Sunday, 28 February 2016

Guest Author Louise Boulter. Forgotten.

A very successful book launch on February 25th brings us a new novel by Louise Boulter, who is our special guest this week. This is her second visit  and we are happy to have her back. Her book - Forgotten - "is a candid version of one man's journey through the world of homelessness."

 
 
 
 


We've asked Louise to tell us what inspired her to write this story.




I started writing the book "Forgotten" in the summer of 2015 ... yes about 6 months ago.  It was a labor of love. My friend Tom had been diagnosed with cancer. He shared a dream he had had which follows:

"A man awakens from a coma and does not know who he is or where he is from. So he makes his way across Canada in search for his identity. Along the way, he becomes homeless and his views on homeless change."

One should always be careful what one tells a writer. It could end up in a book.  I did, however, tell my friend I could write a short story about his 'dream'. What started as a short story morphed into a book I decided to call "Forgotten". 

Coincidentally, if you believe in coincidences, a few weeks before, I had started volunteering for The Humanity Project. The soup kitchens and the food banks were closed for holidays at the same time and food was scarce for the homeless in Moncton. The weather was also very hot and there was no water to be found, not free water that is. Well, there was a water fountain in Centennial Park, in the dog run. Water for the dogs was available. Water for the homeless was not.  The Humanity Project, a group made up totally of volunteers, decided to pick up the slack because of the closure due to their holidays at the same time. So they set up tables at Lyle's Garage on St. George Street and volunteers brought baked dishes for supper every night. Others bought and brought paper plates, forks, spoons, etc. Bottled water was a huge need. What I saw was  they did not just feed the homeless, they also passed no judgement. No ID was requested, no having to prove you needed a meal was needed. You accepted each person for who they were and asked no questions. You soon learned that a smile and acceptance was as important as the food served.

While writing my friend's story, it took on a life of its own. Perhaps because of my new knowledge on the needs of people who were homeless or the working poor I was meeting. But more than that, it was by talking to the many volunteers who, without any government funding, without any financial gain, with their goal only to show kindness and acceptance to others that this organization touched my heart and touched my fingers as I sat at my computer writing my 'short story' which became my first novel.

Time was important. My friend Tom was getting worse. I did not know how long he had. Writing page after page became a routine and an outlet for all my feelings. I let the characters tell their story, I let the main character, T, discover who he truly was. His identity became secondary to discovering his true self.

When I finished my book, I knew there was a message to be shared. I know most people understand homelessness and most people care. But I wanted to do a little bit more. I knew this was somehow NOT my book. It was T's book, T's message. I decided the reason I had written it was beyond my own comprehension. It might even do some good. I decided to publish it and some of the profits would go to The Humanity Project.

With the help of my friend and later Editor, Lee D. Thompson, the book was published. The front cover is of a print given to me free by Serge Martin, photographer from Moncton. The back cover is a photo given to me by Charlie Burrell, Founder of The Humanity Project. It is of a tent which was used by a man in his 70s. Charlie knew him well.  The Humanity Project helped this man get on social assistance, helped him find affordable housing and since January when The Humanity Project was given permission to use the old Moncton Curling Club Building on Lutz Street, he now does the cleaning. The best thing, however, is hearing this man in his 70s say: "I now have a life."

THP's winter headquarters, located on Lutz Street may become homeless again. That is, unless the City of Moncton allows The Humanity Project to continue to use the old Moncton Curling Association. At this point, from what I know, they would need approx. $400,000 to buy the building outright. 

The Humanity Project also holds regular AA meetings in this building. They have hairdressers who volunteer their services to shampoo and cut hair and give shaves for those who want one. There is a room for free clothing. There is a room for children to play and learn while their parent( s ) are upstairs socializing (there is a lot of laughter in that building).

All of the above is why all proceeds from the sale of the book "Forgotten" will be given to them. This makes my heart smile.

