CJ’s Guest Blogger Tour: Geoff Nelder

Hey Readers,

Since I unabashedly took over Geoff Nelder’s Blog a few weeks back and chased him around his desk with utmost glee, he graciously decided retribution are in order. He rips the keyboard from my hands, and begins typing furiously like a mad man. 😉

Let us see what he has to say.

 

Oops, there I go again, barging in on someone else’s blog, grasping for an unsuspecting new audience. No one is more demanding than Mrs N in more ways than two and this piece is inspired by one of her more painful questions.

Writers’ Delusions by Geoff Nelder

This is the question Mrs Nelder stabbed me with when she once peeped over my shoulder at my list of story rejections being three times longer than the acceptances.

“What on Earth made you think you could be a writer?”

Answer: I didn’t know I was okay at writing until a teacher made me stand in front of the class and stumble through an essay I’d scribbled. A silly tale about a red squirrel scrambling on the gnarled boughs of the village’s oldest oak tree, stealing an acorn from a tree spirit to bury under a pupil’s desk. Imagine my surprise when every kid sneaked a peep under their desk.

Yes, those words held power and I liked it. Through my teens I wrote jokes. Sold some to British comedians and my first was published in a magazine in 1969. At university I became a co-editor of the rag-mag, a dreadful collection of very funny, awful smutty and politically-incorrect gags. We’d gather in the bar and brainstorm until the beer ran out. That was nearly half a century ago and I still see those jokes. Uncredited, no royalties. It was for charities then, still is. During that time I studied geography, mathematics and literature. Struck dumb, me, when the lecturer read out loud William Langland’s Vision of a Fair Field full of Folk. This is a wondrous sample of that early medieval poem:

‘In a somer sesoun, whan softe was the sonne,malverns2
I shope me into shroudes, as I a shep were,
In abite as an heremite, unholy of werkes,
Wente forth in the world wondres to here,
And saw many selles and selcouthe thynges.
Ac on a May mornyng on Malverne hulles
Me biful for to slepe, for werynesse of walkyng;’

I learnt it by heart, while hiking on those actual Malvern Hills, a short bike ride from my house. I took my son on those hills a few years ago and the ‘sonne’ softly warmed our backs. I learnt the energy in words of sensual Show. Engaging the reader via all their five senses in every story. I read the great writers and they all do it. Even those science fiction and thriller books that the literati often overlook. Consider these two words from Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle: ‘She gave him a perfumed hug.’ You know which two words. Did you experience that hug? You were there, right?

After graduating, twice, I taught high school where writing lies takes over. Not really, but all teachers have to write masses of words. We talk about a target of 2000 words a day on our novels but teachers often achieve that when writing lesson notes, worksheets and above all, end-of-term reports. Most teachers hate that but writerly ones love it. It gives us the opportunity to be creative with an otherwise tedious activity. (assuming the school isn’t using computerized multi-guess reporting). One of my favourites: ‘The dawn of legibility in John’s writing revealed his utter incapacity to spell.’ Such chores honed my writing decades ago.

Not that I’ve stopped learning the craft. I’m with Pablo Casals – the famous cellist on why he continued to practise at 90: ‘Because I think I’m making progress.’

I remain fascinated enough by gnarled oak trees and squirrels to write them into my stories. This 2017 year sees publication of my ‘Girl in a Wandering Wood’ in The Horror Zine. I’d overheard the phrase wandering wood and thought what if a wood actually wandered? So, a botanist is trapped in a copse, animated by a spirit trying to stop her escaping. A squirrel helps her out, kind of. The same squirrel I wrote about in 1957.

A sample flash story. First published in Bobbing Around: (2004)Vol 3 No.6 A newsletter by psychiatrist Dr Bob Rich.

Nothing Upstairs By Geoff Nelder           

He should take advantage of the perspective from the top floor of a bus. Forrister’s car lingered in Foley’s Vehicular Care Centre for its annual medical but he had to put in a work appearance.

Green vinyl seats as opposed to his red leather but not bad. His nose expected sour milk odours—a foolish bias, so his eyebrows arched with surprise as fresh air slapped his face from the open top windows. Even so, those reasons for individual travel, cocooned in his Ford, came to him—personal space, sublime solitude listening to opera. He sought the least offensive fellow traveller. The beard looked normal enough: its owner gazing through a demisted circle on the window as London glided past.

An uncomfortable moment passed as Forrister obliged the window-side occupant to move a corner of his coat and shuffle up. In his car, Forrister would by now have tuned in to Classic FM talking back, unheard, to the presenter, so he turned to his companion.

“Cold, today.”

No response. Could be his new friend had defective hearing but more likely incredulous anyone had the temerity to strike up a conversation. Twenty minutes before disembarking—he had to give it another shot.

“Hey, there’s Putney Cinema. Don’t go in Screen Three, it’s squeezed in between One and Two—you only hear the other two films and at the same time!”

“Grooten!”

“Pardon?”

“For—is that all?” Beard conversed all right but in gibberish and to the window. Suddenly, Forrister’s head received a blow from behind as a robust woman thrust her elbow over the seat.

She treated Forrister to a cloud of gardenia fragrance.

“Grooten?” She barked. Beard turned, looked at her and nodded.

What? He hadn’t appreciated the rapidity of language development since he last used public transport. Contorted out of recognition. Forrister couldn’t participate. The woman had slumped back into her seat and the beard brushed again at the condensation. Forrister had to try again.

“Full today then,” Forrister said, sketching a wave at the one empty seat.

Nothing.

Then: “Jaffa. Man…”

“I have an orange. Would you like a piece?”

Before the Beard could reply, the elbow dented Forrister’s head again.

“Grooten?” she asked. He shook. She re-slumped.

Dejected, Forrister re-bagged the orange, stood and weaved his way to the winding stairs, three stops early. Before the descent he glanced back.

The woman took Forrister’s seat. Beard took an ear-piece out of his left ear.

And shared the cricket.

About the Author

Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge. He was awarded Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society for his research into air pollution and microclimates and used his students as unpaid researchers to discover urban heat islands in Yorkshire towns and villages. He taught now-out-of-date Geography and IT to the ungrateful alive but escaped on his bike to write.

His publications include science fiction novels Exit, Pursued by Bee and the ARIA trilogy; and thrillers: Escaping Reality, and Hot Air. Many of his short stories have found homes in mags such as The Horror Zine, Perihelion, Ether Books, Encounters, Jimston Journal, Delivered, Screaming Dreams and many anthologies such as Monk Punk, Science Fiction Writers’ Sampler (with Gregory Benford and David Brin), Twisted Tails, and Zombified.

His non-fiction include books on climate and he co-wrote How to Win Short Story Competitions.

chaosofmokiiLatest is an experimental science fiction short story, The Chaos of Mokii, published as an ebook by Solstice Publishing at http://mybook.to/ChaosOM

Links:

Where can we buy the books?

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

How can we follow you on Facebook?

http://www.facebook.com/geoffnelder

http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy

Twitter Handle? @geoffnelder

GoodReads? As Geoff Nelder

Website: http://geoffnelder.com

Are there any other sites we should know about?

http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/nelder_geoff

That’s it, thanks for reaching this far, if you did. May the rest of your life be deliriously wicked in the best possible way.

 

Thank you, Geoff…hmm…For stopping by. Mrs. Nelder called and she wants you to go straight home.

Now give me back my keyboard!!

And thank you all for coming. Have a great week!

Smooches th-1

CJ

CJ’s Guest Blogger: Debbie De Louise

Greeting to all!

I hope everyone’s weekend is going well! It has been crazy busy for me. Working on three stories–dark romantic thrillers series, and doing edits on another while healing from a very bad sprained ankle. Though some good news, I have an audio in the works for  Forgetting Jane, my dark paranormal thriller. But enough said about me.

51lykuky7-l-_sx331_bo1204203200_

For this week, I have another guest blogger from Solstice Publishing. Debbie De Louise. Her latest book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place is available on Amazon. So without further ado.

Debbie De Louise

It’s my pleasure to participate in the Solstice Publishing author’s group winter blog tour by sharing a post about myself, my books, and my feelings about writing.

As a librarian, reader, and author, books and the written word have been very important indebbiehicksvillenews my life. I can’t imagine a world without them. Writing transports people to places they’ve never visited within as well as outside of themselves. It entertains, teaches, amuses, and sometimes saddens. The saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” is true. Even before paper was invented or languages defined, storytellers played an important role in communities. They still do despite the fact there are so many forms of communication today. A good story has value whether it is read off a screen, through the pages of an “old-fashioned” book, or listened to on audio CD’s or digital files.

Books have healing properties. It’s been proven that reading has many emotional benefits, and what benefits your mind also positively affects your body. Have you ever found yourself so immersed in a book that you felt like you were one of the characters? Have you traveled in time with a historical novel? Been frightened by a horror story? Fallen in love with a romance? Surprised by the twist in a mystery? Excited by a scene in a thriller? Books can stir your emotions and stimulate your mind. Who needs drugs or other addictive agents when a story can relax or energize you? There are no limits to where your imagination can lead you with the pages of a book as your guide.

I remember when I first started reading in second grade. It was more fun to me than any of the games I played. I felt like I’d discovered a wonderful secret or found a magic spell. As I grew older, my love of books increased. I admired the authors who were able to make me visualize the worlds they created. Then I began writing my own stories to entertain myself. But I also had a dream that one day, like my favorite authors, I would also be able to reach people around the world and give them the gift of my words.

Publishing my own books today feels just as magical and not a little unreal. Seeing my books listed online or occupying a spot on my library or bookstore’s shelf seems incredible. When people review my books or personally give me feedback, knowing that my words are being read through their eyes is nothing short of miraculous. Still, I know that there are millions of books out there and more being published every minute. How can I hope to compete? How can I make my dream come true and reach all the people who would enjoy my stories? That’s the lament of new authors as well as old. I don’t have the answers. The best advice I can give myself as well as other writers who want to stand out from the crowd is to write what comes from their heart. Readers identify with real feelings, and most fiction is based on reality. You’re the only one who can write your book. Tell the story you’d like to read, and chances are others will be interested, too.

For more information about me and my books and stories including my Cobble Cove mystery series, connect with me through the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bIHdaQ

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.com

Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog: (blog hosted by the cat character from my Cobble Cove mysteries who interviews other animal characters and some real-life author’s pets) https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com

Cobble Cove Character Chat (Facebook page where you can interact with the characters from my mysteries): https://www.facebook.com/groups/748912598599469/

I will be hosting an author hour on Monday, February 20 from 3-4 pm during Mystery Thriller week https://mysterythrillerweek.com/

Some of the characters from my mysteries will be helping me post information about their books and offer some giveaways. For more information, visit the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1244007262287370/

when-jack-trumps-ace-001

Also, look for my romantic comedy Novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, coming this February from Solstice Publishing.

 

 

 

Thank you, Debbie for coming! It’s been a pleasure to have you stopped by!

And thank you to my readers. Have a great coming week!

Smoochesth-1

CJ

CJ’s Guest Blogger: Nicole Luttrell

Hey Folks!

I know it’s been a while since I posted, but I’ve been nose deep into writing and editing my next three books. Now enough of me. For the next several weeks, I’ll be having some of my fellow Solstice Authors Guest Blog.

This week, I would like to introduce Author Nicole Luttrell.

Her newest release,

Broken Patterns is available on Amazon.

broken-patterns-001

So without further ado, take it away Nicole!

dsc_0020-1

Hi, my name’s Nicole. I’m a writer. I kind of make a big deal out of that. Specifically, I’m a speculative fiction writer. That means I write horror, science fiction and fantasy. I wrote a book called Broken Patterns, and I sort of think it’s the best fantasy book since Dragonriders of Pern.

Am I a little full of myself? Yeah, I’ll admit it. Calling myself a speculative fiction writer a hell of a mouthful.

I also happen to be a professional author.

I love the hilarity of that sentence, you know? A professional author? I can’t think of anything less professional, you know? I mean, think about it.

We make up stories and tell them to people for a living. We have imaginary friends and they talk to us. Lots of writers, like myself, write in our pajamas, on our couches, with a cup of coffee. We are the last people you’d think of as professional. We’re really just big kids, playing with our imaginary toys.

Well, except that we don’t just write in our pjs. We also write in waiting rooms, at red lights, during our lunch breaks. We write before our kids get up and after they go to bed. We write while other people go to the movies and go to bars and, you know, sleep.

We have to write in all of these times because most of us, including me, have day jobs. I have a full time day job, in fact. We write around jobs, school and families. In fact, a lot of us write around all three of those things at the same time. (Not me, though. I just have a full time job and two kids. Oh, and also a husband and too many pets.)

We weep over our writing, did you know that? We kill of your favorite characters, yes. But they were our favorite characters long before you ever heard of them. Characters don’t just exist for us, they live inside our minds. Killing one is gut wrenching.

Of course, the rough draft is only half of it. Once it’s done we start in editing. We edit, edit and edit some more. We edit our work until it glows. Until we could repeat the stories from memory. And sometimes we feel like we do that.

Usually, that whole repeating it from memory comes when we start promoting our work to everyone. Have you ever worked in sales? Imagine that, but all the time. The thing that makes it better and worse at the same time is that you feel like you’re selling a part of yourself. So you really believe that everyone needs what you’re selling, but you’re also taking every rejection hugely personally.

Finally, when we’re done with a book, we start all over again. Because writing’s an obsession, one that we cannot escape.

So professional writer is kind of a ridiculous thing to call us. It’s better to call us what we really are.

Addicts.

Thanks Nicole for stopping by! It’s great having you as a guest blogger.

And to all my readers, have a great week!

Smoochesth-1

CJ