#Author interview with Karl Ayling @AylingKarl #nonfic

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Karl Ayling. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

  Toi Thomas: Hi there Karl! It’s so lovely to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.

Karl: Hi Toi. Thanks for having me.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Karl Ayling?

Karl: I’m the author of Massive Power Massive Love. I’m a Christian who found faith later on in life. I’ve written about healing from the activities of paedophile parents and the emotional, physical and spiritual damage that this caused.

Toi Thomas: Well before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.

Toi Thomas: Who is so you and why?

Karl: I relate to The Who’s song Love Reign O’er Me from Quadrophenia. I have been listening to this track for many years and one day bopping along with my i-pod, I heard it differently. Something snapped and it hit me right in the heart. Transformation in music.

Toi Thomas: What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?

Karl: I am currently reading David Finklehor and his research around the sociological background and effects of childhood sexual abuse. It’s an American book and based on US statistics which mirror those in my home country – the UK. I hope that this research will help me in my own writings.


Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

Karl: Pre-teen I was into Spiderman and Superman comics. It was a cool way to follow the crowd whilst also hiding (and not dealing) with family issues.

Toi Thomas: In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Karl: I would like to interview Jesus at anytime from his birth to age 30.

Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.

Toi Thomas: So what are you sharing with me today?

Karl: Shocking… heart- rending… inspiring… compulsive reading.

My book is a paperback published by Apolostolos Publishing. Its called, Massive Power Massive Love. It tells of my overcoming addiction and sexual abuse. Visit this link to learn more.

Toi Thomas: So where’s the motivation behind Massive Power Massive Love?

Karl: Both of my natural parents were abusive paedophiles; surviving childhood, OCD, and PTSD left me wanting to share. It has been a journey, which continues and the more I share about male abuse survivors perhaps, the more will be inspired to seek help.

Toi Thomas: What’s so special about this story that’s going to reel in the readers?

Karl: Not many male survivors write about childhood sexual abuse and overcoming addiction.

Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Karl: I’m currently researching my next book. Reading around the topics and statistics of child sexual abuse along with client centred counselling. So far, I have chapter headings and some titles for poems. For me, this pre-writing process lets me see and find the edges of my topics before actually sitting down to write.

Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Karl: Coming out the other side of therapy and thinking about what I had to say, I developed my own unique style not based on anything other than an open and honest reflection of events.

Toi Thomas: Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Karl: OK!

Toi Thomas: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Karl: Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was literally the last book I read before finding my faith. And, I thought it was a secular work too!

Toi Thomas: When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

Karl: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture brings joyful glee whenever I listen to it.

Monster by Skillet brings up rage and anger.

Toi Thomas: Let’s play zombie urban survivor. What 3 things do you need to survive a black-out in Central Park the day zombies attack?

Karl: My bible. My family. My wits.

Toi Thomas: What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?

Karl: Racing my motorbike around Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground at 166mph and popping an unintentional wheelie at 147mph.

Toi Thomas: Last question of the day; here we go.

Toi Thomas: Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

Karl: As I mentioned earlier, I’m reading research around my core subjects and this may lead to starting up a counselling service in my area of the UK. There are woefully few male counsellors doing this work with my kind of background. There is a charity in a local city that specialises training counsellors and I am booked onto an introductory course later in the year.

Toi Thomas: Thank you so much, Karl for spending time with me today.

Karl: Thanks again, Toi, for having me.

Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Karl Ayling, check out these great links:


Twitter: @AylingKarl

Purchase links for Massive Power Massive Love: Amazon | Book Depository

This has been a

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Gardens #WEPFF Challenge No. 3 featuring We are Jardin #amwriting #flashfiction

Gardens inspire me in so many ways. I’ve included gardens in my other works so many times including my Eternal Curse Series and other short stories such as Our Place. I actually wrote three different stories in preparation for this challenge, but I couldn’t keep my word count down or limit my story lines to tell the whole story I wanted to tell. Finally, I gave up and decided to simply share part of a story. The sample below is the introduction to a fantasy adventure that still exceeds the word count a bit. Oh well.


