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About My Blog

Hello! I am Mark Kloss, author of Game Hunter, It’s a Funny Thing Life and many more books soon to come.

I thought I should put something here to tell you about my blog, on a week to week basis it may not always be obvious what the theme is, but don’t worry there is one!

When starting to think about a blog, I thought about what stories I had to tell and how this would tie into my writing. In the end, I decided to tell you all about my life, my personal writing journey, traversing the highs and lows that life has thrown at me and finally getting my writing published and out there.

I hope through my blog that you get to know me, my books, get inspired to read my books and maybe even to follow your own writing dreams.

I am lively, inquisitive, silly and determined, this can make for an interesting mix. If you are relaxed yet adventurous, interested in starting to write yourself or just interested in me and my work I think my blog is for you.

I always endeavor to tie my life experiences into my writing, to show it doesn’t have to be major breakthrough moments in life, sometimes it can be the normal, the routine that works to inspire.

You can read my weekly blog here on my website and get links to it on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Even better though is to subscribe by signing up for my mailing list or following my author page on Amazon.com/co.uk or Goodreads. That way you get my blog delivered to your inbox weekly plus any good news, offers and sales!

I look forward to sharing my journey with you.

My Wonderful Wife, Sharon

It’s interesting how life changes. After a tough year, I turned 19 and things began to get a lot better. That was mostly because of the beginning of a life-changing relationship with my future wife, Sharon.

Sharon is actually my cousin, so I had known her throughout my life. With her being two years younger I used to spend all my time with my three other cousins who were closer to my age.

It wasn’t until my father died and I saw Sharon walk into the room where we were in mourning that I realized, this young girl at seventeen had bloomed into a fully developed babe!

She came over to my parent’s house a few times more to comfort my mum and there we spoke and got along well. One day I decided to invite her over to the place I had recently moved into with several friends. My looking forward to meeting her turned into being a little pissed off when she turned up very late.

She was so late that when she finally arrived, like an upset child, I was about to tell her to forget it. However, I discovered that I’d stupidly given her the wrong address! And that, as it turned out, was the night our relationship began.

A couple of years later we got married and now forty years on I find her just as much a babe as I did then, and I am just as happy with this wonderful woman as I was that year it all began.

My poetry book ‘It’s a Funny Thing, Life’ is dedicated to my beautiful and intelligent wife, and this is one of the poems I think sums it all up well:

Sharon’s Around   

There’s stirring in the trees,

Quiet, I hear the sound;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

A beautiful woman,

Has arrived back in town;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

Things are now on the up,

Suddenly hope abounds;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

My body keeps leaping,

Like an excited hound;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

I’m told a dear woman,

Has said something profound;

It must that be Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

There’s high expectancy,

Something is going down;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

People can’t stop smiling,

When usually they frown;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

Fireworks crazily

Scorching the open ground;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around.

 

So when you see me happy,

Heart beginning to pound;

It must be that Sharon,

Yes, Sharon is around!

The Loss of My Father

Following the heart break of losing Sheryl, I immediately cut short my living in Israel and returned home to London. I had loved deeply, taken part in fascinating adventures, seen wonderful sights, including sitting on the edge of a mountain watching the desert sun rise over the Dead Sea to burn the sky. For two days I had lived as they did two thousand years before, in that holiest of cities, Jerusalem. But losing the girl I had shared most of it with left me empty and ready to go home.

Just under a year later, my father died. He had worked hard as a tailor in a clothes factory. We were a poor family, so he was only able to finally retire at the age of 71. A year later he succumbed to cancer and passed away.

He lived in a time of two world wars, in World War One he was part of the Royal Air Force. From the cockpit of a flimsy plan, he radioed back the positions of German guns. During World War Two he helped in the Home Guard. A man of few words but a strong personality nevertheless. My coming was not planned, and he was already in his fifties when I was born.

The way it seems to go is that parents take pleasure and strong interest in bringing up their children, whilst those same children’s eyes are firmly on growing up and living their expanding life, so there’s not many daughters and less so sons, who take a strong interest in knowing their parents further than as, “my mum and dad,” though they are certainly loved as such.

It was the same with me. There were occasional times I did ask him about his life, then he would talk and talk, and when he did I was fascinated about this other world I was so close to but never really knew.

I took his death hard but my mother was truly devastated. Seeing her in such pain was very tough to take. I felt somehow numb, although my grief was there, I couldn’t release my feelings. One night in my kitchen, I was sitting there trying to come to terms with the loss when my friend David arrived. He didn’t need to say anything, he was just there for me and it was at that moment I released all the pent-up grief and cried like a baby. I got a lot off my chest that evening and I am forever grateful to him for just being there for me.

