I've organized (semi-organized anyway...lol) to release two books in March (Secret of the Shielded & To Eris - Human );
I am co-authoring two short stories and wrote an independent short story for a charity anthology In Vein being collected by Jodie Pierce - author of The Vampire Queen{www.vampiricallyrical.blogspot.com} (one with a single co-author, the other with 2 co-authors);
There are several other short stories that I have started; I am working on editing The Jewel of Nirel (Tunuftol Book 3 ), finishing The Sword of Israj (Tunuftol Book 4 ) and For: Giva De Vine (Payton Chronicles Book 2 );
I volunteer tutor at the Adult Learning Center and facilitate a Creative Writing Club there and on Facebook. I have also begun a new project that I am looking for contributors to: writing Adult interest level stories at low reading levels.
I have two blogs going, I'm participating in a few other blog tours, and I'm editing/formatting a book of poetry by another author.
Other than that... just life, home-schooling, being a grandma, and trying to keep what sanity I have left. (Oh, and I sleep sometimes too!)
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. My laptop. :D
Do you see writing as a career? Yes, absolutely. I have been working more since I published my first book on 12/12/12 than I thought I could.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? The only thing I think I would change is that I would have started building up an interest in my writing and learned a bit more about the marketing and networking before publishing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I remember begging people to read to me when I was little, but with the writing... I have an elementary school friend that told me she remembers me sitting under the slide during recess writing away.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? I can tell you that the short stories I'm working on for In Vein are the first vampire stories I've ever attempted and the first two stories I've ever collaborated on. It is an interesting and exciting challenge all around.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? One of the most challenging aspects would be finding time, another would be creating awareness... getting my name and work out there so people know about it.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?My favorite author is the great Anne McCaffrey. Her death stunned me as I'm sure it did many people. All of her books are powerful, visual, and honest. I dream of accomplishing even a fraction of the impact she reached in her life. The characters in her books became friends, enemies, and family. The worlds are places you wish you could visit.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I have to travel often, but not far right now. We don't have internet at home right now, so I have to go to town to access the wi-fi.
Who designed the covers? I have designed all my covers with input from my family.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? The hardest part of the actual writing for me has been finding people to provide constructive criticism and editing assistance. I don't have a budget to work with. So, I try to work in trade with other authors. I enjoy the revisions, although organization is not my strength, because I am constantly trying to improve.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I am learning to separate my style from my editing. The "professional terminology" is difficult for me to learn, but I'm getting better.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don't be offended by someone trying to help them with editing. Remember that no matter how much you have written or how much you have improved, even the greatest writers are imperfect and everyone can become a better writer.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you!!! and Tell your friends!! LOL Also, I love to hear back from people who have read my work. I work well with feedback, even if it is about something that you felt didn't work or was missing. Please feel free to talk to me. I may take some time to get back to you, but I will do my best to respond to everyone.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? Narrowing things down to what I absolutely need. I tend to go off on tangents. I don't always remember to write everything that I'm thinking about either. So, sometimes my written stories have gaps that I can answer... I just don't realize it's missing.


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