Daniel Williams

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Blog Announcement

In Miscellaneous on 11/07/2013 at 18:30

I guess you could call this a ‘coming soon’ announcement because starting next Monday (15/7/13) I’m going to begin posting a new, nine part story. I’ll put out a new part of Arwen Blackgrace every Monday and Thursday at 6PM.

I normally write ‘drama’ fiction, but this is something very different. If I had to give it a genre I would say it’s pirate-noir. Arwen Blackgrace is a murder-mystery thriller with a few pirates thrown in.

Arwen Blackgrace follows Beatrice Seastone, a seventeen year-old orphan, whose life is in danger after the death of her friend. As she begins to investigate the murder, she discovers it may involve the story of the long-lost daughter of the famous pirate family, the Blackgraces, as well the truth of her own birth…

Check out the blog on Monday for the first part of Arwen Blackgrace.

A Year of ‘Tea, A Tie, and A Red Pen’

In Miscellaneous on 03/09/2012 at 17:24

This blog had been going for a year. This is longest I’ve managed to keep a blog. I think the sporadic nature of the posts make it easier for me, writing posts when I want to rather than feeling I have to every week, or something. I don’t know if this is good for the reader, but it keeps me happy.

Anyway, for the first year anniversary of the blog (which, admittedly, I missed by a couple of weeks), I’d link back to the 5 most popular (by view) posts on here.

5- Summer Reading Challenge

4- Two Poems

3- Valentine’s Haiku

2- ‘The Energy of Slaves’ (1972)- Leonard Cohen

1- ‘Men Without Women’ (1927)- Ernest Hemingway

Despite the nostalgic tone, I’m not one for looking back. I’ve got to look forward. That’s the kind of person I am. I’m hoping I can keep this going for another year. Hopefully with more success in terms of writing. If I get something published between now and August 2013, I’d be pretty damn happy.

Like all creative folk, especially those in my generation, I am constantly torn between creative work, and having to act like a real person and get a job and make money and try to look happy doing it. All the worrying about important things like money, jobs, relationships really doesn’t matter to me as longing as I’m writing. And all I hope is that I never run out of stories to tell.

http://youtu.be/r2pt2-F2j2g

Summer Reading Challenge 2012

In American, Canadian, Literature, Miscellaneous, Welsh on 31/08/2012 at 11:16

In my borough (and in other parts of the country) the libraries have a summer reading challenge for children. They have to read six books over the summer and get stickers, medals, etc. I blogged about this last year. As I was volunteering to help out again this year, I did the challenge myself. My six books aren’t as eclectic this year, but that’s because I’ve been on a crime/noir binge.

1)         The White People and Other Weird Stories (2012)- Arthur Machen: I spent ages trying to track down any copy of Machen’s stories. I couldn’t even find his books in his home country of Wales. I ordered this book from America. In some ways I prefer Machen to H.P. Lovecraft, but he does have a tendency to go very Victorian (one story has a paragraph that lasts about twenty pages!)

2)         Tigana (1990)- Guy Gavriel Kay: I don’t read fantasy all that often. I picked this up because I’d heard about it on Sword and Laser’s youtube show. It was a good read, some interesting characters and themes. The story is about a city with a spell on it that nobody (except those born there) can remember its name. I don’t much about the world of fantasy fiction, but I imagine Tigana is in the literary end of things.

3)         Drive (2005)- James Sallis: I’ve heard this book called an existential crime novel, but, truth be told, I didn’t quite get it. I watched the film afterward and that didn’t strike me too much either. In the novel there is a lot of non-linear narrative, while I like flashbacks, I’m not a fan of a plot too much out of order. This books gets a lot of good press and I know I’m in the minority but, as always, this comes down to personal taste.

4)         The Goodbye Look (1969) Ross MacDonald: Lew Archer is a private eye hired to recovered some missing jewellery. I’ll admit, I get a real kick out of noir and private detective fiction. I went on to read another Lew Archer novel called The Galton Case (1959) and I preferred that to this. Still, it was a lot of fun to read.

