Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Review of Cloudriders by Nick Cook. It's pretty spiffing!

If Cloudriders had been around when I was 12, I doubt I would have made it to school until I’d read it cover to cover -- twice. Nick Cook, author of this magnetic, young adult adventure, the first in a series of three, has captured my imagination though the eyes of its protagonists, Dom and Jules – two characters that resonate teen angst/exploration, and is built of the stuff every kid aspires to be.

Nick cook winds his words around your mind just like the twisters in Cloudriders. The imagery that is used in the wonderful sci-fi novel, Cloudriders,  is created with an eloquent fervency surpassed only by such greats as Hemmingway and Twain (in my opinion); yet it is so subtly suited to its younger, intended audience that it’s like swallowing silken,  melted chocolate.

This is a tale of fiction, yet it weaves in all that is possible in our undiscovered Universe, too. It’s set in the tornado territories of the USA, with real settings and tragic back stories, jealousy and breath-taking scenery as well as other-worldly interventions.

What drew me to this book was a love of Quantum Physics and Mechanics – yes, this is totally true. Nick shares my same admiration for Nikola Tesla, a phenomenal scientist who is only just beginning to receive the recognition for his discoveries within the Quantum realms, today...

What Cloudriders cleverly does is to introduce such concepts with ease, so as not to overload the mind – yet it is done with obvious passion and sympathy to a perhaps unenlightened audience.

So what happens?

Dom and Jules are lifelong friends, each having lost a parent unexpectedly– making them closer than ever. Their feisty yet flirty relationship comes under threat when, after a super-storm dry spell in their beloved, Tornado Alley, a Twister suddenly appears and brings with it an adversary for the usually calm Jules.

Two explorers, a mother and extremely pretty daughter, emerge from the spout of an enormous Twister on board their airship, Athena.  Dom is not only smitten with Angelique, long flowing hair – the lilt of the Provence, but he is acting like a complete idiot according to his other secret admirer, Jules. What he doesn’t realise is that his life is about to get complicated in more ways than one. Jules immediately dislikes the rather exuberant girl her own age and is determined to find her flaw – at any cost. What is worse are the ensuing terrors in the form of a warring, space expedition hell-bent on the annihilation of Angelique and her mother. They’re not far behind the mysterious travellers and they don’t have anyone’s best intentions at heart.

There are so many beautiful angles to how this story is told, so many amazing characters that add a rich flavour to an already fragrant pot of yummy, cosmic representation. Dom’s fathers friends, relentless, enigmatic storm chasers who are on a quest of their own – and indeed the open-ended tale of Dom’s father’s tragic, yet puzzling disappearance inside a Twister.  And also the curious, unexplained rumblings and esoteric music that sits inside the belly of Athena, the airship – singing and humming like a living, breathing being. The eyes widen as you read, the mind enquires and the pulse turns somersaults.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book because it should be experienced wholly internally – as if you were 12 – as if you WERE there.

Cloudriders symbolises many things. The importance of science and the universe, the panorama of both sky and land; it harmonises love and it’s many complicated side-effects, the confusion that surrounds us all in times of palpitation, but most important of all it embodies adventure, imagination, wanderlust and spirit.

This is the kind of book that will transport you back to a time when you believed you could be an astronaut, a brain surgeon -- even the Queen. This is the kind of book you will wish you had written.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Goodbye Facebook -- I'd like my life back please...

Finally, I have made the decision to re-take control of MY life.

This summer spells the beginning of many changes for me, a kind of 'face the fear and do it anyway' summer; a summer that as it unravels, appears to be challenging me inextricably.

My first 'fear' was to cut my hair off, ten inches, one for each of the ten worst years now successfully put behind me. I had contemplated chopping my head off initially but soon realised that my goals would be short-lived and quite unhistorical with only a torso and legs. It may seem a very insignificant first goal to some, but to me it was symbolic of phenomenal liberation on many levels.

I also recently went to a small festival on my own, again -- nothing too stressful or magnificent and certainly not comparable to skydiving on the back of a Unicorn. However, as much as I am a little social faerie who loves to be around people, watching and drinking in the symbiotic ambiance and harmony that nature and people and music represent when combined... for me to be totally alone in a public place with no-one to speak to, felt like a big deal. It was a big deal and it did feel a bit like stepping on a molehill only to find out it WAS a mountain, but I did it and guess what? I didn't die.

