Can we live without hope?

_Hope.A man cannot live without hope.It

Can a man live without hope?

I was in India recently researching my next novel FEVER COAST.

Robin_WilliamsWhile I was there, I read the sad news that Robin Williams had taken his life.

Suicide always asks searching questions of us. When so many in hospitals, in wars, fight for life, why would someone else choose to die?

Understand – this is not about judgement, on him or anyone else.

God knows there have been times when I’d thought I’d had enough, but frankly I would never have the guts to pull the trigger.

Most of us can never imagine the depths of despair and darkness someone must feel to call time on their journey here.

My own life has been touched by suicide too closely to ever feel anything other than immense sadness; for him, for his wife and kids, for all who loved him and were left behind.

July 2014 650But my point is this: the same day that I read the news, I walked out of my Chennai hotel and right outside there was a beggar sorting through a pile of garbage in the street.

He had nothing but the dhoti he stood up in. His prospects, to say the least, are slight.

But he’s there looking for something to eat or to sell. He has hope. He has the strength and endeavor to live another day. Why?

Not only does he not live in Hollywood, he has none of the things the average movie-goer takes for granted; running water, food, a house.

So where does the drive to live come from? If there is a choice – and news that day made it clear that there is – then why did he choose to live when Robin didn’t?

I discussed the conundrum with my mate Craigie. We came up with two possible answers.

But I’d be interested in hearing yours.

 _Hope.A man cannot live without hope.It

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CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

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WITCHES, WAGAH AND HISTORY

Today I’m at Julia Robb’s blog for an interview about witches, wagahs and history in general.

Head over and take a look.

julia3And while you’re there, check out Julia’s SCALP MOUNTAIN. If you like Cormac McCarthy, you’ll love this.

 

 

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The Pyramid of Needs – for Travellers

Just got back from a research trip overseas.

This is what I learned, with apologies to Maslow and his concept of the Pyramid of Needs – the most basic, of course, being at the bottom:

Maslow_hierarchy_of_needs2

 

 

 

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What is the future of story?

The following short clip is from an address that Kevin Spacey made to the Edinburgh International Television Festival; he talks about the future of story, about how stories are being delivered, and about the importance of listening to the people who want them.

What do the changes in television have to do with writing fiction and the future of our industry? Everything, I believe.

The future is not coming. It’s here.

EastIndiaFINALMy latest novel, EAST INDIA, was published on 11 July!

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India is a story of romance, courage and survival in the face of overwhelming odds.

If you’d like to win a free copy for your Kindle, Kobo or iPad just click here and join my newsletter subscription today!!

  CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

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ARE YOU RELATED TO GENGHIS KHAN?

Are you sure you’re not related to Genghis Khan?

There’s a one in two hundred chance that you could be a distant relative of one of the great mass murderers in all history. Much higher, if you were born along the Silk Road.

A pleasant thought.

See why here:

“A magisterial tale.” – UK Daily Mail

Silk Road, Colin Falconer, Genghis Khan

“Callous executions, one-eyed camel drivers, corruption, sin, a heart-wrenching love story, dark secrets, and life and death circumstances are revealed at a fast pace in each brief chapter.

The plot is rich and sure to keep the reader focused on turning the page to learn what happens next – and always to some shocking circumstance or pleasant surprise.

That’s what I loved most about this book – plenty of the odd and unusual to keep me fascinated throughout.It is the richness of the prose itself that truly made this historical era come alive.” -Historical Novel Review

CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

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What is fiction anyway?

I-think-that-pretty-much 2

EastIndiaFINAL

My latest novel, EAST INDIA, was published on 11 July!

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India is a story of romance, courage and survival in the face of overwhelming odds.

If you’d like to win a free copy for your Kindle, Kobo or iPad just click here and join my newsletter subscription today!!

  CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

 

 

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

THE 10 TOP HISTORICAL MOVIE MISTAKES

When you make a movie for the big screen, you’re allowed to completely rewrite history, apparently.

A lot of people like Braveheart, for instance. I wonder though if we could have liked it just as well without the kilts, and William Wallace not having an affair with Isabella of France, because he didn’t and she was only three years old at the time.

The mistakes they make in movies you’d never get away with in a novel, (mumbles something about tomatoes.)

HERE ARE TEN OF THE BIGGEST HISTORICAL MOVIE MISTAKES EVER

When you watch a movie, how important is historical accuracy to you? And do you have different standards for a novel??

Here’s the story of the man Isabella really did have an affair with …

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

Isabella, Edward II, Braveheart

12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England – only to discover he has a terrible secret.

Ten long years later she is in utter despair – does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

 

 

“This is phenomenal historical fiction that is highly recommended. Once you read Colin Falconer, you’ll want to read everything he has ever written as well as what he will craft in the future!” – Crystal Book Reviews

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SPEED DATING FOR AUTHORS

typewriterAfter indie, trad publishing can feel to most authors like they’re being slowly beaten to death with wet lettuce.

These days I can draft, write, edit, proof read and have a book selling very nicely thank you, in the time it used to take just to get an ANSWER on a spec MS.

Isabella, for instance. It went to number 9 on Amazon paid in the same year that I started writing it. Meanwhile a book I finished back when MySpace was cool, is still waiting to get PB release. I think I wrote it on a typewriter.

You-cant-judge-a-book-byThe other thing that does my head in with print publishing is covers. Back in the day before eBooks, when Mariah Careys roamed the earth, I had no input in cover art.

Some of my finished covers were so bad, I used to host my own book burnings.

yes-we-doI wondered about the kind of people who actually created them. And not just mine. Who did the cover for A Casual Vacancy? They’d have to be legally blind.

It’s like some bizarre experiment. Let’s see just how bad we can make a cover before we even beat down JK Rowling.

These days I have the wonderful Jen Talty at CoolGus designing my covers. Some of her creations have taken my breath away. They tell you what the book is about and set the tone of the book.

Hot damn. Revolution!

Book covers are that important.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the Belgrade Book Fair. It accounts for HALF of Serbia’s annual book sales in a single week. People bus in from the country just to spend their year’s book budget in one day.

Readers like print books because they look and feel good so below is what my Serbian publisher did with Anastasia. It was lush.

Gloria magazine book adBut watching readers at work en masse is a sobering experience. They desperately search the entire pavilion for one promising cover. Is yours the one they will bat their eyes at across a crowded room?

Because buying a book is like speed dating. Your book has just a few seconds to make a good impression and if it has tomato sauce stains down its shirt or suffers brain freeze, then its potential date smiles ruefully and heads to the next bookstall.

Does your cover have serial killer eyes? Does it look like it still lives at home with its mother? Then you probably won’t get to drinks at the bar, which is:

Your blurb.

In your blurb you have about two hundred words to make a good first impression a second time. The clock is ticking. Quickly! Is it something your reader wants on their shelf when they have intellectuals around for canapés and a presumptuous merlot or is it a brown paper bag job about gym junkies in kilts chasing virgins around Scottish castles?

Its a fast and brutal process.

or-is-it-a-brown-paperThe potential reader skims the blurb, while checking text messages and updating their profile on Facebook.

They then open the book at a random page and read two sentences, tops. How does this help? I have no idea. I think every reader is secretly hoping to find pictures of naked models/gym junkies in kilts.

Finally they close the book with a sigh and a last rueful glance at the cover, like a lover they are leaving at the train station. At this point they either reach for their wallet or they put it down and move on to the next book.

The entire process takes fourteen point seven seconds.

It’s a sobering experience and made me thank God I have at last got someone who knows how to design a great cover.

But I’m still working on her about the naked pop-up pictures of Scarlett Johansen in a kilt in the middle pages.

I’ve told her it’s what readers are looking for, but she still doesn’t believe me.

EastIndiaFINAL

My latest novel, EAST INDIA, was published on 11 July!

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India is a story of romance, courage and survival in the face of overwhelming odds.

If you’d like to win a free copy for your Kindle, Kobo or iPad just click here and join my newsletter subscription today!!

  CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

 

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY

I found this: epic rap battles of history. The one I liked was Marilyn Monroe vs Cleopatra – I guess because they featured in two of my books.

Don’t watch if you’re offended by bad language – after all, it is rap.

So who won? The best answer gets a Kindle/Kobo/iPad version of either Naked in LA or Cleopatra, Daughter of the Nile – you choose.

NakedInLA(2)Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Egypt

 

 

 

 

 

 

  CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

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The Black Witches of Mexico

I was in Mexico researching a book and a writer friend told me about the black witches. I decided to go looking for one. It was in the south, in a town called Catemoco, that I finally tracked one down.

BlackWitch(6)He was a snappy dresser, even down there in the middle of nowhere; a silk guayabera shirt, chunky gold rings on every finger, one of them a skull with small rubies set into the eyes.

In a candle-lit room filled with statues of Santa Muerte, he got straight down to business.

‘Is this for business or for love?’ he asked me.

I decided to play along. ‘Love,’ I said.

‘Who is this woman? Do you want her back – or do you want her dead?’

That took me off balance. ‘I don’t want anyone to die,’ I told him.

‘Give me a photograph,’ he said, putting out his hand. ‘She will come back to you.’

He smiled as if he could read my mind.

is-there-such-a-thing-as“There exists good and evil in the world,’ he said. ‘There is the devil and there is God.’

He regarded him with his magician’s nasty eye. ‘I can call forth the maldad negra and cause great harm, even death.

‘Is that what you want? Is it? All I need is a name, and a piece of their clothing or even a photograph. I can take away your bad luck and give it to someone else.

‘Or I can make a woman love you. Is that your secret desire? Come, tell me. What is it you want? I can give you anything, anything. Todo que quieres.’

I walked out.

Would-you-sell-your-soulBut the idea lingered; what would have happened if I had gone along with him?

And so The Black Witch of Mexico was born.

Would you sell your soul to have anything you wanted?

BlackWitch(6)From the witch markets of Mexico City to the ancient valleys along the Guatemalan border, places still haunted by the statues and ruins of the Olmecs, a man is drawn deeper into a world he doesn’t understand. He soon comes to question everything he once believed.

Are witches just superstitious nonsense? Or is there such a thing as real evil in the world?

The Black Witch of Mexico is a chilling psychological thriller where nothing is quite what it seems.

Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.

CB Valencia croppedCOLIN FALCONER

 

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