So we have a beautiful frosty morning this bank holiday, and I’m off to work. I blow on my fingers to warm then after scraping the ice off the car’s windscreen.
It’s nice to see the lighter morning today, the last few have been dark and damp requiring headlights to be full on, but today I don’t need them and this in itself makes me smile.
I head off to do my calls with the roads fairly quiet due to a bank holiday – yes I’d like to have stayed in bed, but some jobs don’t stop just because it’s a holiday day. I do appreciate all those who work in all sectors of care or those whose jobs need to be done no matter what the date.
It strikes me as I drive to various calls the number of people I see on mobiles; wow how these gadgets are taking over our lives! A parent talks rapidly down her phone as her child lies on the floor having fallen off her scooter, she is completely unaware. A dog walker texting as his dog does its business, oblivious to his dogs action and so leaving the mess for someone to step in. Then the drivers – gee it’s incredible, so many are driving and on their phones, it’s unreal, so dangerous – but it seems no one cares.
Is this our society now? Is this what we’ve become? Can we change our ways and start noticing our children, pets and other people? Can we? This is a question I ask myself frequently now, have we become too advanced with technology and forgetting what is really important?
Take yourself, how much time do you spend on your phone talking, playing games or just going on Facebook? Time yourself, go on, check how much time you’re losing out on with the important things in your life, you might just surprise yourself.
Welcome back guys, and Happy New Year to you all. We are going to take a peek at a few authors this year, and have a look behind the scenes.
Our first guest is Ryan Woods, author and poet, so let’s welcome him;.
Harvey Jones – Hi, Ryan. Happy New Year to you.
Ryan Woods – Thank you ladies. Thanks for having me (if you’ll pardon the expression), and Happy New Year to you and your readers. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that the New Year holds wonderful things in store for all.
HJ – Can you tell us a little about yourself, Ryan.
Ryan Woods– Certainly. I’m a Lancashire lad, born and bred. I’m married (coming up to 17 years), with two children, two dogs and a small tropical fish collection. I love to read, write (obviously) and cook; and I also enjoy indulging the kid that still lives inside of me, by playing with my son on the PS4. It’s also a great way to relax and unwind, without running the risk of a hangover that alcohol can bring. I have a lifelong love of horror, both in its literary and cinematic forms, though I shy away from gratuitous violence and gore. I prefer character driven horror. I am an unashamed animal lover, particularly dogs, and often feel like my dogs understand me more than my wife, though I probably shouldn’t admit to that, just in case my wife is reading this. LOL
HJ – Now I have read a few of your poems, and have been mesmerised by your words. Who inspired you, and what is your favourite poem?
RW – First of all, thank you for the wonderful compliment, that is very kind of you. Currently, I draw a lot of inspiration from the spoken word poetry of Shane Koyczan, who in my opinion is a pure genius when it comes to expressing emotions in both written and spoken form. I also enjoy the poetry of the likes of Robert Frost, Charles Bukowski and Edgar Allan Poe, to name but three. My interest in poetry however began around 20 years ago, fittingly enough, as a result of a horror book that I was reading at the time. The book was The House That Jack Built by the British horror author, Graham Masterton. In one scene, a man is in a bar chatting to a woman, and he asks her if she likes Mallarmé, to which she responds, “Is that a drink?” As it turns out, the man was referring to the 19th Century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. I began to research his poetry, and that is where my appreciation of poetry began, with Mallarmé’s poem Hérodiade remaining to this day, one of my favourite pieces of poetry, along with Frost’s The Road Not Taken.
HJ – You also have a dark side to your writing, where did that stem from?
RW – When I was a kid, growing up, every Saturday night there used to be a Universal Studios Double Bill of old black and white horror movies on, starring the likes of Lon Chaney Jnr, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, so I kind of grew up watching them. After that, came the Hammer Studios horror movies, which introduced me to Christopher Lee as Dracula. My love of horror stemmed from these times, and naturally overflowed into literary horror, at which point the likes of Stephen King, James Herbert, Clive Barker and Dean Koontz became my inspiration, and an appreciation of literary darkness was awoken.
