The winner of the Kindle fire HD8 Giveaway will be announced here on Tuesday 12th December
THE WINNER IS
B. Russell, Aurora, CO, USA
The winner of the Kindle fire HD8 Giveaway will be announced here on Tuesday 12th December
THE WINNER IS
B. Russell, Aurora, CO, USA
Three years ago I moved from England to Spain. I live peacefully with my partner, her two children and our Labradors; forty-five kilometres north-east of Madrid. Last Thursday’s terrorist attack in Barcelona challenged me to the core.
The question that keeps drowning out all the other noises in my head is; what do I do? I know I do not hold exclusive rights on feeling guilty about personal inaction; many of us do. But the important thing is that I believe guilt is the way we ennoble our lack of courage, and so perpetuate doing nothing. My problem is not that I know what to do and excuse myself with clever foot-work. Neither am I looking the other way with a solipsistic ‘I’m alright, Jack’. I simply feel stuck. I feel too small in the face of this Goliath of evil doing.
I also grapple with a smaller, insidious guilt; that as a member of society, I am culpable, which I believe is true. We are all responsible for each other. But that is not the insidious part of the guilt. The killer thought is that I must be doing something bad to attract such disaster, and I am too weak and need to look to a higher power to forgive and save me. Where could such a self-deprecating belief come from?
The cognitive scientist Steven Pinker often talks of the ‘singular They’; an overwhelming idea that there is a faceless, but all-powerful group of people who have the real intelligence and clarity, and it is only They who can actually do something. But maybe this debilitating creed is simply what They want us to believe so They can keep control. Are we making this easy for them? Is this notion of They simply another way we deflect responsibility like a child to its parents, an employee to their boss or a population to their government.
Just as there is no ‘i’ in team, I suggest that there is no They in a responsible society. This is a major theme in my Bedfellows thriller series; the idea that it is the People (the masses) who have the real power, not the mythical They. But the elite are clever and have brainwashed us into believing that we are too stupid and simple to even understand the problems, let alone be able to come up with any solutions.
But if I am suggesting that we are not stupid or weak, how do the elite keep this myth alive? They ply us with ‘bread and circuses’. Like a drug pusher they convince us that we need them, that we need their protection and hand-outs, that without their stewardship we will fall down and die. It is a lie. The majority have always, and will always, have the power. They are nothing without us, but we remain everything whether they exist or not.
To keep us anaesthetised we are kept in a perpetual state of fear. The elite convince young impressionable men that they need to carry-out urban terrorism, and then they turn to us with benevolent arms outstretched declaring that they will protect us. They are offering protection from a danger of their making.
We are society, not They. We can make this world anything we want it to be. We do not need them because in reality it is us that actually do everything. It is the People who invent everything. It is the People who produce everything in factories. And it is the People who will decide what kind of society we want.
They are a handful of selfish dictators, we are seven billion passionate, creative and powerful souls. If I ever find myself believing that there is nothing we can do to correct society when it veers towards the cliff edge, I simply need to remind myself how amazing we really are. All we have to do is stop listening to They, stop believing the lies they tell us, and believe – really believe the truth – we can do this!
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What do I mean by Human Being? Well obviously, Human refers to our species and Being means a living creature. So far, so good. If you are reading this, you are probably a Homo Sapien and most probably a ‘critter’ and alive.
It is difficult to pin down the first use of the term Human Being, but it seems to have appeared for the first time in the 14th or 15th century to describe us. But this is not really what I’m getting at when I ask the question, “Are you a Human Being?” What I want to look at is the noun, Being.
Of course it is a noun and is categorised by the adjective, Human. However, what if we read the word, Being as a verb? Or to put it another way (you may remember this from your school days) “a doing word”. So that’s my point, are we really Human Beings or Human Doings?
The standard definition of Being is; the fact of existing; existence (as opposed to nonexistence), whereas Doing is; the act of performing or executing.
I suppose it’s about the difference between physics and philosophy. The former is only concerned with the material; if it can be measured, it exists and therefore is part of our physical universe. If it cannot be measured, it does not exist and is not the concern of the physical sciences. So where do we put thought, love and ambition? These are not measurable in any physical sense, are they? That is the domain of philosophy and the spiritual.
I remember reading a guide to meditation which explained that most of the time that people spend meditating does not actually achieve their goal. Meditation is when we go into a state of simply existing and definitely not doing. When meditating, if we hear a dog bark, we acknowledge the sound, but must not think about if it’s next-doors Labrador and whether he is excited, frightened or about to savage the postman. We must let the sound flow over us without interpretation or reaction. Meditation is the act of being and not doing, and we all find this almost impossible to do for any amount of time. Maybe you appreciate the irony of my using the verb ‘Do’ to describe the act of meditating; ‘Being’.
