Stealing away strangers in the night…

Stealing away strangers in the night…

A dark shadow man crossed my window ledge at precisely 4.35 this morning. It was the briefest of encounters as I lay wide awake and anxious, hoping my procedure will not be put back this morning. I want it over and so I lay awake as I do, staring out at the moon when he, scuttled into view.

He scurried goblinesque, pausing for the briefest moments to turn his head in my direction. The featureless creature stared eyeless, into my soul, before moving on. All night long I had listened to some poor unfortunate, groaning in pain, struggling against life and as we looked deep into each other that creature and I, in the distance I believe I heard the final death rattle of the anonymous man down the corridor.

My shadow man flittered off in that very moment and I knew he was truly something dark.  It was a tiny entity, no larger than a small dog but somehow I knew he could swallow me whole.  I wondered? Had he come for the poor soul down the corridor or was he taking a peek at his future prize? It sounds so morbid I know, but having once crossed the Stygian waters only to turn back at the last moment, I cannot help but watch for signs.

I am a man who writes of terrible horrors in at least two of my books, so you might think I am being led astray by my own vivid imagination.  But I don’t even have nightmares of this sort, never.  My fears are always reality based, but I do have a history of portentous dreams. This was no dream.

My biggest fear today is that the theatre is backed up and I may have to spend a weekend lying in a hospital bed waiting for Monday morning surgeons to come back to life. But what of my dark, long fingered, eyeless, shadowy friend.  Like Peter Pan’s shadow, he felt strangely connected to, yet simultaneously disconnected from me and I can’t seem to shake him off this morning.

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I sat alone looking at the sky through my window when he had gone, my groaning neighbour now silent.  In that moment I never felt so lonely, is it true that the darkest hour is just before the dawn? I touched the empty space in the bed beside me, the space that should never be empty, the space where lies my heart each night.  But not this morning.  On this morning I am alone and all is empty.

It is five thirty a.m. and I opened up my laptop for company.  I have written a promised review for a wonderful book by Lesley Hayes and I have tried to edit my sequel to Darkly Wood II The Woman who never wore shoes.  It has been interrupted so many times I should have subtitled it The book that never gets finished and now even that thought makes me melancholic.

When last I faced this dilemma, I met the edge of life and saw no light or flashing of my life before my eyes.  I blogged about it in detail and for those who read it, they will recall my only feeling at the edge was one of melancholy.  Maybe I revert to my natural state at moments like this.

So… what to do?  The wonder that is hospital tea, won’t come for another three hours and the sun won’t appear for at least another hour.  Everyone else is asleep, there is no unfolding drama for me to earwig on, nor discussion of stools to entertain me.  I guess I will have to fake a smile for myself, just for a bit, just long enough for the sun to peek through the leaves of the tree outside my window, long enough for the rattle of the tea trolley, the whistle of the porter and the inevitable drama that is hospital life.  Just long enough to fool myself  out of sadness.  I’ll be fine by breakfast, sliced by dinner with any luck and back in my bed for tea.  Hopefully I’ll bring back a less eventful tale than last time…and maybe even my real smile.

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS 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

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

Waiting for God…Oh! Blogging from the edge.

Waiting for God…Oh! Blogging from the edge.

There is a chasm, a deep trench along whose edge we all walk many times in our life. The irony is that the temptation that leads us to fall over the edge or leap to its blackest depths, are emotions of vastly contrasting origins.

We fall in Love, we dive into rage and blindly adore or hate, all inevitably casting us from the safety of the ledge, to the unknown of the abyss.  But then there are other devastating and incredibly powerful emotions that that lay in wait for us as less obvious structures.  The very fabric of our lives is infested with cracks of despair and I am currently doing my best to avoid stepping on the rotten planks beneath my feet, as I know they cannot bear the weight of my happiness and want me to fall into the deep. Last November I had an all too close encounter in this same hospital and tomorrow I again face the fear that history might repeat itself.

So I distract myself. Today my view is from a hospital window. I choose now to look for as many chinks of light as I can and I find them in observation and human nature which makes me smile.  Here in this place of healing, there is an obsession with bowel movements.  The condition of all of the patients in this particular part of the hospital has really little to do with bowel movements, but the wonderful nurses here seem nonetheless obsessed with the question. Fortunately for me, the response from one patient kept me entertained for a good ten minutes last night and sometimes, ten minutes can make a big difference to your day.

