Archive for writing

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 2

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2020 by stanleyriiks

What does rich mean to you?

I think being rich is being financially independent. Not many people are. Financial independence means not being dependent on anyone, not a company for your wages, not your boss for a job. Having your own income outside of work, having a passive income, having time and money, and not having to choose between one or the other. Be able to live the life you want, to me that’s rich.

 

Is this a get rich quick scheme?

It’s not a get rich quick scheme. Nor it is a network marketing scheme, and it’s not an advert for a game or a course. A lot of the financial books I’ve read are just sales tools. I’m not upselling anything, I’ve just sharing hard-won knowledge.

 

Why do you feel now is the right time to launch a book like Think Rich, Get Rich: 5 Steps to Financial Independence?

The likelihood is we are going into one of the worse recessions on record. Now is the best time for people to be gaining knowledge about finance. This isn’t a book for rich people, they already know the secrets to wealth, this is a book for anyone who wants to know some of those secrets and set themselves up to be wealthy.

 

You’ve been writing for a while now. What inspired you to start writing?

I loved reading when I was young. And then I just kind of lost interest for a few years, but as a teenager I rediscovered books when I bought one of the Conan novels on my way home from school. I took it home, read the first chapter, then went straight out and bought a couple more books. It was my first fantasy novel and I was hooked. After that I borrowed my dad’s Stephen King novels and read those, and then SF, and everything else. I joined multiple book clubs, I visited the school and local libraries, and loved being in worlds not my own.

I started writing in my mid-teens, and enjoyed the feeling of being god, being in total and utter control of my characters’ lives and the worlds they lived in.

 

Why the switch to non-fiction after many years of writing fiction?

I started writing fiction, but I also had a diary, so my connection with non-fiction is long. I’ve written book reviews for as long as I can remember, and I don’t restrict myself to any one genre. I just write. Sometimes that’s stories, sometimes those stories are real and sometimes they aren’t. I don’t pick categories to write in, it just depends what I’m interested in at the time.

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

THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS By John Wyndham – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2019 by stanleyriiks

In my much younger days I watched the BBC dramatisation of this book. It gave me nightmares. I remember it to this day, many many years later. So I approached this novel with some trepidation.

The original, the book, is somewhat different to my memories of the mini-series though.

I think in my young mind it’s been partially merged with Arthur Dent in his dressing gown, but those deadly plants I remember far too well.

Bill Masen wakes up in hospital to silence. It’s strangely quiet. And while he waits for his blindfold to be removed after his operation he gradually becomes aware that things have changed overnight. The nurses are not at their stations, the hospital and outside are strangely quiet. When he heads out tentatively to investigate, his blindfold still in place, he realises that much of the rest of the hospital is blind too.

As Bill ventures outside he realises that the blindness is not restricted to the hospital, and that soon London will become an apocalyptic wasteland, run by gangs of criminals…

The Triffids, flesh eating man-sized plants that have a whip-like stinger are only part of his apocalyptic world. This is really the story of man’s descent when the world becomes blind overnight.

This is The Walking Dead but with killer plants instead of zombies, and set in 50s Britain.

I’m sure the TV series made more of the killer plants, in the book they are a mere part of the hysteria and menace of post-normal life. The Day of the Triffids is a classic SF apocalypse novel, and the precursor to virtually every post-apocalypse story ever since.

Tragic, quietly brilliant, and disturbing.

FRAGILE THINGS By Neil Gaiman – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2019 by stanleyriiks

I have a strange relationship with short stories. On the one hand they are fun, easy to read, short and can be read in one sitting. On the other hand they blend into each other, lack impact and are generally easily forgettable.

I read this collection a few weeks ago and apart from remembering that the final novella of the book is related to American Gods, I can’t really remember any of them. I know there were a few poems in here, none of which really stuck a chord for me (I’m not a big poetry fan).

So, how can I review it? If you like Neil Gaiman, or short stories, then you’ll probably enjoy this. I like his comics, I really enjoyed his novels, and some of his children’s stories.

This book was easy to read, and if you like short stories then you’ll relish this book from this master fantasist. But none of the stories really stands out. There is the usual sense of being told a fairy tale, but… I don’t know. The book seems to be lacking something. Definition may be. It’s all too vague, too limp, too directionless. I suppose that’s why most anthologies have a theme nowadays.

A nice stop-gap between novels, but hardly riveting reading and nothing memorable. A bit disappointing from Gaiman.

THE KILL SOCIETY By Richard Kadrey – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2019 by stanleyriiks

Ah, and Sandman Slim is back with a bang.

After the very slightly disappointing eighth book in the series, Kadrey throws Slim into hell, where he becomes trapped with a fanatical group of demons and other criminals, intent on taking a secret weapon to heaven and getting involved in the civil war going on there. Of course, they have to escape the tenebrae first, the desolate wasteland of the lost dead.

Will Slim be able to save his friend Father Traven? Will he be able to escape the dangerous clutches of the ruthless Magistrate? Will he be able to escape hell itself for a second time? And is being dead going to help or hinder his adventures?

This nice departure from Slim saving the world yet again in his magic-fuelled world of LA is Kadrey back to his best. Slim is the perfect anti-hero, he has a terrible attitude, and his kill-first-and-ask-questions-later mentality are on full show once again.

A great addition to the Slim chronicles, and definitely essential reading if you like your urban fantasy with a boot up the arse.

ANATHEM By Neal Stephenson – Reviewed

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

What a long, boring book. It took me about four months to finish reading this SF/fantasy epic, in which very little happens for the most part.

The world in which it is set is vividly described, a strange world in which those who want to learn live in conclaves away from the rest of civilisation and once a year venture outside. When an alien starship is noticed edging close to the planet their world erupts, the avout are forced out in unheard of numbers, and must venture across the outside world to another Concent, meanwhile finding out that saving the world is now down to them.

This book is just too long. There is a lot going on, but not actually much in the way of action. There are philosophical debates and arguments, politics aplenty, and even some interesting discussions and dilemmas. But I can’t help thinking this book should have been heavily edited. At least half of the waffle could have been removed without massively affecting the quality of the story.

Perhaps I’m just annoyed I spent so so long reading this, only to be disappointed by the weak ending.

Whatever, I will be steering clear of Stephenson’s books from now on.

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.

OCTOPUSSY AND THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS By Ian Fleming – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2019 by stanleyriiks

This is a short final collection of four stories featuring the world’s most famous spy, James Bond. The original stories offer little that will be familiar to film fans other than the titles. The stories offer little of anything really, they are equally forgettable, offering some of the stylish flare of the longer books, but none of the characterisation or pace.

Reading these stories it’s more noticeable what is missing, and in some of them that includes the exciting and dangerous presence of Bond. In “Octopussy” for example Bond has a conversation with a Nazi, but doesn’t appear in the story until three quarters of the way through and only for about ten pages.

Worth reading if you want to complete the collection, but not really worthy of your attention for any other reason, sadly.