Spread Some Indie Love Blog Hop!

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We’re hosting a giveaway of our first book in the Keeping Secret series, for you to win a chance to get your hands on a signed paperback copy of Legend Unleashed or ebook book copies enter with the Rafflecopter below!

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When an infamous criminal is unleashed from his prison, it has consequences for everyone in Carwick. Temperance Levinthal in particular…

Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life. Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.
After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.
They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.
However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.
Even Alastair may be more than he seems…

To learn more about Legend Unleashed and read some sample chapters go HERE!

The book trailer:

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER

To see the list of all the other fantastic Indie books and the blogs taking part go here!!

Now on to the next blog in the hop, Privy Trifles!

Let’s get our reading on!

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The Fey Man by James T. Kelly

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We want to welcome James T. Kelly to our blog, a good twitter friend and fellow published author, we wanted to share his new book with you! So we asked him a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them!

So James congratulations on getting The Fey Man published!!

Thank you! I still can’t believe it’s out there. It’s literally a dream come true. And thank you for inviting me to your blog!

1. What’s been the best part of the whole publishing process for you?

I think my favourite moment was holding that first paperback. I’ve been writing with a view to publication for almost fifteen years. So it’s been a very long road to The Fey Man, full of novels that will never see the light of day and abortive starts on other projects. But when it all culminated in seeing that paperback for the first time, that’s when it felt real. This was an actual book with my name on it. After all the years of work, that was really quite something.

2. Please tell us all about The Fey Man. (Ridley loves that it has dragons!)

The short version is that it’s about a man’s journey to return to Faerie and the war of dragons that gets in his way.

The longer version is that Thomas Rymour is a prophet who cannot lie, obsessed with returning to Faerie and reuniting with the queen of the fay. The elfs in the West are using magic to enslave dragons and invade the rest of Tir; the elfs in the East seek a fabled sword to break that magic. Tom thinks he can use that quest to get back to Faerie. But, of course, it’s not that easy.

I’ve tried to write the fantasy novel I always wanted to read, so it’s got fantasy staples like elfs, dragons, swords and quests. But it’s also got the fay of Faerie, a (very) reluctant hero, and a twist or a rethink for all of those staples. I hope the world I’ve created feels familiar enough that people want to enter but novel enough that they want to stay.

3. Do you see any of yourself in your main character Tom?

Oh sure. I’m a clueless, lovelorn liar too.

Joking aside, Tom’s the viewpoint character so I spend more time in his head than anyone else’s. Consequently he’s probably inherited more from me than the other characters. Tom, as he appears in The Fey Man at least, certainly reminds me a little of my younger self. He has a sort of teenage romanticism that I was prone to, a little victimhood, and a certain selfish and dogged drive to see his own desires fulfilled.

That said I think most characters start, if not with the writer asking “what would I do?”, than “what would make me do that?”. Even if characters are very dissimilar to their creators, they all begin with the writer and do ultimately reflect them in some way.

4. The Fey Man is an epic fantasy novel, why were you drawn to write in this genre in particular?

Well in truth I want to write in all the genres. The Fey Man was just the first story to be ready!

Fantasy is great because it’s so entangled with myths and legends. It’s filled with these evocative motifs that move and inspire us in fundamental ways. There’s a reason dragons and elfs and magic make so many appearances in fiction and, like I said before, I wanted to write them all as I wanted to see them!

5. We’ve said before we love the cover, did you work closely with the artist on it or did you give her free artistic reign?

I took the view that Annah’s the professional artist so her instincts are going to be better than mine. That viewpoint paid dividends! I gave her a detailed synopsis as well as a description of what I had in mind, but the rest was really all her. Her pencil sketch was just incredible. We discussed details and I made requests for amendments and tweaks, but that cover is far more Annah’s work than mine. I’m looking forward to working with her on the sequel.

