The First of Glob’s Tales

Globular Van der Graff
We all need a means of escape from our daily lives. For those of you who haven’t considered reading Glob’s anthology, here is the very first of his tales. If after reading it you decide that yes you want to read the anthology in its entirety, all you have to do is go to your nearest Amazon site and look for “Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales for Adults.” For those of you reading this in the US, click on the cover to the right of this post in “My Books”.

Glob and Me
***

My name is Mica. I am a member of a humin tribe who live alongside some friendly southern woods goblins.

This is the story of how I first met Globular Van der Graff and his goblin brothers, Makepeace Terranova, Byzantine Du Lac, Eponymous Tringthicky and Neopol Stranglethigh when Glob came to my rescue.

The five members of this plucky band who I will always be extremely proud to call my friends were among the last of their kind to live in peace alongside humins before our warlike cousins the humans changed the world forever. With their coming, like all things wholly dependent on the natural world remaining in balance, the goblins soon retreated to the densest woods far from any danger. What happened to we humins is a story for another time.

When my own kind first encountered Globular’s folk two thousand summers earlier, in our still primitive and savage state we did what humins automatically did back then. When confronted with something new like a wholly different kind living here in Goblindom – we attacked.

After that first unfortunate encounter a wary truce ensued. Neither kind actively went out of its way to upset the other, but neither did we freely mix. Because of this deep mistrust on the part of my kind, sadly many a good friendship between goblin and humin until Glob and I first met, simply never happened.  Despite the fact that the vast majority of goblins are simple kind folk, and certainly not the thieving, bloodthirsty child stealers that the evil minded and stupid among us believed of them, my father’s generation avoided all contact.

Like all young humin children I had often been warned by my parents that if I ever misbehaved in any way, I would be handed over to the village shaman who would take me out into the forest and leave me for the goblins.

***

I first met Glob when I was a small child of barely four summers. I was happily playing on my own at the edge of our village, beneath the trees that marked our tribe’s border with the great oak wood. I had become totally absorbed watching a large carnivorous snail slither its way towards a juicy honey ant, that I failed to notice the stealthy approach of a timber wolf who was intent on killing me and carrying me away to feed its ever hungry cubs.

The first moment I knew that danger was near was when a small shadow briefly passed across the boulder where the snail slithered, breaking my concentration. I turned round in time to watch with a mixture of fear and fascination as the wolf curled its lips to reveal its fangs in preparation to do battle with a tiny goblin I later came to know as Glob.

For one so small he showed absolutely no fear for his own safety. He placed himself directly between the hungry wolf and me. Though slightly built, Glob is immensely strong and fast.  Each time the wolf attacked, he rapidly fired expertly aimed small sharp sided stones directly into her mouth, each one threatening to jam in her gullet. No matter which direction she approached from she met her match in Glob’s relentless pelting attack of those deadly stone missiles. The shadow of the boulder in front of me had barely moved the width of a blade of grass before she gave up in disgust, and slunk off into the dark shadows of the trees at the edge of the forest.

“Now yunger, Its times ter takes yer home afore yer mother frets for yer,” my defender announced with his friendly, toothy grin.

At that time Glob and I were practically the same physical size. He scooped me up in his arms as if I weighed no more than a goose feather, before silently walking back home to my village. Carrying me effortlessly, he took me to my parent’s thatched wattle and daub walled roundhouse where he gently placed me down on the ground just outside the door, before disappearing unannounced and unnoticed as rapidly as he had first appeared.

It was to be several summers before Glob and I met again.

***

The summer of my manhood trial occurred when I turned fourteen. Our shaman Yestin took me and a few other teenagers into the forest to the stone circle in the sacred glade where the ancient rite had always taken place. Each of us in turn was given a task to perform to prove whether we were worthy of standing alongside the warriors and hunters of our tribe.

I was to hunt the old wolf who had been stealing our swine for the last several moons. To assist me in my quest I was given a razor sharp flint bladed knife and a stout staff. If I succeeded, and hopefully survived the ordeal unscathed, my place in our tribe was assured. Fail, and the shame brought upon my family would soon see me forgotten and cast out of the village. My name would never be mentioned again, nor would any other male child be allowed to take it in the future.

***

My first night alone in the depths of the forest was unnerving to one as young as I was back then. Each creak of branch, or hoot of owl, re-sharpened my wits and stretched my nerves almost to breaking point. Glowing eyes watched my every move. Tiredness and hunger announced themselves to me. So I took shelter high up in the branches of a giant oak tree, where at least I could rest in comparative safety away from fang and claw.

