Guest Writer On Ink & Quill: Adam Dixon

Todays guest writer on Ink & Quill, is Adam Dixon. Adam is the very talented and creative fiction writer at Adam Dixon Fiction. I was thrilled when Adam offered to write a short story, especially for this feature; LIVE A LITTLE.

Please follow the links and show your support to a talented new writer.

adam d
NAME: Adam Dixon

COUNTRY: England, United Kingdom

AGE: 24
Please tell us a little about yourself:

I was born in Carshalton in 1992 and gave grown into a scrawny, bespectacled nerd with a passion for history, literature and all things fantastical. I studied English and History at the University of Sussex and I currently live in Woodingdean, Brighton. It is my ambition to become an author as I have dreamed of writing stories for a living since I was a child. I write short stories in my spare time and I publish them on my blog Adam Dixon Fiction

When did you first start writing?

I first started writing when I was very young, probably around ten years old. Previously, I had had aspirations of becoming an artist, but I quickly came to realise that I preferred the creation of images through words and imagination rather than by brushes and paint.

What does writing mean to you? Why do you write?

Writing provides me with a creative outlet which makes me incredibly happy, and even more so when people respond to my work.

‘The sight of my ink-stained fingers and pages of scribbled words in front of me never fails to satisfy me.’

 

Do you write poetry, short stories and/or novels?

I currently write short stories because I am enjoying the discipline it requires. I am also working on a sci-fi novel which is very much in its early stages, but it is still very exciting! I’d like to try my hand at poetry in the future, but I find the idea extremely daunting, especially since I have discovered such talented poets on WordPress!

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I am constantly reading, (a trait inherited from my mum), and it fosters in me a desire to write my own stories as well as providing a vast source of inspiration to draw from. I also find inspiration from conversations, television programs and real-life events. Anything that can spark an idea in my mind and get the creative ball rolling.

What are your current projects?

I am currently working on a couple of short stories for my blog. One is a crime thriller and the other is a supernatural fantasy. As previously mentioned, I am also working on a sci-fi novel. I am also a student with the Writer’s Bureau and am currently enrolled in its Creative Writing Course.

Writers/poets who inspire and influence your own writing?

I am a massive Stephen King fan and his work has inspired the darker side of my writing on several occasions. My favourite books to read are fantasy, and the works of David Gemmell, Robert Jordan, Christopher Paolini, J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name but a few, constantly inspire me.

Have you any published works, or do you plan on publishing in the future?

Unfortunately I don’t have any works published yet, but I hope to in the future.

Tell us about your writing process:

In the last year I’ve become a convert to the idea that “writers just write”, and by that I mean that if I want to write something then I have to sit down and write it. I find a slot in my day where I can devote my energy to writing and I put words on to paper. I’ve found that this helps me work through any stagnant ideas I might be having difficulty with and that the spectre of “writer’s block” doesn’t really frighten me anymore.

In terms of my surroundings, I have realised that I can pretty much write anywhere as long as I actually get started. Complete silence unnerves me, so I like to have at least a little bit of background noise, be it the chatter of a café or some instrumental music on Youtube.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

I used to think that all I could write was fantasy stories, but since I started my blog I have realised that I can try my hand at a few other genres as well, with some degree of success. In terms of style, I seem to gravitate towards character-driven stories with a twist at the end, more often than not a dark one.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

‘Keep writing; it is the best way to stay motivated and maintain your creative energy.’

 

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:

I’m attaching a short story called ‘Live a Little’ to this email.
I asked Jen during our correspondence whether or not she would like me to write something brand new for this guest post, and she said that she would. The inspiration for this story came to me when I was getting into my Dad’s car we both automatically reached for our seat-belts. A mocking voice in the back of my head suggested that I “live a little” and remain unbuckled in my seat. I didn’t like the sound of this voice and I had no idea where it had come from, but I noted it down in my phone along with what would later end up serving as the final line to this story. I filed the idea away for a few months and decided to complete it for this guest post.