6. Have you always wanted to be a writer, and was there any one thing, event or person that inspired you to become one?

I don’t think I can point to one thing that inspired me to be a writer. After all, I’d been writing stories since I was old enough to string words together. But a big part in moving me from hobbyist to aspirant was Orson Scott Card’s introduction to Ender’s Game, which chronicled the creation of the novel. It was one of the first times I realised that the writer was just a person making things up, and if they could do it, why couldn’t I?

Sadly my opinion of Orson Scott Card has diminished in light of some of the things he’s said about homosexuality, but I still have to credit that introduction to putting me on this path.

7. Tell us about your writing process, is there any time of the day or night you prefer to put pen to paper?

Any time is good writing time. I get up early to get an hour in before work (which is much harder in winter, let me tell you). I also write on my lunchbreak and, if I’m really on the ball, whenever I’ve got thirty seconds. That’s the great thing about the cloud; you can use whatever device you have to hand. For long stretches I use an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and my phone for shorter bursts. I much prefer writing with a physical keyboard and a decent-sized screen, though; a phone just isn’t good enough to write on for too long!

8. What is your favourite thing about being a writer?

That’s a really tough one. There are so many things! I like that I can daydream and call it work. I like that I can tell the stories I want to read. And I especially love it when people read and enjoy my work.

If I had to pick, though, I think it’s the creation itself. It’s quite exciting to sees story rush into the page from your fingertips. And then to go over it, cutting, amending, honing the raw, ugly prose into something you can be proud of. I’m probably gushing, but creating something where previously there was nothing? Yes, that’s my favourite thing!

9. So what’s next for James T Kelly?

The sequel! I’m beavering away on the second volume which moves the story into the belly of the beast: the Western Kingdom. I’ve got a few other projects I’m working on as well so there’s plenty to be getting on with.

Thanks for asking me, I hope I haven’t waffled on too much!

James

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Thanks so much for stopping by and answering our questions James! There definitely wasn’t too much waffle, in fact we’d love to hear more!

We wish James all the best with his new book! Make sure you check out The Fey Man on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Smashwords.

Twitter: @realkjtk

Legend Unleashed, Chapter 5

LU_NEW_deviantIn anticipation of the release of Unbroken Ties (Keeping Secrets, 2), we’ll be releasing some new chapters of Legend Unleashed (Keeping Secrets, 1) every Wednesday (so check back on the 30th July!)!!

Synopsis:

“Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life. Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.
After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.
They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.
However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.
Even Alastair may be more than he seems…”

Catch up from the beginning here: Legend Unleashed Prologue to Chapter 4 and get the newest chapter release here: Legend Unleashed Chapter 5

Please share if you can! And look forward to the August 2014 release of Unbroken Ties!

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Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2

We’re back! Yes it has been a while, but we’re picking up lots of momentum recently and everything is back on track and progressing nicely!

So here it is, the cover for our next book, due out at the end of August – drum roll please… Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2!

Book 2 cover!!

Book 2 cover!!

We hope you guys like it! Please let us know what you think. The cover was designed and made my ourselves here at MLR and we’re v.happy with the results!

So, yes, this is book 2 in our Keeping Secrets series (Young Adult, Urban Fantasy), continuing on from Legend Unleashed (Keeping Secrets 1). The synopsis for Unbroken Ties is…

Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets Book 2

Trouble is brewing and tensions are high in Carwick, where Temperance is struggling to belong.

The wizards distrust her, the werewolves despise her, and someone wants her dead.

With Halvard’s duties drawing him further from her, and the surprise return of her brother, chaos grips Carwick, and Temperance soon finds her loyalty to her family tested like never before….

We hope you’ll come back to Carwick with us for the next story! If you haven’t already checked out Legend Unleashed, please click here to read some excerpts and see the book trailers! Or you can pop on over to Amazon!

 

Laotian Living

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Latimer: Ridley and I are working hard to get the second book of our Keeping Secrets series read for publication! But, in the meantime, we are daydreaming about the exotic and the far-away, reliving some holidays and thinking about some new ones.