So, what next?

Well, I have been asked to write a form of memoir, a book that represents all I was, am and will be. A story that is reflective of the girl IN the mask, and out. For ages I wondered who the bloody hell would want to read about a small-town unknown who has never really done anything THAT remarkable, to date. I also wondered  how I would write a book that combined the pro-actions of Eat, Pray, Love, a story of brave, inner discovery and spiritual progression -- with the delusions of the very enigmatic yet feisty,Tracey Beaker...

And then it occurred to me that whilst I was finding my own feet in life, with as much curiosity as Alice and the rabbit hole -- that 'rediscovering' the inner-child may appeal to others who are at a similar stage in their lives and wondering where on earth to begin.

The world has become a very confusing place to live. Slowly, we are losing our need to interact on a physical and sentient level, inevitably this may lead to the human race living in tiny, wi-fi caves with little or no daylight.

Which leads me to fear number three. Goodbye Faceache!

Facebook you have taught me much over the years, connected me with many wonderful and beautiful people that I would never of had the pleasure to speak with -- and you kept me safely wrapped in long-distance hugs, laughter and the odd tear. You healed me Facebook and you gave me your ear without ever complaining, but it IS time to put a lid on all the 'dinner' pics and statuses that make me want to get my ass-broom out. It IS time to not get INVOLVED in issues that I only give a damn about because my phone is stuck to my retina for far TOO MANY hours in the day.

As much as you have become a crutch and a cyber-friend Faceache, and as much as my palms are sweating as I write down my intentions and realise that I am giving up an addiction that has me gripped like a pube in a zipper...

...once this month draws to a close, so will our relationship.

I'm taking back control. I'm going to find a REAL life without having to document every 'shit, shave and shampoo'. Perhaps then I may find the time to write a book which may be of use to someone.

It's possible that I could even find time to skydive with that Unicorn after all.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

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Depression is a dark, cold place. There is no R.S.V.P – there are no guests. Often, when not looking, it’s like a dagger stabbing itself guilt-free inside your rib-cage in an attempt to bleed you out; emptying every organ until you are dry, left suffocating in a gloop-like shit can of shit soup.

I’m not depressed, at least not by conventional determination and I hate labels because they are too definite and not definitive enough. Labels are ways for others to understand what is happening to those around them but the truth is no one person can truly understand the extent to which another suffers or indeed survives. It’s the hopeful crescent of a wave, the accomplished peak of a mountain – the lightless belly of a boa. Depression is the label I will not label myself with because it’s ever evolving, seldom the same -- often coated in the sugar-laden arteries of a fat man. Only that’s kind of what it is. I don’t know what it is. Labels can fuck off.

Lizzie dripping rolled up her tattered skirt to the thigh and pulled a knife from inside her stocking top. One hand reached to her side, tapping at the floor, with only a failing glimpse from the moon to skim the curve of an equally tattered, old chest whose lid clung from rusted hinges. The gentle pings of reflected bronze light coming from inside the chest went unnoticed as Lizzie’s outstretched hand fumbled all the way to its bottom until she heard the familiar chink. One full bottle left. One hour til sunrise.

“Horseshit. Still, it’ll do for now.” Snatching the bottle she forced it between her salt-licked knees, clamping its neck like a chicken waiting to be wrung and cut the cork from the rum bottle –slicing its neck clean off.

“Ah, breakfast is served!” She glugged hard and then again until only a drop remained, gasping for breath and retching when her tongue protested at such a violent intrusion. She fell back against the tall, wooden beam rising from the floor, its dirty-white sail slapping it from behind and out of sync with the waves which began to lap loudly against the hull of ‘Ol’ Slippery’. The crate Lizzie was sitting on sagged noisily, fracturing, as it began to give way now that her legs no longer supported her stupor. It wasn’t long before Lizzie passed out amongst a pile of rum-splattered splinters. This was not a good time to lay unconscious. It was coming and it would show her no mercy.


Even in the snarling face of affliction life can prove to be unexpected, it can also be cruel, but every now and then it can prove to be full of wonder, changing our life-paths entirely and showing us new horizons that never graced any map.

The clouds which have followed me throughout life so far were not of my choosing – the blame lay in a deep crevice, one which had monsters hiding beneath its surface. And although they tainted what should have been a carefree and brilliant existence, smiles and joy, love and trust have always walked side by side – keeping those monsters at bay. I consider myself lucky, grateful for the lessons brought to me by the biting jaws of adversity, it’s made me strong, and, the greyness which never fully disappears has given me a grounding which I believe has given me a compassion I may not have found otherwise.

I guess if you want to be in charge of the clouds you have to find a way of keeping them separate so they don’t swamp you, at a far enough distance so they don’t engulf you, but of course each and every one of us is unique and we deal with such matters quite differently. 

Being swallowed by a storm does not mean you are less, but I am glad I have never succumbed in full. Swimming against the tide can be a very forsaken place and then there is drowning – the darkest place of all.

I count my blessings, all of them -- and my ability to swim.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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“Peaches Geldof, I’m sorry the world is full of cunts”

Believe it or not, this sentence changed my life. It addressed an issue I’ve been struggling with for a long time.

I digress.

Craig Stone, a phenomenal, undiscovered author who oozes a raw talent that could rival Jeff Cape’s biceps. (Anyone under 40 probably won't know who I am talking about – Google it.)

I had the privilege to interview this wonderful human in 2014 after stumbling across his blog by chance. I was immediately drawn to how he wrote, not because of his style or flair or anything really other than his brutal honesty, to himself and to the world. Don’t get me wrong, he writes with eloquence and his work is sublimely unrivalled – it’s just that I want to clone his balls and attach them to me like a good luck charm.

Writing from the heart without fear is a quality I admire because I still harbour an undeniable guilt for simply being me. Anyone capable of reaching inside their lower intestines, pulling them out into fresh air; waving them around for all to see, revealing all the crap which lays deep inside. Those people have my utmost attention because they do not entertain the fear 
that retribution creates.

The point I suppose I am making is that to be a true writer and an even truer person is in finding your own voice; of using it as naturally as possible and of learning how not to edit that honesty as you type.

Finding my voice came like a trickle, a toe-dip in a murky pond; a peep around the corner of a dodgy back-alley, dark and full of ten foot tall opinions with faces like flesh-eating piranhas.

So, my own journey starts here, of baring my intestines to the world. I have to admit it’s liberating – if not a bit windy.

Just to warn those who may consider throwing eggs at my face especially when I touch on matters which resonate close to the lining of their own bowels – no apologies, this is what I have to do, and neither offense nor regret are on my bucket list.

Let’s see where this goes...

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


All I can say, Mrs Craw, is – why only bring out one book at a time... why?!

Spark literally has everything. I want more, need more and I want it all now - but let me start with its misdemeanors...

Hear that? Didn’t think so. That, my friends is pure unadulterated silence. A tumble weed, gathering dust, rolling about the desert like an extra from a long forgotten, Clint Eastwood western. I quite honestly have nothing bad to say – this book is a contender as a Hunger Games rival without a doubt. This sci-fi/paranormal book 
will both inspire and unnerve.

So what’s it about?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Today, I feel like dying.

Today I feel like dying - in exchange for all the horrors in this world. 

My life, for Gaza. For the innocent children who don't have the privilege of a carefree childhood, for their parents who can only watch helplessly as their lives are broken and splintered into a thousand lost pieces.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Matthew, thank you for taking some time from performing and sharing your pearls of wisdom with us... I believe the UK is ready.

For those of you who are not familiar with Matthew Silver, New York street performer and creator of Love Portal and The Wackadoodle Movement – you soon will be... and what a ride it will be.

Welcome! Let me start by giving you a fitting introduction.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Delightful Christina Banach - Author of Paranormal Novel: Minty

I’d like to offer a big and squishy, warm welcome to the lovely Christina Banach – author of debut novel: Minty.

Hi Christina, from what I gather, your life has gone a little mental of late – though I’m assured it’s a good kind. Your new novel, Minty, is on Amazon in both print and kindle versions – let’s start with how that feels? (And have you started wearing a cape – because it’s a huge achievement in such a subjective arena!)

Yes, life has definitely been crazy, a lot crazy, in fact.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Chapter Five

“The veils are dangerously thin and a portal has been left open. I suspect it’s how they got through, child. We must be on our guard.”

Aishe’s words echoed into the depths of the cave, ricocheting off the uneven limestone walls, firing round after round of…be on our guard, be on our guard...