Return to Thailand

Dannie and Julee

Dannie and Julee

I had been in the States for almost a year and fully intended to write about the differences between the States and Thailand. For those that don’t know, my wife and I had lived in Thailand for the previous 10 years.

Love that last

Love that last

I, along with my lovely wife, are now back in Thailand for a visit and to tie up some loose ends. I must say from the moment I stepped off the plane my body relaxed to a point it almost brought tears.

In the beginning of our journey, my wife was not that excited to move to Thailand—the place of her birth. She loves America, as do I, but I needed a change. It was nearly a matter of life and death. I have said this before but my wife has looked after me all our married life and even before. I’m a lucky man to have someone who understands my needs better than I.

I’ll admit I enjoy many parts of life in the States; food; conveniences; the ocean and being able to speak and perceive that people understand me. I do speak Thai but am often unsure if my point is interpreted correctly. But the States also brings back the sucking of the soul feeling I had when I left. Not the people—I do enjoy the mixture of people, but the rules, rules and more rules: from taxes, politics, insurance and electronics that seems to consume everyone. I’ve always felt that a cell phone is for making and receiving calls. That now seems the least of their purposes.

Being near my family—I thought would be the biggest plus. I once again became the head of the family—in my eyes—and it was an obligation I didn’t cherish. In my early life I was a decision maker and now that I can look back I see I put myself at a distance, what with work, caring for my family and providing for their needs. There’s much more that goes on, but that is personal.

One thing that came back to me was the sea. I have a small fishing boat and sitting at anchor or blasting through passes puts my mind at ease. My true love is sailing but the cost of docking is holding me back. I honestly think I am a thing of the ocean. When on the water my cares are far away—no matter the problems I face. Being on the incessant sea gives me the desire to write again. I haven’t written a word towards a manuscript in many months and I miss it so. It’s not writer’s block it’s the lack of desire. I’m still selling books, much to my amazement. I have done little to encourage readers to buy. I love them for helping me.

So, now, here I sit in Thailand soaking up the heat, the smiles, the beautiful people and with a feeling of contentment. My wife is also happier in Thailand than our past year in the States. She went through hell for reasons of her own and others. So we have decision to make.

After being here for over a month we both want to return to the States, but with changes that will benefit us. If I lose it again then I have a home here in Thailand. I went to the immigration office we visited so many times before and the officers were so happy to see us again. The lady in charge didn’t want to give me a 30 day extension—she wanted me to stay and offered another 1 year visa. Hard to imagine how wonderful the people are we come in contact with.

I’m getting old—yes, it’s true—and I still have dreams of crossing oceans. It might not happen but if it does I have to be in the States to make it a reality.

Sorry to drag this on. I should break it up but the thrill of writing, even this little post, is so exciting and I know you’ll forgive me. There are so many people in the reading and writing world that have touched me and I love you all.

Reviews of Death’s Door by Dannie Hill

I try not to blow my own writing horn too much but I’ve been receiving some very good for my heart reviews! I’ve selected 5 from professional reviewers and hope you will take the time to see what makes me smile. These reviews won’t show up on Amazon (except on my author’s page)– I really don’t understand why, because each reviewer bought their own copy of the book. They do show up at Goodreads and other sites along with several other great reviews.

I would normally cut the reviews to just a quick blurb but they’re just too good to cut up. I hope you’ll retweet, and tell your friends about my latest book Death’s Door and maybe give it a go yourself.

AMAZON

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Door-Dannie-C-Hill/dp/0982692463/

Ebook http://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Door-ebook/dp/B008IMBK3I

Barnes and Noble

Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deaths-door-dannie-c-hill/1112082641

REVIEWS:

Well-written and with a complex, multilayered and compelling plot, Death’s Door by Dannie Hill is one of the finer books I have read this year. I could see this book sitting in a bookstore beside Tom Clancy or David Balducci and holding its own quite nicely. The plot unfolded at an even tempo, culminating in a breathtaking, heart pounding climax that had me reading the last 1/3 or so of the book as fast as I could. I did not want to stop, but I was happy with the ending. I generally try and point out the positive and negative in reviews, but I honestly cannot think of anything in this book that I did not like. Even the editing was flawless. Definitely recommend with highest praise!! (5 stars). J.T. Thomas; GoodReads, Barnes&Noble, Librarything, Shelfari

