The holiday season is coming and it's the perfect time to decide on the gifts you're going to make to the ones you love. For the fans of time-travel romance, "Gate Deadlock" will make a perfect gift!
My gift to you?
25% off !!!
Just use the Coupon Code: BUYMYBOOK305 and make our purchase on Lulu
But hurry! Coupon expires on December 14, 2011 ($50 Max Savings )
RS: Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Will you please share a short bio with us?
JOHN: Goodness, well without giving you my life story I’m an IT Training Manager in the NHS in the UK but I’ve always had my artistic side, and although I’ve made my career in helping people use computers I’d much rather be writing!
In the past I’ve been (and still am really though for my own pleasure) a musician but writing was something I could rely entirely on myself – being in a band means needing other reliable and motivated band members and that never happened for me. And so I decided that writing was a far better potential occupation, or more likely hobby, that being a rock star (and a whole lot cheaper there being no need for rehearsal rooms or guitars etc)
RS: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
JOHN: While at school I used to write reams of poetry, most if not all of it pretty bad. From there I moved on to writing short stories but the bulk of my artistic energies were always in a musical direction, writing songs. None the less I wrote many short stories and even a full length children’s book in my twenties. I had a few sizable gaps in my writing while I developed my career but once in my forties I decided I needed to tackle a full length book again, I now felt confident I could do a full length story justice and the genre I wanted to write it in.
RS: What genre do you write?
JOHN: I don’t like pigeon holes but if I had to I’d say Fantasy/Humour though I like the term coined by one of my favourite authors, Robert Rankin, who labels his work as ‘Far Fetched Fiction’. I like stories with quirkiness and some humour, sometimes on the dark side. I’d loosely say half of my work is aimed at adults and half children, the 10 -14 age bracket.
RS: What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favourite author and why?
JOHN: I have a few favourite authors including the aforementioned Robert Rankin, Tom Holt and Douglas Adams, all for the fantasy tinged humour and off kilter story telling. I also love Bill Bryson who tells wonderful factual prose with such a dry sense of humour that has me chuckling and annoying friends, family and whoever I’m sat next to. I also have many others, too many to mention really but does include such as James Herbert and Stephen King.
RS: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
JOHN: My proof reading is as bad as I thought it was! For years, being a tutor in word processing, I’ve spent ages telling people to double check their work, but it is always harder checking your own work and so easy to miss things! Luckily I have friends who will happily but diplomatically help me out!
RS: What inspired you to write your novel?
JOHN: I have a very bad memory! I wondered what would I do if I awoke one day in a strange place and didn’t know who I was, would I be susceptible to being manipulated? I also wanted to contemplate a little ‘outside’ influence on world events and give it all a nice tangled twist with a hint of mirth!
RS: Can you tell us a little about your novel?
JOHN: Dave is lost, his mind is a swirling bank of fog and the only person offering any answers is a strange old doctor/wizard/tramp who persuades the hapless ‘memory man’ that he must seek revenge on the man who has left him for dead and stolen his ‘girl’. Meanwhile mystical ageless beings hide in plain sight, dabbling in history and determined to have things all their own way with the odd family argument leading to unexpected outcomes for all our characters!
RS:What kind of research did you do for this book?
JOHN: One of the most wonderful things about my genre is sometimes a lack of a need for research; you can let your imagination run wild! Having said that I did have some historical elements that I had to read up on and make sure I had years and events correct. The Internet is a wonderful thing as long a you double check your facts, don’t just rely in Wikipedia!
RS: Where can we find your novel?
JOHN: Depending in where you live you can purchase it via one of the three Amazon sites. For the UK it is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mr-Memory-ebook/dp/B0057XV34W/
For the US it is: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Memory-ebook/dp/B0057XV34W/
For everywhere else it is: http://www.amazon.de/Mr-Memory-ebook/dp/B0057XV34W/
RS: What's next for you?
JOHN: I already have a children’s book ready to publish, ‘Humphrey Pickleton and the Secret’, the story of a boy held prisoner by his aunt and the creatures who help him in his fight with the evil woman.
I’m in the process of writing a new novel, ‘The Bad Wife’, a murder mystery fantasy with huge slices of dark humour!
RS: Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
JOHN: Can I mention them all! My blog, where I post short stories and anecdotal meanderings and thoughts is http://johndrhodesauthor.wordpress.com. I can also be found on the brilliant Goodreads community site: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5049597.John_D_Rhodes. You can also find me on Twitter, @johnnydrhodes.