“Agent Trence Howard to see Professor Jardin,” announced the short round woman with chestnut skin. She pulled from her front blazer pocket a folded booklet of identification and smirked impatiently.

The clerk glared up at her through his glasses and sighed. He reached for the booklet and responded, “So you are. You are Agent Howard, and let’s face it, pretty darn lucky.”

Trence pocketed her identification back into her red blazer and clicked her matching heels together. “Is there going to be a problem here?”

“Oh no; no problem here.”

The clerk stepped away from his desk and pointed down a long hall leading into darkness. Trence nodded her head and then followed behind him quietly. Her red heels had no reason to clink at this time.

“What makes you think I’m so lucky anyway?” The clerk paused a moment to look Trence in the eyes and then turned to continue down the hall.

“You do realize that you’ll be the first to enter the professor’s private quarters? I mean, you must realize there has to be a reason why you had to get a letter from the judge in order to force your way in there.”

“I did what I had to. As long as the professor has nothing to hide, there shouldn’t be any problems.”

This time, the clerk stopped without turning. “You can find it from here. It’s the only door at the end.” Trence sighed and lifted her skirt, letting her heels express her annoyance. After a few steps, the clerk called out. “We all know he has something to hide, but some of us trust he has his reasons for hiding it.” Trence didn’t respond as she marched forward.

The hall seemed to narrow and grow cool. Moisture lingered in the air with a sweet fragrance, like a mist of rose water. Soon the floor seemed to soften. Try as she might, her heels had been quieted by the cushion beneath her. Just ahead the shape of a door could just be made out in the silhouette of light streaming from behind it.

Hands shaking Trence scolded herself, You are an agent of the High Court; nothing will happen to you here without dire consequences. She grasped the handle of the door and took a deep breath as she plunged forward.

Tripping on an odd green wire, Trence fell forward, dropping the booklet she’d placed in her hand as she opened the door. Expecting to hit the floor hard, Trence was surprised to end up in the arms of a tall thin man with a scruffy beard and emerald-green eyes.

“I’m so sorry to barge in like this. I didn’t mean to make such a scene.”

“Well, this is quite a surprise. I assume you are from the High Court. I must say, I was expecting a man.”

“Of course, you were; everyone expects me to be a man. In any case, I’m here to inspect your work in order to find answers concerning your achievements in biochemistry.” Trence straighten herself and dusted off her skirt. The button of her blazer had popped off and it made her feel a bit vulnerable, but she wasn’t going to let the thin man know that.

“Straight down to business, are we? Shouldn’t we at least have introductions?” The tall man bowed and extended his hand. “I’m Professor Jardin.”

Trence patted around in search of her identification, ignoring his extended hand, and then huffed. “I seem to have miss placed my credentials, but I assure you, I am Agent Howard and we should be getting straight down to business. I understand you keep a garden and a laboratory, aside from your exclusive collection of books.”

“You mean my library?”

Trence blinked. “Sure, your library. I assume this is it we are in now. Should I begin by cataloging the books?”

“I don’t know if you should handle the books; they are so rare and delicate. Surely they can’t be of any real importance.”

“Perhaps Professor, but that’s for me to decide. I can at least discover what the books are about and list them alphabetically.” Trence looked beyond the floral-toned book bindings, taking in the smell of fresh moss and a subtle trickle of water. “Is your garden nearby?”

The professor smiled and the corner of his eyes sparkled. Trence shook her head thinking she was seeing a glare, but from where she didn’t know. “Yes, the garden is near. This is such fun. I think you may actually figure it out before long.”

“Figure what out. How exactly is this fun for you, Jardin? Don’t you understand that your life’s work is under investigation?”

“Of course, I understand, but soon you’ll be wondering why, now of all times, I am being investigated.”