“Death’s Door” by Dannie Hill is an east-meets-west thriller in which the main characters, Bill and Dell, enter a dark and dangerous world as they try and stop a terrorist attack. The story moves from the US, to the Middle East, and back again, and we are shown an impressively accurate portrait of the two contrasting worlds. I liked that the author resisted falling into overplayed stereotypes, and instead treated all of the characters like human beings. Even though there was plenty of action and danger and high stakes, there were also relationships that gave the characters a relatable humanity. I loved watching Bill and Fatima’s relationship unfold, and thought it felt very natural. It also gave this novel more dimension, and more emotional investment than had it just been focused solely on the terrorists with the dirty bomb. I highly recommend this for fans of thrillers and political intrigue. (5 stars). Karen Matthews; GoodReads, Barnes&Noble, Librarything, Shelfari

Wow, what an amazing story! This is the first book I’ve read by Dannie Hill but I am sure it won’t be the last. Some people just know how to write and Mr. Hill is one of them. This book was excellent, not just for a self/indie pubbed book, but for any book. The prose was vivid, strong, and pulled me into the story right from the beginning. The author did a wonderful job of “showing” us the world he created, instead of just ‘telling’ to us. I felt like I was a part of the action from the get go, and the characters all felt so real and alive. They each had such distinctive “voices”, especially Fatima, but really all of them. The pacing was good and I was never bored or confused. Only the tiniest thing was that I thought the ending felt kind of abrupt, but maybe I just wasn’t ready for it to be over just yet. (5 stars).  Nicole Hastings; GoodReads, Barnes&Noble, Librarything, Shelfari

I won’t recap the plot (you can read that in the description), just know that it doesn’t do this novel justice! There is so much that happens, and it is told is such a way that you won’t want to stop reading until the story is over. There is action, a terrorist plot, sex and romance, danger, a trip to the Middle East, and so on. But what I think was the best was the way that the different plots managed to mesh together and create an unputdownable story. I thought the middle dragged a bit compared to the beginning and the end, but it was okay because it was just developing different storylines. It just didn’t have the tension as the other parts of the novel, but was still interesting.  The last quarter or so of the book I couldn’t stop reading it was so intense! Overall I’d say I really liked it. (4 stars). Cale Owens

I read this book in one night and am already interested in reading more from Mr. Hill. His writing is smooth and natural, always moving forward (very little back story and only when necessary), and he packs an emotional punch in almost every scene…too many to mention, but my favorites were when Bill was recovering from the scorpion stings and what Fatima did, the story of Dell losing his brother, and when Loretta’s kids were being held hostage with her. There was some powerful writing that delivered so much more to the story and the characters’ development, which is something I really look for in a good book. I hate one dimensional characters who show no change or growth, but there was none of that here. Interesting for a thriller/action novel where the focus is usually on the external conflicts, not the internal.  The details and the descriptions were perfect, enough to paint the scene perfectly, but not overkill to slow down the story at all. A very impressive read and one I’d recommend to my friends and family. (5 stars). Cory Banyon

Can you feel my smile and love for readers?

A Writing Challenge- from Karen

I’ve accepted a challenge from Karen at Karensdifferentcorners and it came at a perfect time for me. I needed a push to make my fingers and mind work together again. The challenge is to write a short story or scene as Dialog only, Description only and A combination of both. It’s a very interesting way to practice different disciplines.

Forgive me if I’m a bit rusty, but this practice has made me smile. Please enjoy and comment—good or bad, lol.  Thank you, Karen- what a great exercise!

If I have to pick a title for this scene—Afternoon Delight

Sirilak

Image from freestock at Dreamstime

Dialog:

 

 

“Sirilak, why do you work so hard?”

“Soon the dry season will be here and the baby will come in a month. We must have enough food for our family, Anan. Don’t worry, I rest often.”

“You must let me help. I’ve finished the new room for our first born.”

“You are such a good husband. My life would be so hard without you.”

“Ha. Is this what you call an easy life? It is I who is lucky to be the husband of such a beautiful woman. You will be the best mother to our son.”

“You are so sure our child will be a boy. I think a girl would be auspicious and there will be more children. You are energetic in your work.”

“Hush woman. What if our neighbors hear you speak so openly about our private life.”

“The women would be jealous and the men might try harder to please their wives. But I will keep my voice low because I don’t want one of the ladies to try and find out for themselves.”

“I’m hungry. It’s time to do your other wifely duties!”

“That was the best fish soup I’ve ever had and you… I enjoy the way you look while you carry our child.”

“Stop that, Anan. When you touch me so I forget that I look like an elephant and it is hours before dark. I don’t want you to see the fat woman I am now.”