I often draw inspiration for my writing (particularly my poetry), from my emotions, the things that I’ve experienced and how I might be feeling at the time, which probably indicates that life hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries. Having lost both my parents, my Mum most recently in 2014 to bowel cancer, survived a car crash that should probably have killed both myself and my wife, and watched my wife almost bleed to death as a result of a placental abruption, I’m no stranger to the darker side of life and the all too constant presence of the Grim Reaper.
HJ – I believe that you have a children’s book out which involves Zombies. Can you tell us about it?
RW – Now you’re talking. LOL. I could wax lyrical about my beloved Cinnamon Paige until the cows come home. My novel is entitled The Journal of Cinnamon Paige, Un-Death by Chocolate and centres mainly around the struggle for survival of the titular character, her family and friends during a small-scale Zombie outbreak. I usually bill it as a cautionary tale of Chocolate, Voodoo and ultimately Zombies. Rather than being an all-out horror fest, it is a more character driven story. I personally am not a fan of the current trend for extreme horror, so “Un-Death by Chocolate” is a blend of character driven horror, studded with nuggets of humour. As the title suggests, it is the journal of Cinnamon Paige, and her account of the events leading up to, and during, the aforementioned Zombie outbreak. Though it is horror, it has been written to appeal to a wider audience, from teens to YA and adults.
Though the novel is not currently available, I am in the process of trying to find a publisher for it, either mainstream or independent. Failing that, I will self-publish it. Either way, expect to see The Journal of Cinnamon Paige, Un-Death by Chocolate coming your way in 2017.
It is my intention for the Cinnamon Paige character to appear in a series of novels, perhaps taking over the mantle of Buffy as the next generation of slayer of foul beings. The sequel is tentatively titled, “The Journal of Cinnamon Paige, and the Death Metal Messiahs”, as each subsequent novel will be a subsequent journal, recounting Cinnamon’s further misadventures.
HJ – I have watched your Facebook with interest and see that you cook. What are your favourite things to cook?
RW – Ah, my first stalker. LOL. Just pulling your leg. You are correct. I love to cook. I find it very therapeutic and relaxing. My love of cooking developed from way back, at high school; in what we called at the time, Home Economics, but I believe is now called Food Technology. I love to cook, in general, but my particular passion is baking and desserts; with my pièce de résistance being my Tiramisu. In the past, I have been asked, and made, my Tiramisu for people who were hosting dinner parties. I create my own little bit of decadence by adding grated chocolate between each layer of sponge and mascarpone. I also make my own fudge.
HJ – Would you share your links for your book for our readers.
RW – Perhaps soon, I’ll be able to share the link to my book, once I secure a publisher for it, or upon me self-publishing it; but until then people can get a taste of The Journal of Cinnamon Paige, Un-Death by Chocolate by checking out the Facebook page where they can read brief excerpts from various chapters of the novel, and perhaps in the meantime I will post the first couple of chapters in their entirety to give your readers a better insight into my Cinnamon Paige character.
Some of my published work can be found in various publications, including my Bigfoot short story in Devolution Z horror magazine, available at
My published poetry can be found in the following anthologies at
Further poems of mine will be appearing in the upcoming anthology, Dandelion In A Vase Of Roses, which is expected to be available on Amazon in January.
Furthermore, I have a planned collection of my dark poetry for some time in the new Year, which I envision being called “Vices and Verses”, and a planned collection of short stories, which has a working title of “Burnt Offerings”.
HJ – Who are your favourite poets, and why?
RW – Going back to poets that I previously mentioned, I would have to say Stéphane Mallarmé, on the strength of his poem Hérodiade, an excerpt of which I’d like to share with your readers if I may :-
cold water frozen by ennui in your frame,
how many times and through what hours,
distressed by dreams and searching my memories,
like leaves under your ice in the deep hole,
have I appeared in you like a shadow far away,
but, horror! in the dusk, in your austere pool
I have known the nakedness of my scattered dreams!
