A Quick Update




Just a quick update to let you know how my latest science fiction WIP The Guardian is progressing. I’ve added a paltry one thousand words since the previous post on the subject. While it may not sound like much, in doing so I have now expanded several passages that desperately needed attention. Plus, at long last I can finally announce that I am now completely satisfied with the private scenes between Adler and Lynne. Specifically I am referring to when they are share their infrequent extremely passionate moments together as their love affair continues.

Meanwhile I have to say that I’m still not fully at ease with how the next chapter entitled Cat and Mouse, (which I have finally begun) will work out. Unlike all of the chapters before it, this one is going to be complicated in the extreme. Why? Because of way the story dictates that it be written. You all know how I’ve often said on numerous occasions in the past that any given story always writes itself, and that all you can ever do is slavishly follow where the story wants you to go next.

Well I’d better get back to it. Like all writers, I am merely the slave of my muse who even while I write this post, demands I get on with the next one thousand words.

Oh, if you are wondering why the picture of Thoth? It’s simply that he was the ancient Egyptian god of knowledge and writing. Even though I don’t necessarily believe in such things, at the moment I’ll take all the help I can get until I finish writing this particular science fiction novella. Maybe he’s looking over my shoulder as I write it. Then again, maybe he isn’t.

Click here to find out more about Thoth if you wish – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoth

Oh well, I must crack on. More later from this particular member of Thoth’s army of lowly scribes…


At last, I’m back at the coalface once again


How I picture my heroine, Lynne Crawford

After almost three weeks of endless pontificating I’m once again back writing my science fiction WIP, The Guardian.

The story was at a crossroads. I had several ways in mind for where it may go next. Each one wholly dependant on a specific character, or characters, and how they had reacted so far. I gradually eliminated each of them in my mind for varying reasons. That’s why it’s taken me all of this time to finally decide on which character, so that the story can continue.

If you are at all familiar with the way certain wooly headed academics behave, it will come as no great surprise that I’m using my character, Professor Ephraim Adelmann, once again. Having worked with academics like him for a quarter of a century, I know how they think. Most of the ones I knew seriously needed a notice slung from around their necks, clearly stating to all and sundry that under no circumstances should they ever be left alone for one second. When it comes to common sense, most truly classic academics have none. Ephraim is no exception. In short, he has… Whoops, I almost told you then. All you need to know for now is that this part of the story unfolds back where Adler and Lynne first became aware of just how much danger they faced when they arrived in the Valles Marineris on Mars.

Here’s hoping The Guardian keeps its distance!

More later


#The Guardian #Progress Report No: 8

If you have been following all of my posts, you will have seen in Tuesday’s post how I go about visualising my female characters when writing my books.


In it I mentioned the fact that I was still searching for a photograph, illustration or painting of a beautiful, full bodied honey blond who says Lynne Crawford to me. If you are wondering, she is my primary female character in The Guardian. While chatting via Facebook on Tuesday night to Robynn Gabel, a fellow writer, and dear friend of mine, she pointed out the blindingly obvious – why not simply Google honey blonds and see what’s on offer. Sometimes, like a lot of other writers, I get so totally engrossed with the mechanics of writing a story, that often I don’t see the wood for the trees. Following her advice, I finally found Lynne.

Here she is:


I have absolutely no idea who the beautiful young woman is. But for my purposes, what is important is that hers is the image (near as dammit) which I’ve been carrying round in my head for several months now, of how I imagine Lynne looks. Before any of you who are familiar with my description of her in past progress reports feel the need to say anything, yes I do realise that her hairdo is not Lynne’s trademark severe crew cut. This is how my hero Adler, and myself I might add, eventually want her to look. Always providing that he can convince her to let her soft honey blond hair grow that is. Maybe I’ve already pursuaded him to convince her. Maybe I haven’t. You will have to wait to find out when you read The Guardian won’t you.


Now for an update on the progress I’m making in writing the first draft of The Guardian. Yesterday morning I finally passed the ten thousand word mark while still writing chapter five. Why has it taken me so long to reach that number of words? Because with each twist and turn of the plot, I seriously need to think about it before I commit to this laptop’s screen. Plus I need to ensure that each and every word is not only correct, but also relevant. Every problem I can eliminate now, during the process of writing the first draft, is one less to worry about once I begin editing, expanding or contracting later on.

