Wednesday 19 October 2016

#WEPff post--The Starry Night -- CONSTELLATIONS as seen by Vincent van Gogh

The October challenge for Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) is to write to the prompts, CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN or a combination of both.
The minute Yolanda ran the idea of CONSTELLATIONS by me, Vincent van Gogh's painting, The Starry Night and Don McLean's tribute, Vincent, came to mind. 

I've long been fascinated by van Gogh and have visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam which holds 200 of his paintings, 400 of his drawings and 700 of his letters. 

So, I've gone with my van Gogh inspiration, taken some poetic licence with the blurry facts of his life and death, weaved in some direct quotes from him, added relevant paintings and painting detail, and come up with a creative non-fiction piece from Vincent's POV.

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889
Displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City
The Darkness of the Soul

The Starry Night.

The curving lines of hills, of mountains, of sky are silhouetted in the dying breath of day. The brilliant colours of blues, of yellows, of greens, take on a mystic hue when no sun lights their fire.

As the fit overtakes me, I clench my fists and imagine…

All colours blending into one.
Colours changing hue.

Flaming flowers brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze…

Taking ragged breaths, I hit my head against the cypress tree outside the compound This tree is one of many planted as a windbreak by farmers long ago. Waves of wheat with shuddering golden stalks roar like the sea and crash in the goddess-blown winds. Morning fields of amber grain, a bronze curtain, flicker through my mind.

Colour. The life present within colour. Colours with a life of their own.

I wrestle with how to find an adequate means of portraying a spiritual experience through my application of colour. Colour represents the value of existence; it represents life itself.

I gaze mesmerised at the countryside surrounding Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. Long before sunrise, the sky is empty of everything but the morning star, then lesser stars appear one by one.  

The mountain range of the Alpilles dominates the fields of corn, the rows of grapes and the groves of olives across the valley. The mountains shimmer with the power of God as He sprays constellations across the horizon in a broad band of light.

The night is even more richly coloured than the day, coloured with intense violets, blues and greens. Some stars are lemony, others exude a pink, green, forget-me-not blue glow.

I must capture the shifting landscape of the night. I must capture its beauty, its majesty, its terror. I must impress in my works the harmony, the organised unity of nature.

Now in July of 1889, in the quaint village of Saint-Rémy, the time has come to finish what I have begun.

I press my bandaged ear, quieting the voices. The only voice I crave is the voice of God.

I set my canvas and render my night imaginings, not en plein air, but in the studio gifted to me for the duration of my stay.

What a contrast to the sky of Paris. Here in France profond, the sky suffers no interference from gas or electric street lights or garish shop fronts. 

The sky here is as pure as God.

I have painted the starry night over the Rhone, but now I will paint the starry night over my little village.

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone,1888

The sky I will paint is blue, bluer than the irises I love to paint. Those voluptuous irises, those crammed, ripe, moist excesses of nature anchored in the warm red soil. That contrast between the deep blue of the finely-drawn buds and the bold green leaves with their tongue-like forms against a backdrop of the light green flowering meadow. They radiate light from within, creating that balanced connected harmony I crave.

A cosmic happening is taking place. My brush and the canvas are as one.

The stars, whorls of yellow and white, are a reflection of my beloved sunflowers or the summer wheat at harvest.  Two gigantic spiral nebulae entwine; eleven enormously enlarged stars with their aureoles of light break through the night. The winding, wavy curls reach their tendrils towards the rising sickle of the unreal orange-coloured moon which overlooks the star-lit village. Bathed in moonlight, the houses are barely visible, lumpen shadows, short, sharp dashes amongst the trees. Dominating the shadowy village is the silhouette of the lone church, its spires reaching towards God, reaching towards salvation.

But the church is temporal. So I imagine the swaying cypresses in the foreground to resemble church spires—nature overpowering man-made structures.

It is not so much the language of painting as that of nature which one must listen to.

By flickering strokes of my brush, my cypresses reach upwards like green flaming tongues; even the edges of my painting will not constrain their unbridled growth.

They are as beautifully-proportioned as an Egyptian obelisk. Why has no one else rendered them the way I see them?

The brooding landscape comes alive, my brushstrokes pure and true. My fingers move in arcs of crazed creativity. I must finish before the fit takes me again.

Finally, it is done.

The night landscape I imagined will live on forever in minds which accept the elemental things of life, such as nature, objects, people, joy, salvation…

The night wraps around me like my mother's arms as I hurry through the fields to my death.

‘Mother! Mother!’ 

I can no longer exist in this world of staggering turmoil.