I did what I could to move on with my life and not that long after I got together with my future wife!

No doubt like many others I have found the highs of love and the lows of loss to have been an emotional and involving part of my life. From a young age I have been fortunate enough to have been loved, and found loving back an easy thing to do.

I take this same approach in my writing, I never ignore or shy away from loss if it is needed in my story and do have plenty of poems with this theme. However, at the same time I do not dwell on the loss or the grief, but make sure to look past it, move forward through it and see if my characters can come out the other end ready to carry on with life.

I dedicate this following poem most deeply to my father:

Life’s Ecstasy

We are so much more

Than meat and blood,

And did not come

From bubbling mud.

 

We are life’s ecstasy,

Poems of the night,

A crazy blazing furnace,

The shadows and the light.

 

We are this world’s artists,

Creating each day afresh,

The truest, deepest feelings

Come from us, not our flesh.

 

We are each one unique,

Personality self-designed,

From the way we walk and talk,

To the pictures in our mind.

 

We are strength and reason,

With the power of choice,

And no machine can match,

The emotion in our voice.

 

We are the raging sea,

Or cooling summer breeze,

Following the strictest rules,

Or doing just as we please.

 

We are the laughter and tears,

It is you who wonders why,

The urge behind each moment,

And the calming pleasant sigh.

 

We are an eternal spark,

The burning in the eyes,

After our body is finished

It is us, who again will rise.

 

We are the hope of love,

And thoughts behind action,

Our élan is spiritual,

Not a physical contraption.

It’s a Funny Thing, Life

With my first poetry book being published ‘It’s a Funny Thing, Life’ I thought I would dedicate a blog to my experiences and inspiration in writing poetry.

To be honest I find it easier than writing books, I have been doing it for longer and I have accrued many good reviews which always helps. As anyone who knows me can testify I can be rather playfully stupid, although I’m always busy with running a business and managing all sorts of projects, in amongst this rapid day to day living my poetry inspiration appears.

A poem often starts its life by observation of either my or others’ life experiences. At some point a word hooks my attention and from that other words or ideas come alive seemingly from somewhere deep inside myself.

Those single words or ideas start to flow or bring on other words or ideas and I’m able to be whatever is being created. So with drama, pain, grief, joy or whatever it is, the whole gamut of emotion increases like a building furnace within me.

This is a deep and spiritual happening that I treasure and embrace.

– If the poem is about love – then I feel completely the romance of life.

– If the poem is about death – I hurt and grieve for whomever that poem is about.

– If it’s about adventure – then I am that adventurer, feeling the excitement of escape, the fear of capture and the exaltation of triumph.

I feel it all as though I’m right there living it, and once I’m living the words, the creative juices flow.

Most fortunately, I can actually turn this ability on or off. In other words, if I don’t want to write poetry for a few months because of other commitments, then should I try, nothing comes to me as inspiration is totally gone. Should I come to decide it is time to write poetry again, well then it doesn’t take too long before I get my inspiration and creation back.

Sometimes a new poem flows from start to finish, sometimes it stops mid flow, always to resume later that day or the following day. It can take just an hour or up to weeks or occasionally even months, of small flows and stops until I have a completed poem.

‘It’s a Funny Thing, Life’, collates my poems of love and the many dramas of life. After a long debate I decided to hold the adventure poems back for another book, which I hope you will enjoy reading when released in the next few months.

My wonderful wife Sharon gives me all the inspiration I need for the first half of this book – ‘Love from Many Hearts’. The second half, ‘Strings of Life and Death’ is my musings and personal or objective observations at the wonderful or terrible happenings of life and death. I really hope you enjoy them all.

It is now available on Amazon, you can order it here in the UK and USA.

Jerusalem – One Magical & Spiritual Weekend

There is something I experienced in Israel which was both rare and extraordinary enough to merit a few words.

My girlfriend Sheryl and I went to visit one of her old friends living in the ancient part of Jerusalem. We stayed within those holy walls for two days and two nights as the war between Israel and most of the neighbouring countries raged on.

As you probably know, Jerusalem is one of the most holy and spiritual centres for three major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. When I was there it remained close to how it looked 2,000 years earlier, when Jesus walked those streets and shopped at local markets.

On the first night we fell asleep in our sleeping bags in one of the many small, man-made caves hacked out of rock over the centuries past. The old friend we were visiting had become a born-again Christian, and him and his friends’ conversation around an open fire about the works of Christ and his followers, continued into the early hours of the morning.

