My Independent Author Journey by Alan Scott Author of the Storm Series

Prelude
I was born and raised in the West Coast of Scotland. The small town I was brought up in was surrounded by mountains, lochs and was situated next to the sea.

Chapter one – The start
Since I was Dyslexic and it being the 80’s I was in the second lowest English class during my entire secondary education. Hence, I was more or less written off when it came to English as a Subject. Luckily this meant we mostly taken to the school Library and told to pick books to read quietly.

I was in heaven.

I got to read all the books I wanted to read, Fantasy, Sci fi, westerns, not the rubbish that those further up the pecking order had to read.

The only exception to this was To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I demolished this book in two sittings over the weekend. It opened by eyes to the fact that you can enjoy a book no matter what genre it falls in, as long as the writer cares about their characters.

Chapter Two – The Middle Bit
Left school at 16, joined the RAF aged 20, travelled the world, left RAF when I was 32, joined a local council. Read a lot

Chapter Three -The Writing Begins
When I had just turned 40, I kept on having this dream of a man walking away from a woman as the rain gently fell. He has a sad mocking smile on his face and she is crying. However, she is not crying for herself, she is crying for the man.

One day I picked up a pen and started write a story and for the first time since I was 14 started to write a story.

And that is basically how my first Fantasy novel “Echoes of a Storm” came into existence.

Chapter Four – Proof Readers are Worth their Weight in Gold
I then started a Facebook page for my book and that is how I meet the lady who would become my proof reader. One Ms Lisa W from Texas USA.

I am the first to admit that my early books, weren’t the best when it came to grammar etc (in my defence I did have people look over them) that all changed when Lisa volunteered to proof read my work, and what a wonderful job she does

If you are thinking about writing, trust me when I say this – A good proof reader that is willing to challenge you is worth their weight in gold.

Chapter Five –The Covers
I was originally designing my own covers. They weren’t that good. So, when my brother said he knew a German artist, who might do the covers for me. I jumped at the chance asking for her contact details.

Unknown to us at the time he gave me the wrong website and by mistake I contacted the wrong person.

That was a huge piece of luck as the lady I did contact, Saskia Schnell is a highly sought after talented artist, who has worked on many wonderful projects. She creates my covers because she likes the ideas behind my stories.

Chapter Six – The Future
I have now published 14 books on Amazon and are now looking to turn my ebooks into Audio Books, narrated by the extremely talented voice Actor Cari Scholtens from the USA.

Chapter Seven – Publicity
The hardest thing about self-publishing is getting your name and your books out there. You will never do anything as difficult as trying to publicise your work.

To that end, if you are a reader of any self-publishing authors work, then if you read one of their books please leave a review. Reviews are extremely important to self-publisher as it helps other readers decide whether or not to buy the book.

It’s a simple equation, the more honest reviews, the higher the chance of the book being bought.

Epilogue
I write because I enjoy doing it, and I hope people enjoy reading my stories and tales.
Enjoy your reading

Alan

#poweredbyindie

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Guest Writer Blog 2 – Malkia Ganghi

Quit India – the story behind it
by Malika Gandhi

 

A thought became a revolution; it took over minds and hearts and it divided a country in two. Once brothers, the people of India turned into enemies when their motherland, India, became India and Pakistan.
But when did the hatred, the resentment begin? When did the British Raj become insufferable?

The British entered India in 1608, concentrating on trading on new land. It was only when the Mughal Empire weakened in 1707 and dissolved that the East India Company took over India in 1764 after the Battle of Buxar. The East India Company – a British trading company administered power over India and ruled most states aswell as exercising power and control of Indian Military Forces.

There were many battles and disagreements through Indian history, such as the Battle of Buxar but what began the Indian Independence ‘battle’ was the ‘war’ between the British Raj and the Indians in 1857, known as the First War, the Great Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny amongst other such names. This war was a sepoy’s (an Indian soldier) fight that escalated throughout India.

Although this was seen as the catalyst of the First War, other factors contributed to the slow but sure build up of resentment and hate toward the East India Company.
It came to be believed by the sepoys that the East India Company intended to divide faiths and have them convert to Christianity, by force or deception. Land seizure was another British rule, one that forced the fact that if a ruler did not produce a true heir, their land would then be the property of the East India Company. As a result, many kingdoms such as Oudh, Nagpur and Awadh were taken over.

But what started the Mutiny? What was the cause of such an upheaval? The answer – a disregard of the native’s faith. The beliefs of the Hindu and the Muslim man were ridiculed by the East India Company.

Ignoring the Hindu’s religious devotion and worshipping of the Cow, the ‘mother’ who gives milk, and the Muslim’s revulsion of the Pig, that they see as dirty, lazy and greedy, the East India company ordered their army to manually load ammunition that was greased with the fat of the pig and the cow. Therefore, biting one end of the cartridge before use in a certain rifle was outrageous!

But no one had the nerve to stand up until Mangal Pandey, an infamous sepoy, took lead and braved to voice the injustice of the Company. He brought the cow/pig greased cartridge fact to the forefront to his fellow sepoys. Anger led to retaliation, with Mangal Pandey leading. He fired the first bullet.

Mangal Pandey with a few others was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging but Pandey was hanged ten days before his sentence date.
After the ‘War’, the East India Company was abolished and the responsibility of India was taken over by the Crown. Many steps were taken later to ensure some peace, some which included the end of attainment of land from stately princes.
After a lull in the Indian subcontinent, in 1915 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived from South Africa, known as Bapu (father) and Mahatma (the Great One). Gandhi travelled throughout India to ‘see’. He observed the rich and the poor, he witnessed ill treatment from the British Goré (white people) directed at the natives. Racial discrimination and prejudice were high.

Gandhi realised that India needed to fight back, to win back her rights and to claim her country back from the ‘foreigners’. One day, Gandhi settled on his decision. The European’s injustices and his tolerance to them went just too far. In 1942, he called for the ‘Quit India Movement’. He wanted the British out of India!

Gandhi advertised the Quit India Movement throughout India and voiced clearly that there must be no violence. India’s people embraced the Movement and embarked upon it with passion. Vallabhai Patel – Indian barrister and statesman, Jawaharlal Nehru – Indian politician (who became the first Indian Prime Minister), and Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Muslim lawyer, politician, statesman (founder of Pakistan), united with Gandhi in the Quit India Movement and participated and argued in heated discussions and speeches.

They were all arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’. But this didn’t stop India, who fought back. Nothing was going to stop them now. During the course of the Movement, many riots started along with the damaging of government buildings, derailment of railway lines (which the British Raj had introduced into the country), boycotting of schools and colleges and the throwing away/setting fire of British goods.

Marches, riots and freedom speeches were a regular occurrence; violence (against Gandhi’s pleas to stop) turned murderous. Indians were arrested or killed – the lathi, a soldier or policeman’s baton was never far away from the protestors. Many were jailed for a long time or executed.

In 1946, Jinnah proposed a new country – Pakistan. He wanted a Muslim country, to be ruled by a Muslim man, not Hindu. The other leaders were not happy about this and tried reasoning with Jinnah to no avail. Jinnah was adamant. He declared 16th August 1946 as Direct Action Day which saw colossal rioting and manslaughter across Calcutta.

Tension, anger and fear grew amongst the Hindu and Muslim communities and during October and November 1946, horrendous numbers of massacres, abductions, rape and forced faith conversions of Hindus, aswell as loot and arson were seen in Noakhali, actioned by the Muslim community.

Gandhi spent four months in Noakhali trying to restore peace and bring the communities together. But his efforts failed. During this time, Partition of India was accepted by the Congress Party.