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“Did you move your bowels today?”  This simple question requires a yes or no answer really, but oh no, there’s always one.

“Yeah.”  The voice without a face answered in an inappropriately loud voice.   But happily he didn’t leave it there.  “I had a poo this morning.  Come to think of it I had a good clean out last night.” Enough information?  Let’s leave it there was my initial thought. You’d think so wouldn’t you?

“If I eat chocolate I can ruin meself,” he said before continuing. “Had a bar of whole nut on Sunday, cleaned me out.” Then he raised his voice and repeated the last bit in case anyone in a 500m radius couldn’t hear. “Cleaned me out.”  But he wasn’t finished.

“I had a wee…well…I had about 5 wees. Do you need to write them down?”  The nurse replied no and from the tone of her voice I think she was retreating, but this man was not to be stopped.

“What about the runs, cause I had the runs on Monday after being cleaned out on Sunday.  Does that count?  That’s when I ruined meself.”  It went on and on and I sat looking out my window, listening to the anonymous voice, smiling.

This morning a 14 year old intern, tried to question and lecture an eighty five year old man on his drinking habits.  They weren’t even reading the same book, let alone being on the same page.

“How many units of alcohol do you consume each week?”  It meant nothing to the auld lad.

“I don’t drink Eunice.”  His reply was a gem.  Never drink larger.”  Even I was confused.  The boy doctor tried to simplify the question for the man whose age was further exacerbated by his poor hearing.

“Not Eunice …Units…How much do you drink?” The old man laughed.

“Chance’d be a fine thing.  I haven’t had a drink since I came in here.”

“No, sir, How…much…do…you…drink.” He spoke as loud as he could.

“I’d have 2 cans of Guinness.”

“A week?” He needed unit numbers for his calculation.

“Jaysus no… a night… sometimes I’d only have 1.”  He sounded contrite.

“So you have one or two cans of Guinness a night?”

“I might have more.” I could hear the exasperation in the medical child’s voice.

“Three?” He was determined to work out the units.

“Might be 3.” Finally!

“So you have 1 to 3 cans every night?” Doctor boy was being sure of his unit calculation, pen in hand.

“Of Guinness?” The patient clarified.

“1 to 3 cans of Guinness per night?” the Doctor had finally tied it down.  You could hear the “Oh yeah!” in his voice.  But then the old geezer just threw it all up in the air again.

“I could have 6 or 7…”

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It was so much fun, yet another gem that went on for long enough to drag me across a few more planks of despair.  It is all around me here. The ubiquitous whistling Dublin hospital porter, every now and then whistling Spanish Eyes, as he passes the door as if on some cosmic hospital porter loop.  His colleague, the singing Dublin hospital porter, with a broader range from Nat King Cole to Frank Sinatra.  They all have a pure, magical, lilting belief that they have a magnificent voice, surely there is a school somewhere that teaches this art, for I have yet to visit a Dublin hospital and not hear one croon his way down the corridor.

Then last night my amusement turned to sadness.  At 3.30 am a registrar was discussing patients with nurses outside my door, when a thick Dundalk accent started shouting.  It sounded like an old woman.

“LIAR!”  She was accusing someone but it soon became clear she was talking about the doctor. “LIAR! He’s a kidnapper!  He’s a kidnapper.  Somebody help me please.”

A nurse tried to calm the clearly distressed lady but she became angrier, more distressed and suddenly, my fun of eavesdropping became an altogether different thing.  It soon became clear that she was suffering from some form of dementia or memory loss and was convinced that the nurses and doctors were holding her captive.  This morning I again heard her, only this time she was insisting on sitting on another person’s bed.  She was screaming that she could sit where she liked in her own house and wanted to know what all the people were doing there. Suddenly my amusement felt shallow.  I was seeing real anguish no matter how untrue it was, the lady in question was living a nightmare.  I needed cheering up again.

