Rise of the Papilion: Berserker (Book III)

Finally! Book 3 is on its way, spring 2018 via Rise of the Papilion: Berserker (Book III)

Berserkers_Kindle_V2

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Open Book Blog Hop: How and Why I Started Blogging

This post is in response to the prompt provided by the Open Book Blog Hop. Today’s topic is: How’d You Start Your Business, Blog, Or Freelance Career?

blog

How’d I start my blog?

With fear and trembling. Seriously, it was a challenge to get started but super rewarding once I did. But, in case you want details, I invite you to read on. Then, please me leave a message with your thoughts, or about your own blogging experience.

The Beginning:

I’ve been blogging for a few years, I’d say roughly four, not including last year’s sabbatical. The journey began back when I decided to get serious about writing. I wanted to share my stories with people but didn’t have the means to do it. A blog seemed like a good idea but I was just starting out. I had no major contacts, no experience, had never managed anything like a blog before. And, who cared enough about me and my writing to read my posts, anyway? The whole thing seemed scary and unattainable. That said, the need to try, as well as to take charge of the problem, won out.

So, I had my mission. But how and where to begin?

At the time, I was active on Google+ where I had met many supportive people at various stages in their own writing pursuits. One thing I noticed about most of the successful ones was that they had writing blogs. This made sense, since the marketing wisdom at the time urged writers to develop strong writing platforms. This usually included an active blog. As for me, I was writing stories at an incredible pace, and had become a moderator of two writing communities. Also, I had published my first book, The Purple Morrow. After about a year, I finally felt I had enough experience to take the plunge.

Still, the idea scared me. I mean, nothing is worse than being excited about a piece when no one else is. Worse, what if no one notices my articles or comments on them? In the end, though, I put all that negative thinking aside and got to work.

The first attempt was on Blogspot. The benefit was that it was connected to G+ so, right away, it gained attention and feedback. I named it Purple Pebbles…not sure why anymore, except that purple is my favorite color. I posted stories, poems, and short essays about my writing experience, and was genuinely surprised at the positive response. The blog enabled me to meet and engage many new G+ people, and easily follow and interact with current contacts. Lastly, it boosted my confidence.

excited

The Middle:

Then came the move to WordPress. People had told me that WordPress was the way to go if I wanted to reach even more people. They also argued that the platform itself was better. So, after worrying about using a new tool and whether or not people would follow me, I made the switch. I named it Dropped Pebbles in reference to the idea that every author has a unique voice, and our words resonate beyond the written page. Then things really took off. Being able to share posts via multiple social media platforms at once, including the vast WordPress community, opened new doors. Then followed blogging awards, requests to guest blog or to contribute to e-magazines, blogging about my writing ups and downs, book reviews, and invited guests. I particularly enjoyed hosting author features and author interviews. I knew how hard it was to get books in front of potential readers, so it was important to me to help in any way I could.

whirlwind

Looking back, the whole thing feels like a blur. After being away for over a year, I am still surprised at the whole experience. Surprised and grateful. People are busier these days more than ever, so the fact that they took time to read, comment on, and share my blog still means a lot.

Not Quite the End:

Dropped Pebbles was closed for a while, but I decided to test the waters again. When I started blogging, my original goal was to establish myself as a serious writer, as well as to use my experiences to help other hopefuls navigate the pitfalls that plague our Great Writing Adventure. This time around, my goals are a little more humble. I’m coming back to the game somewhat out of practice but with more realistic expectations about said adventure.

Still, I’m here now, seeing things with fresh eyes and a different point of view.

*grins* But more on that another time.



Falling Free: Short Story

So at last, a short story! It’s been a while since I’ve posted one, primarily because most places I submit to don’t accept work that has been published, even if it’s on a blog. However, at just over 1000 words, Falling Free is shorter than the requirements of those same magazines and so seems like a perfect candidate to (hopefully) entertain you.

A quick note: this story was intended to be the inspiration for a graphic project, which is why it is so heavy on visuals and tone. Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think below. 🙂 Please enjoy.

Falling Free

From "Falling Man" at www.davidreviews.com

From “Falling Man” at http://www.davidreviews.com

I am nearly dead from running. Stone slaps the soles of my feet, the pitter-patters echoing and filling the surrounding void. A barren land, it’s a world of grey mountains on the left, black mountains on the right; a slate-grey sky above. Not a tree, or shrub, or blade of grass anywhere. White clouds straggle across the sky. Or are they ghosts? I can’t tell.