5)         When the Women Come Out To Dance (2002)- Elmore Leonard: This was a great collection of short stories. In each the dialogue, plot and characterisation were masterful. The story ‘Fire In The Hole’ was quite possibly my favourite due to the slightly unconventional protagonist of Raylan Givens.

6) The Big Nowhere (1988)- James Ellroy: This is the second in Ellroy’s LA Quartet, followed by LA Confidential (1990). This is a compelling book, but it has to be one of the most brutal, nasty stories I’ve ever read. There are a lot of good things about it- it’s well written and I like Ellroy’s prose style, dialogue and characterisation, but it’s the world of the story that troubles me. I have a strong stomach when it comes to violence and bleak worldviews, but The Big Nowhere pushed me to my limit. I read the last third of the book as quickly as I could because I didn’t want to be carrying around that world in my head for any longer than I had to. I like flawed characters, but the there was nobody in this book who really, truly, had any kind of redeeming feature. I’ve read Ellroy before and I remember it been strong stuff, but not this bleak and nihilistic.

Music and Writing

In Essay, Miscellaneous, Writing on 07/06/2012 at 17:20

I always listen to music when I’m writing. Sometimes I can spend hours putting together a playlist before I even write a word of what I’m working on. The music I pick allows me to really think about what I want my work to feel like, and music helps shut off pesky outside thoughts.

Of course, my own musical tastes play a large part in what I listen to, which would not necessarily be what you would pick. The musicians I really like tend to be storytellers, like Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. I really love albums that are tied together with a theme. A few years ago, every time I wrote a short story I would listen to Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. All the songs are about relationships, ups and a lot of downs, which is what I wanted to write about. It helped that some of his lyrics could serve as openings for stories: ‘Early one morning the sun was shining,/I was lying in bed,/Wondering if she’d changed at all/If her hair was still red.’ (Nerd bonus- Dylan has hinted this album was inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekhov, another great influence of mine.)

Lately, I’ve found then when I’m editing work, I listen to completely different music. I’ve been listening to the first two albums of She & Him. I find their music quite easy-going. That and my crush on Zooey Deschanel plays a part.

I imagine I’m not the only one who needs music to help write. If you write and have to have music, what do you listen to?

(In case you were wondering, the playlist I listened to while writing this is one of my short story playlists. The albums in it are: The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds, Bob Dylan- Blood On The Tracks, Frank Sinatra- In The Wee Small Hours and No One Cares, and She & Him- Volume One and Volume Two.)

Links:

Lyrics to ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ by Bob Dylan: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/home#us/songs/tangled-blue

Video of Dylan performing ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ live: http://youtu.be/YwSZvHqf9qM

In Miscellaneous on 23/04/2012 at 09:34

Reblogging a request from Dagda Publishing for sumissions. I’d like to submit something, but I haven’t touched poetry for a while now. Anybody with more poetical output than me should take a look.

Dagda Publishing

Hello all.

We would like to invite writers and poets to contribute to our next anthology of poetry, which is a follow up to our recently published anthology “Concrete Jungles” – available through Amazon, Smashwords on ebook and Lulu.com for paperback copies.

Our plan for the next anthology shall be a very traditional, along the theme of the metaphysical. We hope to feature works dealing with the more esoteric, romantic side of the human experience, in the vein of the classic metaphysical poets. So think life, death, nature, romance and classic philosophical themes. A real chance to showcase your talents as a writer.

We are looking for both formal poetry structures, and more contemporary styles, and even free verse. So in other words, knock yourselves out with this one. We’d like to see what you can do.

Please send submissions (maximum of 4/5 a time so we can give our…

View original post 78 more words

Online Publishing?

In Miscellaneous on 30/01/2012 at 17:00

I have a new batch of short stories and, naturally, I’d like to see them published. I looked at submitting some off to magazines. Most magazines say they don’t print stories that have been previously published online. I can understand that. My thinking is- do the stories I choose to publish online have to be ones I consider not my best? I’d like to put some new stories this blog. People follow it and I’d like you to read my latest work. Surely the biggest chance of readership is publishing something on the internet?

