Category Archives: bentbananabooks

As free as a the vision of a boirdy.

Jane Sharp’s great new psychic thriller eBook goes free tomorrow so we should all support it to encourage the give-away and create a legion of fans.

Here is Jane’s Twitter entry.

Jane Sauffs 10:26am Oct 5

My 1st book will be available free on Amazon(see link below) this Saturday Oct 6 (US time) 5 short stories featuring Detective Trudy Harper & her experiences with the paranormal, approx.48 pages. I would appreciate some reviews. Many thanks http://www.amazon.com/Vision-The-Reluctant-Psychic-ebook/dp/B008XI51VO/ref=tsm_1_tp_sw_lmhttp://www.amazon.com/Vision-The-Reluctant-Psychic-ebook/dp/B008XI51VO/ref=tsm_1_tp_sw_lm
What the heck,  my review is about the place if you wish to read on.
Hey, hey before you go to the review above here is our celebratory video.

Amazon declares me profane

Amazon thinks we are profane.

They said my profile was unacceptable because it contained a profanity. WTF! I carefully re-read my profile and tried a few changes but the message came back: PROFANE
I deleted the only remaining  thing I could see they might object to. Sure enough, the new version passed muster.

And the deletion: bentbananabooks. That’s right, my publishing name.

Do you think I should burn all the books I have published?

Censors, you gotta love ém. What is your favourite censorial comment?

Mine is from an American censor who banned a foreign movie with the comment:

This film is meaningless. If it has any meaning, 
it is, no doubt, objectionable.

All in all, you know what a censor is:


On the road to Damascus Paul’s book pummels your brain

IF The Book of Paulwere a music album, a critic might say it had cross-over appeal.
It has a feel of a genre novel but it is hard to classify because of its elements of sci-fi, dystopia, psychological drama and comedy.
I believe its publicity machine  is running with supernatural thriller and that is a good as label as any.
I read not much genre fiction apart from Chandleresque private-detective yarns. While I say ’’not much’ , none at all is closer to the mark.
New York author Richard Long was able to hook me and keep me on the line until the end. That is a good effort as, before reading The Book of Paul, I thought tarot was an Asian root vegetable. 

I figured Hermetics were cosmetics Doctor Frankenstein especially made for his patient Herman Munster. I thought body modification was ‘’hotting up’’ an old car. I could go on but you should have my drift by now.

The Book of Paulis a cleverly constructed thriller, built around a title character who it must be said is not very nice. Sado-masochism  is often a relatively harmless  Saturday night in after a hard week at the office. Then there is a date with Paul.
Like the author, I am of Irish extraction with the attendant light skin so I tend to avoid ultra-violent rays (You might like to re-read that last sentence – or not – it is up to you.) The Book of Paul seemed ultra-violent to me, but maybe I am a shrinking violet.  From now on,  a great American rock band will not be the first thing that springs to mind when I hear the phrase “talking heads’’.
Not that the author  appears to condone violence, except  in the interests of entertainment.
To balance the horror and gore, there is a lot of humour – from puns and slapstick to satirical cultural references and even self-parody of the novel and its author.
There is also a lot of information, mainly delivered in a casual fashion so the reader can chose to investigate further or just read on.  As a journalist, I have been writing on visual art for the past 30 years but this novel first alerted me to the wonderful genre of outsider art.
Various readers will take different things from this most entertaining and thoughtful novel. Me I will remember the pieces of information and the theme that the child is parent to the adult.
If you are engrossed in this novel, there is promise of plenty more to come in sequels and prequels (I think I have the two out of order.)
Even if you just want to dip in your feet in the literary waters outside your comfort zone, you will be rewarded. Did I say I used to think Druids were the dysfunctional youth in A Clockwork Orange?
I thought tarot was this
Not this

I thought Hermetics were cosmetics especially made for this man
I thought these were Druids

Our celebratory song is a no-brainer for anyone who has read The Book of Paul.
– Bernie Dowling Last day of the week-long Book of Paul Blog
That was fun!

Hey hey Paul-eay, how many kids you kill today?


Welcome to Day 3 of my part in the whirlwind blog tour of The Book of Paul.
On Day 1, author Richard Long was kind enough to eloquently answer my questions on his supernatural thriller.
On Day 2, we ran an excerpt from the novel.
Today we return to Q&A, one of my fave media for discussion and robust debate. The questions are from blog-tour organiser Novel Publicity.  In the interests in massaging my ego, I may introduce my own comments. We will see. Let the fun and games begin.


Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul.
The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter called Exercises “He practiced smiling.”  I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love.
What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share?
There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology–particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications.
I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion.
Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about?
The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul.
There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul,  and how does it surface throughout the course of the story?
I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy.
At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication?
I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it.
The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life?
I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place–addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.”
Paul is… scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact?</strong>
I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?”
That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin–well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too.
Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come.
Irish mythology is woven into <em>The Book of Paul</em>, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story?
When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about?
I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel.
The Book of Paul  is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who  is your target audience for this novel?
Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers.
The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a  Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody.
 Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul and how has the journey been so far?
Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience.
How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people–other authors and readers–and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of The Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is visy http://www.novelpublicity.com/whirlwind-tour/paul
 Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity</a></li>
           
About the author: 
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of The Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is visy http://www.novelpublicity.com/whirlwind-tour/paul
 Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity.
About the author: 
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. 

Visit Richard at




Here is our celebratory song. Enjoy.
When you buy the Special Edition of the T-shirt 

Evil is loneliness with nowhere else to go 

you get this video with it:





What’s hot these days?

A MAN who has been dead for 30 years, an 80-year-old car and a teenager are the hottest tickets of the week.

More than 160,000  readers of  British music magazine NME voted John Lennon as the greatest rock icon of the past 60 years.
The top 10 are

  John Lennon
   Liam Gallagher
   David Bowie
   Alex Turner
   Kurt Cobain
   Amy Winehouse
   Jimi Hendrix
   Morrissey
   Noel Gallagher
   Ian Curtis

For the record Ian Kevin Curtis (July 15, 1956 — May 18, 1980) was the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division.
Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. In the 1980s he was the lyricist and vocalist of the The Smiths before commencing a long solo career
Alex Turner[4] is the lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter of the English  band Arctic Monkeys.

If you do not know the rest, what are you doing still reading this; Move on to the car yarn.

Cashing in on a car
In 1994, Morrissey had a hit album, Vauxhall and I. 


I would love to say it was a humble British Vauxhall which fetched more than $5 million at auction but I would be lying.
At the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, UK, on Saturday 15th September
An extraordinary an unrestored 1928 ‘S’ Type Sports Tourer Mercedes fetched more than £2.8 million. Type Sports Tourer battleship grey ‘S’ Type was owned by the same family from new and had never been restored, retaining its original blue leather upholstery in its entirety.
Never has the tag “one owner” had so much value. Oh Lawd, won’t you sell me a Mercedes Benz.
A 1929 Maserati Tipo 26M four-seater sports racing car raised £1,681,500.
A1929 Alfa Romeo 1750 SS Competition Tourer went  for a lousy £1,099,100.
What the highest priced Vauchall went for is not recorded. Used to be such a sweet car, too.

Still a sweet girl

Abigail Gibbs, 18, has signed a six-figure publishing deal with HarperCollins for her vampirific novel.
Gibbs is  a sweet girl, and like Morrissey, a vegetarian. There the comparison  ens as the teenager can’t stand blood while Morrissey bleeds from the mouth,mthe ears and the amp.
Ì do wish people would stop writing things like six-figure sume. I have to count ion my figures to some up with $100, 000 or more.
I do hope these bidding wars for indie writers continue. One day they might get down to you or me.
HarperCollins’s publishing director, Shona Martyn, said: ‘I think this book has traction – Abigail’s storytelling is pacey and vivid; her characters and plot are sexier than Edward and Bella.’’
E&B, I presume, are characters in the Twilight series.
 In the meantime, this book has not sold for a seven-figure sum.

But you can buy it as it rushes past 7 reviews.

                  HERE   and HERE

So U Wanna Write Sumthun

Albert Jarry author of the short story  
The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.
IF there is an author’s grand plan for successful writing practice we would fail to have the rich diversity which makes literature a thing of beauty.
I write all the time: it is my day job and often my night occupation. Deadlines focus the mind but when I set out to write something which I suspect might turn out above average, I let the work ferment in my mind, and perhaps my heart and soul.
Once the idea is ripe I tend to write it all out without revision until the end. It kind of works, but I suspect some semi-scientific creative process works  on the raw idea before I put finger to keyboard.
Today I came across an article which might have some of the processes I employ  sub-consciously.
The article is by a media editor, but I imagine it could assist authors of short stories, novellas  and full-length books.
The article is called  6 questions journalists should be able to answer before pitching a story.
Below is the reference. You can either read the thing whole or my derivation for book authors.
First, you will note the title has a number in it, a strategy beloved by internet marketers. Everybody seems to be on that sort of stuff these days including the article’s author, Tom Huang, is Sunday & Enterprise Editor at The Dallas Morning News.
Even indies should be pushing their story to their publishers, themselves.
Si here are the six questions with my thoughts on them.
1.       What piques your curiosity about the story?
This is will be the theme of your story or the underlying reason you are telling it. You do not need to write down that theme or even understand it completely as you will tweak it in the writing process.  Be aware that it is there; it is basic; it is important.
2.       What’s new about the story, and why do you want to tell it now?
Most good stories are universal and timeless, but geography and timeliness will make readers more perceptive to them. Is this the right time and place for your story?
3.       Why will the reader or viewer care about the story?
There are two answers to this question. The first is because it is well written. The second is because it speaks to some readers who hear it clearly. A book has never been written which every reader hears. If you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no-one.
4.       How can we tell this story digitally?
Critics of eBooks are quick to affirm their drawbacks, such as their lack of the comfort of physicality. But eBooks have comforts hard copies do not – the ability to link anthology authors to their stories and bios, as an example. Linking to other digital works is another. It is early days for eBooks. Be aware of break-throughs in formatting and linking
5.       What questions will you need to ask to get this story, and what sources will you need to consult?
This is the basis of your research. If you do not enjoy research, you might need to change your mindset. Similarly if you enjoy research too much, you may delay the telling of your story.
6.       How much time will you need to produce the story, and how much space/time do you think the story deserves?
If you set out to write a novel, your story had better be up to that length. If you are writing a short story, it needs to be compact, even if told in a light style.
It is a good idea to set yourself a minimum number of words a day. If you write 1000 words a day, your first draft of a novel will take about 90 days or 4 months, given that you are unlikely to write seven days a week when starting off. Four months for writing; eight months for revision and  editing will give you that book in a year, the goal heritage publishers love,
If you set a deadline, you will likely fail. If you do not sett one you will certainly fail.
Remember even the Boulevard of Broken Reverie has an end to it.

Rich crazies insure their best bits

OMG what can you say
When a loopy has lots of dough
I received this media release from an insurance company today.
I have no comment.
I mean, really, what can you say?
Cheers
Bernie
What do alien abductions, legs, backsides, moustaches and voices all have in common?
The answer is, celebrities insure them!
Here are just some of the fascinating things that the stars are insuring²:

  • Shirley MacLaine has protection against alien abduction for $25mil
  • Model Heidi Klum’s legs were insured for $2.2mil
  • Former Test cricket player Merv Hughes’ walrus moustache for $370,000
  • Bruce Springsteen’s voice for $6mil
  • Dolly Parton’s ‘renowned assets’ for $600,000
  • One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson’s backside for $160,000

Amazing! You could even say crazy. But on the other hand, celebrities recognise what’s most valuable to them and insure against damage or loss of their signature ‘asset’. They do it for peace of mind.
95 percent of Australian families don’t have adequate insurance¹. That’s a lot of under-valued Aussie parents, partners and kids. Now that’s crazy!
For further information or to purchase Ezicover insurance*, please click here.
A reminder about what’s important in life from NRAS Australia.

10 annoying things in fiction

“I know nothing about him,” I murmur.
“…Thank you,” I murmur.
“Um. Actually –” I mutter.
“Raising the ordinary to the extraordinary,” I murmur.
“It’s shrewd business,” he murmurs.
“Very well,” she mutters, then exits.
“Oh I’ll bear that in mind,” I murmur.
– All the above quotes are from Chapter 1 of Fifty Shades of Murmuring and Muttering

10  annoying things in fiction

 10.  A sentence which starts with Then.
  9. A sentence with then in it.
  8. Sentences without verbs except those in this article.
   7. Sentences with many overblown annoying unnecessary florid adjectives.
   6 Characters who express direct speech in any of the following ways: laugh, grin, cry, smile, exclaim, explode, object, sigh, scowl, murmur.
  5. Adverbs which constantly modify how someone speaks, I say scathingly.
  4. Characters who appear for no reason
  3. Characters who disappear without explanation
  2. The word very which is a very bad word.
  1. More than one ante-climax.