Probably my favourite poet, currently, is Shane Koyczan; whose emotionally charged, spoken word poetry is simply breath-taking. Videos of his can be found on YouTube, and I urge everyone to check them out. He writes the kind of poetry that I aspire to.
HJ – Finally, Ryan, thank you for chatting to us. Please share your Twitter and Facebook links etc. with us; and we at Harvey Jones wish you a successful New Year.
RW – The pleasure and the privilege are all mine. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share a little of myself and my work with your readers. I wish you the best of everything for the New Year and beyond, and thank your readers for taking a little time out of their schedules to take a peek into my life and my mind. My very best to you, one and all.
Ryan has graciously written a poem for us – many thanks Ryan
Searching for my Harley Quinn.
You are mistaken if you think
that I am here to paint the world
in shades of pastel pink.
Nor am I here to decorate it with
ribbons, or pretty bows.
I’m afraid that’s not the way it goes.
Life can be a bitch…
It can be an itch
that you can’t scratch,
a stick of dynamite
and a match,
with which to light the fuse…
Do not confuse my former silence
as a sign that I am weak.
Do not speak,
unless you have something good to say,
was my ethos.
A rolling stone gathers no moss,
but just in case you thought
that my sticking around
was an indication
of my commitment
to this relationship,
you are wrong.
It merely goes to show
that I no longer
had the will to move on…
is the fighter;
but the pen is mightier
than the sword,
so now my words
are my weapons;
designed to convey
each one wearing an F.M.J.
with your name on it.
So, put on your flack-jacket,
and run for cover…
I wanted to be a lover,
not a fighter.
Our future was once brighter…
The grass will be greener
on the other side,
because living with you
has become a landslide
that threatens to bury me alive…
If I am to survive,
then I must adapt,
before I snap
and find myself descending
towards the bitter ending
that lurks in the shadows
like a phantom.
Writing is the lantern
that lights my path.
It allows me to rebuild
in the aftermath
of the earthquake…
You left a path of destruction,
and with the abduction of my heart
you set in motion
the wheels that would run me over.
What started out as fun,
turned into a hit and run,
that left me emotionally paralysed…
I should have realised
that you didn’t play fair,
but you didn’t care
about the consequences.
So, now I build fences,
to keep you out,
and to keep me in.
that you see on my face,
does not originate
from a happy place…
It is the mask that I wear
like The Joker
to hide from the world
the true emotions that lie within…
But I know that one day, I will find
my Harley Quinn.
Copyright © Ryan Woods 30/12/2016
It’s nearly 4.30 a.m. in the morning, it’s raining outside; but I’m snuggled up in a warm bed. Each night when I pick my wife up from work, and drive down the city’s main shopping street, I see the less fortunate, the homeless (some of them young, some of them female); and I wonder how comfortably they will sleep tonight? My latest poem touches on the plight of homelessness and the inherent plight of society in general, when we sell ourselves out in the name of money and power. It is always the little people who suffer, those without voices, so to speak. Power and money are consumate seductresses. On these themes, I offer my latest poetic creation, “There, but for the grace of God…”
‘THERE, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD…’
“Hey, man; you got a quarter?
You ain’t got nothin’?
That’s OK man; that’s OK.
Hey, God Bless you anyway…’
What does that even mean anymore?
These days, I am little more
than a whore to society,
and its predisposition to choke me
with its uniformality;
force feeding me
its belief system…
But, if I don’t believe
in the system,
then where does that leave me?
I am a mere puppet,
dancing to whatever tune
my faceless puppet master
and watch from my window,
like a curious voyeur,
as I observe the Danse Macabre
in the streets below;
and the world pirouettes
in the afterglow
of the fallout
from our sell-out
to corporate greed;
as we continue to feed
while ignoring the needs
of the masses…
It’s time to wake up,
and get up off our asses.