“Sirilak, you’re not fat. You are the essence of beauty. Perhaps a special dessert will put me in the mood to help you in the garden. After all the sun is too hot for you to do any hard work now.”

“My love. I will help you prepare the dessert.”

Description:

Anan stood in the shade of a tamarind tree watching Sirilak, his wife, working in the garden. Her tiny body had grown so big with the coming of their first child he worried that she might do them both harm working in the burning sun. He knew his words must be gentle as he looked on, filled with the love for his woman. She worried about the coming dry season and the extra mouth that would have to be fed.

They had only a small plot of land but every centimeter was used to their benefit. He still watched in wonder at how the most beautiful girl of their village had picked him for her husband.

Anan walked out in the field and began to work alongside Sirilak and nudged her a bit just to have her look at him. He loved looking in her dark depthless eyes that shown so bright when they turn to him.   She smiled as he rubbed his stomach, indicating his hunger.

Sirilak’s laughter filled him with joy. She rose and pulled him to his feet and then propelled him toward the house. She looked with pride at the new room that he had just finished. Her choice of Anan as her husband was helped by her grandmother. Love had blossomed from the very first day and she said her special prayer of thanks for selecting the perfect man.

He reached out to rub her heavy belly and bent to kiss her, but she pushed him away and then looked around to be sure the neighbors had not been watching. He reached for her again, but she slapped his hand and held up a finger as she waddled faster to the house.

Sirilak watched him eat as if there would be no more food for the evening meal and laughed.

Anan felt his heart flutter at the thrill of her laughter and reached out for her. This time she came willingly and purred at his touch.

There would be a special dessert as she pulled him toward their sleep area.

Dialog and description:

The sun’s rays shimmered off the ground as Anan watched his wife from the shadows of a nearby tamarind tree. He walked out in the field and said, “Sirilak. You shouldn’t be out in this sun. You must think of our child growing within you.”

“It is our child that I am thinking of. We must be ready for the dry season. I feel fine and you’ve been working so hard on the new room. You can’t do all the work! What kind of wife would I be to sit while there is work to be done?” She sat back, wiping the sweat from her brow and gazed up at the man she loved. He was so strong and fit, but even in her condition she wouldn’t allow him to coddle her. It wasn’t her way or the way of the village.

Anan lifted her to her feet and placed a loving hand on her swollen belly and tried to sneak a kiss, but she pushed him away with a laugh. “Are you worried about what the neighbors might say? I will tell them I am kissing my son through my wife.”

“Always so sure our little one will be a boy. I would think a girl will bring good fortune to our house… besides, with all your attention our family will be large.” The look on his face caused her to laugh and hug his arm. “Not that I’m complaining, my love. You fill me with love when you touch me.”

“I have married a wanton woman,” he said with a smile that stretched across his face. “I need my wife to feed her man so he will have the energy to try and satisfy her needs.” He gave her a nudge towards the house and then reached for her again but only caught the sweet tinkle of her laughter.

Anan settle back in his chair with a full belly and as he always did when he turned his eyes on Sirilak he gave thanks for his luck and her love. As she moved to clear the table he reached out and pulled her to his lap. She did not resist and purred as he hand rubbed her swollen belly and kissed her neck. He knew just the spot that would make her want more.

She stood and pulled him to his feet, pressing her body to him. “I think a special dessert shall be your reward for loving me, husband.”

The end.

 I hope you enjoyed these different styles. It’s good practice for any writer to stay within a discipline to see where one may need some additional practice.

I’m supposed to pick three more people to continue this contest, but what I’ve decided is: If anyone wishes to join in, please do. I really would enjoy seeing what other writers come up with. Try to go outside your normal style. Since I’m a genre hopper it didn’t work well for me.

Post your writing at your web site and then post the link in the comments on this post and at Karen’s site. I look forward to some good reading.

Spotlight Post by Laurie Jenkins

IN SEARCH OF A SOUL

Laurie Jenkins has done a great Spotlight Post about my bestselling book, IN SEARCH OF A SOUL, along with an excerpt and background info. Laurie is a true supporter of indie authors and I hope you’ll show your support by visiting her great site. Spotlight.

The photo you’ll see of me is with my grandson, Tyler Hill– one of the many loves of my life!

Deanna Jewel interviews Me

I’m really excited about the wonderful Deanna Jewel interviewing me at her romantic site. She asked some great questions that made me think—and that’s hard to do, Ha!

