Friday, 28 February 2020

Guest Post and Giveaway: Francis H. Powell on his latest release

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By some freaky coincidence, a theme that runs through my latest book is happening for real in the world, with the news centered on this dreadful coronavirus outbreak.
My book is called Adventures of “Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation.”
The theme of world annihilation is covered obviously, with the idea of one human or being surviving catastrophic events.
Somebody recently asked  me “why write a book about death”
I suppose it is something that has always fascinated me as well as frightening me.
In my first book, Flight of Destiny, I had a story called the Duke, about a man condemned to death, but treating his own impending demise , with disrespect. I have often had thoughts about the death penalty. It is unmanageable to think your life is due to end at an appointed time. The clock ticking until your life is switched off like a light.
If an author or anybody reads the news, or watches the news on TV they can find themselves thinking the world is facing impending doom.
In 2017 people could imagine the end of the world was upon us as Planet X was to due crash headlong into the world according to "Christian numerologist" David Meade, amongst others.
Thankfully this never came to pass. There must have been some people looking through their telescopes however. It makes me recall the film “Melancholia” by Lars Von Trier.

This Rumanian Baba Vanga, was a woman who got into the news and scared the living daylights out of me. A woman who disappeared in a storm returning blind as well as full of predictions about forthcoming events Brexit, 9/11, the rise of ISIS and the Boxing Day tsunami. 

The world according to Baba finally coming to a sticky end in 2341, as the earth becomes uninhabitable. I think 2341 might be a bit optimistic. The human race is incredibly destructive and in one of my stories in my book The “world there after” talks about a world that is so polluted it is uninhabitable.
 The world was on its final journey towards being obsolete, humans with bodies were now an unnecessary inconvenience in President Tubes eyes. The world had become unsustainable.
 A vast catastrophic event had seen a previously undetected “super volcano” erupt and now a dense cloak of ash shrouded the world. Large areas were bereft of sunlight, causing an eternal winter. Nothing grew now. All animals had died, in a short period of time. Famine and disease had spread and the world was now the most meagre of existences, threadbare and barren.

In my book, I make the point that world is fragile and needs looking after.
All of this kind of thing in newspapers and on web sites can play heavily on an author’s mind.
My book is not all doom and gloom, there are also elements of wit and there are plenty of quirky happenings and bizarre characters to stop the reader falling into some melancholia.
Somehow despite crack pot leaders, megalomaniacs, unethical businesses, pollution, weapons of mass destruction, the world keeps on turning. Long may it do so.

About the Author
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis H Powell attended Art Schools, receiving a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English as a foreign language while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Brittany, France writing both prose and poetry. Powell has published short stories in the magazine, “Rat Mort” and other works on the internet site "Multi-dimensions." His two published books are Flight of Destiny and Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Friday, 14 February 2020

Book Feature: SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW (an anthology)

Something Old, Something New
- A DRA Production

Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology. 

What would you do for another chance with the one you love? 

Something Old, Something New - a unique novella anthology - tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas. 

Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone. 
Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!

My Heart's Regret by Shilpa Sure

All they had was love...would it ever be enough?

Samaira Reddy, the girl in the big house, the Bade Sahib's daughter, only wants one thing and one person...a life with her childhood sweetheart, her Rags. 
Raghav Cherukuri has always been known as the driver's son. And has also always loved his Sam, the girl he can never have and never forget. And so, he leaves her and his life in Hyderabad behind.
But now, Raghav is back. A Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy, he is the success he’s always wanted to be. And yet, he has failed. 
Samaira is meeting the ‘perfect groom’ her family approves of…A man whom Raghav can never be.
Can it finally be their time to be together? Or has their happy-ever-after passed them by?

Read an Excerpt from My Heart's Regret

“Why did you leave?” The question shot out of her taking them both by surprise. They stared at each other, a wealth of memories flooding the space between them. Years of hurt, months of pain and a million unspoken words crowded around them.
“Don’t.” He turned away from her, shaking his head. “Don’t do this.”
“Why not? You don’t think I deserve any kind of explanation?” 
He opened the rear door of the car in response. “Are you ready to go home?” 
“Home?” She laughed, a bitter sound that floated in the air. “Is that still home to you?”
“Are you ready to go back to your home?” The slight emphasis felt like a slap across her face.
“And that’s the truth of it, isn’t it?” She watched his face for a clue to his feelings. She found none. He was as stone-faced as ever.
“You don’t think of it as home anymore. When you left, you didn’t just leave to study and start your career. You left everything behind. Your home. Your past. Your…”
“Yes.” His acceptance cut her off mid-rant. “I left it all behind. The poverty. The insults. The humiliation. I left my life here behind.”
“Is that all you left behind?” The words sliced through the night like a knife.
Raghav just stared at her, his eyes a cauldron of bottomless emotion. On a growl of frustration, she slid down from the car and stomped towards the door he still held open. Yanking it from his hand, she slammed it shut. Then she walked around the front of the car to the passenger door and got in.
A storm was coming. A loud rumble of thunder could be heard and the wind was picking up outside the car. It blew a lock of his unruly hair into his eyes. 
He didn’t notice but she did. Even through the tears stinging her eyes, she noticed everything about him. 
Raghav continued to stand, motionless by the rear door, his tightly clenched fists the only evidence of the emotion raging inside him. The first drops of rain started to pelt down drenching him in seconds.
Finally, he moved towards where she was sitting. Leaning down, he rapped on the window to get her to put it down.
Samaira obliged, arching an eyebrow in challenge.
 “Get out.” The words were gritted out through clenched teeth.
“No,” she snapped the word out.
“Go sit in the back seat.”
“No,” she said again as she settled more comfortably into the seat. 
“Sam, if someone sees…”
“Let them.” She couldn’t care less.
“Sam, please.” The plea was quiet, but it sliced through. “For my father’s sake.”
Her heart broke at the words. She swiped at the tear that escaped and rolled down her cheek. Without looking at him, she stepped out of the car and got into the rear seat. 
Raghav slid into the driver’s seat and put the car in gear.
They drove home in silence, each lost in their own tortured thoughts. It wasn’t long before her house loomed in front of them. 
They were almost at the gate when she spoke, “Are you happy?”
His hands tightened on the steering wheel. “Are you?”
She laughed. The mirthless sound echoed between them as Ahmed Chacha waved them through the gates. “You’re not going to answer any of my questions, are you?”
Raghav sighed. “What’s the point of this conversation? Discussing the past is going to bring us nothing but more pain.”
“Alright. Let’s talk about the present. Why did you come back?”
Raghav brought the car to a halt outside her front door. “I came back for my parents.”
“Never for me,” she murmured. “You left me without a second thought.”
Raghav, who was holding her door open, froze at the soft words. She stepped out of the car and around his still form. She wasn’t going to beg him for answers anymore.
“The thing is, Sam,” the whisper reached her through the violent noises of the stormy night, “You left me first.”

About the Author:
Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child.
Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.


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Thursday, 13 February 2020

Art Journal 2020: Amor Fati

This week is the second in the series #JournalArt2020 dealing with the theme of stoicism. This week my entry is about Amor Fati - to love your fate.

image of a blank art journal spread of pages
1.  Start again with a blank spread, but this entry involves a third page (kept single). There two outer pages were glued together again with gel medium, but there is no painting involved in this entry, so you don't have to glue to outer pages.
I used gel medium, because the pages in this particular book bleeds with the markers and I didn't want that to spoil the other pages.

image of a tree stencil, plastic stencil of tree
2.  This entry uses two stencils. The primary design use this tree stencil, but you can use any tree stencil that you like. It just needs to be wide enough to cover at least half of the two pages in the spread.

The second stencil is shown further down.

image tree outline in art journal with scissors and pencil marks and arrows
3.  Use a waterproof pen and draw the stencil outline on the spread close to the middle.
Mark the edge of the stencil (shown here with the green and purple arrows) in pencil.

Cut around the tree but leave enough space at the bottom to cover the tree and tree trunk when the single (middle) page is turned over.

Flip the stencil and draw the tree on the other side.

image tree outline in art journal with scissors
4.  Here you can see the flip side of the page. 

The pencil marks on the page were used to align the stencil to ensure the overlap is as close as possible. It does not have to be perfect though.

The tree on the left-hand side of the spread is not visible.

The stencil outline was flipped with the tree trunk now leaning the other way.
image tree outline in art journal with green ink and sponge
5.  I used ink and a dry art sponge to colour the pages around the tree, also in between the branches. But I made sure not to cover the lines of the tree itself.

You can also use a dauber or your finger to get the same effect with the ink.

image tree outline in art journal with green pencil
6.  I couldn't get enough coverage with the ink and sponge and decided to use a colour pencil as well. It is a soft pencil and I made sure to hold it fairly horizontal so that it didn't make obvious lines when I used it to fill in the background.

The pencil is almost the exact same shade of green as the ink I used. I was lucky because I didn't plan on using coloured pencils for this entry. I was however, very pleased with the final outcome. Will definitely consider using coloured pencils again.
image tree outline in art journal with coloured brush markers
7.  I used Lyra brush markers in light colours to colour in the tree on the green side of the entry.

The tree trunk was done with a brown marker, and I used the same brown marker on the other side of the page.

This side symbolises the lighter (happier) side of life.

image tree outline in art journal with coloured brush markers
8.  I made the right-hand side of the design in purple. Using ink on the edges with the dry sponge, and then used two coloured pencils for the colouring in the rest of the pages around the tree.

Then I coloured the tree with dark colours from the Lyra brush marker set.

This side symbolises the heavier (difficult or challenging) side of life.

image of Koh-I-Noor pencils and Distress Inks
9.  The pencils: Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth Progresso Yellowish Green, French Pink, and Bordeaux Red.

The inks: Distress Ink Twisted Citron, and Seedless Preserves.

image tree outline in art journal with coloured brush markers
10.  Add the text "Amor Fati" to the green side with a waterproof pen.
I drew circles in random sizes around the green side and coloured them with the same light coloured Lyra brush markers you saw in (7).