At least one thing is finally sorted out – the cover. I know that I’ve previously produced it here. But not everyone who follows my blog will necessarily have seen it. So for those who missed it, here it is:


Finally – purely for anyone who may be interested, here is my list of characters:

Major Adler Stevens – ex UK Military Police
Lieutenant Lynne Crawford – ex fighter-bomber pilot Canadian Airforce
Professor Ephraim Adelmann – speciality, ancient languages
Captain Brett Abbot – ex Royal Marines – speciality, sniping and close quarter assassination
Master Sergeant Clifford Mayhew Jr – ex US Special Forces – speciality, demolitions
Sergeant Bayla Lombroso – ex Israeli Defence Force – speciality, medic
Lieutenant Moshe Baranovichi – ex Israeli Defence Force – childhood friend of Bayla – speciality, rifleman
Lieutenant-commander Karin Haigh – ex US Navy Seal – speciality, electronic warfare (satellite eavesdropping)
Captain Phillipe Bordeaux – ex Armée de terre (French Army) – speciality, sharpshooter
Senior Praporshchik (Senior Warrant Officer) Anatole Belakov – ex Vozdushno Desantnye Voyska (Russian Airborn Troops) – speciality, Light Machine Gunner

Plus, let us not forget the whole reason for writing this book in the first place, The Guardian itself, which will remain an enigma as far as all of them are concerned for some time to come.

PS – Did you notice the hashtags in the post title? I’ve finally decided to take Chris the story reading ape’s advice to use them to help spread the word about The Guardian. Only time will tell if they work. He reassures me that they do. We’ll see…

More later


Guardian Progress Report #7


Damn it! Is this the guardian? You tell me.

Here we are again folks, with yet another progress report for my current WIP – The Guardian. It took me a while but I’ve finally got the core of chapter four sorted out. Meantime I’ve got a friend of mine in the US of A working on the cover. I gave him the details of what I am looking for. The emphasis for this one is stark simplicity. More about that later when he eventually gets back to me.

As far as I’m aware The Guardian cannot detect the relationship between my principal characters, Adler and Lynne. Which is probably just as well given the fact that either it is slowly developing, or going nowhere, depending on your point of view. One thing is undeniable, it’s definitely becoming complicated. Just to add a bit of spice to the situation, Lynne now has another admirer in the shape of Bayla, one of the three additional members of the team. Which one Lynne will chose I’m leaving entirely up to her. All I can do as her creator is to give her every opportunity to decide for herself. All I would say is this, if Adler truly wants her in his life, he had better watch out for his determined female rival in the battle for Lynne’s affections. As you might have guessed, I’m totally on Lynne’s side, and fiercely protective of her. If anyone messes with her, I promise you, I will dream up a horrible fate for them.

What can I tell you, each time I create a heroine, its inevitable that I will fall for her. You would too if she occupied your every thought while writing your latest WIP. I suppose that when it comes to it, I’m just another hopeless romantic. Then again, maybe I’m just insane. But what writer isn’t? What other occupation do you know of where you are reliant on the voices in your head?

Most men, myself included, aren’t mind readers. Consequently either we don’t get, or are completely oblivious to, the subtleties of feminine behaviour, feelings and emotions. In short ladies, unless Lynne spells it out for Adler…

So to do the tricky situation justice, I’ve had to try to tap into my feminine side, if I’ve ever had one in the first place that is, to see things from Lynne’s point of view. Not an easy thing for a mere male like myself. Whether or not I do a good job on her behalf, I’ll leave it for you to decide when you eventually read the novel. I’m about to put her in a compromising position by sending her off on a task Adler needs her to take care of, with Bayla watching out for her. Should be interesting considering Adler’s reaction to Lynne’s amorous advances at one point in chapter four.

Hmm, a thought has just occurred. I wonder why it is that my ideal woman, in this case Lynne, is the product of my fevered imagination? Perhaps you ladies can enlighten me. When it comes to your inevitable comments on the subject ladies, I beg you to be kind, not cruel to this old man.

At any rate, you will all eventually find out what happens when you read the book. Let’s just say at this early juncture that I have no immediate plans for whichever combination of the three I finally decide upon, to consumate the relationship. Hell, it might even become a ménage à trois. It all depends on how they react, and how I feel about it.

