Skip to content

Angry Mountain

“What are you doing my young friend?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“You are spending considerable energy striking the ground with that shovel. You remind me of an angry mountain about to erupt. Come, sit with me, the garden looks stunning; many varieties of flower sharing one space.”

Slowly, the thuds of the shovel ceased. The young man looked exhausted.

What took you to the point of venting anger on the beloved earth?

“A neighbor.”

“Once again, earthly troubles placed at a neighbors’ door. What did she do?

“She doesn’t get involved except to calm his anger. He is unreasonable, his anger boils when things don’t go his way.”

“Tell me about him.”

“There’s not much to say. He occasionally lives in the house next door. I have no problem with that but wonder if that’s where his lies. He told me about things he’s had; property he owns and how wealthy he is.

When they visit, he expects life to stop accommodate his. It’s like the lord of the manor has arrived.”

The old man laughed to himself and stepped into the flowers.

“See how they move when I walk among them. Nothing I do halts their progress unless I step on one or pull it from the ground. All they need are minerals from the earth, water, air and sunlight. Humans are similar; each have basic needs but perceived unmet, they reach out and search.

Some have more than they need and want more. They don’t wish to see somebody better-off so, they collect and hoard. Do you remember our talk about competition?”

“Where does the anger of one man connect to that?”

“Something in his past has brought about insecurity. He needs to eclipse everybody’s sun because he’s jealous of their daylight. He compares himself to others and sees them as his competition.

Possibly developed from one instance in his life but allowed to go unchecked, it has grown out of proportion. “

“I understand and relate although I don’t identify with anger. I once found myself in a loveless relationship and didn’t realise I substituted it with ‘things.’  Nice cars, holidays, clothes . . . “

“You still do that my friend. Did anybody ever say, ‘be better, do better . . . ‘“?

The young man laughed without humor. “It is a mantra echoing around my mind since my early years.”

“The man next door brings challenges to your ego which reminds you of the mantra. Push it aside my friend and forget about the neighbor. Friendship is not an option so, blow him away with a tender heart like you would a dandelion clock.

Once a Bestseller, Always a Bestseller

Have you noticed the offers that attack your inbox promising massive increases in book sales? You have, they’re not difficult to miss. Don’t Panic! There are no offers of glory or riches in this post.

Two days ago, one particular email said,

“Unless you have four-star reviews, your book will fail.”

I followed that cheeky suggestion and discovered their point.

Buy one of their review packages and your book will have a better chance of success. I also noticed that they are setting up their own system to challenge Goodreads. Good luck to them, I hope it works out. Or, do I?

It’s true, I wish nobody to fail with their business endeavours and they may have a point that Goodreads perhaps needs to re-evolve to match the ever-changing world.

One thing I noticed that concerned me is their packages mentioned a ‘team.’ If you bought their most expensive package, your book would be reviewed by one of their ‘top reviewers.’ No names, no testimonials offered.

There is a common thread here. So many offers and promises that aren’t backed up with evidence of positive results.

Delving deeper, I discovered something shocking. There are books on the market carrying that wonderful tag ‘Best Seller’ when in reality it’s far from the truth.

In the case of Brent Underwood, who works in book marketing, achieving the best-seller status took less content and work than you might think. His title, Putting My Foot Down, was a page long, featured a picture of his left foot, and became a number 1 best seller on Amazon in a matter of minutes with the sale of three copies.”

I will not reveal how Brent did that (you can always follow the link) but suffice to say,

Once a bestseller, always a bestseller

Playing the best seller system isn’t unique. Authors, particularly those of business books, are using techniques like cherry-picking lists to present an image that may not be true. Like a picture of a foot being a best seller.

When people hear about or see the ‘best seller’ tag their ears prick up, they give the author more attention and sales explode.

There are enough challenges for Indie Authors without inundation from individuals offering fee-based packages. I am sure many will agree that the only way to become a best seller is to write a great story. With dedication and hard work, get people to buy it and place reviews in all the prominent places.

