Month: February 2015

GUEST AUTHOR AMBRIEHL KAHLIL

Recently I interviewed the very kind and talented Author, Ambriehl Kahlil. Ambriehl’s novel Coins in the Coffee Cup with be released this July with Pen Name Publishing. She is an Australian and she is passionate about books.

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Please tell me about yourself?

There’s not very much to say, if i’m honest. I’m eighteen, so I guess i’m still pretty young—super young to be doing all of this, if I must say. It’s actually quite amazing to say that i’m having a book published. It’s also very daunting. I absolutely live for writing and reading, as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, but it’s all I do. If i’ve got free moment you’ll see me either jotting down something that’s come to my mind, or reading another book. There’s not much of an in-between. I have a knack for reading other people’s work, so finding those sites where people upload their own work is a big part of my reading. I find it really inspiring. 
Everyone seems to think that I am constantly on my phone for social media and texting, but half the time i’m actually just reading a good story. My dad has learnt to not even bother asking what I am doing anymore. I think everyone is just used to it by now.

I love adventure. I don’t seem to get out much really, but if I had the chance I would absolutely love to be doing something fun and adventurous. I feel like it gives you a lot of life experiences and having an unlimited amount of experiences to work with when you’re a writer, is a massive advantage. Like a lot of women, I love baking. Not cooking meals though, mainly because I seem to burn everything that I come in contact with. I swear i’m just always watching Cake Boss on repeat or some odd cooking show that’s on telly. There’s something really interesting about learning new things, so usually when I find something that I think is capturing, I become positively enamoured by it. It takes up all of my time and all of my interest and I focus on it, and only it, for a fair while. A few months back, Marine Biology took up a gigantic place in my heart. I guess it’s still there, obviously, but I was reading something about it and I just wanted to know everything right then and there. I went to the library with my cousin and borrowed out about twenty seven books. I read every single one of them and it was worth every second.
I find that i’m intrigued by a lot of different things, chances are when someone suggests something, I’ll probably be up for it. New experiences are absolutely fantastic and they’re so, so important. A writer is all about their experiences. Other than that, the most important thing to me is my family. I cherish my little brother, he’s the most important thing in the world to me. Even when we do fight.

I can draw and I can paint, if that’s anything interesting. I spent a solid few years of my life convinced I was made to be an actress. It turns out I was pretty wrong about that. I’ve always had a thing for writing though. In grade eight I used to write all the time, in class and everything. Two of my friends and I attempted to write a book, we did really well actually It was on all these scattered pieces of paper that we had ripped out of our note books, and one of us would write until we couldn’t write anymore, so we passed it along to the next. I found it amongst all my stuff while I was moving about a year ago and attempted to read it. I’ll just say that I was thirteen, and the most exciting thing that happened was a heated snog, and one of the characters falling out a tree.

I guess I’m not the worlds exciting person, but I have a lot of interests and a heck of a lot of dreams that I hope to achieve. I’ve always been the type that aimed for high goals. I don’t think I could ever do anything where my name isn’t somewhat known. Where people want to be nurses or dentists and stuff, i’ve always wanted something bigger, something more. I’ve always wanted to be successful an I honestly don’t think I’ll stop until I get there. I couldn’t imagine doing somewhere where nobody knows who I am; doing the same mundane thing every single day. I think it would drive me crazy. The most important thing to me other than family, obviously, would be achieving my career dreams and I never thought in a million years it would actually start to happen. I was so naïve in high school. I thought becoming successful would be a lot easier than it is. There’s no words to describe being rejected, so when that email came from my publishing company saying that they wanted to release my book, it was the most over whelming feeling. I feel like I am so mature for my age because of the goals and ideas I have in mind.

what do you like to read?

I read practically everything. As I said before, I have a knack for reading online work. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but most of the time it will be a romance or something like that. I usually read young adult, I find that there are some brilliant stories that come out of those. I love the classics, obviously, and I definitely have a weak spot for something that’s action packed. I’ve found that theres something really liberating about reading an action packed story that has a little romance in it. I read an online story the other month where it was set in the year 1981 and there was a murderer in the government who wanted to kill the main character. It was such a brilliant read. Other than that I read whatever I can get my hands on, but my heart is definitely set on a good love story. Experiencing two fictional characters falling in love slowly is my favourite thing in the world. If it can make me laugh, cry, and get angry all at the same time, it’s a winner.

what are you reading right now, and what do you think you will read next?