The book "Forgotten" can be purchased by going to the U.S. site:  www.lulu.com - or if you live in Moncton and can pick up the book, may contact me at lobou@nb.sympatico.ca. The cost is $18 if ordered through me (no shipping cost)..

To close, I will share one of my favorite passages from the book. There are no coincidences and this passage now holds a very special meaning for me since my book launch on February 25th. But that is for another time, another place.
 
(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)

Another man tells me, “Name’s Ron. Ronald Bedford. Served in Afghanistan.” 

This takes me by surprise. “You’re a Vet are you? And homeless? How long you been homeless?” 

“Roughly about five years. I guess it was my fault. I have a problem you know. Post Traumatic Stress something or other. Eh, I just don’t know how to cope with it. But the
DVA’s trying to help me but, like, every time I feel like I’m getting some help, I get paranoid. And I just take off.” 

“Take off? What do you mean, Ron?” 

“You know, I leave. You can only be in the program for so long, you know. I try to stay in the program but I’m scared to death of reality cause I don’t know how to cope with it. Sometimes I’d rather try to commit suicide than I would to stay alive. To tell you the honest truth, I hit myself, about a year ago, in the head with a brick. But it didn’t work.” 

“Has anyone tried to help you?” 

“Sure they tried to help me. You know, give me stuff for nightmares and for this and that and the other, but it just doesn’t help me any.” 

“You’re still haunted by Afghanistan.” 

“If you only knew brother. If you only knew.” He pauses and looks at me. “Have you ever killed anybody?” 

“No,” I can barely get the word out of my mouth. 

“I have. Face to face. See this?” He pulls up one of his pant legs. “I got a hole in my leg. From a shrapnel wound. But they don’t care anymore.” 

“I care Ron.” 

“Yeah. I think there’s people in this world that really care. Like you, like these people here at the shelter. They care.” 

“How long were you in Afghanistan?” 

“One year. One long year. But I’m not crazy. And I’m not suicidal.” 

I look at the tears that are welling up in his eyes. How can one not feel sorry for him? All I can say is, “It had to be tough. Especially having to kill people.” 

“Well, I was trained to do that.” 

“They must have a hard time to train people to do that cause it’s not in people’s nature. It’s not.” 

Ron just says “Well, how come they don’t untrain you?” and walks away. 

Good question. Very good question.






Thank you Louise for sharing your story.
If you missed Louise's previous visit, please go here to read her short story Date Night.



Next week you can read Allan Hudson's amusing short story - Funeral Food.





Thank you readers for visiting the Scribbler. Please leave a comment below, would love to hear from you.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Guest Author Paul White. Crimes & Violence

Paul White lives in the county of Yorkshire, England with his wife, an ancient cat and five fish. An accomplished author who has graciously shared an excerpt from his latest novel, Tales of Crime & Violence, Volume 3. Paul's links are listed below.



 
 
Tales of Crime & Violence
The three book collector editions

This remarkable three volume collection encompasses numerous and varied stories of acts and deeds of crime and violence. Paul White has once again woven his masterly spell of intrigue into each stories plot. Secrecy, scheming, plotting and conspiracy live hand-in-hand with outrageous and shocking violence, viciousness and brutality.
All three volumes of Tales of Crime & Violence are packed with carnage and bloodshed and mayhem, while an ominous sense of sinister, physiological apprehension lingers in the dark shadows.
Tales of Crime & Violence contains graphic acts of violence, profanities and sexual reference. It is not recommended for reading for those under adult age.
 
 
 
Tales of Crime & Violence is available in a paperback collection of three volumes, or on Kindle as a complete ‘box-set’.
 
 


EXCERPT.

   ……….The Sheriff stopped, as did the two deputies in the following cruisers. Together we walked to the car. I handed one of the deputies the keys. You could feel the heat reflecting from the steel of the bodywork.
   It was one hell of a hot day.
When the deputy opened the driver’s door a blast of superheated air escaped. It was so extreme it forced us to take a step backwards and twist our heads away from its intensity. But it was the smell which was most overpowering. I saw, but did not comprehend the glance between the law men. However, I knew that my day was going to get worse when they handcuffed me.
My day certainly became a living nightmare when they opened the trunk. Bobby lay inside. His throat had been sliced from ear to ear and his eyes gouged out. The heat had caused his body to swell and the blood to cook.
I only recognised him by his jeans and boots.
After that it was all a bit of a blur. I was bundled into the sheriff’s car and we raced the few miles to the motel. It looked as deserted as when I left a few hours ago.
From room fourteen all the way to room twenty the doors were open. They were the doors I kicked open during my frantic search for the others.
I explained this to the Officers.
The thing that interested the Sherriff was the sign hanging from the doorknob of room thirteen.
I had not noticed that sign in my earlier panicky state. It said ‘Do not disturb’. What was interesting the lawmen most was the smudged bloody handprint on that sign.
The Deputies drew their guns and crashed the door.
It flew open. The intense odour of putrid dead flesh flooded my nostrils.
Inside the room, laid out across the bed were Kathy and Taylor. They were tethered to the bedstead with strands of rusting wire cable, spread-eagled and naked. Their stomachs had been slit open and their entrails extended across the floor.
Those black flies and an army of brown rats were busily feasting on their remains………

 


BUY LINKS.
UK Paperback
US paperback
Kindle (worldwide).

 
 
Thank you Paul for participating on the Scribbler.
 
Discover more about Paul White here
 
 
Please visit again next week for an  4Q Interview with Drake Alexander, ex-Canadian Commando, hero of Dark Side of a Promise.
 


Don't be shy, leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.
 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Returning Guest Author Katrina Cope

The Scribbler is happy to welcome back Katrina Cope of Queensland, Australia. If you missed her previous visit, go here. She is a published author with the Sanctum Series Books. Discover more by clicking on the links below. The following was taken from her website.
 
I grew up in a small country town with plenty of time to let my creativity run wild. This was fueled with a large amount of time spent traveling to different areas of the world, coming in contact with many different personalities and cultures.

The last eight years has been spent running a small business with my husband and raising three young boys and writing in any spare time.

After finishing my first book, it came to light just how much I love writing and I now write a great deal more. My boys are growing up, approaching the teenage years quickly, allowing me more time to write and asking for the next book
.





Taylor’s Plight
 
 

Chapter One

 

The sound of helicopter blades thumped overhead. With the clear blue sky in the background, Kensington City looked picturesque and peaceful as they circled overhead.

Avando leant forward and rubbed his leg through his deep blue suit. The injury he received the day he lost his wife Atasha and daughter Tamara throbbed. With the massage complete he leant back and stretched his legs. His grey-speckled, dark hair a contrast in the tan leather seat in the luxurious interior of the helicopter. He clasped the warm coffee cup off the small mahogany table, sipping its contents and welcoming the effect caffeine had on his body.

The pocket inside his suit jacket began to vibrate with the ring tone following not far behind. He reached his thin, aged hand into his pocket and glanced at the screen noting that the hidden caller ID. Frowning over his large bumpy nose, he slid his thumb across the screen to answer the call.

“Avando speaking.”

“I warned you,” hissed the distorted animated voice on the other end of the line. “I told you not to interfere."

Avando sat forward. “Who is this?”

“You know who I am. Because you and your little brats defied me, I am going a step further.” The animated voice continued. “I'll be attacking more people. More will pay, and you are to blame for their demise.”

“What are you talking about? What do you mean?” Avando asked with his voice panicked. Dread filled him causing his heart rate to rise to an unhealthy level.

“Your first deed to be thanked for will be happening in the middle of Kensington City,” the voice hissed. “Be prepared for the iconic building in the middle of the city to be turned into rubble in ten minutes. Congratulations on your achievement.” The phone went silent.

Avando felt his olive-skinned face turn white. Innocent people were about to die.

He pressed the button on the speaker to the pilot and called, “Charlie?”

The response was almost instant, “Yes, Avando?”

“What would you class as the most iconic building in Kensington City?”

“Well, that would have to be the glass walk bridge that crosses the Dyson River. Made completely of glass, even the bottom where people walk, and it gets thousands of tourists as well as locals on it every year. There is a day care near there too, called ‘Baby Bots.’ But they are not street kids. Why? Do you want to go?”

“Yes, get me there pronto. I think it is about to be blown up.”

“What?” Charlie’s concerned voice sounded over the speaker.

“I just received an anonymous phone call stating that they were about to flatten it. I need to get there.”

“But that would be dangerous and what would you even look for?”

“Just get me there, now!” Avando demanded. “They said it was my fault. Get me there. I am ringing the police to let them know.” He let go of the speaker button. He still had his phone in his hand and rang the emergency number.

“You have dialled the emergency hotline. Your call is being connected, please wait.” The recorded lady’s voice sounded over the line.

Avando silently waited with his feet fidgeting.

“What emergency service did you require, Police, Fire or Ambulance?” A lady’s monotone voice spoke at the other end.

“Police.” Avando’s impatience rose.

“Please hold.”

Nervously he waited as the helicopter descended to land.

“Kensington Police Department, Please state your name, number and your emergency.” An official male voice sounded on the line.

“I have just received an anonymous call stating an iconic building, which I'm assuming is the glass bridge over the Dyson River, is about to be made into rubble. You need to get a bomb squad down there immediately. I was told we have eight minutes left." Avando was formal and straight to the point.

“Thank you, sir. I need your name and number sir, in case—”Avando hung up and unbuckled his seatbelt.