I’m not saying that there aren’t genuine people out there who are outstanding book marketers but, it’s the people who read the books that matter. I’m not so sure we need more than the wonderful networks we develop with other authors and readers to achieve true ‘bestseller’ status. Integrity and honesty is the only way to go.

Reviews make an authors day

Starting the week with a five star review is wonderful and I am sure every writer can identify with that. But, what keeps our readers from posting their reviews? Especially after they have told you how much they enjoyed reading the book via email or social media.

Why readers don’t review isn’t a new debate so, don’t worry, I’m not going to go on about this. Except to say:

  • Your words to an author are just as important as the words in their books are to you.
  • What you say about a book you’ve read can make a huge difference to the success of an author. Especially to those who aren’t yet getting their books reviewed in the mainstream press.
  • Leaving a review is kind and the world definitely needs more of that.
  • Reviews encourage others to read the book

 

There’s no need to write a lengthy work of art. You could simply say,

‘Beyond The Pyre was a great story, I loved the characters and will look out for more from this author.’

Once done, you can copy and paste to Amazon, Goodreads and any other review platforms you are aware of.

If you would like to write something more detailed, you might want to consider the following template. You don’t have to answer every question; they’re suggestions!

Points to Ponder:

  • What was the story about?
  • Who were the main characters?
  • Were the characters credible?
  • What did the main characters do in the story?
  • Did the main characters run into any problems? Adventures?
  • Who was your favourite character? Why

 

Your personal experiences

  • Did you relate to any of the characters in the story?
  • Have you ever done or felt some of the things the book raises?

 

Your opinion

  • Did you like the book?
  • What was your favourite part?
  • Did you have a least favourite part?
  • If you could change something, what would it be? (If you wish you could change the ending, but don’t reveal it on a public forum! Authors eyes only.)

 

Your recommendation

  • Would you recommend this book to another person?
  • What type of person might like this book?

 

I love to engage with readers and other authors. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I will always respond.

Now on to the review that launched my Monday. A big thank you to Remmy Meggs in The USA for this.

Title: Beyond the Pyre
Author: Steve Costello
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Austin
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Format: Paperback, Kindle, hardback
Pages: 366
Source: Amazon.com

When I read a book about a country that I am not familiar with, I always open a map, so I can follow along with the story line. In this case it was France. As a child a few years ago I went to France, however I do not remember much of the trip. I do remember the boys wearing shorts and of all things either long sleeve shirts or sweaters. Since it was warm out, that didn’t make sense to an eight year old American boy.

I do the same with history, not to prove the author wrong, but to follow his lead. So in this case I looked up the word Cathar, and found as much detail as I could on the subject. To me dates are important in history, not that I memorize them, but there is a difference between Pope Innocent and Pope Alexander.  These are important details for me.

Now about the book Beyond the Pyre by Steve Costello (June 2017) I was told I was pronouncing Pyre wrong by one of my Anglo Saxon friends in Northern England, (South of Scottish England). That is because of the English spelling, the same English that type tyre instead of tire. Confusing.

Now that is out of the way, I found this book a lot different than any other book I have read the last five years. Yes, it is that different. True it only has one goal, and I do not think it is supposed to be scary story, however several times the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and a few times chills went down my spine.

The history of almost any church, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, is full of atrocities, including current events.  However as I read this book, I found so many fascinating things. First of all the characterizations. They were three dimensional, similar to how I write, I do not find three dimensional characters in books very often, so that is a plus. Just about every character was true to life.

The protagonist, actually I was not sure who the main character was because it seemed to me that each person was a main character. Yes it starts out with Ben and Catharine, but it quickly develops into something much more monumental.

American readers will see a difference in dialog, but only because it seems the English use single quotations instead of double quotations, and other minor differences. The subject matter is a matter of opinion, but one thing that grabbed my attention in chapter three I believe, was:

Elionor didn’t believe in the devil despite her Catholic upbringing: human beings created evil and could not lay blame elsewhere. – Steve Costello, Beyond the Pyre

Although I believe that to be true, by the end of the book, you will be in wonder. This is a good versus evil book, just remember that everyone has some good in them, no matter how evil they are.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, not many can write something like this unless they have lived close to it. – Remmy Meggs Nov 2017

Buy From Amazon

French Connection ii

Reserach for Beyond The Pyre took me deep into the pyrenees where it must be said that the lifestyle is far from typically French. I’m not going to analyse that now, suffice to say, it is very different up there. When I visit, I can feel it, it is a wonderfully spiritual feeling and life there is certainly not a breeze for many.

