Marmalade is toast…Finding my fabulous

Marmalade is toast…Finding my fabulous

Ahh being beautiful, I remember it well.  Not really as I don’t think I was ever really beautiful, but I do remember the wings of my younger self and starting to smell myself in the carefree days of my youth.  I was never considered a shy boy by others but I was very shy if the truth be known.  Perhaps my show-off antics and my outward expressions of confidence fooled people while inside I was often crumbling.

I am not quite sure what it was but I was a magnificent little actor and I convinced my peers that I was all the things I needed to be to suit the moment.  I was brave when I was frightened, cool when I was freaking out and absolutely fabulous when I felt most insecure about my looks.  There was a strut that I adopted, a swagger if you will and it was more than a physical thing.  Being competitive, I hated to lose anything and I was always quick with a response in a debate or argument and looking back at my littler self, even I would have thought that there was a little man who was brimming with confidence.

To this day I carry it off.  I still have a swagger that I occasionally employ and I certainly know how to appear somewhere between arrogant and haughty with just enough of a softening to allow doubt that I am not a complete asshole.

But yes I do remember the days of feeling fabulous.  We all have them to some degree, a moment or an occasion when we looked our best, even if it was only fleeting.  I remember specific clothes and how they made me feel.  When I was fourteen I was a hard working boy in the school break during the summer. I bought myself a pair of Levi flared jeans,  converse runners, a Levi jacket and a cheesecloth blue and white shirt from the money I had earned.  My God I felt like a peacock the first time I put them on.   To be fair I probably looked like John Denver had thrown up all over me but I didn’t see that.

I wore some hideous garments in my time, often out of shear bloody mindedness.  If I thought something was cool then I’d wear it.  My brother was seven years older than I was and was into Marc Bolan and T-rex, Sweet and all sorts of crazy-dressing seventies iconic bands.  I got his cast off’s in every day wear, so why not his cast offs in his line of fashion wear as well.  I went to school at age twelve, wearing a pair of brown and beige platform boots with massive stars on them.  As if that wasn’t bad enough I wore a tan coloured, suede Afghan coat, with brown and cream flecked fake fur edging.   I was a miniature, pale Huggy bear for all intents and purposes and if you don’t get that TV reference, google Starsky and Hutch.

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The best part about that was that I carried it off.  I strutted into school looking like a 1970’s pimp and jived my way through a schoolyard full of 1970’s pre-pubescent Irish boys, wearing snot-sleeved jumpers with their shirts dicky-dickied out.   If only I had sunglasses and an afro.  Of course some tried to mock me but I slammed them down with my extremely quick tongue and ice cold stare.  I was nervous of some of the more dangerous lads that always gave me the willies, but I had walked the walk long enough for them to be doubtful about using me as a punch bag in case I was able to bite back.

However, that was my outside.  Every taunt and jibe, every hurtful slagging remark, cut me deep and I realised I had made a complete eejit of myself.  In my childish head, I had fantasised about being the coolest kid in the school.  In truth I was a laughing stock.  By then end of that particular day I was devastated but I was damned if I would let anyone know.  I went  to school for a week in those ridiculous shoes and that stupid coat, just to prove that I could wear what the hell I liked and that I wasn’t going to let anyone bully me into submission by their cruelty.  A week in, some of the boys were wishing they had the balls to wear what I was wearing but I was just trying to make a point and get myself out of the embarrassment I had foisted upon myself as quickly and as quietly as possible.  Gradually I weaned myself back into ‘normal’ clothes and my shear hard neck was all that got me through.

In fairness to my mother, she let me off and didn’t try to dissuade me.  Some might think she should have but I admire her for letting me fly, even if I did get too close to the sun.  That has been me throughout my life, a hard neck and a soft centre.  This week I returned for a check-up in the hospital and went in with my Afghan attitude and my optimistic spirit.  I was expecting to be given the keys to the kingdom, the freedom of the city but instead I was given a continuation of my sentence with time off for good behaviour.

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The soft centre felt it and the hard exterior wall crumbled a little on that day.  I didn’t feel so fabulous.  I wondered if I’d ever truly feel fabulous again.   Being fabulous – not in reality but in spirit or at least in my performance to the world – is a part of who I am.   I am the quintessential narcissist in theory, but only if you were to truly believe my vanity is real and that I have a huge ego that allows me to spend my days admiring my own attributes.   I suspect some might believe this of me and I am happy to encourage it.  After all I have spent my life surviving behind the mask of confidence but it is more than that. 

I make light of things when I am at my lowest.  I cry behind the mask and I smile and joke, fluff my feathers and preen myself as if to say look at me, I am magnificent.  I am mighty, I am invincible and everyone looks at the show, like they might be distracted by the magician’s beautiful assistant.  The magician that I am has perfected the illusion.