I hear him behind me, the madman who drove me to this place. Once across the threshold, I’d tried to block him out, had thrown the locks and bars in place. But he is stronger than me, smarter, too. I’d jumped aside and hit the road running just as the door burst open and the first traces of his sickness swept into the void. That smell—the sickness—I know it well.

I hear him beating the path. He’s furious and fast. He comes on with ease, as though a native of this world and immune to the pain burning my torn-up feet; not afraid of this land with no roads or any living thing. Just greyness and stone. And…

Wait, there’s something up ahead.

Skidding, I change course, take the corner around a boulder. I head for whatever it is.

Maybe a way out?

He’s angry. Bellowing, he too rounds the corner, spitting rocks in his wake as he takes the hairpin turn. I sense his eyes zero in on me. He’s coming.

The ground suddenly gives way to a valley. I speed down the slope, putting my hand down when I almost tumble to the bottom where a collection of rocks wait to tear me to shreds. Once over them, I scale the other side. Streaks of blood stain the surface. Hands shredded, knees bleeding, it doesn’t matter. I can’t let that madman catch me.

I haul myself over the edge. Safe in the other side, but don’t know for how long. I pause to catch my breath. The dark spot in the distance is closer. Nothing between me and it.

“Hello, my name is Constance. Do you want to play?”

It’s a little girl about seven years old. She wears a pink dress, and her wavy brown hair is tied back with a white bow. She smiles. I’m shaken by her innocence. A single white light in this darkening grey world. She holds out a hand. I take it.

What’s a kid doing out here alone? I look around but there’s not another living soul anywhere.

“Uh…where’s your mother?”

Constance crumples to the ground. Blood pools on her candy-pink dress. She coughs once, smiles again, and then is gone. Cackling trickles into my head.

It’s the madman.

He always ruins whatever he touches.

I take off, heading for the spot in the distance. The closer I draw to it, the more the world changes. Ghosts spring out of the ground, each one bright and bursting with life and hope like the girl, caricatures of ‘the good life’:  a mother dressed in a blue and white dress and a flowery apron holding her baby. Her name, Aviva, and the baby, Elan. But upon taking my hand, they too collapse having succumbed to scarlet blotches spreading like weeds across their chests. Others, Hope and Mercy, two frolicking puppies, also fall to jagged, red polka dots. Each death triggers the maniac’s laughter. It pricks the inside of my head like a million fingers running nails across a blackboard. It’s too much. I’ll crack.

I fear…

…he’s changing me…

…making me like him.

Other ghosts appear, this time familiars. Friends, family, colleagues. Girlfriends.

‘Get your lazy ass off the couch and get a job!’

I remember that one:  Lucy. My last and greatest love. But like the madman, I have a knack for drawing out the worst in those around me. To this day, I doubt she knew that her presence had kept the Darkness at bay, or how much thicker and deeper it became after she left. I’d tried to block it out. It still took everything I’d had not go mad. And now, here she was in my world of grey, still hateful, still angry. Yelling.

Like the Madman. He screams at my back, his fury pushing me towards the quickly approaching spot. The black patch looms–yawning like an open mouth. Now I don’t want to go. I want to run back to the valley, through the mountains, all the way to the exploded door and, finally, into the world of color and caricature beyond.

Just what am I doing here?

At the spot, the madman pulls back. I drop to my hands and knees. His laughter fills my head; it’s rapid, hitting hard like a Gatling gun. The stone is cold under my hands, chilling me like I’m kneeling on an ice rink. Gasping and hacking, I can barely breathe.

God, I’m utterly broken.

The chasm’s on my right. The madman on my left. He stands so tall I can’t see his face.

He squats. I can’t look at him. Shaking takes over my arms, then my torso and, finally my legs. He leans in so his lips are against my ear.

“I never meant to catch you,” he says.

“Wh-what?” I lick my lips. Maybe I can talk my way out. “What do you want?”

He stands. Puts his hands in his pockets. Sighs.

“No!” I’m screaming now. “I don’t want to—“

“Die.”

He nudges me with the tip of his foot.

I fall.

Am struck by the fact that now there’s no need to run. No need for strife.

No Darkness trying to drive me insane.

I realize

The madman did me a favor.

Crazed,

He did the thing I could not.

I am free.

Falling

But falling free.

I laugh, only a little surprised by the rising notes—bordering hysteria.

I laugh harder, the sound becoming familiar, as though it had been hiding so deeply and for so long within me that I’d forgotten it was even there. Until the madness pried it loose, setting free a raging, powerful beast.

I want to see the face of my killer.

I look up

As I fall down.

Through the gathering mists

The haze of oncoming unconsciousness opening the door to

The Inevitable.