The next day we wandered around the ancient buildings and alleyways like so many have done before. There was constant beckoning to buy from the endless stalls that made up the market, combined with the sudden appearance of an extremely holy building, tomb or rock of one religion or another or perhaps all three.

Although it was dirty in many places, it was also so alive. Just like other cities, it had its own personality and atmosphere that you could feel and breath in. Of course, its history and the very buildings that had silently witnessed so much meant that most tourists and quite a few who chose to live there, were there to give their heart and soul to their religion.

The day passed as we stumbled upon symbols or buildings that told a story of ancient times. However, when later at night the tourists had gone, we were invited to a café where the more down on their luck residents went for conversation and drink. As I sat with my girlfriend and new friends, a local was happy to tell us all about each person who came through the rickety door.

To mention just a coupe, there was an already drunk man who came in with a sheep on a leash that I was told he considered to be his wife. Another showed me lash marks over his back received after being caught trafficking drugs over the border. It was a strange and wild place that now reminds of the alien bar featured in the first Star Wars film.

The second and last night we were invited to see a religious teacher, we sat around a table listening to him reading and discussing the Christian holy manuscripts. Once back in the cave we again finally fell asleep to the soft conversations of four or five devoted religious followers around that open fire.

By the time we left in the afternoon of the following day, I was fascinated by how Jerusalem was so spiritually important, spiritually uplifting to some and yet just another place to live for others. The city is the same, it is the people who gave it a different history and life.

Although I found this ancient and holy city fascinating, it was the fire inside the people who lived there, or visited on religious pilgrimages that interested me the most.  In its own way the ancient City of London has also witnessed much adventure and drama brought on by people’s beliefs, challenges, loves and hates. In fact, I have come to realize that people do not just get embroiled in the adventures of life, no, they are the adventure itself! It is this concept, along with each character’s individual personality all set within the walls of the prison City of London that I hope to gradually bring to the fore for you, by the end of the Game Hunter series. 

Israel – A Time of Excitement & Heartbreak

Today’s blog continues both my life story and how I ended up interested in writing.

We take a little jump to when I was 18 years old. Having broken up with a long-term girlfriend, I travelled to an Israeli farm for six months, to be honest, mostly for sex, drugs and rock and roll!

I had other reasons for moving to Israel, one being my Jewish roots, another was having the urge to travel, but let’s face it, the biggest reason was more excitement in the form of the above.

That excitement arrived in the form of a girl called Sheryl.

It was the first few days of my being on the farm when they threw a party. Rightly or wrongly I was disappointed with the girls there. Then another girl turned up late. She was a babe and totally unsuited for farm work. She had smooth black hair, a pretty face and a gorgeous body. I was smitten at first sight. So smitten, in fact, that I persisted until I finally got off with her, despite a dangerous six-foot Canadian also being after her and warning that he’d kill me if he saw me near her again.

After that we started going out regularly. We smoked pot, had plenty of sex and, as they say, generally rock and rolled. From smitten I unwisely fell head over heels in love, instead of enjoying things while they lasted.

I remember one event that really showed just how much she meant to me. I always loved dancing, but the wildest horses known to man wouldn’t have been able to get me dancing in public. One night at the local disco, after a hot day milking sheep, she wanted to dance. “No way!” I absolutely assured her. So off she went to dance with a tall Israeli hunk. Watching them groove caused sweat to dampen my shirt and my heart to race with fear. I thought I’d die if I lost her. It took that threat of terrible loss to finally get me onto the dance floor.

I’ve been happily dancing ever since, much to my wife’s delight.

In the end she got chucked off the farm. I followed her like a love-sick sheep to another farm where she dumped me in the very early hours of the morning for an older man who had 6 boutiques in Brighton!

I was crushed and it took much longer than it should have to get over her rejection. All in all, she wasn’t good for me – but boy did I enjoy the four months we had together!

Love has been a big, important part of my life. It’s something I dive into rather than skate around. I do try to get that across in my writing and poetry. Half of my first poetry book is dedicated to love. In my fiction it depends on my characters and story-lines. I will always have love as an element. It’s such an important part of our lives. Whether through heartbreak, falling head over heels in love, or the many shades in between, I work to have my characters show the true depth of these uncontrollable emotions.

Mark

The Moment I Knew I Could Write

The next step took me from song writing to poetry writing, and so that much closer to becoming an author. I was 14 when I realised that I could write, I remember exactly the moment it happened.

From I know not where, a sudden desire to write poetry began. I wrote what I considered to be a rather deep poem, I showed it to my mother who liked it and then my sister, Madeline grabbed it for a quick read.

Madeline and I have a 13-year age gap. Although we love each other we never used to speak deeply about things. The fact that I used to drive her mad with my wild and immature 14-year-old behaviour goes a long way to explaining her reaction following the reading of my poem.

The first thing she did was to read it several times, each time looking more confused and suspicious. She eventually confessed to it being very good, in fact much too good for me to have written it and wanted to know what I had copied it from!

Half of me was proud, the other half somewhat insulted as she took it on herself to sit on my bedroom floor and read the back of all my album covers to find where the poem had come from. She of course never found anything but even after she gave up, it took several more of my poems to fully convince her.

Although I felt my poems were good, her shock, and in fact awe was really the moment I thought that I could actually write, for real.

My English teacher was also mightily surprised by my poems and later short stories. After all it was by far the only indication that there was more to me than just being rough, loud and unwilling to learn anything at all!

To be honest I was still mainly an undisciplined, irresponsible and confused teenager but now I could write songs, poetry, stories – and even liked to read. This was pretty much my life, until the age of 18 when I went to the Middle East and fell head over heels in love.

My First Love

I thought I would continue with my story about growing up and getting into writing.

My dissatisfied and frustrated life changed once I got my first guitar at the age of 13. I fell in love with the second-hand acoustic instrument from the off. Whereas others were learning the hits, I was most interested in writing my own songs. It quickly became a new outlet for my imagination.

In some ways I can relate to Tremayne, in Game Hunter, a bored kid stifled by little purpose in life. Thankfully unlike poor Tremayne, my life didn’t change from ordinary school boy to living as a zombie within the ruined City of London. Far from it, the receipt of this guitar opened up a whole new outlet for me to create better things ahead and enabled me to dream of an exciting future.

I remember going up the wall in my bedroom while trying to get my fingers around the fret as I struggled to learn the cords. With a lot of practice, dedication and hours of frustration between me and my guitar I eventually got there, but I could still only play when alone.

Playing in front of others always got me very nervous. On one hand, I really wanted to play my songs to people, and on the other hand I would be dying from nerves. So I came up with some silly solutions, like having the room totally dark, or having whoever was listening be on the other side of the door.

Eventually I was able to play a simple tune, then once I had received a bucketful of validation I was able to free up a little more and eventually began to play more openly.

In some ways, this internal pressure to write, but anxiety of the audience’s reaction is evident in my early writing, with my works going through constant rewrites, without ever making it out to the public.

At that time, I didn’t have a dream of writing books, but rather I had a goal of being a songwriter. Although it may have changed a little over the years the purpose is still the same, to use my imagination to create nice emotional effects through words.

I hope many of you are already enjoying Game Hunter, and lots of you will get a copy of my book of poems, It’s a Funny Thing, Life, which will be out very soon!

Game Hunter: The Inspiration

In honour of Game Hunter, I thought I would tell you my inspiration and how I ended up with this story.

My Zombies:

In the last decade or so zombies have achieved a bit of a resurgence and I saw the popular films ‘28 Days Later’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ the first showed zombies to be fast and viciously dangerous and the second depicted zombies as slow, lumbering and easy to be killed. The rest generally showed zombies in one of these two categories and they were always grotesque!

From this I came up with the idea to have my zombies not so categorised, and so I have fully turned zombies, half-zombies, quarter-zombies and so on, it is not a static state but rather they deteriorate!

The general theme in zombie movies or books is that zombies are evil, without heart or soul and need to be killed or at least escaped from. That was until I read ‘Warm Bodies,’ what a different perspective! The hero and the rest of the zombies aren’t nearly so cartoonishly grotesque and they have feelings, heart and internal thoughts! I loved that and so my main characters became these quarter-zombies with feelings.

My Location:

‘Prison planet’ has been a phrase I have come across several times, and it stuck in my mind as a powerful phrase.

I love walking through the City of London, enjoying the many ancient buildings, churches, castles and cobbled streets or lanes. It feels as though you can directly sense the history of man. The City has certainly been a place of death, dark intrigue and historical mischief throughout the years. I find the buildings have depth, they have witnessed so much drama and it’s as though I can feel it.

The area is always very busy with commerce and tourists, and so I imagined it being deserted, painting a whole different picture, with possible danger behind each and every narrow lane and dark ancient building – especially at night! And so I ended up with the idea of ‘The Prison City of London.’

My Villains:

I am quite spiritual but I find that people get confused by thinking there is no difference between their spiritual self and their body. The idea is if the body is grotesque, so must be whatever is inside.

In my world zombie-ism is just another affliction causing a terrible disability of mind and function. Those not affected should count themselves lucky and help the zombies as they would a wounded but still dangerous animal that had previously been harmless and warm.