I must have finally succumbed to a mixture of exhaustion and nerves, because the next thing I became aware of was being suddenly awoken by a familiar voice whispering in my ear.

“Mornings yunger, stills not paying attentions I’s sees.”

I was so happy to see Glob again. But this time he was not alone. Seated all around me were four more goblins.

“Heh – I’s sees I’s still needs ter keeps an eye on yer yunger,” Glob chuckled, good-naturedly ruffling my hair.

Still not knowing his name at this point in the story I am relating to you, I replied, “I am so happy to see you again too sir. I have never forgotten the day when you rescued me when I was a mere child.”

“Hah, mere child is it? It stills is aint it?” a grumpy cross-eyed goblin said, as he spat on the blade of his knife, before stropping it on the rough bark of the ancient oak. All, with the exception of Glob nodded in agreement, much to my youthful annoyance.

Glob gave his friends a withering glance before seating himself beside me. “Times ter introduce us all yunger,” he began, as his friendly toothy smile replaced the scowl that had formerly occupied his animated leathery face. “Me name is Globular Van der Graff. This fat one ere, stuffin his gob wiv honeycomb, is Makepeace Terranova. The tall skinny one yonder, replacin stale oak leaves for fresh under his armpits wiv the silly grin on his face is Byzantine Du Lac. Sittin next ter him, the one pickin his nose wiv a twig is Eponymous Tringthicky. The cross-eyed ol curmidgin sharpenin his blade, wot jus rudely insulted yer yunger, is none other than Neopol Stranglethigh.”

“My name is Mica,” I said in reply, as I took in the details of each of the goblin brothers.

“Mica – Mica who?” Eponymous asked while scratching himself.

“Just Mica, I have no other name. If I don’t succeed in my manhood trial, my name will be struck from the memory of my tribe.”

“Strange folks is humins,” Neopol muttered, “only gots one name. Perculiar I’s calls it – ouch!” The throbbing pain in his thumb caused by his razor sharp blade biting deep, largely thanks to his inability at focusing his eyes when engaged in such a task, temporarily silenced him.

“Tells us bout this ere trial yunger – er, pardons me – I’s means Mica, if yer please?” Makepeace enquired, smiling between mouthfuls of honeycomb that dripped down the front of his jerkin from the large gaps in his teeth. So I explained the rite of passage from child to humin man as best I could.

“Yer says yer gots ter hunt n kill this ere wolf on yer own?” Byzantine asked, shaking his head with an incredulous look on his simple face.

“Ridicalus I’s calls it, ridicalus; fancy sendin a yunger ter his certain death. Never happin in decent n polite goblin circles – madness – shear madness…” Neopol’s voice trailed off once more. His eyes almost uncrossed themselves at the prospect of my task. All five goblins shook their heads in unison, quite unable to comprehend our ways.

“Well now Mica.  Peers old Glob n his party will av ter lends a hand so ter speaks,” Glob began, good-naturedly touching the tip of his long wrinkled nose while winking at me.

“What do you have in mind sir,” I politely enquired.

“First things first yung Mica me lad; most wot knows me calls me Glob see. E’s called Byz, e’s Make, e’s Neo, n e’s Mous,” he said, pointing to each of his four comrades in turn with his long bony fore finger. “Us goblins don’t have no truck wiv formalizin cep when in the presence on the grand high goblin hisself, got it?”
Glob’s ancient eyes fairly twinkled with delight as our formal introductions were finally concluded to his and his compatriot’s satisfaction. “As for our secon names; theys is never used, cep in formal occasions n the like.”

The six of us spent the rest of the morning endlessly going over each step of our plan to capture and kill the wolf. By the time the sun was high overhead our plan was so firmly fixed in our minds that we were all suddenly quite weary, having taxed our brains so much with it all.

Glob and his brother goblins knew about the wolf and his ill health. Old age and injuries had led to his stealing swine from our village to eat. Sadly he was no longer able to hunt properly with the pack in the woods. Glob warned me most earnestly that the wily old wolf, though ill, would still rip the throat out of any that thought him easy prey.

With our planning now over and his thumb still throbbing from the vicious cut, Neo, accompanied by Mous, went off to the stream to catch fish for our evening meal. Byz and Make raided a bee’s nest nearby for more honeycomb to complete our meal, leaving Glob and I on our own to laze away the afternoon catching up with each other’s lives and adventures.

It turned out that unbeknown to me he had often spent time watching over me as I was growing up. He told me he considered it his duty to do so right up until today when we had finally reunited. When I told him about the threat made by our parents to be left for the goblins if we misbehaved, I swear I thought he would turn purple and die laughing.