Last I left off on my trip down the South-East Asian holiday memory-lane, I was in Laos, heading towards Vang Vieng and the capital city of Laos Vientiane!

In Vang Vieng, we were lucky enough to stay with a local family in a small village (just a few minutes from Vang Vieng central). It was a real eye-opener because we just don’t live like this anymore in Ireland. Everyone was really nice and the homemade food was yummy.

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Village living

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Little piggys!

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While in Vang Vieng, I checked out the beauty of the Blue Lagoon; petted a butterfly – no really, it felt like I was Snow White or something, it was crazy, I was surrounded for the briefest moment by a flock (?) of colourful butterflies! I trekked up a mountain and had a poke around an amazing cave, which really inspired me for writing! And then, I had some fresh coconut juice. I also had a bit of relaxation getting a brilliant Laotian massage – I definitely recommend them!

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Blue lagoon… beautiful!!

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Stunning butterfly

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My Disney/Snow White moment!!

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We had a few relaxing days in Vang Vieng, ending the trip there with a beautiful sunset and some nice juices…

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Then it was off to Vientiane, the most laid-back capital city in the world. It’s really small, but has this relaxing feel to the place, that just doesn’t exist in… well, basically any capital city I’ve ever been in. It’s such a cool, fun place. We managed to get lost walking around the whole city, but all roads lead to where you want to go eventually in Vientiane! On the detour we managed to check out some nice temples.

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We didn’t have long in Vientiane before we were saying goodbye to Laos and GOOD MORNING to VIETNAM 🙂

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For other posts about South-East Asia check out: Lovely Laos and Trekking through Thailand

Our Writing Process Blog Hop

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So we were asked by our good twitter and writer friend, James T Kelly, to take part in the Writing Process Blog Hop. Last week, James posted his response to the same questions we have below, so make sure you check them out here. Also while you’re at it, why not pop on over to Smashwords and check out his great short stories, The Homeless Hero and You Are Just A Guest.

So on to the questions…..

What are we working on?

Well let’s see, we’ve the sequel to Legend Unleashed off with our editor at the moment, hopefully it’s being hacked and pruned and whipped into some sort of book shape by him. We look forward to the work that comes with it when we get it back, that’s always fun!! Though it’ll be very tiring, we generally look like we’re carrying massive suitcases under our eyes, not just little bags, by the end of it all. We are also currently in the middle of writing our third book in the Keeping Secrets series, and we’re near-ish the end of the that one, and once that’s finished it’s on to start the fourth book, so we’ve been keeping ourselves busy! Sure what else would we be doing in our spare time? 😛

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How does work differ from others of its genre?

We like to think, like any writer I suppose, that we inject a little of ourselves into our books, whether it’s a quirky habit of ours that we give to a character, or our weird sense of humour, or generally just a slightly askew way of looking at the world, it all goes in. For any book, I think the part of the author that is infused throughout the pages of their novel, that piece of them that people are almost only unconsciously aware is present, is what makes each book unique and different from others in its genre.

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Why do we write what we do?

We write what we love to read. We like fantasy, we like the young adult genre. At the back of everything we’ve written, there are two fangirls giggling and nodding, urging each other on and basically putting in everything we’ve always wanted to see in other books. Usually our plots begin with the words, ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’ When we were both younger, long before we ever knew each other or became friends, we both used to play the game of ‘what will happen now’, where after you were forced to put your book down and stop reading (usually to get some sleep before school), you were left to imagine what would happen next in the story, what the main character would say, or do, so writing the stories that we do, is probably just a natural progression of all of that for us.

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How does our writing process work?

Well, this is a question that we get asked quite a lot, mainly as there are two of us and people wonder how two people can write a book together. We think up the book plot together over numerous pots of tea and not a small bit of mad cackling laughter. Generally this is the most free and creative part in the whole process, as we put in everything and anything we each want to see happen in the book. After this, the the plot is broken down into chapter summaries, then we divide them out evenly between us, we each get two chapters at a time and the book hops back and forth between us after each of our chapter stints are over. It also generally works out that where one of us starts the book, the other person ends it. There’s a nice symmetry to it all really!

