For trivago.co.uk (UK English/Grammar):
Your Own Private Island: Baros Maldives Resort
Have you ever wanted your own private island? Staying at the Baros Maldives Resort is about as close as most people will get. On the Maldives Archipelago in the South Indian Ocean, the resort offers tranquil tropical luxury, unspoiled wilderness and undersea adventure.
Each room comes with free Wi-Fi, beach bag, electric kettle/espresso maker, flat screen TV, minibar, iPod station, wine chiller, yoga mats and climate control.
Visitors to the resort can take advantage of 24 hour reception, library, gym, complimentary Wi-Fi, recreation centre, dive and watersports facility, Marine Centre, pool and spa.
For dinner and drinks, the Baros Maldives Resort has three restaurants: Lighthouse features gourmet fare and fine wine, Cayenne Grill serves seafood and pizzas, and Lime lays out a delightful spread of options in its buffet. The resort also has two lounges.
When staying on Male, guests can enjoy eco-tours of the island, destination dinners on the beach, boat tours of the archipelago on a replica Maldivian sailboat or scuba dive through amazing underwater vistas.
Breathing Down London’s Neck–Thistle Holborn, The Kingsley Hotel
Named for writer Charles Kingsley, Thistle Holborn, The Kingsley Hotel brings you London up close and personal. Recently renovated and minutes from numerous sightseeing destinations like the British Museum and the West End, the hotel is ideal for business or pleasure travels.
In each room, guests have access to a work desk, flat screen TV, coffee and tea making equipment, free Wi-Fi, and air conditioning for optimum comfort.
Modernist literary classics are available from the Resident Library, as well as complimentary reading pillows. Other accommodations at the Thistle Holborn, The Kingsley Hotel include 24 hour room service, free Wi-Fi and conference rooms.
Light fare and drinks are available from the bar. More formal diners can relax in the spacious Kingsley Two Brasserie, enjoying its English and continental delights.
Hotel guests are only a 20 minute walk from West End theatres, Hyde Park and Covent Gardens, and five minutes from the Holborn Underground Station.
Travel Writing Blurbs (for a mobile travel app–U.S. English):
Love at Less than a Buck–99 Cent Pizza
The name says it all: 99 Cent Pizza. What more could a hungry traveler ask for? Whether exploring the city or out for a drink with friends, dollar pizza is the obvious choice since most slices sell for three times that. Sure it’s nothing fancy, but one buck gets you zesty sauce and bubbling cheese fresh from the oven. What’s not to love? Let’s face it, New York style pizza is part of the Big Apple experience, and 99 Cent Pizza will fill you up, tickle your taste buds, and leave you with a little extra spending money in a pricy city. Of course you may have to wait in line for such inexpensive pizza. But what’s a little inconvenience for a delicious, piping hot slice?
Feasting on History–Pike’s Place Market
As you stroll through Pike’s Place Market, the scent of history rolls in with the tide. You can almost feel the cool ocean breeze already, can’t you? Open since the turn of the 19th Century, Pike’s Place Market is a cornucopia of mercantile delights. Meandering through the Market’s many vendors and shops allows you to sample of a cornucopia of high-end specialty foods, teas, books, beads, and housewares. Whether buying fresh fish for dinner, snacking at its charming delis, or simply enjoying the fresh air and watching the shoppers stroll by, Pike’s Place Market is a refreshing diversion from downtown Seattle’s frenetic modern pace.
Angering Conservative Dressers Since the 70’s–Trash & Vaudeville
So you were in New York circa 1977, and you wanted to piss off your parents. Well, the obvious choice was a swagger down St. Mark’s Place: pick out some flash in one of the tattoo shops, stop by at Trash & Vaudeville for the latest shredded sweater, and then top it all off with a sonic headache at CBGB’s. Still going strong nearly 40 years later, Trash & Vaudeville is still the place to pick up all your subculture needs while exploring curios of the culture war. They carry a broad spectrum of quality subculture apparel (this is no Hot Topic), including bondage pants, corsets, skinny jeans, bullet belts, and flame-licked creepers. Be there. Be punk. Or not. Soak up the counterculture history: imagine Joey Ramone browsing nose-to-nose with Debby Harry or Lou Reed wandering the neighborhood in a daze. Whether living in the past or fighting for the future, Trash & Vaudeville is your place on St. Mark’s place.
Press Release for Dante Zuniga-West’s “Rumble Young Man Rumble:”
MMA Fighter Lays the Smack-down on His Own Self-Destruction
Zharmae Launches Dante Zúñiga-West’s Exciting and Introspective “Rumble Young Man Rumble” in November 2014
La Mesa, California – Zharmae Publishing Press has announced the signing of Dante Zúñiga-West for the release of his forthcoming novel, “Rumble Young Man Rumble” The novel will be presented under the Zharmae imprint Shannon & Elm (http://shannonelm.com/) and is slated for release in November, 2014.
About the Book:
Quinton Zanargo is a sensitive and angry young man who is about to become a muay thai prizefighter by accident. In his mid-twenties, hamstrung by a series of events that have been less than kind to him, Quinton chooses to make his home in the little town of Eugene, Oregon, where he hides from the world through compulsively renting movies at a local video store. His only friend is a homeless man who lives in an alley behind the liquor store, and they aren’t really friends.
Stumbling through his drunken odyssey Quinton develops a magnetism for violence and finds his way to a muay thai kickboxing gym run by an ex-hippy painter. Somehow, between squaring off against brutally efficient martial artists and falling for a beautiful young religion-shopping video store employee, Quinton rediscovers himself.
Rumble Young Man Rumble is a coming of age story that follows Quinton as he journeys from the black bag of raging misanthropy into the bright lights of a fighting arena, where learns the glaring truth behind an age-old prizefighting mantra: there are many fights in life, not all of which occur in the ring.
About the Author:
Dante Zúñiga-West is a storyteller who escaped from Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College and the Cal Arts MFA Writing Program. His fiction has been published in numerous literary journals, both online and in print; his journalism, in alternative newspapers and adventure magazines. He has worked in various vocations, including: high school English teacher, librarian, kitchen cook, graduate teaching assistant, a counselor for the developmentally disabled, bouncer, Muay Thai kickboxing instructor, bartender, freelance journalist, newspaper editor, at-risk-youth counselor, and touring musician. He lives off the grid in the coastal mountain range of Oregon.
About Shannon & Elm:
An imprint of the Zharmae Publishing Press, Shannon & Elm seeks unpublished writers with powerful voices who have something compelling to say. We seek to reinvent literary fiction, sometimes blurring the standard genre lines. We recognize it is the writing that lands a book in the lit-fiction category, even if the story centers on crime, religion, business, education, romance, war, or parenting. We seek writing that resonates universally in which the language itself elevates the reading experience.
Samples Cover Copy and Synopses:
Missing Tomorrow by Ken Scudero (Zharmae Publishing Press.)
(This edit was used for marketing purposes.)
It is the year 500, and the elitist Selectmen rule the planet of Nibiru. From their majestic retreat in the city of Perfidia, they decide the fate of average citizens across the planet. Private detective Gem Jupiter specializes in paranormal conspiracies. When he discovers mutated fish on the shores of Myopia City, he knows something isn’t right. The sky has grown dark and gloomy. Jupiter is quickly coming to grips with how oppressive the atmosphere of Nibiru has become.
With the help of his investigative group, The Tonic, Gem uncovers clandestine operations being conducted by the Selectmen. To add more fuel to his investigation, he meets the girl of his dreams, Remy Valentine. Everything about Remy is perfect except for the microchip tracker implanted in her wrist. As Gem Jupiter and his associates zero in on the frightening truth, new dangers lurk around every corner. The Selectmen are planning something catastrophic for the citizens of Nibiru, and it’s up to The Tonic to stand in their way.
Magnificent Things by Michael McNichols (Zharmae Publishing Press)
(This edit was used for marketing purposes.)
The vigilante Dusk always works alone. Sure he doesn’t mind it when superhero team The Odyssey saves him from the occasional death trap or two. But when he’s caught in a diabolical plot dreamed up by mad scientist John Skeleton and his super-terrorist organization the Black Wind, his life will come crashing down. With the city of New Danko and The Odyssey suffering a horrible fate, Dusk simply can’t fade. Despite the best efforts of Skeleton and the Black Wind, he’ll have to survive everything thrown at him. He has no choice. He’s the only hero capable of saving his city, his friends, and himself.
Bad Publicity by Brian C. Baer (Zharmae)
Down-on-his-luck reporter Jackson Hardy finally catches another break. After entering into the tooth-and-nail tabloid world—thanks in part to his friendly ghost source—he’s rebuilding his shattered career. He’s even got a date with a charming young lady. Unfortunately, someone doesn’t care for his nose for celebrity news and would like nothing more to remove him from the gossip game.
“The Brother Voice” by William Delamar (Zharmae)
As the United States verges on the brink of war, tensions mount in 1860’s Georgia. Teenaged twins Holland and Seldon both grew up experiencing the joys of the South, as well as with the constant heartache of slavery. Torn between their consciences and their loyalty to their beloved home, each brother follows their heart onto opposite sides of the battlefield.
“The Colossus of Rhodesville” (Cover blurb from my own book) by Andy L. Kubai
Compared to technological behemoth of a megastore, shoppers and employees seem like grit on the wind. But these stories, human stories, are the beating heart that fills the void where the concrete, steel, and plastic end. A collection of loosely interlinked tales, The Colossus of Rhodesville explores the soul beneath the dog-eat-dog corporate world, examining the lives of the cogs in the machine and the implications of what being a cog means for each and every one of us.
Michael McNichols Interview
Interview with Michael McNichols
by Zharmae Intern Andy Kubai
What inspired you to write “Magnificent Things”?
I had started writing some short stories and such about superheroes because, while I knew there was a lot of superhero fiction out there, too much of it relied upon a gimmick. It had to be super heroes with zombies. Superheroes who had all lost their powers. Or it was told from a villain’s perspective. So, I wanted to write a superhero story that took advantage of the prose novel format in the same way it would a comic book. That meant getting deeper inside the character’s head, a different type of pacing, and description rather than visualization with art. Instead of drawing a whole city filled with vigilantes and villains, I give it to you piece by piece, and you draw it up in your own head. Your version is going to always be at least a little different than someone else’s.
I also was thinking about the main archetypes for comic book heroes. The Batman-like character, Superman-type, etc. I found myself thinking about a character like Daredevil, who is often written as a driven, dark vigilante who’s actually a Catholic and always has to deal with his life falling apart. The next natural step would be depression and suicide. I wondered what would drive a vigilante to suicide and how I could write that kind of story without it being becoming too depressing and hard to read. Then I thought about how a vigilante could be forced to try committing suicide and most of the story flowed out of that plot point.
Was there a particular comic pantheon or universe that informed your world more than others?
Dusk/Will owes a lot to Batman Beyond. He’s older and out on his own, but he’s very much a superhero-in-training, learning while doing. I even described his Dusk outfit as being somewhat similar to the Batman Beyond one. John Skeleton came from my observation that there tends to be a lot of insane psychiatrists or psychologists in the Batman universe, and there are ways one could view his villainous acts as some form of warped psychotherapy.
When writing about superheroes, what sort of aesthetic elements do you use to recreate worlds often thought of as a visual medium?
Growing up, my first two favorites were Batman and Spider-Man. Their influence informs a lot of my writing (at least when it comes to superheroes). The themes of responsibility and what it takes to be a vigilante, should they be doing it, what is the cost of power, and who deserves to wield it, run through decades of their stories. I like to think of Dusk/Will as a cross between Batman, who’s an insanely trained billionaire with resources and plans for everything, and Spider-Man, who’s an everyday guy that happened upon powers and tries to do the right thing while also dealing with all the things any average individual does in his or her life.
Batman and Spider-Man also happen to have probably the two best superhero costumes: a full body suit, a mask, gadgets, and, sometimes, armor. The look of all the vigilantes in the book owes a lot to their influence, though I tried to personalize their outfits to the character. Savior wears crusader garb, Headshot/Clyde has targets on his armor, Will eventually dresses up a lot like his father, etc. I elected not to have anyone wearing a cape since that I couldn’t think of a practical reason for one and I thought my characters would endlessly comment on it and wonder why some jackass wanted to show off that way,
The city, New Danko, is very much a fictionalized version of Chicago where I live and grew up. Too many superhero stories take place on the East or West Coast, but the Midwest has plenty of cities that could have their own vigilante scene in such a world.
Also, as an odd note, I do seem to really like having characters who wear flight suits and like to glide. Maybe I should take up wing suit flying.
How do you develop your characters?
I put them through their paces and see how they react. I don’t always realize what they’ll do until it happens. I also try to remember that nobody views themselves as a villain or evil, even if they seem that way to the whole world. Additionally, I realize that even in a superhero world that putting on a costume to fly around and fight crime is still pretty crazy and bound to not always produce the best results, even if someone’s intentions are good. It’s something I try to show reflected in their thoughts.
What is(are) your writing process(es) like? (Are you, in Kurt Vonnegut’s interesting turn of the phrase, a “basher” who crafts each word, a “swooper” who writes stream of conscious, or something entirely different)?
I normally have a mental outline of the story that evolves as I go along. Sometimes, the outline’s not even complete when I start and I just see what happens. From there, I simply write. I try and complete 5-10 pages a day at least. Then at the week’s end, I go and revise whatever I have. Once one draft’s finished, I take a small break and then revise the whole thing. I repeat this process several times until someone else takes a look at it and lets me know what they think.
What time of day is the best time to write?
I used to write a lot in the morning after I’d fully woken up. Now I find myself writing a lot in the afternoons. I don’t know if having a specific time helps me so much as having a block of time where I can just write and not have any work assignments or errands hanging over my head.
Do you have any other books planned for the “Magnificent Things” universe?
I have a mental outline of the first sequel and how that would lead into the third one. A lot of it is expanding the world Will lives in and seeing how he reacts and grows with being a vigilante. I like the idea of having an epilogue that hints at the future, since eventually I’m going to write a fourth about what’s going on with our characters about 20 years into the future.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing is sitting down and just creating. My least is when I have to force myself to sit down. I never have a problem once I actually start writing, but, sometimes, it can be intimidating thinking you have to do this many pages a day and you don’t know if you can finish all that work and you know you’re the one being hard on yourself. That said, I don’t feel right if I don’t get any writing done in a day. I can’t remember the last that I didn’t do any writing on a given day, but I don’t feel like I’m able to get on with things until I’ve achieved my writing goal for that day.