Live a Little

By Adam Dixon

I can still remember the night that I died; it’s seared into my mind like a cattle brand, white-hot and permanent. I can still hear the sound of my own laughter in my ears coupled with the cheers and encouragement of my friends. I can still feel the bitter wind tearing at my hair and clothes as I waved my arms above my head. I can still see the painted lines on the tarmac racing past in a blur of white. I’d never felt so alive, and I’d never been so reckless. It was all their fault.

The party had been a riot. A mutual friend had just joined us in the ranks of the over-25s and we four were still buzzing from it. Jen hadn’t wanted to leave, but Bradley had insisted. He never would back down once he’d got an idea into his head, and Jen never would resist him for long. I’d have happily gone home, myself. If only I’d said something, then maybe all this wouldn’t of happened. But I didn’t, and sometime after midnight myself, Jen and her older brother, Steve, all piled into Bradley’s car and set off down the motorway. We were laughing and joking, singing loudly and badly to whatever was on the radio and passing a bottle of vodka around. The familiar burn in my throat and the rush of alcohol to my head was as exhilarating as ever, and I soon got in the mood to find another party.

But it was then that I noticed how drunk Bradley was. He was blinking rapidly behind the wheel, grinning like an idiot and slurring his words whenever he spoke. He hadn’t seemed that bad before, but then again we hadn’t really been watching him. I’d told Jen to keep an eye on him, damn it! At one point Steve said something which made him laugh and he sent us careening across two lanes! The motorway was deserted, of course, but still…

After a while I asked Bradley to slow down. He wasn’t listening because Jen had her hand on his crotch and was whispering something to him as she caressed him through his jeans. Steve was being a nuisance; he seemed to think that because I was drunk I would be doing the same. I can still feel him nuzzling my neck as one hand clumsily pawed my breasts and the other slid up my skirt…I can still hear the ‘crack!’ as I slapped him, too. Christ, that was satisfying, and it succeeded in finally getting Bradey and Jen’s attention.
“Oi, what the hell are you playin’ at back there?” Bradley thundered, glaring at me via the rear-view mirror. Steve was stunned, rubbing his cheek and staring at the back of Jen’s seat.

“Oh, Lisa’s just bein’ a spoilsport, babe!” Jen mocked, rolling her decorated eyes and flicking her perfect hair. “Looks like she doesn’t wanna have some fun with Steve. Can’t blame her, really, he is an ugly bastard!”
“Oi!” Steve protested, still rubbing his cheek. He wasn’t that ugly, but drunk or not I didn’t appreciate him being so forward.
“C’mon, Lees!” Bradley said, annoyed. I hated it when he called me that! “What’s wrong with old Steve-O, anyway? C’mon, live a little, for fuck’s sake!”
“Shut up, Bradley,” I spat, but secretly I felt bad for hitting Steve. That was the effect that Bradley had on people: he was too bloody good at making you feel like the bad guy.

The next few minutes consisted of Bradley and Jen laughing about how uncool I was and how much of a stick-in-the-mud I could be. I angrily disagreed with them, of course, but it really got under my skin. Steve didn’t say much, he just carried on sitting there looking like a kicked puppy. Maybe it was the drink, but I was suddenly determined to prove them wrong.

“I’m not boring, I can do anything you twats can!” I said after downing another mouthful of liquid fire.
“That so?” Bradley asked, still laughing. “I don’t believe you, Lees. Look, you’ve still got your bleedin’ seat-belt on for a start! Why can’t you live a little?”
“Fine!” I had practically ripped my seat-belt off at that remark. I immediately felt it was a bad idea, but I ignored the thought. Big mistake.
“Oooh, look at the balls on you, babe!” Jen had twisted round in her seat to flash a big, stupid grin at me. I felt like we were back in the school playground. “Betcha won’t do anything else though! Betcha wouldn’t lean out of the window while we’re movin’, would you? Nah, course not, you’re too much of a wimp!”
“Just watch me, bitch!” I said and moved towards my window. I remember clearly the struggle I had unwinding the stupid thing, and the memory comes to me in slow motion.

It’s torture to recall it, to remember how I gripped the cold roof of the car with one arm as I leaned my torso out into the night. I even lifted my leg and rested my thigh on the thin glass so that I was more out of the car than inside. The wind buffeted me and tore a gasp from my lungs as I steadied myself. I remember squealing like a giddy child as I raised first one arm, then both into the air as my soul rejoiced at my freedom.

“You see me now, you arseholes!” I screeched at them, laughing deliriously. “I can fucking do anything!” They were laughing too and even Steve was cheering. It was fantastic. It was fatal. Leaning out of a car travelling at ninety miles per hour driven by an intoxicated monkey in a shirt has consequences. Nobody saw how close to the edge of the railings Bradley had gotten until it was far, far too late.
Now I’m trapped in a lonely existence on this barren stretch of asphalt, doomed to watch speeding cars and fester with impotent rage.
Live a little, they had said….
They all wear their seat-belts now.

Advertisements

Guest Poet On Ink & Quill: Al Lane

I’d like to welcome my next guest on Ink and Quill, Al Lane, from Al The Author, a writer of poetry and songs, for both children and adults. As Al says in his interview, he like most writers, is searching for his voice. It seems his children have helped him find his niche and passion, which I can really relate to.

al

NAME: Alistair Lane. Al to my friends. We’re all friends here, right?

COUNTRY: England

AGE: 38

 

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I am a writer, of stories, of poems, of songs, of whimsical ditties and heartbreaking ballads. Of haiku and rhymes, for children and adults, on Star Wars and superheroes and zombies and love and clouds and puddles and cake. Of words that will lift and inspire… and (sometimes) words that don’t quite work. That clunk and crash.

‘But without the permission to make mistakes, we can never really free ourselves from our shackles. Stick with me while I’m finding my voice.’

 

When did you first start writing?

I like to think I’ve always had something of a way with written words (certainly more so than my verbal ability!), but the inciting incident was the birth of my eldest son six years ago. We started reading to him from an early age, as many parents do, and the rhythm of those rhyming picture books (especially Julia Donaldson) got into my system. It infected me from top to toe.

Reading to my son was an amazing way to bond, and something that he really responded to (his reading ability now is incredible)… who wouldn’t want to be able to generate that reaction from their own words? So, I started trying to write rhyming picture books, and developed from there into children’s poetry, short stories, and poems for adults too.
This has helped me to “find my voice”, but also it helps to keep things interesting, to constantly challenge myself to write in different styles, for different audiences. I have just started a screenwriting course for this exact reason.

What does poetry mean to you?

‘Poetry is the distilled expression of a moment. It encompasses the history of the universe, and the flapping of a butterfly’s wings. It is the universal and the personal, the bludgeon and the rapier, the heartbreak and the rapture.’

 

It is a way for me to communicate the more interesting (I hope) ideas that pass through my head, and give them a form that (I hope) merits attention.

I’m also a big believer in keeping poetry accessible. I’m an intelligent person. I don’t need to demonstrate this by using obscure, fancy words, and don’t react favourably to other poets who write this way. (Anything that distances the poet from the audience bemuses me, for one.) I’m all for layers of meaning, and finding the perfect word, but there’s a reason that many people profess not to like poetry, and such intellectual snobbishness perpetuates this.

I believe that one of my strengths is the ability to keep things simple, while also conveying wider themes. Although I’m serious about my craft, I don’t take myself, or my poetry, too seriously. Profound messages can be put across behind a veneer of fun. For proof of this, check out how often Dr Seuss’ quotes are used for writers’ motivation!

What might inspire you to write a poem? How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?

I take part in a number of poetry/ haiku challenges – I enjoy taking the prompt words and bending them to my own shape. I will play with the words in my head, looking for an interesting angle to take, trying to avoid the obvious where possible. Often, especially with haiku challenges, I write a whole stream of unrelated haiku, using the words in different ways, some comic, some serious, some direct, others more layered. I enjoy the mental workout this gives me.