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So there’s some tiny insight into how we work! Needless to say, whether we were published or not, I’ve no doubt we’d still be writing stories together, it’s just too much fun to stop.

Now we pass the blog hop torch to another writer and blogger friend, Frankie Whelan:

“Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Lifelong consumer of words. Writing is mostly fantasy fiction with occasional leanings towards journalism. Avid gamer and musician, when time allows.
Firmly believes that a mug of tea and a chocolate digestive can solve most of the world’s woes.”

Check out his website, he’ll be posting next week for the next stage in the Writing Process Blog Hop! 🙂

Never-ending Reading List

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Latimer: I remember a while back I did a post about how I was struggling through a long read list – well, not struggling, because I like having a lot of books to read, but sometimes when you find yourself buying more than you’re reading you do feel like giving yourself a kick in the brain!

Back then, I had been reading (on and off) Bill Bryson’s At Home; I am so happy to say I finished reading it before 2013 ran out! Yes, the never-ending reading list is getting just a little bit shorter!

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It really sickens me how long it took me to read such a great book. Bill Bryson has to be one of the best authors; I’ve only read two of his books, but they have both been so amazing (and they both took me forever to read). There’s just so much information in his books and so many funny, strange and sad stories, that you find yourself stopping to digest what you just read and staring into space shaking your head!

This is a small example; in At Home, I read about roof rats. Yup. Now every time I hear something skittering across the attic floor, I no longer think ‘birds’, I think… ‘roof rats’. No one else is buying what I’m selling, but in Bryson I trust, so yup… roof rats.

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Apparently the modern home is a great environment for the roof rat. And the behaviour of the modern rat – wooh, it’s scary. They show no fear, ‘and will even deliberately approach and make contact with motionless persons. They are particularly emboldened in the presence of infants and the elderly’ (neither of which I am, so I’m fist punching the air, shouting “do you hear that roof rats! Fear me!”)

‘Rats have very sharp teeth and can become aggressive if cornered’ (won’t be doing that so!) ‘biting savagely and blindly, in the manner of mad dogs’ (holy moly!) ‘A motivated rat can leap as high as three feet’. Then they are also very, very smart; there was an incident where rats were stealing eggs from a farmer without breaking them (which even now as I type sounds like a cartoon); the rats worked together, where one rat would embrace an egg on all fours and roll over onto its back, and a second rat would then drag it by its tail to their burrow.

This image has stayed with me since I read the book. And there’s so much more in the book, that I kind of feel like I will have to re-read it a lot to remember most of it. But it’s such a good book.

I don’t have much of a feel for ‘special interest’ books. I just read what I’d like to know about; there are a few people though who seem to have a gift for reading really interesting sounding books.

I’m addicted to Smodcast, and Kevin Smith’s friend, Scott Mosier, reads some really interesting books! He’s always reading something and he mentions books so often that someone put together a list.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary (maybe!); check out the list of books he’s mentioned! There’s some really interesting ones! http://smodbooks.wordpress.com/page/3/

I think my reading list is always going to be never-ending… 🙂

The Walking Detective

It's all so scary!!

It’s all so scary!!

Latimer: I recently started watching True Detective, a new series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. I was intrigued because they were in it, and it’s supposed to be a new ‘must watch show’.

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They play two detectives investigating a murder – which appears to be satanic. The episodes swing back and forth between the present day and when the murder happened in 1995 (or 1992?), and it’s about what happened in the investigation and what happened to McConaughey and Harrelson’s relationship as partners.

Some of the weird, extensional monologues Matthew McConaughey gets in True Detective are incredible.  They are pretty dark though, because his character is a dark person with no optimism about the world in general, or himself.

