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Turning Plight into Writing Inspiration by contributor Eve Simkins

September 23, 2014

Being plagued by an addiction is usually associated with misery and sadness. In the creative arts though an affliction is often the spark that fuels authors to create the marvelous pieces of work we are familiar with. The reasons for addiction differ from one person to the next, but for past authors though it seemed to be a way for them to quieten the world surrounding them and enabled them a focus. Many writers have turned their addictive plight into a way to engage an area of their brain that otherwise, in their opinion, lay there dormant. It is as though writers believed each different addiction held a particular key to unlock a differing world and the only way to gain access to this new realm was to indulge in the substance to the extreme.

Some Liquid Encouragement

‘‘The euphoria of alcohol and the euphoria of metaphor’’

This single segment of speech by John Cheever sums up the rampant alcohol abuse that has been prevalent in many fantastic authors. The list of those authors who have become alcoholics during their writing careers is disturbingly long. As Tennessee Williams remarked ‘‘writers nearly all have problems with alcohol.’’ If you heard of someone being driven to drink it often related to some sort of personal tragedy for which the alcoholic believed he / she could drown his / her sorrows in alcohol. For writers though it seemed to be a way of transferring themselves from their worldly body into something all together more transcendent.

With the guiding hand of alcohol authors felt that they could become a being that has a certain perception of the world unknown to the average man or woman. Ernest Hemmingway believed ‘‘a man does not [truly] exist until he is drunk’’. When the average person gets drunk they stumble in and out of bars not really making an impact but writers believed that their addiction to the powerful liquid of alcohol could lift them to new heights. For this reason alcohol was seen as a staple choice to accompany any writer and their pen. Certain writers, like Stephen King, were offered help and interventions for their alcohol abuse and found ways to continue to produce high quality works without reliance upon it. Others were not so lucky. Dylan Thomas is well known for his written prose but, sadly, also for an early death. The ‘‘euphoria’’ of his written word may live on for readers but the ‘‘euphoria’’ he found at a bottom of a bottle meant his light went out too early. The alcohol may have fueled his writing and helped him produce wondrous pieces but it also denied him, and society, the potential of a writer at his peak.

Drugs: Awakening a Vision

‘‘Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs’’

Much like with alcoholism authors used the power of drugs as a method of escapism from the closed reality of their lives. The chemical compounds came in a variety of differing forms from opium, LSD, heroin and cocaine. Along with alcoholism these drugs clearly carried an unlocking technique for some writers, enabling them to uncover areas of thought that had escaped them whilst sober. This, as Allen Ginsberg called it, ‘‘exalted state of mind’’ provided endless works of both fiction and fact from a variety of authors, the majority of which are still loved today.

This new, apparently heightened state of mind and the glorification of drugs doesn’t come without costs. Many have read Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The white substance mentioned in this novel can perhaps be viewed as a thinly veiled reference to the drug culture amongst writers. Stevenson himself admitted to drugs fuelling his power to write and whilst certain authors may view this increase in work as positive it certainly was not. Instead drugs unleashed a lot of authors inner Hyde and whereas their literary works were sublime their true lives became broken. Take, for instance, David Foster Wallace (a writer of one of Time magazine’s 100 best English Language novels) who, much like Dylan Thomas, died at the age of 46 and was known as much for his addiction to anti-depressants as he was for his writing.

Something a Little Sweeter

‘‘Ideas begin to move ... smiles arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.’’

This article has talked about the dark plague of addiction with which many authors have suffered. There is one substance, sometimes referred to as a drug in itself, that nearly all authors use and it is one that they would perhaps recommend to everyone – caffeine. Caffeine in the form of a dark espresso or a very British mug of steaming tea can be the energy any author needs to power through a piece of writing. Throughout this article the dark side of writers abusing substances has been delved into. It is best to leave not with a sour taste in the mouth but with something a little sweeter. A type of substance, that in the poetic phrasing of Benjamin Franklin, only ‘‘excites cheerfulness without intoxication ... [as it] is never followed by sadness, languor or debility’’ it is only followed by the flow of the pen and the beauty of words on the page.

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Turning Demons into Literary Inspiration

July 30, 2014
by contributor, Eve Pearce

There is something intrinsically captivating about the down and out character who is on the edge of falling into a pit of either a drug-induced terror, an abusive past or a variety of other demons. The demise of these characters is perhaps what is so intriguing. The juxtaposition of these worlds, which are more often than not being identifiable to our own by not being far removed from the everyday, whilst also having that edge, which is different to what co-exists ...

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Army of Worn Soles: Book Launch Blog Tour @ScottTheWriter, Prizes to be Won!

June 26, 2014

The Army of Worn Soles launch blog tour continues! Read to the end for the clue that will help you win the Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a $50 Amazon gift card. If you collect all the clues and put them in the right order, they’ll make a sentence. Send the sentence to the author for a chance to win and autographed paperback copy of Army of Worn Soles plus a gift certificate from Amazon.

For a chance to enter the early-bird draw, enter the clue at the b...

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New Release: Army of Worn Soles by Scott Bury

June 6, 2014

1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore out their boots—and they kept going.

Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of the biggest invasion in the history of warfare: Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR.

Maurice sees that his job as Lieutenant is to keep his “boys”—the men of his anti-tank unit—alive as they retreat from the unstoppable Panzers and...

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3 Things to Love About Used Cars, a guest post by Alia Anderson

May 21, 2014

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love used cars! Actually, yes I can begin to tell you - that is what I am doing right here. Call me a nostalgia nut, call me old-fashioned, but they just do not make cars as they used to. That is why for me buying used is the only way to go. With every new purchase of something old, I dip into the past (like a time traveler) and pluck out what I love the most in an automobile. Here are 3 things I love the most about buying used.


Seriously, wh...

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Interview with Author, Richie Earl

April 25, 2014

Tell us about your latest book.

My Latest book, Return to Finndragon's Den, was released last year and is the second and final book in the Tales of Finndragon fantasy series. The story began with The Legend of Finndragon's Curse which revolves around two sisters and a brother, Emma, Megan and Scott Davies, (based upon my own children) whose father has mysteriously disappeared. They live in a Welsh valley town called Crafanc y Ddraig.

For centuries, the inhabitants of Crafanc y Ddraig have...

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Author Richie Earl

April 24, 2014

Richie Earl is the writer of fantastical fantasy adventures. Earl's first series, Tales of Finndragon, is a two part adventure which started life as a bedtime story for his three children, who nagged him so much that he finally agreed to write a book. Only one book was intended, but Earl came to realise that a second was required.

Earl was offered a publishing contract from a small Welsh press, but after much deliberation and discussion with the publisher, decided not to accept the offer. ...

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Being a girl in a Sikh family can be a real killer

April 10, 2014

Red Bride's Noose by Alexandra Swistak

Camille Hayer should be preparing for a job interview—not ordered to pack her bags for  a cousin’s wedding in rural Orissa. India is the last place on earth she would go to willingly; it’s where her sister disappeared thirteen years ago.
On arrival, Camille’s bag is brutally snatched and her family is more concerned about catching a train. No ticket, no passport, and adapting to third world conditions is the least of her worries when a bod...

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Great reads for young entrepreneurs, a guest post by Bradley Taylor

March 22, 2014

Knowledge is key to entrepreneurial success. Here are five books which offer fresh insights to young entrepreneurs on how to recognize and achieve their professional ambitions.


Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (1985) is a military science fiction novel which presents mankind's struggle against the 'Buggers', an insectoid alien species. To prepare against future invasions, children are trained from a young age through a series of games which require them to exercise their...

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New Dan O'Brien Book and Giveaway!!

March 11, 2014

You’re never too old to have one more adventure 

Brought to life by Steve Ferchaud’s vibrant drawings, this story for all ages by Dan O’Brien lets us know that it is never too late to have one more adventure. 

An Excerpt:

Robert Pendleton opened one eye as the light of a passing car flashed over the window, shattering the darkness into prisms. He rolled onto his back on the beat-up couch and yawned as he reached his hands up and rubbed his eyes unceremoniously. 


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