Adele says: Welcome to the first of a series of guest blogs written by a diverse array of interesting people. This installment is from author and poet Nick Armbrister. If you would like to contribute to this blog, feel free to contact me via email at ACBwrites@aol.com and write Guest Blog in the subject line.
Nick Armbrister writes: 2011 has been busy for me; I released 5 books on www.lulu.com/spotlight/nickarmbrister of poetry and fiction stories. I could pick out one important book of the five but to me, all five are important. One is a huge poetry collection covering my fifteen years of writing poems (The Complete Nick Armbrister Poetry Collection), two others are short story collections. One is erotic stories (Take It In Your Stride, a series of erotic adult stories) and the second normal ones (Heart Of The Country Short Story Collection). Finally there are two fiction novels in my Juniper’s Daughter series (Juniper's Daughter: The Final War and Juniper's Daughter: Frontier Town).
I like each for different reasons. The short story collections have a good variety; Heart Of The Country contains stories on jet fighters used in combat (Red Empire and Final Flight) and horror (Loss of the Icequeen). Take It In Your Stride has erotic stories for adult readers. The work is very varied and eye opening. Juniper's Daughter books are a two book series of times of conflict and hardship of people. A witch figure, Juniper’s Daughter, tries to help and stop the conflict. I’m working on a third follow up to these. And finally my poem book, The Complete Nick Armbrister Poetry Collection, covers my poems from April 1996 to summer 2011 and is a free download ebook and normal for sale hard copy on Lulu and Amazon. As you can see, it’s been a busy year for me.
Back in the day and the ‘small press’
Back in the day when I started writing, I simply picked up and pen and got on with it, while listening to music in my mate’s flat when drinking beer. Being into gothic and metal music helped form my views on the topic matter, a lot of it dark, into poems that could have become powerful songs if I could sing or write music or play an instrument. As I couldn’t, I wrote poetry instead. Many people consider a guy writing poems quite girly. When the poems cover war, aircraft, sex, drinking beer and similar topics, my poems appeal to lads and my finer work on nature, love and happy topics appeals to women. Basing my poems on my own life experiences and views gave me a sound way to write, at first in verse but never rhyming. I saw rhyming as limiting my wordplay and eventually left verses behind to do free verse prose type work. Only when harassed by some publisher or editor did I format some poems in verse. I like to get my poems down on paper or the computer and have done with it, the initial impact of the moment when I created my poem being untouched, except for some small edits.
Within six months of writing my first drunken boisterous poems, I was published in the ‘small press’, my poem Ode to Alanis being featured in a ‘zine about Alanis Morrissette. In quick fire actions I had more poems published in magazines, fanzines and poetry anthologies. One of the top UK small press editors/publishers, Atlantean Publishing run by DJ Tyrer of Southend in Essex , published my work for over a decade. I became part of a family of poets/writers who created something out of nothing and gave it their all; not being paid but receiving complimentary copies of the mag or ‘zine that their work appeared in. Today I still love the thrill of being in a small press publication. Those early days of writing for me are still with me, in spirit and creativity. I keep each and every magazine that my poems appeared in.
In December 2000 I started to write my first novel called Juniper’s Daughter. I spent a decade getting her right, till I released her in her finished form in 2011. Re-written several times and partly lost forever on obsolete electronic typewriters and mislaid manuscripts, this book is my main project, eclipsing all others. Based in Oldham and featuring several strong characters, it tells a story of war, death, sex, hope and magic. Sarah is a twenty something freedom fighter, living with her mates Lee and John. They drink and cause mayhem, taking on anyone who picks a fight. When their actions lead to war, a mysterious figure steps in – Juniper’s Daughter. She has a job on her hands, to stop the wars and bloodshed before it’s too late. Her enemy, The Devil, is equally cunning and powerful. Will the witch win?
Juniper’s Daughter: The Final War is the first book, Juniper’s Daughter: Frontier Town is the follow up, set in a fictitious town halfway between Carlisle and Newcastle. More evil actions by a resurgent English army allied to The Devil make the way for an intimate dance of death with Juniper’s Daughter. This war will affect everybody living in Renford, the frontier town. From Goths to gangsters to sexual deviants, all will face their own fears to live or die in the coming fight.
In 2009 I joined a small American publisher called Written Expressions. I wrote many short stories and over a dozen were published on wide ranging topics; erotica like Ian Gets a Treat to Little Red Lise, horror like Loss of the Icequeen and romance like Tattoo me a Smile and What Could Have Been. It was more or less a successful venture, with nearly a hundred ebook sales of my work including on the Kindle ebook reader. It wasn’t to last.
With many new stories finished and unreleased, I wondered if my future was with WE. After editing issues that threatened to stall my writing career, I left WE and went back to self publishing in 2011. In a few weeks I compiled two volumes of my short stories. One is normal stories and the other erotica. I named the books after His Latest Flame songs (a Scottish 80s rock band. Check them out).
I plan to take things easy for a while after years of being busy. I attend Fitton Hill Writing Group once a month to write short stories, I go to writing festivals and do open mic when the chance arises (having supported local Manchester band Blouse and Write Out Loud poem nights). I contemplate working with a solo guitarist backing me so I can do my poems live and go on tour. I have the poems, I just need a guitarist. Also I think about recording more poems and get them on You Tube; I need the multi media skills to do videos and edit them to do that successfully. Other things I’ll be doing are ongoing poems when I’m inspired, my third Juniper’s Daughter book, a short story collection and other things I think will be fun. For now I don’t want the hassle of working with a publisher or band (done it before, it involves a lot of complex issues. We did an album). I like to do my own thing and take my time.