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Back to my window watching.  The sun is shining now, tomorrow I face into the unknown again, and until then I must find a way to while away the hours.  There is the obsession with tea of course, (that’s a whole other blog) time is counted here by when the next cup will arrive and I was beginning to despair this morning as patients checked out and checked in.   The old voices were leaving, gone my amusement at others around me. I have been left bored and alone waiting for the next cup of tea to arrive.  But it feels like I’m waiting for something more significant than tea…and then I heard him, right outside my door.

“Doctor is there anywhere I can put me cat.”

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS 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

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

Sniffing girls, wildlings and finding my butterfly…

Sniffing girls, wildlings and finding my butterfly…

I remember the pressure of the knife against my throat as clearly as if it was yesterday and the sense that in that moment, things might go terribly wrong.  Having skedaddled out of a very hairy situation only minutes before, more as a precaution than anything else, being trapped and surrounded by a marauding gang of knife wielding men in a remote part of town late at night, left the three of us feeling less than confident that we might escape unscathed.

That we did, was more down to experience than luck, an element of comradery, balls that were needed and applied at the right moment and a hint of cowardice in one of the gang members that surrounded us, threatening to cut us up and throw us in the river.  God it seems like such a long time ago now.  I’m not sure if I’d handle it with such disregard as I did back then.  Back then you see I knew how to walk the walk.

It started even before I began to smell myself.  As a nipper I was carefree and moved like a butterfly.  There was no restriction and I floated through my world, oblivious to anything but the moment. But  starting school introduced a different element for me. There I discovered disturbing cruelty among my peers.  Our neighbourhood was quite tough and while it was a craft in itself to avoid the violence of the teachers in school and worse still the penchant certain members of the so called ‘Christian Brothers’ had for little boys, it was surviving the everyday trials of the school yard that introduced me to ‘the walk.’

I stopped being a butterfly.  There was a strut, a certain shoulder swagger and heel kick that I studied with great care.  This was nothing to do with vanity.  It was not about being a peacock, that walk came later when I got a sense that girls might have some use after all.  No, this was about being a gorilla, a lion, a king.  My very survival depended on my ability to cross the road towards danger with my head held high, rather than cower in the opposite direction in fear of my life.

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Walking the walk was literally a matter of survival.  I loved steel caps on heels.  The big hard lads with their Wrangler jeans and tight hair, flicked their steel tipped heels on the pavement.  You heard them coming.  That’s where I figured it out.  They weren’t afraid that the wild boys might hear them coming.  They announced it with a click of their loud steel heels.  With a swagger and a strut, chest out, shoulders back, head held high, they could walk into the mouth of danger and the sea of danger would simply part.

My Ma wouldn’t contemplate allowing me to get Steel tips on my shoes, Lord have mercy she had an opinion on that for sure.   No, I knew that wasn’t an option but I also knew that I couldn’t run away from the boys that would have me do so at every turn, or beat me if I didn’t.  So I watched and built up the nerve to test my theory.  There was always someone hanging around at the newspaper shop on the corner, tapping you up for your ‘odds’ trying to intimidate weaker boys to hand over some cash.  I was a small polite boy and I never had any and that was worse.

Finally I decided I had to be brave and test my theory. I watched them from the far side of the road as I walked and they watched me, wondering if they should cross over and swallow me in a swarm of fear, leaving me nowhere to run.  So instead I crossed the road towards them, chest out shoulders back, head held high, a skinny little lion cub strutting, listening in my head to the sound of my imaginary steel caps as they clicked on the pavement.  The wildlings watched me and I changed my course ever so slightly, aiming straight to the heart of the cloud.

I saw them see me.  I knew they sensed something but all I could feel was fear and I hoped they couldn’t smell it like my Da said dogs could do. I kept a steady pace, no slowing from fear or rushing to show weakness, like a missile to the heart of the target.

To my astonishment, they cleared a path. I rounded the corner and importantly, I didn’t look back.  I knew they watched me wondering what kind of creature I must be to risk such madness, but it didn’t matter, I had survived.

As time passed, I practiced my walk, put a shimmy in my shoulder, a dip in the turn, a kick in the heel and a flick in the toe. Oh yeah…I was the business.   It didn’t take away the fear.  I still felt the knot in my stomach every time I encountered a fresh pack of wildlings but they never saw it on me.  My walk got me out of many a dangerous situation back in the day, but then it all changed.