Please visit Deanna’s blog and enter to win a free ecopy of my latest book, Death’s Door.

http://deannajewel.blogspot.com/2012/10/meet-dannie-hill-fiction-author.html

Once again either WordPress or my computer is not allowing me to post photos or links. I haven’t a clue as to what to do about it. So if you will copy/paste to visit Deanna’s great site. You know me– I live for comments! Thank you.

Interview by Karen Einsel

I’m not sure why, but WordPress(or my computer) is not letting me link to other sites right now. I want to put this out so if you will please copy/paste to visit Karen’s site and my interview. I will try again later to link. There are a few disadvantages to living on the other side of the world, lol.

I’m interviewed by the lovely Karen Einsel, @K_Einsel. She brings out the best in me. http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/dannie-hill-visits-wednesdays-wonders/

Please visit Karen’s great site and learn a little about what makes me tick.

I must say that this interview came at a perfect time for me. I’m going through some medical problems and I really needed a boost to put me in the right frame of mind! Thank you, Karen!

I’ve been exposed! Take a look- Interview with IBP

Me doing another interview? Hard to believe, but it’s true. The great people at IBP- Indie Book Promo- do a wonderful interview with me to help promote my latest novel, Death’s Door. I even reveal a few secrets on what inspired me to write this great thriller. You might be shocked.

On this somber day of 9-11 we all remember the terrible attack on our western way of life that took so many lives. My novel, Death’s Door,  takes a look at a similar style attack with a different outcome and a different aspect of the possible victims.

I hope my friends, peers and readers will stop by IBP and leave a comment. You know how I love a good comment. Thank you for all your support. You do make an old writer smile!

http://www.indiebookpromo.com/2012/09/11/interview-with-dannie-hill-author-of-deaths-door/ 

The Awards Are Piling Up

I’ve won another blog award! The Fabulous Blog Ribbon! This great honor was given to me by Karen at http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com . Please check out Karen’s blog and books. She does reviews, interviews, brings in great guest blogger and is so supportive!

For this award I am to tell 5 Fabulous moments, 5 things I love, 5 things I hate and then nominate 5 more Fabulous friends! 5 is one of my many lucky numbers so here goes:

Moments:

  1. Finding out love-at-first-sight is real. I can honestly say that seeing my future wife for the first time was a real soul-mate kind of love. We could barely speak to one another. She’s from Thailand and when I walked into her little shop in Bangkok… well, it was all over for me. After 36 years of marriage, I think she’s finally coming around to loving me back.
  2. I’ll combine three into one: Seeing my children for the first time, each time, scared the crap out of me because they put their trust in me to be a good dad. I hope I did okay.
  3. Stepping off the plane after returning from war and seeing my family waiting and so happy to see me.
  4. Finding out that the Social Media was not a thing to fear and meeting so many wonderful people I now call friends—real friends!
  5. Publishing my novels and watching as readers bought and actually liked what I wrote was a piece of apple pie(with cream on top) for my soul.

Things I love:

  1. The moments I mentioned above.
  2. People. As a self-proclaimed recluse you make it hard for me to stay in hiding.
  3. The Sea. I lived in the Marshall Islands, on a very small island, for 2 years and the sea was everywhere I looked and I’m pretty sure some of the salt is still in my blood.
  4. Writing puts me in a place that allows me to be someone else and live lives I could only dream of. It also keeps me sane—an important fact for my family.
  5. Reading—for the same reason as above.

Things I hate:

  1. This is a tough one. I’ve found through living that hate is an emotion that only sucks the life out of the hater. So maybe hating hate—does that make sense?
  2. I used to have a great dislike for other drivers, but living in Thailand has taught me to join in and have fun. It’s also taught me patience.
  3. Politics. In today’s world it’s all about popularity. We can get trodden down and still turn around a vote for the person because of the magic lies that come out or how they look or even because we afraid to voice an opinion that doesn’t run with the crowd. No matter where you live.
  4. Narrow-minded thought.
  5. Stubbing my toe!

Nominees:

This is hard because I could nominate so many great bloggers. So if I pick you don’t get mad—just be happy like the people I didn’t pick! And I’m going international because the world deserves this award. Please take the time to check these great people out—you’ll find new friends!

  1. Sandra Valente http://ssbookfanatics.blogspot.com/ Sandra is a book reviewer living in South Africa. She is so supportive of writers. I’ve also gotten to know Sandra on a personal level—with the approval of her black belt husband. She is funny, caring and has a great family!
  2. Suletta. http://suletta.com/  She is a South African living with her family in Zanzibar, operating a dairy farm. Frist, just reading about someone living in Zanzibar—I mean come on! I have childhood memories of strange, magical places and just saying the name gives me a thrill. But the best part is Suletta’s blog about life and views from this incredible place. I’ve only been following her for a short time but have already found out how much she and her family love and care about the people in beautiful Zanzibar—had to say it one more time.
  3. Eden Baylee from Canada http://edenbaylee.wordpress.com/ Now, Eden is really a special friend and I feel so lucky to have met her. She’s also one of the busiest people I know, but only a little of her efforts are for her. She is the most supportive person I know; helping independent authors, friends in need and just doing all she can to see things through. She’s also an erotic writer! She has opened my eyes to the world of writers in this genre. She is a world class writer!
  4. Virginia Lee http://dagonsblood.wordpress.com Virginia is from the States and is another person I consider amazing—as a writer and friend. She writes Historical Romances and her words take me to long ago Scotland and I love it there. She too is supportive and caring. Do you see a theme developing?
  5. Robert (Sharky) Pruneda  http://sharkbaitwrites.com/ I threw Sharky in so you wouldn’t think all I thought about are women—did it work? Just kidding. Rob is at the top of my list of bloggers who writes novels, great blogs and supports others in so many ways! Find him on Twitter and have a laugh or two with him. He’s almost too witty for me.
  6. Lisa M. Stull (LM Stull) http://lmstull.com/  Okay, I’m adding one more just because I’m so impressed that this talented writer talks to me once in a while and she happens to be another beautiful lady. And the very fact that I know what the M stands for in her name! Honestly, when I first started reading Lisa’s blog I was in awe of her talent and not a little afraid of her. I would comment and Tweet with trepidation in the hopes she wouldn’t see me—she’s that powerful. As it turns out she is also so sweet and kind and it thrills me when see turns her eyes my way. Her books, poetry and blog are treats to behold. Did I mention her support is amazing.

I hope you’ll check all of the great people and their sites out. For all the people that I left off this list, please keep your thank you emails to 500 words—I’m a busy guy, lol!

Paradise Found

My special place

Special place

I miss the forest where I used to live in Georgia. We had a home with trees all around that connected to a large plot owned by a paper company. My dog and I would take long walks in the solitude of giant oaks, dogwoods, redbuds and fields of twenty year old pines. The pines waited patiently to be harvested then to be turned into news print, books and whatever the need of the day. I only thought of them that way when I heard trucks moving in to pillage the forest. I enjoyed their company and silence.

Here in Thailand, even with a small farm, solitude is a commodity in short supply. For a people who cherish being around one another it’s the perfect place. I enjoy it too, but there are many times I want to go about unnoticed. When I step out my door I know someone somewhere is watching to see what I’ll do next, so I look for some small place I can sit and think without eyes watching. I don’t have any bad thoughts about the villagers observing me—after all I’m unique, to them. I enjoy the attention most of the time.

We purchased a small plot that adjoined our land in the back. I didn’t think much of buy a big hole in the ground but my wife said I would like it. At some point in the past the owner had sold the dirt for a pittance leaving a very large hole in the ground, but it helped that family survive.

The hole gathered rain water and had a small pond, so we set about clearing the weeds and unwanted scrub trees

Hidden from view

and what we found was a land of large igneous boulders and petrified wood. Many of the boulders have the trees turned to rock running through them. I was fascinated. There are pieces of this rock-wood strewn about. We’ve planted bananas and improved the pond and it worked out well. The pond attracts dragonflies, frogs, small lizards, birds and we raise fish in the clear water.

What I really found was a place below eye level I can abscond to, leaving only wondering from those that watch. My mind flies free and I think of forest and writing; thoughts of places I’ve been and childhood dreams, but more often than not I set my mind free—not always seeing what’s around me. It’s a place I go when heavily into a manuscript and I need to relax my eyes and allow my muse to sprinkle a bit more magic dust in the new world I’m building.

I always return from my little spot refreshed and think how lucky I am to have a small bit of paradise. I hope you have a place you can go to release worries or just let your mind soar free. I’d love to hear about your secret place.

All photos are untouched and taken by me.

Back in America for an interview by Louise James

The fabulous Louise James has posted an interview with me on her great site; Murder, Mystery& Musing. I am honored for the support I’m receiving from so many great writers. Louise is right there at the top of my list!

Please take a look at Murder, Mystery and Musing Leave a comment too! Soon I want have any secrets, lol.

Dannie and the winged beast