The Subjects’ Aim Book Review

I sit in front of the computer reflecting on this amazing story. It is strange how a piece of literature can be a mirror to your past experiences.  The relations of emotional turmoil the two main characters, especially Subject B, can just hit the right nerve that takes you back to a time of pain and hurt but also of hope and triumph. This is like a second birth for me, seeing that not only am I over past experiences but also can reflect on how they build my life. I, thank you, P. R Castle, for your gift, The Subjects’ Aim.

This one will be hard not to spoil, but I will try.

I do sincerely connect with both of the main characters, Subject A and B in different ways. is my past anger and revenge, I too have been haunted by a past presence that affected my mental stability. Seeing this person behind every tree, or just lurking around a corner. That planning and need to remove said person to alleviate this constant anxiety.

On the other hand, A is my present self, reflected as my acceptance and growth. Oh yes, the pain and fear were there at the beginning, but through training and recognition, you can move towards being free. Some think that forgiveness is the one that wrong you, no it is always for you, to free you from those emotions of anger and fear.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

 – Yoda

Like a wise old puppet said, there are two paths, one of hope and one of darkness. It is you who chooses the path before it chooses you. This book connected to me beyond most others. The duality between and  is fantastic, hats off again to P.R Castle’s novel. I look forward to her next book!

P. R Castle Website: https://www.prcastle.com/

Amazon link: The Subjects’ Aim
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Being free! Kayla: Genius, I mean.

Still not a hundred percent sure how this whole thing will go. I’ll sum it up to experience, try posting it in groups, on my page, Twitter account, excreta. By Friday I should have a clear understanding what works and what doesn’t.

So stats as of 27/6

In Australia

In the US
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,440 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

In the UK
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,698 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

So 89th for Urban Fantasy is really good, it was about 279th just yesterday. Let’s try and get that Free number down too. Just click down below for your copy!

Pick up your free copy of Kayla: Genius US|CA|UK|JP|AU

So now it is the 28/6

In Aussie Land!

And now the UK

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,425 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

A vast improvement on this day, but as I want to be part of a future book launch held by Brhi Stokes, https://brhistokes.com/ I am finishing it on the 29th, which will be one month until the launch of Caligation!

To pick up Kayla: Genius head to these links,  AU Link, CA Link, US Link, UK Link

For Briana: Knight, just click these links,  AU|CA|US|UK

 

Why Stranger than Fiction is a must watch for Writers.

Stranger than Fiction written by Zach Helm is one of my most favourite movies of all time, as I write this blog I am watching it as well. I have seen it at least ten times, and every time it inspires me to write and create.

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A little bit about the movie, it is about a man Harold Crick (Will Farell) who is a tax auditor who wakes up hearing a voice narrating his life. And in this movie, again not wanting to spoil it, he finds outs something, and this drives the plot along. To understand what is happening he goes to a Literature Professor (Dustin Hoffman) who helps him figure out what is going on. Unless you have seen this movie, I don’t want to go into the whole thing, but it is fantastic.

Why I think this is a must watch, is the blurring of the illusion between the author and your character. We talk about as writers that our characters can surprise us and cause us, the author, to go down a path that we did not plan for. Being a freeform writer over a planner, this is more natural to run on the whims of your characters.

This movie makes me think if my character was real; one he would hate me because I am a huge dick to what is constantly happening to him. But this allows my imagination to go on a tangent as if one of my characters changes their mind and change the direction of the story. Like when he is talking to the unconscious Stinky Pete in the first chapter to him just standing in line thinking of drinking a few ales. It always felt that he did this, I just merely tapped into this reality and words flow.

So Stranger than Fiction shows the complex relationships between the writer and their creations, and at that moment you realise you do not have full control over said characters. All you can do is just enjoy the journey.

The future for Samuel Colbran- Author

You might have seen that I have delayed my book, it has been hard to realise why, and I have taken a break from a lot of my promotion and creative work, but now it is time to get back on that horse again.

The first five chapters I have up already will be re-written, I found after listening to the recording of these sections that I knew where my MC was but did my reader? The answer was no. I had some brilliant people helping me realise this, but in the end, it was my decision to delay Lake Merrin.

The things I will be concentrating on will be the delivery of the world and story. This seems to be easy, but due to my use of stream of consciousness, the painting of the world can be a little muddled.

Over the next few months, the updated chapters will be released. I will have a secret page for these and only for my subscribers and pre-orders, so they can comment and suggest what should happen. I really want my readers to be involved in my world as they are it’s life’s blood.

Also for everyone else, I will be writing a series of short stories not set in Favinonia. It is the prelude to my young adult series in which there is are two worlds, one real and the other mythical. My six main characters tap into this mythical world and gain an archetype of a hero, and they will manifest from the legends of yesterday and today. It will be set in Brisbane, Queensland (as this was my primary school days).

I am really excited to write these stories and finish off my book. Keep an eye on this page, exciting things are happening!

Unexpected Discoveries: The Dreaming, the Phoenix and the Sisters.