RS: Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
JOHN: It is important not to write for anyone other than yourself!
RS: Thanks for being a guest author to my blog John. I will be looking forward to your next book. Good luck with all your projects.
A NEW wickedly funny novel by John D Rhodes
Dave’s mind is thick with fog but something is holding the doors shut tight. What’s more he's blind, trapped in hospital, tortured to distraction by a beautiful nurse and accompanied by Lenny a quite stinky tramp come wizard of dubious origins. What more could a man want? Who can help him escape all three and will he really like the answers once his mind returns to normal?
At least things can’t get any worse… can they? Come along on Dave’s voyage of discovery and revenge, just where did the disease ridden cat come from, who are, Fate, Degradation, Famine and Hope and can he really win back the love of his life?
The answers, strangely, may lie within this story, where the struggle for ultimate power, mystical ageless beings and the delights of office party sexual politics meet in a headlong car crash of magic, good versus evil and some odd, (very odd in this case) talking beasties.
I'm a writer currently publishing via Amazon, my first novel - Mr Memory - is available to purchase now and I have two further books to be published this year, 'Humphrey Pickleton And The Secret' a childrens' story and 'The Bad Wife' - a murder mystery come humorous fantasy fiction novel.
I've been writing for nearly 30 years but only now, thanks to modern technology and Amazon, have I been able to bring some of my work to you. I've written well over 40 short stories and 4 full length novels.
My work tends to live in that part of the universe where things are very similar to our reality, but with a tinge of the strange, an off kilter reflection, a mix of sour and sweet. This is not science fiction or horror but a fantasy fiction where things are not quite what they seem, animals can talk and sometimes the hero is not and the villain is, and just maybe there is a happy ending for some of the characters.
My favourite authors reflect my tastes and so on my book shelves you'll find Tom Holt, Robert Rankin, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett fighting for shelf space with Bill Bryson. And yes you'll also find a good splattering of Sci Fi - Asimov et al.
You will also find quite a few biographies of mainly musical heros of mine but the odd Norman Wisdom tome rubbing shoulders with Neil Young.
Most of the children's books live in my boys' rooms but you'll find Harry Potter and lots of Roald Dahl! I'm also partial to lots of Charlie Bone (the wonderful Jennie Nemmo) and lots of traditional stuff too.
As well as writing I'm a song writer and play guitar and bass.
Ambition wise I'd love to give up the day job but for now I'm happy just to get my work out there.
I have decided to put a discount on my book (on my publisher's page, Lulu.com). Lulu gives me the right to choose the discount percentage so I came up with 50% on the paperback edition and 40% on the e-book edition. You will find it on this link.
I've recently started the following discussion on Amazon forum but I'm also posting it here. I'd like to know what you think.
"I am a new author of a self-published paranormal (time-travel) romance. My paperback has sold some copies through Amazon but a month ago I decided to try the kindle edition. I knew nothing about kindle as in my country people are still on paperback. So I read blog posts of other writers who know better. What I got from them was not to undervalue my work by setting a very low price and so on... I selected the price of 9,99 $ thinking that it's much lower that the paperback price. Surprisingly, when my book came live and ready to sell, I saw that the price has increased to 13,75 $. Is it VAT, or something else I didn't notice when I selected the publishing options, I can't tell. Then I bumped into forums of e-book readers who complained about e-books prices and I started to realize the problem. When friends started asking me why I have set such a high price for my e-book I didn't know what to say. It's true I don't intend to make a living from writing, I mean I have a good, steady job. But it's writing that makes me happy. And if there are others out there who find hapiness in the same stories with me, I'd like to share mine with them. It's that simple.
I have just decided to edit the list price for my e-book to 1,99 with a revenue of 0,45 and I'm waiting for my book to be come live again. I'd like to know if experienced e-book writers or readers think it was a wise thing to do or if a low price is an indication of poor quality to them. I believe there are others like me out there who are confused and your sugestions will be valuable to us."
Just about to finish the sequel of "Gate Deadlock", I found myself in a block that questioned my idea about the end of the story. I turned to my old project, the first book and I tell you this: sometimes reviews work like therapy for inspiration. Especially this one, which is my favourite as it comes from one of my first readers:
"Gate Deadlock" is one of the best books I have read in the last few years.
It includes suspense,romance,action and imagination,everything that a great book should include. The love story of the main characters proves that this powerful feeling can alter everything and everyone. But can love exist between two people that live in a different universe? Sarri's style of writing kept my enthusiasm and anguish in high levels that I could not find a way to stop reading the book at once. I cannot wait to read the sequence and find out how this unpredictable story will end!!