I spin through the darkness of the soul and my overwhelming fear. I wrap my arms around my beloved cypress tree. I am deep below the surface of my life, choking, gasping, retching. 

I am desperate for air, but not desperate for life.

I have nowhere to go. No one to help me with the demons that taunt, the thoughts of suicide that scream in my head.

I am ready to play the role of a madman, although I do not have the strength…

How does one end life? A shot to the head would send me spiralling like those yellow stars reaching out for the yellow moon.

My guard sleeps, his mouth a smile of utter blissfulness. He dreams of a saner world than mine. If I had the time, I would paint him…

Will I be watching from above as they ponder my death? Will I be as one with the night sky? Will my brother forgive me?

My stomach explodes in shards of bitter pain. I fall onto the sweet grass of Deep France, watching the starry night fade, the colours blend into one as life ebbs away.

I have reached the stars…I am one with the heavenly constellations…

The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Van Gogh, Ingo F. Walther, TASHEN Press

979 words

This story is an entry in the WEP October challenge.
Please go HERE to visit more entries or click on names
in my right sidebar.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

L.G. Keltner, winner of the first #IWSG Anthology contest, tells us about Overcoming Insecurity and Submitting Your Work.

It's beyond awesome to have L.G. Keltner on my blog today. No doubt you'll be seeing a lot of her as she guests around the blogosphere. I've asked her to talk on this subject, knowing many of us are keen writers but tardy with submissions...

Take it away, my friend!

Overcoming Insecurity and Submitting Your Work

Hello everyone!  Today, I'm going to do two things on Denise's blog.  First, I’m going to give you some encouragement regarding the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest (submissions close early November).  Then I’m going to promote my latest novella Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People.  And believe it or not, those two subjects are not entirely unrelated.

Entering a writing contest can be a nerve-wracking experience.  A piece of writing is a deeply personal thing, and no one wants to hear that the story they poured so much time and effort into didn’t make the cut.  Every writer has to face the pain of rejection at some point, though.  That’s part of being a writer, after all.  If you never risk rejection, you never give your work an opportunity to shine.

When I entered the IWSG Anthology Contest last year, I was nervous.  From the beginning, I knew I needed to take part in it.  It was simply too great an opportunity to ignore.  At the same time, I was shaking when I emailed my entry.  I second-guessed myself for days afterwards.  This seems a natural reaction given what I’ve heard from other writers.  As much as we love our work, we feel insecure about it.  We want it to be well-received, but we fear that may not be the case.  Sometimes we’ll try to edit it to death, striving for some vague notion of perfection we can never attain.  Fortunately, a looming deadline helped me avoid this particular pitfall.

As I waited for a response, I vacillated between thinking I’d turned in a good story and thinking that I’d wasted an important opportunity by submitting something that other people may not like.  When I got the email telling me that I’d not only made it into the anthology, but that my story “Felix Was Here” also won the contest, I was stunned.  I’d spent so much time worrying about an entry that ended up winning, and that seemed crazy to me in retrospect.  I suppose it’s inevitable to worry.  Writers can’t seem to help it.  As long as we don’t let those fears prevent us from submitting, we’ll be okay.

Dani, the main character in the Self-Help 101 series, is also a writer.  She deals with her own insecurities.  She has to contend with critics and her own inner voice of self-doubt.  That’s a major theme in Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People.  It’s fortunate that Dani has a lot of supportive friends, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s extremely stubborn.

That’s the best advice I can give any writer who wants to put themselves out there.  Find a support group, and be stubborn.


His eyes darkened.  “That nasty comment I saw yesterday?  It was horrible, yes, but it didn’t seem to bother you earlier.”
“No, not that one.  I got a new one today, and it wasn’t from the same person, either.  This person actually knows how to spell correctly.”  I leaned back, resting my head against the wall.  “That other one didn’t bother me, because it didn’t offer any legitimate criticism.  It just encouraged me to do something anatomically inadvisable, and half the words were misspelled anyway.  That’s easy to blow off, because that’s classic troll behavior.  This new person essentially said that I’m an entitled brat who’d never had any real problems, so I shouldn’t waste anyone’s time with what I have to say.  And with class today and Rhonda saying the things she did, it left me wondering why I even bother.”
Seth kissed my cheek.  “You do it because you love it.  What other reason is there?”
I shook my head.  “I also do it hoping to make money, but that hasn’t been working.”
“Sure, you’d like to make money, but that isn’t what keeps you going, and you know it.”
Fine.  He had a point.  I may be cynical about many things, but I do write for the love of it.  That doesn’t make it suck any less when people insist I shouldn’t bother in the first place.  If anything, it makes it worse, and my natural cynicism wasn’t sufficient to shield me.
“I know.  I just . . .  I can’t help but wonder if I’m good enough to do this as a career.  It’s what I want more than anything, but wanting it isn’t enough.”  I’d tried keeping these insecurities bottled up tight, but now they were pouring right out of me, and I was powerless to stop it.  At least Seth was the only one there to see me like this.