The madman looks down.

Our eyes meet.

I smile in recognition.

For that man on top

Who watches me as I fall down;

The one who pushed me over the edge

Is me.

Copyright@ 2015 by Dyane Forde

Author Feature: Maggie Tideswell, Paranormal Romance Author

Mom

Please welcome Maggie Tideswell, paranormal romance author, to Dropped Pebbles! Today she stops by to share on a subject that’s close to her heart, a piece she entitled… 

I love the paranormal romance genre! 

Let’s face it, love really is all around us and it is love, not money, that makes the world go round. Even when you read a murder mystery or a horror novel, there are romantic elements in it, because people fall in love all over the place and in any kind of a setting. People find each other in the most unexpected or dangerous situations. It is human nature.

People want to be scared. Fear gets the primitive fight or flight response going. And that is where the paranormal comes in. When I say paranormal, I don’t mean zombies and vampires. Creatures with tentacles and many teeth also don’t interest me. Those are not scary and only have entertainment value as far as I am concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting authors of those genres down, all I’m saying is that those elements are not what I write about. I am interested in what isn’t visible to the eye, things that go bump in the night, ‘nothing is as it seems’, and witches getting up to mischief or doing genuine work to help. And ghosts, of course.What fascinates me about romance is firstly what characteristics attract people to each other enough to fall in love and secondly, what traits keep them in love for a lifetime when one in three relationships fail. This is the mechanics behind relationships, a throw-back from studying psychology at university.

We all have those creepy little experiences of something moving just at the edge of your vision and when you turn to look, there is nothing there. Or the sound we hear for which there are no logical explanations. And who of us haven’t known what was going to happen next or what somebody was going to say, before it actually happened? This is what is termed déja-vu.

paranormal

People are not always what they seem. It is a known fact that people represent themselves in the best light and what they show to the world is only the tip of the iceberg of their personality. I like to say people wear ‘masks’ to hide their true selves from others, for reasons of their own.

But my biggest interest is ghosts and why some people seem to get stuck on the earthbound plane after death. I even joined a paranormal investigation group, but I am yet to come face to face with a ghost I could have a conversation with. I have been told I look too hard and that was why I am unlikely to see a ghost, but I do experience them. On one occasion I had fallen asleep on the couch and I startled awake with the distinct feeling that somebody was leaning over me. There was nobody there, but the room had been freezing. It was the middle of summer.

Romance in combination with the paranormal is what I write. Instead of placing my characters in mortal danger of burning buildings, an erratic gunman or in the path of a tidal wave, I scare them with what they cannot see.

Cover - CoupleThe first book in my new series about bridesmaids, weddings and honeymoons was published on 1 July 2015. In The Run-Away Couple, it is more Piper’s perception of Marcus that was a bit skewed. To her he was a nuisance because that was how she got to know him growing up. When she thought of Marcus at all, it was to anticipate his next humiliating prank. And now Piper’s sister appointed her and Marcus to be maid-of-honor and best-man at her wedding. Disaster, for Piper at least. And of course there are things happening that scared the whatnot out of Piper. Would it be better for her to keep Marcus with her and risk another prank, rather than being alone?

Want to know more about Maggie Tideswell and her books? Have a look here:

http://maggietideswell.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/LunaMags

Author Interview with Francis H. Powell

Francis“I would like readers to perceive things in a different way. I would like them to see the world through the eyes of the underdog or outsider. I would like to think about how cruel people can be to one another. In my stories the oppressed often rise up in the end and enact some kind of revenge. There are many messages woven into my stories. They often attack the establishment.”–Francis H. Powell

Over the years, I’ve had the chance to host some really interesting interviews, but I have to admit that Mr. Powell’s is one of the most moving. His interview closed with the paragraph above, but I thought it was so important that this post should open with it. I hope you will join us today and meet Mr. Powell . I’m sure you won’t regret it and will be intrigued by his message and his work as well.

Thank you so much for being with us today, Mr. Powell. Please tell us about yourself and of how you came to write.

My family background and some history…

I come from a family of five. I am the youngest, perhaps the free spirit of the family. I was educated at various schools, before going on to Art Schools, to do a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking.  I loved most of my time at Art school, having experienced a painful time at school, where I was an outsider. Moved to Austria in 1995, lived there for two years and began teaching English as a foreign language.  Alongside this I have always followed a lot of other creative activities, including music.  During the nineties, did many concerts/raves and some short tours, playing electronic music.  While in Austria, began to write stories. Moved back to England, where upon pursued teaching career, including teaching English (literature/language) and Art. Decided to move to France at the end of 1999 have lived there ever since and have taught among other things British and American culture and Architecture.