“It’s not for me to wonder why. I’m here to collect data for the initial hearings. That’s all. So, now, please where is the garden, where is your lab, and where do you actually work? You must have an office; at least a desk.”

“I have all of those things and more. It’s all here. Look around and open your eyes.”

Trence pursed her lips and pushed air through her nostrils. Of course, the only female agent in the Court gets stuck working the cuckoo case.  “Please just tell me what I want to know so we can move this along.”

Professor Jardin stepped toward Trence and begin to speak when something caught his attention. He shook his head and closed his eyes. “Professor, what are you doing? It seemed like you were going to say something.”

Jardin kept his eyes closed but begin to turn his head from side to side. “Ah, it seems we’ve found your missing credentials and a red button. Are you missing a red button?”

Trence looked around briefly and then stared at the professor with his eyes closed. “Yes, I had a red button.”

Jardin lifted his head and opened his bold emerald eyes. “That’s good because they are right behind you.”

Slowly, Trence began to turn around, clenching her fist and wondering why she was letting this man get to her. Before she completed her turn a wall of vines took her breath away. It wasn’t there a moment ago and yet it was a wall, lush green cords and orange buds, some hanging from the unseen ceiling and others shooting up from the mossy floor. Her credentials and button rested neatly in a nest of leathery leaves emerging from the surrounding foliage.

Without turning back to the professor, Trence eeked out, “Who exactly are we?”


1099 words- We are Jardin 2016 Copyright © Toinette J. Thomas

Seeking full critique.

On a separate note, I’m seeking reviewers for an anthology I did not contribute to. See my review here. Click the image below to learn more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Charade & The Truth About Charlie #Review – Mock Squid Soup No.21 #cinephiles #film #mystery









Let’s recap my clues from last week:

Clue #1– Both leading ladies are British actresses with a dancing background; one black, one white.

Clue #2– Both leading men are known for their looks, though the original actor has more acclaim.

Clue #3– The original blockbuster movie released 1963; the box office bomb remake released 2002.

So what do you think, was I too vague or was my movie just too obscure? I think I had everyone stumped.

If anyone is interested in my experience of watching these movies, click here (Charade) and here (The Truth..) to see my notes.

This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.

1. What is this film about?

Charade is the story of the unhappily married Regina, who discovers that she won’t be needing a divorce because her husband has been killed while she was away on holiday. To make matters weirder, three strange and dangerous people are trying to capture or kill her in hopes of retrieving money her late husband stole. Then there’s the charming “Peter” who’s there to offer her comfort and aid.

The Truth About Charlie is the remake, with some notable changes here and there. The major difference between this and the original is the additional influence of the “Shoot the Piano Player” film, and trust me, it makes all the difference.

2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?

The original trailer for Charade is quite campy but when your film stars Audrey and Cary, does it really matter?

My interest in the remake stemmed from its association with the original and the fact that I like Thandie Newton.

3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?

I actually think all the leading performances, aside from Wahlberg, were pretty good; he was only okay. I do wish Audrey’s Reggie wouldn’t have been so dim at times, but it was a different time, I guess. I do wish that Thandie would have been given a little of Audrey’s runway treatment. Her character lacked the glamor that the first Regina had. Oddly enough, I found the instant attraction between Thandie and Mark more believable, but the way Audrey’s character chases after Cary’s is priceless.

4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?

The original was shot like a typical spy film of the time, but with a bit humor and fashion thrown in. The remake however, was a bit confusing. I think this is where the “Shoot the Piano Player” influence took things too far. The remake felt like an art film, a study in emotional expression, something that just didn’t go well with the plotline. Weird camera angles, color filters, quick flashes of unrelated content to the story at hand- yeah, it just didn’t work for me.

5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?

The original movie didn’t have a whole lot going on in terms of music. I like the intro music which seemed to repeat as needed throughout the film. Though more than odd in some places, the soundtrack for the remake, was quite fun. There was lots of variety. Some songs set the perfect mood while others set matters askew.

6. What did I like about the story as a whole?

Since both stories are essentially the same, and I mean that (I was expecting more changes in the remake), I can say that I actually like both stories. I like the mystery and how it all unfolds, plus what’s a mystery without multiple false identities?

7. What did I not like about the story?

For Charade, I’d have to say that the way Reggie’s character was so dim and helpless was a turnoff.

For The Truth About Charlie, the odd way in which it was filmed and the fact that very few changes were made, made the movie a bit disappointing.

8. Would I recommend this movie to others?

Yes, I’d actually recommend both films.

Charade is a film that a classic movie lover should see; plus the fashion is amazing.

The Truth About Charlie isn’t a bad movie, but it is a bad remake. Anyone who hasn’t seen the first film might really enjoy this one. If for no other reason, I recommend both films for comparison sake.

9.What would I rate this movie?

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give Charade 4 reels


and The Truth About Charlie 3 reels.


10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?

Not exactly. I’ve not written a true mystery, though I do incorporate elements of mystery in my Eternal Curse Series. While I don’t know a whole lot about fashion, I do try to utilize elements of fashion in my world building.

Watch, rent, or buy Charade movie here.

Watch, rent, or buy The Truth About Charlie movie here.

Mock Squid Soup – Film Society

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to introduce Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society. Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to movie reviews. We invite others to participate and post their reviews…Don’t be shy; come join the fun! 😀

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Outliers of Speculative Fiction is a good #book. #anthology #giveaway

I’m currently reading an amazing anthology to which I will soon be reviewing. I realize mine will be the first customer review and that’s just sad. Please click the image below to see what I’ve put together to gain more reviews for this work….

And no, I’m not a contributing author to this work. reviewbanner

FULL DISCLOSURE: See my review here.
Since I started this little adventure, the contributing authors of this anthology have decided to put me in charge of the marketing for this book. I’m not sure what all that means, but I assume compensation of some type will be involved. I guess my pet project has turned into a side job. Update 8/17/16

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review : Chinese Take-out #spy #book


Title:  Chinese Take-out

Series: NA

Author: Ian Mathie

Genre: Historical fiction, Spy Thriller

Pages: 287

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (war and mature themes, some sexual content/references)

I’m kicking myself for taking so long to read this book. I mean I have it in both ebook and paperback form, but hey, sometimes life gets in the way. The first thing that drew me to this book was the fact that it’s a work of fiction from an author who’s known for writing memoirs. The second thing that caught my eye was the amazing cover.

Chinese Take-out starts out seeming to be two stories running in parallel until it’s revealed later that there is more than one thing linking these two “cases” together. Yes, cases is important. Green, aka the Nose, is a “company man” who has been pulled away from his preferred assignment in China to deal with a domestic matter involving arms dealing. This is essentially an espionage thriller and if you still don’t know what “The Company” is, this may not be the book for you.

I could go into more detail about the plot to give you a big build up and still leave out the details, but I don’t want to. I want anyone who decides to pick this up to be just as surprised as I was. I will throw you a few bones just so you can see if you are truly interested. The story has: a cover-up, a rebel, a huge misunderstanding, a mentor/buddy theme, and of course spying. Also, the story takes place during the formation of The Peoples Republic of China, so seeing the characters use and try to understand technology that we’d find archaic was actually, kind of, amusing.

I loved the characters in this book. The story itself was told in such a matter-of-fact way, that the characters were the one thing you could form an emotional bond with. When these guys bounced from one mini-mission to the other, you were with them and rooting for them, not wanting to leave anyone behind. I won’t pretend this was an action packed story, but the weaving of clues and messages and secrets was riveting.

I’d say this book was written for an adult audience, but a teen with a thirst for espionage could totally get into this. This is probably a read mainly for the fellas, but hey- I loved it.

I give this book a 5.


This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords