Best-Selling Author

Here I am…the best-selling author of ‘White Wolf Moon’, ‘Barking at Yesterday’s Moon’, and ‘Fergus’ struggling to come up with a topic for this blog posting.

Wait…‘best-selling author’? Yup, I can say that…if you take the sales pitch at face value. It’s simple. I am the best-selling author of those titles because nobody else has sold any other books with those titles…therefore I am the best-selling author (of those books).

This is one of those instances where the statement is actually true but deceivingly inaccurate. It’s all about interpretation isn’t it?

I can’t claim to be a best-selling author. That would just be wrong. But isn’t it just as wrong to include the three titles thereby justifying my claim? I think so. Knowing that most people would react to only the ‘best-selling’ part, makes me think about how little thought or research some people put into their reading. We’re in an age where we can instantly online search any item that pops up on our social media feeds but many folks choose to go with whatever they’ve been told. Is it too much work to verify that Hillary give birth to an alien baby on her secret state visit to Mexico? Okay, I made that up but if you take the word ‘alien’ out of that headline I’d bet the story would have gone viral in nanoseconds, which is how Mork from Ork would have described it.

I guess that’s the topic for this post. Research…check stuff out…do your homework.

That’s it, I’m done. I’m nothing if not succinct…and look at all the space I have left. How about a photo of a rose??

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Mike Grant is the author of three novels. “White Wolf Moon”, “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”, and “Fergus”. Visit his Amazon page to find out more.

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Catch You Later Pasta…

An item came across my facebook newsfeed a few months ago. I don’t remember who posted it and I must admit I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I’m thinking about it now.

I’ll have to paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly how it went but it suggested that when we pass on, and if you believe we go to heaven, the first greeters will be all the pets you shared a life with. I’d really like to believe that.

In my case it would be a pretty big crowd. From a mouse (not-too-creatively named ‘Mouse’) to a Boxer named ‘Mitzi’ to a Bunny named ‘Pasta’. Another rabbit…a big white Flemish Giant called (again, not-too-creatively) ‘Whitey’. Other dogs called ‘Lucky’, ‘Happy’, ‘Schultz’ and a couple and can’t remember. Cats…‘Hogan’, ‘Klink’, ‘Louie’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Nicholas Thomas’ and again many names I can’t remember but I’m sure they’ll come back to me should I see them again. A Salamander who remained unnamed, hamsters, guinea pigs, and fish. So many.

I wish they’d all lived longer than me but we’d need a much bigger house.

I’m an emotional basket case when it comes to saying goodbye to pets. To those who say “it’s only a cat…or a rabbit”…well, I feel sorry for you. A pet, indeed any animal, is a life. Life is precious and special no matter what shape or form it is. To share that spark is also special. Pets don’t care if you’re funny-looking or overweight or in a bad mood or sad. They just want to be part of your life, to do what they do best. To make you feel good…and loved. And what do they want in return? Pretty much the same thing plus a full food dish.

It’s never easy losing a pet. Pasta initially went to live with my grandson on his birthday. Her name came when he asked my daughter to pass the bunny. Pasta bunny. Then their landlord decided that rabbits weren’t allowed in the building and she needed a new home. I would have nothing to do with her going to a stranger so she came into our lives. She has provided so much love and spark over the last nine years. She would sit with me and watch movies or hockey games, all the time snuggling against me and licking my hand. I grew incredibly fond of the furball.

Pasta 2013 001.jpgShe was the first pet that passed on in my arms. I felt the end was near and I picked her up and sat on the couch stroking her and chatting like we always did. She burrowed deep into my arms and after a few minutes I felt her twitch. She gave three last defiant kicks then lay still. At that instant it was like the life had gone out of me as well. I can’t explain the feeling. Sharing that last moment with her felt somehow right yet my eyes filled and my body trembled. I wonder how she felt. Did my being there holding her make it easier? I like to think it did. She was where she loved to be.

She had a good life. She received and gave so much love. But it’s still not easy. Feeding the two cats but not seeing Pasta run to me for her suppertime sprig of parsley feels so wrong. Hearing her at her water bottle in the middle of the night or having her come for her evening yogurt treat are little things that I will miss for a long time. I will miss the softness of her fur and the warmth of her against me and the little chatter noises she made when I skritched behind her ears.

For such a little furball she’s left a helluva big empty space here.

Mike Grant is the author of three novels. “White Wolf Moon”, “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”, and “Fergus”. Visit his Amazon page to find out more.

NEW WAVE?

I wrote the following nearly forty years ago. I’m not sure where I was going with it but like most of my writing from those olden times I must have had a premonition that one day I would look back and wonder. It is what made me look back that interests me.

I wish I could remember what blog I was reading recently that referred to the “new wave” of young indie-authors for I would certainly provide a link. It was one of those writings that, like jalapeno peppers, comes back and bites you long after consumption. I appreciate it when something that someone has created can do that. They plant a little seed in your mind and after sufficient germination the message blossoms and you realize that what was written has become a part of your thoughts. I would however hasten to add the word “current” to the term “new wave” because as far back as I can remember there has always been a new wave of sorts, whether in music, art, or writing. It also applies to science, technology and life in general. What was “cutting edge” a few years ago has long been forgotten, replaced by new ideas and products from new wave thinkers and designers.

Waves are like that. There’s always another one on the way.

The writer of the blog questioned why there seemed to be more of these new creative voices today than ever before. While I was surprised he didn’t provide the simple answer I considered that this might have been his way of making me think about the question. The internet has provided a platform and for good or bad anyone can now publish their message. Everyone has a voice and everyone has something to say.

All you have to do is listen.

I’m pleased to be a part of this community and who knows…one of my books might just be the one to ride it to shore. Like Brian Wilson said…catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world.

Unicorn

Within the shadows, without the light, unicorns prance while pan-pipes lay a bed of hushed harmony.  Fragile butterflies flutter between stone turrets resting only briefly amid rich ivy as they flit their way across sunlit castle walls.

Within the light, without the shadows, there is honesty and truth. It is called ‘reality’.

Some say it needs no creative process to survive. Simply put, all that is experienced is all that there is. There are no unicorns.

Between realms there lies a better world. A delicate blend of truth and dreams where fabled creatures, when called upon, may exist. A mixture of warm imagination and cold reality. Sprinkles of hope and guidance spiced with seasoned knowledge and understanding. Gently stirred and mixed yet somehow keeping separate the shadow and the light. This delicate blend of truth and fantasy…of realists and dreamers. Each needs what is unique to the other. Reality requires the elasticity of imagination to stretch boundaries and expand horizons. Creativity needs reality to temper dreams into possibility. Without the other, each suffer.

Where once they sailed the ocean blue, today they sail through darkened space, one daring to dream and one daring to try. Together they have reached the stars.

Reality lasts a lifetime.

Unicorns…forever.

Mike Grant is the author of three novels. “White Wolf Moon”, “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”, and “Fergus”. Visit his Amazon page to find out more.

The Stories Thus Far:

WHITE WOLF MOON:

smallwwm180“White Wolf Moon” is a character-driven story set in Kamloops, British Columbia. Seen through the eyes of a twenty-year-old journalism student (Jennifer MacAvoy) and a sixty-something poet/songwriter (Evan Morris) it takes a lighthearted approach to the philosophies and realities of the Sixties through serious interviews and wonderfully off-the-wall dialogue.

Evan had departed the music scene almost as quickly as he had arrived and now lives a reclusive life with his wife Marie and Ginn, his white wolfdog. Jennifer wanted to find out why. At first terrified by his gruff demeanor she gradually peels away the façade. By sifting through his philosophical banter she unravels his story to discover that she is unwittingly a part of his secret. With her research now overshadowed by a more personal journey Jenn copes with the unnerving realization that she herself has been drawn into his world and heart.

A get-together involving friends from Evan’s past (including his now-wife meeting his then-girlfriend) sets the scene and proves that sixty-something, like the Sixties, is just a state of mind.

As a side note some scenes depicted in this novel are based on personal experiences from those bygone days. I shall, however, leave up to the reader to decide which ones they might be.

 

BARKING AT YESTERDAY’S MOON:

smallbark180In this sequel* to “White Wolf Moon” the usual suspects are at it again. Evan Morris and Danny Mann feature prominently in one misadventure after another. Evan’s confrontation with a rifle-toting hillbilly while researching the background of Ginn, his white wolfdog, sets off a week packed with uncharacteristic behavior for the sixty-something ex-folk singer, from vandalizing a teen-ager’s car to a brush with the law in Edmonton, Alberta. These needed and often comedic contrasts to his staid life are overshadowed by the death of another former band member from the Sixties.

At the celebration of life “muck-up” Evan grapples with thoughts of a life that might have been and treads a trail of rediscovery with more questions than answers.

“Barking at Yesterday’s Moon” is about relationships and friendships that last forever, old rock and roll bands and a musician’s life on the road. It’s about finding that balance between what was and what is and realizing that it’s what we’ve done that makes us what we are.

*Every effort has been made to allow this novel to stand alone. The chapter ‘Jenn’s Story’ briefly recounts the contents of “White Wolf Moon” and any references to that first book have been clarified in the narrative or dialogue.

 

FERGUS:

smallfergus180“Fergus” is a definite dark departure from the first two books although he is a character in “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”. I wanted to pursue how he got the way he is and that’s why this book took a lot longer than I expected. The research was the tough part.

Due to a bus accident Fergus suffered damage to the Broca (speech) area of the brain causing communication difficulties. While the rest of his brain seemed to function normally his inability to communicate his thoughts succinctly coupled with the frustration of always being misjudged gave Fergus the outward appearance of a boy burdened with much greater challenges.

Fergus also suffers vivid ‘false awakenings’ and is occasionally overwhelmed by the confusion of not knowing what is dream and what is reality. Other issues include his brother telling him horrific bedtime stories (the shovel-wielding murderous Jimmyman), no longer being accepted in his school social circle, and people insisting that the creative introvert ‘man up’ from the time he was six.

As an adult he tries to find peace within memories of a younger Fergus. Thoughts of his sister Annalee and his mother Hannah soothe the conflict in his mind but a deeper darkness remains inside. Sometimes Fergus’s fertile imagination and delicate psychological balance combine to blur the line between reality and bedtime tales and sometimes the Jimmyman crosses that line.

My Amazon Author page

Naïve? Me? Okay….

More important than what the writer puts into the words is what the reader takes out of those words. I’m paraphrasing something I said to one of my English teachers oh so long ago. She congratulated me on an astute observation and I must confess I’m also pretty impressed at my insight at that age although I’m not sure if I came up with it or I read it somewhere.

I suppose it doesn’t matter. The point is valid. A writer can spend months putting together a manuscript, tweaking and doctoring every word, but if the reader doesn’t ‘get it’ then it’s all for nought.

I read sci-fi, in particular the ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ novels. I have two bookshelves full of the stories and mostly I find them easy, enjoyable, and well-written. There are a couple of authors however that try to take them to a higher literary level and while I basically have no problem with this I find that having to consult a dictionary to understand some of the words takes away from my enjoyment of the story. Know your market folks.

When I released my first novel ‘White Wolf Moon’ I sold a copy to one of the regular customers of the bookshop where I was employed at the time. She came back a few days later and commented that the book was funny and entertaining which is really all I could ask for. Then she smiled and said that there aren’t many ‘naïve’ authors that can put a story together that flows that well. I can’t remember my response but I imagine it was a slightly sarcastic ‘gee thanks!’

I later found the same reference to Richard Brautigan and I no longer felt insulted.

Like naïve artists, naïve writers are the naturals of their craft. They understand their world and are able to translate that world into an understandable concrete form, creating their visions while appearing innocent of the rules and mechanics.

Basically they either don’t know the rules or they do know them and break them.

When it comes to writing I must confess I don’t know all the rules but I do know a lot of them. Yes I am aware I break some of them and I will also admit there are probably a few I unwittingly break. But…

Wait…let’s talk about ‘but’ for a moment. It used to be that you never started a sentence with the word ‘but’.

But it’s accepted these days…as a conjunction used to coordinate two independent clauses.

But enough about ‘but’.

Unfortunately I’ve forgotten what my second independent clause was going to be which is just as well. It’s time to refresh everything I’m doing (starting with the header pic above) so I shall end this now and get back to working on some changes for this blog and my facebook pages.