I witness the corruption
Noteworthiness, losing out to notoriety;
as we betray our morals
and sell our souls,
in the single-minded pursuit of our goals…
Simplicity got kicked to the kerb,
like a tin can;
or a newspaper
displaying yesterday’s news,
as wealth became our religion,
and money; our muse…
It’s hard to wash away the sin,
when the sin
comes from within;
the truth will all come out
in the wash…
Life has become a mosh pit,
of controlled violence,
and uncontrolled greed;
into which we dive head first
without any consideration
for the consequences
of our actions.
The lure of power
can have a fatal attraction…
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth;
so, they say;
so, we neglect the needy
and give birth
They say that ignorance is bliss,
so, we unwittingly
become an accomplice
to their complicity.
Perhaps, Karma will put the world right;
I don’t believe in the afterlife,
and I’m not convinced
that there is a heaven…
But I know, that there are Seven
and I have been crossing them off my bucket list,
one by one.
I have missed the opportunity to redeem my soul.
There is no rhyme, nor reason
to my madness.
My days are governed by sadness,
and my nights
Sometimes, it feels as if nobody cares.
So, I learned to roll with the punches,
and go with the flow;
but the current
that surround me
threaten to drown me.
I am lost…
I am broken…
Of all the words that I have spoken,
the ones that were always sincere were,
“Daddy loves you” …
They are etched into my heart,
with a shard of glass…
Time passes, and
I find myself in the underpass,
amongst the lost,
and the strays;
and see you with your tin can
full of nickels and dimes,
and I wonder to myself
did you commit against society
to deserve to live like this?
But, I guess that you and I have different perspectives
of what constitutes hardship,
and hard times…
I sit down by your side,
and I offer you, not pity;
but my hand;
and in turn, you help me to understand…
Where you see rhythm,
I saw the blues,
we both watch,
from our different views;
as a legless veteran
in a rusty old wheelchair
rolls on by,
and you turn to me and say…
“There…but for the Grace of God; go I.”
Copyright © Ryan Woods 06/11/2016
I would like to credit the rock group, Savatage, for loosely inspiring this poem, and for the opening stanza, taken from their song “Jesus Saves”, from the album Streets; A Rock Opera.
© 2016. Ryan Woods. All rights reserved.
What can I say? I woke from a dream where I was cold, covered in snow and in a doorway. This is so far from my real life, but sadly a reality for far too many people in this day and age.
This dream has played on my mind all morning, I took Connie out to walk in the fields and the cold chill of the winds kept pricking at my conscience; what can I do, how can I help some of these poor people?
Going home after visiting a friend where we drank a nice cup of tea in a warm house I decided I must do something. Until now I never realised just how fortunate I really am – and that grieved me.
Well I took the bull by the horns so to speak and rang a local homeless shelter. What did they need and how could I help in some small way? They told me that blankets and sleeping bags were a godsend so hanging up the phone I dived into my walk-in wardrobe.
An hour later with six pillows, a duvet and covers, three sleeping bags and some very thick jumpers I don’t use, I found myself on the way to the shelter to donate items that are of no use to me stuffed in a wardrobe, but are a possible life saver to someone who needs them.
So all my fellow friends and followers take a look in your glory holes. What have you got that would be a godsend to someone who really needs it as it’s cold now and with winter around the corner – and a harsh one is forecast – give a little , it will warm you in a way you would not think possible.
Patricia Ventola ‘s Reviews > Hook Up
Hook Up by Harvey Jones
Want to Read
by Harvey Jones (Goodreads Author)
Patricia Ventola ‘s review Sep 06, 2016
really liked it
Read from September 04 to 06, 2016
Harvey Jones kept me intrigued, and aroused almost the whole book! I like the main character, maybe I think it didnt have a proper closure with Emma, but nevertheless…it was a really good reading.
I had forgotten how this felt, sitting in my seat listening to the roar the of the engines. Adrenaline coursed throughout my body as the plane sped down the runway – we were off ! With a surge the plane left the ground and we were up above the billowing clouds that looked just like cotton candy.
How I loved to fly! It had been ten years since my last flight and now here I was looking out of the small window at the amazing sights of the alps. The magnificent mountains rose high above the clouds showing off their snowy white dusty peaks with bright green icy pools of water.
I sighed with nervous excitement, I would be landing soon in Milan and meeting a fellow author for the first time, Miss Charlotte Hains, writer of Introducing Charlotte. After landing and making my way though the enormous airport I found my luggage and headed for the exit to find my host waiting for me. Miss Hains was lovely and before long we were like old friends and I was sitting in the car with her and her partner driving to a surprise destination.
After an hour or so we rounded a corner and – oh my – what a sight! There in front of my eyes was the majestic sight of Lake Garda, and what a beautiful sight it was too. We were staying here for five days and it felt like heaven on Earth; we had an apartment that looked over the lake and mountains, it was idyllic.
The first night we were blessed by monks singing in the small church near us, the mountains gave an incredible acoustic sound. The second night gave us a laser show of an electrical storm with flash lightning bouncing across the lake.
We visited different parts of the lake each day with Limone being one of my favorite places, it was stunning – and I had the joy of meeting Pinocchio!
We bathed in the lake and in a thermal spa which was a fantastic experience, as was the boat trip across the lake. I will never forget the sounds of the cicadas, a constant chirping which got louder as the day got hotter.
Everything about lake Garda was just enchanting: the people, the food and the sights and, of course, my charming hosts. It was a sad day to leave this place but it was time to travel to Parma where my friends lived.
Parma was another great place, the architecture was outstanding, but my oh my it was hot – 36 degrees with 80% humidity – it was hard work. A trip to the market was planned and a coffee in Garibaldi square was a must.
I have to say Italy was a delight and I will return. There are many places there I must see so I have plans for another trip in cooler weather so I can enjoy the sights of Venice, Verona and Florence, I can’t wait.
My heartfelt thanks to Charlotte for inviting me over, you made me so very welcome and so happy.
After the earthquakes in Italy Harvey Jones would like to send heartfelt thoughts and prayers.
Well Charlotte, first thankyou for inviting me to Italy, I have had a wonderful time. Why have you chosen to live here?
It’s by accident really, I’m between selling my property in France and looking to buy a new one – I must say it’s a spectacular stop gap!
Now I have read Introducing Charlotte and thoroughly enjoyed it, what inspired you?
Firstly I read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and felt that the BDSM scene was portrayed in a way that was not true to the BDSM lifestyle and that actually did an injustice to this lifestyle – I wanted to try and capture a realistic look into the BDSM world through my research.
Was the research fun and how did you get such good information?
It was very much fun and I plagued and stalked (she said with a grin) people on the internet and got to know the lifestyle and rules very well. I was surprised to learn that the submissive has just as much control as the dominant and when worked correctly, it’s an equal partnership based on trust.
Have you done any of your research personally?
(With a sneaky grin) I have tried a few of the scenarios in book two, Controlling Charlotte, but you will have to work out which ones I tried – after all you do need to know it’s correct! (with a wink)
When is book two out, Controlling Charlotte?
I’m hoping within the next few months. It’s later than anticipated due to life’s usual ups and downs, even as a writer life just happens.
How hard did you find publishing your first book, Introducing Charlotte, and what advice would you give to upcoming authors?
Exceptionally hard (sighing). It took six months to find a reputable indie publisher who was interested in my book and myself, and one that would take care of doing the work required correctly – which is very important to me and my readers.
The best advice I can give is research, research, research ! Don’t just jump in and don’t rush it.
What has been the biggest success and downfall for you?
My biggest success has got to be empowerment, writing books has shown me that I can do anything if take a chance. Also seeing my book in paperback and feeling it in my hands was just mind blowing, I will never forget it.
The downfall is marketing, getting people to see the book and buy it, and to talk and be interactive – as an indie author it’s very hard work and never-ending.
How important are interaction and reviews to you?
Very important! Without the readers’ interaction there is no book. Reviews help others see what the book is like and also give me excellent feedback and, of course, push my work forward if I’m lucky.
Well thanks for talking about your work Charlotte, and the very best of luck with it all.
After awaking to Saturday’s tragic events my thoughts turned to what is happening world wide, and as I thought about mankind in general, I asked myself – why? Why must we look for the …