Unfortunately, there are all too many examples of man being frightened into fighting or trying to destroy what they don’t like or understand. If we view zombie-ism as an underprivileged minority, I made the bad guys the normals who pay to kill on zombie safaris.

Yet like all other minorities, our zombies just want to be helped and given rights.

In Closing:

I ended up with a few zombies who have heart and soul and can think and communicate, trapped inside the Prison City of London, fighting for their own lives and those of the whole zombie race until a cure is found, or they die trying.

So the book may be exciting, adventurous and fairly light hearted, but it also has the message that those we don’t understand also have a heart soul and are entitled to rights too. How we should try more, to understand those far less fortunate than ourselves and be more inclined to help rather than attack.

I do hope you buy, read and review my book! Here is the Amazon link for the USA and the UK.

If you need some further whetting of your appetite, here is the book blurb itself:

Enter the dangerous City of London to kill zombies, in the popular Game Hunter TV show and become a celebrity!

Zombies in the deserted ruins of the City of London are an endangered species. Those left are hardly dangerous and TV figures are plummeting. Unless things change the rest will be wiped out and the City rebuilt.

The Elders have convinced male and female half-zombie teenagers; reluctant Tremayne and confident Red, to find a further five fighters in order to take on seven of the most ferocious zombie hunters in a series of three TV shows.

The final outcome will determine annihilation or possible cure.

Yet with the fate of their zombie cousins at stake, a missing beloved sister to find, a budding romance, plus intrigue and conspiracy around every darkened corner, just staying alive until the first challenge seems to be a deadly struggle in itself.

Writing My Way Through Tragedy

2016 was the saddest and most difficult year of my life. It started well and busy as usual, mixing my business commitments with my ongoing burning desire to write. I had four able and loving sons and a happy marriage to a wonderful woman that just passed the forty-year mark.

My oldest son is Victor Kloss. Over the last ten years we had shared the binding love of writing. A couple of years ago he wrote a series called ‘The Royal Institute of Magic.’ It is a young adult fantasy and was immediately loved by readers of all ages.

By the third book it was a best seller in its category, by the fifth book, sales of the whole series had rocketed and at the age of 35, with his own loving wife and their 4-year-old child he had made it as a writer!

You can well imagine the excitement felt by all of us, as well as my heart-felt pride for my son’s breakthrough. Not to mention the inspiration it fed me to follow his success with my own writing. The excitement and joy with each new release was felt and experienced by the whole family and he was well on his way to becoming a major writer.

However, on the complete other end of life a black cloud was forming. Although through his youth he had been good at sports and lived a full life, he also intermittently suffered lung and liver problems. The last two years had seen both getting worse, with increasing time spent in the hospital, so much so that he finished his last two books from a hospital bed.

In early November 2016 two things occurred, one from heaven, one from the deepest depths of hell.

With his series rocketing, the income finally allowed his family to afford their own house, and he was able to work as a full time professional writer.

While in hospital yet again, the doctors finally got to the terrible bottom of his deteriorating condition: he had an advanced form of cancer. As the darkest month went by they treated him with chemotherapy. They couldn’t use the full concentration of poisons normally used, as his already damaged liver couldn’t take it.

It was a three-week course and the results would determine if he would live or die. At the end of those three weeks, his closest brother, who had been with him every day in hospital, called me to say the treatment had failed and he had actually gotten much worse.

I admit that I raged, cried and banged the car in anger the whole hour it took me to get home and comfort my distraught wife.

Three weeks later he was gone.

***

He left behind a talented and loving wife and daughter, 5 of his 6-book series, hundreds of fans and his loving family. We all miss him so very much to this day.

The immediate destroying shock was soon replaced with waves of shock, as the reality of losing my son hit me afresh again and again. It sucked the life out of me. Any enthusiasm I did happen upon, quickly became buried by the renewed numbing memory.

Writing helped me through the next dark nine months. It seemed to bring me closer to Victor.

***

During this time, I worked on a book we initially wrote together quite a few years ago, well before his success. It’s a young adult fantasy called Download and has a lot of his very clever imaginative ideas running through it.

I also worked on my own book, Game Hunter. It is a different kind of zombie book, as the zombies are the good guys! It has actually just been released, and I am very proud.

Like all artists, I write to move people’s emotions; personally I aim to leave them with a smile and desire for more. Like hundreds of thousands of other writers, the dream is to write as a full-time professional! This never-ending desire is what drives me to write; it was the same with Victor.

I still feel keenly the loss of Victor, and I am sure I always will, but it’s getting easier, and I still feel that as long as I write I haven’t lost him completely.