The series moves at, what I can only imagine is the pace of an actual investigation – really slow. I watched the first two episodes at night time (in the dark) and wow, did I ever freak myself out! I realised what a total wimp I am!

The murder is just the tip of the iceberg, and every time Matthew McConaughey finds another ‘satanic’ symbol linked to the murder (these homemade small wicker cages), I keep expecting that a monster is going to jump out – and I’m way more freaked out that the monster will be an actual person, not a boogieman! Yup!

Like in the recent episodes of the Walking Dead, while the zombies are still something to be scared of, it seems like rogue bands of vicious survivors looking for your share of supplies, or your weapons, are the ones you should be seriously afraid of!

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Basically, I think I should now watch a Disney movie, to restore my faith in humanity!

Game Watchers

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt... ho-yah!

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt… ho-yah!

Latimer: I used to be a recreational gamer.

I wouldn’t say I was a real gamer, because I know what it is to be obsessed about stuff and I didn’t qualify for this one!

I do have a bit of a history with gaming though.

We used to have an Amstrad in our house, when I was young. I say we, but that’s a lie, my big brother owned it and it got passed down to us young’ens over time.

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It was a clunky, beautiful beast.

Games came on cassettes and you had to wait for it to ‘load’ whereby the title image would appear on the screen, one painful, pixelated line at a time.

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Games took a very, very, long time to load. I remember we had a game called ‘Run the Gauntlet’ that was a series of different races; boats, cars and a final cross-country level – that was impossible to pass!

I always wondered what came after that, as the computer AI’s whizzed past my character… I would sigh, thinking, ‘I’ll never know’. And I never did. The joy of being denied content because you have no talent for gaming – that was my lot!

I used to beg my parents to buy me a console.

A Sega Mega Drive?

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NO!

A Dreamcast (what happened to them!?)?

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NO!

A Playstation –

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No – look how are you not getting this by now? Stop asking!

Sometimes we would rent consoles from the video shop (I wonder do people do that at all anymore?) – it was about 10 pounds (back before the euro!) a night, and you’d get a game. Usually the console was a Sega. And it would be the best night ever and I’d wake up early the next day to get all the enjoyment I could before the console was pried away from me, never to be touched by my crappy, but loving, gaming hands again.

My brother somehow managed to wrangle a Gameboy out of my parents one year.

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That was brilliant… that’s when I met Kirby, in Kirby’s Dream Land. Oh what a game! The premise – you are Kirby, loveable vacuum-powered ball of joy, protecting his homeland from an evil dragon-creature.

Sssss... POW evil tree!

Sssss… POW evil tree!

This was one of the few I cleared and I still take it as a badge of pride. Ridley has this honour too I believe!

We did have games for the PC though. That’s where I met Lara Croft and I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist – ah, yeah, I was easily swayed!

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When my sister got a real job, she bought herself a Playstation and that was my first look into having a games console on demand. She bought Kingdom Hearts and to this day I will say that it’s my favourite game to play.

I'm a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

I’m a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

Here’s the thing, the ending made me cry and the whole game made me love Disney again. Yup, that’s the power of Kingdom Hearts – I won’t have a bad word said about Sora and the boys (Donald Duck and Goofy)!

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If I still had my young heart today, I would buy a console; a Playstation 3 or 4… or 5,000 – whatever it is now. But, truth is, being denied the content of a story because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle or beat the boss (which would be inevitable) would kill me. I remember telling Ridley once (as I was playing Kingdom Hearts 2) that I got a stabbing pain in my eye and had to lie down, because I couldn’t beat a boss (the one with the water guitar – ARGH!) – I got so frustrated I literately had to go lie down and sleep away the anger.

So I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.

That’s why today, I don’t play games. I’ve moved from recreational gamer, to avid games watcher. You see I love watching games trailers and game cutscenes.

That might seem weird, but computer games combine two of my loves, art and story-telling. Games are beautiful pieces of art and they’re getting smarter and bigger all the time – and this means the stories can get more complex and involved too. Games are like books; they draw you in.

Because I don’t play, I like watching people like Pewdiepie playing for me – because it’s fun to have the shock moments during the game and Pewds is fun!

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The new games today are amazing feats of world-building.

Bioshock Infinite had this massively involved story set in this epic world. It was a stunning place – a city in the clouds.

My ultimate favourite game to watch though is the Uncharted series! Oh how brilliant are they! It’s basically modern-day Indiana Jones treasure hunting.

Damn it's hot out in the desert...

Damn it’s hot out in the desert…

Uncharted 2 is a major reason for me wanting to go visit Nepal! I want to stand on a mountain surrounded by temples and prayer-wheels and flags… one day…one day!

I often wonder if there are other people out there who love to watch games as much as I do – other games watchers.

We should come up with a name for ourselves – unless it exists already, in which case… what are we? 🙂

Make Good Art

Ridley: I love inspirational quotes, especially from people whose work I admire or who I really look up to for what they’ve achieved through hard work and determination. I always feel really motivated after I’ve read them. So I said I’d share some of the really good ones with you!

  • This quote often has me nodding rapidly in agreement…

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  • ‘We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.’ Jesse Owens
  • Latimer found this one from Kevin Smith. Never were there truer words.

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  • Technically not a quote, but it inspires me, so I’m adding it it! This is my favourite poem, do other people have favourite poems? I have this painted on my bedroom wall, depending on the type of day I’ve had, it can mean different things to me.

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  • The prolific Stephen King, who is definitely the King of hard work! (see what I did there? :D)

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  • This is taken from the move, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, one of the best films I’ve ever seen and one that always has me sniffing at the end. What a fantastic story.

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  • Grant Morrison, Glaswegian comic-book author extraordinaire.. an amazing personality, who has this great quote that makes me feel like ‘yes! yes, let’s do that!’
  • Walt Disney, if ever there was a man who inspired dreams in generations of young children, it was him. He never let failure stand in his way, no matter how many knockbacks he received. 

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  • Neil Gaiman, a rock star author, I just love his quotes!!

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  • This picture happens to be the background image on my phone! This is what I look at every day, it reminds me to always keep going forward, to strive for what I want to be.

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  • So true Kevin Smith!! If ever you worry that someone’s better than you (there’s always someone better than you), if someone is more successful (without a doubt there is) or if you aren’t good enough (if that’s what you believe, then it will be true), read this quote, duck your head down and work harder. Keep focused.

kevin-smith-quotes‘The main goal in life careerwise should always be try to get paid to simply be yourself.’ Kevin Smith

  • Darn tootin’!

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  • Make Good Art. More Neil Gaiman. I’ll just repeat his lines like a parrot, as I’ve nothing that could add to this quote. This is a snippet taken from his commencement speech at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, it’s absolutely epic!

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You can watch it here:

Other quotes from him:

‘The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.’ Neil Gaiman

‘As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.’ Neil Gaiman

‘It’s not a bad thing for a writer not to feel at home. Writers – we’re much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everybody else having a good time than we are mingling.’ Neil Gaiman

  • Insert the word books for movies and you got that right Walt!! 😀

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  • Thankfully, Latimer and I both love to read and write. To be sucked into another world without leaving your armchair is the most magical experience there is! Is it still called work when you enjoy yourself? 😀

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  • Will Smith, the master of thought provoking quotes, I could have a whole post dedicated to him you know, or even a website! He’s a fan of inspirational quotes himself, Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ is one of his favourite books. I quite enjoyed it too, makes you think.

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‘Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.’ Will Smith

  • Sometimes we all have to do this!

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  • This is one of my absolute favourite quotes, it just sums up the lives of so many people!

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  • And always remember, the most important piece of advice, from the funniest man ever:

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PS. I own none of the above pictures  (* _*)