The eighth of December will go down as one of my best days. So many things happened, and sights were seen. Reflecting on each event, I don’t think that a single post could express my feelings for the day. The best way to start is at the beginning.

On the seventh of December, I had my last face to face contact for the year with my publisher, Ocean Reeve from Inhouse Publishing. Sometimes it can be overwelling the direction and pace for my book launch next year, while it feels like that I am still moving at a snail pace too. He needed something from me so we could move forward; that was a sketch of my front cover.

The next morning at  5 am, I awoke thinking about my idea for the front cover. I’m no artist, but I knew what the cover should look like. Pass it on to Ocean, I was satisfied. Looking at my Facebook wall, I saw a fellow Southportan author, Livia York was doing a book signing down at a local cafe, called the Bank Cafe. So I wandered down and spoke to her at length, about my contact with bookstores. Enquiring with selling my book instore and possible book launch/signing days. To tell you the truth it’s hard to break into that market. Livia said to me, ‘Don’t let it get to you Sam.’ and she was right. The path of an author is just another trial which will lead to triumph.

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After my chat with Livia had to make sure my mother was good for my absence going to the book launch, Dreaming in the Dark. This was going to be my first interaction with people of the speculative genre outside of Gold Coast Novel Writers. As I was travelling up, deciding to do some more editing of my book. Two points going through it, the first one, made me laugh but the other, was me tearing up over an emotional scene. Even thinking about it now gives me, understand the gravitas of that scene and how it affects the characters in my book.

Arriving early into Brisbane, it was time for me to hit up Pulp Fiction Bookstore. Roll the dice and see if they are willing to stock my book. Not to insult the lovely lady behind the desk, as I can not for the life of me remember your name; I call her ‘Janet’. Janet and I had a little banter about, books, authors, them being there for two and half years and me not knowing. When it came to my book being on the shelves, it wasn’t a no or a yes because as Janet said, she was on the bottom of the Pulp fiction food chain. One discovery was an author that I follow has just released a new book, Wesley Chu; if I weren’t going to this launch, I would have so bought it!

So off to Dymocks! No book for me! As I arrive, the sight of all those books and wondering if I should build a house to store all these lovely books. Or is a just a tumble of rooms around a library? One day I will find out, but back to the Blog!

The launch itself was fant-bloody-tasic! Music, by Sarah Calderwood and one of the authors in this anthology Paul Brandon. The song about the ‘Troll’ restaurant owner was so funny! Warning to anyone pissing off a creative person, your exploits will live forever in a form. The lovely host from Dymock’s, a name that escapes me introduced us to Jack Dann. I have a thing about emotion connection with people, Jack like my publisher Ocean Reeve matches my passionate levels. I could feel that he cares about having someone’s vision out there, as it has to be read.

So we have had music, but we have some reading too! Each was an insight into their creative world, I was drawn to some of the stories than to others, Jason Nahrung being one of them. A shout out to all of the authors that came to their launch, Angela Slatter, Janeen Webb, Kim Wilkins, Venero Armanno, Kirstyn McDermott and Kim Westwood.

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So after an encore from the talented Sarah, it was book signing time! Even with my large size, I don’t like to push my way into lines or crowds. So I waited, and the wait was worth it! I had the pleasure meeting each of the authors, even if it was for a brief time. A few of them I mentioned that I was being published next year, and the reaction was formidable! Each of them congratulated me, and wish me the best. This is why I love the written word, the people who might have been doing it for years are still emphatic to any new author. It brings tears to my eyes, with the support of my colleagues. I left Dymock like I was on cloud-9, an enjoyable experience. Thank you.

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So back to Central station, thinking my night was over. As I was eating an unhealthy dinner, I spied a huge billboard. One of my fellow authors from Inhouse Publishing, A.Jane! I have heard a lot about this book from Ocean, but seeing a full advertisement, wow! I could never afford this, but it is so great! I will be buying this book, as you need to support your fellow authors!

My day was over, since I started full-time writing I don’t think I have had a day like this before. Meeting all different walks of life from the writing world was beautiful. I am content.

Unexpected Discoveries: My Childhood Stories

Last Friday I was revving myself up writing some more blogs. I started to think after I wrote the blog, was this a ‘blog’ or was it more? The more I thought about analysing the language and structure of the blog I realised that it was more an outline of a story than a blog. This made me believe that it would be better to write about my blog than post that one.

I began with something dear to me, my stories that I told as a child. The first one that I thought about was a boy named Pluto. This was about being the planet Pluto coming down to Earth as a kid so I could learn about what it was like not being lonely, as he only talks to his brother Neptune every twenty years, so he is very lonely and is here to find a friend. Then he meets twin boys that he tells the story to and they become friends. Again I am distracted by the things I made up as a child. Back on track, let us talk about the one that I wrote a blog on.

The other which I wrote that blog on was about three tribes of ghosts, one White cloudy Ghosts that hung out in the sun and helped the kids to have fun, the Green studious Ghosts, that spend time at the library learning and watching. And the Grey shady Ghosts, that hung out in the shadows, and they played tricks on the children. As this was based on me re-telling, I was the boy that gave the small children a \magical ideal solution for them to see the World of the Ghosts. Throughout the journey they meet the Great White Ghost King, he was on a throne of clouds watching over the children playing on the oval. Thinking about a unseeing force encouraging kids having fun and playing outside really make me smile. Then that special boy takes the group to meet the Learned Green Ghost King; there he was surrounded by books and stories. Some of the stories were wisps of children’s imagination, he watched and learned how they have fun. As you can guess this story is about children being children, them going out and playing as there were invisible ghosts there to protect them from being hurt which could lead on to not having fun.

There is more that I wrote on the blog, about the story itself but one of the things I noticed was that I reverted back to being six years old. My speech patterns and writing style was more like a six-year-old than myself at thirty-seven. How did I tap into this mindset, I can tell you it was not my intention to do it, but I did and created something wonderful. I have kept this memory of these stories in my head as it represented me as a child. I was lonely, due to being in a new school and some previously bad experiences of being in foster care, also my treatment from the hand of my step-mother. Being able to escape reality was part of the reason I started to tell tales about ghosts, boys being planets and so forth. I do have more, but these two narratives echo to me as a small six-year-old child. It doesn’t matter where you find it, creativity and imagination can hit you at any time.

Unexpected Discoveries: First Session of Enter the Dreamscape

Up again in the middle of the night being excited about playing in Shannon’s and his co-creator Kristopher’s fledgeling system, Enter the Dreamscape. This playtesting session was marvellous, with the creativity, the wonder and the ability to be anything you want to be. All that stops you is your imagination. As this is my first dive into the game, I could see lots of positives but like most systems there are some flaws and without spoiling the system I will try and go through them.

Joined by five of my friends in Shannon’s game. Each one had the different level of role-playing experience and skill. Some were more on the technical side of role-playing while others have a love of just diving in head first into their creativity. I feel that I would be of the latter as I like to have fun in role-playing games and tell fantastic stories. I have still blown away with the quickness of creating characters in this system, and the freedom that you have envisaged a new character. The game is about being a ‘Dreamer’ in the Dreamscape to interact with a vast number of genres. As the Dreamer, you have tremendous control over the environment of the Dreamscape, but like all role-playing games there are levels, and you are not as powerful in the beginning but as a team of Dreamers you can achieve remarkable things in this system. We all ended up with the weirdest avatars in our Dream-state, I was a bodiless entity that had the ability to project imageries into others minds, another player had a hybrid abomination which looked like a gelatinous blob with one arm a crocodile head and the other a dragon head that breathed fire. While another was a half human snow fairy (only a few inches tall) with dragonfly wings that looked like snowflakes that drove around in a robotic suit that was an enormous size. The other three were a Primal wolf spirit encased in bone and fur with a primal howl, an infected human who is in an alien robotic suit/insect carapace armour that had an anti-gravity sphere bestowing him flight and a ghostly gentleman with magical powers. As you can see these are not standard archetypes like in other gaming systems.

Then Shannon opened up to the realm in the Dreamscape. We found ourselves on a garlic bread ship set adrift in a spaghetti and meatball sea, with Calzone whales ‘Whalzones’ and other Italian food base aquatic animals. In the distance, we see a plume of smoke. We have to think of ways outside the box to direct the ship towards the plume, e.g. lassoing a whalzone to pull the ship. As it very apparent that ‘we aren’t in Kansas anymore’, before we could become accustomed to this idea, all the inanimate objects all around the ship morphed into giant lava cake golems. Here was our first fight, with all the positives of creation and creativity. The system itself does have a some minor pitfalls when it comes the statistical part of combat, as there was a high probability chance of complete failure.  Being ‘ghosted’ or knocked unconscious quickly by the elemental minions. Causing some issues in playing the game. Straight away Shannon could see the unbalance, but then he changed it so the chance of failure had a lesser impact. Even with that I can see a little more fine-tuning is needed. While the combat is not perfect the concept of how the ‘enemies’ interact with you is good. Instead of a couple of tough enemies, they were a large mob where every hit can drop one. Allowing your attacks to be more descriptive and to break outside the fundamental thinking ‘roll dice to hit, then roll for damage’ mentality from other gaming systems. This variety within combat grants Dreamscape to become more immersive.

I immensely enjoyed playing in ‘Enter the Dreamscape’, from the quick creation of characters to the easy to follow character sheets and easily grasped system to the pure imagination of the world of the Dream. Because of the personal mark, you have on your character you have more of a deeper connection to it. Even with the small imperfections in the combat system, it does not detract from the pleasure I had playing in the game. This is the reason why these systems are playtested, to help see the glitches and to move towards perfecting it. I am looking forward to the next chapter in my series ‘Unexpected Discoveries’ for Shannon’s and Kristopher’s ‘Enter the Dreamscape’.

Update: I talk to Shannon this morning and he has addressed the issues about the high chance of failure in combat. This is showing that the playtest is working, and he is considering every angle.