For unprompted work, the ideas can come from anywhere – lines from TV shows, films, print media, books, something I hear on the bus, fun turns of phrase that my boys come out with… I make a note of the idea on my phone, and work it over in my mind, seeing if it develops. Some don’t. I have numerous ideas recorded on my phone that will never go anywhere. But if something sparks, or I get an idea for a refrain… then I will develop it into something more substantial. I literally had one line pop into my head while I was in the shower last night – “these words, alone, to woo” – and have written a poem around that theme, with that as a recurring end line.

All of my ideas revolve around words, and ideas. I am not a visual thinker (even for picture book texts that I’ve written, I have no strong ideas of what the characters look like). I love language and playing with words, and follow them down alleys and cul-de-sacs to see what might become of them.

Which writers/poets inspire and influence your own writing?

My favourite authors are Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams. They are both huge influences, in terms of style and sense of humour.
In terms of poets, I have binged on children’s poetry in the last couple of years. Allan Ahlberg and Julia Donaldson are probably my top picks there. I do get frustrated by the number of instantly forgettable, single joke poems that persist in the world of children’s poetry publishing. We can do better for our children. Joseph Coelho is a notable recent exception to this trend.

I have a range of poetry books and pamphlets that I dip into – I read different poets every day, for different reasons, studying their turns of phrase, or the way they use rhythm, or rhyme. In the reading pile, I currently have: Roger McGough, Shel Silverstein (big fan), Roald Dahl, Jim Carroll, Billy Collins, Spike Milligan, Ogden Nash, Michael Rosen, TS Eliot, WH Auden, John Hegley, Emily Dickinson, Philip Larkin…

The poet who has had the biggest influence recently is definitely Billy Collins. I binge-purchased half a dozen of his books. I’ll never finish them, because every time I read one of his poems, it inspires me to write one of my own, riffing off a phrase that he has used, or an idea that he’s created in me.

I should also give a nod here to two musicians, whose lyrics have a very poetic quality, in differing ways: David Bowie, and Nick Cave. The combination of music and poetry, in such hands, is intoxicating.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?

I don’t think so: it’s such a personal, malleable thing anyway. My appreciation of poetry, good poetry, though – that’s a different matter. The more I read, the more I appreciate.

Tell us about your writing process: Pen and paper, computer, notes?

Everything starts on my smartphone. I commute to work on the bus, and use that time (plus any snatched moment around the clock) to draft and edit poems and story ideas, texting them to myself with each revision. I don’t like typing them up on the laptop – there’s something about seeing the words on a computer screen that’s too final, when the text may not actually be ready yet.

I sometimes make notes with pen and paper, but that tends to be at the brain-storming phase, taking a word and expanding out the possibilities contained within it, until I find something that fires my imagination.

When my phone needed repair last year, I didn’t write a single poem in the week I went without it. My process, as well as managing my life, is totally dependent on it!

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:

This is my favourite recent poem: Al The Author: Ten Tired Parents I met the author of the children’s rhyming picture book Ten Little Pirates at a writer’s conference last year, and gushed to him (at the bar!) about how much my youngest son loved his book… We became Facebook friends, and I made a joke at the time about writing another one in that series for grown-ups. As happens often, I didn’t do anything with that idea. And then, recently we were invited by friends to come and spend the weekend with them while they were on holiday with their young children… I wrote this on the way home, with all of those previous elements coming together at once. Some of it may be autobiographical!
I sometimes adopt personas for poems, or write about ideas or positions that I don’t agree with, or haven’t experienced. Not this one. This one is very personal, and self-explanatory – a haiku on first meeting your newborn baby –

Haiku: ‘Tight and Warm’

baby

Newborn fingers grip
Warm, soft skin seeking comfort
From here, I am hooked
This limerick is in a similar vein –

Limerick: Birth

child

On the wonderful day of your birth
I was the happiest person on Earth
Now you teach me each day
In your own special way
How much this life truly is worth

 

Guest Writer On Ink & Quill: Amanda Eifert

Amanda

 

 

Today’s feature guest is the talented Amanda Eifert from Mandi Belle. Amanda is a writer of fiction and poetry. Currently working towards publishing her first novel. Please head over to Amanda’s site to read more about her writers journey!

 

Poem: Nonet – Be Brave

By Amanda Eifert

Amaze me, be Brave, fight for you and I,

It’s unacceptable for you,

To say, ” I’m not ready yet.”

What length of time required,

Will cause you to move and,

Man up, be Brave,

Shake the past —

away,

Live.

——

Sizzling skin, fascination that thrills me,

Providing us both with hours which,

Entertain, demonstrate,

Affection and comfort,

Between us lies more,

If only you tried,

To be Brave,

Try, be–

Brave.

 

 

Name: Amanda Eifert
Country: Canada
Age: 30-years-old

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and have lived here all my life. I have a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Concordia University of Edmonton. At the age of 23-years-old I was working as an Administrative Assistant for a Commercial Development company when I became ill. Literally, it has taken me a journey of eight-years to come to a point where I can be a bit more independent and take part in more activities in life. I have a mood disorder (depression) and because of that severe fatigue. I am unable to work a traditional job.

I enjoy spending a lot of time writing, reading books, taking classes, blogging, dogs, walking, researching beauty and fashion, watching the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, and watching the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL. I also like to spend time with my wonderful friends and family. I can be contacted @mandibelle16 on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was young. As a girl of ten-years-old I would make up stories and write them in a duo-tang. I wrote prose poetry for a long time as a type of a journal. And I journaled in the traditional sense, in university because I had an English professor tell me in class it would beneficial for our writing if we (her students) wrote everyday. It actually worked.

When I first became ill, I couldn’t read well and writing was even harder so I had to practice those skills and relearn them. Reading came back pretty fast but writing at the level I did in university was a challenge. It is the reason I started my blog http://www.mandibelle16.wordpress.com. I wanted to improve my writing skills and have a place I could write about some of my health issues and other things going on in my life.

What does writing mean to you? Why Do You write?

‘Writing has always been like breathing for me.’

 

Often, I have so many ideas and topics I want to write about but there is only a set amount of hours in the day, and only so much time I have that I can concentrate on writing. I love writing. It is how I express myself most honestly and creatively. Sometimes it is easier for me to “talk” or say what I need to say through writing as opposed to talking out loud.

I write because I have this gigantic need in me to write. Also, I know I still need to improve my writing and keep practicing writing to grow in writing as a career. Now that I have been blogging a few years my writing has improved. My grammar is better (although never perfect) and I have taken creative writing and editing courses through different universities online.

I have also taken many WordPress courses on writing, poetry, blogging, and photography. These courses have helped to grow my writing immensely and to realize that networking in writing is an extremely important aspect of being a writer, as well as having a Social Media presence. I have met so many wonderful bloggers through WordPress courses and various prompts provided by other writers such as Flash Fiction challenges.

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I read a lot and try to stay up on current events, which often inspires me. I would say I’m inwardly motivated and inspired to write.

‘Self-reflection on myself, my experiences in the past and present, happenings in the lives of those close to me, and looking at humanity as a bigger picture of a whole influences my writing.’

 

I also am motivated by poets and writers of the past whom I learned about in University — Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Milton, John Donne, William Wordsworth to name only a few. The prompts for different challenges such as pictures or a word for Flash fiction are inspiring too. As well, I adore fairytales and the meaning behind the true fairytales and folklore. Religion also to some degree is reflected in my writing.

What are your current projects?

I have three goals right now in writing. My first, is to finish a novel I have been writing called ‘How Was Last Night For You?’ It is a romance and supernatural genre book.

To give you a short summary: Nina Gudroe goes to the Martinie Bar under her condo one night and meets the mysterious John Eric. Three unusual and horrible things happen that night. Nina meets John a couple of days later and finds out he was cursed by an ex-girlfriend who was a sea witch to have terrible things happen around him all the time. The relationship between John and Nina escalates quickly and John is able to protect Nina because she is the first woman he has cared about since his ex who cursed him (Tia/Talise.)

Later, Talise decides she wants John back, that he has suffered enough and she will forgive him. This becomes a problem because John is falling hard for Nina. The only way for John to break his curse is for him to love a woman and sacrifice himself for her. Talise will attempt to ensure John does not break his curse and Nina does not remain alive.

The second project I am working on and the third are tied together. I am attempting to get into a Master’s Program at the University of British Columbia in Creative Writing. I need to work on a portfolio for that in two or three areas of creative writing. At the same time, I am trying to get my name out there as a writer and have some of my work published in literary magazines and pretty much anywhere I can find to publish it.

Have you published works, or do you plan on publishing works in the future?

(Mentioned above) I did not say, however, I have been guest publishing on a few other blogs as of late. I also wrote for a young women’s magazine for a year on a variety of topics about three-years-ago. The magazine has since changed sites so my work is no longer available online but I do have copies. I did a couple hundred articles so there were quite a few on topics related to things woman in their late teens or early twenties would enjoy.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I’m still working on completing the first draft and then I will go through some of the constructive criticism other writers have given me on the various chapters and do a second draft. Then, I would like to look into hiring an editor to help me with editing and how things are arranged in the book.

I have never written a book before. This is my first go at it, so I’m hoping to find a great editor who will look at the book overall and then a copy editor. I’m learning as I go, so I’m not quite sure where I will go from there. I know you can self-publish on Amazon, but maybe there are other ways to look at publishing too. I would love to see my book out in actual hardcover or paperback. But right now I need to finish the last quarter of the book’s first draft before I can even think of what is too far ahead.

Tell us about your writing process:

My writing process is something of a developing thing itself for creative writing. If it is a short piece or Flash Fiction I start writing and write until I finish. I begin cutting and editing then. I have learnt to leave only the sentences that matter remain for short fiction. Every sentence has to mean something.

For longer fiction, my book specifically, I learned how to plan the book out from another blogger; The Writing Chimp.  I was stuck for almost a year and a half because I didn’t know how to plan a novel. I was inspired when I read her posts and started writing out all of the characters in my book one at a time. I wrote what they looked like, what the did, what events occurred to them, their past and aspirations.

My main characters were more detailed then my minor characters of course but this simple step gave me material to work with. Then I started writing what happened at the end of the of the book ( in the fourth quarter) with material from my character analysis, and I had already written up my first quarter of the book and my inciting incident. Then, from there I organized the remaining events that I wrote about having happened to my main characters for the second quarter of the book and the third quarter, keeping in mind half-way through the book the main character stops “reacting” and starts “acting” – Nina/John start dealing with their problems the curse and Talise.

Then, I started dividing what happened in each of these quarters into chapters. This has given me an excellent framework to write with. I never realized how much planning is needed for a book. Often, I find myself adding new aspects in and scrapping old aspects. Sometimes what I wanted in each chapter, actually takes me two or three chapters to explain. Sometimes, it only takes a paragraph. I’m learning. Every blog post I can find about writing goes into a folder for reference.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

I like to write about people and their relationships. I like to read books that have a love interest so at times I like to write about that. A fellow blogger named Andy told me I needed to make something happen when I write.

He used the example of Lord of The Rings. Frodo has an evil powerful ring and  this isn’t exciting. But Frodo taking the evil ring on a quest to destroy it is exciting. So, it is great to have a happy story but I have learnt that stories need to have action.

Hence, I have learned to like and write thriller stories too with some romance included at times. Scary stories can be fun to write too.

Poetry for me is more personal, even though I currently am exploring different forms of poetry, the topics of poetry tend to be more about what is going on in my life. I also write short non-fiction stories about my personal life as well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

‘You have to start somewhere; if you want to go write, write! Whether that is blogging or journaling , start writing and write everyday.’

 

I think blogging is a fantastic way to go because it exposes you to other writers and their critiques. It is a good idea to get to know other bloggers and writers through writing prompts and courses and to make a point of commenting on people’s work. This opens up doors for you as well by developing a bigger reader base for your blog. The people who follow your blog now might not like a certain piece, but other bloggers out their might enjoy it immensely. It is also essential to get your name out there on Social Media. Twitter is extremely great for this and a Facebook page is worth it once you start to gain followers. Sharing your work on Social Media sites is critical.

 

From the first draft of the book I’m writing:

Chapter 17: Family Dinner and Defeating Talise

Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart