Ben Starling, A Hopeless Romantic, A Boxer, and a Very Funny Guy.

How could such a handsome face belong to a boxer?

I know, right? Ben Starling_Author photo_15May15

But this, my friends, is Ben Starling.

And I think you all will enjoy getting to know him and his work as a writer, actor, and artist! Check out his website for a clip of his acting among other things!

Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his upcoming novel. He is Oxford’s only ever Quintuple Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and boxed competitively. Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and a MPhil. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.  

Ben Starling Banner_15MAY15

Title of Work: To be revealed!

Genre: Contemporary fiction 

Tagline: What if to be with the man of your dreams… you had to give up your life?

On the verge of losing her job, a side-lined journalist is forced to travel to the South Pacific to untangle a mystery where she meets a reclusive ex-boxer with a message. When a syndicate of corporate criminals invades paradise, she must either defend the island with her life or accept the plum promotion that will save her career.

 Intended Audience: Those who enjoy the works of Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts and Colleen Hoover

Connect with Ben!  photo Twitter-Icon_zps3130eebd.png  photo Facebook-Icon_zps3f1c1485.png  photo Goodreads-icon_zps520d2a85.png  photo Facebook-Icon_zps3f1c1485.png  photo WordPress icon.png

Sign up here to be notified of Ben’s upcoming releases: www.ben-starling. com/contact-sign-up/

Is this your first book?

I’m a freelance editor and have also written some short items and received encouragement for that. After focusing on the work of others for so long, I longed to take on the challenge of a full-length work of my own. My forthcoming love story will be released on January 21, 2016.

Where do you write? 

There is a beautiful canal that flows near my home. All my plot snarls are unraveled as I walk along beside it – the most important part of my work is done here. Whenever I hit a tough-going portion, I know where to go. There is something about the tranquility of water that inspires.

Ben_canal walk 1  

Okay, NOW I am jealous! 

Do you have any strange writing habits? All writing habits are strange – stranger than fiction. But I have done my best to estrange myself from the strangest ones of all. In fact, I have had no writing habits at all since I stopped taking plot tips from my dog.

And you’re a comedian! Who knew? 

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

You only need to own two books on writing: one is The Elements of Style by EB White. It’s a must read for authors. The other is: any creative writing book by James N Frey. Read it cover to cover. He is the best writing coach in the business.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Hemingway for his symbolism and the poignancy of the troubles of Santiago in Old Man in the Sea. And Herman Wouk for his spell-binding characterisations in Don’t Stop the Carnival.

I’m also a Hemingway fan but I’ve never read Herman Wouk. I’ll have to check that one out! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Edward (Bear) Hamilton was the most fun to write – so astoundingly unaware of his shortcomings and flamboyantly unconcerned about his impact on others. I giggled the whole time I was writing him.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

The villain was the most challenging to write. The antagonist is the crucial counterpoint in every tale. Without a worthy adversary for the hero/ine, the story falls flat. And yet, a worthy villain must be chillingly motivated.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still writing. More travelled. And in the arms of the woman I love – that I look forward to meeting someday soon! I have a recurring dream about meeting her. We love for the same reason that we write. It’s all about making connections. There’s no other reason to live, is there?

That sounds great! I just love the idea of the recurring dream. Sounds like a great novel idea! Or did your dog already suggests that plot? 

Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

I draw to unwind. Magical realism in black and white is my favorite. Recently, marine themes keep appearing too. I keep promising myself to branch out and explore color. But I keep coming back to pen and ink. I’ve posted some on my site.

Ben Starling_Art_Turtle

This is such a lovely example of your artwork! 

What are you working on now?

I’m finalizing materials and planning events for my upcoming book launch. The novel (title reveal coming soon) will be released in early 2016. Lots to do to prepare for that!

And don’t forget to let me know so that I can be a part of your launch!

What is your next project?

A series of prequel short stories to be released from September 21, 2015, set in the same world as my upcoming novel.

What do you wear (if anything) while writing? My fingers to the bone…

THAT is the BEST answer ever!!!! Do you have a pet or pets? I had a beautiful and brilliant Great Dane named Edington once. She learned every game in a flash, retrieved things I didn’t know I wanted and danced with me. I lost her many years ago, but I’ll never forget her. I’m sure she’s my guardian angel watching over me. I’ve had a few close calls and I credit my continued existence entirely to Edington.

When they say the Great Dane is a noble breed, they are spot on!

What is your favorite snack food?

Soup. Soup… and soup. Toss every vegetable in your fridge into the slow cooker, add a few herbs and then go write for day. Always ready when you need it and perfect every time.

Not a bad plan at all! Okay, so this conversation about dogs and soup is reminding me of Best in Show! If you haven’t seen it…watch it!

I’d like to be able to whip up a five-course gourmet meal in a heartbeat too, but I’m still working on that. Always on the look out for a good recipe!

You should try a few Cajun recipes. I think Gumbo would definitely be your style. I like chicken and sausage with okra and tomatoes. Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of.

When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

I once got out of a dinner party by scheduling invasive surgery. Does that count?

Seriously? You really crack me up!

Have you ever dyed your hair an unusual color?

Yes. Orange. Some things just weren’t meant to be. Or dares meant to be taken.

I like orange! It inspires creativity…so maybe that was a good choice. What is your biggest fear?

That my recurring dream won’t come true.

NOOOOO! Don’t say that! Keep on being your hopeless romantic adorable self! 

What do you want your headstone to say?

Did you hear it too?! I must say, I find talking headstones alarming.

Okay, Ben! You got me! That one made me laugh out loud! 

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Provide images if you want.

Antarctica. Now there’s a fascinating environment. And the closest thing to untouched that is left on our planet.

Antarctica_freeimagescom

I want to go to Easter Island. I’m not such a big fan of the cold.

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I’d be American with a British accent. That’d confuse them. Confuses me quite a bit too…

Made me laugh again! You’re a funny guy! 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Start an eco-hotel on a faraway tropical island.

Do you need a partner? We could build one on Easter Island!

Provide an enticing, titillating, interesting, or fun fact about your book or series:

All my most important cuts were made while shaving. (For detail on what was cut from earlier versions of my novel, see below in the final interview question here: What did you delete?)

VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

Monotonous and extraneous transportation scenes were deleted and folded into more vibrant activities. I tried to follow the maxim of “get in late and leave early”.

Sounds good!

Wow! It really has been a lot of fun doing this interview with you, Ben. I know you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you and I hope you’ll let me read and review your novel. Thanks! Geri

The Delete Key Blog Button

The Delete Key is for Writers! And I Mean That Literally and Figuratively.

THE DELETE KEY, according to Wikipedia, when struck on a computer keyboard during text or command editing, the delete key (Delete or Del, known less ambiguously as forward delete) The Delete Key Buttondiscards the character ahead of the cursor‘s position, moving all following characters one position “back” towards the freed letterspace. The key appears on IBM-compatible PC keyboards labeled as ‘Delete’ or ‘Del’. On some Mac keyboards, the key that performs the forward delete function is labeled ‘del’,[1] or with a special right arrow glyph enclosing an ‘x’ with the word del or delete above or to the left of it,[2] since the full word delete by itself is reserved for labelling the key known on other keyboards as Backspace.

Where it is important for writers to remember to use THE DELETE KEY literally (because not everything you write is GOLD), it can also be beneficial to keep a file on all your deleted  text for future reference,  as was the suggestion of my friend and fellow author, Ariana Wells.

When I asked about her experiences with THE DELETE KEY (literally), she responded:

 I never completely delete a scene that isn’t working. For every story I write I create a file for deleted scenes. Just because it doesn’t work in this story, doesn’t mean the scene or the essence of it won’t be perfect for another story.” 

Literally and Figuratively, according to Wikipedia:

THE DELETE KEY is figuratively for writers as well with:

The-Delete-Key-button

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Bonnie Gail Carter and Her Debut Book of Poetry, The Chill Turned Warm

Hi everyone, I’d like to introduce Bonnie Gail Carter, and her debut book of poetry, The Chill Turned Warm. The title comes from one of her poems in the book.

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I’ve asked her to provide some information about herself, her poetry, and her inspirations to share with my readers.

Bonnie Gail Carter:

I was born in Bay City, Michigan in 1954. That makes me sixty years old. My parents got divorced when I was around five years old. I lived in Bay City and Saginaw, Michigan until I was 15 years old then I moved to Lafayette, Indiana where I lived until 2 years ago. My residence is in Peru, Indiana now. I graduated from William Henry Harrison High School in 1972. I have two years of College at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana where I studied Sociology and Psychology.

Some of my poems are about intense subjects like divorce, alcoholism, when my husband tried to kill his own unborn child, suicide attempt, and rape. For that reason my book is intended for an adult audience.

A poem called, “The Prisoner in Grade School” and a poem called, “The Child Inside of Me”, were read by my boyfriend. He is a singer/songwriter that plays an acoustic guitar. His name is Donnie Townsend. He wrote a song called, “Little Girl in the Orphanage” about me and it is on my YouTube channel.

I lived in an orphanage when I was in grade school, with an aunt and uncle for four years, and in foster homes while in high school.

Some of my poems are like short stories about my life. It’s like a memoir in the form of poetry.

There are poems about love and love lost. There are poems about my faith and love for God and Jesus.There are poems about many things.

One of my poems was inspired about a painting of a rose by artist, Ghazi Riman. You can find him on Facebook.

Unfortunately I couldn’t afford to put the paintings in my book but the painting of the rose is below.

021Ghazi Riman

The Rose

The painting of the rose brings such beauty into my life.

It’s such a wonderful sight.

For a moment, I can escape the strife.

When I can’t sleep at night,

I can remember the delicate beauty of the rose in the daylight.

The thorns will prick your hand if you hold it tight,

so let go of the stress in your life.

The rose’s aroma is such a delight.

It’s also pleasing to gaze at by candlelight.

Each petal unfolds a mystery and gives insight.

I delight in the painting of the rose

with all of my might.

One of my poems is about how the nuns separated me from my sisters for the four years we were there. Here is the poem:

Our Bond They Couldn’t Break

Even though we didn’t grow up together,

we remained sisters forever.

Our bond they couldn’t break.

Our spirits remained great.

Being sisters they couldn’t take.

God watched over us for our own sake.

Our guardian angels knew what was at stake.

Even though we had to wait,

our bond they couldn’t break.

We didn’t grow up filled with hate.

Sisters we did make,

filled with love until this date.

Our bond they couldn’t break.

Here is a poem inspired by another one of Ghazi’s paintings and the picture of the painting is below.

Tulips

Dancing Tulips

The tulips are dancing in the cool summer breeze.

Would you hold me and dance with me, please?

The photographs of us are like a slideshow on the screen.

We dance in my mind like we were teens.

We have matured just like the tulips have bloomed.

Our like-minded thoughts are perfectly in tune.

Our eyes meet and they dance with laughter

as we remember all of the love that remains after.

We get older as each tulip petal falls to the ground.

It doesn’t even make a sound.

We are like the tulips in the fall of their life.

I am so grateful to be called your wife.

As the last petal falls to the ground,

I’ll say I love you and I’m so glad you’ve been around.

Before I would write a poem I would listen to some of my favorite music. Some of my poems were inspired by the paintings. Some of them came from 

hardships I’ve endured. Some came from my faith in God and Jesus. One of my poems is called, Wind Song and it’s about Harley riders. When I was 

young I hung around with a motorcycle gang for about three years.I didn’t get into doing drugs but I drank a lot of Jack Daniels. I quit drinking many years ago.

When I was inspired to write a poem I would sit on the couch and write it down on a tablet in pencil so I could erase a few words if needed.

This past year I’ve been more interested in photography. We take rides out on country roads, go to a lake, creeks. the Wabash River, or go some place like Seven Pillars.

Below are a few of my photos.

Bonnie Swing

Bonnie Daylilies

Bonnie Sunset

Bonnie Trees

My next project is to have a book of my photographs published.

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing a sample of your work and your beautiful photography. I hope to see you combine your talents on your next book.

For more information on Bonnie Gail Carter, follow her links provided below:

en.gravatar.com/bonniegcarter#pic-l

http://www.facebook.com/PoetryMyStyle/

https://www.goodreads.com/BonnieGailCarter/

about.me/carterbonnie440/

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile/AuthorCentral/

www.iauthor.uk.com/profile/bonnie-gail-carter:6383

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PB62T0C/

More about Bonnie by Bonnie:

Ever since I was sixteen years old I wanted to publish a book of poetry. Now I am sixty and my dream has come to fruition.

Now I can say I am an author but being an author is turning out to be the easy part. Marketing and sales are the hard part. I might have to hire someone to help me with that.

On Amazon I have two 5 Star reviews and one 4 Star review. I want to ask my readers to leave a review..

It’s a very important thing you can do for your favorite authors.

On a lighter note I want to tell you a conversation I had with my cousin when she was in her twenties.

She told me she wouldn’t eat brown eggs. i asked her why not. She said that she won’t eat brown eggs because they come from the chicken. So then I asked her where do you think white eggs come from and she said, “from the store.”

My philosophy is to never let the world take away your smile. No matter how many hardships you endure there is always a glimmer of sunshine and love is just around the corner.

Thank you for taking the time to read about me and my book of poems. I hope you enjoy them.

Bonnie Gail Carter

Great job, Bonnie! And thank you again for sharing!