Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Read what Vladimir Ashkenazy said about 'For Viktor'. Now available from Kindle.

It's taken a while -- I wanted to wait until the new cover was ready -- but For Viktor is now available from Kindle.

Maestro Ashkenazy is an acknowledged expert on Russian music. He has recorded Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition twice and has created his own orchestration of the suite which he has recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as conducting its performance with other orchestras all over the world. 
Here's what he said about For Viktor.    

What Vladimir Ashkenazy said about ‘For Viktor’

Dear Mr Bolton, 
I read your book For Viktor. The Story of Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' with great interest and satisfaction. I think it is very important to try to bring school children to a certain level of appreciation and understanding of what great music of the great composers brings to all of us. I know of numerous examples of how children react being exposed to well presented lessons based on this kind of music and the results are absolutely astounding; apart from the fact that as they grow up they almost never abandon their affection for the serious music, they perform much better in all other subjects of their curriculum than those children who were not exposed to the same musical appreciation program. I know first hand of these examples in many countries - from the U.K. to Russia - having been a part of such programs.
I think your very well presented book on 'Pictures' could be a wonderful item in such a curriculum and I think you should endeavour in presenting it to various educational institutions in your country. I'll be delighted to be of help when needed and send you all my best wishes.

Sincerely

(Signed)

Vladimir Ashkenazy


About For Viktor

Based on fact, and historically accurate, For Viktor is written in Modest Mussorgsky’s own voice as he guides a young companion around the picture exhibition held in honour of his friend Viktor Hartman at the Academy of Artists in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1874. It was this exhibition which inspired Mussorgsky to write the suite of music he called ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’.

The book is written to be read or delivered in time with the playing of the music. The duration of each section — including each of the promenades — is about the same as the musical piece it describes. Indeed, important events in the narrative often intersect with appropriate moments in the music to bring the unseen pictures to life.

It is indeed a unique meeting of art, music and literature.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

My new book is FINISHED

For the record my new novel (107,000+ words) is finished. 
It's called The Boys and Men of Mickey Rooney's Gang and it's completely different from any of my other 'nice' books. 
Unlike them it contains a lot of sex and violence. But, I have to add quickly, all for legitimate literary purposes. 
It follows nine teenage boys into adulthood; and how can one talk about nine teenage boys struggling with adolescence without recording their sex-obsessed thoughts, language and activities? And how can one describe the lives of nine men without recording the weaknesses and flaws of their male character. 
Next step: submission to publishers. That could take a while.  

Here's the revised cover blurb: 
It was at the Point, a working class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, in nineteen fifty-seven, that eight mildly rebellious adolescent boys, naturally obsessed with sex and frustrated by the conservatism of their cautious elders, were attracted to the charismatic but thoroughly delinquent Mickey Rooney whose fantastic dreams of Hollywood fame and fortune were to be his downfall. The little gang didn’t last long; it disintegrated after a cruel practical joke played by little Mickey Rooney on big Pearly Gates. Despite his size and strength, the hapless Pearly Gates was the gang’s most vulnerable member and the others came to regret their contribution to his humiliation. As a result each of the boys – annoyed with himself, with nothing in common with the others but his sex, age and place of residence, and confused, as all adolescent males are, by his inner testosterone-based turmoil – then went his own way.
This book follows each of them into adulthood and, for those who survived, into old age. Nine lives Nine stories. In New Zealand, Australia, America and around the world. Nine men with nothing in common but the teenage year they wasted in Mickey Rooney’s gang.


Thursday, 2 May 2019

Some more reader feedback for 'My Marian Year'


My Marian Year keeps making friends. 
I received this email yesterday which contains typical reader sentiments. 

Hi Robert

I have just read “My Marian Year” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was not sure if it was an auto-biography or a novel based on your life, or just a novel, but nevertheless I related to everything. Although older than you and a child of the war years, I could relate to all of what you wrote – even the small details like wrapping kitchen waste in newspaper and placing it in the steel rubbish bin.

I also enjoyed the tussle with the church. Living near St Michaels as a child it brought things home to me. I think we were a more affluent family than Johnny Boy as we had a car and even a beach house. However we were not allowed to fall in love with Catholics, even though at dancing class they were the prettiest girls with their black hair and a touch of the Irish. The reason we had to avoid them was because of the then discipline of the Catholic Church – fish on Fridays, the rosary, grace before meals, Mass every Sunday, confession etc. We therefore had to go to the more relaxed St Marks.

Where I lived it was a big neighbourhood with a big gully to play in. The war years meant an air raid shelter where boys smoked, and where there was a horse, sheep, bush tracks and huts and even the occasional unashamed nudity. I wrote a novel about it which is on Kindle and trickles out. It was called “The Par  Rem Kids.” It has not the detail of your book though. It just touches on the times. Your book retains the times for posterity.

The other books I have written are based on ruraldom. I ended up a farmer for many years with a tourist side to it and wrote for magazines from time to time among other things.

My older brother also enjoyed your book. He said it brought back his childhood very pleasantly.

Regards

Stuart Chambers

Sunday, 7 April 2019

My new book. Only a few more months to go.

