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Official launch of the fourth book of my best-selling saga, "The Year of the Dragon" - "The Rising Tide" - coincides with the release of the 2nd edition of the first novel in the series, "The Shadow of Black Wings", with edits based on feedback from readers and reviewers.

Whether you've already read it or not, you will be able to pick up the new edition for FREE for these two days.
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
28 August 2012 @ 10:37 pm
I'm looking for 4 writers (or prospective writers) to tag in my next blog post, which will be on the Next Big Thing meme: I tag you and you all have to answer the same 10 questions regarding your current work in progress.

Let me know if it's something you want to do. In case you're confused, here's how it looks like: http://www.laxmihariharan.com/2012/08/nine-months-to-my-next-big-thing.html

A major televised adaptation of Henry V is always a generational experience – even more so than a Hamlet. It sets in stone who’s the theatre-loving public’s most current heartthrob. It defines the contemporary view on the justice and injustice of war. Finally, it reminds everyone how brilliant Shakespeare’s battle speeches are and how always relevant his history plays remain.

Tom Hiddleston had, of course, been cast as Hal long before the onset of Loki-mania and, as such, the choice had been dictated purely by his acting prowess, not fan popularity. To play Henry in all three consecutive instalments is no mean feat, and that Hiddleston manages to even get through to the end of it all is a respectable achievement of itself.

(see the rest of the review here)

Mood: indescribableindescribable
29 June 2012 @ 09:31 pm
Shadow of Black Wings

Not the picture, of course. The book what's underneath. It's ready, and it's on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.es and Amazon.it - and you can buy it from my website as well.

Some of you might like it.
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
23 June 2012 @ 05:16 pm

Any day now - as soon as I get the final version of the file from formatting and it gets approved on KDP...
11 March 2012 @ 08:13 am
"Yeah... check out twitter, facebook, whatever. You'll soon see what I'm talking about.

That flash just now? That's half the world's population gone. Disappeared. At random.
Things will keep working for a while now. We have so much stuff automated these days. And half the population is still quite a lot. So you might think things will work out.

But there will be another flash in a few months time. And another half will disappear. And then another.

You wanna know how I know? I have been through all this before. Yeah, some joker of a God put me back into the beginning of all this for some reason.
I don't know why and I'm not gonna try to figure it out. Again. I'm not giving you any more advice. Find yourself another 'leader' if you need one.
I'm off to make the best of the situation. You'd be surprised how many store security guys disappear in the first wave..."
10 March 2012 @ 05:16 pm
RIP Moebius
09 March 2012 @ 10:22 pm
A new rule for fantasy writers: if you can't write a better elf than Glorfindel, don't write about elves! 
04 March 2012 @ 11:53 am
One of the most touching art videos ever. Do watch.


"A film about problems with individual memory and the gradual degeneration of collective memory. During his stay in Tel Aviv in 2003, Żmijewski contacted a number of Polish Jews who had left Poland – the land of their ancestors – shortly before or during WWII. He asked them to recall and sing the songs of their youth. The protagonists recall all kinds of melodies: cavalry songs, pre-war pop hits, the polish national anthem. Żmijewski shows a world that is irrevocably becoming past. Our Songbook is one of the most moving and meaningful projects of the Polish art of recent years, and one that has found a reflection in the debates on national identity and Polish-Jewish history. Żmijewski broadens the field of art with his films, treating art as a tool for remembering, generating knowledge, and calling it into question."
29 February 2012 @ 08:54 am
One of the greatest shocks of my life was the discovery, circa 2007, that not everyone on the internet had read the Lord of the Rings.
15 February 2012 @ 10:06 pm
Oh ffs, #Google. Get your act together.
I got the new toolbar. Now Reader is even further down the list, after Music and Offers which I can't even use here in the UK!
24 January 2012 @ 10:23 am
I've just remembered I still have a livejournal account and there seems to be people there. Hello, lj people ! :)Jakub Kaliszewski @ Google+
21 September 2009 @ 10:48 am

I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
18 August 2009 @ 09:30 am
"So it came about that the freemen chose them another king, Sweyn, the queen’s brother, who still held to his sacrifices to idols, and was called Sacrifice-Sweyn. Before him king Ingi was forced to fly the land into West-Gothland; but the end of their dealings was, that king Ingi took the house over Sweyn’s head and burnt him inside it. After that he took all the land under him and put an end to many of the barbaric practices"

I wonder if burning relatives alive was considered one of the barbaric practices...
07 August 2009 @ 11:17 am
So, a guy sleeps with an underage girl whom everyone in court (including judge and the prosecutor) thinks looks like 16 year old, behaves like 16 year old, claims is 16 years old and sleeps around not minding anything... is declared not guilty and released - but still gets on the sex offenders register?
01 August 2009 @ 07:50 pm

Windows Live Writer works with Livejournal. Who’d have thunk it?

29 July 2009 @ 01:33 pm
God I feel like I've become possessed by the ghost of Murphy's Law.
26 July 2009 @ 08:41 pm
So since today until the end of the week, we rent two flats in London at the same time.

What we spend on rent we save on moving, though. Since both flats are in the same building. We're even using the old wi-fi router now, as the signal travels through the walls.

Neat, huh?
24 July 2009 @ 11:09 am
Fun fact: in September 1939, after sinking of SS Athenia by German U-Boat (first non-Polish casualties of the war), 40% of polled Americans believed the Brits have sunk the ship themselves for propaganda reasons.

See, you don't need internet to have conspiracy nuts aplenty!
21 July 2009 @ 02:48 pm
Paypal gave me back the money for Phone A.

Headset for HTC doesn't work with HTC. Maybe the Nokia one will... Anybody wants a cheap HTC headset? 
19 July 2009 @ 05:04 pm
His writing skills are getting abysmally worse and worse. The man wants 'epic' but he just doesn't get 'epic'. The man writes entire worlds into his stories, but he doesn't know how to work worlds. He knows people and characters, but not worlds, not masses of people. 

Why mention the whole world in a story when you're only going to show Britain? Every nation, every culture would react differently. There's no way all would oblige in the same way. Riots in the suburbs? There would be WARS breaking out. How exactly would British PM or US general convince Russians, Indians or Chinese to do what they did? How would aforementioned nations manage to do anything of the sort with their crumbling infrastructure? 
We focus on individuals and they play well but the world shown in the background is just shambles. 

It's a good thing RTD hasn't shown the Last Time War yet, although I bet he will eventually. And that will suck balls more than anything ever did. 
18 July 2009 @ 06:19 pm
Great skua
Arctic skua
Common tern
Sandwich tern
Red-throated diver
Short-eared owl
Common gull
Herring gull
Harrier (unknown)
Tufted duck
Greylag goose

Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com
Mood: observant
14 July 2009 @ 09:50 am
Suddenly got warmer. Runes in Maeshowe fantastic-more interesting than the empty grave itself. Felt like inside Trollshaws.
Overall Orkney very much like Eriador: barren wasteland full of ruins of ancient civilizations...
Stonehenge eat your heart out.
Had to go and 'buy the internet' as talkmobile cheated us out of money.our own company! Scapa flow still full of ships.Found the last well for ships sailing to Canada in colonial days, v.impressive! all those people perished in the arctic drank their last fresh water here. Going to see wrecks of German Imperial Fleet today.

Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com
Mood: busy
12 July 2009 @ 11:08 am
posting from the new phone for the first time! we're staying on a campsite on the beach of south ronaldsay. the car's fantastic - and we didn't freeze :)
ami still sleeping ... we're really far north-the sun doesn't set until 11pm! weather typical but still no rain so far. proper holidaying starts today.

Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com
Mood: archers on the radio, all's right with the world
10 July 2009 @ 11:07 am
...or how we tried to live in XXIth century and failed.

Around May we've decided to buy ourselves a cool new smartphone. HTC Touch HD, to be precise.

First we tried the proper way: through a contract with a phone provider. On first try, we've failed an online credit check.

Meanwhile, I had my wallet stolen and all my cards locked.

In Orange salon, we've failed credit checks again. We were told to make the checks ourselves through Experian or Equifax to see what's going on.

After getting back the new credit cards, I've done both checks. All turned out nothing wrong (after a few days of them learning how to read royal mail addresses). We went to Orange again, and failed the credit check again.

Not willing to pay £500+ for new sim-free phone, we turned to eBay. It was mid-June by then, a month has passed. And here the story really took off.

Looking for a bargain, we found the phone for £330 with pre-installed Garmin software, slightly used. Cool!

We got the phone. Let's call it Phone A. Just the handset. The charger was a generic mini-usb one. And the Garmin software was a pirate CD of Garmin software FOR NOKIA.

I've checked IMEI - the phone A was reported stolen.

I've opened a paypal dispute and demanded a refund. The seller agreed, if I sent him the phone back. So I did (stupidly). Next day he claimed the phone arrived damaged and demanded money for repairs FROM ME.

I've escalated dispute to a claim. I have no phone A, and no 300 pounds. Now I'm waiting for the response from PayPal which they say will be on July 19th.

Meanwhile, still wanting the phone for holidays, we bought another phone, phone B. £320, used, boxed with all accessories.

Phone B was lost in post.

Royal Mail takes 15 days to say whether a Special Delivery is lost or not. After 15 days, instead of a refund, the seller offered to send another phone - phone C - under the same conditions. I agreed.

What we got was, again, just a handset, but at least this time it had original pouch and charger. That was all.

I demanded refund for cables and accessories. The data cable was apparently 'in post'. For the headset, I got a refund and bought a replacement in an online shop.

I got a Nokia headset instead. The replacement will be dispatched 'tonight'.

So now, after two months and spending some 700 pounds, the situation is as follows:

Phone A is back at the seller, with whom I have a claim dispute over PayPal.

Phone B is lost, presumably stolen, somewhere on its way from Essex to London.

Phone C is here, but with no original accessories except for charger, and a useless Nokia headset.

And we're leaving for holidays today, so no chance to improve any of that. 

So much for online shopping.

PS: And now Royal Mail decided to NOT deliver our GPS software on time for holidays WHICH WAS THE WHOLE REASON FOR BUYING THE FRAKKING PHONE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
08 July 2009 @ 08:38 am
- 70% of the population would turn gay, because it's just so much more fun

- The remaining 30% would be kept as slaves for procreation purposes, and because gays love to take children and turn them gay

- After a slave couple, forced to procreate through drug addiction, gave IVF birth throuh Cesarean section to a desired number of babies, all their other pregnancies would be automatically aborted

- Once the mother would reach non-procreative age, she would be euthanasied

- And everyone would be constantly high. And worship Satan.
07 July 2009 @ 10:47 am
The coverage of Afghan War in British media is really quite pathetic. The only thing the tv and newspapers are all interested in is that the British soldiers are dying. You'd think they just sit all day in their camps and get mortared, or drive around trucks and get blown up by mines.

What's happened to good old war reporting?
There's a war in Afghanistan. You may disagree with it, but that's the fact. There are battles. People are dying. Recently, there's a massive offensive on Taliban, allegedly one of the largest ones since the war - something we only know from US coverage, not from local news. And the Brits fight on its right flank in the Panther's Claw operation (I know that from wikipedia, not from BBC). Of course some people will die. Dozens, possibly hundreds more die on the other side. That's what happens in the war. But no, the only thing you'll hear is 'another british soldier dead'. Why? What was he doing? In what context? What's going on with the war? Are we winning? Are we losing? Are we in a stalemate? 

We don't know that. Instead we're treated, of course, to a stream of interviews with friends and families of the dead, the meaningless eulogies (of course he was 'brave'. they don't take cowards to the war!)  the dreaded 24-hour news 'human angle'. The human angle that is torn out of context, blown out of proportion, treated everytime as a separate, unrelated event. Our poor boys, sent to die for 'incomprehensible reasons', because the media do nothing to make these reasons even the slightest bit comprehensible.

No wonder modern democracies lose all their wars.
Mood: we will all die in a blaze
03 July 2009 @ 10:23 pm
 So after a month of looking all over West London, we've unexpectedly decided on a flat that's... one floor above ours. 
02 July 2009 @ 03:15 pm
Foxtons estate agents are ASSHOLES*.

*) even greater than any other estate agents
01 July 2009 @ 04:57 pm
... if the burqa is just "an expression of culture and tradition" instead of instrument of oppression - why are their husbands wearing jeans and t-shirts? 
26 June 2009 @ 11:59 am
Ooh, Jack Dee hosts "I Haven't A Clue" ! Might be a better choice than the last one...
Mood: curiouscurious
23 June 2009 @ 03:39 pm

Whoever came up with the idea of a 'kitchenette' in a flat should be beaten repeatedly with a two-hob electric oven.

"In 2000, a biography of Elizabeth Taylor suggested that Richard Burton may have had an affair with Laurence Olivier"

Now who will draw me a slash of THAT? 
22 June 2009 @ 11:36 am
Watching "Omohide Poro Poro" for the first time after ten years (only now I feel I can really appreciate that low-key movie) I think I've finally nailed what makes Japan the best-portrayed nation in cinema. Why I seem to have known every street, every house, every garden as if I've lived there for years, something I never experienced even in London, even in the most victorian-Hammer-Horror-style parts down in Southwark; or Paris; or Warsaw. Somehow, all these cities which I've seen countless times on celluloid, always seem faker than they really are.
Not so Japan, which I've rarely seen in any other form than animation.

A live-action movie will simply be never as detailed and thorough with backgrounds as an animation - especially Ghibli-style, or any old-school 80's/early 90's animation. Two crucial things make the animation better suited for portraying real cities and landscapes:

- Camera focus. Unless you use some very special tricks, you will never get the camera focused equally on the characters and background, and on every single element of background. What you need in a live movie are long shots or even total shots establishing the scenery; a shot of Manhattan, a shot of Kilimanjaro, and then we're back to the characters. In animation like Poro Poro you can read every neon and newspaper headline in the shop window as the action happens in the foreground.

- Limited use of close-ups and crowd shots. There's no shame in having an entire cell showing just a lonely silhouette against an empty street in the rain. A distant car on a mountain road. Two kids playing in the park - somewhere on the horizon. That way you don't get that beautifully hand-crafted background is full visible. Since you don't pay the actors, you don't need to justify their fee by having them constantly in the middle of the screen.

Of course, the natural advantages of painting over photograph also play part, unless you compare against a really artistic and crafted movies - a cell painter has full freedom of selecting what he wants to show and how. He can focus on that which creates the real mood and feeling of the scene, instead of just photo-realistic rendition. The water-colour style of Takahata's movies is perfectly suited for that, since the graphics can just smoothly vanish in the white blur.

Anyway, what I'm saying is - if any of you've seen Omoide Poro Poro a long time ago, say, when you just started watching Ghibli movies and thought "oh, this is different... I'm not sure I like it all that much" - try and watch it again now. It's a real grown-up movie and should only be watched by grown-ups.
22 June 2009 @ 10:33 am
Turns out "The Black Smoke Band" which played for War of the Worlds consists of:

Herbie Flower on bass ("Space Oddity", "Walk on the Wild Side")
Chris Spedding on lead guitar (Roxy Music, Elton John)
Gordon Marshall on drums (The Moody Blues tour drummer)
Julia Thornton on harp and xylophone (Roxy Music tour harpist)

And a few session guitarists and a keyboard-player from Mike and the Mechanics.

That's quite a neat line-up there. And Chris Thompson, lead vocals of "Manfred Mann's Earth Band". And of course Justin Hayward. And a holographic Richard Burton.

Judging by the average audience age, most of the people would remember the original WotW album, or even the original Moody Blues and Manfred Mann line-ups. Which must've been rather neat for them.