Saturday, 29 December 2012

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

★*˚°。°*。°*。★*˚°。°*。°˚°★*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★
° * _██_*˚°。°/♥ \*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★
˛ . (´• ̮•)*. 。*/♫.♫\*˛.* ˛ _Π_____*˚°。*。°*❤*˚°。°*。°*★
. ° ( . • .) ˛° . /• '♫ '•\.˛*./_______/~\*˚°。°*。°*°*❤ ˚°*★

Friday, 21 December 2012

Despair

Man in the mirror
Looking at me
Seeing the anger
That no one should see
Knowing my secrets
Drawing me near
Sharing emotion 
feeling my fear

Man in the mirror
With crosses to bear
Emotionless statue
With glassy eyed stare
Society’s outcast
distant from grace
Heart cold as ice
in a devil’s embrace

Man in the mirror
Of dwindling light
Humanity’s exile
A creature of night
cold blooded vessel
Empty inside
craving compassion
With access denied

Man in the mirror
Staring at me
Time for redemption
Time to be free
No more will I suffer
No more will I run
The time is upon us
………I reach for the gun………

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Coming soon - Roman III - The Wrath of Boudicca


Prologue

The Land of the Trinovantes
Britannia 40 AD

     Boudicca was ten years old when she learned of her fate. A trading party from the Kingdom of the Iceni, a great tribe on the east coast of Britannia had come to the lands of the Trinovantes and spent a week in the compound of her father, himself a king in his own right.
    A great feasting took place on the last night. Gifts were exchanged and trading treaties agreed between the two peoples before the real business of the visit was discussed. Finally agreement was made and the men of both tribes moved their attention to the flasks of wine and skins of ale that lay in abundance around the giant roundhouse that held the Trinovantian council. Soon, considered words of wisdom and guarded calculations of worth were replaced with tales of masculine debauchery and bravery in battle. A trait shared by all Britannic tribesmen.
     Boudicca knew that something special was happening that night but had no idea what it could be. Such things were not for the ears of children, even daughters of kings. The sounds of revelry lasted deep into the the night and the racket of drinking men meant she lay awake for hours, staring into the darkness of the roundhouse she shared with her mother and two sisters. Finally she left the warmth of the reindeer furs and walked over to the dying fire in the centre of the hut, poking the embers to stir the lazy flames from their fiery slumber. A movement behind her made her jump but she smiled when her mother sat alongside her and wrapped her own blanket around them both.
     ‘Noisy lot aren’t they?’ said her mother quietly.
     Boudicca nodded.
     ‘Are they going in the morning?’  asked Boudicca.
     ‘They are,’ said her mother.
     ‘What did they want?’ asked Boudicca.
     Her mother hesitated and looked down before turning to look at her.
     ‘Boudicca,’ she said, ‘we live in hard times. Messengers ride between tribes telling of a threat from a faraway land.’
     ‘The Romans,’ said Boudicca.
     ‘Yes,’ said her mother. ‘Even as we speak they gather their forces across the sea and it is said they will assault our shores before next the snow falls.’
     ‘But I have heard father say that Caratacus will lead an army against them and drive them into the sea.’
     ‘And he will, I’m sure,’ said her mother, ‘but there is always the chance he will fail so we have to make sure our own people’s interests are looked after.’
     ‘I don’t understand,’ said Boudicca.
     ‘Your father is a great King, Boudicca but we are one tribe amongst many. It is his duty to forge alliances with other tribes.’
     ‘Like the Iceni?’ asked Boudicca.
     ‘Exactly,’ said her mother. ‘Have you seen the tall man who leads them?’
     ‘Yes.’
     ‘Well he is called Prasatagus and he is their king. He has come here to seek our swords in an alliance against the Romans, should the need ever come.’
     ‘Then that is good,’ said Boudicca.
     ‘It is,’ agreed her mother, ‘but there is a price to be paid and it is only fair that you know the cost.’
     Boudicca waited silently, dreading the words that she guessed would be coming.
     ‘Boudicca…’ started her mother
     ‘It’s me isn’t it?’ said Boudicca before her mother could continue.
     Her mother looked down as if in shame.
     ‘I’m sorry, my darling,’ she said, ‘but we need a blood bond and he has asked that you become his bride.’
     ‘When?’ asked Boudicca.
     ‘Not yet,’ said her mother, tucking a lock of Boudicca’s long red hair back behind her daughter’s ear, ‘but there has been agreement you will not be promised to another. When you have fifteen years, you will be taken to the lands of the Iceni to become his queen.’
     Boudicca stared into the flames, absorbing the news. She didn’t know much about the ways of the grown-ups but knew it was an important path that lay before her.
     ‘Are you all right, sweetheart?’ asked her mother gently.
     Boudicca nodded in silence.
     ‘There is no need to be frightened,’ said her mother.
     ‘I’m not afraid, mother,’ said Boudicca, ‘only worried that I make you and father proud.’
     ‘Oh, Boudicca,’ sighed her mother, pulling her closer into her embrace, you already do, every minute of every day and who knows, one day the whole of Britannia will be proud of you too.’
     Boudicca snuggled in closer and both mother and daughter stared into the comforting flames, not realising that within a generation, Boudicca’s name would unite a kingdom and send fear into the very souls of an Empire half a world away.
----

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Darkest Hour



Silence the nightingale, its song annoys.
Lock away the peacock, its frivolity offends
Strip the leaves from the trees, their rustle silenced forever.
Discard all the fruit, the taste is bitter to me.
Close all the buds, Send the bees home.

