In the Shadows of the Dance

Today we had part three of the workshop ‘Your choice, Your future’ at work. I tend to find these kind of workshops interesting, because it reminds me of my time at the social academy and my work as a manager in social services, back in the day, before I decided to become an author and work part-time at the bank.

This afternoon completely knocked me off my feet. I’m left in awe. This story is not about me, but about the woman sitting next to me during the workshop, Diana Belfor. I’ve known Diana for a couple of months now. If you’d ask me to describe her, I’d say she’s a upbeat, caring and modest person. Always friendly, interested in what you have to say, which leads to the effect of her getting to know you, but you not knowing very much about her. And there is so much to know.

Diana used to be a dancer. She still dances, though not with the frequency she used to. And she’s not just any dancer. She danced for 2 Brothers on the 4th Floor and even Lionel Richie. When asked what makes her blood run faster, she starts to talk about dancing and her whole face lights up. 

She gives dancing workshops, in her spare time. Dancing workshop for children. Children from different cultures. Who live in the shadows. Children with down syndrome. Their parents love their children very much, but don’t know a lot of other people who can relate. Diana teaches Chinese children, Turkish, Morrocan. These children have so much fun dancing and communicating with each other. The added bonus? Their parents are connecting with each other as well. All of a sudden they have other people to talk to who understand what they’re going through. 

And she set this all up under her own steam. The parents pay a little something to pay for the rent of the place and she orginizes the rest, sometimes with the help of her friends. No funding. When I pointed out to her she could probably raise money for such an activity, meaning she could teach more children, her modesty came to the surface. 


But it shouldn’t be about money, I just want those children and their parents to connect.

This world is a better place with people like you in it. I understand it might be scary to go through the process of getting your workshop out in the open, but just for the record…

Any time you want to step out of the shadows and into the light, I’ll be there. I will help you to write a plan, how to approach the right fundraisers and get you some media attention. Because you deserve it . They deserve it.

You made me remember why I used to love my job in social services. It’s because there are people like you. Thank you.

Rambling of a modern druidess – B&B – Beltane and Booktrope

I’ve had a weird couple of weeks, with amazing ups and downs. My ‘American family’ came over for a visit and I was so happy to see them again and spend some quality time with them. I showed them around Loevestein, Gorinchem, the Deltawerken and Middelburg. We went for pancakes, shared a bun of smoked eel, had some stroopwafels (obviously) and they even tried our famous raw herring. Well, some of them tried 😉


Healthwise it was also ups and downs. I was told by my doctor my blood pressure was way too high (we found out purely by routine check, I came for a frontal sinusitis), so I was put on medication straight away.Thankfully the little pill helped. I just went for my first check-up and it was just perfect. Mind you, stuck with the stomach flu, but that should pass within 48 hours, the good doctor told me. It did. I felt much, much better this morning. Until I opened my mail.

My publisher, Booktrope, is going out of business by the end of May. I still can’t believe it. So many authors, editors, designers, proofreaders, managers, all out of a job. So many books, now in limbo. We’ll be given a more detailed update this Monday and I really hope this will bring some other options for the future as well. 

This night the bonfires will burn, as it will be Beltane night. A time of fertility, of fire, of passion. I’m going to reach for that fire and passion inside of me to make sure my books will survive. I know I can, I know I’m not in this alone. How it’s all going to turn out, I do not know yet, but that’s okay. I have faith. In my own abilities and in that of others.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people who have helped me at Booktrope and are still helping me. Elizabeth Flynn, Marisa Chenery, Pam Elise Harris, Rhianna Davies, Lisa Gilliam, you ladies rock! Most of them have their own company and I highly recommend their services!

If it’s up to me, The Empath will still see the light of day Halloween 2016. Come hell or high water, I’ll make it work! Wishing you al a magical Beltane night, may it be filled with love, hope and passion.

Cover Reveal! Timeshaft – Stewart Bint

Today is cover reveal time for my good and amazing barefoot author friend – Stewart Bint.  He is funny, caring, a brilliant autbor (many of his books scared the living daylights out of me) and very supportive to other authors, including humble little me.

Booktrope are shortly publishing a revised edition of Stewart Bint’s time travel novel, Timeshaft…and here’s a sneak preview of the dazzling new cover created by Booktrope designer Troy Johnson.  Originally published on Smashwords in 2013, the new edition features a new beginning and ending, along with a number of new scenes.

Blurb

By the twenty-seventh century, mankind has finally mastered time travel—and is driving recklessly towards wiping itself out. The guerilla environmentalist group WorldSave, with its chief operative Ashday’s Child, uses the Timeshaft to correct mistakes of the past in an effort to extend the life of the planet.But the enigmatic Ashday’s Child has his own destiny to accomplish, and will do whatever it takes within a complicated web of paradoxes to do so. While his destiny—and very existence—is challenged from the beginning to the end of time, he must collect the key players through the ages to create the very Timeshaft itself.

“Do our actions as time travellers change what would otherwise have happened, or is everything already laid down in a predetermined plan?” he asks. Stewart Bint’s Timeshaft is an expertly synchronized saga of time travel, the irresistible force of destiny, and the responsibility of mankind as rulers of the world.

Stewart Bint  Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Leicestershire, in the UK, and has two grown-up children, Christopher and Charlotte.

He is a former radio presenter, newsreader and phone-in show host, but always wanted to become a fiction writer — a dream that came true when his first novel was published in 2012 at the age of 56. Now the author of five novels, a collection of short stories and a compilation of his early magazine columns, he was signed by Booktrope in 2015, who published a revised edition of his paranormal novel, In Shadows Waiting, in August.

They are publishing a revised and re-edited edition of Timeshaft shortly.

As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails and urban streets.

Stewart Bint online:

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As the World Falls Down

Today David Bowie no longer walks among us. One of my facebook friends asked – rightly so – whether or not I was really sad about this or is it just people pouring their hearts out because they can? Her timeline feed showed almost nothing else and mine is showing pretty much the same. 

So it made me wonder, what does it mean to me? Does it really affect me? Does it have an impact on my life? 

I’d heard of David Bowie before I saw the movie Labyrinth in 1986 through my parents obviously, but after I saw that, I was hooked. He was the first man I had a major crush on. Jareth, the goblin king, was the epitome of romance to me and I could not understand why Sarah would ever want to go home. Save the bloody baby, sure, but why leave? Sigh. I watched that movie over a hundred times and could quote it by heart from beginning to end at one point. I kid you not.

I mean, could you leave him behind? Sigh

 
I loved them all, wanted to party with the Wild Gang, hug Hoggle, play a game of wits with Sir Didymus and his trusty Ambrosius and be friends with Ludo.

Let’s Dance was one of my favourite albums and yes, I do realise he’d released fourteen albums before that, but these were my teenager years, so obviously very important. 

China Girl – David Bowie

 
I’ve never seen him in concert and that makes me sad. I think it would have been a magical experience. Even now, not in his prime. That chance is gone now. With the release of his former album I had small hopes of him returning to the stage, and alas. 

So I’m left with my memories. Which are good, very good. No, it doesn’t shatter my world and it won’t affect my daily life as I did not know him personally, but it does leave me with a sad feeling. My first crush is no longer here. He was my inspiration when it came to the concept of romance and he will remain being just that. Safe travels, great beautiful man. You’ll be missed by many and loved by even more.

Labyrinth

Just around the corner – Ramblings of a modern druidess

Just a few more days and we’ll be leaving for my beloved Sweden. Two weeks of peaceful bliss in a breathtaking environment. Needless to say I’m counting the days.
  
Looking forward to see my mother-in-law, brother-in-law and my friends Marry, Rene and their two amazing boys. 

Packing is turning out to be a bit of a challenge. With Christmas and work, I haven’t had a lot of time to actually think what I should bring along. And think about it I should. Sweden can become cold quick. Very quick. So the trick is layers. Lots of layers. And my running gear. And my horse-riding gear. And my harp. I think I need a bigger suitcase.

My trusty laptop is coming along as well, of course. Good thing too, as I really need a good kick in the butt right about now. I need to make some serious progress on The Empath. Now The Bridge has been released, I can turn my full focus on my trilogy again. As my internt connection is kind of crap, I should be able to focus more easily. That’s the theory at least and I’m sticking with it!