But the moment is always just that for me, a moment.  I push past it, over and through it and I look for my fabulous again.  It gets harder to find as I get older of course, but even when I struggle to see it, I know I can always fake it.  I’m probably like marmalade.  There was a time when pretty young girls looked me and thought; mmm he’s a bit of alright.  At least they did in my head when I wore my cheesecloth shirt and denims.  Then as time passed, the younger girls got older and I became invisible at some point to anyone under the age of 50.  It’s not that I want the admiration of any young ladies don’t get me wrong, I have my perfect, beautiful young lady already but you do notice when you fade into the background.  It’s not that I mind so much more that I have become aware of it.   I used to be jam, a sweet and fruity treat, now I’m marmalade.

Apparently marmalade is toast.  Nowadays 60% of people who buy marmalade are over 65 and hardly anyone under the age of 30 even buys the stuff.  So I guess that’s me. I’m left contemplating my naval thinking that I have to find a way to keep fooling myself that I  continue to be bothered looking for my fabulous and not just feel like marmalade.

It is a part of aging and while I’m still a relatively young man, getting a percentage breakdown of my life expectancy by a cardiologist did little for the search for my fabulous. There is a part of me that revels in the struggle.   I am not alone. I am not special.  Every day everywhere, people struggle with all sorts of dilemmas, traumas and challenges.  But this is my personal journey so I have to walk the path that I am on, not some other.   The part of me that revels in the struggle is the part that puts pen to paper.  Writing it seems is cathartic and catharsis cannot exist without tragedy. The evolution from emotional despair through to resolution is a creative lubricant.

Today of course, being the eternal optimist that I am, all is well again.  Perhaps I need a new trauma or drama so maybe it’s time to dig out the old Afghan and platform boots again.  I can strut into the office; maybe I should grow my hair first and dye it blonde so I can flick it back until absolutely everyone thinks ‘asshole.’  The only problem is I might need a bit more build-up of fabulous first.  My fabulous tank doesn’t seem to get the same mileage as it used to.  I could do something completely unexpected and outrageous to top it up of course, it’s not beyond me. .. or maybe just a nice cup of tea and a cosy pair of slippers will help…  what do you reckon…  Either way, the darkness I’ve buried will have to find a way to the surface and there is really only one way to do that for me… back to the pen and ink… time to bleed a little onto a page to free up my fabulous once more. …

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Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

Keeping it real.. Injuns, pesky sisters and the Luftwaffe…

Keeping it real.. Injuns, pesky sisters and the Luftwaffe…

I’ve lost a quare few things in my life and my daughter recently bought me a little device for finding my keys so it’s hardly surprising that I once even lost my sister.   I say once, I actually lost her a few times, but that’s picking at straws.

I used the experience in writing Little Big Boy as I found injecting some reality into the story at times helped me connect more to my character. Back then times were much different and it was common practice for mothers to leave prams (there were no such things as buggies when I was a nipper) near the exit of the supermarket while they went about their shopping.  Now I’ll have to clarify that.  Strictly speaking we didn’t have a supermarket in our neck of the woods. We had a very much scaled down version which today would I suppose be like a local mini mart, but it was 1970’s Ireland in a working class neighbourhood, so I’ll use poetic licence and call it a supermarket.

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My mother or ‘Me Ma’ as we would have said, was quite comfortable sending me to the supermarket to make relatively small purchases.  I say small by which I mean no more than two things as I would be guaranteed to forget the third.  I was a seven year old boy  after all and had the attention span of gnat.  Mam would make me repeat the order several times.

“You are to get a pint of milk and six lean, back rashers.  What are you to get?”

I’d repeat it and then she would say it again.  She would make sure I buttoned my coat and put the money in my pocket, reminding me that I would have change and then ask me again what I was getting. I would raise my little hazel eyes to heaven and tell her what she wanted to hear.  Of course she would remind again me not to forget one of the items for good measure .

Normally she would then sent me out the door and tell me to look both ways crossing the road.

“Now stop at the corner,” she’d say, “don’t cut across the roundabout, I’ll be watching you.  Stand at the path don’t cross unless there are no cars…do you hear me…NO cars alright?”

It would take an age to just get out the feckin’ door as she repeated instruction and advice.   From our front door, she could watch me cross the road and then the main road as I basically avoided the roundabout and they were the only dangers from her perspective.  We were taught to fly that way and looking back I’m sure it was nerve wracking for my Mam.  I certainly wouldn’t have let my children cross those roads without a hand to hold at seven. I guess we had to learn to be independent earlier.

When my sister came along she was a novelty that soon wore off.  I had been the baby, something I again used in Little Big Boy and she usurped that position of privilege.  Still while the novelty lasted she was interesting.  I was dying to push the pram alone and constantly begged to have ‘a go’ like it was a toy I was talking about.  The pram certainly held an attraction for me.  The second I left the house I was driving a tank across enemy lines or the pram could well have been a stagecoach being pursued by ‘Injuns’ and as such I really did want ‘a go.’

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When she finally capitulated, it was with added apprehension on her part, double the already over the top instruction and treble the warnings about getting my arse skinned if I wasn’t extra careful. All I heard was “Blah Blah Blah.” There was a stagecoach to get across the Rio Grande. I tell a variation of this story in Little Big Boy and I remember whenever I used real memories to augment the story, I grew closer to the book.

My journey to the shop was uneventful if you don’t count the hundred or so Sioux chasing me on dappled ponies.  Once there, I parked the sister containing pram in a line with the other prams near the exit and went about my purchase.

It was so different and unimaginable today, but those babies were all perfectly safe.  There were always lots of babies in a society like ours.  It was holy Catholic  Ireland.  There was no contraception, and large families were quite the norm.  Women gave up work when they married and they all had babies.  As such the baby line at the door was a safe place.  There were no predatory men in those shops for example. In truth There were no men.  Men didn’t do the shopping, good Lord no.  This was the world of women.

We lived in a community in the real sense of the word.  Most of the women who saw me push the pram into the shop knew who I was and knew who my sister was and knew my mother well.  While others shopped, there would be nothing unusual about another woman tending to your child if it cried and that was perhaps the true beauty of it although I didn’t see it that way.

I had lots of hair ruffles and cutie comments made about my cherub cheeks and they just distracted me from my real mission of the day, be that shooting villainous cowboys, wild Indians or dodging an aerial attack from the Luftwaffe.   It is hardly surprising therefore, that when I got home pleased as punch that I had remembered the milk and lean back rashers, that when my mother asked me if I had forgotten something I thought ‘Hell no.’ I had remembered both things on the long list.  Of course I wouldn’t have said hell or I would have had my arse clipped.

When she tilted her head quite calmly and mentioned my sister’s name it took a few seconds for my distracted brain to join the dots. Now in today’s world, this would have been a moment where a mother might completely wig out. But like I said, the baby in the pram left behind in the supermarket, was as safe as she would have been in our garden.

I was despatched to retrieve my sister and I can tell you that by the time I got there, I had to think hard to remember just why I was there again .  My imagination was my saving grace and my Achilles heel.  It is what led me to become a writer of course and when it comes to writing, many say you should write about what you know.  I’m not entirely on board with that but it is useful advice.  I use my knowledge and experiences in writing all of my books.  It is probably true to say I am an emotional writer. I do spill my soul into characters, use every drop of feeling and every ounce of pain to bring them to life so from that perspective, I write from what I know.

I do this with every book, but perhaps none more so than Little Big Boy and maybe that is why it is the book that readers have a particular fondness for and the one that stays with them more than others.  I am a child of that time and of that place.  I used so much of my own memories and the stories of my friends and family to help create a book that I can say I am quite proud of.  I even used my childhood face for the cover but that was out of being a cheapskate more than anything else.

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Writers who connect with me as a reader are the ones who connect with me on an emotional level and I have learned from reading many more talented writers than I, that this is what makes a good book.

Telling a story is one thing, making it touch your reader is an entirely different matter.  I’ve always told stories ever since I was a chiseller, but over time I have been conscious of the way stories make connections.  I have learned and used that in my craft and I hope I never stop learning.

Right now I am writing two books again, as has long been my way.  I could say three or even four, but there are only two in any real state of progress. I have a thriller called Apollo Bay to be re-drafted, and an as yet untitled book that I hope will be a little bit special, but there is a long way to go with this one.  Beyond that I have the bones of Darkly Wood III sketched out and I have two more ideas that I am working on in my head at least and somehow I can find a little space in there to get through the normal working day.

You see I haven’t changed that much.  I am still that mop-topped blonde little boy, completely distracted by my imagination, running up the street in my short trousers, picking off sharp-shooters on the rooftops all around me. Maybe if I get a chance to sit down, I’ll tell you all about it someday …

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Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

All I ever learned from love…

All I ever learned from love…

Roses are red violets are blue, some poems rhyme, but this one doesn’t.   Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day (unless you’re reading this after today… but you’ll figure that one out) and in this modern age I’ve noticed that this breaks people down into two categories.  There are those that embrace the notion of the romance of it all and enjoy the whole flowers and dinner date thing.  Then there are those who dismiss the occasion as just another Hallmark day…or as the cynic in me might describe them, men and women.

Now many men will be up in arms at this slight on our sex but don’t forget, I am one of that very group and this is a colourful slight I don’t necessarily want to paint myself with.  There are exceptions to every rule isn’t that what they say?  It is peculiar but of course for me, love is a very particular creature that it took me a long time to get to grips with.  Romance?  That’s a horse of an entirely different colour.

There is a common complaint that men don’t understand women.  I’m very old fashioned and I think that when men seek the answer to the question ‘what do women want?’ they are asking the wrong question.  In many ways that is the foolishness of people in general.  We often fall down not because we can’t find the solution to our problems, but because we are trying to solve the wrong problem.  Men foolishly play at romance.  Sometimes they are trying to answer the question when in fact they should be acting on a very particular instinct.

When boy meets girl or man meets woman, there is a tangible excitement in the air.  Behaviour is focussed and considered.  If you are lucky enough to fall in love, those early days create a wonderful, electric connection and at that stage you would do nothing to jeopardise the way you feel.  Why then do I see people disrespect and dishonour the one they supposedly love after years in a relationship?  You would think that time together with the one you love, would only deepen and grow that love and respect.  The answer is relatively simple.

New lovers are learning about each other.  There is a point where trust has to be exchanged and I am talking here about a very special trust.  At some point one must open up their vulnerability to the other, to offer it up with the potential that it may be trodden on if the other person so choses.  Sometimes one person says something mean or hurtful and it is at that precise moment, that you have to offer up this type of vulnerability.  If love is to flourish then there and then you tell the offending loved one, that what they have said or done is hurtful and furthermore – explain why.  There has to be a clear understanding that repeating this action will cause you hurt and then you wait.  What an incredible act of bravery this takes, don’t you think?   To put your hand in the lion’s mouth as it were and to risk everything to win everything, to risk everything to lose everything – and therein lies the rub.

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The fear is that you will sound foolish or that they will reject you for this in which case maybe this is the point – nice and early on that you decide this is not true love but something less.  The danger is that they take your vulnerable admission and store it away for use later on – in which case – I refer you back to the previous statement.  Of course some do this instinctively and get bitten and they do say once bitten…But it doesn’t mean there is a better way.  Truth requires virtue and virtue brings truth.  Being afraid is perfectly fine, being brave comes at a price sometimes.

In reality most people let the little remark that stings pass.  They let the jibe or the taunt that creeps in with familiarity to go unaddressed.  But they store it up, hold it inside to fester and then they begin to collect ammunition of their own, realising that someday they will need it.  That cannot be the measure of love.  To quote Leonard Coen (I don’t do that too often) ‘all I’ve ever learned from love, was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya.’  I think that perfectly sums up some relationships even when both parties genuinely love each other.  The only problem with this of course is that those bullets soon take their toll and that is not the way to live with love.

Mine is a very male perspective of course, but it is not to say that at least some of this doesn’t apply to women.  What do women want?  Like I say that is the wrong question.   I finally figured out many years ago what it was that I wanted, perhaps late in life but later is better than never.   What I wanted it turns out was the same kindness, love and affection that we all want – it’s not rocket science.  To get it I had to give it because love is a two way street.  Love is it seems about romance after all.  Not the Hallmark, box of chokies type of romance but real romance.  Telling that special someone just how important they are to you.  Touching their hand and their hearts by actions and words not just on Feb 14 but every day.

I never understand why people in general intentionally say hurtful things to others.  By extension I absolutely don’t get that you would intentionally be hurtful to the person you supposedly love the most.  The flotsam and jetsam that results from simple harsh words, cruel intentions and thoughtless behaviour, cost people more than the price of kindness , support, encouragement and tenderness.  The price of carelessness with the hearts of the ones we prize the most is our happiness.

 I wear my heart very much on my sleeve and anyone who knows me well enough to call me their friend will know this of me.  It would be difficult to write as I do if I didn’t understand the hurt and pain of love, as well as the joys and benefits it brings.  Romance is what you do because you want to do it.  Wanting to do something romantic is not about Hallmark.  It is about touching someone’s heart not just in the early days but every day. 

I dare say you would be stretching things to describe what I write as romantic. The Darkly Wood series for example, sits nearer horror in the reader’s eyes, yet the books are in fact at their core, stories about courage and bravery, with love as the connecting ultimate thing of importance.   I couldn’t write of such a thing if I didn’t feel it and I am lucky enough to feel it every day.  I have love in my heart, romantic love, delicate, delicious and delightful. 

From the moment I found that special gift, my darling Joanna has been responsible for keeping it safe, nurturing that love and tending to my heart as I have her heart.  It is a responsibility I never take lightly.   I know what it means to say that she is my heart because I know how that feels.  I am a lucky man.  Somewhere in all the messes I have made throughout my life, I have been blessed with my wonderful children and a woman who even though she knows me better than anyone else, still manages to put my failings aside and gift me her love every day.

Romance is what you do tomorrow?  Maybe but for sure it is what you do today, what you do every day.  What do women want?  You know the answer if you think carefully and begin to understand what it is that you want.  It takes a shared, considered effort but the rewards are enormous.  What do men want?  Well I guess conversely I would have to put that to my female readers, for I suspect that if you look closely at yourself, you too will find the answer. Happy Valentine’s Day.  Now go find the love…

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Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE…

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE…

You are a dirty filthy liar. Go on admit it. How many lies have you told today?  How many lies in your life? You’ll never count them.  We start young and we learn from the masters – our parents.  I know as a parent I have lied to my children at a very young age.  “Oh that’s an amazing painting!” Who hasn’t said that to a blotch on a page?  Which sporting parent hasn’t told their child that they are really good or even the best when in fact they were rubbish on the day?  Come on you liar, I know you did.

