Category Archives: Kindle Books

In the Right Place - art

WTF – Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s so much going on around the world that is so damn troubling. Like countless others, it seems that no matter what one does individually or collectively, these troubles persist. Yet we try.

I’m one of those who in the past few years has tried to avoid “the news”, as in “mostly the relentless accounts of the worse current events”. In fact for me almost everything about what we call “the news” is among the most troubling of our current events.

As hard as I try, one simply cannot avoid some stories, such as the ongoing Ferguson debacle. I usually don’t blog or comment about these terrible tragedies, but for some reason this one has gotten me down more than most . . . I’m reminded of an incident that happened about 12 years ago, in Birmingham, Alabama.

I was there for a few days on business, along with a few others. One evening a co-worker and I decided to go for a walk, check out the city a bit. We were close to downtown, walking distance from the convention center, and there was plenty enough to see and do. In other words, we came across a pool hall.

It seemed like a nice, safe area. It was clean, lots of lights, a beautiful evening, friendly people around, and so on. We felt extra safe when we noticed a few police officers. They stood out partly because they were on bikes, just strolling around. One especially stood out because he looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. They also had on these skin-tight uniforms – a tight shirt and shorts – at least on of the Village People would be so envious.

A few minutes after seeing these police we were safely inside this nice, clean pool hall. We got ourselves some whiskey & coke and soon the game became so relaxing. In other words I began to kick his ass . . . oh, how I missed my snooker! To make matters sweeter, the music came on. Nice tunes on the jukebox, courtesy of two very attractive young ladies in the corner, the only two others in the place, aside from the bartender. I glanced over. They really were stunning to be honest, especially with their smiles and giggles.

My friend and I continued with our game. Then Arnold entered the hall. I had my back to the ladies in the corner, which is where the policeman was headed. All of a sudden those giggles turned to loud screams. In a horrible flash I turned to see what was going on. The ladies had their arms up and backs arched away from Arnold – a defensive posture. It was necessary because the policeman had a long nightstick raised and extended in his right hand.

In this flash I saw this nightstick begin its downward assault. Almost miraculously, it stopped. No one was hurt. The young ladies left their drinks behind and made a quick exit, visibly shaken but at least not beaten. The officer had his back to us the whole time. I can’t remember if he glanced over in our direction behind he quickly left the place as well.

We asked the bartender what had just happened. She told us that apparently these young ladies did not have any I.D. on them, so it was unclear whether they could legally be in this licensed hall.

My reaction now remains as it was then, and it’s the same for Ferguson, “WTF!!!”

I forgot to mention that these were ladies of color and the officer was white . . . they also appeared to be close to the same age.

Anyway, I can’t stop any of this madness. About the only thing I can do is offer my little sign of peace. It’s not much. It’s just a savings of five bucks, and by that I mean I’m giving away my novel – today and tomorrow – November 26th and 27th.

While the book is about love, it does have its unsettling parts and aspects . . . did I mention fear? Still, overall it’s about the best of humanity . . . at times like these it seems we all need reminders of that means . . . a temporary escape from some of these troubles.

So here’s my Amazon link to “Dawn at Last”. While I know it doesn’t mean much at all, at least it’s a little something . . . a little gift.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Finally, to my friends around the world, even those whom I have yet to meet, I’d be honored to have you accept my gift.

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The Shame of It All, More or Less?

This weekend Dawn at Last is free on Amazon in its Kindle Edition.

Because of this, chances are that my blog will be getting relatively more traffic, and with many first time visitors. Because of that, I feel obligated to be extra witty, more charming, poignant, wise and so on.

Then again, I also feel obligated to tell you to make sure you read the damn book before you come around here . . . the book is more interesting than my real-world me . . . as is my art. Some of my closest fans see a lot of me in this character or that. I will neither confirm nor deny such fantasies. As these fans are typically women, the discussions thankfully waltz more into the characters with whom they relate to the most.

Those are the most intriguing discussions . . . and Lawrence, “How do you know these women so well”? This is one of my favorite questions, or ones closely related. Frankly though, I really have no answer, and when the issue comes up someone should give me an honorary degree . . . Master of Segue?

To my closest fans . . . thank you for sharing your stories.

Perhaps I use art in my defense at that point? Or listen to more stories, those of these dear fans . . . each one fascinating in their own tales. Either way, it’s been a wonderful time, a picnic basket full of unexpected pleasant surprises, and every day seems like a good day for a picnic!

So where was I? Self-indulging once again I suppose. Anyway, if you’ve got the book, please actually take some time to read it. Did you know that 57% of books that are started are never finished, when it comes to reading? It sounds like a big number, but when I look at my own track record it becomes quite believable.

Dawn at Last - FAA_3_Final

If you happen to drift into that category . . . well at least there’s the pictures! By that I mean my art. The art on the cover of the book (shown above) is one of my original pieces. To coincide with this weekend’s promotion, I’ve finally added it to my repertoire on my art site. It’s also on at much lower prices than my other works, such as $20 less for a 20″ x 16″ print.

Now there’s my shameless plug for the post, and as I read your minds I totally agree, “Lawrence you must find something more enticing to be shameless about.”

On that note, it’s definitely time for to get out and about. Have a great weekend and enjoy whatever it is you are reading, and if you wish, drop me a shameless comment or two . . . by now if I have succeeded, you should be feeling obligated to do so!

New Book Cover for Dawn at Last

Is it art? Nah, just a fresh book cover, and it’s just a coincidence that it’s being published on Canada Day.

It wasn’t planned that way, but as it turned out, so much happened on a Canada Day long weekend, in Dawn at Last. So much, and yet so little . . . you be judge . . . on the book, not the cover!

Well, truthfully I don’t mind the judging of covers! I recently came across and excellent blog post that featured an amazing collection of cover art . . . over 20 different covers over the years for different Lord of the Rings print editions.

So with no further adieu, or in Donna’s case is it, “I do!” . . . and without a doubt, there was plenty that she did!

new book cover for Dawn at LAst

 

As of posting, the cover is not up on Amazon yet, but should be any time now!

This Special Edition Has Some Special Additions!

Abstract Art by Lawrence Grodecki

My Sweet Dreams

The oddest thing has happened. It began happening nine years ago and last night it became official.

Back in 2005 is when I began exploring digital painting. Even then this new, personal style was emerging – a combination of abstract drawing, then scanning various things from nature, then more drawing on-screen, and then fusing it all with light as my palette instead of paint.

When your art is done on a screen instead of paper or canvas, essentially that’s what your doing – working with light instead of paint. There’s actual quite a difference and it has to do with light and our perception of it. Art done on a screen is viewed with emitted light. In other words the light comes from behind the picture and towards your eyes. That’s very different than a canvas painting, where the light is reflected back from the picture to your eyes.

When Daydreams Come To Light

When I first started I knew that some day I would need to sell some of my art in order to keep to doing more of it. I wanted to make it as affordable as possible, so naturally I thought about electronic formats. I used to daydream about large, flat screens hanging on walls, where fans of my art could look at a wide selection of it, have it hanging there on their wall, switch it, or turn it off and on at their will.

In that way there is no need to print the digital creations – the pieces would look fantastic in the medium – and it would be very affordable original art! This is really very similar to what is happening to book publishing in the age of electronic books, though the price difference with the art is even more pronounced.

Last night that dream came true when I published a special illustrated edition of my novel, Dawn at Last. Instead of wall-mounted screens you can see the art on hand-held ones, on laptops, tablets and so on.

Eleven thousand words, all but one are titled!

There are eleven original pieces in this edition, each selected to go with various parts of the story. They are all set for full-page viewing and placed at the end of selected chapters. I didn’t just whip these up over the weekend. It’s been a nine-year work in progress. In fact there are a few pieces that have more hours behind them than the novel, and that was a four-month process for the first draft!

I’m not showing you any of the art here, but soon I’ll be announcing a surprise about these eleven pieces and other art that I’ve created. However, the picture at the top is somewhat representative of what’s in the special edition – it also links to the book on Amazon. The picture at the bottom links to the same book on Kobo.

So there you have it. Almost a decade ago, in one of those serious family discussions about politics and other world problems, I made a promise that someday I was going to quit my job and doing a little writing. I did quit, then did a lot of art, and then a little writing . . . I’m glad I did so.

Abstract Art by Lawrence Grodecki - Anyone for Chess

Anyone For Chess

Light Surfing and Chasing the Big Ideas

Picture called Wind Surfying

A picture I did many years ago called “Wind Surfying”.

There’s something that really grabbed me about the most recent review of Dawn at Last. Maybe it’s the part about writing from the heart? Maybe it’s the reflective quality? If you wish, you can read the entire review here on Ionia Martin’s Amazon review of Dawn at Last.

There are some big picture issues that I only lightly touch  in the book – this post is more about these issues than about Dawn at Last.  It’s about the kind of stuff Einstein and others liked to ponder. There is so much more to write about, but not necessarily in fiction.

Light, Camaraderie, Action!

The other night I watched a wonderful NOVA docudrama, How Albert Einstein Discovered e=mc2. It is not just about him. The story covers the lives of a handful of scientists and thinkers over the span of more than a century, so in a way it is one account of the history of the ideas behind the components of the equation: energy, matter and light.

The individual stories are portrayed in an overlapping way, almost blending into each other, though in many cases the characters are completely unknown to each other in the personal sense. Speaking of personal, The individual stories are alive with humanity, including their many sacrifices and their intimate relations . . . muses more than sounding boards?

I also learned of some remarkable women, at least two of whom I’d never heard of before – I’ll leave it for you to discover them by yourself. All in all it is a film full of pleasant surprises.

Tickled In the Light and Other Ideas!

My favorite part, the one that gives me an intellectual tickle of sorts, concerns a discussion between a young Albert Einstein and an unidentified lady friend, while on a stroll. He ponders what it would be like to travel alongside a wave of light . . . light surfing, so to speak! What happens at such a speed? In a way he wonders how one would think of time in such a travel. For example, in the film he asks the young lady whether one could see one’s mirror image in such a condition.

He states that light in our normal condition light reaches our face, then the mirror, and then back to our eyes so that we can see the reflection of the face in the mirror. However, while travelling at the speed of light he contends that the light from his face would never reach the mirror. He asks whether he is then invisible.

Mirror_Mirror

Zoom In and Zoomin’!

This is the place where I begin my own zooming, and for me this is a ton of fun!

First, Einstein liked to think in pictures, which ties in nicely with this mirror scenario. Because of the situation he would not be able to see his mirror image, yet the encased mirror would have its own image, travelling in different light a few feet ahead of him. However, even if he could see it, he would only see the casing and a blank mirror . . . in one sense he has become selfless?

Second, Einstein firmly believed that the speed of light is the fastest speed in the universe. That poses the following dilemma. In his mirror scenario he must have the mirror in his hand and then extend his arm to put the mirror a few feet in front of his face. However, in order to do that his arm must move ahead of him – in fact for this motion to occur the arm must move faster than the speed of light, which according to him is impossible!

Now here’s where things get really interesting. In such a circumstance it seems that he would not be able to see anything at all. I wonder too whether his other four physical senses would be functional. Still, assume that he would be able to think – to use his mind’s eye. Hans Selye did a number of studies concerning sensory deprivation and it seems the mind becomes quite hallucinatory in such a condition. As such, in a way the ego disappears, one loses control of one’s self – again, selfless in a way?

Before Sunny Side Up!

Where am I going with all this? Consider that a selfless man is actively light surfing, time seems non-existent, so he is kind of completely in the moment. Yet his mind is working, playing all kinds of tricks on him. Ideas come. They arrive.

In order for ideas to come – to arrive – they must travel much like that arm holding the mirror must travel. In other words, ideas can move faster than the light.

This relates to something I touched briefly on in Dawn at Last . . . what guides the light? It also relates to that age-old question of what comes first, the chicken or the egg? In either case, first there is the idea!

I will be writing further on this topic of ideas, tying it in more with some of my other writings, but in essay form as well as in story telling. I’ll also be writing more about love . . . if you’ve read Dawn at Last you know I believe in love in a certain way . . . something timeless, yet faster than the speed of light. It’s very real, selfless and enduring . . . somehow the butterflies know this in their own marvelously fearless way!

Light_Surfing

Six Star Book Reviewers

I’ve never been published by a major publisher, though I’ve worked with a pretty big one (Reader’s Digest). When I look back to those days, it’s ironic how my closest friends were in the creative department – artists and writers. It’s also funny how I had all these preconceptions of the place – “they must be a bunch of stodgy teetotalers” – nothing was further from the truth. I’ve got the stories to prove it . . . one about a night at Casablanca, the extra replica of Rick’s Cafe on Montreal’s rue St. Denis, a night full of surprises . . . martinis by the jug, an amorous couple looking for “weekend friends”, and unexpected party with then-premier Renee Levesque – and “friends”!

I hope they’re friendly?

You would think a person would learn over the years – manage to avoid the stereotypes – and I have to a large degree, but still catch myself once in awhile. It’s safe to say that I had a certain image of a group of people who write book reviews. That was about seven months ago now. I was just then learning of the need to approach them about Dawn at Last.

When I first published the book I was so naive. Wasn’t it safe to assume these reviewers would just magically find the books they review, on Amazon or on other social media?

However slow my pace may be, the journey has been a rewarding one. My first real eyeopener came in a book I purchased on book bloggers . . . it explained the passions of these people so wonderfully, and again my preconceptions were shattered – thankfully so!

One big difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing is that authors can get to know some of these book reviewers. It’s really a necessity, given there is no corporate entity doing this for any of us. More than that though, it has been a privilege, another one of those wonderful, unexpected surprises.

They love me, they love me not, they . . .

After several months into this process, I’ve recently enjoyed receiving a number of 5-star reviews on Amazon and goodreads, as well as a 4-star one. You can find all these reviews through this Amazon link – My Amazon Reviews – and I hope that if you read them, you show some love by voting Yes – I know they really appreciate the feedback.

I’ve come to know some of them to varying degrees. Here is a little info about these reviewers, including links to their blogs and quotes from their reviews of Dawn at Last:

Christoph Fischer – We hit it off from our first discussion on a Facebook. Chris is an Amazon Top 500 reviewer and an accomplished author . . . I’m flattered how he took an interest in the book and how he captured the essence of it so easily. He probably won’t admit it, but we have a similar sense of humor.

“A fascinating and captivating reflection on the human condition (with mild erotic content).”

Janice Ross – Very few people realize it, but this lady is truly paying it forward when it comes to helping all kinds of authors. Her stories are full of passion and she always goes the extra mile, asking for nothing in return.

“He [Grodecki] uses an endearing love of all things artsy and hidden meanings to shower readers with clever motifs. I have to admit that there were several times that I was caught in awe, as complex scenes unfolded on the pages.”

Jo Robinson – A lady who believes in what she is doing, who has lived through more trying times than most of us can imagine, and whose strength through perseverance is remarkable. That, and we share a thing for chocolate!

“This author has created a world where you deeply ponder the rules of wrong and right, or rather the way these things are perceived.”

Julie Whiteley – She is the first reviewer with whom I had direct contact. She immediately put me at ease and has taught me more than she realizes – so friendly and down-to-earth.

“This is truly a unique novel. The prose is literary in nature, but the story is about love, courage, faith, and maybe even a little redemption.”

Patricia Williams-Forgenie – A lady who works incessantly at finding the most positive aspects of humanity.

“A romantic but modern, complex, fictional narration that realistically looks at common issues facing people today.”

Thomas Jerome Baker – A real gentleman, author of over 60 books himself, and a man who seems to fully understand and believe in the power of love. I’m sure Gabby would agree – that’s his wife.

“Nothing happens by chance, every “tidbit” of information, every incident, every person you meet is there for a purpose. This is why I call this book extraordinary, superb, well-written. The hand of a master craftsman and gifted storyteller is clearly evident.”

What a crew they are, these reviewers – folks are from around the globe – just as it should be when to comes to a book about love?

You will have to visit their sites to see which one’s from Texas and which one is originally from Guyana (not Africa). One lives in the UK via Germany and another in South Africa via a country I can’t recall! Another American is actually from Trinidad and Tobago, while yet another left San Diego for Chile and fell in love in many ways. Whew – now if only I can get some Canadian attention.

Who knows, perhaps we’ll all meet one day and mull over yet another set of quirky characters? Don’t forget . . . Carrots Love Tomatoes!

Be My Guest

DAL_1Gplus

When I first released my debut novel it was kind of thrilling – the feeling, not the book – it’s exciting but not a thriller!

Back then I didn’t realize how difficult it is have one’s book “discovered”. Naive I suppose, but I’m glad I was . . . without a certain amount of child-like innocence I’m not sure the book would have ever been written. I like to think there is plenty of that naivete throughout Dawn at Last, which is odd given the rather serious and adult themes . . . undercurrents.

It felt much like preparing a fine meal, ten years in the making, and then opening the door to hall, ready to serve up a feast. I like to cook for someone special, one of life’s simple pleasures. While I wrote the novel because I just had to, it was never just for me but rather for a guest of one. Often I’d think of one person reading it, but no one in particular. I can’t imagine writing in any other way.

A Playful Reminder

Last week I came across something on YouTube that reminded me of this joy of launching my novel. It’s an old Disney clip, from that string of musical stories that came out just while my dear ones were my little ones. Watching them with my girls was very much like being a kid again, at least for awhile.

Aside from the launching of the book though, it’s quite remarkable how this short musical piece also ties in to much of the content of the book – in a condensed kind of way.

There is this issue of serving – giving with no expectations other than the pleasure of another – turning work into play? There is the curious combination of a little clock and a candle, an odd combination to say the least! For me clocks give a false perception of time, while with candles – within the flame – there is something timeless.

There is fine French dining, plenty of dancing, reasons to pop the cork, something about flowers and even tea. To top it all off, there is only one guest, and it seems an inquisitive one, delighted by the feast. She’s very much an individual, as are all six of the main characters in Dawn at Last.

Oopsy Daisy!

The funny thing is that perhaps this individuality comes out the most when they all sit down to one meal, or should I say when they all try to work together in preparing it? Now that I think of it, that Ben guy is smarter than I thought . . . he got away with simply pouring a little champagne . . . kind of like me getting out of doing the dishes!

I hope your week is full of “Oopsy daisies”, so please be my guest and take a few minutes to enjoy this fine dining experience.