For some strange reason I started to get a sniff of girls and they started to get a sniff of me.  Unfortunately I was unaware that I might be attractive to girls.  All I could see were my failings in that respect.  There were bigger boys, more handsome boys, more cocky boys.  I noticed that my walk didn’t impress the girls.  I watched the other boys, the ones that the girls liked and I realised that I was doing it all wrong.  Just when I had my walk sorted, feckin’ puberty kicked in and I had to learn a whole new walk if I was going to ever get a girl to like me.

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Then when I was 14 I bunked into Saturday Night Fever in the Adelphi. Sweet mother of God there it was, the walk of walks.  Girls had to love that John Travolta strut.  A year later it was Grease and I was working during that summer and I bought myself a black t-shirt with cut off shoulders. I had the arms of a six year old girl back then but not in my head. A pair of flairs, boots and that black t-shirt.  Sure, I was a blonde haired, skinny little Irish boy…but I had the t-shirt and more importantly I had the strut. By that stage I had almost perfected my walk.  I didn’t like John Travolta or Grease, but the strut in Saturday Night Fever stuck with me and I knew he was a hit with the girls. I can still hear the Bee Gees in my head.

All I needed was a disco with a flashing floor and a couple of cool dance moves and I would be a God to all the young ladies for miles around. I didn’t have either, so I settled for perfecting my walk.  I stopped hearing steel tips clacking on the pavement as I walked down the street.  No, I had a new walk, a John Travolta walk and More than a woman reverberated in my head as I strutted and nodded my way down the street, smiling at the ladies and my fourteen year old self, feeling like a butterfly once more….

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS 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

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

 

Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition Award

I have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by my fellow Blogger and talented children’s author Denise McCabe.  It is so very nice to be part of a community of bloggers where we can share ideas, thoughts, opinions and much more.  I am delighted and surprised to have been nominated.  That Denise McCabe nominated me is indeed complimentary, I read and enjoy all her blogs and she is a great example for those interested in getting started. https://kidsstoriesblog.com/

How did I get into blogging?

As a prolific writer, it is something that came naturally to me.  I took it as an opportunity to do what I feel I do best and that is to tell stories.  Many people write blogs that offer advice, inspiration or are critiques for example.  When I decided to blog, I stuck with that I know best.  I chose to reflect on my life with perhaps a little humour, something I don’t so in my books which are much darker than my blog. The idea for me was to connect on a more personal level with readers, who I hope can connect with similar experiences and I also hope, come away with perhaps a smile in their heart. It is also an opportunity for readers to get a glimpse at my style and writing process from a very different perspective.  I blog for fun mainly and as with my books, they are always written with the reader’s entertainment in mind.

Advice for new Bloggers?

If I am qualified to offer such a thing it is only through what experience I have writing my blog and from reading others.

  1. Simply put, don’t blog for yourself.  Blog for your audience. The only reason I read others blog pieces is because I enjoy them.  There are too many self-serving bloggers who simply want to hear their own voice.  I think the ones that work best and the ones I return to are the ones I enjoy. Remember that when writing.
  2. Having said the above my second piece of advice is to decide what you want to write about. Think of who would want to read it and why, then just write for them.

To accept your award You Must:

  • Write a post to show your award
  • Acknowledge the blogger that nominated you
  • Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers
  • Give a brief story about why you started blogging

Here are some of my nominees in no particular order.

  1. http://julialundauthor.wordpress.com/
  2. http://tombensoncreative.wordpress.com/
  3. https://jamesmilson.com/
  4. http://www.damyantiwrites.com/
  5. https://thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com/
  6. https://silaspayton.wordpress.com/
  7. https://felipeadanlerma.com/
  8. https://ericlahti.wordpress.com/
  9. http://andrew-updegrove.com/
  10. https://senangilsenan.wordpress.com/
  11. http://www.mybookishlife.com/
  12. https://pennyluker.wordpress.com/
  13. https://lesleysky.wordpress.com/
  14. http://write-escape.com/
  15. http://iandmooreauthor.wordpress.com/
  16. https://tracyblackauthor.wordpress.com/
  17. https://franklparker.com/
  18. https://writerpoppyreid.wordpress.com/
  19. https://sharonbrownlieauthor.wordpress.com/

Enjoy and have fun out there and I do look forward to hearing from you.

REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS 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

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

 

 

The poverty of a clapping yourself on the back …

The poverty of a clapping yourself on the back …

Compliments are the meat and bones of destruction. Were I to indulge them, the weight of even the smallest one would crush me eventually, yet were I to ignore them completely, I would dismiss their secret, though only occasional hidden value.

I’ve always been a vain man. I can’t help it. Well I can but I choose not to. However there are all kinds of vanity and I hope my particular route to self-examination, is of a kind that hurts no one but me. I am not vain in that I think myself special or beautiful, though there are many to whom I gladly offer that impression as a force field to my natural insecurity. That people might sometimes think I have cockiness or a sense of confidence and self-assurance does me no real harm. Those that know me or care to spend enough time with me to get to know me, will all know the truth of me.

I grew up with harsh realities as a child, in a different and difficult world. I was loved and taught well by those who loved me and as a result, I know that beauty is in the heart and on the lips of a smile, not in a mirror. I say I’m vain I guess, in that I care about my appearance, have standards and try my best to be well presented to the world. My vanity does not lie in a belief that I carry any beauty except if I’m lucky, in my soul. That I can’t see, when I look at this increasingly craggy face each morning.

So when I write my books, it is a challenge not to slip into something akin to false modesty or worse still, into self-loathing. It is very hard to offer up your soul on a page and not be hurt by criticism and likewise not to have your head turned by flattery. I have looked back for the first time really, at all my reviews for Darkly Wood in an effort to come to a connection for my prologue to its sequel. Reading them all at once is quite a shock.

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To be compared to Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Dennis Wheatley, Howard Lovecroft, Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens is all very well, but one could easily be mistaken and believe that in just receiving such compliments they must in some part be true. It is pride that blinds and modesty that acts as a blindfold, so wherein lays the truth?

That is not to say I don’t take a moment to smile when I first read them. Indeed why not you might ask? But the devil is in transition from smile to acceptance or denial. I am a big fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I love the works of Poe and grew up on Hitchcock so it would be the easiest thing in the world to indulge myself in such praise. My particular favourite is a reference to a lesser known Irish writer, Sheridan Le Fanu as I grew up within sight of the house in which he lived, on a street named after him. Stephen King, Grimm’s fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson are all referenced in my reviews somewhere for this strange book that I have written and when I look at my other book reviews, I find a similar pattern, Frank Mc Court for Little Big Boy for example, Stephen King for Bad Blood and a comparison to the wonderful TV Series Love Hate for Larry Flynn. But of course there it is. In considering these comparisons I see the truth.

Here we have readers trying to express to other readers what they like or dislike about my books.   Darkly Wood in particular is a book like no other. I find it hard to describe so how do readers cope? Reviewers have simply used familiar reference points, landmarks if you will to guide others to understand some hint of what to expect. I am no literary mastermind it seems, just another Indie author doing my best and fortunately not getting carried away by an occasional snippet of high praise.

I am fortunate to understand this particular piece of wisdom, that many compliments are no more than spider webs to entrap you. The more you get excited by them, the tighter they ensnare you. It should be a lesson for all of us I guess. As a writer I get openly praised and critiqued, so it is vital to take both with an equal measure of common sense. The trap of the compliment can be the bait of the criticism.

While I never plagiarise, I do quite intentionally pay homage to many writers, indeed I have carefully interwoven quite a few in my books. Joseph Conrad, Antoinne Du St Expury, Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu for sure, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, Dahl, Hemmingway and even George Elliot and Shakespeare among others. However, my little personal tributes are nothing more that, homage as I said and I suspect most people will never even notice my own secret compliments paid to the writers I love in my own very personal way. But if you find yourself reading a Max Power book then go on…I dare you to find them…

FEEL FREE TO LIKE SHARE AND COMMENT AND TO GET A PROPER DOSE OF MAX POWER WHY NOT DIP INTO ONE OF MY BOOKS

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REMEMBER TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF MAX POWER ALL AVAILABLE ON KINDLEUNLIMITED SEE LINKS BELOW

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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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00WRP0J8E&preview

Darkly Wood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B004DL0PMU&preview

Larry Flynn https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00MZGSY3M&preview

Bad Blood https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00Q39HGEK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_8ZOMwb0R

Crimes and Misdemeanours.. My full Irish with Hillary and Donald

Crimes and Misdemeanours.. My full Irish with Hillary and Donald

I had breakfast with the Taoiseach or Irish prime Minister recently.  The last time I had a full Irish with anyone political the bizarre thing was, I had Hillary Clinton sitting to my left and Donald trump on my right. Yeah I know that’s mad isn’t it.