I’m musing on this because, despite how fun writing itself is, I need readers. I don’t mind admitting I crave approval for my work. Otherwise I have to rely on myself and I’m my own worst critic. But that’s another matter. With online publishing there is a huge amount of potential readers. This is an extremely appealing prospect.

I’ve been thinking about publishing e-books on Amazon. This is a bit hypocritical of me, because I have been quite disparaging of the Kindle (or Kobo). E-readers have never really appealed to me. I like books. Not just what’s in them but the book itself. I like that there’s a books all over the house I live in. But of course, I was willing to throw this all aside when I read about the 70% royalties you can get via Kindle publishing.

In no way do imagine I’d become a major success publishing e-books. I imagine I could make a very small profit out of it. I think I know a few friends with Kindles who would buy an e-book by me. I don’t see myself making a major success, but just knowing I’ve got work waiting to be sold would make me feel pretty good. All the ‘publicity’ would be down to me, but even if I only sell ten copies, that would still feel pretty damn good.

So, watch this space. E-book publishing may be the next thing for me.

Favourite Reads of 2011

In American, English, Japanese, Literature, Miscellaneous, Russian on 26/12/2011 at 14:11

Presented- a list of the books I most enjoyed this past year. Circumstances gave me a chance to read more than ever this year. My selection is personal opinion and includes novels, short story collections and non-fiction.

Ray Bradbury- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky- The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

Bob Dylan- Chronicles, Volume One (2004)

Jennifer Egan- A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010)

F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Beautiful and Damned (1922); The Great Gatsby (1925); This Side of Paradise (1920)

Ernest Hemingway- In Our Time (1925)

Carson McCullers- The Heart is a Lonley Hunter (1940)

Yukio Mishima- Death in Midsummer and other stories (1966); Thirst For Love (1950); The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea (1963); Spring Snow (1966)

J.D. Salinger- Franny & Zooey (1961)

John Updike- Your Lover Just Called (1980)

Kurt Vonnegut- Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

Steve Waters- The Secret Life of Plays (2010)

Richard Yates- A Special Providence (1969); The Easter Parade (1976); Young Hearts Crying (1984)

Summer Reading Challenge

In American, Indian, Literature, Miscellaneous on 04/09/2011 at 17:15

In my borough (and in other parts of the country) the libraries are having a summer reading challenge for children. For the challenge they have to read six books over the summer. For doing so they get stickers, bookmarks, a medal and a certificate. I decided to try and read six books myself, despite not receiving any stickers, medals or certificate. But I did take a couple of bookmarks for my troubles. My six books:

1)      Knight’s Gambit (1949)- William Faulkner: I can’t say I really enjoyed this book. I’m not a fan of Faulkner’s prose style, I find it unnecessarily difficult, though I’m sure many a scholar could tell me why I am wrong about this. I wanted to read this book because I’d heard they were Faulkner’s only attempt at crime stories.

2)      A Special Providence (1969)- Richard Yates: The story is about an 18 year-old dreaming of success in World War 2, with the middle chunk of the novel about his mother and his upbringing. I’m a big fan of Richard Yates and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Possibly the best book out of the six.

3)      The Long Fall (2009)- Walter Mosley: I wanted to read a crime novel as a break from the heavier stuff. I’ve read one of Mosley’s books before and I preferred that story. This didn’t really engage me like Blonde Faith (2007).

4)      The Painter of Signs (1976)- R.K. Narayan: A charming and funny little story about the relationship between a sign painter and a young woman devoted to the promotion of family planning. It was quite sweet in places.

5)      A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010)- Jennifer Egan: I did write a review of the book on here, but to summarise- it’s great.

6)      Across the River and Into the Trees (1950)- Ernest Hemingway: This was the sixth novel by Hemingway I’ve read, and it’s my least favourite. I didn’t really think much of the quite thin story, and the character of Renata only existed to be in love with the hero. This was quite a disappointment because I am a fan of Hemingway.

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