Now to continue writing chapter five which I’ve already started, as if you didn’t know already LOL.

More later if your good.


The Sixth Guardian Progress Report


This is my creator’s eighth book in twenty years of slaving over a computer keyboard, so pay attention to what he has to say about it humans, or else!!!

Sorry about that, it can get a little tetchy at times, par for the course for something like The Guardian. Your all right, you don’t have to work with it on a daily basis. Now, before it comes back, read on…


I’m about to start writing chapter four. I’m more or less happy with the core of chapter three. As I said previously, I’ve begun to ramp up the action somewhat. I’ve also added a bit more for you to surmise about. I’m talking about the relationship, if you can call it that, between Lynne and Adler. I’ve decided to add one of the three new characters – Brett, Cliff and Bayla, into the mix as a possible rival for Lynne’s affections if Adler doesn’t declare his feelings for her one way or another. Which one of them it is, and why, you will just have to find out when you read the novel won’t you. It might be that a love triangle develops – only what I’m thinking at the time will determine what happens between Lynne and Adler. I’m still undecided about that situation at the moment.

I’ve also introduced a few items that they need to protect themselves like LSAT Assault Rifles and the XM25 air burst grenade launcher, as well as the M110 Sniper Rifle, all of them actual weapons, but still under development and testing at the moment, plus C4 plastic explosive, fragmentation grenades and Claymore mines. Even though the story is set in the twenty-second century, twentieth century explosives like C4 and the highly effective Claymore mine, still have their uses in the eyes of my team of ex military personnel.

Meanwhile The Guardian is always somewhere, waiting, watching, hatching plans, and now keeping its eye not only on me, but you too. I beg you, for my sake be careful not to upset it. It is gradually becoming more involved, making its presence felt, not only to me, but also as the story unfolds. Now its time for more thinking. I most certainly don’t want to get on its wrong side by taking some time off for myself now do I.

More later


Another Guardian Progress Report – Chapter Three Begins


Maybe This Is The Guardian

Here’s another taster from my current WIP – the opening few lines of chapter three of The Guardian as they stand at the moment. Bear in mind that like everything else I’ve shared with you so far it’s not an example of the finished product. If on reflection I’m not happy with it, or any other part of the WIP, I can, and will, rethink and rewrite it.

With this new novel, apart from taking my time and not trying to write thousands of words each day, believing it to be the only way, like so many others do, I’ve adopted the following approach – one hour each day for writing, the rest spent carefully thinking how each section of the story will work before I begin typing. It’s only taken me twenty years to finally realize that this slow and steady approach is by far the best. So there’s hope for you too – lol.

Now read on…


“What’s wrong?”
“The outer door to the shuttle airlock isn’t responding. It’s been locked! It should automatically open when it senses any shuttle heading its way.” Lynne replied, while attempting to reset the recognition system, used whenever any craft arrived outside the airlock, from on board the shuttle. She tried it once again. The door remained firmly sealed. “It’s no good Adler, I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. At least we know that someone might be inside. The only way to lock the system is from the admin area. Whoever is there must have deliberately shut it down, either that or they’ve sabotaged it. Brett take a look at the mine plans. There has to be another entrance.”
“On it.”
“Cliff, make all weapons ready.”
“Already doing it.


The Guardian watched the intruder’s progress via its monitor inside the inner sanctum as they left the safety of the shuttle. It already realised where they were heading.


Suited up, and with Brett leading the way, they left the relative safety of the shuttle to walk the few yards to where the emergency escape hatch was located directly below the shuttle airlock outer door. The hatch was never designed as a way of gaining entry to the mine. While Lynne assisted Cliff in preparing the charges needed to open it, Adler reminded everybody of a few more facts. “When we get inside, don’t think for one minute that we can remove our suits. We can’t. The only places inside the mine where there is a breathable atmosphere is inside the shuttle airlock and the living quarters. So for the duration, as cumbersome as they are, think of your suit as your best friend.”
“Better get behind something, I’m going to blow the hatch,” Cliff suggested, ending any further pearls of wisdom from Adler. C4 might be a relic from the twentieth century, but in the right hands it was still an excellent tool. When the dust from the explosion cleared they could see a short corridor leading to a metal ladder.


Now it’s time to work out what if anything is waiting for them. Maybe there’s nothing. Maybe the guardian itself is close by. You’ll just have to wait until you read the finished product won’t you?

More later

😀 😀 😀

The Guardian – Another Progress Report


Is This The Guardian?

As of now, I’m four thousand, three hundred and forty-seven words, or if you prefer it, ten pages into the WIP.

Finally, I’ve solved the previous problem I had regarding the addition of more characters. Plus, I’ve more or less completed the core of the second chapter. At least now, I’m satisfied with what chapter two is all about.

There are three new characters, loosely based on people I knew way back in the nineteen sixties when I served alongside them in South East Asia. The new characters are an ex Royal Marine, an ex US Special Services soldier, and a former nurse in the Israeli Defence Force.

How long each of them lives for, how much we will learn about them; whether or not they can handle themselves in the situation I am about to drop them into alongside Adler and Lynne, only time will tell.

One thing is certain; Lynne will have to watch the nurse like a hawk. On that subject, I’m saying no more. You will just have to read The Guardian to find out why when I publish it won’t you.

Sorry this progress report is a short one folks. But by now those of you who have been following the reports will realise that I do a lot of thinking before I write each chapter, and each mini scene within any given chapter. Chapter three definitely needs a lot more thought, and some more research, this time on future weaponary which might be available in the twenty-second century, even though I have already begun to write it. It’s high time I stirred things up a bit. Up until now the storyline has been steadily building up to this next chapter and the ones to follow, while establishing a few facts about the characters.

PS – I already did the weaponary research last night. Made my selection of weapons needed. That leaves me more time for thinking. 🙂

More later

😀 😀 😀

The Guardian – Another Progress Report


Is one of these The Guardian?

As I’m halfway through writing chapter two of The Guardian, I need to take a break while I do some more thinking. Without giving too much away, I will say that at this stage in the novel there is an undeniable sexual tension gradually developing between the two main human characters – Adler and Lynne. Whether or not they become lovers, I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve just introduced a third human character Professor Ephraim Adelmann, an old friend of Adler’s. Lynne is not best pleased by his attitude towards women.

Like most of the academics I formerly worked with for twenty-five years at the University of Waikato back in New Zealand, while academically brilliant, Ephraim wouldn’t last five minutes in the real world. His speciality is ancient languages. I based him on a particular academic I have admired for years who works in the British Museum, Irving Finkel, who is an acknowledged expert on ancient languages.


          Irving Finkel

I’m finding it difficult not to spill the beans when it comes to clues regarding The Guardian, which is why I constantly need to step back and seriously think about what I am going to say next. In the past, especially with my archaeological adventure The Forgotten Age it was fairly obvious what was going on. As a consequence it was an easy book to write. Well not this time. By hook or by crook I’m determined to keeping you guessing until its time for Adler and Lynne to encounter The Guardian.

More later…

😉 😉 😉

At the moment, The Guardian is a red pen free zone


Is this The Guardian? Wait and see…

One of the joys of writing a first draft is that it is a red pen free zone. Until you reach the end of the story, anything goes, incorrect spelling, incorrect punctuation, even the wrong words and phrases – you name it and you will find you have added it. Beginning the first of many editing sessions is the time to take a critical look at what you had initially written over the many months since you started.

By not worrying too much about what you have written in the first draft, it allows you to get that idea out of your head and onto paper, or in my case, this laptop’s screen. Initially you can write the way you think, instead of observing the standard form of English required for the finished product. To look at it another way, just imagine that at this stage your WIP (work in progress) is nothing more than a very long letter to a friend or relative. While it tells the tale, inevitably it is a tad mixed up. Everything you wanted to say is right there in front of you. Now all you have to do is make sense of it.

The time when you have to become your own worst critic comes much later when you begin that first editing session. To achieve this you have no choice but to become totally ruthless – not an easy process when it comes to your literary toddler. But until you delete some passages, replacing them with others. Cut and paste a particular sentence, or sentences, into the correct place, or maybe even totally rewrite a paragraph or chapter, you haven’t edited it properly.

As for my new science fiction novel, The Guardian, I have finally written the core of chapter one in just 1,996 words. In it I have established the three principal characters Major Adler Stevens, Lieutenant Lynne Crawford, and The Guardian itself. All the way through the chapter, the characteristics, quirks, likes and dislikes, all part of the relationship between the two humans, have been revealed. Not so with The Guardian. All you know about it at this stage is that it watches anyone it deems to be a threat, and…

Oops almost gave something away then LOL.