Title: Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People
Author: L.G. Keltner
Genre: holiday/humor
Length: 29,000 words
Cover Art:  L.G. Keltner and Jamon Walker
Release Date: September 27, 2016


Book 3 in the Self-Help 101 series.

Dani Finklemeier is adjusting to life in college and the realities of living away from home for the first time.  She’s also learning to deal with the criticism that stems from sharing her writing with the world.  Some of the online criticism is even spelled correctly, which somehow makes it worse.

Fortunately, she has a Halloween party, a group of friends, and a supportive boyfriend to distract her from the things that are bothering her.  Of course, a holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without something going wrong.  Between an unpleasant confrontation with an infuriating classmate, some shocking costume choices, and a bizarre fraternity stunt, the evening will be anything but dull.

Dani’s detractors may not like it, but she’ll definitely have enough material for another book.


 L.G. Keltner spends most of her time trying to write while also cleaning up after her crazy but wonderful kids and hanging out with her husband.  Her favorite genre of all time is science fiction, and she’s been trying to write novels since the age of six.  Needless to say, those earliest attempts weren’t all that good. 

Her non-writing hobbies include astronomy and playing Trivial Pursuit.

You can typically find L.G. lurking around her blog, on Twitter, or on her Facebook page.

Purchase Links:



Add it on Goodreads.

 Thank you for appearing on my blog today, L.G.

Now, do you have some comments/questions for L.G. about submitting your work? Or about her latest book, Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People?

And I can't let a chance go by. I'm asking you to submit to Write...Edit...Publish this month. Many of our regulars can't join us because of hurricanes and other life emergencies. I hope  you might consider writing for us or simply posting a photo or an image that fits the prompts. Post between October 19 - 21. Any further questions, go to WEP or send Yolanda Renee or myself an email. You can sign up here in my sidebar. LOVE TO HAVE YOU!!

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Roland Yeomans. Whistle stop at the DON'T BUY MY BOOK! blog tour. Roland comes in from the cold...I have a photograph of Mystery Man!


Some blogger/authors are a tad insecure about blog tours. This was evident when Roland Yeomans sent me a blog tour request. Not surprising, when you see how many cover reveals, book tours, new titles there are out there! 

When we release a new book, we're certainly a little fish in a big pond. 

How do we get noticed? 

We've worked so hard on our writing, been scrupulous with editing, either self, paid or unpaid, sweated over formatting...then comes the big release! That's Roland's position today!

First Wed of Every Month
But before Roland kicks off, thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and the co-hosts of IWSG this month.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the October 5 IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley! 

After you read Roland's guest post, please visit the co-hosts and click HERE to visit other participating bloggers.

And if you're up for a writing challenge, Write...Edit...Publish is now accepting submissions to the October WEP--CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN. More info at WEP or at the end of this post.

Thanks for stopping by at my DON’T BUY MY BOOK Blog Tour.  

One of Denise's most recent posts was on poetry, so I'll begin here with a poem which I'll explain later...

“Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have
Immortal longings in me:
I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life.”  

- Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra quoted by Meilori Shinseen

Now, why do I call my Blog Tour: DON’T BUY MY BOOK?

Have you ever noticed how many people DON’T buy your book when you do a blog tour?  This way I will at least get what I ask for, right?

But if you don't buy my book, you will miss one heck of a ride:

One is the first Air/Steamship, Xanadu, on its maiden voyage taking the newly-weds, the undead Captain Samuel McCord and the alien Empress, Meilori Shinseen, across a turbulent Atlantic to France and all its deadly mysteries.

In its fantasy pages you will find Sidhe, a kidnapped Princess Victoria, a vampire Benjamin Franklin, Captain Nemo, 11 year old Nicola Tesla, Mark Twain at the start of his tempestuous career, an insane Abraham Lincoln …

Clashing Vampire Kingdoms, evolved raptors, werewolves of Paris, and
Dragons … both at the beginning and at the end in a dizzying, wild aerial combat around the Eiffel Tower and above the Louvre! 

Along the way you will discover that history lied, for it was written by the survivors, anxious to whitewash their legacy.

Take the Kensington System which was a strict and elaborate set of rules designed by Victoria, Duchess of Kent, along with her lover, Sir John Conroy, concerning the upbringing of the Duchess's daughter, the future Queen Victoria, so that they could rule England through her.

Victoria’s “protector?”  William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.

His wife had a quite public affair with Lord Byron where she proclaimed the poet, "mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

One of the famous passengers aboard the Xanadu is Byron’s daughter, Ada, in fact.
But back to William Lamb, Victoria’s “protector” –

The historian Boyd Hilton writes, "it is irrefutable that Melbourne's personal life was problematic. Spanking sessions with aristocratic ladies were harmless, not so the whippings administered to orphan girls taken into his household as objects of charity."
Outraged?  I am. How about you? So let's have a closer look.

Samuel McCord is the target of outrage from many notables: Louis Napoleon, Queen Victoria, High Fae Queen Oyggia, the undead Empress Theodora, the Azure Dragon, Qing Long to name but a few.

It means you haven’t been paying attention.  Outrage comes from being asleep in life and being jabbed awake.  It’s a sudden, shocking awareness that you have not been minding your surroundings, your world.

If you are wise, you know that the shock will pass.  The more you see the world and the people in it for what they truly are, both good and bad –

The better you will be able to assess life and to understand it rather than being outraged that the world does not center around you.

The outrage of the powerful, both political and supernatural, towards McCord comes from their being totally self-absorbed.

McCord is a Texas Ranger, not indifferent to their plots and to the dangers to him, but he goes out and does what must be done to protect those innocents he sees in harm’s way … for no one was there to step up when his helpless sister was killed.

Intrigue and Betrayal:
Think Game of Thrones … in fact, there is even a chapter in this Steampunk novel entitled, RED WEDDING.

Why did I quote from Antony and Cleopatra at the start of this post?  McCord sees himself and Meilori as the two star-crossed lovers:

{As Samuel sits by Meilori’s bedside as she lays exhausted by recent efforts, he tries to reassure her}

“You can rest safe now.  The Great Mystery knows, this honeymoon has all the earmarks of being even bloodier than Cleopatra’s and Antony’s.”

Meilori nestled deeper into the satin sheets and murmured, “Shakespeare entitled the play: Antony and Cleopatra, if I recall.”

I shrugged.  “What did you expect?  He was a man after all.”

She opened one sleepy eye.  “You see yourself as Antony?”

“He probably looked better in a toga.”

That one emerald eye looked about to lose its struggle to remain open.  “His love for Cleopatra led to his death, Beloved.”

I smiled sadly.  “They both died.  At least that way neither held a grudge against the other, right? And though they walked in the dark, at the end, they found they didn’t have to walk it alone.”

Her heavy-lidded jade eye was almost closed, and her words were faint.  “They died alone, Samuel.”

My smile grew sadder as I looked into the encroaching darkness.  “We all die alone, Meilori.  But if we meant something to someone, if we helped someone, loved someone and was loved back …  who knows?  Even if only one soul remembers us, perhaps we never truly die at all.”

I’ll end with the poem that starts out the chapter where this exchange takes place:

“And while she was fire,
So fierce and so wild,
I could only hope to be for her;
The forests and the winds to carry her flame.”

– Morris R. Gates

Buy on Amazon
Amazon Author Page
“Roland Yeomans is funny, charismatic and fun to read..."Mary Kirkland 

And Roland is the king of videos to deepen the atmosphere. This one is gorgeous! I've been listening to it on repeat while I prepared this post. 

Roland Yeomans!!
Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan.  But his last memories of that city are hub-caps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.  The hitch-hiking after their speeding car from state to state was a real adventure.
Once in Louisiana, Roland learned strange new ways of pronouncing David and Richard when they were last names.  And it was not a pleasant sight when he pronounced Comeaux for the first time.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology.  He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate since he once worked at a tax preparation firm.
He has written thirty-four books.  
You can find Roland at his web page:  or at his private table in Meilori’s.  The web page is safer to visit. But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you.
Follow him on twitter: @rxena77

  • I hope you like this post of Roland Yeoman's and you consider doing the opposite of what he asked: PLEASE DO BUY HIS BOOK!
  • Are you insecure when requesting a guest post? Releasing your new book?
Now Roland is a founding member of the great WEP writing group. 
On October 1, the inLinkz sign up for the new Write...Edit...Publish challenge went live. Check it out at WEP or here in my sidebar. Consider writing for us. Genres are wide open. It can be as simple as a photograph or image. This month there is a choice of themes: CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN, or if you're very, very clever, a combination of both! So get your little sci-fi, fantasy or horror brains around the next challenge. SUBMIT between Oct 19-21.