Until next time…happy trails.

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B0143ZI4W8?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

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WELL HELLO THERE….

…my it’s been a long, long time.

With due credit to Willie…ain’t it funny how time slips away? It’s frightening to think that eight months have passed since my last blog entry. It just doesn’t seem that long. Politically a lot has happened…North Korea, Iran, Border controversy and all but I try to stay away from politics unless it’s Canadian. There’s not much to write about on that front these days. Seems everybody dislikes the current Prime Minister about as much as they disliked the previous dude-in-charge but that is and will always be the case. You just can’t please anybody these days.

Most of my time since my last post has been taken up with my new novel.cover ebook3

‘Fergus’ is a definite departure from the first two books although he is a side-line character in ‘Barking at Yesterday’s Moon’. I wanted to understand how he got the way he is and that’s why this book took a lot longer than expected. The research was the tough part.

Due to a bus accident Fergus suffered damage to the Broca (speech) area of the brain causing communication difficulties. My research revealed that, while the rest of his brain might function normally, personality disorders can arise due to the frustration brought about by the inability to communicate succinctly.

Fergus also suffers vivid ‘false awakenings’ (dreaming you are awake but are still asleep) and sometimes the confusion of not knowing what is a dream and what isn’t becomes overwhelming.

Other issues involve suddenly not belonging in his school social circle, an uncle urging him to ‘man up’ from the time he was six, and his brother Lucas telling him horrific bedtime stories (The Jimmyman). Fergus’s fertile imagination and his delicate psychological balance sometimes combine to blur the line between fact and those bedtime tales.

It all goes together to create what appears to be a simple sympathetic personality but in reality is deep and dangerous.

And there we have it…my return to blogdom with a little shameless book promotion, which is kind of what it’s all about.

Here’s the link to my Amazon Author page:

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B0143ZI4W8?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

 

 

 

FOUR CHARACTERS & VANILLA PUDDING

I’ve been working on a manuscript for nearly a year. It’s been a troubling experience and I don’t know why it’s proving so difficult although I have a couple of thoughts. One…it’s so different than anything I have ever written. I like light writing. Both previous books have been light with a just a pinch of serious seasoning. The one I’m trying to complete is precisely the opposite. Overall I’m happy but it is so dark in places that I sometimes don’t want to go there. I read the words but they don’t sound like me and although I think I did well I’m not comfortable with how it sounds. This is, I think, my second reason for having so much difficulty. I’m not me and a Snickers ain’t gonna help.

So, to take respite from my woeful endeavors, I opened up a few of my old starter files and discovered a whole new world, most of which I’d forgotten. The people that inhabit this place are just as new but they feel like old friends. The story-lines are interesting but undeveloped.

That’s where the four characters come in. They’re of the new but familiar kind of people and totally unrelated to my main writing project. They’re fresh and eager to be drawn out and I sense some gold just below the surface.

As I roughed out a bit of an introduction and an opening scene to this new project I found myself enjoying writing more than I have in months. It’s been almost a chore to sit at the keyboard as my lack of blog posting indicates. With each of these characters I can draw on my life’s experiences from my days in radio broadcasting to bookselling and everything in-between. I guess it goes back to writing what you know.

I’m not done with my current manuscript and it will be completed but I think it’s time for a vacation with four new friends that will let my imagination run wild.

I see a part of me in each of them and I’m anxious to throw them into situations that will bring out the best in them and hopefully serve up some old time philosophies and humor to boot. I’m intending this to be more like the first two books with different characters and perhaps a little mystery-solving thrown in to give them the stage.

A quick tease, which apparently I’m supposed to include in a blog, is vanilla pudding. It’s the first befuddlement of Ned, the personality I most identify with. He and I both feel that vanilla is the boring aunt of the pudding family, the smelly one you put up with because she’s rich and makes good cookies. It’s nice (and serves the purpose somewhat) but given their choice most people would move on to chocolate or butterscotch pudding. In the annals of dessert warfare vanilla is always the pudding left behind. Vanilla would say ‘You go on without me and save yourselves’ and the other puddings would go on without him and save themselves because vanilla was…well, vanilla.

Ah yes…there’s a certain comfort in writing about vanilla pudding.