Charlie had landed the helicopter. There was no time to waste. Avando pushed out of the seat and climbed onto the grass.

~~~~~

Liam Honeywell and his dad John were spending the day together. It was the extended school holidays before the start of a new year. John had decided to spend time with Liam down to the middle of the city to have some father and son time. The weather couldn’t be nicer. They were mixing up the events, and sightseeing between the science museum for Liam and mini putt-putt golf for John.

John was very proud of his son’s achievement in getting a scholarship at the Ernest State College, the school for geniuses where it was impossible for paid entry. Although considered as an intelligent person, and he was privileged to have two children going to this school, he did not have the genius brain. This shortcoming did not bother him, as he saw his children’s achievement as his own.

They had started the day with the science museum and had finished their mini golf. Now it was time for a break before heading to the iconic glass bridge.

They sat at the outside a small café near the bridge, ordered lunch and relaxed, waiting for it to arrive. Excited screams sounded from the nearby day care centre.

“So, how’s everything at school?” John’s serious grey eyes bored into Liam’s.

“Good. Why?” Liam asked inquisitive over the change of tone.

John ran his hand through his dark greying hair. “Are you okay? You didn’t seem quite yourself the last time you were home. So, your mum and I are concerned about your happiness.” His handsomely aging face was serious as he studied his son.

“Oh,” Liam said, while fiddling with the salt satchels on the table, “I am happy if that is what you are asking.”

John nodded, “And what about stress levels?”

“What about them?” A river breeze ruffled his brown hair, and he straightened it with his hand.

“Are you coping alright?”

“Don’t my marks tell you this?” Liam stopped fiddling with the salt and sat back in his chair. He wasn’t enjoying the conversation. He had a little suspicion that it had something to do with him being involved with the underground section of the school he was invited to join with his friends last year. It was top secret, and he wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. Not even his parents or family. He was glad that his best friends at the school, Hayley, Dryden and Brendan, were able to join with him. This way at least he was able to discuss it with them to let some of the pressure off his chest.

“Yes, your marks are very good,” his dad continued. “But we are concerned about your emotional health and dealing with the pressures also.”

“I’m fine dad.” Liam tried his best convincing voice. In truth he was fine and yes, he did have a lot on his mind and at times he was very concerned about the evil happenings in the world. He would love to blurt it all out all the secret information he held, but he wasn’t allowed. If he told him, he would not only get himself in trouble with the government, but also his family.

“Okay!” His dad raised his hands in resignation. “But just to remind you, your Mum and I are here to talk to if anything is bothering you.”

Liam smiled at his dad and inwardly cheered that the conversation ended. “Thanks, I know.”

“Good, because we mean it,” he said studying Liam a genuine gaze. He got up, reached over and grabbed a newspaper that lay on the bench in the café close to their seat. Sitting back down at their table, he flicked through the pages. “So, have you met any nice girls at the school?” he asked cocking an eyebrow while peering over the top of the paper.

“I've met lots of nice girls dad. Hayley still hangs around with our group too.”

John flicked through a couple more pages of the newspaper. "You know what I mean.”

Liam smiled cheekily. “Not a clue, what do you mean?”

Giving his son a playful disapproving glare, he continued, “If you had a nice girlfriend you might learn to relax a little.”

“I’m not interested in girls, dad. I have too much to do.”

“See, there is your problem.” He flicked through some more pages of the newspaper. “It's amazing what they class as news these days.” He shook his head while still peering through the pages of the paper. He flicked back to the front page quickly to prove a point. “Front cover, ‘Ashley Simmons winner of the bikini contest’. I mean really. They call this news?” He flicked through a few more pages, “Page four, ‘winner of the doughnut eating competition’.” He looked up. Sarcasm seeped from his voice. “I don't know what I would have done without that information.”

Liam smiled in agreement.

John flicked through a few more pages. “Then, after all these ads you have, ‘Mysterious elderly man with cane kicks butt while stealing homeless kids. Homeless guy reports to authorities.’” He huffed half a laugh. “As if! What’s he been taking?” He shook his head. “What man would do that, let alone an old man with a cane kicking butt? What’s he going to do with all those kids anyway? Unless he is some kind of sick deviate.” His body shook with revulsion at the possibility of truth.

The waitress approached the table with their food. “Okay, we have a steak sandwich with chips.”

John answered her while folding the newspaper up and placing it on a spare chair at the table.
 

“And a hamburger with extra chips,” she added as she placed it in front of Liam. His plate was overflowing. She wiped her hands on her black apron, which she wore over her above knee length black straight skirt, finished with a white blouse. John could see slight food stains on her shirt that she must have accumulated throughout her long shift. “Do you need anything else?”

“Could I please have an ice chocolate?” Liam asked.

“Certainly, and you sir?” she turned to John, who was shaking his head while looking at Liam in disbelief. “Sure. Enjoy your meals,” she added as she wandered off.

“I am so glad I do not have to pay for your food while you are at school,” John said while observing the mountain of food almost falling off the plate. “I don’t know where you teens place all that food. I mean, look at you; you don’t exercise unless you have to, you are as skinny as a rake, and you are not as big as your peers. Where does it go?”

Liam shrugged while starting to stuff the food into his mouth. He turned his head mid mouthful to look at the quick movement he saw in his side vision. Ironically, it was a thin elderly man with dark brown wavy hair finished with streaks of grey. Dressed in a deep blue business suit, he walked in almost a run while holding a cane. He made record pace towards the glass bridge while at the same time yelling out to the people as they passed.

Liam looked harder and then chuckled with his mouth full of burger. He tapped his dad on the arm indicating the man. “Maybe that's the man they were talking about in the paper.”

John turned his head to look at the man. “Maybe,” he chortled shaking his head. “I wonder what he is saying.”

They watched as the man hurried across a few more paces then they turned back to their lunch.

A short time later a loud scream of sirens hastily approached their way. Four police cars flew around the corners then screeched to a halt not far from the café. Two police officers jumped out of each car, and one started screeching through a Dictaphone at the crowds. “You must immediately leave the area. I repeat, you must immediately leave the area.”

John and Liam looked at each other puzzled. Liam observed the remainder of his lunch sitting on the table, pouting at the thought of not being able to finish it. He grabbed the rest of the burger and chips and shoved them in a napkin, taking while they fled the area. As they ran, a loud bang and then a whoosh washed over them, pushing them forward, followed by shards of glass. When he hit the ground, Liam felt his leftover lunch flying from his hand as his body was rudely used as a glass pincushion and his head thumped the concrete ground.

~~~~~

Avando ran as fast, if not faster than a man his age should run. Even with his cane aggravatingly slowing him down, he kept a good pace. Charlie luckily found a park nearby to land his helicopter safely.
Right after they had landed, Avando flung open the door and raced onto the grassy plain. He heard Charlie calling out to him while he followed behind him, but he ignored him knowing that every second was important in order to save lives.

He didn't know what to look for, but he was going to do his best. How anyone could blame him and make him responsible for the death of innocents, including children. He couldn't let this happen. He searched through the crowd hoping to spot the right face or at least be able to pick up suspicious actions to stop the terrorists in the act.

He looked at his watch — only a few more minutes remaining. He had to hurry. He passed a small cafe full of people and hoped that they would be far enough away from the blast if it happened. He could see the entrance of the bridge not too far away from where he stood now. He felt puffed and out of breath but refused to give up. The screech of police sirens sounded in the distance. A small amount of relief passed through his body knowing his call succeeded.

Risking the possibility of being perceived as a madman, he started to screech at the nearby people, "Quick you need to leave.” A couple of weird looks came his way, but he continued. “You need to leave. You are in danger; you need to leave.” When he received disbelieving stares, he continued, "A terrorist threat has endangers this building; you need to leave for your own safety.”

This time the looks remained condescending, but people started to move in the opposite direction of the bridge — just in case the madman was right. But it was too little too late! A loud blast sounded, and Avando watched while both sides of the glass bridge exploded, and the glass middle came crashing down and down, dropping screaming horrified people trapped inside into the river below.

Avando slammed backwards as flying shards of glass sliced his skin. His head smacked something hard, and his vision went black.





Thank you Katrina for sharing your captivating stories.

Check out the following links to discover more about Katrina.
http://katrenee11.wix.com/katrina-cope-author
http://www.amazon.com/Katrina-Cope/e/B00F00JF9M/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7265107.Katrina_Cope
https://twitter.com/K_CopeFunRead
https://www.facebook.com/Author.Katrina.Cope





Next week you will read the opening chapter from Paul White's latest novel, Tales of Crime & Violence.

 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Guest Author Roger Moore. A story plus 4Q Interview


Today on the Scribbler we're excited to be trying a new format. There is a wonderful short story followed up by a 4Q Interview with Professor Emeritus Roger Moore  who is an award-winning academic, poet, short story writer, novelist, film maker and visual artist. You can discover more about this talented gentleman by visiting his links below. Remembrance Day has been featured on commuterlit.com. Copyright is held by the author. Used by permission.
 
 
              Remembrance Day
Roger Moore
 
The old man watched a drop of red wine slide slowly down the side of the bottle.
It was November 11, his birthday.
...
Seventy-three years ago, Father John had taken the boy's ear lobe between thumb and forefinger and pinched the nail deep into the flesh until the blood ran.
...
"This afternoon you will go down to the bamboo grove and cut a cane. Bring that cane to me and I will bless it."
...
That night, the boy woke up. Snuffles, snores, and an occasional sob broke the dormitory's silence. The bamboo was a long, cold serpent drawn up in bed beside him.
...
The next day he awoke to his seventh birthday. 
...
Father John beckoned and the boy followed him to his cell and knelt with his hands stretched out like those of Christ on the Cross. The priest struck him with the bamboo cane six times on each hand.
...
" Your Savior, blessed be His name, suffered more, much more for you," the priest sighed. "Examine your soul. Find fault with each flaw, for you are unworthy."
...
The boy spent his birthday kneeling in prayer. He contemplated the wounds of Christ. He imagined each blow of the hammer and imagined the pain of cold nails biting into his warm flesh. He tasted bitter vinegar as it dripped off the sponge, gasped at the thrusting spear, felt the lash's sting as it fell across his flesh. He became the flagellated Christ and knelt before the crucifix, staring at himself eyeball to eyeball in the same way he looked at himself in the morning mirror.
...
The crucified Christ gazed back at him, his brother, his soul mate, his double.
...
"The eye you see is not an eye because you see it," Father John droned on. "It is an eye because it sees you. Christ sees you as you kneel there. He sees. He knows. He judges. Examine your soul with care," the priest raised his right hand and made the sign of the cross in the empty air. "Stay there until I return."
...
After an hour, a red drop of paint slipped slowly from the nail hole in Christ's right hand. The boy blinked. The red drop trembled then fell.
...
After two hours, Christ opened his eyes and smiled at the boy.
... 
After three hours, salt-water formed at the corner of Christ's eye. It glistened in a sunbeam that entered through the cell's narrow window.
...
 After four hours, tears began to flow down flesh and painted wooden face.
...
It was Remembrance Day, the boy's birthday. He was seven years old.
...
Seventy-three years later, the old man sat at the table. He watched the red wine trickle down the bottle. He remembered it all and his tears flowed again.
...
 
 4Q Interview
 
4Q: When did you start writing? 
RM        I was sent to a boarding school at an early age, when I was six or seven years old. I don't remember when exactly, and I don't remember much about the first two boarding schools I attended. What I do remember is being sat down every Sunday morning at a desk in a classroom along with all the other boys and being told to write a letter home to my parents. Those letters were censored and the resultant mild-as-milk prose was mailed home once a week. The reality of what I went through at my first two boarding schools and the wonderful words of the weekly letter praising the virtues of the boarding school life remain in my mind as a constant reminder of the ability of words to contrast the world that is with the world as it ought to be. I continued the habit of the weekly letter home until I left school at eighteen years old. Letter writing has continued as a constant in my life, reinforced now by the wonder of e-mail. Another constant is the real journal that I kept, written under the bedclothes by flashlight and telling a different story from the official one, yet just as false as the weekly letter. The third school I was sent to, age eleven, was very different and much less oppressive; it allowed more freedom, encouraged a certain amount of autonomy and creativity: the content of my letters surely changed as a result. Certainly my out-of-class writing did, and one of the first poems that I remember writing imitated the style of the Villon ballades that we were studying in French class. This poem of which I can still remember the refrain dates back to when I was fourteen years old. 
4Q: How and when did you become interested in multi-media? 
RM        In 1995 I was invited by members of the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick to become involved in the Oaxaca Project, a Faculty Exchange Program with the Escuela de Idiomas in the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, in Mexico. When I arrived in Oaxaca, I presented four traditional seminars on teaching second languages to a faculty group that was computer literate. Even the students knew more about computers than I did. I found this lack of knowledge on my part to be a source of much embarrassment and I swore to take steps to improve my knowledge of the uses of technology.  The next year, 1996, I won two university awards, one for teaching and one for research.  While the teaching award offered no financial reward, the research award did and I invested my winnings in the first phase of a Certificate of Multi-Media Studies at the University of New Brunswick. I started the certificate in 1996 and finished it in 1999. I began the Certificate with a phobia for computers, but by the time I finished the certificate, my wife and I had built a webpage and had posted the first Ongoing Online Quevedo Bibliography, Francisco de Quevedo being the seventeenth-century Spanish poet on whose works I did my doctoral studies at the University of Toronto. Clare and I have always been interested in photography and we soon built web pages that showed aspects of the archaeological sites in the Oaxaca Valley. I was very interested in the possibilities of online teaching and several of my own courses soon involved having the students build their own webpages onto which they posted their essays. The traditional essay thus morphed into the web page creation. In 2002 I was granted a half-sabbatical and I enrolled in the Digital Film and Video Course run by Tony Merzetti at UNB. This allowed me to develop an interest in both film and video and my short film Birthday Suit, adapted from one of my own short stories of the same name, won second place in the Rogers Viewers Prize in the NB Silver Screen Film Festival of 2004. I wrote, directed, edited, and produced Birthday Suit, under the guidance of Tony Merzetti, my NB Film Co-op mentor, and participated in one way or another, both in front of and behind the camera, with another dozen New Brunswick short films. My webpage contains a description of the making of this movie. In 2007, I was invited to deliver the Sixteenth Milham Lecture at UNB and the making of this movie was the subject of that lecture.
 
Other aspects of my adventures in multi-media can be found on my website. 
As an introduction, I would suggest viewing the readings of my Welsh poems
 
Waterfall is a nice introduction to my video poems. 
 
4Q: Tell us something about your childhood. 
RM        My childhood was, in many ways, lost. I was (and still am) an only child and I scarcely remember my parents. They both worked and I only ever saw them on the evenings and weekends during school holidays. Looking back, I realize how little I knew and know about them. My own reality was a life at boarding school that was remarkably unpleasant in the first two schools, but not too bad in the third school, the one I attended from age 11 until age 18. My childhood at home was a shuffling from grandparent to grandparent and from aunt to aunt, interspersed with summer holidays on the continent with one or both of my parents. My life in school was the usual one of the only child separated from his parents and family. This separation was intensified when I went to school in England and the differences between my Welsh family and my new English self were augmented. This "difference" was accentuated by my ability to speak foreign languages. I was banned from speaking Welsh, though I did pick up little bits here and there from my maternal grandfather who was the last person in the family to speak any Welsh, but I made up for this by speaking French, Spanish, a little bit of Basque, and smatterings of language from whatever country we visited during the summer holidays abroad. This childhood of loneliness in a world of adults gave me one enormous blessing: the ability to entertain myself by creating a wonderful world filled with chessmen, puzzles, toy soldiers, a model railway, and an avid interest in books. This creativity remained with me throughout my life and has been a source of great comfort in my coaching, teaching, research, and creative careers.
Q4: What are you working on right now? 
RM        I have several projects on the go, as always. In 2010, my novel, People of the Mist, won an honorable mention in the David Adams Richards Award of the WFNB. I took it to the Humber School of Creative Writing in 2012 and completed a creative writing certificate with them, using the novel as a focus. I am still working on the novel. While at Humber, I met a group of wonderful people who wrote mainly in prose and I have remained in touch with them via an online writing group that we constructed together and still maintain online. I have written short stories for some time and have had

some good fortune with them recently. One story was short-listed by the CBC short story competition (2010), another won the WFNB that same year, and two more received honorable mentions in the WFNS Atlantic Competition and in the WFNB Creative Non-Fiction competition in later years. In addition, I won the WFNB short story competition (2015) with a fifth story. It is time now for me to gather these stories together and publish them in a single integrated volume. I am working on this and, at the same time, since I have about fifty stories written, I am also thinking of a second, and possibly a third, collection. Meanwhile, I have gathered my best poems into a Selected, and I will be sending this off to various publishers in the course of this year. In 2014 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and my fight against this awful disease lasted right through until 2015. I am cancer free right now, for which I would like to thank all those people who worked on and with me to bring about my cure. I kept a journal throughout the diagnosis / treatment / cure period and I have written a book of poems that I have also condensed into a chapbook. Both sets of poems are out at poetry competitions right now and I will be publishing them sometime during the course of 2016. I will self-publish and give copies to my friends if there is no interest from the commercial presses to which I intend to submit them.
 
More details about my career in various forms of creativity can be found on the following sites:

 


Thank you Roger for participating on the Scribbler.




Next week please visit again and read an excerpt from returning author Katrina Cope of Australia.