Now bring me that sequel!
(Feel free to check out all reviews on "Gate Deadlok" on
Kevin Spacey gave an excellent performance as Richard III by William Shakespeare. For three and a half hours he held the audience with his remarkable acting style. An honoured actor to honour a sacred place! Glad to say I was there!
This came in my mail from Aston University where I do my PhD and I thought I should share it with all of you. I'm really interested to hear your opinion about it.
So, here it goes:
Good advice from Ronald Dahl:
« I never come back to a blank page; I always finish about halfway through. Hemingway taught me the finest trick : “When you are going good, stop writing.” You don’t go on writing and writing until you come to the end of it, because when you do, then you say, well, where am I going to go next? You make yourself stop and you walk away. And you can’t wait to get back because you know what you want to say next. »
The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.
Even from the first pages of “Heavenly” (Book 1), which I was lucky enough to have received as a birthday present, I knew that Jennifer’s story had me hooked. “Penitence”, where Zoe’s story continues, was then on top of my reading list.
Both as an author and a reader my favorite kind of writing; first person teenage narration, lively and realistic characters and the element of the supernatural sliding into the story so smoothly and developing hand-in-hand with down-to-earth harsh reality: school and teenage problems, modern family issues, binge drinking, drug addiction and even autism, blended with the deeper search into after death issues and the eternal battle between good and evil.
Artfully combined, all these add to a fast, intriguing flow of the plot that captivates you challenging you to continue reading until the last page where emotions vary from satisfaction that you have finally reached the end (not really, Book 3 is now next on my reading list) to sadness because you just can’t have enough.
Whether or not Jennifer intended to write a book with a moral in mind, I can only point out that “Penitence” contains so many messages that the reader cannot but reconsider his own perception of what it means to become a better person, be that a better daughter, son, parent, friend, lover, fellow man. Because there is something for everyone in those pages as long as the windows of your heart and soul are open.
I know Cyprus is still mourning for the people who died in the tragic accident last week but I try to hold on to my memories from picturesque Paphos.This was the view from my room in "Queens Bay Hotel".
Now how beautiful is that?
Post your favourite summer vacation pics so far here! The winner will be announced in the end of August!
Between finishing my book and writing my dissertation, I have come to look for ways to fight my worst enemy: time.
In other words, I try to manage time as effectively as possible.
So how about this: if we come to consider time as the occurrence of events in a sequence (as Einstein defined it) making effective use of time means managing those sequenced events effectively i.e. in a way that will give us the desirable results; for instance, a whole chapter, the completion of a scene, or finishing the whole story. And this would constitute our goal: what we want to accomplish and when.
Now, if you too are generally in bad terms with time you may have come to wonder whether it would help if you scheduled your work. Spend a moment asking yourselves: why the timelines, the special software?
Could it be another form of “covert” avoidance? Don’t expect me to deny this! Why else would I be so interested in ways to commit myself on my writing tasks?
If we believe what experts have said, planning is supposed to help you avoid future problems; the most common being (based on my experience) frustration.
Scheduling may have a liberating effect. However, it’s not an easy procedure.
According to my precious handbook (Dissertations and Theses From Start to Finish: Psychology and Related Fields,, Cone & Foster, 1993) on which the suggestions in this article are based, the following steps might be of use:
• It helps if you enter the steps you need to make in your calendar and then proceed in the same way you would eat an elephant: one bite at a time. In other words, make a plan and stick to it.
If you find yourself procrastinating, try to identify the reasons. For instance,
do you feel overwhelmed? Then take a step back and try to break that project of yours in small, accomplishable parts.
Do you try to convince yourself you need large chunks of time? Do you expect summer holidays to work harder? According to the same handbook, this is a very creative excuse for doing little work until maybe, next summer?
The secret here is to set a realistic timetable, even if it means that you can dedicate such short periods of time as three hours per week. It can be sufficient, provided you handle it as sacred time in the meaning that it cannot be cancelled. This is what happens with my teaching time at school, for instance. It has to be “sacred”. No matter the excuse I find to stay in the library with my notebook and a cup of coffee, I cannot do it because I have to go back to the classroom.
Start with one page at a time. Soon you will be amazed by how much writing you’ve done during your “sacred” writing time.
Do you feel that your project is not ready, that you don’t have the whole story yet? Nothing but starting to write it down will help you more to figure out how it evolves. It’s amazing how the characters speak for themselves!
Do you need deadlines to settle down to serious writing? It is only my opinion but writing under duress will not bring out the best of you. The process of writing, revising, editing is a long-term one and involves many steps so if you need to have deadlines, set your own meaningful deadlines imposed upon you by yourself. For example, use your calendar or that special software to decide when the draft for the next chapter should be finished, or when to finish revising/editing it…
My handbook suggests reducing procrastination by breaking the deadline habit altogether if you pursue a professional career.
How? Use a reward system for each time you accomplish a goal: e.g. finish that chapter and then do something you really want (I sometimes eat a bowl of chocholate-chip ice-cream!) This “work first, play second” rule should become part of your life-style and will take you more painlessly to the end of tour project.
If you can involve others in this rewarding system of yours they will probably keep supporting you, why not your family? (Chocolate-chip ice-cream for everyone!)
Try to be involved with people who share the same problem. For instance, why not make a group of “authors with a tendency to procrastinate” where we let others know about our progress so that they encourage us to keep on? It can also work the other way: express our frustration when we’re stuck so that other members offer support and encouragement. If you like the idea, we can start by using the space for comments for this post or start a page on Facebook!
So, what do you say to that?
Any chance you don’t follow what the following image shows?
After Iceland ,Ireland ,Portugal and Spain now Greece is facing bankruptcy as a result of deficient policies within the European Union in combination with corruption in previous Greek governments. The euro zone may be collapsing, Greece being the first frontier in this battle. There have been unprecedented austerity measures, unemployment has risen up to 15%, salaries have been reduced to 500 Euros per month, numerous taxes have been added to our income, pensions have been reduced, in many cases to 200p/month, young people emigrate like Greeks did after the 2nd World War.
For many months Greeks have been patient, waiting for some positive results after so many months of sacrifices. However, the deficit is only increasing and bankruptcy is on our doorstep. After the movement of The Indignados in Spain started (where there was a slogan: Quiet! We don’t want to wake up the Greeks!) then spreading to more European countries, people in Greece made their own Indignants’ movement communicating through Facebook and Twitter. Hence, they gather in the main squares of big cities every night forming a public congress and trying to work out the situation having faith in the only thing that changes the route of a State throughout history:
THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE
"The paranoia is in bloom, the PR
Transmissions will resume, they'll try to
Push drugs, keep us all dumb down and hope that
We will never see the truth around, so come on
Another promise, another scene, another
Package not to keep us trapped in greed with all the
Being away from home at such hard times I cannot but be overwhelmed by mixed, conflicting feelings: relief and compassion despair and hope.
When you are away, you distance yourself from the problems but you also run the risk of either exaggerating or undervaluing them.
I used to wonder how much longer the people in Greece were going to put up with the depreciation of their self-dignity along with the decline of the level of their welfare. I used to, because I don’t have to wonder anymore. Watching all those who gather at the Constitution Square every night, thousands of “indignant” Greeks, I feel proud.
Eventually we have decided to demonstrate that Greece is not represented by the politicians, by the people who feathered their own nests and fled.
The core of the Greek spirit can be found there, in the squares of the Greek cities, the towns and villages where the public assembly (the teenagers and the elderly, the immigrants and the natives, the poor and the poorer) looks for radical changes. Feeling the strong need to join them, I use this blog to let them know
I too am an indignant Greek.
I want them to know that I’m fed up with all the accusations fired at me, the Greek citizen, by our “European friends” that I’m lazy and overpaid or I spend too much time on holidays.
How can I let them know that I am one of the thousands of hard-working state school teachers who receive the absurd salary of 1200 Euros after 19 years of service, with a totally self-funded Msc completed a few years ago, when I was raising my two children. What if I still work hard trying to be a better teacher and hope to finish a PhD in the following years? (self-funded too, although I’m not sure I will be able to afford it in the years to come). How hopeless does this sound today? What difference is this going to make to my life when all those young people who are looking forward to start their careers with postgraduate degrees and impressive qualifications are working for just 500 Euros per month?
I know I’m not alone. We are too many. And you know what? We didn’t protest so so far because we struggled for the best. Because we were looking for a better future for our children. Now we need to explain to them why we’re taking that future away from them; why they will have to put up with the degrading comments and accusations coming from our so called “friends”; why they will have to migrate to find a job.
Or should I just tell them that we, “the indignant”, are
“Dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”
Congratulations to the three winners of the contest for the celebration of one year since 'Gate Deadlock" was published.
Here are the names of the lucky readers:
For all the February-March readers : I will send you an e-mail asking your postal address.There is a surprise gift for everyone! Thank you for celebrating with me and sharing my enthusiasm about my first book.
Keep in touch!
The sequel is on the way!
Three days left for the Gate Deadlock readers to enter the contest for the celebration of its birthday. Make sure you have e-mailed me the order receipt and it could be you one of the three lucky readers who wins this stylish bracelet or one of the broken hearts necklaces.
Writing a dissertation for the Phd is not very different from writing a book. Personally, I enjoy writing books more than writing my dissertation but I have found that when it comes to writing the procedure is more or less the same. So I'll be posting some ideas that I have found really useful to those who have difficulty in organising their work and setting a routine (if you're like that then we have a lot in common). All these ideas come from my readings and have all been tested.
So, let's say that the moment has come when inspiration overwhelms you and you feel the intense need to write. Where do you do this? I mean, what is the "environmental support" that works for you? It'd better not be the kitchen table! You don't need salt and pepper around you or the kids coming and going, the fridge opening every now and then and, worst of all, the distracting temptation of sweets and biscuits (I admit I have done the same, don't worry).It's a good idea to choose your writing space carefully. And by space we mean a quiet place where you will be able to enjoy uninterrupted privacy for as long as you need it. A special room in your house, one that nobody else uses, can be turned into your writing space. I wouldn't go as far as rent an office ( if you can afford it, why not?) but you need a place to use exclusively for writing that masterpiece. If there is no spare room in your house, use a desk (worked for me).Your laptop, your notes and everything you need must be there for you and you only.
And that must be the only reason you sit there: to write. This is how you can focus; under "narrowly defined stimulus conditions". Experts have stressed how stimulus control is closely related to self control. The idea is to write under stimulus control of a particular location and , if possible, on a particular time of day. You may find it useful to set a period of time during the day that you confine yourself in that "writing space", let's say from 5p.m. to 7p.m.
But try to be consistent. Consistency is the key word here. You will soon find how this will narrow all outside distractions and you will become focused on your project.
One thing you should not underestimate is the support of family nd friends. Avoid unannounced visitors by letting your friends know your writing routine. State simply that you can't be reached during the period of time you dedicate to writing. Those who really care will understand your need for privacy. Of course you will have to arrange the occasion when you can be with them exclusively. Friends Comments
Special arrangements must be done with children. If they know that you have committed specific time to them (and of course you keep your commitments) they are less likely to interrupt your work. Parents Sons Comments
A warning: Be realistic. Set realistic goals and be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes plans fail and routines change. But that's all right. Besides, you should know that writing is a lonely job.
Trying to get back on track after a while spent on my Phd tasks, I find it really hard to set a writing routine. I used to be an early bird, waking up before dawn to spend about two hours writing with a cup of strong coffee next to me when everyone was still asleep... Those were great moments...
Now I wake up before dawn to get ready for school! School in Cyprus starts at 7.30. The kids and I set off at 07.00 every day.
I surely miss home...
How do you manage your writing time?
Anyway, this is what made my day at school this morning;
One of my students discovers my book! She's so excited, she mentions she even does a little writing herself. She asks the question every writer should be ready to answer: What inspires you Mrs Rania?
I tell her "Music".
She's not satisfied, expects something more. She wants to write something for me but she doesn't know how to start.
I say "Look what happens around you. Listen to people talking. Guess...Where they come from...Where they're going..."
She looks disappointed. She says "Reality is harsh".
I can't argue that. She lives a few kilometres from the green line, the Buffer zone that divides her country in two.
I use my lap top to find some photos that will take her to a world of fantasy. She picks three, says she's gonna write a story on frienship.
She smiles. A very promising smile. She's inspired...
I realise I am smiling too... This was the only good thing that happened to me today.
I have to go. Have some writing to do myself. PS. Reminder: Join the "Gate Deadlock" birthday party! Order the book in February or May and get the chance to win one of the gifts, the bracelet or the broken heart necklaces...See the previous post on this blog. Good luck!
‘Gate Deadlock’ is celebrating one year since its publication!
All of you who will place your order in February and March have the chance to win one of the following handmade pieces of jewelry by Eliza Christopoulou! Two broken hearts and a goth bracelet are waiting for the lucky readers! How? Order here from Amazon or here for Lulu and send me your order receipt on my e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org There will be more surprises for everyone who joins the party! Keep in touch to find out more.