Do you miss a WIP when you’ve finished writing it?
I’ve not long finished writing ‘Falling’, and yes, I do miss James Hynde and Olivia Benet, my two main characters. However, I have left the manuscript alone for a few weeks now in order to get James and Olivia out of my head, and I have done no writing at all apart from a few blogs. I recently sent the story off to a few competitions and to a couple of agents, and still await their replies. Teagan Geneviene has created a lovely cover for the book, which I have added below.
Death seems preferable to spending the rest of his youth in prison…
James Hynde, fortified by several tots of whiskey, climbs up onto the roof of Parker Mews’ multi-storey car park and peers over the parapet. The game…
The communications officer was puzzled. “Captain, there’s no response from the planet.” “Try them again, they’re probably asleep,” said the pilot, as he placed the ship in orbit above the planet. “This is cargo-ship Nishta requesting landing clearance—respond.” The receiver remained silent. “Perhaps the storms on the surface have destroyed the antenna,” the pilot offered. “Let’s give them a couple of hours. They already know we’re here; we’ve been spotted by their automatic sensor system,” he continued, confirming his observation by pointing to a conspicuous flashing red light on the console above his head. “Better tell our passengers we have to delay landing—blame it on the storms.”
Commander Naja was an intolerant man. The news of the delayed landing made him more twitchy than usual. It was bad enough he had this duty thrust upon him; now he was trapped above this godforsaken planet with the scum of the empire for guards, and that damned Khaz breathing all over him! Why the emperor put up with the Khaz was beyond his ordered military mind. They achieved nothing and stunk up the place! Having to take orders from one of them went against everything Naja believed in.
Belak was relishing the thought of his new ‘Command’. His loathing for Sobek and Serket was well known among our Khaz high council. His career up until now had been slowed by Sobek’s rapid rise in the ranks. And of course where he went Serket tagged along, basking in Sobek’s glory. Belak could not wait to see the look in Sobek’s eyes when he made him hand over control! Sobek could do nothing! The order was quite specific—the mine production under his administration was unsatisfactory. Progress reports of the mine’s production had gone through Belak’s hands ‘with alterations’ before being delivered to the Imperial Command. He had waited a long time for a chance to put Sobek in his place. His black eyes gleamed in the red light of the cargo-ship’s cavernous belly. The ‘new miners’ would be glad to get out of the cramped hot containers in which they had been locked up for the last fifteen days. Perhaps the mine was not so bad in comparison…
Naja ordered the pilot to land. The sooner his feet are on the ground the better! The ship landed unchallenged and moved slowly into the hanger. Belak and his assistant, Oktek, scurried off to their private turbo-lift while Naja’s guards herded the miners out of the cargo-ship and onto the hanger floor. Belak and Oktek entered the turbo-lift and descended to the first level. The guards marched the miners towards the stairwell leading down to the second level. Belak opened the control room door and they quickly locked themselves in. The surveillance monitors stared blankly back at them. There was no movement throughout the entire complex. Where was everyone? Naja led the way to the dormitories where his guards released the miners. Tomorrow they would begin the first day of their life sentence. Leaving two guards at the entrance to the dormitories, Naja ordered his sergeant to get the men settled in the barracks, and then went back up the stairs to report to Belak.
As he reached the first level stairwell, he heard a muffled explosion. Naja hurried towards the control room. The force of the explosion had blown the door across the passage, embedding it in the wall opposite. Smoke billowed out from inside the control room. Everything in the confines of the room was incinerated. Belak’s first ‘Command’ had ended before it had begun. A second, violent explosion in the hanger above made Naja jump as it shook dust from the panels of the ceiling above him.
The crew of the Nishta had gone to the lounge on the mezzanine floor for a well-earned break while they waited for their passengers to board for the return journey. When Naja broke through the debris at the entrance to the hanger, choking clouds of smoke rose from the wrecked mezzanine, which had now come to rest on the cargo-ship, smashing it beyond repair. The explosion had weakened the hanger’s force field. The air inside the hanger was leaking out into the poisonous atmosphere of the planet. Soon the air supply of the entire mining complex would be depleted. The hanger floor shook violently beneath Naja’s feet. Deep in the bowls of the mine, a chain reaction was under way. The unfortunate miners and their guards were the first to be incinerated, as a fireball expanded through the dormitories and out into the turboshaft. The flames fed on the Negan dust, setting the entire mine on fire. The molecular charges had done their work well…
Akhen and Khan watched the glow on the horizon from the observation lounge on the roof of the hub. The mine would eventually burn itself out. In a few days, a recon team would be sent to investigate. Now was the time to revise the original plan and spread the rebellion to other parts of the empire.
Seti sat up in bed and ate the meal Iset had brought to him. She had taken charge of his welfare as soon as he was released from the infirmary. He had to admit he enjoyed the attention. It was nice having someone running round after him. He lay back and closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep.
Apis knocked on Iset’s door. Akhen’s cousin was a gentle giant of a man, loved by all who knew him. Iset beckoned him in and took him to Seti’s bed. “Wake up you lazy dog!” he barked. Seti opened his eyes. For a brief moment, he thought he was back in the mine. “You’re well, friend?” Apis inquired, patting Seti on the shoulder. His heavy handed touch made Seti yelp in pain. Iset pushed Apis aside as she checked Seti’s shoulder. Satisfied that all was in order she left the two friends together and went into the kitchen.
“You should try this life sometime,” said Seti, grinning. “You would love it.”
Apis frowned as he looked at his little friend’s scars, which were healing nicely thanks to the medics and Iset’s tender loving care. “Not for me,” he said. “I’m a warrior; no time for such things.”
“You’re scared, aren’t you?”
“Nonsense! I’m scared of no man.”
“Not men – women.” Apis avoided Seti’s stare, embarrassed by the way the visit to his friend was being turned against him. Seti swung out of the bed and hugged Apis. “You big idiot, you know I was only joking!” From inside the kitchen Iset could hear the laughter. It made her happy that Seti was almost back to his old self again.
“As soon as you’re fit,” Apis continued, “Akhen has a job for us. How long will it be before you’re once again annoying everyone?”
“Tomorrow soon enough for you?” Seti asked, as he looked for the whereabouts of his clothes.
“I’ll come and get you in the morning—farewell,” Apis replied as he left.
The next day Seti and Apis found Akhen in the hanger inspecting the interceptor. “With a little bit of work this could be converted for use in space,” Akhen muttered to himself. “Hey Seti, Apis – get over here!”
“What’s the job, cousin?” Apis asked. They followed Akhen over to a workbench covered in star charts. “The nearest planet from here is two days away by cargo ship,” Akhen said, pointing out its position.
“Kallorn – never heard of it,” said Seti, as he searched the work bay.
“It’s in the Linau system on the outer limit of the empire. Which means this planet we are on is just outside!”
“So what?” Seti’s interest in planets was practically non-existent.
“So, the empire has no legal claim to this planet or any other outside its border. Nagesh stated as much when he seized power!”
“I still say so what?” Seti replied as he pocketed something shiny.
“I don’t understand what you’re on about either, cousin,” Apis added as his brow furrowed.
Akhen sighed, and taking a long breath, he began to explain the situation in simple language. “Since Nagesh became emperor, the Empire has never expanded. In fact, the opposite is true. It was reduced in size to keep the peace with the Planetary Alliance to put an end to the wars along its borders. After the Drana defeat on Earth in the Milky Way system, in my great grandfather’s time, planets outside the empire from all the neighbouring galaxies got together and formed the Planetary Alliance. So here’s my point! Does the Planetary Alliance know the Empire is illegally mining here inside its sovereign territory?” Akhen directed his question toward Seti, having grown more exasperated with him than his cousin. Turning to Apis he said, “You wanted to know what the job is. I’ll tell you. I want you and Seti to travel to the nearest planet within the Alliance and find out if they are aware of what’s going on here!”
Apis looked at the chart. “But Akhen, the nearest is at least forty-five light years away. We don’t have a ship capable of hyper speed to get us there.”
“Even if we did, neither of us are pilots,” Seti frowned; now beginning to look worried.
“With hyper-ships you don’t need to be a pilot. All you need are the coordinates for your departure and destination. The rest is taken care of by the on board computers,” Akhen said, with a grin.
“Oh no – no way!” Seti’s eyes grew wider as he realized what Akhen wanted them to do. “You want me to steal a hyper-ship from under the noses of the Drana? You’ve been breathing Negan dust for far too long! Anyway, how are we supposed to get to a Drana base that has one?”
“Thanks, Seti, I knew I could count on you. Apis will go with you as your backup and bodyguard,” Akhen rolled up the charts. “We’ll work out the details tomorrow. See you at dinner tonight – thanks.” With that, Akhen disappeared down the stairwell.
“Apis for the god’s sakes say something!” Seti moaned. “How are we going to get off this planet, and more to the point, why us?” Apis sat in silence, gloomily looking around the hanger. He loved his cousin like a brother, but there were limits! What he was asking of them was suicide.
A spontaneous round of applause broke out as they entered the dining hall that evening. Apis nervously pushed Seti ahead of him. Khan came over and shook their hands. Raman insisted they sit at his table. While Manouf went to collect their food trays, Lemas poured them drinks. Nefer kissed them both on the cheek, making Apis blush to the amusement of everyone. Iset wrapped her arms around Seti’s neck and hugged him.
“A toast to our two heroes,” said Hoetep, raising his glass. Akhen caught the murderous look from Seti’s eyes and smiled. Now they could not back down even if they wanted to!
It’s interesting that both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have spoken out against covering farmland with solar panels. You do wonder if finally, people are beginning to wake up a little.
Personally I think that, whether he intended to or not, Putin has created a watershed in history, but not perhaps in the way he intended.
If we go back to the start of the century, Ed Miliband put the green levies on energy. But at the same time a lot of other things were put in place, all nicely set ten, twenty or even thirty years ahead. Politicians were kicking unexploded bombs into the long grass secure in the knowledge that by the time these things happened and the public started feeling the pain, they’d be long retired on a good pension and their successors could take the flak.
When they were announced, the ban on the installation of…
On occasion, I’ve mentioned where I never finished a story for various reasons. Here is an example:
Adolf Hitler’s dream of a united Europe ruled over by Germany finally came true in the guise of the European Union and its stranglehold on the countries under its banner. A massive seed change occurred when two decades after its formation, in no time at all, the EU decreed that the common man cost too much to maintain.
Billions were instantly thrown out of work. Daily, the numbers of people starving to death grew. Wars sprung up across the world, stirred up by the EU to keep its enemies divided.
Meantime it ensured that its own private army threw a military cordon around each of the new city states, formerly the capitals of the countries who had joined the EU, as impregnable walls were rapidly erected by slave labourers behind endless minefields, sown in land now devoid of all life, to keep out the common man. Once the walls were finally constructed, the labourers were executed by firing squad.
George Orwell’s frightening scenario in his dystopian novel 1984 had become reality…
Food production and manufacturing moved to the Far East where massive farms and factories controlled by the highly paid mercenary army of the EU, using expendable forced labour from among the local indigenous populations, worked to death to create all that is necessary to maintain the lifestyle of the EU city-state elite.
Former provincial cities across Europe were forcibly abandoned and then levelled, leaving nowhere for the starving billions to live. Each new city-state behind its impregnable wall, built massive airports for cargo planes transporting food for each of them from the far eastern factories. Beyond the walls surrounding each of them, lay fields of death sown with landmines.
The one thing that the EU could not concieve of was a fight back by pockets of determined men and women.
Here in England campfires dot the Chiltern Hills, mirroring similar makeshift campsites elsewhere across the entire European continent. In the distance the glow from London lights up the night sky. Everywhere the whimpering cries of the sick and starving fill the air in all campsites.
Four men, Hassan, Dmitri, Rodrigo and Michael sat talking together on an old log, illuminated by the flames of their fire. “So, we begin tonight,” Dmitri declared as he stirred the embers. His companions all nodded in agreement. Michael and Hassan had recently returned after an exploratory mission north in search of food and medicines. What they found lit the fires of hopeful rebellion among their comrades.
In an abandoned factory complex in the former manufacturing heart of the British Isles, the Midlands, they found forgotten supplies of chemicals. In another location they came across a herd of over a thousand pigs, which initially were earmarked for food. But when Hassan came up with his idea they became what he hoped would be the second ingredient needed for their plan to retake London.
Before the madness from Brussels had set in, Hassan held the chair in medieval history at Southampton University. Rodrigo and Dmitri, before arriving illegally in the UK hidden in one of the last eighteen wheeler trucks to cross the English Channel from Calais by ferry, both worked as miners in their respective home countries. Michael formerly worked as a laboratory technician at the defence research facility at Porton Down. Six weeks after the forcible eviction of the majority of London’s population, Hassan and Michael met on the exodus towards the Chiltern Hills.
For man to survive the EU had to be defeated, fortified city-state by fortified city-state. If they were successful in retaking London, word would quickly spread to other groups across the whole of the Continent.
Hassan soon became all too aware from talking with those excluded from London that no military presence extended beyond the wall’s limits in any shape or form other than the fields of landmines. Nor where the walls manned with observation points. The city was seen as impregnable by its inhabitants.
A germ of an idea began to form in Hassan’s mind as he and Michael talked about how to retake Britain’s capital. Now that they had teamed up with Dmitri and Rodrigo, they had the nucleus of an army of determined fighters.
While scavenging teams were employed to find food and uncontaminated water for all, Michael began assembling and training sabotage teams. Meanwhile Rodrigo and Dmitri organised scouting units tasked with searching out potential weaknesses in London’s perimeter wall. Eventually two were found.
At London’s former westernmost point on the outskirts of what had once been Heathrow Airport, close to where the suburb of Hounslow once stood, lay a disused railway track linked to the old London Underground network. A few miles away, the totally unguarded fresh water reservoirs south of Staines were still linked to London’s water supply via underground pipe lines.
Rodrigo and Dmitri explored along the entire length of the now disused line to where it descended below ground level. London’s perimeter wall was built two miles away beyond the underground entrance. The railway line allowed them access to explore at their leasure, entirely unobserved. As they slowly walked along the tunnel, their path was eventually impeded by the wall’s foundations blocking the way forward.
In the meantime Hassan organised teams to pinpoint which rivers lead into London’s former Central Business District where the rich now lived, cocooned from everything beyond the wall.
Michael began work manufacturing waterborne chemical weapons, ably assisted by volunteers consisting of former high street pharmacists and chemistry teachers. Rodrigo and Dmitri trained vast armies of willing volunteers in mining techniques. As more and more weaknesses were found, teams of miners began work, chipping away at the wall’s foundations beneath ground level.
Under Michael’s leadership work also began on all water supply pipes leading into London. At the junction of each pipe a chemical cocktail would be triggered by an explosive clockwork mechanism, releasing it into London’s water supply in a progressive sequence when required.
Rodrigo and Dmitri employed the tried and tested ancient medieval technique of undermining, using piled up wood and the slain pigs to break through the wall’s foundations that blocked off the old underground railway system directly beneath London’s CBD in several places, creating volcano like temperatures to melt the mix of concrete, reinforced steel, brick and stone used in the wall’s construction, enabling Michael to employ his latest batch of chemical weapons in the heart of London’s water storage system. In a stealthy operation worthy of any covert military attack force, Michael and his two assistants stole quietly along the now disused underground railway system, heading towards the old Canary Wharf underground station…
And that’s as far as I got with this one before I abandoned it. At the time my heart wasn’t in it. Dystopia really isn’t my thing. Too depressing for my liking. Will I finish it? Maybe one day. Maybe not…
Hi my followers. This is a quick Hi. You have wondered if I have dropped off the planet.
I am currently working full-time and trying to adjust to 1000 changes. Things are a bit wobbly on all fronts. P’kaboo is pretty much dormant while I am trying to raise the capital for it in another way.
I have always held that my contribution to the world is more important than my creature comforts at home. And that my most important contribution to the world is how I raise my children; because they shall remain after I am gone.
I also like to think Iain and I left a legacy of music, in our students and in our family. I can’t be sure of this now as I’m far away from where they are and have lost track of how most of them are progressing (under other teachers); and as for…
Without a shadow of a doubt, the answer has to be categorically no!
My fellow writer and friend here in the UK, Andrew French decided that he wanted to turn one of his books into a screen play. So, with ‘how to’ suggestions from someone involved in the scriptwriting industry here, away he went.
Andrew said to me yesterday, “I don’t want anyone else adapting my work. It wouldn’t be the same.” From that point of view I can completely understand why he did it. After all would you allow a total stranger anywhere near your baby? No neither will the author of a given work, if they’ve got any sense… Far too many good stories have been ruined in the past by total Philistines ie editors. Or in this instance scriptwriters!!!
When you read a book, through the use of your imagination you become part of it to the point where if you close your eyes, your right there with the characters. Not so with a script. With the latter what your reading is nothing more or less than simplistic writing in the form of an instruction manual for totally unimaginative ninnies, devoid of everything that you experience when reading any work of fiction.
Those friendships we enjoyed, so casually, in a life, not overburdened with demands, allowed us room to celebrate with ease, a freedom we now find embalmed in photographs, and some remaining artefacts. Me grinning with a new caught fish, the harbour as it once was, when fishing was the only industry, and tourists, rare beings indeed, who wandered past, and viewed us as if we were actors in a play
Now, these same tourists are the staple of the town and the fleet which was its heartbeat is replaced with pleasure craft: those huts where skilled men sat and mended nets, became cafe’s laid out to catch your eye, and tease a coin or two for absent-minded snacks.
Time and change have no sentiment, allowing man to alter, as he sees fit, the rituals and ways which, in the past, were thought to be the bed-rock of a character. In…
Jack Eason has created a world of good goblins, living at ease with humankind in this collection, but his imagination doesn’t stop there. We have dragons, witches and all manner of beasts, all vying for power, with varying degrees of success.
There are thirty or so tales of varying length, featuring a whole host of memorable characters. All of them delivered with skill and obvious enthusiasm.
I love their names, for the Goblins, we have Globular Van der Graff (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo.) Not forgetting the lisping Raven, Bejuss.
Add Mica the human (or Humin in Goblin-speak) and you have a band ready for any adventure. All of them have very individual personalities and the author’s descriptions make them come alive.
Just once in my long life I had a proper holiday. Back in 2002 I treated myself to a glorious month living in a hotel in St Julians in Malta. Never before had I ever spent time, let alone so much money when I was working. Instead my life consisted of going back and forth to my home, or maybe a day at the beach occasionally, both here in the UK, or back when I lived in New Zealand. I even hated going into town shopping. Still do to this day. Thank god for my laptop, Buying online is a boon!
The very idea of parting with my hard earned money to travel to an exotic location was anathema to me, let alone staying in a four star hotel. All my adult life I’d been obsessed with just keeping the Wolf from the door. Neither of my parents had ever travelled until we emigrated to New Zealand in November 1958 aboard the TSS Captain Cook. As assisted immigrants my father Harry and mother Blanche and me went to The Land of The Long White Cloud for £10. I lived there until Jan 2000 when I returned permanently to the UK, forty-two years later.
Now that’s enough about me. The following story came about because of the magical month I spent on Malta back in 2002, which I didn’t want to end, hence the reason for this tale…
A Month Can Last Forever
Hard to believe but I’ve been living here for barely a day, while for some as yet unfathomable reason, those around me think a year has come and gone. As far as anyone on Malta is concerned, I am a Maltese citizen. The passport I just found in my pocket says so. My account with the Bank of Valletta, which I didn’t know I had, also confirms my status. The amount of money in it is ten times more than I had in my UK bank account when I left Stanstead Airport yesterday. At this rate, with thirty days to go, In effect, I still have thirty years to look forward to while living here, which means if I’m still here, I will see my one hundred and fourth birthday! God only knows what’s going on! Am I dreaming? Am I worried? What do you think. I’m back in the place I’ve always wanted to be – the Maltese Archipelago…
Right from the first moment I set foot here I met a beautiful raven haired fifty year old woman, Constanza, with the stunning body of someone much younger. This happened in my time less than an hour ago. In hers, nine months have passed. Whenever I look at her my heart begins to pound. I imagine her ancestors since the time when the Knights Templar were garrisoned here on Malta in 1530. Like most Maltese she shares a rich mix of Spanish/Tunisian and Italian heritage. In her case, there is an added soupçon of French derived from one Giles Despard, a member of the Templars, who entered the order in 1175 in France, before setting off to the Holy Land. In Maltese terms it means my darling lover comes from noble stock. Or to put it another way; I’m her bit of rough…
None of our heritage, both hers and mine, really matters to us. We are madly in love and lust, and are going to be married. Considering in reality I only arrived yesterday, what’s happening takes a bit of getting used to. Am I complaining? Hell no! Sometimes she stayed with me in my hotel room. I’d wake still with the scent of her enveloping me, even though she had gone home after our exhausting love making, to let me sleep and recuperate, because she hates hotels.
Now I stay with her in her top floor beautiful sixteenth century family home with its balcony overlooking Valletta’s Republic street to the north, where we sit and have our breakfast each morning. If we sit on the sofa in our living room, or if we draw the curtains in our bedroom, (both rooms situated on the south side of our apartment), we have a panoramic view of Malta’s Grand Harbour. One thing I absolutely love is waking early, to watch the sun rise above the Eastern horizon each morning, while making a mental note of its constantly changing position in relation to our home, as the year passes. A little fad of mine, nothing more…
Our wedding was pure bliss for us both. Our passionate honeymoon on Gozo was exhausting physically, but in a good way. Whenever she explores my body, waves of ecstasy wash over me. The same happens to her whenever I reciprocate. We surfaced for an hour each day to eat and drink, then back to bed. Both of us making up for lost time.
We’re glad to be back in our home in Valletta. Two weeks of being considered foreigners by the average Gozitan is more than enough for anyone from the mainland (Malta). Barely three days have passed in my time.
In hers, technically I’m almost seventy eight. In reality, I’m gradually approaching seventy-five. It’s a pity my age isn’t closer to hers! When I was her age I was still a fully functioning virile male! No need for blue pills, unlike now! I mustn’t complain, my Constanza is more than enough woman for any man, let alone me…
I still haven’t explained this time anomaly I’m experiencing where one day of mine equals one year to my darling Constanza. The truth is I don’t know myself. Perhaps once you’ve read this, you might be able to let me know! I’m totally baffled by it! I appear to be the only one who is aware of the anomaly in time. I can’t talk to Constanza or anyone else about it, because no one would believe me!
Thinking about it, the flight from Stanstead to Malta International Airport was nothing out of the ordinary. The Air Malta Airbus A320 didn’t experience anything untoward. At least nothing physical to my knowledge. All in all it was a relatively quick three hours, twenty minutes to get here. Still there is no getting away from the fact that I’m living in one time, while my darling lover and everyone else here in the Maltese archipelago inhabits another at exactly the same moment! What the hell is going on? Is it occurring just here? Or is it happening elsewhere? Who knows? I certainly don’t…
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