Monday, August 24, 2015

ShearArt Book Covers

A book cover will spark a readers initial curiosity stopping them in their tracks to read the title.

A professional book cover will garner 25% more interest in a book than one thrown together with a few stock photos. Using stock photos can confuse the reading as there will be another book with the same images. The reader will give it a pass thinking they have read it. An author, especially a self-publisher author, who has control over their book, should regularly change the cover. This does not need to be expensive. ShearArt Book Cover design has hundreds of premade book covers and offers an affordable design service under $50. They also include exclusive rights to their illustrations.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The new Spanish gag laws are starting to gain revenue

The new gag laws are starting to gain revenue as people are fined for photographing the Police.
A woman posted a photograph on facebook of a police car parked in a disable person parking place and was tracked down and fined €800.

How do you stop people filming cops beating up the innocent and the not so innocent? Do what Spain have done with their latest gag laws. Anyone taking a picture of a cop or videoing them will be fined up to €30,000. Their justification, they say you are putting the lives of the police and their families in danger from reprisals by revealing their identity.

When you see them laying into your friend or family member, even when guilty of — DWF — Drunken-While-Foreign. It's instinctive to press record, if only to note the crimes against humanity these cops are committing. The Spanish police usually have their faces covered up when they are about to kick off. So if they do approach you wearing turtle-necks pulled up over their noses, it ain’t no fashion statement, drop to the floor, do a hedgehog and wait for the smiling, lusty-violence - hidden by their paramilitary masks - to abate.

Is this get out of jail free card going to course onlookers to take action as the camera was starting to make the police realise they can't be judge and executioner and think twice before they react as fast as a petulant child on hearing it's bedtime.

Does this mean that the press are not allowed to record disturbances where the police are called in to control – yes because any gathering of people in protest is against the law unless organised with permission. Which means the press will be controlled, only those that show favour to the government will be allowed passes. If this doesn’t work, because some rouge journalist showed a cop sticking in his size twelves, then eventually cameramen will be wearing special police uniforms with their own unique insignia, complete with jack-boots and flamboyant style of saluting.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Save the cat moment

You see it in many films and once you know what it is you recognise it all the time. Politicians, especially in America, referred to as the 'howdy factor', playing sports and allowing the public to see this display of human behaviour, which they can relate to. These staged moments help people to step into their shoes and identify with them. Equally Politician's sighting their service record in a way it highlights their personal sacrifice for others.

In Blake Snyder's book: 'Save the Cat', a must read for any inspiring screenwriter and fiction novelist. Suggest a moment where our hero does something that will make the audience like them portraying him/her as nice, so the audience will root for them. You can also give your evil, despicable villain a save the cat moment so as to create depth of character, after all they can't be all bad. Another way of making your evil character likeable is have him subordinate of someone more evil than him - this is save the cat by proxy.

It, of course, doesn't have to be someone really saving a cat.

Do we, inadvertently, use this in our lives to motivate people to like us? I think so. We just have to be subtle or it will be noticed. Teen movies showing some desperate boy paying a friend to steal his new date's hand bag and then gives chase. Pull some impossible gravity-defying marshal arts moves making the last kick up the thieves backside humiliating and letting him go with the words, "let that be a lesson - go straight punk."

This works in several ways, she buys into it totally impressed and the date is a success, she is hanging onto his arm as he walked her home. Or she sees straight through it and kicks off throwing a hissy-fit saying you sad bastard calms down and laughs at you for trying to impress her and making an effort.

But was this a save the cat moment or a desperate attempt at being seen as someone he is not. His ability to take an assertive action that would "save the cat." Or in this instance the handbag and personal belongings of a potential love interest.

The reality, as times are changing, the not so helpless female passes him running after his friend drop kicks him first with a hay-maker kick, a superman punch and a spinning back fist. Sprays him with pepper spray she bought off of Ebay, kicks him in the gonads with the conviction of a seasoned female football player realises her date was in on it, pulls his jacket over his arms launches an extended index knuckle punch and kicks him in the boys too - that’s call a save the cat fail.

My mother was an expert on using a combination of flattery and save the cat moments with my teen friends, stood in my kitchen to make them feel at home. She would complement them on the way they were dressed, their aftershave or hair cut that kind of thing and always followed up by trying to embarrass me. One of her favourites, hiding in the hallway and shouting in a convincing voice: "I'm having a bath do you want me to save you the water?" Amused it sparked thoughts of, wish my mother was a laugh like this.
"It's a shame you haven’t passed your driving test yet," she would say. "You could have taken my car I've just filled it up with petrol."
What a blatant lie, she wouldn’t let God drive her baby. She was making sure if I ever said anything negative about her. I would look like a person with sour grapes. So you could say she was using the save the cat moment to control me and my friends thoughts of her through possible action.

Anyway I have to go it's my turn to muck out the Donkeys at the sanctuary, serve the homeless soup from my kitchen, drop off some gifts at the children's home I have collected from different charitable businesses. And I noticed the elderly lady's pet, both who live next door, is stuck up a tree again. I must risk my life and literally - save the cat – honest!

Spoils of the Moon

Friday, August 14, 2015

Spoils of the Moon - Amazon Five Star Review

Spoils of the Moon is a delightful new book by Mark Shearman. Well-written in straightforward prose, the book focuses on Jordi and Greg, two Londoners who embark on a journey to find the truth about their past, unearthing information that suggests their absent father was part of a gang in the early seventies who stole some moon rocks from South Australia museum and also they may have family living in the outback who could fill in the blanks.

On the journey they are tracked down and captured by an American who has a personal connection to the stolen moon rocks and is also looking for their whereabouts. The journey delves into the complicated relationship that is causing much friction between Jordi and Greg and eventually acts as therapy as they had issues with their recently deceased mother. The road trip starts in Vietnam and then the outback fraught with obstacles and funny situations and some crazy off-the-wall characters.

This heartfelt story is full of hope that even after decades of secrets, and dysfunction, estranged families can come together and work through their problems. There are so many things to like about this book. The characters come to life and tell a poignant story in a humorous, but not overly sentimental way. Great dialogue drives much of the storytelling and the story moves at a fast pace.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Women being men - this has been a long time coming....

The first time I witness the competing for the masculine role was working in an office in London.

When I worked as a Steeplejack in Nottingham swearing was part of the way we communicated.
We had our own argot, specialised idiom, not so much a secrete language certain words meaning a particular thing and a little more sophisticated than just another word for breasts.
Whenever a female, no matter what age or who she was, entered the room we would instinctively stop swearing and sexual innuendo was off the table. The same as if we were at home with our mothers or wives.

Years later I left the industry for the world of construction, specifically construction management working my way up from site manager to construction manager and various supervisory roles in between, finding myself often working with females in an office. The first week I felt strange and uncomfortable in a coed situation not because I had to watch my Ps and Qs and the random release of gas or the fact that a woman, who wouldn't look out of place on the front page of some glossy magazine, was talking to me about concrete slump factors. It was the level of sexual innuendo, objectification, buttock slapping, crotch scratching and foul language all coming from the females it was a shock and they didn't ask about your personal status if they fancied you they went after you full on. What was you going to do file a sexual harassment case? You was barely holding on to you masculinity as you watched the death of our inner-caveman.

Working with other blokes in an office one may comment you are getting a bit fat - lard ass, whilst he scratched his own gut hanging over his belt content in his self-denial, but when a women comments you would be really shagable if you lost that gut ruins the after work pint you usually have with the lads, especially when the said man-jawed female is stood there in the group probing you, soon you start saying I'll have a diet coke is ice fattening?
You find yourself walking past females in the office sucking in your gut behind the new suit you couldn't afford conscious of every female in the office, judging you objectifying and thinking shame on you for letting yourself go only a six pack will do and let's not get onto the subject of the male organ if he isn't packing some girth why bother.

Regardless, if you can breathe through your ears and go fifty shades on her. Sex is like a cage fight where she is making the rules, which are written in invisible ink ready to be rewritten because females reserve the right to change their mind. How unfair is it that women have the audacity to demanding a real man when they themselves have fake tits, fake lashes, fake lips, fake hair, and fake nails.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Best things in life are free

Often I will cook things for myself and enough for my daughter, which I would put on a covered plate for later, sometimes she would come home at the same time, hot, bothered, and starving. She would chow down, clean her plate, and leave the table without a word.  My missus waits for her to come home asks her what she wants and gets grief - I don’t know - she screams. The missus ends up faffing about and now the sprogs got an attitude - this way doesn't work turning the home into a café complete with menu choices. When I was a youth you ate what your father was having or what you was given and sometimes 'ifits' - if it's there you will eat it.

I hardly speak to the teenager until she engages me first and I never try to talk to her in the mornings. If I really need something from her or to convey important information, I email her or text. I don’t know what it is with teenagers. I can't remember being that moody and none communicative and then, now and again, she would be normal - she actually spoke to me the other day, but instead of grabbing the opportunity I wasted it with an uningratiating response.

Songs and films have a way of making us feel older, even more so when your daughter hears you singing a song and stares at you flabbergasted, "how do you know the words to that song? It only came out at the weekend."
I shrugged my shoulders as if to say - I'm hip get used to it. Avoiding explaining that was a song from the eighties and again in the nineties. My home town here on the Costa Blanca - La Nucia - will play host to a unique concert on the 18th of September at 21.30 pm in the Municipal Pavilion Camilo Cano. A blast from the past - featuring The Waterboys and The Animals - a concert I will definitely be attending.

They say you're as old as you feel and I'm not going there with the old joke about younger partners - too late. As I sip my café con leche on a honeysuckle and pine-scented terrace, it strikes me how tranquil this place is. The panoramic view a sun-splashed jumble of pine trees and red pan-tiled villas racking back down towards the Mediterranean Sea, where there are languorous stretches of white sandy coastline.

Yet, my self-talk is full of moans about my age and the sweltering heat; looking at the road, three sexagenarians jog past and up the hill with bulking back packs. Why do older people's feet always look massive in white training shoes? - anyway - shame on me for not getting out there and enjoying the many things the Costa Blanca has to offer, the best of which are totally free.

The village alone is a beautiful place to explore on foot, especially around the old town with its whitewashed houses, saintly wall shrines and balconies hung with geraniums, and unfortunately, the odd pair of Y fronts. There is always an undercurrent of weird or at least strange to be found.

The last time I went walkabout in the village, I came across a street where a large group of people had blocked the road off at each end to stop traffic. They had set out tables with tablecloths, wheeled out a couple of barbeques and a double fridge stacked with wine and beer. The central table was decorated with flowers, which had a huge five tiered cake perched precariously on it and there were hundreds of fireworks exploding on the floor shrouding the tableau in smoke. One fella, who had whipped off his jacket and shirt, stood there on the pavement in a white vest burning the hairs off a dead pig with a blow torch - ready for the spit. This was a wedding reception - why bother hiring at a pretentious hotel banqueting suit when you can block off your own street with a couple of wheelie-bins and police-don’t-cross tape you've purloined from your new brother-in-law the cop.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

Spoils of the Moon


Spoils of the Moon 

1967, St Ann's Nottingham, a typical late Victorian, working class, neighbourhood in acute decline, alarming poverty, a slum. Three hundred of Nottingham's dirtiest acres.

This is the time and place Brendan and Pauline's son was born, emigration the only option. They were called Ten pound pommes.
The journey on the ship, SS Canberra, was as frightening and exhilarating as the first year shacked up in the Nissan hut at the hostel, Adelaide, Southern Australia.
Years before, Brendan's parents and sister, Beanie, had moved there after buying a farm in the outback.

Brendan and Pauline settled into a new home in the satellite town of Elizabeth. Brendan only had one question on signing at the labour exchange: does the section about National Service apply to him? -- he was soon to find out.

Pauline suffered bouts of homesickness, fuelled by Brendan's prolonged absences of long working hours. A new mother, she soon became depressed. It wasn't long before Brendan was called up for National Service.

The year is 1969, a global celebration of the moon landings. President Nixon, in commemoration bestowed a hundred and thirty-five gifts of lunar rocks to friendly foreign governments. In 1970, Adelaide museum was proud to display a plaque containing two lunar rocks.

Nobody thought they would be worth stealing, until Brendan, Beanie's boyfriend, Troy, and his mate, Brian, on finishing basic training did just that, with the military precision they had recently learned.

Brendan hides the rocks and is forced to ask his sister, Beanie, to collect them. They end up in the police cells after a drunken brawl, hours after the hoist. The judge orders no custodial sentences because he was told, unbeknown to these men, that effective immediately they will be impressed into overseas service.

Brendan is killed saving some villagers in Vietnam. Troy and Brian disappear - things happen when you steal lunar rocks from the government and embarrass them. The Americans want them back.

The news of her husband's death sends Pauline into a mental institute, leaving Beanie with her son. Beanie recently gave birth also to a son. She takes both of the boys back to the UK.

This is the story of those two boys, Jordi and Greg - now men.

The family business model, started by their mum, Beanie, was to buy handmade crafts from Asia, repair what gets damaged in shipping, and then sell them from their market stall in Camden, London.

Beanie died, leaving them clues to the past and circumstances that cause both men to go to Asia to buy more products for their business before the programmed road works cut their access off and potentially ruins their product-hungry business.

It's not long before one of them is hanging upside down naked in a small Vietnamese village near the Cambodian border, tortured by a man with an American accent. He wants the lunar rocks.

The American, who has been on their trail since London, chose the wrong village and was chased off in a hale of bullets. Ordered by an old villager, one of the men Brendan saved in the war. A translator shows them a picture of two baby boys. She also hands over Brendan's identification documents with the same surname as them and various other personal belongings, along with the story of how he saved some of the villagers.

The clock is ticking now and they are on a collision course with others, tracking down their true family roots and the whereabouts of the lunar rocks - now valued in millions.

In Australia, they encounter Brian and Troy, and are helped by Brian's daughter who is tough, beautiful, and vulnerable to Jordi's charms. But who is whose son? Only Pauline has the answer back at the family farm in the outback -- their final destination. They are not the only ones who turned up looking for answers. The end gives us some shocking surprises and personal growth.

Thursday, May 14, 2015