Like many places, there are myths and legends. Who knows, some of them might be true. If not the entire story, there might well be messages within.

Jean de l’Ours or John Bear is an old French legend that originated from a village in the French Pyrenees. Traditionally told by word of mouth and passed down through the generations. I have read and reread this story; there are so many possibilities of meanings and interpretations. What do you think?

Once upon a time, a woman meets a large bear in a forest. The bear takes the woman into a cavern and prevents her from getting out by putting a large boulder in front of the entrance.

The woman and the bear have a child named Jean de l’Ours, and he becomes very strong. One day, Jean pushes the boulder away from the entrance, and he and his mother leave the bear’s cavern.

Then, Jean works for a blacksmith, but the blacksmith doesn’t pay him well. So, with some pieces of iron, Jean makes himself a cane and leaves on a journey.

Jean eventually meets three strong men: Roue de Moulin, Coupe Chêne, and Porte Montagne. The four men travel together and find a castle in the middle of a forest. They enter the castle, and on the next day, they decide that three of them will hunt for food while one will stay home and prepare dinner. Once dinner is ready, the person will ring a bell to tell the huntrs to come back and eat. They will alternate who will stay home at the castle every night.

Roue de Moulin is the first one to stay at the castle, and he is preparing soup for dinner. He hears a noise coming from the chimney. Then, a hand, an arm, an ear, and a head fall down the chimney like hail, and they form together to become a man. This man is the devil, and he asks Roue de Moulin to light his pipe. However, Roue refuses, so the devil beats him up and prevents Roue from finishing the dinner or ringing the bell. The others come back to the castle without hearing the bell, but Roue fabricates an excuse and doesn’t reveal what really happened.

Coupe Chêne and Porte Montagne have the same experience as Roue de Moulin when it is their turn to prepare the meal.

A few days later, Roue, Coupe, and Porte are out hunting, and Jean stays at the castle to prepare dinner. When the devil comes down the chimney and asks Jean to light his pipe, Jean hits him and puts a large boulder on top of him. Jean prepares dinner, and he rings the bell to call everyone back to the castle. Before they get back, the devil escapes from under the boulder and goes down the water well next to the stove.

Jean de l’Ours tells his friends the story about the devil and that he has escaped, and the four men look around the castle. Eventually, they see the water well next to the stove and the rope that the devil used to escape. With the rope and the bell, Roue, Coupe and Porte follow, but they get scared and ring the bell to signal they want to get back to the kitchen.

Then, Jean takes his turn, and finds a castle at the bottom. An old woman there tells him she is the devil’s wife who introduces him to the devil. He gives Jean three treasure chests and three princesses. Jean rings the bell, and he and his friends use the cord to lift the chests and princesses to the surface. When they get the chests and princesses to the top, Jean’s friends run off with them and leave Jean at the bottom of the well.

Jean talks with the devil again, and the devil gives him a white eagle that’s locked up in a cage. The devil tells Jean that if he gives the eagle raw meat, it will fly. So, Jean gets on the eagle’s back, gives it some raw meat, and they begin to fly back up the well. However, Jean runs out of meat before the eagle brings him all the way up. So, he cuts off a piece of his thigh, gives it to the eagle, and they continue until they reach the top.

Then, Jean goes to the city with his cane in search of his former friends. When Roue de Moulin, Coupe Chêne, and Porte Montagne see Jean, they jump out of a window, run away, and Jean never sees them again.

Jean de l’Ours marries the youngest princess out of the three given to him. He uses some of the money from the chests to buy his mother a horse-drawn carriage. Jean, his wife, and his mother live happily ever after in the castle in the forest.

1 2 4
%d bloggers like this: