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Stanley Riiks Interview Part 3

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2020 by stanleyriiks

What other writers have influenced you?

The usual suspects: King, Barker, Koontz, Gaiman, J. K. Rowling, no surprises there. But, these guys, for me are surpasses by:

Garth Ennis who writes the best comics, brutal, violent, fun. Preacheris my favourite of his.

Gary McMahon whose Dead Bad Thingsis one of the darkest, nastiest, and filthiest novels I’ve ever read. It’s sublime. I read it years ago, and it’s still one of my favourites.

Andy Remic creates the best fantasy worlds, and inhabits them with amazing characters. And then he kills and tortures them. The blend of horror and fantasy is pure genius. He’s the only writer ever to make me physically wince while reading.

Neal Asher creates worlds I want to visit (Spatterjay), and A.I. I want to meet. SF at its best, complex plotting and great story-telling.

James A. Moore is another fantasy/horror writer who really punches you in the face with his novels. You don’t so much read them as experience them.

The only other author who deserves a special mention is Richard Kadrey and his Sandman Slim books. This series is a serious blast of adrenaline, full-octane, furiousness.

In terms of non-fiction it’s less about the writers and more about the topics, biographies on Ian Fleming, Warren Buffett, Hitler, Jenna Jameson. I read quite a range! I’m interested in how people work, and I like to know how companies and businesses work, like Apple, Amazon, WordPress.

 

What are your other influences?

I love films, I used to go to the cinema every week. I watch everything, romantic comedies, horror films and everything in between. Recently I’ve gotten bored with modern films that are just too long. I find myself bored halfway through a two-and-a-half-hour film, so we’ve started watching classics from the 90s and 2000s, like The Matrix,The Transporter, Leon.

I enjoy manga and anima, and US comic books. Particularly the darker ones like Batman, Preacher, The Sandmanand Vertigo comics.

 

Do you have any rituals or routines when you write?

I used to have a candle that I would burn, but my desk is now filled with mortgage statements and searches, so that would be a fire hazard. I just sit and type on my iMac. For non-fiction I usually need to concentrate more, but I will come back to something and add bits and pieces, expand areas in a very organic way, because I have the structure laid down. For fiction I flow more easily into the story, so it’s organic in a very different way.

 

If you could go back in time to when you started writing and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?

Keep going. There have been times when I’ve given up, but it’s a very cathartic experience, and creating is a beautiful thing. More people should do it, not necessarily for publishing, but just for the joy of creating something from nothing but their imagination.

Also, I believe that nearly everybody has an area of expertise, and they can share that knowledge.

 

What book are you reading now?

The Soldier by Neal Asher. I’ve read a few of his, the covers are amazing. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s how I pick them usually, and Asher had never let me down.

 

What is your proudest moment as a writer?

Seeing the cover of Think Rich, Get Rich.

 

Are you disappointed with any of your work when you look back on it?

When I edit I’m disappointed by every other word. Editing is actually something I feel quite good at, but it makes me cringe when reading my work back. Like when you record your voice and then listen to it. It doesn’t sound like that in your head. Words can’t capture the perfect of your imagination.

 

What’s next?

I’m editing the first two books in a series of erotic novels for a friend (just a slight change of direction there!). At the moment I’m happy to consume words rather than writing them for a little while longer.

 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B089SB6KRM

 

Stanley Riiks Interview Part 1

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2020 by stanleyriiks

Stanley Riiks Interview Part 1

Your latest book is Think Rich, Get Rich: 5 Steps to Financial Independence, is out now. Tell us about the book.

Think Rich, Get Richis a simple, step by step guide to money: saving it, investing it, and building your wealth so that you can live your best life. It’s concise and easy to follow. There are only 5 steps, which are broken down into easy bite-sized chunks. This is basically a financial bible.

 

You usually write horror, fantasy and SF. Why write a book about finance?

I’ve always been interested in finance, since about the age of 8 when I had to sell my Star Wars figures to buy Transformers (big mistake!). That’s when I realised I needed to save money, so I could buy the toys I wanted to. I started selling toys at school. I got my first job, a paper round, at 13. I bought my first shares when I was 15, too young to own them so they were in my mum’s name. I got a job as a cleaner at age 25, started my first business as 17. I feel like I’ve been preparing to write this book most of my life. During the last recession, after the housing market crashed in 2008, I wrote a series of blogs about finance. Now I know a lot more, so I decided to write a book.

 

What’s the one financial regret you have?

I’m only allowed one? Not buying enough shares during the 2008 recession. I did buy some Disney, but I wish I’ve bought Amazon, Nike, and Apple too. I also probably should have bought my first property sooner. Regrets aren’t helpful though, learn from your mistakes and move forward. I did get Apple shares a few years later, and I bought Nike shares during lockdown this year. If I had more money I’d buy Amazon too, but I’ve bought four property in the last year instead.

 

Biggest financial success?

My flat in Charlton, south east London. I bought it in 2013 and rented it for two years. It’s now worth nearly double what I paid for it. I think that’s pretty good!

 

Biggest financial mistakes?

Actually, it was one I narrowly escaped. We had been searching for properties for a few months and we found this perfect 3-bedroom house in Canterbury, ideal for a student let. We put in an offer and it was accepted, everything was going through fine, and then we get the survey back. The house had previously been bought at auctioned and had basically been bodged together to look good, but the ceiling was barely held up (the wrong nails had been used), the windows were dodgy and the roof was in serious danger of collapsing. There was nearly £30,000 of work that needed doing before it was even safe. We tried to negotiate the price down sufficiently to cover the costs, but the seller wouldn’t budge so we pulled out. That’s why I’ll never buy a house without a survey.

 

5 Steps doesn’t sound like much. Is wealth really achievable in just 5 steps?

The 5 steps in the book are not particularly difficult, but it does take discipline, it does take sacrifice. And it’s not going to happen overnight. If it was that easy, everyone would do it. Having said that, this is not rocket science, you don’t need to be super intelligent, you don’t need anything other than determination. And is it achievable? Yes, it most definitely is. I’ll be retiring next year at the age of 45, so it is perfectly achievable.

I’ve been away for a while

Posted in Life..., Morpheus Tales Magazine, Personal Finance, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2020 by stanleyriiks

It’s been almost a year since my last blog post. (I feel like I’m writing a confession!).

Life has unfortunately gotten in the way of writing. I didn’t write anything at all during the whole of 2019. I posted some reviews, but that’s it.

I also stopped working on the small press that I helped found, Morpheus Tales, to concentrate on my writing, would you believe!

Morpheus Tales is unfortunately on pause at the moment.

But now, during lockdown, I’ve started to write again (it only takes a pandemic!). Not the horror, fantasy or SF I usually write to escape the horrors of the real world, but a book about life. And how to win at it.

It’s called (third title change):

Think Rich, Get Rich: 5 Steps To Financial Independence

Or How The Rich Get Richer And The Poor Get Poorer

And is now available on Amazon UK and Amazon.com

DELIVERANCE LOST By Gav Thorpe – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2019 by stanleyriiks

The legend of the Horus Heresy continues. In the 30th Century the Empire of Man is under threat from the vilest villain it had ever faced, not the orks or any other alien invaders, but from the Emperor’s favourite son: Horus.

The remaining Raven Guard of the Isstvan V slaughter manage to escape the awful violence caused by the Space Marines traitor legions, and head back to Earth to heal their wounds and regroup.

This is the story of the troubles they face, the machinations of the traitor legions against them, and the internal politics and paranoia of an empire under siege.

To describe what happens in book 18 of this series any further would do it a disservice, as there are shocks and surprises throughout.

This is the Heresy in all its wonderful glory: epic scale, brilliant characters, brother fighting brother and you, the excited reader, torn as much as the characters are by the intricacy of this brutal war.

Gav Thorpe is does an outstanding job in his first Heresy book, this is exciting stuff, and a great insight into one of the less well-known but still very interesting Primarchs.

One of the best Heresy novels and definitely worth a read.

URBAN GOTHIC By Brian Keene – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2019 by stanleyriiks

Does this book represent horror? Probably not present day horror as the book is now nearly ten years old. It certainly feels of a time, although is that because it feels so familiar? There’s nothing in the book to date it, no trademarks or brands that are now defunct. No historic attitude or clothes. Cellphones, that most telling of recent items, are present.