This my life in depth…

What better way to put all my angst into short stories. Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time. In such an institutions, where I was to rest until my seventeenth year, there was no getting away from the cruel jibes hurled at me from taunting tormentors. My refuge was the arts room, where I started to find some kind of redemption from the stark Dickensian surroundings, whose aim was nurture the army officers, businessmen, and gentry that dominate the class ridden world I was born into. The seeds were sown, I was an outsider. Happier times were to follow, I went to art school, where I attempted to exorcise my time spent at school. At eighteen I turned my back on a parentally enforced weekly visit to church and my head was filled with a range of nonconformist ideas. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated and despite losing contact with him, I always read his latest published books with not only great expectation and unabashed admiration, but also a fascination for a person I had really looked up to, his sentences always tight, shooting arrows that always hit the mark. My yearning to be creative stayed strong and diversified, from my twenties through to my thirties and forties I made electronic music, doing concerts, in front ecstasy infused crowds, at a point I was making videos and short films. When the age of the internet arrived I was really able translate my creative endeavors into something really tangible. To earn a living I have worked as a teacher. I moved to Austria where upon I thought I would try writing. It is sure that my writing at that time was rough and rugged and without direction. I dived into a story about immortality, the story remains vegetating on some dusty floppy disk. Then tried short stories for children with illustrations to go with them. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that my writing took shape. I was at this point living in Paris, France. I spotted an advert for short stories. The magazine happened to be called Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to travelling. It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark. He had a flat in the Montmartre area of Paris, where he seemed known to all, especially those who frequented his favorite drinking haunts. He offered me many words of encouragement. I was writing stories that were coming into my head at regular intervals, as if a monster had suddenly awakened. I was writing them on scraps of paper, lest I would forget them, while I traveled on the Paris metro, going about my teaching work with staid business types. I had found a format for writing that worked, as well as a hunger to write about the demons of my past that still haunted me. Moving closer to present times, the desire to put together an anthology seemed to resonate in my mind. The Flight of Destiny evolved slowly. Many trans-Atlantic exchanges between myself and two editors seemingly far away. This evolution took my writing to a new level and the stories more depth and resonance.

As a writer…

I have had poems and short stories published, in books, magazines, and on websites.  I have had short stories published in an arts magazine called “Freakwave”.

About my stories in Flight of Destiny…

Flight of Destiny is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People’s conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.

Some of my favourite characters in the book:

Bugeyes:

Bugeyes

BUGEYES

We live in a world of body image stereo types, are perpetuated by the media. Those unfortunate beings, born with abnormalities, could face a lifetime of cruel jokes, and in this story’s case rejection.

Bug-eyes was destined to a life of toil. As his mother, Lady Harriet Lombard, remarked gruffly when holding her swaddled first-born, “He has disproportionate eyes,” adding tersely, “the child’s abnormal.” As she handed the squalling reject back to the doctor, she decreed, “Drop it down the well for all I care.”

Maggot:

MAGGOT

MAGGOT

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy” Not all follow this proverb. A rich person thinks that his money will buy the beauty of a young girl, while her father thinks her sale will solve his money problems, both are in for a surprise, even the most beautiful of apples can go bad

Maggot was enraged and banged his fist on the table! Knives, forks, spoons and plates flew into the air, tossing food everywhere. Up to this point, the banquet had been cordial, even good-humored. Necessary pleasantries and toasts had been exchanged. But as soon as serious negotiations had begun, as soon as money was brought into the equation, everything quickly went wrong.

Little Mite:

LITTLE MITE

LITTLE MITE

This is a story for those people whose little sister or younger sibling have managed to do some irredeemable damage to their personal life, for those who have tried a trick that has gone horribly wrong. 

Arrival:

Arrival

Arrival

The task of placing a name, can be niggling, but what if this task becomes an obsession and the person behind the name a dark specter ?

“Mr. Weisler is coming! Mr. Weisler is coming! Mr. Weisler is
coming!” The words swirled around in his head like a rampant tornado,
scooping up all his thoughts, amplifying them until the mixture
seemed ready to devour him. Yet, what was vexing him was that he
could neither connect to nor put a face to the name.”

Where to find the book: 

https://www.facebook.com/flightofdestinyshortstories

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwNl0F6095Q

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WSWYVNK

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile

Thank you so much for visiting us today, Mr. Powell, and for opening a window into your writing world. Readers, I hope you enjoyed the interview as well and will visit Mr. Powell at the links provided, or leave a message below. 

Flight