Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Urban Exploration Strikes Again!

Okay, I know I said that I’d focus on writing and such during this grad school break but recently I stumbled across a new set of Urbex photos that I just had to share!

For those who might be new to my blog, Urbex is short for Urban Exploration – the art of photographing abandoned and decrepit buildings for the sake of posterity.  It’s something I find absolutely fascinating and thanks to my incessant rambling about it on occasion, now many of my fans do too! 
Yoan Bernabeu
Yet Another Excellent UrBex Photographer!
Farther down there is a set of photos that recently appeared on Huffington Post's website. They were taken by a photographer from the Netherlands and were taken in many of the abandoned farm houses that dot the landscape throughout Western Europe.

An Abandoned Farm In Western Europe
Photographer Unknown

People who don’t understand my love for this type of thing often ask me “what’s the point of looking at an abandoned building?” or “what’s the point of looking at somebody’s garbage that was left behind?”.   Most urbex photographers, Mr. Feijen included, like to say that they take these pictures to "show the beauty of decay". Personally, I see the beauty of the story in that decay - the story that the location and its effects can tell.
Urbex Photography By The Super Talented Tom Kirsch
Wherever one looks – there’s always a story to find.  Last year I shared about Whitley Park here on the blog and a lot of people – writers and readers alike – fell in love with the place.  Whitley Park was an empty underground ballroom but the storylines that can come from that one location are literally infinite.
The Always Awesome Whitley Park Ballroom!
Ultimately, I am talking about writing in a sense. Everything and everyone I come in contact with is detail in some way for a plot in a story. My friends and family get a kick out of it, strangers have no clue, animals have no clue either, and scenery just doesn't care. Neither does Urbex.

Just take a look at these photos:
Photo by Niki Feijen

Photo by Niki Feijen

Photo by Niki Feijen

Photo by Niki Feijen

Photo by Niki Feijen

Photo by Niki Feijen

Photo by Niki Feijen
To some they may seem like a set of photos of musty crap in moldy old houses - BUT - think about it. Look harder. Look at the details. What if the walls could talk? Some of these homes are pristine in a sense.  It's as if time has stopped. Even as they decay it is as if the people just went to the store and never returned - the table is still set in one house while the china sits in the dining room buffet in another. These locations are literally time capsules waiting to be discovered and what's found there can create a plethora of story lines! 

Never mind the questions that can arise....What happened to the people? The owners? Where did they go? What happened to them? Did they get sick? Did they die? Did they get carted off to some old folks home and their children never bothered to clean out their house? Were they murdered and buried on the property? Were they murdered and never found? Or maybe he or she did the murdering and got sent to prison? Or they're on the lam? Maybe they were abducted by aliens? Joined a cult and got lost in the desert somewhere? 
The point is that no matter what condition a place  is in, there's a story to be told there. Never turn your nose up at a possible story - whether good or bad, a story is something to learn from and/or enjoy! (Well, if you don't like to read, I'm not sure why you're here anyway, lol.) As an author I'm always on the lookout for storylines waiting to happen. For me Urban Exploration photos provide some of the most fascinating details about life and people in general. Not to mention that these pictures are history.

Which, sadly, books may be one day...I would hate to think that that would happen - but there are cartoons about it already. There's a good chance of it happening if we allow technology to totally overrule all else. 
Possibly An Endangered Species?

Think about it. With all of our sinking into the welcome embrace of iPads, iPhones, Laptops, mini-this and mini-that sometimes the basics become lost in the rush to be part of the future. I guess that my ultimate point is that yes, technology is great, all the outlets media offers us today are great but let's not become so entrenched within technology and what the future holds that we forget to read!!