But they are nice lies, kind lies, little white lies, aren’t they? Are they lies at all? Mmmm?  Where do we cross the line? We tell our parents things like, “It wasn’t me?” or (pointing to your sister) “She did it!”  Innocence of youth or the beginnings of a psychotic leaning that can turn nasty later in life?

You go to school and you exaggerate or are they lies?  “My dad is bigger than your Dad.”  How about “I have one of them at home too” or better still “Yeah I had one of them but they’re crap so I gave mine away to my little brother.” Now we are bordering on maliciousness aren’t we?

“Sorry sir, my sister got sick on my homework.”  Never tried that one?  Come on you used some version of it I know.  How low did you sink in the get out of trouble card in school?  It gets heightened when you go to work.  I’ve witnessed fake funerals of relatives as close as someone pretending their mother died, but in fairness he was a psycho.  Ever had a fake in-law/old family friend/ second cousin once removed funeral you had to attend?

Think of the sickies you pulled from work, especially when you were younger – or are you all saints out there.  Ever ring up with that fake sickly voice with a whimper and a cough to say “ahe..ahee..rrgh.. Sorry I have laryngitis, I won’t be in today I think I have the flu.” Or did you get your mother or boyfriend/girlfriend to do it because you didn’t think you could pull it off.  Have you recognised some of your filthy deceitful lies yet?

You have done at least one interview in your life right?  Yep nothing more to add on that doozy.

What about socially, “Yeah yeah I’ll call you.” Or “Well I’m away next week but we’ll definitely catch up the next week…I’ll text you.” Surely you’ve pulled that one.  Of course if you are a man and have ever had a relationship with almost any woman you’ve been asked the “does my bum look big in this” or equivalent type of question. You’ve told the truth right?

First date lies, worse still chat up lies?  Blokes are probably the bigger culprits here but I wouldn’t be one hundred percent sure.  Most girls I know say they don’t lie when they meet guys but maybe they are lying to me…what do you think?  I had a friend who used to say he was a pilot.  The nearest he ever got to being a pilot was when he burned his hand lighting the gas cooker.

So what of it? If someone is reading this and can say they have never ever told a lie then I’m a monkey’s uncle.  I suspect most people reading this have told at least a white lie in the last week if not today in many cases.  But does that make you a bad person?  Let’s break it down. Parent to child “you are just amazing!”  Ok if it is an encouraging self-esteem building helping your child to develop confidence then great.  If it is some delusional, narcissistic self-projection then you are pointing your kid down a slippery slope, one that you are probably encouraging them from the bottom of that same slope.  For the most part these fall into the white lie category as do most of the aforementioned.

Where it gets sinister is in the Walter Mitty world of complete fabrication or where the lie is told not for the preservation of society but to deconstruct, to hurt or damage others… The lie can be all powerful and self-destructive.

I lie on the page with abandon.  Being an author gives me licence to make up the wildest of scenarios and allow the character at the end of my pen be as cunning, conniving and downright deceitful as I damn well please.  The lie gets the prize in fiction.  Larry Flynn is all about the big lie.  It is the lie that destroys one man’s life and all those around him and in seeking revenge, poor old Larry only makes matters worse through his own deceit.

Bad Blood has at it very core a singular lie which ultimately brings all of the protagonists together.  It is a lie from far in the past much like in Larry Flynn and it is the lie that starts everything.

In Darkly Wood the lies are more obscure.  The deception is not a simple lie told by one person to another but the lie of folklore, the lies of stories and the lies that come not from a person but a place.  Something that appears to be so much more than the sum of its parts that conspires to fool the innocent and draw them to danger.  The lies in the sequel Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, is far more subtle.  There is still the lie of the place but there is more depth to the lie as layer upon layer is slowly unwrapped to reveal more and more of the truth.  Only in the final book will the true lie be ultimately uncovered.

Little Big Boy contains the grand lie.  It is the failed promise to a child that they will be safe in the world.  It is the ultimate lie that the innocent will remain safe and protected.  It is in many ways the lie of betrayal.  Little Big Boy tells of the untold lie, the lie of expectation.  The small boy in the story is loved, he feels it and it is part of him so much so that he is the essence of purity and innocent love in many ways. But he discovers that the shine that he sees through his eyes, is nothing more than illusion and Little Big Boy is all about an enormously heroic attempt of an innocent, to fight for the goodness against the lie of his world.

Ah lies, lies beautiful lies where would the writer be without them.   I could in theory be a great liar.  I have a fantastic poker face and could convince most people that I am the Pope if I tried but there is a difference with my ability to lie and my character.  There is a bit of Abraham Lincoln in me.  The “I cannot tell a lie” kicks in when it comes to real life.  I am not sure if it is my Catholic upbringing that has me wracked with guilt if I lie about anything of consequence, but I genuinely struggle with it.

My lies fall into the ‘spinning a yarn’ category and it is an age old Irish tradition that we Irish pick up from when we are on our mother’s knee.  I believe I owe much of my storytelling ability to the culture and environment in which I was nourtered.  I have been fortunate to have had access to a good education that helped make me literate from an early age and I fell in love with books as a very young boy, so that too had a huge influence on me personally.

I have a final advantage in that I can exorcize my deceitful fantasies through my written work and thus remain a saintly man of virtue.. as everyone who knows me can attest  to…if you can believe them that is.  But what about you?  I know if asked you’ll say, “Me? I never tell lies!”  But given just the few examples I have listed above I’m sure you might begin to realise that maybe you are lying to yourself!   I will not judge you; in fact I can forgive you.

But there is a simple way to exorcise the demons of your lies.  I think it is somewhere in the Bible or was it the Koran or Talmud.. it could be in them all in fact and I’m sure I heard a Hindu quote something along the same lines – apparently a global truth… The only way to resolve your inner conflict about your propensity to tell lies is to read a book full of them… and here are five perfect links below to get you started… Its true I tells ya!…

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Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

The Darkness is back …

The Darkness is back …

I have a secret.  The thing about secrets is that the minute you spill the beans the secret is gone and it loses all of its power.  In a sense I have lots of secrets because every book I write has something waiting at the end that I don’t want to reveal until the moment is right. Today I published my fifth book and it is the second in a series of three.  I always say that every book I write is completely different in subject and genre but today I theoretically at least put that idea to bed by releasing a sequel.

That being said I do have a secret.  Writing is much tougher than many people think.  I find the actual creative bit easy and I suspect all writers feel much the same.  The difficult part is the work that goes in after and in my case, my five books constitute a few of million key strokes and that is just the first draft.  Those strokes make up around a half a million words and before during and after each word is  typed, the story has to be conjured up, developed, managed, analysed, re-jigged, bished, bashed and boshed into shape, written, re-written, edited and edited and edited and re-written to within an inch of its life and then checked again.It takes time and commitment.  That’s before you ever try to bring it to market.

Along the way I for one, pour my heart and soul into each book.  I am conscious of only one thing as I write and that is the reader.  I want my story to engage, and entertain.  My desire is to get as close to telling the reader my stories in person as I can.  That is what lies behind my style of writing and possibly why each story can be completely as different in genre, time and place as you can imagine because all I want you to hear as a reader is my voice.  If that comes through then I have done my job well.  If I did this for any other reason, then I would never have got past my first book.

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When I originally wrote Darkly Wood it was meant to be a stand-alone book with only a hint of a follow up in my mind.  I was encouraged by fans of the book to go back to the well and after a hiatus during which I wrote three other books, I eventually returned to my beloved Darkly Wood.  I say beloved because I so enjoyed writing the original.  Unfortunately a bout of ill health last year stopped me from writing completely and the follow up near completion, was left on the shelf for ten months.  Setting it free today was a blessed relief and it felt like I had overcome more than the normal challenges of writing, it felt as though I had achieved a very personal victory.

Darkly Wood is a most unusual book.  The original book tells the story of a young girl, first love and a terrifying journey through the place of the title, but it is much more than that.  I created a device, namely a book that she discovers early on called Tales of Darkly Wood and as her physical and personal journey evolves, I treat the reader to some of the stories about the wood.  They are all dark and terrible and connected ultimately to her fate.

I wanted the sequel to feel familiar yet unfamiliar and fresh so I tweaked this same device.  Oh yes I have a secret.  In Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes the setting is familiar and there are some returning faces, but my ‘tales’ device has a tweak.  In book two, many of the tales relate to one very dark and disturbing character, one I simply cannot spoil for you by revealing too much – but I can give you a sense of him.  I considered asking someone to sketch him for me to include inside the cover but I think that would reveal too much.  I do after all, always say that books should be more radio than television so I left this wonderful creature largely to the readers imagination.  It’s not that he isn’t give some description, he certainly is, but I hope that by the end of the book, readers will not just see him in their mind’s eye but hear his voice, smell his odour and feel his presence.

I used the term ‘darkness is coming’ quite a lot in the promotion and that is because this book is so much darker than the original and that is down to one very villainous villain. I do love a good baddy but wait…I have a secret.  Not all is as it seems in Darkly Wood.  Nothing can be taken for granted and importantly, as I made my way through this story, I quickly discovered that I needed more room to complete the story so there will be a third book and that process has already begun.

So what is my secret?  Well I’m lying of course, I have more than one secret and sure Darkly Wood wouldn’t work any other way.  Be prepared to meet the blackest of hearts, see the effect of love and hate, jealousy and fear.  Find out what makes brave and where it can be found.  Get ready to be shocked, surprised, teased, touched and I very much hope entertained.  The darkness has arrived and it is available to download now…and of course if you haven’t read the original, find the link below to begin at the beginning… and oh yes…there is the small matter of my ultimate secret, but for that you will have to wait for Book III Darkly Wood III Crinkle…  http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

Darkness is coming…

Darkness is coming…

Consequence is the key.  If you write enough books you will realise that no matter what you write, plot and character are not the only considerations. It is impotant to create a decision tree for your characters.  This forces you to create consequences for the protagonists to make your story interesting. I always bang on about love being at the centre of quite literally everything I write and when you consider my titles, that might not at first seem to be the case but it’s true.

Love you see has the most impactful consequences. Whether it is first love, true love, familial, inappropriate, misguided, unrequited love or even the absence of love, once you set it in motion on a page there will be consequences. The damage is caused, the drama created, the hero revealed.  It doesn’t matter the genre or style, love in some form and its consequences will lurk in the background.  How writers reveal the story to the reader is where it all gets interesting.   It is where we earn our crust.

Now that all sounds very easy but the truth is you need to establish the right circumstances to develop the most interesting consequence. Let me use my soon to be released fifth book Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes as an example.   It is a good example because Darkly Wood is far from the normal type of book in terms of style and genre, so it demonstrates that whether one writes a thriller, horror, sci-fi  or indeed any type of tale, love and consequences are not only unavoidable, they are vital to the story.

The original Darkly Wood is a fairly well disguised love story despite the fact that you need to leave the lights on when you read it.  But while Darkly Wood deals with first love, it is not a traditional love story as the reader is constantly pulled away from that which is at the heart of the book, by what I hope is a wonderful array of distractions in the forms of side stories.  It is a truly dark and twisting book and I wanted to really surprise the reader.  In the sequel, love rears its head again only this time the book is filled with different kinds of love, familial love and unrequited love to begin with. 

In truth I have layered the book with all kinds of love.  There is absence, true love, and unrequited love, fear of love, love for family, selfish love, selfless love and sacrificial love. Of course the book is part of the Darkly Wood series so the reader will have to dig deep to see it all, because screaming across the frontal cortex of their brains will be the fear and tension of what creeps and crawls with you through the journey of the book.

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From my perspective as a writer I like to keep things simple while I never like to make things too obvious. In the book I have inked to life a particularly awful individual, someone far darker and more terrifying than anyone in the original Darkly Wood.  He was a huge challenge to write because of how he works his way through the book.  Much like Darkly Wood, in the sequel there are other peripheral stories that appear, but they are far more connected to the central story this time.  The pace is quicker and the theme is even darker but always it is very much about consequences.

In Darkly Wood, the reader discovers a multitude of events and characters with one central connection, Darkly Wood itself.  There are consequences for everything that they do and that theme is expanded upon and made clearer in the second book as the connecting thread is one very special person. I have very deliberately painted with sharper strokes to highlight how everything that we do has consequences. Even the smallest of things, decisions and things we don’t consider too much, can dramatically change our lives.

The joy I felt when I finished writing this book was akin to relief.  It was such an enormous challenge because I have a deep affection for the original Darkly Wood and I wanted to do it justice when I wrote the follow up.  I hope I have.

I know fans of the first book have been waiting patiently for the sequel which was delayed through my own personal health challenges last year, but I am pleased to say the wait is almost over.  When I hit publish for this article, the next thing I will publish is Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes.  The wait is almost over. Darkness is coming…

If you haven’t discovered the journey that is Darkly Wood yet, you can find it at the link below..

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Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood



It’s all about the journey…

It’s all about the journey…

If like me you were a child of the 70’s in Ireland, which of course excludes a huge number of people,  but even if you weren’t, you will likely understand just how much the world has changed in such a short time.  I was schooled in a time when calculators weren’t around and I remember when the first one appeared in our school it was like something from NASA.

Everything was different.  I wore short trousers at the age of ten and only heathen Protestants didn’t go to mass on a Sunday.  Priests were Gods, Christian Brothers were our teachers and tormentors and the police or Gardaí as we called them were big monstrous Culchies (country folk) to be feared and respected in equal measure.

In the summer we trekked to the beach and ate sandwiches that contained ham, cheese, or ham and cheese, occasionally egg or egg salad which was basically egg, tomato and onion.  The wind blew sand into the sangers -it was Ireland after all and towels were used more to keep warm on the beach than to dry yourself off.   The water was always freezing and my Ma somehow boiled a kettle on a small gas primus stove to make sandy tea and we all had to protect the flame from the breeze to keep it going.


Television was as far from TV today as aeroplanes are from bicycles.  Flat screens were not even imagined and I lived in one channel land for much of my childhood.  We had RTE which kicked in at 5 pm and shut down before midnight and it always ended with the playing of the National Anthem.  When we finally entered multi-channel land, it was at the mercy of a giant aerial on top of the roof that picked up blotchy signals from across the Irish sea and we got glimpses of the BBC or LWT or HTV from Wales.

We watched Mannix, The Streets of San Francisco and Longstreet all imported from America and wondered at the size of the cars and the amount of coloured faces on the streets of America.  Hamburgers only appeared on our TV sets.  We had no Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut or any such fast food outlets.  We had chips from the chipper, with fish or anything else you could batter and deep fry.

Chocolate was a luxury and what little money we had we spent on the cheapest, nastiest sweets you could get.  6 Blackjacks for a ha’penny (Half penny) was way better value than spending a shilling on something big.  When it came to sweets we went for volume every time.  The local shop sold single cigarettes and a single match to children as though it wasn’t a problem and there were no tetra pak cartons or plastic containers.  Anything you drank came in a glass recyclable bottle. 

Dinner was meat and two veg at all times except when it was a fry up or a stew and grills were used only for toast, we fried our eggs in lard back then.  The juices from the meat were kept and valued and the fat was never cut off meat.  I ate Pigs feet, pig’s ears, lambs liver, and heart or kidneys were all on the menu.  Nothing was wasted and cheaper cuts of meat were often all my mother could afford. Foreign foods like spaghetti or chilli existed only on TV and my mother said spices were only used to cover up the taste of ‘gone off’ meat. 

Supermarkets were few and far between.  Everyone walked to the shops with shopping bags and shopping was done daily in a house where we had no fridge. Household appliances in general were in short supply, no washing machine, fridge of vacuum cleaner.  

We swept the floor and eventually got a Bissel carpet sweeper which was about as useful as a paper frying pan. Shoes were polished every Saturday night before Sunday mass and they went to the shoe maker for repairs when the heels wore down or the stitching split.  We wore hand-me-down’s and thought nothing of sharing the bath or bed with our siblings.  We were thought not to be proud because we couldn’t afford to be.


On the streets, we stood up for ourselves and our family and never made ‘a show of ourselves’ in public.  Sunday best was Sunday mass and it was there we showed off our finery but only for God.  Women wore scarves on their heads when they went to the shops and no one had a telephone in their house.  Everyone in the country had a family member that had emigrated and we wrote letters to foreign parts and waited eagerly for the returned letters to see the exotic stamps and imagine what wonderful places they might be.

Girls wore dresses, not trousers, they wore ribbons in their hair, patent leather dolly shoes and long white stockings.  They played skipping, beds, kick the can and bounced tennis balls off walls and us boys played separately except when we were bored.   We played Cowboys and Indians, marbles, caught bees in jars and butterflies in our cupped hands and none of us went inside until we were called for dinner.

It’s not just the big technological changes that mark the difference.  How can kids today imagine a world without mobile phones, texting, Facebook, touch screen technology or even the internet.  When I think of it, we walked everywhere or got public transport.  My dad had a car but you wouldn’t dream of asking him for a lift.   I can’t say we had it easy and I don’t espouse going back to the stone ages of my youth but there are so many things that technology has taken from our children and I think it would be no harm to return some of it to them.

I guess the freedom and wonder of playing is the one thing many children have lost.  We tore strips off each other, climbed, fell, tore clothes, broke shoes, got dirty and wet but it was mostly fun.  We learned so much in the interaction and grew through the freedom to make our own mistakes without our parents hovering about us worrying if we’d be ok.   My folks loved me sure, but they sent me out to play and didn’t expect me to come in until it was time for dinner.  We were wild and we were free like ponies galloping through the days.

When I write, I know how much I am influenced by my upbringing.  Not  just the through the freedom of playing but through one of the other great gifts I was given – literacy.  I read everything as a child, way beyond my reading age. In books I found adventure, escape and dreams.  I discovered a world of magic, heroes real and imagined, excitement, sorrow and heartache.   Those books set me off on a path that I still walk today only now; I share my stories and tell my tales.  I try to inject each new book with the same depth of passion that I found in all the wonderful stories I read throughout my life.


Perhaps the biggest writing challenge I have ever faced has been completing the sequel to Darkly Wood.  I only ever had a loose plan for the sequel so when I began writing it I discovered a whole new challenge especially as it will now be a three book series.  It was the first time I have had to consider keeping true to another book and that changed everything.  The writing part was easy but unfortunately through illness I walked away from the book for the best part of a year so going back to edit was a challenge.  In the process I changed quite a bit and I had to complete the outline for book three for it to make sense in my head.

Darkly Wood is such a unique book in many ways, a challenge in genre and style so Darkly Wood II needed to be equally special. I wanted it to be the same but different, so I went back in my head to all the wonderful memories I just spoke about from my childhood.  I sought out the happy places in my mind and the darker more terrifying memories.  I remember watching late night Saturday horror movies with Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee.  I tried to re-create not those stories but the feelings they stirred in me as a child.  I want the reader to feel every step, to sense the fear and dread.  I so desire to draw every reader along the winding path, anticipating the next terrible event, only to be waylaid and deceived into an even darker understanding of what is about to happen.

It is all about what is going to happen, for the journey through Darkly Wood should always be the destination.  As I prepare to publish my fifth book, the sequel to my first, I find that I am excited and apprehensive.  My books are like my children and I am about to once more set one of my children off into the world to play with strange children.  But like me when I was small, I hope my newest child will fly free like a wildling and find new friends along the way…. 

If you haven’t discovered the journey that is Darkly Wood yet, you can find it through the link below… For those who have… Get ready .. the darkness is about to return…


Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood