Monthly Archives: December 2012

Rainbow’s End

My new novel, Rainbow’s End, is out now on FlareFont publishing and is available on Amazon, Smashwords, B & N, and all other online retailers.

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This is my first attempt at a grown-up novel, with no ghosts, zombies, serial killers, demons, aliens or anyfink…

And I just know it’s going to get me in trouble.

Life is a journey, right? We all make our way from A to B to C.

This is my journey. At least, part of it. I made some of it up for dramatic effect.

In a nutshell it is the story of a young man who leaves rural Wales in search of gainful employment, adventure, and enlightenment. In short, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

However, on his journey of self-discovery, he gets far more than he ever bargained for…

Rainbow’s End, written in first-person narrative style, is primarily a contemporary cultural and social study. Its underlying themes include national identity and the perennial search for ‘belonging’, and asks where Wales fits into the modern world.

The story begins as a bleak assessment of modern life in the South Wales valleys. The lead character has worked in the same local factory ‘putting things in boxes’ for eight years; he is bored in his long-term relationship and yearns for the freedom to explore, both literally and figuratively. A trip abroad stirs an awakening of sorts, and on his return to the confines of work the narrator begins a torrid affair with a colleague. This quickly turns sour; he feels isolated and restricted, and only does the things he needs to do, as opposed to the things he wants to do. As the relationship, and his life, crumbles around him he turns to writing as a means of self-expression.

Before too long his writing exploits make him a focal point of attention in the village where he lives, but this success is tempered by the worsening condition of his relationship. Eventually, after a run-in with the local police, he is forced to flee to Southampton, where he wins a place on a media course at university. At last, he is free to indulge both his fascination with writing and his wanderlust, as he finally breaks free of the chains that had bound him for most of his life. Belatedly, he realizes that life can be whatever you make it.

The blinkers have finally been removed.

However, in Southampton he discovers that the grass is not always greener, as he is targeted by bigoted racists who see him as a ‘foreigner.’ There are also problems when he returns to his hometown and his small group of lifelong friends reject him because of his perceived act of disloyalty in moving to England.

Disillusioned and perpetually luckless in love, he eventually decides to start a new life in Beijing, throwing himself headlong into the search for adventure, enlightenment, and ultimately…

happiness.

For more information, please follow this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Rainbows-End-ebook/dp/B00APLQMIS/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356686896&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=rainbows+end+cm+saunders

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas in China

Not being a Christian country, China has traditionally been quite reluctant to get the Christmas bug. This seems to have changed dramatically in recent years, with kids eager to get presents and shops and businesses all eager to make as much money as possible. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship, and commercialization reigns here as much as anywhere else.

I often get Christmas cards, emails and messages from my students, past and present. They mean well, but unfortunately too many of the season’s greetings get addressed to Christ, instead of Chris or Christian.

To Christ, merry Christmas!

Being the son of God is a lot to live up to.

Almost every educational facility from kindergartens to universities and training schools have special events to mark Christmas. These usually take the form of a student performance. Last year at Xiangtan University, the drama club did a Shakespeare production. Juliet came out wearing a beautiful long, white dress, promptly tripped over it, face-planted, and gave herself a nosebleed. Romeo & Juliet never had so many laughs.

Spending Christmas away from home is always difficult. Of course, I miss people. But I have to work, and this is the life I chose, so all I can do is push those thoughts to the back of my head and get on with it. Luckily, we have a tight foreign community here in Changsha. Brits, Americans, French, Canadians, Germans, Poles, Danes, Swedes, Australians. We are all foreign to each other, but united in the fact that we are not Chinese. The Chinese rarely discriminate between nationalities (except the Japanese). To them its simple. You are either Chinese or foreign. A common Mandarin word for ‘foreigner’ is laowai. The etymology is complex, but tellingly, literally translated it means ‘always’ and ‘outsider.’

I usually have to work Christmas day, as do most teachers. It’s not a national holiday in China. Sometimes I have to be Santa Claus. I make a very bad Santa. A few years ago, when I worked at a primary school in Tianjin, the school asked me to host the Christmas party. Being the only foreigner there, I had no choice but to agree. They gave me this tattered red Santa suit and a script to learn. Yes, a script. Then they sent me into an assembly hall packed not just with hyperactive spoiled Little Emperors, but their parents, their grandparents, and it seemed like all their friends and extended family as well. All told, there must have been several hundred people there, all waiting to see Santa Claus.

I was a bit nervous, so I drank a bottle of Baijiu on the bus on the way to school, and by the time I got there I was quite pissed. So there I was, in a Santa suit, drunk, on a stage in front of hundreds of people, at 8 am Christmas morning, in northern China.

It couldn’t get any more surreal.

But it could certainly get worse.

I had been a good boy that year, and learned the script beforehand. So in my best Santa voice I bellowed my first line, “Ho, ho, ho, do you know who I am?”

To which a kid in the front row jumped up and shouted, “Yeah, I know who you are. You’re Chris. Our English teacher.”

What? That wasn’t in the script. How could I follow that?

There was a deathly hush, then a ripple of laughter gradually spread through the audience members.

Merry Christmas, you little shit.

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Denizens of Darkness: An Anthology of Dark Urban Fantasy and Horror.

My short story, Treat Night, is featured in the new anthology from Sam’s Dot Publishing, Denizens of Darkness: An Anthology of Dark Urban Fantasy and Horror.

Denizens of Darkness

Treat Night is about a young married couple who go for a meal in a restaurant. The lady visits the bathroom, and she doesn’t come out…

TIP: If you download the sample from Amazon, they send you Treat Night in its entirety. The bastards. Wink.

I recently did an interview for Author’s Corner where I talk about, among other things, my passions in life, my writing career so far, and the imminent release of Rainbow’s End.

You can read it here:

http://authorinterviewcorner.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/c-m-saunders/

Thanks for reading!


Legends of Urban Horror

My short story, The Delectable Hearts, is featured in the new anthology from Siren’s Call Publications…

Legends of Urban Horror: A friend of a Friend Told Me…

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We’ve all come across them. The warnings told by a friend of a friend – don’t go in there, I wouldn’t if I were you, did you hear about…? Or perhaps your mind leaps to the cryptozoological realm – creatures barely glimpsed, and yet to be identified. Other spheres of existence – they can’t be real… certainly not until you’ve experienced one!

Maybe the real horror lies in the minds and hearts of others just like you. People with a slightly bent perspective that feed on the fear in others. Twisted souls that would take advantage of the weak, or vulnerable. Those who believe they are doing good for a higher power, or to gain power simply for themselves. Petty vengeance that breathes a life of its own once unleashed.

Whatever your poison, the ten stories in Legends of Urban Horror: A Friend of a Friend Told Me are sure to intrigue, and perhaps bring back fears long forgotten.

Run, don’t look back… or should you?

Contributing Authors include:

Morgan Bauman, Kimberly A, Bettes, Matthew Borgard, Alex Chase, Austin Fikac, K. Trap Jones, Sean Keller, Lisamarie Lamb, Jon Olson, and C.M. Saunders

http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/

The Delectable Hearts follows a jaded rock journalist on his quest to find The Next Big Thing.

Unfortunately for him, he finds it.

I recently did an interview for Author’s Corner where I talk about, among other things, my passions in life, my writing career so far, and the imminent release of Rainbow’s End.

You can read it here:

http://authorinterviewcorner.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/c-m-saunders/

 


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