That is not the way living creatures are. We do not simply experience the world; we react and interact with it. We often try to attain some sort of peace, a state of spiritual being, but it is our nature to find practical ways to be alive. So we are driven to Do rather than simply Be. We are attempting to achieve a state that we usually reserve for celestial entities, and are constantly frustrated by our need to achieve Being by Doing.
Maybe we need to realise our true selves. Maybe we need to embrace who we really are. We all have a spiritual aspect to ourselves, but our universe-given mode on this planet is not to become spiritual beings in a physical universe, but to accept that our mode of living is mostly one of being practical, at which we are extraordinarily good.
Maybe we need to redefine ourselves as Human Doings rather than Human Beings.
Tom Friday is a middle-aged photographer, and an ex-cocaine addict whose mind is playing tricks on him; he has begun to experience terrifying hallucinations. He tries to cope with these delusions while also trying to make sense of them, but Tom’s cocaine-hangover plummets him into a world riddled with murder, conspiracy, and espionage.
However, his alter-ego, that he becomes in his hallucinations, believes he has come up with a solution to the dire problems of the world, and unlike Tom, is willing to take the risks necessary to put things right, but his mind is as addled as Tom’s, and his plan is always a little out of focus.
Slowly, Tom, the photographer, begins to believe that his alter-ego (Joseph Miller, an MI6 agent) is reality, and that Tom is the hallucination, but how can he be sure what is real. He races against time to discover who he truly is, and what he must do to succeed and come out alive.
If The Bed Falls In by Paul Casselle is the first book in his Bedfellows thriller series. If The Bed Falls In is a chilling psychological thriller that attaches itself into your subconscious and refuses to leave. Paul Casselle is a story-teller who deftly weaves his tale into a thrill ride of a page turner. He creates multilevel characters that remain with the reader long after the book has been closed. His characters leap off the page and scream to be heard.
Casselle explores the realms of hallucinations and the idea of a person beginning to lose sight of reality, as well as the world of dirty government manipulation. The novel contains graphic scenes and strong language, but those elements add a realistic depth to the story. The atmosphere of the story would honestly be altered if those elements were withheld; the story would lose its intensity. Casselle perfected a realistic world that is unparalleled in other novels. The book starts out slow, but then as it progresses through background story it begins to pick up the pace. Casselle spends a good amount of time setting up the tone and atmosphere of the story through descriptions and dialogue. The descriptions are so vivid and detailed that the reader feels as if they are amidst the turmoil watching Tom struggle to find the fine line between reality and fantasy.
I would highly recommend this book, but keep in mind there are scenes with adult content some readers may find offensive. Anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller would enjoy this book as well as anyone who likes a governmental conspiracy type of book; the magic is in the blending of the two genres. If The Bed Falls In: A Man in Two Minds; Are Either of Them His is a book that is difficult to put down.
Q – If The Bed Falls In is a psychological thriller about a man that suffers from hallucinations and dissociative identity disorder. What research did you do on psychological disorders to get the intricacies of the condition correct?
A – Years ago one would have to spend days in research at libraries and relevant institutions to get the information needed. Today we have the magic of the internet. I personally use a writing programme, Scrivener, that allows me to attach all my research and web pages right into my project.
I am also fortunate that one of my friend’s fathers, here in Spain, is a senior neurosurgeon.
Q – The two personalities in the story are competing; one a photographer and the other a secret agent. Why did you choose these two lifestyles to tell this story?
A – Tom is a depressed photographer, unhappy and stuck in a life he neither enjoys nor values. He longs for something else. And then Joseph turns up; a top MI6 assassin ready to challenge authority and change the world. Be careful what you wish for, Tom!
Q – In this book I felt that there was a lot of exploration on the realms of hallucinations and the idea of a person beginning to lose sight of reality. What interests you in the subject?
A – I have suffered, all my life, with an often debilitating depressive disorder. This together with my love of Quantum Physics and the nature of reality, has lead me to write many stories about the nature of reality from a physical and philosophical perspective. It bloody fascinates me!
The novel I have been working on for years, is a deep, dramatic investigation into the nature of reality. It started as an interesting short story, but is now a major novel called, Being. There is only one reason it is not available right now, I only have around twenty thousand words on paper.
It is a huge undertaking, and I chip away at it from time to time. If I manage to complete it, I think it will stand as my most accomplished work whatever I have done before or will do after it.
Q – While writing the two characters, Tom and Joseph, who were you rooting for? Was there a character you were hoping would prevail or come out as the ‘real’ person?
A – I can’t answer this question without spoiling the story. Tom is wonderfully complex and Joseph such a flawed hero. I love them both.
Q – What is the next book you are working on and when can you fans expect that book to come out?
A – If The Bed Falls In is the first in the Bedfellow thriller series. Book two is called, As Mad as Hell, and continues to uncover the power-crazed, greedy manipulations being enacted on all of us by the banking/world government cartel.