***

The following dawn saw us stealthily approaching the old wolf’s lair downwind to avoid giving away our presence. The path we had chosen followed a low stony ridge that ran below the wolf’s den. Neo and Byz together with Mous and Make would act as the left and right arms of our attack formation, with Glob at the centre. I was to be positioned in a forked branch of the yew tree above the old wolf’s den. Although just how I was supposed to climb up there without alerting him eluded me for the moment given that the wind was blowing straight into his den. The only way aloft into the darkened confines of its branches was directly in front of the entrance.

***

Glob suddenly froze in his tracks. His leathery pointed ears swung right and left while his long nose twitched. Neo and Byz were not paying attention.  Both were busy talking in hushed tones about Neo’s still sore thumb.

The next second we heard Neo let out a scream of sheer terror. The wily old wolf had caught the pair unawares! At that moment all thoughts of our carefully laid plan rapidly disappeared. We ran to rescue poor Neo from the vicious death grip of the wolf’s still powerful jaws.

In a trice we all fell on the snarling mixture of furry assassin and bleeding cross-eyed goblin. Neo’s eyes were filled with terror. The old wolf began shaking him rapidly from side to side, trying to break his scrawny neck, while increasing the pressure on his throat to choke the life out of him. To a hungry wolf even a scrawny goblin would suffice to fill his groaning belly.

Cruel razor sharp goblin blades frantically flashed as they bit deep through the old wolf’s thick fur. Make and Byz took a hind leg each and began to hamstring the still strong beast. Mous and I attacked his large body from either side, putting our razor sharp blades to good effect by plunging them repeatedly up to the hilt through the old wolf’s ribs, searching for a vital spot.

Meanwhile Glob attacked head-on. He hurled himself at the wolf’s great head, savagely stabbing the powerful creature’s cataract filled eyes with his knife with one hand, while hanging on desperately with the other to its thick mane of coarse fur. Our battle had now turned from ancient humin manhood rite into a rescue mission to save our compatriot Neo from a savage death between the jaws of this awesome killing machine.

***

By mid morn the battle reached its bloody end. Neo lay quietly moaning in the blood soaked grass, his crossed eyes were still rolling in his head. Make and Byz applied honeycomb to all of our many wounds, courtesy of the old wolf’s teeth and claws. Mous bound a poultice of herbs and fresh sphagnum moss around Glob’s hand. In the battle it had been savagely bitten, before the wolf finally succumbed to its many wounds.

For the rest of the day we all sat in silence at the edge of the battlefield nursing our various wounds, thanking our lucky stars that somehow we had all come through those terrible moments with our lives intact, if not our limbs. Our vicious wounds would heal thanks to those liberal coatings of honeycomb and sphagnum.
Sunset found us sitting around a hearty fire fuelled by the now skinned corpse of the wolf. There could be no more fitting send off for a valiant foe. While he was our enemy we still felt the need to honour him by this simple act.

***

The light of the new day gradually increased. Low lying fog rolled across the previous day’s battlefield and us. We lay shivering in the wet grass, where we had fallen asleep exhausted by our ordeal from the day before. “Well yung Mica, peers it’s times ter gets yer back ter yer village wiv yer proof on quest eh lad,” Glob announced as he sat up. I smiled to myself as I saw him shake the heavy dew from his leathery ears, like a dog shaking water from its coat.

Our sombre return journey through the forest gradually changed to one of excitement and good natured banter as Goblindom warmed up. Each of us recalled specific moments of our shared experience. From that day forward we would always remain the very best of friends with a bond far stronger than any family tie.
Poor Neo was picked on mercilessly by his fellows and by me I’m ashamed to say. If it hadn’t been for the unfortunate surprise ambush by the wolf, things may have been very different, especially for me.

***

My five new brothers stood silently in the shadows of the oak woods as I proudly strode towards the centre of our village shouldering the old wolf’s pelt.

“Glob, yer eyes is leakin. Look Make they is, look!” Byz said pointing at Glob’s welling eyes.

“Shuddup can’t yer,” Glob muttered as his tears began flowing freely. The tough old goblin was proud of his adopted humin younger, so very proud.

We all retold the story over the years, often with embellishments; of the battle we had all taken part on that fateful day so long ago, when a young humin and his five best friends set out on his quest of manhood. Since that day we have shared many an adventure together and our friendship has gone from strength to strength.

As a humin steadily journeys through his lifetime, he is indeed fortunate to have such fine friends as I have had all of my life in Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo) whose eyes have crossed even more as he has aged.

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A Note on my Next Novel’s Progress

I am slowly but surely putting together the sequel to my highly successful novel “The Seventh Age”. This time Seventh’s hero, the rebel archaeologist Dr Nick Palmer heads back to Egypt after the calamitous end of the Earth had successfully been prevented. Currently I am just over 14,000 words into the story.

Unlike Seventh, this story delves into the murky world of Egyptology and its politics. Here for your edification is my latest story’s blurb as I see it at present.

The Forgotten Time
“When one of Aazim’s guards had left the rest of his patrol to routinely inspect the immediate interior as part of his duties while his comrades remained just outside sitting on some of the massive outer granite blocks, smoking and taking a break, his boot inadvertently caught on one of a dozen tripwires that were partially covered with sand, which lay across the floor unseen inside the shadowy entrance. Merely disturbing the tripwire set off the detonator in one of several precisely placed, connected packages of C4, initiating an instantaneous chain reaction of death and destruction.
The immediate result, apart from ending the unfortunate guard’s earthly existence as well as that of the rest of the patrol a few feet away, was the complete collapse of the entrance, already weakened by Vyse’s original explosive entry back in the nineteenth century. Thanks to Dmitri and Gheorgi’s expert knowledge of explosives, the pyramid was once again sealed forever.”
***
In the world of archaeology, only the brave or foolhardy will ever dare to challenge the establishment and its accepted theories. After saving the Earth and the entire Solar system from total destruction on December, 21st, 2012, Dr Nick Palmer proved his bravery beyond all reasonable doubt.
Now he has another challenge. This time he returns to Egypt to disprove the accepted thinking over who was responsible for sculpting the Sphinx and building the pyramids. Along the way he is joined once again by most of his old team and a few new recruits. In their bid for proof they are subjected to all manner of obstacles put in their path.
Apart from attempted murder, kidnapping and torture, even the environment is hostile towards Nick and his team in his latest adventure. Will he succeed in his quest for the truth about the Sphinx and the pyramids? Find out when you read “The Forgotten Time”.
At this moment in time, nothing regarding my latest work is written in stone.
More later…

The Internet Evil

Since book publishers have made it possible for members of the general public to review books on the internet, it has opened a can of particularly evil worms.

More and more these days, ordinary men and women are joining the ranks of the internet’s growing legion of Trolls.

If you met them, I’m sure you would find that they differ little from yourselves with one notable exception. When they are in the privacy of their homes, their personality changes totally. They become vindictive, mean minded creatures who delight in delivering their attacks hidden behind the cloak of anonymity the internet allows them.

Daily they pour out their bile, believing that what they say about a specific book actually matters. There are some who would argue that a troll’s review shows an opposite view, and therefore offers potential readers a balanced set of opinions.

Recognised literary critics offer alternative, usually balanced views. Trolls do not. 

The latest personal attack which I became aware of yesterday, totally angered me. And so I feel compelled to make the following statement.

~~~

  

Given the fact that a vocal minority have seen fit to vent their spleen over my best selling adventure novel “The Seventh Age” yet again, in this particular instance by delivering a positively venomous attack, if you are one of that tiny intellectually challenged minority who thinks it was boring and badly written, then my latest story will probably not appeal to your childish minds either. In which case, perhaps you should stick to colouring in books, reading comics and children’s stories.
My novels are for grown-ups with enquiring minds not spiteful children in adult’s bodies like yourselves, who more than likely are incapable of writing anything other than perhaps to print your name.
 
~~~
Maybe the time has finally arrived where publishers using the internet to display their wares, should reconsider allowing the general public the privilege of  reviewing books without any form of censorship.  

A Personal Milestone

A personal milestone has been exceeded earlier today. My best selling adventure novel The Seventh Age exceeded one thousand copies sold. Combine that with the number given away back when I published it in April this year, and there are just over four thousand copies spread across the world.
I would very much like to thank everyone who obtained a copy, no matter whether it was a free one or purchased. Fortunately the number who like Seventh far exceeds those who don’t.
I started writing its sequel a couple of weeks back. It is progressing slowly. As anyone who writes can tell you, it takes a lot of time.
Thanks once again.

How Do You Write a Book?

As readers, have you ever wondered how we writers go about creating the book you have just read? We all have our own particular way of going about it.
Don’t believe me? Then simply ask a dozen writers and you will get a dozen slightly different answers. But, while we all may take a different approach, fundamentally we must follow the same rules of grammar and punctuation combined with the mechanics of plot to achieve the objective – that novel sitting in your hands which you just can’t put down.
***
I have begun to write the sequel to my best selling novel “The Seventh Age”, an adventure tale with a modicum of sci-fi thrown in for good measure.
The idea for the sequel came from one particular incident in ‘Seventh’, where the hero, the archaeologist Dr Nick Palmer, found a long forgotten library in Egypt, far older in fact than the fabled library of old Alexandria.
As I am at the early stages, this is an ideal opportunity for me to share with you, how I go about writing before I get totally involved in the storyline.
***
First of all, I always write using the industry standard – Times New Roman 12 point for the text and 16 point bold for the chapter headings, having first set the line spacing to 1.0 – no need for double spacing on screen.
I work in the morning when I am fresh, after a good night’s sleep. I quit around noon, having exhausted myself both mentally and emotionally. I start by tapping out on this laptop everything about the story that is currently occupying my mind, for two or three hours. At this juncture it doesn’t matter if the grammar, punctuation, or indeed the spelling is incorrect. What matters is that I get the thoughts out of my head and onto the screen in front of me. The next morning before continuing to write, I ‘edit’ what I wrote on the previous morning.
At this point in the proceedings I thank whoever it was who first invented computers and the trusty old ‘cut and paste’ function and the backspace button. It is a far less messy system than endlessly having to print out hard copy double spaced, and make that copy virtually unreadable with red pen, or a pencil, or some such instrument. The other reason I love ‘cut and paste’ is simplicity itself, you only need to cut and paste a sentence or paragraph once.
If you are one of those who still live in the dark ages, and use your pen or pencil to draw rings around a paragraph and arrows to where you want it to go, or either underline or highlight a sentence or a word with annotations reminding you to re-write or delete, you still have to cut and paste the paragraph or sentence, and rewrite, change or delete, that word on your computer.
Why do it twice – that’s crazy!
Having edited the previous days work, I continue to write for roughly the same length of time each day – two or three hours at a stretch, emptying my mind each time. Each morning I ‘edit’ again, starting at word one, page one, always on the lookout for a better way of saying or describing something, until I reach where I left off the previous day, before once again adding the next instalment. This regime continues until the story has reached its conclusion, several months later.
One last thing I do, besides saving the file as a .doc, is to also save it as a PDF file. Why do I do that? Again – simple. It allows you to read your MS in a different form. I also use Calibre to turn it into a .mobi file, which means that I can also read it via my Kindle for PC app in the form it will eventually be published in. Looking at it in a few completely different systems is advisable as it helps you to find those errors as you become jaded while reading the original file.
***
If you are wondering if we writers are ever completely satisfied with our work, the answer must be no. Anyone who tells you different is deluding themselves and you the reader.
Even after the book has been published, we will always wish that we had used this word instead of that one in that particular sentence. Or, maybe we should have moved that particular paragraph from there to there to make the story flow just that little bit better.
So, the next time you buy a book which interests you; take a moment to think about the many hours of anguish and downright hard work the writer has gone through to bring you that story.
One last point – should you come across anyone who says that writing is easy and anyone can do it, tell them you now know different. If your dream is to write – do so. But be under no illusions here folks, you are in for endless hours of angst and heartache while you slowly but surely bring that new story into the world. You may never get rich, but if you love the written word as much as I do, having someone read the product of all your work is truly worthwhile.

A New Nick Palmer Adventure Begins

Ask a hundred writers which part of the process of creating a new story excites them most and you will get a hundred different answers.

In my own case it is where I am right now, establishing, or in this case re-establishing the principal characters and the back story for the sequel to my best selling scifi adventure novel “The Seventh Age” (ASIN: B007QIYIRK), currently available on Amazon in the US, UK and across the world as an ebook only. (Click on its cover in ‘Jack’s Books’ to the right of this post for the Amazon.com connection).

In Seventh I hinted at an ancient library hidden beneath the Sphinx. In this latest story Nick finds out who created it and why, long before the age of the Pharaohs began. That’s all I’m telling you for the moment. If you want to know more, you’ll just have to wait patiently or impatiently depending on whether or not Seventh peaked your curiosity, until I publish it next year.

At the present moment I have adopted “The Forgotten Time” as its working title. As the story progresses that undoubtedly may change. Along with Seventh’s hero, the rebel archaeologist Nick Palmer, his friend David aka Clocked, the author of the blog “Time Reversed”, together with the archaeology loving Ukrainian Mafia boss, Nicolai Mischevski, his loyal lieutenant Kolya Detrenko and Victor the simple Kyrgyz giant who was responsible for Nick and David’s safety in Seventh, they all return for this latest adventure.

More later – if you’re lucky…
 
PS – Yesterday I received a message from the well known author Robert Bauval, who was kind enough to read, and later review Seventh on Amazon.co.uk, wishing me every success with my new novel. I’ll take his best wishes as a good omen.