There's a plethora of books out there that combine past, present and future to give us some of THE best story lines!! With summer coming it's the perfect time to pick up a few books for the beach - a copy of Paramour would be perfect!!!  Going camping? Creep yourself out with a copy of Blood Roles! Jetting or driving off on a vacation? A copy of Illusions would be perfect for passing the time! Books - whether hard copy, paperback or ebooks are a perfect way to spend some spare time this summer!!
Until next time, happy reading and writing!! 
For more of Niki Feijen's awesome work, visit his website at: http://www.nikifeijen.nl/

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bad News, Good News and An Awesome Face!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have been remiss in my blogging duties – but thankfully I’ve survived my first term of grad school!!  I now have two weeks to catch up on everything I’ve been unable to get to during the past fifteen weeks!!
Yeah, Grad School...Buy Some Books! I Have Student Loans To Pay Off!!!
At the top of the list is finishing Bad Medicine!! I’ve been inundated with letters wanting to know when the book will make an appearance and I’m happy to announce the sequel to Blood Roles will be released in November!  And to answer a most important question:  YES, Jon Joss will be on the cover of Bad Medicine as well!! (Along with some new faces to boot...)
Um, Yes, There IS A Sequel!!!
(I Just Have To Finish Writing It First!!)
The NABSU agents will be spending quality time hanging with some New Age twinkies in order to expose illegal activity and will find themselves in an awkward situation.  Names will be smeared, sex will be had and heads will roll – in more ways than one. And we just might find out who the White River Killer is! Or will we?  

Twinkies In Action...
Some Things You Just Have To See To Believe...

When the NABSU series was created my husband was still alive and we had big plans for it.  Sadly, since Rob passed away I have had a hard time working on these particular books so, for right now, Bad Medicine will be “it” for a while for this series. We had originally planned six to eight books exploring the other agents’ lives and I even spent quality time doing some rewrites for a very patient publisher but, after some soul searching, I’ve decided to shelve NABSU for the time being.  Maybe someday I can bring Taylor and Andie to life again but, for the time being, I’m closing NABSU’s doors. 

I think I’ve finally reached a point as a writer that I cannot get past – losing my writing partner for these books pretty much brought this particular series to a screeching halt.  I think Evanescence’s song “My Heart Is Broken” pretty sums up the feelings I have working on Taylor and Andie’s story. It’s not Taylor and Andie’s fault, it’s mine.  The NABSU series was a very personal set of books. My husband and I worked on them right up until the day before he passed away. It’s reached a point that working on the series is painful and I don’t feel that I can produce good storylines feeling that way.

This is not to say, though, that I am going to stop writing – far from it!!  Thank you to everybody who has sent comments regarding Illusions - I love it as well. It's a storyline that stemmed from the reality of a very special couple. Readers have been asking if there's a book somewhere for Ian. I hadn't given it much though, honestly, but given the interest in Ian's redemption as a human being I'm now considering a storyline for him. I think it would be interesting to revisit Olivia and Clay as well. Still working on that one...

The first book of the Bayside Erotica Series, Paramour, is doing very well – that means book two isn’t far behind!  Book Two isn’t named yet but it’s already coming to life! Picture it…a steamy Tampa Bay summer night, a flat tire, a mistaken identity and way more passion than should be legal!! I think I’ve even found the perfect, rugged, hero to star on the cover!!
Have YOU Gotten Your Copy Of Paramour Yet??
Speaking of cover models - every so often somebody will introduce me to a perfect specimen of sexy! A buddy recently introduced me to Julian Christian!

How Could You Say 'No' To That Face??
Oh, And The Guy's Cute Too!!

Julian's already got quite a few book covers under his belt but he's always on the lookout for more so if you're an author looking for an awesome cover guy? Check him out!

Julian is also on Facebook: Julian's Facebook Profile

Keeping with my policy of only working with nice cover models - Julian's a great guy who respects what we do and how we do it. He'll be an awesome guy to have on your cover if you're an author - heck, I might even use him...although, that would mean I have to break my no-drool policy regarding men on my covers!!! lol

And if you're a reader? By all means - he's definitely somebody I'd buy a book for just for the cover! (Oh c'mon, we've all done it, don't act so innocent...that's how I got into Pamela Palmer's Feral Warrior Series, Paenther's cover model was hot!! lol)
I Definitely Judged This Book By Its Cover!!
(And It Was Well Worth It!)
So, whether you're an author or a reader, definitely check out Julian Christian - you won't be disappointed!! AND - if you haven't picked up your copy of Paramour, do it NOW, you won't regret it!

Keep Checking Back - There Will Be More - At Least For The Next Two Weeks Before Grad School Takes Over My Life Again!!