Fleshing out the chapters will come much later, once I have finished writing the first draft. Now it’s on to chapter two for me.

More later, be good.


The Guardian Begins


Well, it’s New Year’s day in my other home – New Zealand, even though it’s still December the thirty-first here in the UK. So I have begun to write my new science fiction novel. I have settled on The Guardian as the title. For the few who bothered to at least read https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/the-first-version-of-the-hook/#comment-3442, let alone the six who I am indebted to for offering their opinions, and whose advice I took note of, here is my New Year’s gift to you – the reconstructed Hook and a short extract.


The guardian’s dark pitiless eyes surveyed the scene one last time. Satisfied that the threat was finally eliminated, it returned to its duties while awaiting the return of its masters. Three weeks later, while on patrol, something on one of the video screens in the mine operations centre got its full attention. More trouble was on the way. Intruders had just arrived. Until they were dealt with, the guardian could not even begin to repair the damage they had caused. But at least it could finish sealing the entrance to the inner sanctum.

Chapter One

“Why us?” Lynne grumbled, once they had arrived at the Space Port in stationary orbit above Mars. Even though she already knew the answer, she still needed to vocalise it, if only to emphasise her displeasure at being volunteered. She had driven her new boss crazy with endless questions like this during the month long journey aboard the robotic solar-wind powered transport. They both knew that this was likely a suicide mission. “What’s so all-fired important about an automated mining operation on Mars?” she continued, “and why the hell did we have to put up with that stinking ancient transporter. Why didn’t the cheapskates get us seats on something more luxurious for the trip?”
“For Christ sake woman will you give it a rest, quit bellyaching! At the moment I’m guessing that the bastards have downed tools over pay and conditions. You’ve read the brief from Earth Corp, therefore you know as well as I that we are to establish why the Olivine mining has stopped. Even though the system is automated, techs are still needed to keep an eye on the machinery and fix things when they break. Plus the ore has to be brought up here to the Space Port to be loaded aboard unmanned transporters like the one we just arrived on for the return journey to Earth. Which means someone like you has to fly the damned cargo shuttles back and forth. Until we get there, we’re only speculating. The first thing we have to do is talk to the mine boss, David Malcolmson. He and everyone else is housed in an accommodation block just inside the mine in Ganges Chasma, an eastern branch of Valles Marineris.
If you are wondering what Olivine is used for, it is the principal component in the carbon dioxide sequester process back on Earth. You know how bad our atmosphere is, thanks to heavy industry. According to Earth Corp, the last load to arrive back home was six months ago. Before that the mine was sending regular monthly consignments. Any more questions? No? Good. Now quit complaining and get us the hell down there!”
Adler shook his head as he strapped himself into the seat behind Lynne. Why the hell he had to be saddled with this totally unpleasant woman was beyond him. Surely there must have been other pilots to choose from?
As far as Earth Corp was concerned, being ex-military, both Major Adler Stevens and Lieutenant Lynne Crawford were the obvious candidates for the job, and therefore expendable. The CEO of Earth Corp saw no good reason to send one of her own on such a hazardous mission. If they managed to work out what had happened, fix it, and send back a report to say that everything was back to normal, all well and good. If not, someone else would soon be sent in their place. After all, since war was declared illegal, there were plenty like Adler and Lynne to choose from. They had been given precisely one week after their arrival to investigate before they must send that report to Earth Corp.


The guardian watched the shuttle descend to the loading bay airlock inside the mine entrance from inside the inner sanctum. It heard the unmistakeable sound of the outer door closing, sealing off the mine from Mars’ atmosphere, which is one hundred times thinner than that of Earth, being mostly carbon dioxide, and the hiss as the now sealed loading bay automatically pressurised as oxygen was pumped in to allow whoever was inside the shuttle to enter the mine reception centre. It watched as Adler and Lynne walked across to the door connecting the airlock with the living quarters.


So, there it is. With this one, I’m in no steaming hurry. I just want it to enthral the reader all the way through to the end. That requires hours of thought and endless rewriting on my part. To achieve my aim, I’ve given myself the whole of two thousand and fifteen to complete the task.

I’ll keep you all up to date as I progress. Have a happy New Year.

😀 😀 😀