I am currently at thirty thousand words (just over a third of the book) and hope to complete it by the Spring/Summer this year (2016).
As with If The Bed Falls In and my debut novel, Conversations with Eric (a comic thriller for people who take their humour seriously!), As Mad as Hell will be available in both Kindle and paperback from Amazon.
Simon Leigh is your average, ordinary advertising sales rep, nothing like the “Mad Men” of legend. He’s a regular guy, the steady sort, very dependable. If he’d been a bit more ambitious, perhaps he wouldn’t have lost his job and his wife over the span of two months. Now living in a boarding house, with no job leads in sight, he feels like he’s lost everything. At least he still has his dog to talk to. Like most dogs, Eric’s conversational skills aren’t that great, but his voice comes through loud and clear. Simon needs to do something exciting. He needs to go chase tennis balls.
Opportunity knocks when Simon meets his new neighbor, Archie. He seems friendly, but there’s something not quite right about him. When Archie offers him the chance to make a lot of money doing something that’s not even remotely steady or dependable, let alone legal, it launches Simon into a bit more excitement than he bargained for. Simon blunders into a world of stolen cars, robbery, car chases, narrow getaways, murder, and corruption. Through it all, the only one he can trust is Eric.
If you enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s films Snatch, or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this is the book for you. Simon can’t catch a break for love or money, and his awkward, middle-class lifestyle could have never prepared him for a situation quite like this one. He is caught up in events both terrifying and absurd, and his old life is falling apart. Author Paul Casselle does a brilliant job with Simon’s character, playing his anxieties so perfectly that every reader will find something familiar there. Even when Simon attempts to do the right thing, his social ineptness, timing, and circumstance seem to work against him. Even Simon works against himself, sometimes acting against his own self-interest with hilariously cringe-worthy effects.
The supporting cast is also full of surprises. His other neighbor, Rebecca, seems like the candles-and-incense type, but like everyone in the book, she’s much more than she seems. She has a stronger stomach for violence than Simon, but for the most part, she could use some anger management courses. Archie bounces between a manic temper and everyone’s best buddy, hitting all points in between. His cohort Tommy Dragon looks like a tattooed gangster, but he’s got his own agenda. It’s clear why Simon prefers to confide in Eric than any of the “partners” involved in the scheme.
Conversations with Eric could easily be adapted as a screenplay for a successful film. It’s the kind of crime comedy that is filled with both nail-biting tension and awkward, sometimes absurd humor. Of course, this is a crime novel and the author doesn’t shy away from the violence and bloodshed of this illegal enterprise. I highly recommend this for fans of British comedy or the type of cringe comedy found in American TV shows like Curb your Enthusiasm.
Pages: 353 | ASIN: B00XRMZPCG
Q – Conversations with Eric is a crime comedy filled with tension and absurd humor. Simon blunders into a world of stolen cars, robbery, car chases, narrow getaways, murder, and corruption. What was your inspiration for the crime spree that Simon goes through?
A – I love ‘Road’ movies. They physically describe the journey the protagonist makes emotionally. There is a great example of this in Bob Gale’s (Back to the Future et al.) Interstate 60. I saw this film some time ago and wanted to write something using that structure. I love the episodic build-up that imperceptibly takes us on the arch of the characters in small, pithy chunks.
Q – Simon’s dog, Eric, is the only one that he can talk to. Even though Eric doesn’t have great conversational skills I felt that their relationship and conversations were still strong. Do you have your own dog?
A – Eric is real. He died a few months ago having been by my side for nearly fifteen years. Everyone that knew him agreed that he was not a dog; he was a very wise, funny and extraordinarily perceptive human inhabiting a Labrador’s body. My partner often commented that I never spoke to him as though he was a dog. I talked to him as if he were simply another person living in the house. What was so hard to understand? He was!
Q – The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
A – I think that has to be Archie. He was such an easy man to write. He is so honestly dishonest. He calls a spade a spade. Every day I was writing the book, I looked forward to sitting down at my desk with Archie. He wrote himself. I never quite knew what he was going to do or say until he did it, right on the blank page, in front of me.
Q – I felt that you did a brilliant job with Simon’s character, playing his anxieties perfectly. He lost his job, wife and house, and seems to be barely keeping things together. What was your inspiration for Simon’s character?
A – Some authors refuse to admit that they are writing about themselves; some do nothing else. Simon was me in so many ways. I hope that I am less inept than him, but I am as lost and certainly as confused. The main difference between us is that Simon didn’t realize how much he was under-achieving in his life; I think I do. I have been searching all my life for a satisfying purpose. Maybe I have finally found it in writing? As I say in the dedication of my new thriller As Mad as Hell, ‘To my mother, who gave me my very first birthday present. I have been trying to find a use for it, my entire life’.
Nichole P from Georgia, USA