Now with the Taoiseach, I am cheating a little. I was having breakfast with a colleague in a hotel in Sligo and when my friend got up to leave, I realised that the bold Enda Kenny was sitting at the table behind us.  Only in Ireland.  I am sure there was security somewhere, but while he wouldn’t be exactly my favourite politician, it was quite cool that this can still happen in such a casual manner in our lovely little country.

Hillary and Donald was a few years back and that was an entirely different story.  I had been writing as it happens, about the culture of punishment that existed in Ireland when I was a nipper. You would get your ass handed to you for just saying ass when I was a kid.  I hear five year olds using the F word with impunity these days. If I’d a cursed as a kid two things would’ve happened…no three… My Mother would have scalped me, then she’d have threatened that my father would scalp me worse when she told him after he got home (she generally didn’t tell him, to my understanding) and finally, I would have booked my one way ticket to hell and damnation via the God network. Now there was no escaping the scalping, but we all knew as kids that if you could just stay alive until your next confession, you had a chance of salvation. Confession meant forgiveness and wiping of the slate.

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Spitting was pretty high up the need for forgiveness too for some reason.  I never quite understood why my mother thought that needed more emphasises, than say murder.  We never discussed murder in our house (if you don’t include “Jesus Mary and Holy St Joseph – I’ll murder you if you don’t hang your coat up.”) but spitting?  It was a regular topic.

Turns out, according to my mam anyway, that it was the devil who made you spit.  Seriously! He was there waiting on your shoulder, whispering in your ear – “Go on spit… you’ll love it.”  The strange thing was, that all the big lads spit.  It looked cool and we even had different types and names and competitions for God’s sake.  How could it not be cool?  Why was it so evil?

Golliers? Remember them?  They were gross of course, phlegm filled spit balls that carried further than your average spit.  We used to stand at the edge of the path and see who could spit across the road the furthest.  I remember on one occasion, beating everyone by a country mile and in the glory of the moment I didn’t realise that I had been abandoned.  One moment I was surrounded by six lads, the next…tumbleweed.  The clout across the side of my ear brought me to my senses.  Note to self…never enter a spitting competition unless your mother can’t see you from the front room window.

Everything fun seemed to carry as price.  Spitting, cursing, pulling girls pigtails, peeing in the street…God you could do nothing!  Disobedience, Stealing a handful of sugar from the press to put on your bread and eat under the stairs. Licking the cooking chocolate, sticking your fingers in the butter,  playing ball in the house, lighting matches…I loved lighting matches…Chewing Gum!

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Gum seriously! My ma would have a sevener if she caught me chewing gum.  Apparently if you swallowed it, then it would stick to your heart and you would die!  Chewing gum could actually kill you, imagine.

So all of these little things were punishable by your parents, teachers and other adults and you had to keep track of so many things that were not allowed. You had a chance of redemption through confession, but you couldn’t let anything happen to you until you got there or were lucky enough to have a priest at your side at your death bed so he could take your last confession. Of course there was always a chance there wouldn’t be priest handy and you’d go to hell.

That’s what I told Hillary and Donald. Hillary laughed and said “Everyone deserves a second chance, no matter what they have been ‘accused’ of and Donald looked at me with a terrified look on his face and said “Spitting!  You can go to Gaol for spitting!”

I don’t know if those are exact quotes.  It was a long time ago and now that I think about it and try to recall those faces, it might have been my neighbour’s slightly scary mother and the crazy old guy from across the street that I’m thinking of…but they sure sounded a lot like Don and Hill in my mind. Perhaps I saw one of them chewing gum or spitting. Hope not – they could go to hell if they’re not careful… or maybe it’s just me that’s losing it.

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