14th August 1947 – Pakistan was formed.
15th August 1947 – midnight, India was made a Free country; she gained her independence. The British flag was lowered and the Indian flag rose.
It was Independence Day and both countries rejoiced in their new found Freedom.
Today, in England and in many other countries, Independence Day is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of August remembering those Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for us and mourning those Indians whose lives were taken away through riots and massacres; a time which changed lives forever and is still fresh in those minds who lived during those horrendous times.

 

Today, I am giving my Ebook Freedom of the Monsoon away for free. Just click on the link below. I hope you enjoy the book, and I hope you will be
encouraged to leave a review. Thank you!

 

Abstract:
Pooja stared back at her reflection. The bruises were deep purple and her mascara had run, leaving black streaks behind. Taking a wet cloth, she wiped away the signs of abuse from the corner of her mouth. She took out a compact from the antique dresser and fought to cover the bruises with her scalded hands, then she brushed through her already knot free hair. It was then that she stopped crying.
Gingerly, Pooja adorned her hair with a butterfly clip, and stood up to examine herself in the full-length mirror. She looked better now; the bruises didn’t show up as much.
“It’s alright, beta, things will get better, I promise,” she whispered, putting her hands on her stomach. “Your Papa didn’t mean to do it. He is a good man.”
Pooja walked from room to room, overlooking the cleaning of the house. The servants were busy today; Amar was expecting guests. She must try and present herself well…
“Meenakshi, how is the dinner coming along?”
“Very well, Memsahib,” Meenakshi, the chef’s wife assured her.
Pooja was satisfied, and moved on. Everything must be perfect today. Amar must have no complaints. Pooja passed the drawing room – something wasn’t right. The cigars!
“Laxman!” she called.
“Yes, Memsahib.” Laxman, who overlooked the housework, appeared.
“Laxman, the cigars. Fill the cigarette holder and quickly. Saab must have it full.”
The big clock struck seven. The guests would be here soon with Amar. Pooja steadied her breathing, and went to her bedroom to get changed. Maybe a little more powder will be good. She opened the wardrobe, which contained over two hundred saris, and searched for something suitable. She settled on a pink and silver one. She hoped Amar would approve. Glancing in the mirror, she noticed there was something wrong with her hair. It was the hair-clip. Amar didn’t like butterflies…he would be so angry. Pooja changed it to a flower design – yes, that’s better.

 

Links to download the free Ebook:

UK: http://amzn.to/2waXrA6

USA: http://amzn.to/2ffQk2o

INDIA: http://amzn.to/2w9UeAE

india cover

In celebration of the ‘unknown’ Arnold Bennett

A fascinating article about a very interesting man

Alan

By Samira Ahmed, BBC Radio 4

Arnold Bennett was once considered a national figure, whose death caused widespread mourning

Arnold Bennett is probably the most successful and famous British celebrity you’ve never heard of, unless you’ve tried the omelette that bears his name.

The dish was invented at London’s Savoy Hotel, where this lover of the high life often stayed.

The JK Rowling of his day, his books sold in huge numbers, he was a figure of huge influence in politics and culture, a friend of the newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook, and declined a knighthood after notable service running the French propaganda department for the British government during World War I.

When Bennett lay dying from typhoid in his flat at Chiltern Court above Baker Street station in 1931, London’s city authorities laid straw on the streets to dull the noise. It was testament to his status as a great national figure.

His books

The Card (1910): A comic fantasy about an ambitious young man (rather like Bennett) who tricks, flirts and works his way up the social ladder to become Mayor of his home town. Made into a film with Alec Guinness in 1952.

 

The Old Wives’ Tale (1908): Bennett’s masterpiece about two sisters was inspired by seeing an old, fat lady in a Paris restaurant, and imagining her past life: “She was repulsive, no one could like or sympathise with her. But I thought: ‘She has been young and slim once’.

 

“Anna of the Five Towns (1902): Meet Anna Tellwright, a modern young woman with wealth but a domineering father seeking freedom and independence in a small town with small town values. Will she marry for love, or for duty?

 

Riceyman Steps (1923): A remarkable London novel about the household of a miser, told from the point of view of the maid, Elsie, married to a shell-shocked soldier back from WWI.

 

The Pretty Lady (1918): Bennett was fascinated by the demi-monde. This sympathetic tale of a French prostitute who comes to London at the start of WWI features a powerful description of being caught in a Zeppelin raid.

Not bad for a pawnbroker’s son with a terrible stammer from the grimy Staffordshire potteries’ town of Hanley who dreamed of escape.

And that story of social mobility is what makes it all the more remarkable that Bennett’s place in literary history is currently so obscure, especially compared to his great friend HG Wells, with whom he shared a fascination for the technological innovations like the cinema and cars that were transforming early 20th-Century life.

Bennett came to London aged 21, originally to be a solicitor’s clerk. But after winning a literary competition he never looked back and never stopped writing; up to half a million words a year.

First he wrote short stories for women’s magazines, then novels and more: He wrote blockbuster film screenplays (Piccadilly 1929) and discussed working with a young Alfred Hitchcock.

He wrote smash hit plays that made him a theatre celebrity. He wrote self-help guides, such as How To Live On 24 Hours A Day (still in print today).

Bennett’s most famous novel The Old Wives’ Tale is about two sisters one of whom elopes to a scandalous life in France and the other who stays at home running the family draper’s shop.

The shop, now empty, that inspired the book still stands in Burslem. It used to belong to Bennett’s maternal family. And by coincidence Peter Coates, the millionaire chairman of Stoke City FC started his family’s Bet365 business in that very shop.

Coates is one of a significant core of Bennett devotees who believe Bennett deserves rediscovery.

The Old Wives’ Tale was made into a 1921 film starring American actress Florence Turner

They include novelists Margaret Drabble and Sathnam Sanghera, who transposed the story of The Old Wives’ Tale to an Asian corner shop in the 1960s and 70s for his recent novel Marriage Material.

Ask a Bennett admirer like Coates or Sanghera how they first came to read him, and almost always they say it’s because someone gave them a book and they were hooked by his great stories and characters.

So why did Britain stop reading Bennett in significant numbers?

Many of his books are short and very readable. One of his funniest novels The Card was made into a much loved film starring Alec Guinness, shot on location in the Potteries.

But that was in 1952. And it was the 70s and 80s when the last major TV serialisations of The Old Wives’ Tale and the Clayhanger trilogy were made.

Some fans say he wrote too much, some of it very mediocre. But that still leaves a dozen great novels and collections of short stories.

Many believe the long-term decline was down to the critical trashing of his reputation by Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set of modernist writers which continued after his death in 1931.

Arnold Bennett ruffled feathers in his native Potteries when in his novels he reduced the official number of towns included in the title from six to five and painted a gloomy picture of life there

Margaret Drabble, who wrote Bennett’s biography, believes upper middle class snobbery at a lower class provincial writer was part of it.

But there is also the author’s strained relationship with his roots. Bennett’s most acclaimed novels were nearly all set in the Potteries that he’d been so desperate to leave.

He hardly ever went back. He turned the real six towns into a fictional five, which still rankles.

And in Clayhanger, Anna of the Five Towns and other books, the Potteries were portrayed as places of oppressive religious conformity, bullying Victorian patriarchs and philistine attitudes to art and literature.

This cryptic entry in Bennett’s journal written on 20 October 1927 – nearly 40 years after he left – says it all: “I took the 1205 back to London, which went through the Potteries. The sight of this district gave me a shudder.”

These days Stoke-on-Trent is proud of Bennett, but getting his books back onto school reading lists is a challenge.

You can still get an omelette Arnold Bennett at the Savoy Hotel or make one yourself, which is a lot cheaper. But why not try one of its namesake’s classic novels instead?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27920331

 

Opening Paragraphs – Do they make or break stories?

I was once told that the opening paragraph of your story is the most important one you will write, as it will either entice the reader in the world you are creating, or lose them and they will wander off.

Below are my opening paragraphs for each of my books in the Storm Series Trilogy

Echoes of a Storm

Her softly falling tears echoed the rain as she watched him walk away. He did not cry, but then, his life had made him forget how. So, in the gentle rain, just past midnight, she found herself crying for a man – a fool – who could not.

Scions of the Storm

The creature slowly dragged itself out of the cold dark waters where it had hidden for the past two days and nights. Badly hurt, it had needed time to recover and a place to hide from the hunters. The cold water had sapped its strength and drained it of its ability to heal quickly, hence, the now desperate need to gain dry land. Dry land! With the rain falling from black heavy rain clouds, which hid the moon, the land could hardly be called ‘dry’. A gentle smile spread across its lips at the irony.

A Dark and Hungry Storm

Rebecca stood on the castle battlements looking down at the badly damaged city of Deep Lake. Barely a fifth of the city was untouched after the final battle which had claimed her mother, Queen Kathleen Rothgal. To the north, funeral pyres still smouldered, stark testament to the huge losses the city had taken during the siege.

I have to admit the opening paragraph to ‘Echoes of a Storm’ I’m particularly proud of : )

Do you agree with me, and think that the opening paragraph is the most important? Also, what is your favourite opening paragraph from any book that you have written or read?

Alan

What inspired me to write – Part one

Books and Authors.

Hopefully within 500ish words, I will list below the top ten Books or Authors that, for one reason or another, inspired me.

 I’ve placed then in (roughly) chronological order.

 1. The Brothers Grimm book of fairy tales.  Well this is the book that fired my imagination all those years ago.

 2.  2000AD. For those of you that don’t know 2000AD is a British comic that started in 1977. My mum thought it was far too violent for me (I was 8) when it first came out, so I did not actually start reading it until about 2 years later.  The stories were violent, dark and gritty. The heroes did not always do nice things and more importantly they had Middenface McNulty a properly written Scottish character, which appeared in the Strontium Dogs stories

 3.     Edge series of books by George G Gilman. These were a set of western books written by British author Terry Harknett who under the pseudonym of George G Gilman wrote these Western stories. The Gilman books were known for their sardonic and sarcastic humor and for their very violent content, and as 14 year old boy I loved them

 4.  To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. At secondary school, I was told that I was lazy and stupid in English, hence I was placed in the lowest English class. (they later found out that I was Dyslexic) I hated all the books we were given to read and had almost given up on reading. Then one day we got a new teacher, and she gave us To Kill a Mocking Bird to read. This book did something magical, it reignited my love of reading

 5.   An Inspector calls by J B Priestly. I know this is a play by it is a wonderful play and the twist at the end is wonderful.

 6.   The colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett. If To Kill a Mocking Bird reignited my love of reading then The Colour of Magic fanned the flames and turned it into a raging inferno. The man is a legend.

 7.   Legend and Waylander by David Gemmell. David Gemmell was the first author I read in fantasy whose books read like they had been written by a man. As a male reader, this was like mana from heaven. Of all the writers that have influenced me, David Gemmell is the one who has influenced my style of writing the most.

 8.   The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. By 2007 the world of fantasy stories was filled with love struck vampires, elf and dwarfs swinging beer and stories aimed at teenagers. I had almost given up on finding new stories to read and then came along ‘The Blade Itself’ and my faith in fantasy stories was rekindled.

 9.   The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It’s like buses. You wait around for ages and nothing comes then all of a sudden two come at once.

 10.   I am Legend by Richard Matheson. The films of this book are rubbish, but the book is simple fantastic. Every fantasy writer and reader should read this book.

I have missed out so many books and authors from my list, that I have read and enjoyed but I cannot put everyone in or it would be my top 100!

 

Alan