 
I wish you all a loving and healthy 2016 and above all, a bit of magic in your life. So I’ll leave you with this slightly altered quote.

Without magic, life would be a mistake.

Nietzsche (on a magical day 😉)

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The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow – Release Day!

Today my first short story will see the light of day. The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow.

Pianist Donna Verdell kindly provided the music for this book trailer. When it’s Raining – from the collection Songs of Summer.

The Bridge is inspired on my time in Sweden. I visit regularly as my family-in-law lives there. The Dalarna area is just so beautiful, so magical, it’s not hard to imagine a world beyond our vision, our knowledge. A world of trolls. Not scary looking trolls, but different. From us, anyway.
Eydis is such a troll. She’s a girl who falls in love with a human boy. As we’re not supposed to know trolls exist, you can see how this is going to be a problem.

Writing a short-story has been a real challenge for me. How to create a whole world and fascinating characters with just a few words? Jack Croxall has been a true inspiration. His short stories X and Dylan blew me away! They are so well-written and captivating, you just want to know more!

I wanted to create that same feeling. Of wanting more. At least it worked for me. I got so sucked into the world of Eydis, I think there’s definitely a larger story to be told. I’m not done with her world. Not saying there’s a Lord of the Rings in there, but definitely more, yes.

I truly hope you will feel the same. A big thank you goes out to my editor for The Bridge, the amazing Pam Elise Harris, you totally rock! If you have a minute, be sure to check out her own works. 

This book is also something of a family effort. I’m very proud of the cover, which was drawn by my own cousin Trudy v/d Bosch-Veldkamp. The poem featuring in The Bridge was made by my other cousin Tom van der Vlies. He just nailed the feeling I wanted to describe in the book. What was really special is that he wrote about a heart-shaped emerald in his poem without even knowing I’d actually written something along those lines in the book! How’s that for magic! The poem in Midwinter under the Bridge was created by me. Last but not least, my own husband, Maarten Bastiaan – a goldsmith – created the ring Eydis receives from her father. The emerald ring.


You can order The Bridge here from Amazon. UK or US in paperback or e-book.

And without further ado, here’s the cover! Yule blessings, happy holidays and a magical new year! X

Blurb

“Hello human child. My name is Eydis. I’m a troll-girl who’s in big trouble. You see, I’ve fallen for one of your kind. A human boy. Talib. He’s just so nice – I can’t stay away from him. If my father finds out though, I don’t know what will happen. Humans are not supposed to know we exist and I just broke the rules. Oh, did I mention he’s also the king and I’m heir to the throne? Yes – like I said. Big trouble.” 

Deep in the woods, below the rocks and in the caves, there lies a world unknown to us. They are part of our stories though. Part of our heritage, our legends and myths. Trolls. However, they might not be what you expect them to be. What if you meet one of them? Would you believe your eyes? Would you be brave enough to follow them? To go on an adventure?

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The Phoenix Project – DM Cain

The brand new edition of dystopian, psychological thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain will be re-released on December 11th. Originally published in May 2014, this new Booktrope edition has had a complete editing overhaul plus a stunning new cover design.

The book will be available to buy from a wide range of digital and paperback distributors, including Amazon:

US or UK

Author: D.M. Cain
Title: The Phoenix Project
Genre: Psychological thriller/Dark thriller/Dystopian
Book Content: Occasional adult language, graphic violence, and mild sexual content.
Original Cover Design from the first edition:  

Synopsis:
How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting re-released novel, The Phoenix Project.

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.

An interesting fact about The Phoenix Project: The horrifying ‘dark room’ in The Phoenix Project (a pitch-black sensory deprivation cell) was inspired by D.M. Cain’s visit to the Terror Haza in Budapest—a museum dedicated to the fascistic and communistic regimes that operated from the building. In the cellar of the Terror Haza are the old cells used to imprison and torture inmates. D.M. crawled inside a very low cell and shut the door, casting herself into total darkness. It was terrifying and claustrophobic, and she only lasted five minutes in there!

Special treat!!!!! 
Listen to DM Cain as she reads from the first chapter of The Phoenix Project! D.M. Cain Biography
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.  Links:
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