Right now I am actually not reading anything … Shocker, I know! I’ve been so caught up with other stuff that I haven’t actually had the chance to find anything. I guess i’m behind when I say I still haven’t finished The Hunger Games trilogy. I purchased them over a year ago and I read the first one and was like, yes! This is so good, and then I started the second one, put it down for a day, and never picked it back up. So when I get the chance I will probably end up finishing those. If its not that it will be something I find in a bookstore that has an interesting cover. Everyone always says to never judge a book by its cover, but it’s the very exact thing I do.

what do you like to write?

I write so much. I write about everything. I’m not that into poetry, if I must admit. It is beautiful and everything, but i’ve never really gotten into it all that much. I find that my most successful stories are always a little sad. I love creating all different kinds of characters and different scenarios. I like to create different worlds and be in control of something so big. To be in control of an entire character. It’s amazing to be so in control of every action, every thought, every gesture, every smile and laugh., especially when it’s something that someone is going to read one day. I don’t often write short stories, I prefer to write something long, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, but when I do write something small, the character is always a little sad about something.
I like to write young adult, I feel like I relate to it the most, but there are times when i’m writing something and I have to think … is this really counted as young adult? Sometimes I just want to write something action packed or something a little crazy. But really, give me a scenario and I will be able to make it work somehow.

 Tell us about where you come from and where you live now?

I’ve lived all around Australia, actually. I was born in Queensland, and thats the place I have lived around the most. While growing up though, there were a fair few places that we lived. I was just a baby when we lived in Warwick, Killarney, Hervey Bay, The Gold Coast/Robina, Sunshine Coast/Noosa, and then when I hit the age where I started to remember where I was, it was Perth, Melbourne, and then finally, Brisbane. I’m back in Melbourne now though, I moved here just last year. It’s so beautiful.

 If you could invite any person, alive today or from history, to a dinner party, who would you invite and why?

I would probably invite Bill Nighy. He’s my favourite older male actor and he’s absolutely phenomenal. He is in some of my absolute favourite movies and the way he plays every single character so flawlessly, astounds me. I guess I would really just love to meet him and ask him how the heck he does it. Also, I may or may not have been watching Love Actually again and couldn’t think of anyone else.

what advice can you give to people who are trying to achieve their dreams?

I think the most important advice is to just keep going and keep trying. If you genuinely want it bad enough, you will get it. Its not easy. Achieving your dreams never is, you have to really work for it. You don’t get anything handed to you on a silver platter in this life unless you’re famous. You don’t get everything handed to you by sitting on your arse and hoping and dreaming about it. If you aren’t putting everything you possibly can into trying to make your dreams come true, then it isn’t going to happen. If you try and you get shut down, then you have to try again. Fix whatever you think was wrong, or not good enough, and go again. You keep trying and trying, because eventually its going to happen and every single person that told you that you will never amount to anything, or that your dreams are impossible, is going to have their eyes opened, and you can laugh in their face as say thats right, I did it. Laugh at me now.
There is nothing more thrilling than achieving something that everyone used to make fun of you for wanting. As soon as you get it, people you haven’t spoken to in months, sometimes even years, come crawling back to you, trying to apologise, trying to ask for help and advice, simply just trying to wiggle their way back into your life because you have something now. Don’t let them. If they weren’t good enough to believe in you in the first place, and stay by your side, then they’re not worth it. They never are.

 can you tell us about the new book you have coming out and your inspiration?

My book is called Coins in The Coffee Cup, and it is basically about a homosexual teenager who has a lot going on in his life, and he learns to deal with it. He falls in love, and has his eyes opened; even though he has some utter crap going on, he manages to push it aside. I kind of like to think of it as a story about growing, learning, and falling in love. I am such a sap for the whole true love and heartbreak thing.

I don’t actually know what inspired me. One day I was just laying in bed and I hadn’t written in so long, I didn’t even think I knew how to write anymore, and I just jumped up and wrote the first line. The entire book has changed so much from what it used to be, and I definitely wouldn’t change that. I love the way it is now, it’s a lot less choppy and messy and it has a better message. Before hand, it was just a whole bunch of crap shoved together and it didn’t flow at all.
I chose to make it about a homosexual teenager basically because, yeah, it has been done plenty of times, sure, but not enough. The world is changing, it’s changed so much and I hate how people still look at homosexuals like they aren’t the same as heterosexuals, like they don’t get the same privileges or they don’t get to fall in love the same way. It’s simply not true and I can’t stress it enough. It’s so not fair to make gay people feel like it is wrong to love who they love. The amount of times people have asked me what my book is about and i’ve replied with ‘a gay kid’ and had them look at me like i’m an idiot is ridiculous and I hate it. I was at a pub one night, making harmless conversation with someone, and somehow the whole book thing came up. When I told him what it was about, the first thing he asked (in a very judgmental voice, might I add), was if I was gay too. It stresses me out that apparently, it is weird for me to write about because I am a girl, or because i’m straight. I write better from the point of view of a male, and I am allowed to write about whatever the heck I want to write about, if people aren’t okay with it, then it’s fine by me.

Can you give us a quote from your favourite book?
I don’t have a favourite book. I wish I did, but I don’t. I have read so many and some were so amazing, amazing enough for me to consider it my favourite at the time, but the moment passed and I realised that none has actually stood out enough for me to claim that it is better than anything else i’ve read.

For further information please see

Pennamepublishing.com  and   ambriehlkhalil.wordpress.comIMG_6388

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Author Interview with Rowena Wiseman

This week I talk to Rowena Wiseman about her new children’s book, Aunty Arty and the disquieting Muses.

Rowena has been an extremely helpful friend to me in the months leading up to me finding my publisher Pen Name Publishing. Her advice and help assisted me greatly and so I am very happy to present this interview.

Her book for junior readers explores art but also tells a great story. I am really pleased when I see people introducing children to the world of art, it is introducing them to something they can always depend upon, a knowledge and love of great art is a comfort forever.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Pablo Picasso

Aunty Arty and the Disquieting Muses, Rowena Wiseman is available now through Jet Black Publishing.

1. Please tell me about yourself.
I write contemporary fiction, children’s stories and a blog about writing and publishing in the digital revolution http://www.outofprintwriting.blogspot.com.au. I have two young children, I work at a regional art gallery and I usually write before the sun rises.

2. What do you like to read?
At the moment I’m pretty much reading Zola and Updike on rotation! What I like about literature, art and music is there’s always someone new to discover and fall in love with. My old favourites are Tatyana Tolstaya, Raymond Carver and Peter Carey’s earlier works.

3. What are you reading right now and what do you think you will read next?
Right now I’m reading The Drinking Den by Zola, it’s about a lady named Gervaise who wants to lead a ‘good’ life. Her aspirations are to work hard, not be beaten too much by her man and to die peacefully in her own bed. All this is turned upside down when her husband and her lover milk her dry so they can line their stomachs with liquor. It explores how respectability can suddenly turn into total disgrace. Next I’ve got Updike’s Couples on my bedside table.

4. Why do you like to write?

It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed …

5. Tell us about where you come from and where you live now.
I grew up in south-east Melbourne. I now live on the Mornington Peninsula, about an hour out of Melbourne.

6. If you could invite any person, alive today or from history, to a dinner party who would you invite and why?
This probably changes from week to week, but right now I’d love to meet Rosaleen Norton, artist and occultist, also known as the ‘Witch of Kings Cross’. I’d love to mine her life for a story or two …

7. What advice can you give to people trying to achieve their dreams?
Have persistence, patience and hold on to your passion.

8. Can you tell us about your new book and about your inspiration?
The first book in my children’s series Aunty Arty has just been released as an ebook. It’s about a quirky aunty who takes her niece Frieda into well known works of art. I thought it would be fun to imagine what could happen if we could meet the characters in an artwork.

9. Can you give us a quote from your favorite book?
The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Thank you so much for the interview Rowena!

Follow Aunty Arty’s adventures on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuntyArty

Watch a video about how we created Aunty Arty: http://youtu.be/Dm4o_Lk_SiA

Buy the book: http://www.jetblackpublishing.com/shop/aunty-arty-and-the-disquieting-muses

May 2014 AA Cover Final 72DPIchirico12

WHAT WAS SEEN

In this blog I will relate to your what was seen at a supermarket last Friday.

While innocently shopping I was moving past the cold meat delicatessen when two men, brothers aged about seventy and seventy one years, both men I found out later from a friend, had grown up on a farm together and since their parents had died, shared the running of that rural business. They had never married, never been away, always been farmers.

One of the men approached a display of donuts. The donuts, sitting on a small table, came in a packet of seven, enclosed in a plastic contained, the type where the top pops off and swings back on little plastic hinges. They were on special for about two dollars fifty.

The first brother picked up a packet, the second brother, approached the table and gave consent to the purchase. The first brother then dropped the packet of donuts, the top sprung open and all seven donuts rolled about the floor, one going slightly under the table.

The brothers are overcome with panic and a look of terror crosses their faces. Quickly they stoop and collect the seven donuts, ensuring not one is left behind and arrange them neatly in the container and close the lid. The first brother, with a firm grip this time, takes the package and carefully places the donuts back on the table with the others, and selects for himself a new packet, which they take and purchase.

I crossed to the table and looked at the display. They had put the donuts back so carefully I could not tell which one had hit the floor.

I did not buy a packet of donuts.

February Short Story – David O’Sullivan

A short story.

The Published Pen

-3 -3 -3 -3 This Month's Short Story

LOVE – a memory.
I moved back to my old town because I had heard an old friend was going through a divorce. We had been best friends in high school but we had lost contact when I moved away. I thought it would be good to move home. I had recently quit my job and I wanted to take a year off to write a novel and since the city is so expensive I figured I could live in my home town for next to nothing. My old town is very old, in the sense that the buildings were about two hundred years old. A big old river ran through it which I used to swim across when I was boy when the summers were honest and hot.

My friend, Neil, had married a blonde girl when we were nineteen. I had come back for the wedding and regretted…

View original post 568 more words

SHORT STORY

The New Weapon.

Simon Baker was born to a young woman before the great war began. His mother Simone became pregnant to a man one summer evening in a sleeper carriage on a train heading out from the city. She lived on a farm in dairy country where heavy rains fall all year around. She was responsible for the washing and cooking for all the men working there.

“Why would you call your son Simon?” the woman who owned a share of the farm asked when the boy was a few years old. “It’s so close to your own name.”
“I have conducted myself well for the last few years, have I not ma’am?” Simone asked in return.
“Yes you have.”
“And I have minded my own business?”
“Yes…” the woman saw where the conversation was going and left her alone.

The boy grew up happily on the farm but very lonely. He spent many hours on his own exploring the nearby forests and rivers.

It was a clear sunny day, a few days after the boy’s seventh birthday when he ran in to see his mother who had just finished making the lunches.
“Mom,” he called as he ran into the huge common kitchen. “Come down to the river with me for a walk.”
His mother looked up and wiped her hands on her apron. “OK, I’ll come for a walk,“ she smiled at her thin blonde child.
They walked out across the yellow fields, being watched by the lazy big eyed cows until they entered the green forests and were hidden by the thick vegetation. They past into a clearing that the boy knew well and they rested by the river.
The sun reflected off the clear waters and fish darted about in the cool depths below them.
“Your father used to love to fish,” Simone lied. “He would spend hours by rivers just like this one while I would sit under a tree and read.”
Simon looked at the tall heavy trees sitting around the banks. He imagined his father fishing.
“Those were the days,” his mother smiled and patted the boy gently on the head.
“I would like to fish,” the boy announced.
Suddenly a deep growl filled the air. The noise was loud and soon even the river could not be heard. The sound was deep and threatening like a typhoon.
“What is that?” Simon asked, looking about in fear.
“It’s all right,” Simone said looking up into the clear sky. “It’s an airplane.”
Simon had never seen one before but he knew of them. He looked up seeing a white air plane, flying low coming toward them.
“I don’t like the noise,” the boy cried and covered his ears.
“It’s OK, it’s OK,” Simone reassured him gently, putting her arm around the boy.
“No!” the boy shouted and stood up. He could see the white plane glinting in the sun. He pointed at it. “I wish it would stop!” he cried.

The planes engines fell silent. The plane cut through the air without a sound, continued over the forest and then just as it was past the trees it fell out of the sky. An explosion sounded, a fire ball and black smoke erupted over the green pine trees.
“Oh my God!” Simone yelled and held the boy to her.

They left for the city in September. Simone told no one about what happened. The plane crash had been a big event on the farm but no one knew why the engines had stopped.

They moved to a small apartment in the city where Simone worked shifts at a laundry and Simon went to a nearby school.
“Simon I want you to promise me something,” his mother said kneeling in front of him.
“Yes, mom?”
“This is our new start. This city we get to begin afresh. Never ever do what you did to that air plane again.”
“I don’t know what I did mom.”
“You stopped the engines, you pointed at it and it fell.”
“I’m sorry, I did not mean to kill the people.”
“I know,” she hugged him. “Just never do it again.”

Years past and Simon grew into a quiet, shy boy. He never forgot the day he pointed at the plane and silenced the engines. He continued to play back the memory, he had flung his arm toward the plane and a feeling like an electric shock ran through his arm and the plane fell from the sky. His arm ached for hours afterwards. The noise of the explosion would feature in his dreams occasionally and awaken him, screaming.

The war began on a cool dark day. The enemy in the beginning were much more powerful than we were. Their air force was ten times larger and their planes the cutting edge of technology. By day the missiles would rain upon the cities and by night the bombers would flood the sky and drop fire.
As night approached Simon and Simone sat in their apartment and tried to keep warm but nothing was working properly and the heat was very weak. A siren began to scream.
“Mom, we have to get to the shelter,” Simon said.
“No,” she replied. “Come with me.”
“Where?”
“I cannot stand the shelter, it feels like a coffin. Come to the roof with me, please.”
His mother stood up and beckoned him to follow. He was frightened and did not want to go, but he trusted her and followed.
The night was pitch black and there were no lights on in the huge city. The only movement were the massive search lights that swept the sky. They looked out to sea.
“There they come,” Simon said. He pointed out to sea. “The black dots, the planes are coming. Can you see them mom?”
“No, not too well… I think I can make them out. Tell me Simon, are any of them our planes?”
“No,” Simon said. “They are all enemy. I can see the red tails in the searchlights.” Simon had a good knowledge of aviation and he could pick the enemy by their red markings.
“Simon I want you to stop them.”
“What?”
“Remember how you stopped the plane when you were a little boy, I want you to stop these before they destroy our city.”
“I can’t.”
“Please, it is our last chance.”
The planes were close now, the engines hummed like angry bees. The vibration of their approach rattled the windows all around. They were huge jets flying low, death would soon come. The sound changed from a hum to a scream.
Simon stood up straight and his eyes narrowed. The sound was tearing him apart. His ears hurt.
“I want them to stop!” he screamed and flung his arm forward.
Silence followed. The city was suddenly silent, the planes came closer for a moment, then they fell from the air like lead weights, crashing into the sea.

COVER REVEAL

It has happened and I am so happy, I stood in a book store today nearly cried as I thought about it. (In my defense I was looking at a row of Orwell’s and Dostoyevsky’s books, amazed and overjoyed that they should be next to each other on the shelf and Paul Simon’s ‘Hearts and Bones’ came on the radio and I was just over come.) But… what was I talking about?

Oh my cover reveal occurred today. My Editor in Chief at Pen Name Publishing did a great job on the reveal and I am really proud of her. You can see it here:  http://t.co/RgF7koKx3O

No more talking… here is the cover of my novel:

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I love it and I am interested in your opinion, if you would like to let me know leave a comment below.

I like the simple yet eye catching design, I like the simple title banner and my name underneath. It seems to attract the eye with the design and reveal the title without any distraction.

When the publishers asked me what I was looking for I mentioned I liked art deco designs of books for the ’20s and ’30s. I like simple yet sensational covers. Here are some examples of the covers I like:

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These are hard decisions, you can spend hours of thought on the cover and set out of the title but still be filled with self doubt. I am happy with the result.

I think that with my next novel (which I am working on now, wink wink nudge nudge say no more) I may experiment with an actual photograph for the front cover. I have been to some exhibitions and seen some marvelous photography from many talented artists. I love photography, especially black and white examples.

Thank you for looking at my new cover. I hope, come June 24th, you will see it in the bookstores near you.

David.