Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
– Calvin Coolidge
Wishing you and your family a magical and joyful holiday season from all of us.
Reprinted with permission by Fiona Mcvie from her blog, Author Interviews.
By Fiona Mcvie
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from The Netherlands, I was born in a small village near Rotterdam.
Rotterdam has one of the biggest harbours in the world. It is said that the inhabitants are ‘born with rolled back sleeves’ – which means that everyone likes to work hard. That’s the spirit I like. I am a writer and work every day and never had a writer’s block.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Outer Banks Publishing Group, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, offered me a contract for my series of children’s books Saladin the Wonder Horse. Four books. The covers are already done. Everything looks splendid. This is what the stories are about:
England, the twelfth century:
Angie, a poor Saxon girl, looks after the horses of Lord Baltimore.
It is a rough time in England, where Prince John sits temporarily on the throne of his brother Richard the Lionheart.
The girl plunges into wild adventures when she tries to keep a colt out of the greedy hands of the prince. She meets a mysterious knight, who gives her his horse – Saladin, the black wonder horse.
With the two faithful animals, Angie manages to reach the camp of Robin Hood, bringing him an important message.
Silver, the colt she saved, learns quickly from the clever Saladin.
The exciting adventures of Angie, Silver, and Saladin come to a head as the girl resolves to outsmart Prince John.
And of course, she cannot achieve that without her special horses…and some very special friends.
I wrote dozens and dozens of scripts for comic magazines. The drawings were done by Spanish artists. The comics were published all over Europe: The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France… The main publisher asked me to write a series about horses. I came up with Saladin the Wonder Horse.
The publisher decided to print the books in Sweden. They came to The Netherlands by truck: 40.000 paperbacks!
Before Saladin the Wonder Horse, I had written another series for another publisher. The title of the series was Slimmetje, which means as much as ‘Smarty’. It was published by two different companies and more than 450.000 copies were sold in the Netherlands only!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have always been interested in history. Saladin is a name you will find when you read about the crusades. Fascinating times. I created Saladin, a big black war horse, brought to England by a wounded knight. It is a true wonder horse and little Angie had to take care of him when the knight passes away.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
When you write books, you learn something every day. I often write fantasy, but the stories take place in a normal world. Sometimes in the present, sometimes in the past. Then you have to deal with lots of facts, you must know what you are writing about.
I could not have written Saladin the Wonder Horse without knowing about the middle ages.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Saladin the Wonder Horse would be a terrific film. The producers and the director must look for a clever girl who is able to ride a horse.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write children’s books and novels. More than often I write two books at the same time. Start writing at half past seven in the morning. All I need is one single idea – that is enough to start writing, I never know how it will end. There is chaos in my head and I need to put an avalanche of words on the screen of my laptop to clear up my thoughts. I feel free when a book is finished, but soon it starts all over again and I concentrate on writing new things. I have written over sixty different titles and hundreds of comic scripts, worked as a copywriter for a big agency, and wrote songs and plays. It just never stops and I am so grateful for that!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Love to travel. Mostly by car. From The Netherlands it’s easy to drive to Germany, Austria, Switzerland. But I don’t have to travel for my books. Been to New York – I was invited by Bill Thompson, the editor of the first books by Stephen King and John Grisham. That was a great experience.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
They were done by Maverick Book Services in the Philippines. Publisher Anthony Policastro and I instructed the artist and we received sketches and different ideas. We picked out the best designs. Isn’t that fascinating? I am in The Netherlands, my publisher in the USA, the cover artists in the Philippines and the Internet brings us together!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! The message in all of my books is simple: “I hope you will have a good time.”
What I write is pure entertainment. Of course, I have some interesting things to say as well, but that is not the main goal. I just hope that my readers (kids and adults) will enjoy my stories.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
At the age of 7. I filled a pile of notebooks. I was Europe’s youngest scenario writer for comics when I was only 16 and my first novel was published when I was 18 years old.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was 16. I had three pages in a weekly for several years. It was fascinating to learn that so many kids in school bought the comics and read my stories.
“As a boy, I was, of course, not allowed to write too late at night. The bookkeeper of my father’s business knew I had that drive to write after midnight. He gave me a special old light bulb, that was used during the Second World War; lights were forbidden then, they could attract bombers. I used the bulb to write at night: a small beam shone down on my paper. Only I was able to see it. It was exciting to write my stories in the dark.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I always mention Jack Vance when someone asks me about my favorite writers. He was such a good fantasy writer. And Edgar Allan Poe still fascinates me. He remains a mystery and some of his short stories are almost too scary to read…
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Will tell you a secret. As a boy, I was, of course, not allowed to write too late at night. The bookkeeper of my father’s business knew I had that drive to write after midnight. He gave me a special old light bulb, that was used during the Second World War; lights were forbidden then, they could attract bombers. I used the bulb to write at night: a small beam shone down on my paper. Only I was able to see it. It was exciting to write my stories in the dark. The old bookkeeper encouraged me to write my stories when I was still a kid.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. I have always worked at home and could make money by being an editor and a copywriter and that gave me the opportunity to build a career as a writer. With ups and downs! Now I have found a home for Saladin the Wonder Horse and other series of children’s books. Signed a contract for twelve novels with Righter’s Mill Press, USA; they are the owners of Three Corners Entertainment for film and television and all titles are under contract with this film company as well.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in the Saladin series?
Not as word. I always read my own work several times, because I write in Dutch and then have to translate it into English. During that process I can change the text as often as I wish. After the translation is done, I am satisfied and nothing had to be changed.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
One advice: Go Your Own Way. Which means read a lot, but never imitate your favorite writers; surprise the world with your own style. Every new writer has to find his way in the publishing world. It is not easy, but so what? If you want to become a writer, then write – as simple as that. When you think it is time, you should try and find an agent who is willing to help you.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Read the first book of the Saladin series: Saladin the Wonder Horse.
Adults, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers: buy it for your kid or grandchild. He or she will love it. Angie is a hero for girls. And the boys will especially like the brave boy, Joe, and his big brown bear Bruto! That is pure adventure!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge, from Marcus du Sautoy. A fascinating book about what we will (probably) never know.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A Dutch journalist, Fije Wieringa, wrote about that in Penthouse:
“Once I asked the Dutch author Koos Verkaik, whose reputation in the Netherlands is similar to that of Stephen King, which book had influenced him the most in his life. Without losing a second he replied, ‘Alice in Wonderland, that is such a weird and scary book. A lot scarier than any of my own horror and ghost stories.'”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I seldom cry. Life itself makes me laugh, because it is a rather cruel joke; we have to deal with consciousness, we know that there is a beginning, there is an end… but I am a very optimistic man and I love to laugh every day.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Gerrit Jacobsz, an ancestor from 1720. He is my oldest known ancestor. In Holland, your second name is the one of your father: Jacobsz. It means ‘son of Jacob’. My full name is Jacobus Jan; I would love to shake hands with that man from 1720. I have a lot to tell him and who knows what he can tell me…
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I play guitar. You can find me playing blues here:
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Play guitar in a blues band.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He refused to leave before the last word was written…
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Book 1: SALADIN THE WONDER HORSE
Angie looks after the horses of Lord Baltimore.
It is a rough time in England, where Prince John sits temporarily on the throne of his brother Richard the Lionhearted.
The girl plunges into wild adventures when she tries to keep a colt out of the greedy hands of the prince. She meets a mysterious knight, who gives her his horse—Saladin, the black wonder horse.
With the two faithful animals Angie manages to reach the camp of Robin Hood, bringing him an important message.
Silver, the colt she saved, learns quickly from the clever Saladin.
The exciting adventures of Angie, Silver, and Saladin come to a head as the girl resolves to outsmart Prince John.
And of course she cannot achieve that without her special horses . . . and some very special friends.
Book 2: SALADIN AND SILVER
Angie roams the country, that is reigned by the ambitious Prince John.
An encounter with a mysterious knight saddles her with an even mysterious horse: Saladin the wonder stallion. This horse reveals himself as the teacher of Silver, her own, silver colored horse. This way Silver becomes a wonder horse as well.
Angie has gone far away from Nottingham and the castle of the prince.
Of course she rides Silver. The beautiful horse is no longer a colt, hardly seems to feel the weight of the young girl and loves it to be together with her.
Again Angie meets the most odd people – a tinker, Joe and his bear Bruto and especially the spoiled Princess Wanda, daughter of Prince John, who is after her favorite horse! Angie has become an outlaw and a fugitive: she has to keep Silver out of the hands of the greedy princess!
Book 3: SILVER AND THE GHOST HORSE
Again Angie and her wonder horse Silver plunge into the most dangerous adventures. It all starts, when a sly councilor and a giant soldier decide to destroy the camp of Robin Hood. No one knows where to find that camp of Robin and his men. No one, except for… Angie! Soon everyone is looking for her and things don’t look good for the girl. But she can count on the help of Silver and Saladin and of her friend Joe and his bear Bruto. And another party is interested in Angie and Silver! A strange man, who calls himself Sultan! And where do these mysterious ghost horses come from? Angie and her horse stay tough. For together they are strong, together they stand tall in a land full of enemies and problems…
Book 4: THE JESTER OF NOTTINGHAM
Prince John reigns over England, now his brother Richard Lionheart is not there. He exploits the people and wears Richard’s crown. Everyone fears this mean prince. Except for men like Robin Hood and… girls like Angie!
Angie roams the country on the back of her wonder horse Silver and comes across the most odd persons. She runs into knight Rush and his little son Arthur, she meets a merry rat catcher en returns to the camp of Robin Hood. In the meantime Prince John organizes an election: the man who becomes the Jester of Nottingham, is allowed to reign the country for one week. He does not know that King Richard has set foot on English ground again! Angela knows where she can find the king and looks him up with Silver and the mighty Saladin…
And the king can use the help of Angie and her wonder horses!
One of Kentucky’s baddest bad men is being resurrected at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort Saturday, November 5 —baddest of the bad if you believed the press of the day, but a hero to the downtrodden if you listened to the poor and the powerless.
John Fallis is his name. He was the King of Craw—the notorious red-light district in Kentucky’s capital city that flourished during the Roaring Twenties and was famous all the way down to New Orleans for its wild and licentious ways. He was a political power, a gambler, a bootlegger, a legitimate merchant, and a charismatic Lothario who brooked no insult, would not be pushed around, who bent a knee to no man.
The men who ran the town thought him Lucifer unleashed. The common folk thought him their protector and benefactor. His rise and fall is the stuff of which legends are made. Which the new book Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw attempts, for the first time, to draw out and illuminate. Its formal release is set for the opening of the Kentucky Book Fair at Frankfort’s Convention Center, Saturday, November 5. Ron Rhody, a Pinehurst, NC resident, who wrote it, grew up in the Capital City where stories about John Fallis are still being told.
Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw is a work of fiction, for no formal biography exits, but it is based on fact and hews as close to the actual record as such a record exists The book begins with the night of the Big Shoot-Out when he takes on the entire city police force and ends with him dead on a craps table in Craw in what the newspapers deemed the aftermath of an argument over a game of dice, but which many believe was a hit ordered by powerful members of the city’s elite.
The Kentucky Book Fair, operated by the Kentucky Humanities Council and the Kentucky Book Fair Board, is one of the biggest in the Southeast. It regularly attracts a crowd of 3,000 or more and this year will host 170 regional and national authors. It is set for the Frankfort Convention Center, hours nine to four-thirty, Saturday, November 5, 2016.
CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW can be ordered from our bookstore for $11.99.
He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.
List Price: $16.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General
Author Scott Fields talks about his new novel, The Killing Road, and why he decided to dramatize this true story and how hard it was to write such a book.
What made you dramatize the true life events of The Killing Road?
I was at a book signing when a young couple came up to me and the woman told me about a time when three members of her family were killed by a maniac who eventually killed twelve people in a three week period. She gave me the phone number of her grandparents. I met with them and they gave me a scrapbook that was full of everything I needed to know.
What is your fascination with real life crime stories? Why do you think you are so interested in true crime? Your earlier novel, The Mansfield Killings, is also based on true events.
Normally, I prefer feel good stories. I like a story with a conflict but a happy ending. The Killing Road and The Mansfield Killings began by someone telling me about some events that happened years ago. Something clicked inside me when I heard about each one, and my regular life was put on the back burner.
What do you hope to accomplish by writing The Killing Road? By writing any book?
Most everyone has a hobby, and mine just happens to be writing. For all my life ideas would pop into my head. If they stayed there for several years, then I took them seriously and would eventually turn those ideas into a novel.
How did you go about starting The Killing Road? What was involved?
After several interviews and trips to the library for additional information out of the newspapers, I was ready to begin.
You said it was hard writing The Killing Road. What did you mean by that?
It was extremely difficult to write about some of the things that he did. It only took me four months to write The Mansfield Killings, and it took me two years to write this one. He was incredibly vicious and did some things that I described in the novel but will not discuss them today.
Do you have another book on the horizon?
I am about halfway finished with a little more upbeat kind of novel. Imagine a mafia hitman turning into a pastor and becoming obsessed with taking care of kids with cancer. I have a real problem with kids getting cancer, and I just had to write a story about it. This will be one more way of feeding my hobby.
Click here to order your copy!
Outer Banks Publishing Group author Owain Glyn was recently interviewed by author May Freighter on her blog and revealed some of his secrets to falling in love. Here are few choice insights from the poet of love.
May: A lot of writers seem to be better at a particular genre or a style which they hone over the years. This leads me to our next question: why did you choose poetry?
Owain: I guess I was drawn to writing through my love of language, and poetry allows me to use language in a variety of ways that prose does not. I love the lyricism of poetry.
May: I think every writer out there should try a bit of poetry now and again. There is a lot we can learn from it. It summarises and portrays so much in short sentences. Usage of powerful words can always be noted in good examples.Writing lets our souls explore the worlds beyond our imagination, so what is your routine of getting there?
Owain: I am lucky, I can find inspiration everywhere. I am an avid people watcher and I have a very broad set of interests. A walk into town, a walk in the country, ten minutes listening to the news, will always give me food for thought.
May: I tend to try and block out the world while moving. My mind likes to use that time to create things instead of focusing on the people around me. But, when I am stationary and have nothing to do then I become a creepy people watcher. I do hope I don’t freak too many people out by staring. Have to master those ninja skills sometime.
Click here to read the whole interview.
Owain Glyn’s Windswept – Poems of Love, containing 107 love and heart-felt poems, were inspired by the author’s surroundings – the wild coast of Cornwall, UK, a land of legend from King Arthur, and Merlin, to mermaids, pirates, and smugglers. The poems have been read more than 2 million times by more than 12,000 fans of Owain Glyn on the popular writer’s community, Wattpad.
List Price: $10.99
Writer and Internet marketer Aaron Harris notes five good reasons why you should write every day especially if you have a blog or website. His five reasons to keep in shape as a writer are:
Read the rest of Aaron’s article published on the Digital Donut site.
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