Dreaming of Orwell… (a review of D. K. Cassidy’s The Dreamers)

The Dreamers (Insomnolence #2)The Dreamers by D.K. Cassidy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m now waiting for the film/movie.

I’ve become a fan of this author, in that I love her versatility. Each book is quite different from the next, re-genre and style. One might of course argue against this last case since The Dreamers is in fact a sequel to The Sleepless. The thing is that I somehow managed to miss the latter, but thought I’d plunge right in with the former anyhow… and that’s the sign of a good book: the ease with which I was able to go with the flow, and put two and two together when need be…

There has to be a film/movie adaption of this book/series – I’m thinking Orwell’s 1984. And there are indeed Orwellian threads weaving their way through, whilst at the same being a unique read – what a superb idea! It appears so simple on the surface, but the author had to come up with the idea and then write it so well. Those living on one side of the wall, who sleep; while those on the other don’t.

As for the writing it’s wonderfully concise and coherent, and, I must add, comprehensible – if, for those of you like me, you happened to miss out on the prequel. But then I’d also advise you to purchase the prequel anyhow: I’d bet my home it’s more than worth it. And that’s where I’m off to now. Not home but to purchase the first book…

Brilliant.

Chris,

your literary, theatrical friend

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review a book today! (or ‘just Phillip’s imagination, running away with him?’ oh, the infernal temptations…)

Hello, one and all – back on a regular basis from here on, that’s a promise; real work is a stinker at times, the scourge of the drinking classes, and all that…

Anyhow, I’ve received of late an intriguing book review of Nancy Boy; for one year only, book 2 in what comprises to date The Rowlings Years trilogy, and which I know you’ve all read (cough).

So interesting, in fact, did I find the review that I felt compelled to say a few words on it.

The idea of an individual’s reading of a book has always fascinated me; for each individual reading of a book is unique, and each, I do decree, is of equal merit – trolls aside, of course, who have a different agenda. That’s to say, there exist a million and one reasons why we read a particular book in a particular way at a particular time, which primarily comes down to the route we took to arrive at that particular reading at that particular time, from BIRTH.

This leads me to confess that, however pleased I may have been that the above review contained five lovely stars, I was partly troubled by the reviewer’s suggestion that she didn’t truly “feel qualified” to review it in the first place; because many of its “nuances” may have been “beyond her comprehension”.

Wrong.

Let me put it this way: Would my ideal world be one in which my readers are clones of me? Or might my nobler endeavour reside in being able to convey a differing outlook to the one the reader is necessarily used to?

You’ve guessed it.

The idea that a reader may feel unqualified troubles me chiefly because my influences have always been people; all people; everyone’s a poet, they just don’t know it. Without those influences, I couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to, write.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been digitally approached, via facebook etc, by readers of the first book in the series, Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good… – which I’m certain you’ve all read (coughs again) – they being chiefly readers on the Northern Soul Music circuit, with comments such as:

“Just to say, Chris, I absolutely loved your book, so many memories, so poignant!”

Whereby I’ve enthusiastically responded with: “Thanks so much! Wouldn’t mind just putting that as a review, would you?”

The figurative mile is then run, and the reader is out of my life forever.

I might add here that some of the early reviews for that book were what the above reviewer might also label a little “highbrow”. Hence a partly understandable can’t-compete-with-that type reaction.

Pity.

What disappoints me the most, though, is that there exists a whole section of society out there –you know the one – trolling deep in desperate search of their next vulnerable one-star prey (how low The Insecure will stoop in order to feel good about themselves!).

And these people don’t hesitate.

On one final note regarding Nancy Boy; for one year only, the reviewer confesses to never having been quite sure, throughout the entire novel, whether or not Anne, the most prominent girl in the story, is ever only a figment of Phillip’s, the protagonist’s, imagination. And I cannot express to what point that idea thrills me!

Thank you, dear reviewer.

Firstly, I’m never going to write a book around some alpha male, it isn’t me; I prefer an ‘anti-hero’, at odds with the world evermore and for whatever reason(s).

But most importantly, I find the reviewer’s idea that Anne may only exist in the protagonist’s head truly fascinating, and her unique reading to be a most intelligent one. And were I ever lucky enough to be approached by a film maker, I would certainly want that ambivalence conveyed.

Thank you again, then, dear reviewer. And trust yourself. You count.

And as for all you book lovers out there: write a review today.

Chris, your literary, theatrical friend.

neither a novel nor a short story, Phillip Rowlings is back in this first of three novellas…

Hello, dear readers, it’s that time of year, the one you’ve been eagerly awaiting (cough): the next chapter in the Phillip Rowlings saga – where would each year be without it! And although “chapter” wouldn’t be appropriate in its literal sense, the book will be shorter than its prequels;

namely, The All-clear: an anti-romance novella…

As stated in previous posts, the novella will be the first in a series of three, is available now on pre-order, and will be available to download on 17th September – why so late? It’s my daughter’s birthday, I did the same last year; I’m a bit of a romantic like that.

Without further ado, then, look below. And thanks for being here.

*****

The All-clear – an anti-romance novella… (book 3 of The Rowlings Years, novella 1)

‘I may have come full circle. And in order to continue, on my route… I need out…’

Out of what? You may ask.

Well, it wasn’t too many months ago Phillip Rowlings was living in France, in Nancy – was indeed a Nancy Boy, for one year only – by the end of which he obtained une carte blanche, or a permanent gig: the chance to tour the country on a professional footing, forming part of an acting troupe. For theatre has become his one true raison d’être; and not since the days of Northern Soul has he been imbued with such a passion. Deems he, at least…

Save he, Phillip, the actor, didn’t take it, the permanent gig, given the many holes to be refilled back in England. Responsibilities, most people call them; like, i.e., looking out for his son, whom, as it so transpires, Phillip’s unable to visit until the ex-wife sees fit; or, say, the rekindling of a love-affair with his psychiatrist, who’d been waiting patiently at home; and let’s not forget that returning to England entails completing his undergraduate studies, they being the very basis of his year in Nancy in the first place.

The list, in effect, is somewhat longer. Though Phillip may soon beg to differ. That is, once having been given The All-clear…

 1996.

If theatre, if music, if learning to grasp the very essence of life, is your thing, then this is your kind of book. For Phillip Rowlings is back once again, with all the trimmings, if in shorter form this time around; as part of the series The Rowlings Years, yes, but in the first of three novellas…

>>>GET THE BOOK HERE<<<

move over, Jilly, there’s a Lynn in town! (a book review)

BlackthorneBlackthorne by Lynn Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t tend to do genre fiction, except that, in an interview last year – being an author myself – when asked which my favourite genre was, I didn’t reply as you might expect; in fact, my more natural response ran this way: “It isn’t necessarily a question of genre, for me, but whether or not the book is well written; that’s what a good book is: it’s well written.”

Now, it’s all well and good me spouting such platitudes as long as I’m ready to put my money where my mouth is. If I’m prepared to give the odd genre the time of day, that is, though in this case particularly one that, for me, really has to have something else going for it other than the obvious – the word begins with ‘s’.

That’s where Lynn Cooper came in.

I once decided to follow this romance/erotic author on amazon simply because of her backlog of work – she has to be doing something right; so many books. The book covers have always appealed to me, too, whenever I’ve caught them flowing through twitter streams, especially her ‘curvaceous’ series.

Why?

Because they look like they could actually be quite funny. A little tongue-in-cheek at times, perhaps, which I’m very much a fan of.

As far as book covers are concerned, however, I plumped for Blackthorne, a more conventional looking number in the genre – suited and booted, model-type he-man, sending model-type chick into raptures; stubble tickling neck and all. Hot, I think the term is.

But I still entered this book with an open mind. And to my open-minded surprise, I truly enjoyed it.

Why?

Because Lynn Cooper is a master in her genre. You might say she has it nailed. Thanks, Lynn Cooper for reinforcing my reading philosophy.

The book is very well written, in every aspect, like its structure – it never jars – and I have to applaud her for it.

It’s based around four ‘angsty’ characters – all alpha and infallible-free – and narrated from the points of view of two, via alternate chapters, but I won’t say any more than that – if ever you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know I give nothing away. All four characters are very real, striking in their own right; I was able to visualise them – and yes, I have to say, I did find myself becoming rather attracted to Paisley, a sort of young Sarah Michelle Gellar type if ever there were.

Yes, there’s a movie, down the line, I’m sure of it.

I’ll not say much more than to add that I truly appreciate Lynn Cooper’s sense of humour. There’s something very British about it for me, particular in her characters’ exclamatory lines, my favourite being: “Well shit fire and save matches!”

Bravo, Lynn Cooper, and keep up the good work.

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author gets another all-clear – and this time it’s even clearer!

I had an epiphany last week, whereby the next addition to my literary series The Rowlings Years materialised before my eyes seemingly out of nowhere. Not in some finished, concrete form, of course, but in its outer structure; rather like that of a building; a house, me, as author, its designer – said project, by the way, if you’ve since forgotten, being that of three consecutive sequels in novella form; a mini trilogy within the trilogy, you might say.

Well, my journey from last week to this has been equally fascinating – as someone who recently replied to my last post states: “Inspiration comes when and where it wants!” Fascinating this time around in that not only have I already created the book covers for all three books – which you’re not going to see just yet – but, in creating them, they, in turn, have inspired me further; the result so being that I now feel all three books will act as the perfect stepping stones for subsequent books, further down the line.

Phillip Rowlings has a long way to go yet.

I’ve wanted to keep you updated as I feel you’ve been with me from the project’s inception – or in other words, because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut for a mere week, whereby this blog post, or indeed last week’s, would have been unnecessary, but then where would be the fun be in that?

“Inspiration comes when and where it wants!”

Indeed it does.

And you have to admit that my having invited you in at the outset entails you coming along with me, upon this author’s journey, from start to finish – how great is that!

As for concrete details, regarding this week and last, this is how matters now find themselves:

Firstly, creating the book covers inspired changes in the titles, or minor tweaks. And they are as follows:

The All-clear; an anti-romance novella

The Battleaxe of Hastings; an anti-hist fic novella

Broken Strings; an anti-chick lit novella (some of you may even be relieved to see this one; and that last week’s title has since taken a nosedive off Hastings Pier).

Each title is a play on words in some form or other, if never for the sake of it and is very relevant as always.

As with the previous books in the series also, music acts as some form of catalyst, with regard to plot. And as tempted as I am to name each piece of music to do ‘its thing’ in its respective novella, well, I’ll resist for the time being. But yes, again, you can expect music.

I’m not about to say much else, for the while, save that my aforementioned fascination, with regard to the creative process thus far, derives, as mentioned above, from what inspires me. Or rather how one aspect of creativity may help to create another. I can honestly state that in this last week, book covers have inspired changes and tweaks in book titles, and vice versa; songs have been introduced, and others axed, based on said titles and so on… and so it goes.

What inspires a book?

For me? Anything and everything.

See you again very soon.

Chris,

You literary, theatrical, friend