Let the rivers run dry, they no longer have purpose.
The mountains are but obstacles. Fell the proud oak
Take down the signs, for all paths lead nowhere
Disperse the passing cloud, the sky enthralls me not.
It is but empty space, mirroring my heart.

Turn off the breeze, it chills my bones
Dismiss the memory of rain on upturned face.
Dismantle the pyramids, they bore me now.
Burn all the books and scorn the poet.
Turn off the music and scold the laughing child.

Discharge the sun, its warmth cannot penetrate my soul
Do not offer comfort or try to understand.
There is no salve for this despair
And seek not my company.
The world is dead to me.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Out now Roman II - The Rise of Caratacus

50AD

The Invasion is over and Roman Legions spread throughout the land, a blood red stain on Britannia. Caratacus has fled south to rebuild his army and warriors flock to his banner.

In the north, a disgraced Legionary grasps the chance to regain his honour and joins the Exploratores, the elite Roman unit operating behind enemy lines. Soon he is tasked with disrupting the plans of Caratacus but deep inside he nurtures a deeper mission, the chance to fulfil an oath made six years earlier.

Finally the army of Caratacus marches north and as they confront the Legions of Scapula in a final bloody battle, the Exploratore draws closer to the ultimate prize, the chance to murder the man he once called brother.



Sunday, 18 November 2012

Remember


I never was a soldier
So have no tale to tell,
of cloying mud and seas of blood
and trenches into hell

I didn't get the call up
So how am I to know
of ghosts who stand on scarlet sand
where angels fear to go

I didn't serve my country
So missed the pained goodbyes
of men who cried as brothers died
beneath those  leaden skies

I never fought for freedom
So couldn't  understand
the metal rain of searing pain
that ripped across the sand

I didn't have the calling
So where do I begin
to understand exploding land
that tears them limb from limb

I never had to comprehend
the sound of mothers' cries.
The tragic price of devils dice
when rolled to see who dies

So why should I remember?
How could it ever be?
That gallant dead, spilled poppy red
And gave their lives for me.

I never was a soldier.
And never went away
like those who tried and cried and died
and marched so I could stay


K. M. Ashman


Saturday, 6 October 2012

An extraordinarily kind gesture


As a writer, my days are filled with excitement, self doubt, creativity and worry. 

What if my work is rubbish? What if they hate me? What if I have missed a full stop or have a spelling mistake? To be honest, on occasion it verges on paranoia and I know many if not all writers suffer the same doubts.

Obviously as writers we need good reviews, they are the key to the door to success but sometimes something happens that is just as good or even better. A simple thank you eases your mind, a complimentary comment lifts the weight off your shoulders, even if only for a few days. 

However, today something happened that has lit up my writing world. It doesn't involve huge sales or glowing reviews but had just as good an effect on me.

A few weeks ago, a reading group in America asked if they could read ‘The Dead Virgins’ as their monthly choice. Of course I was honoured and sat back to await their feedback. I was obviously very nervous. However, imagine my surprise when today, I had to go up to the local post office to pick up a parcel and found it had been sent from that reading group in America as a thank you. 

The parcel contained a bottle of single malt, 12 year old whiskey as a gift and a thank you card.

Needless to say, I am blown away.

For a group of people, whom I have never met to go out of their way to do that means so much, it humbles me. I should be thanking them for reading my book, not the other way around.

So, if you are reading this Bobbi and friends, thank you for your extraordinary gesture. I am very grateful and hopefully one day, if success comes knocking, perhaps we can all sit down together and discuss the part you all played in this author’s journey.

THANK YOU

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A pleasant surprise

Hi all

Having published Mummies of the Reich on Friday, last night my attention turned to Roman 2.
I re-read what I have written so far and had a bit of a tidy up.

 I thought I already had about 10k but was pleasantly surprised to find I actually had 20k that I could use. Now, there is a lesson there. When writing my other books, if I get writers block I sometimes turn to other works in progress and just change focus.

It may be only a few paragraphs but they soon add up and this is a perfect example. I was chuffed to suddenly realise that Roman 2 is just under a quarter done.

That has given me a huge boost.

So the lesson here is, for me as well, when you grind to a halt, don't stare at a blank page but try something fresh until inspiration returns.

It works for me.

:-)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Came home to a nice E mail this evening from the publishers of my paperbacks.

Dear Kevin

We are pleased to tell you some good news that your book will form part of a competition advertised both in History Today magazine and The Oldie magazine in their next issues, due out on September 20th, the ad will also feature a thumbnail of your book cover along with some other titles. The competition is a free publishing prize with free bookseller distribution for entrants who enter the competition and buy one of a choice of 8 books, the choice includes yours. We chose these magazines for fans of history (History Today) and because The Oldie has a book supplement in the next issue. Please do tweet and facebook if you wish to re this, or add the news to any blog you may have. The competition is listed under Competitions at the top of the feedaread homepage. We put 25% of site profits back into site functions so you can if you wish add what you think of the service on twitter/facebook etc, as this helps to fund further developments to assist further with sales too over time. Your book features in the competition as you achieved a second top ten quarterly position, which is excellent.

The ad will feature in the October issues of the magazines, sometimes they come out a few days earlier e.g. we are told September 20th. The ad aims to sell both FeedARead.com and the books in the ad, as the prize of free publishing and books that may appeal to readers go in tandem.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Earning the right to write

A year ago today, I uploaded my first book to Amazon. It went straight to number 1 and stayed there for several months. Since then, I have written another 7 books and number 8 is almost done. I have also written short stories and blogs as well as articles and poetry.

That is a lot of writing.

Among my friends online and indeed the fans of my books, I have garnered a bit of a reputation for prolific writing. That is not a bad thing as I love weaving the stories from the distant and unexplored recesses of my underused mind. It is my passion and my escape but there is a price to pay.

Let me explain.

I have a full time job. It can be stressful and has a lot of responsibility. My release is my writing. Each night I sit at my dining table, easing out the stories in my mind onto the virtual paper of my laptop. That's good, you may say and I agree, I am the first to type the cliche's 'just write' or 'black on white' to my writing friends online. I set demanding targets and strive to achieve them. But the thing is, it is so satisfying to sink into the make believe pages of my books, I have not realized that I am neglecting reality.

My children are grown up, so there are no issues there, I see my grandson every few days and my wife is very understanding, realizing that the benefits will be, (and indeed are) there for us all to enjoy. So what's the problem?

This week, I had a wake up call. An online acquaintance of mine called Jim, declared on his blog that he has less than 5 months to live.

!!!!!!

I was shocked. I don't know Jim personally but we have crossed paths many times as we share the same writing world. The way he is handling this news is extraordinary and he wants to share his journey in case anyone else can benefit from what he is trying to do. Jim's blog can be found here.

http://www.jtuffin.co.uk/my-cancer-story/just-128-days-left/

The thing is, it stopped me in my tracks. Yes I want to write. I love writing and have sold a lot of books. Writing is hopefully going to give me and my wife a comfortable retirement.  But at what cost?


Over the last year I have put on two and a half stone. For my American friends, that is 35 pounds. I am a big bloke anyway, but my current lifestyle consists of sit at desk all day. Come home. Sleep, eat, sit at laptop all night.

In addition, though my wife is often in work during these times, when she is home, the pattern doesn't change and poor Jan, though she doesn't complain, is left with little attention while I create my own little universes.

How dare I?

Who do I think I am?

While I am absorbed in my self centered little world, ignoring the damage I am doing to my body and the neglect of my family life, there are people out there who would love to have the opportunities that I enjoy.

I have only to think of Jim and realize how lucky I am, and how he would appreciate the future I have before me.

So I have made a decision. Since last week, I have formed a new mantra. Before I sit at my laptop each night I am going to ask myself a question.

Today, have I earned the right to write?

Now, that could be anything as long as it is different from my day to day life.

It could be, a bike ride, eating healthily, helping Jan around the house, going down the pub with Jan, taking Evan to the park, walking the dog a bit further, hell even just mowing the lawn is okay. As long as it is outside of my daily schedule then it is in. I know that it is subjective but I intend to be hard on myself.

Life is not just about being successful at what you do, but is also about being healthy and happy. I am very lucky as I have a wonderful family and a fantastic wife.
In contrast, they have an overweight father who struggles up the stairs and a self obsessed husband who fails to see the damage he is doing to himself. That is entirely selfish of me.

However, my life is about to change. I need it to, I want it to. My writing should exist alongside quality home life and good health, not instead of it. My bike has been serviced and I have already started regular rides down to a nearby castle. (I have the butt pain to prove it)
The fridge is full of fruit, meals are healthy and planned in advance and I have already lost 6 pounds while eating like a king. I have also, however written ten thousand words of my next book so it proves that both lifestyles can exist side by side. In a very short space of time, I not only feel better physically but mentally as well.

So, if you are reading this Jim, thank you. There is nothing I can say to ease the situation you are in, but if it is in any way a consolation, you can take credit in one thing. You, sir, have opened my eyes. I will no longer take my life for granted and whenever it gets tough, I will remember the brave example you are setting.
I will still write my books, I will still strive to achieve the holy grail of full time writing but from here on in, it will not be the obsession it has been for the last 12 months. I am not getting any younger and life should be about living it to the full while you have the chance.

With immediate effect, I will EARN the right to write.