The circles were done with a stencil (11).

image tree outline in art journal with coloured brush markers and stencil
11.  Repeat the circles on the purple side of the design and colour with the darker brush pens shown in (8)

I did not colour all the circles in the purple entry, to add to the symbolism of emptiness or difficult times in life.

The stencil is shown here.

The words "love your fate" is added to the purple side and shown in (10)

image tree outline in art journal with black pen and quotations from Epictetus
The final design with two quotes from Epictetus added with the
black UniBall waterproof pen (0.8mm nib)
"Don't seek for everything to happen as you wish it, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will--then your life will flow well." ~Epictetus
"It is easy to praise providence for anything that may happen if you have two qualities: a complete view of what has actually happened in each instance, and a sense of gratitude. Without gratitude what is the point of seeing, and without seeing what is the object of gratitude?" ~Epictetus
Until the next instalment in this series!
Be creative and love your life, just the way it is.

💜 Linzé

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Managing ideas: a new method for me

  This year I have been trying new things, and that includes managing those new ideas. I have often read and heard people say to you should carry a notebook with you to jot down that "idea" that pops into your head at the oddest times. To be honest, I have done and said the same thing for many years. My problem is, that most of my ideas strike when I am writing in my journal and then those ideas get lost because I don't make the effort to rewrite them in that ideas notebook of mine.
image of notebook, pen and bag
Notebook, pen and bag
  About two weeks ago I came across a website about this very thing, but it is a touch more comprehensive than keeping a notebook. It is called the Zettelkasten method and it uses cards for noting down those ideas. I have tried cards in the past too, but they have never quite worked for me. What I liked about this method, is that the system caters for follow-up ideas and notes, without having to use bigger cards, or more notebooks to keep your notes together.
  Since I have been trying it for only about two weeks, I have not yet found anything not to like about it, but to be honest have not used it that much either. Not for because I lack ideas, but I am focused on #inktober52 mostly and immediately sit down to sketch my idea(s) since the deadline is a week away and there is not time to waste if I want to keep up.
  More on this method as I use it, but give the Zettelkasten method a try, it might just be thing you have been looking for.
  Speaking of new things. It is Valentines Day this week, and if the blog host sends me the info in time, there is a new book for you to explore this Friday. 
  Also a new #JournalArt2020 post on Thursday, and my next newsletter is out tomorrow with something special for subscribers.

But now it's time for me to go see to a few chores in preparation for the week ahead.

Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Art Journal 2020: Love (a guest post)

Today I have the pleasure of my friend, Vanessa Wright's #ArtJournal2020 contribution. She loves using zentangles in her art journal, and I thought it a good idea to let her tell you how she approached this art journal about LOVE using zentangles.
Zentangle was invented by a monk, Rick Roberts and an artist by the name of Maria Thomas and meditation met art. This method of drawing promotes concentration, creativity and personal well-being. This art form is traditionally drawn on 9x9 tiles.
2020 saw the beginning of an exciting art journey for me and my friend, Linzé Brandon. We started art journaling. After reading up on a few articles and watching endless YouTube tutorials, I finally knew which direction I wanted to take regarding this art form.
  • First and foremost it needed to be a personal journey, not just random art for art's sake.
  • Secondly, I wanted to do something that had only rarely, if ever been done. I had been part of the Tangle all around Facebook group, run by Alice Dean Hendon for nearly a year and yet had any artwork to show for it. This was the perfect opportunity.
  • Thirdly I wanted to be able to look back at the pieces and see whether I had gown as an artist. 

Here is the process I used for this zentangle art journal entry:

  1. I decided to repurpose an old hardback book which was missing a few pages and was doomed to be thrown away. As the pages were stitched and not glued, I was able to rip out nearly half of them.
  2. I then glued 3 pages together by applying gel medium and added two layers of gesso to prepare them for anything I wished to throw at them. I was worried that the text, which was still visible, would impact the artwork, but my acrylic background covered it effortlessly.
  3. I mixed sap green and lemon yellow and lightened areas with titanium white which I applied directly to the page.
    Zentangles around a cut out
  4. Sap green and some fingerprint action made the edges slightly darker.
  5. I cut out paper hearts, printed the quote and the word, love, and stuck them in with gel medium.
  6. I used washi tape to divide both pages. Do not tangle with expensive Pigma Microns on this surface, use a cheaper Artline pen or a Sharpie as it destroys the tips of the Micron pens.
  7. Tangle carefully to avoid smudging. There are literally thousands of tangle patterns available on the web; the sky is literally the limit.

I like the simplicity of the finished page as most of the art journaling tutorials I watched were so overdone and involved stencils and stamps and paper and magazine cut outs and and and....
This was why the zentangles appealed to me. I hope you are inspired to try this, so relaxing and super fun.
The final result of the zentangle art journal entry
Thank you, Vanessa! Phew, that must have taken quite a bit of time and I know you enjoyed every moment.

If you like to use zentangles in your art journal, why not share them with me on Twitter with the #JournalArt2020, I would love to see what your creative results look like.

Until next time!
💜 Linzé

The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

  Hey there, creative friend! It's been a week or more since my last post but mostly because I have been taking time to do other things....