So what are we looking at here? A haunted house story… Essentially. But one with a twisted sense of realism. The house is only haunted by hideously deformed human beings, cannibals, rabid and misshapen.

A group of teenagers enter the house, having been chased through a bad neighbourhood by a gang of not-so-ruthless “thugs”, little knowing the rumours and stories about it. Then they find themselves trapped inside, the prey of dangerous, mutated cannibals in a desperate struggle to survive.

Keene gives us familiar tropes and twists them, much in the same way Edward Lee does, so keeping a realism that is shocking and nasty, in the same way Ketchum managed with Off Season. The horror here is the brutality of humanity rather than actual monsters.

Back to my original question, does this book represent horror? To a certain extent, yes, it does. There isn’t anything new here. The entire problem with the genre is that it’s stuck with a single and simple premise, the evocation of an emotion: fear. Sure, it’s actually pretty difficult to achieve. And it’s the same things that make us scared, like haunted houses, crazy killers, and this book plays on those stereotypes. The failure of the book, as the failure with most horror novels, and the failure of the genre, is that in order for us to feel fear, to be scared, to be horrified, is that we need to feel.

Keene does a good job, this is by no means a bad horror novel. But it failed to make me feel. SF often does a similar job of not making me feel anything for the main characters, but SF is about ideas. If I’m not emotionally involved in the characters in an SF novel it doesn’t mean the book fails. For me, now, horror fails if I don’t feel. If the main characters are brutally tortured and killed and I don’t care, then they might as well not have been killed and I might as well not have bothered.

I’ve read far too many books in my forty odd years for everything to touch me. I’m jaded. I’m cynical. I don’t care about real people most of the time, why would I care about some words on a page. But that’s what good horror makes me do. It doesn’t have to be a whole novel, sometimes it’s a scene in a fantasy. The torture scene in an Andy Remic fantasy novel had me cringing for several pages, because I cared about the characters. Without that engagement horror is dead.

That is the main reason Stephen King is successful, he draws you into the story, gets you involved with the characters and then he hurts them, and by extension, he hurts you too.

For all his stereotype twisting and all his brutality (which I did enjoy), Keene failed to make me feel anything. This isn’t a bad book by any means, and like the genre itself, I feel I’ve grown out of it a little. Not by choice, I wish I jumped at the scary parts of films, I wish I loved every character I read about, but I don’t. The novelty has worn off.

May be horror is not my genre any more.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE By Ian Fleming – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2018 by stanleyriiks

Bond is sent to Japan to liaise with their head of security and finds himself sent on an assassination mission. His target turns out to be Blofeld, and Bond must infiltrate a castle of death to finally avenge the murder of his wife.
The Bond novels chart the move between the pulp fiction of the thirties and forties, to the noir novels of the fifties, and the superhero comics of the sixties, containing elements of all of them.

We have a Bond on the edge of a breakdown, suffering from the death of his wife and PTSD (before they had a phrase to describe it). He’s sent on a mission by M, as his final chance to redeem himself, and then blackmailed into killing by a Japan secret service head. Only to find his target is his archenemy…

Bond is a superhero in a noir world of pulp supervillains, with Fleming providing enough detail and depth to really draw us into that world.

Containing all the elements of a classic Bond story; luxury, wealth, exotic locations and even more exotic woman, it’s a playboy fantasy with a measure of action and excitement thrown in. A boy’s own adventure for adult males. Fleming gives us exactly what we’re looking for: adventure, sex, and thrills. No wonder the books and the character continue to be so successful.

THE PERDITION SCORE By Richard Kadrey – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2018 by stanleyriiks

It’s with such delight that I order the latest Sandman Slim novel, number eight in the series. And then I read it.
I’m all for character development, and the character has developed nicely since he escaped hell, became Lucifer, went back to hell, and has fought vampires, demons, zombies, gods and all manner of mystical powers.
But he seems to be approaching middle age fast, he’s settled down, he’s got a job, and dare I say it, he’s lost his mojo…

The attitude, the enthusiasm for violence, the fuck you, fuck everyone, the punch first and ask questions later thinking. It’s all a bit toned down, a bit “matured”, a bit “civilised”.

Sure, there’s a helping of violence in here. And Kadrey sticks very closely to his formula for these novels, put Stark in an almost impossible situation, making him investigate in his own merry way, and then he has to throw himself on the line yet again to resolve the problem and save the world, which happens far too easily and far too often for my liking.

Kadrey seems to be settling, and our anti-hero Stark is settled into his middle years far too well.

Is this exciting? Yes, it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s everything you’d expect from a Sandman Slim novel. And may be I’m expecting too much, but I’ve seen all of this before. It’s still exciting, it’s still Sandman Slim. But the novelty is wearing off a little.

I’ll stick around for the next book in the series, but my hopes for the new one will not be so high. At least then may be I won’t be so disappointed.

NEMESIS By James Swallow – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2018 by stanleyriiks

A band of assassins is put together, the very best of the best, and sent to kill the arch-traitor Horus. The leader of the rebellion against the almighty emperor…

The first half of the book is taken up with the collection of the varied and talented assassins, giving us an insight into their personalities and how they work. Unfortunately there are a few too many of them and there is little characterisation, apart from their physical bearings, to separate them easily.

The second half of the book quickly ramps up the pace and sees our anti-heroes on a world struggling with the Horus Heresy (the split of the human empire), the governors siding with the rebellious Primarch Horus and the people of the world imperials to the core, fighting their corner despite heavy losses. The assassins decide to help out the imperial guerrillas.

Meanwhile a savage killer is making its way across the universe, heading for its own ultimate goal…
What happens when a band of assassins intent on killing the enemy of the Imperium clash with the universe’s most expert murderer…

And we have the Nemesis of the title.

It takes a little while to get into the book, but the second half more than makes up for it. Brilliantly gory and intelligent – although not necessarily an important part of the Heresy story – it is interesting to see how things progress from the Imperial perspective outside of the Space Marines.

The later parts of the book reminded me slightly of Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos.

A new view of the Heresy, and some interesting new characters and viewpoints of this pivotal moment in Imperial history. A great jumping on point for this epic series.

HORNS By Joe Hill – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2018 by stanleyriiks

When Ig wakes up after a night he can’t remember his lack of memory is the least of his problems: he has developed horns, like a devil, that make people tell him their deepest, darkness thoughts. And as Ig is the town pariah, thought to have murdered his childhood sweetheart, the truths he hears are unkind to say the least…

Hill is a natural storyteller, much like his father, and manages to suck you into the story and his characters. This book reminded me of King’s work, as well as Odd Thomas by Koontz.

It’s the murder mystery that initially draws you in, but the characters are what continue to keep your interest after the mystery is solved.

Involving and entertaining, but lacking a sufficiently explosive climax. The book further cements Hill as one of the best writers of horror in America.

A THOUSAND SONS By Graham McNeill – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2017 by stanleyriiks

The Horus Heresy is about to begin. The traitor hasn’t yet shown his true colours.

The Thousand Sons are the most advanced warriors when it comes to using the Great Ocean, what will come to be known as the Warp. Magnus the Red, their fearless one-eyed leader, is desperate to warn the Emperor of the impending chaos that is coming when he learns of it through his powers.

But others are plotting to put a stop to the Thousand Sons and their use of the knowledge of the warp, calling it sorcery.
There will be a judgement on the planet of Nikaea that will have repercussions across the universe.

While it’s always good to see the stories of the people and the warriors of the massively epic Heresy, this is part of it that truly resonates across the galaxy. The Thousand Sons will become chaos-infested monsters in the future of the 40K universe, but here they are fiercely loyal warriors of the Emperor.

Their destiny is to be corrupted and this is the first step towards their destruction.

The judgement at Nikaea is a pivotal moment in the conflict that is yet to come.

This book has all the action and excitement we’ve come to expect from the 40K universe, and the Black Library. But, it also has well crafted characters, a deep back story, true conflict, and, what is normally lacking in SF novels, a heart.

McNeill has managed to create a quietly astounding novel in the Horus Heresy series. Ok, so it appears to have been cut in half and we have to wait for the other book to fully see the destruction of an entire Astartes legion, but this is still brother verses brother in an epic battle for the universe.

Great stuff from McNeill again, the Horus Heresy doesn’t get much better than this.