The first of April 2019 marked one year since I started work on my new book. It's unlike anything else I've ever published as it follows nine men, each from his boyhood to manhood; it's like nine novels in one. It's probably going to be titled The Boys and Men of Auckland's Mickey Rooney Gang. I've even drafted the blurb (although that could and probably will change).

The Boys and Men of Auckland's Mickey Rooney Gang. 
It was at the Point, a working class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, in nineteen fifty-seven, that eight mildly rebellious boys, in the middle of their adolescence, and frustrated by the conservatism of their cautious elders, were attracted to the charismatic but delinquent Mickey Rooney and so joined his little gang. But later, after an especially unpleasant practical joke – a nasty trick – played by Mickey Rooney on Pearly Gates, the gang broke up. The hapless Pearly Gates was the gang’s most vulnerable member, despite his size and strength, and the others came to be utterly ashamed of their participation in his humiliation. The gang disintegrated then when each of the boys, angry with himself, with nothing in common with the others but his sex, age and place of residence, and confused, as all adolescent males are, by his inner turmoil – went his own way.
This book follows each of them into adult-hood and, for those who survived, into old age. Nine lives. Nine stories. Nine men with nothing in common but the adolescent year they wasted in Auckland’s Mickey Rooney gang.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

A new cover for 'For Viktor'


As I had to reprint 'For Viktor' I decided that it warranted a new cover. And here it is, thanks to DIY Publishing. 

About my book, For Viktor. The story of Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’.

This short, entertaining book, based on fact, is written in Modest Mussorgsky’s own voice as he guides a young companion around the picture exhibition held in honour of his friend Viktor Hartman at the Academy of Artists in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1874. It was this exhibition which inspired Mussorgsky to write the suite of music he called 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.

The book is written to be read in time with the playing of the music, preferably the original piano version. While reading the text the reader will find that the duration of each section — including each of the promenades — is about the same as the musical piece it describes. Indeed, important events in the narrative often intersect with appropriate moments in the music to bring the unseen pictures to life.

It is a unique meeting of art, music and literature.


Endorsed and supported by Vladimir Ashkenazy 
Accordingly, ‘For Viktor’ has received the personal endorsement of the celebrated Russian concert pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Maestro Ashkenazy is a recognised expert on Russian music. He has recorded ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ twice and has created his own orchestration of the suite which he has recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as conducting its performance with other orchestras all over the world. 

What Vladimir Ashkenazy said about For Viktor 

May 2009
Sydney

Dear Mr Bolton
I read your book For Viktor. The Story of Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' with great interest and satisfaction. I think it is very important to try to bring school children to a certain level of appreciation and understanding of what great music of the great composers brings to all of us. I know of numerous examples of how children react being exposed to well presented lessons based on this kind of music and the results are absolutely astounding; apart from the fact that as they grow up they almost never abandon their affection for the serious music, they perform much better in all other subjects of their curriculum than those children who were not exposed to the same musical appreciation program. I know first hand of these examples in many countries - from the U.K. to Russia - having been a part of such programs.
I think your very well presented book on 'Pictures' could be a wonderful item in such a curriculum and I think you should endeavour in presenting it to various educational institutions in your country. I'll be delighted to be of help when needed and send you all my best wishes.
Sincerely

(Signed)

Vladimir Ashkenazy



Monday, 25 March 2019

Huge savings on my short stories

A few years ago I decided to combine my three books of short stories into one edition. More economical to print and so more economical to buy. But that meant  I stopped selling the three separate books. Now, as I'm running out of stock of the 'combined' edition, I have decided to deeply discount the three separate books. So I'm selling the three of them -- Nana's Special Day and other stories, The Dolphin and other stories, and Quickies -- more than 70 of my short stories, worth $73.50 if bought separately, for the price of one: $24.50. To order: just email me your address and I'll send you online banking instructions and your books by return post. ('While stocks last' as they say.) 





Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A new edition of 'Underneath the Arclight'

My popular New Zealand novel, Underneath the Arclight is a wonderful, funny New Zealand story with a cast of delightful Kiwi characters. As a result of stocks being almost depleted I have taken the opportunity to reissue the book with a new cover. The new  cover depicts a movie projector (The Arclight is an old movie theatre), the number 5 from a film leader countdown, and the mysterious silverbeet patch which is so central to the story. 


HERE'S THE NEW COVER:





















HERE'S THE BACK COVER BLURB FROM THE NEW EDITION OF UNDERNEATH THE ARCLIGHT

Nothing much ever happens in Robinson Street, Blythewillow, and for Phyllis, Graham, Karen, Charlie Downs and Monkey Oldfield, and most of the other residents of the town, that's just the way they like it.

With The Arclight cinema, The Record Reign, Wake's butchers, the garden, and Monkey Oldfield's brand new chicken coop, the residents of Robinson Street have everything they need. So when Clint appears in the garden one night and tells Phyllis that it’s all about to change she doesn’t know what to think.

Within days there are changes at The Arclight, and Clint's isn't the only ghost making its presence felt. Long forgotten events from the past bring visitors from the outside world; from the city, Australia and from Los Angeles, with news, offers and veiled threats.

Are these the changes promised by Clint? And can the residents of Blythewillow save their town's bucolic charm?

Only time will tell as Karen and Graham and Jehoiada Hartsfield – the charming young city lawyer – peel back the layers of Blythewillow's forgotten history to discover Clint's secret treasure.