The post that started me blogging back in the day

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Have We Had Help?

 You have to begin to wonder just how much fact there is among the vast amount of disinformation, fantasy, and accounts of sightings of alien life forms in this day and age. Thanks to the paranoia mainly created by the hidden agendas of various governmental groups in countries like the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany, as well as the former ‘Iron Curtain’ countries, it becomes increasingly more difficult to sift out the truth.

Have you ever stopped to think how quickly we have advanced since the turn of the twentieth century? It wasn’t all that long ago, we were reliant on the horse and cart, candles, and sailing ships; the list is endless. Since the end of the Second World War, we have experienced a technological leap beyond the normal rate of progress for mankind.

Over the past 25,000 years, man has slowly but surely advanced towards a state of civilisation and self-worth in keeping with man’s ability to learn by trial and error, enabling us to find out what works best in any given situation. And yet since the late nineteen forties, we have advanced beyond belief in all areas of technology. We now have the ability to leave this beautiful planet of ours, to extend our natural lifespan via various means, and to create weapons of mass destruction. Are you willing to accept this accelerated advancement without questioning just how it is we have achieved so much?

The most implausible explanation can be made plausible if it is uttered from the mouth of someone in authority. I simply do not, and will not, believe that we have made such rapid advances on our own. For this to happen, someone must have given us a hand in all this, but at what price for mankind. Since nineteen forty-seven, people around the world have reported various phenomena, alien to our way of life. The various branches of the news media have tended to trivialise most of the reports by categorising them as ‘flying saucers’ or ‘little green men’ ably encouraged by governmental agencies who frankly scare the hell out of me! While a lot of phenomena witnessed by people from all walks of life, all racial groups, all political persuasions, and all religious beliefs, can be satisfactorily explained away, there are a growing number that cannot!

As we move away from beginning of the new millennium, just how many of the prophecies in books like the ‘Old Testament’ for example are going to be fulfilled. While it must be remembered that the people who originally wrote the basic text of religious books like the Old Testament were by today’s standards considered primitive, and had a far less sophisticated use of words, they never the less give us a rudimentary history of their times. If they are to be believed, then they/we have never been alone, they were helped by people not from this planet. Are we now experiencing the same kind of assistance, are we being advanced? If so to what end and why?

Throughout the history of mankind, we have had our failures and successes. We have learned, and at times unlearned, as in the so-called ‘Dark Ages’ which were anything but dark. We have seemingly done this on our own, at our own pace. But now we seem to be aboard a runaway train, from which we cannot get off. Why are we experiencing such rapid advancement in technology, medicine, and at what cost?

Why is it that mankind seemingly advanced from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon in a relatively short space of time? To transform from an almost apelike creature to a life form, which could pass you in the street without drawing attention, seems remarkable to say the least! And yet it happened. Why, if the historians are correct, were there relatively advanced groups of humans in control in days gone by, like the ancient Egyptians who bear no physical or racial resemblance to the people they ruled over? Where did they spring from? Where do they fit in? Why do ancient peoples like the Maya speak of pale blond gods who set the pattern for their lives for centuries before the first white men arrived on the South American continent?

Why does a man miraculously arrive on the scene in ancient Judea via ‘virgin birth’, perform miracles, change man’s way of thinking, get crucified, get buried then completely disappear? Why does that same man according to legend then appear a few months later in northern Japan and supposedly live to a ripe old age in anonymity?

If we are being helped once more by non-humans, then it is incumbent on the governments of the more powerful nations to come clean. If however, as many believe, we are paying a price in human lives for technological advances beyond our present capabilities to fully appreciate, let alone invent for ourselves, then the price is far too high! Whether you believe, as I do, that we are not the only sentient form of life in the universe or not, the fact is that some outside influence is at work, and has been for the better part of sixty years or more! We are kidding ourselves if we believe otherwise.

If, as a growing number of people believe, and I number myself in this group, we are being ‘helped’, what are the government agencies afraid of? Why don’t they admit to non-terrestrial beings living and working alongside us? If they have a hidden agenda for mankind as some sort of subservient species designed to be a slave group, or worse, as a food source, then we must be told the truth! If there is nothing to hide, then where’s the harm in admitting the existence of the various groups of non-terrestrials? If they are benevolent or not then please say so and don’t keep us in the dark anymore!

Being kept in the dark is far worse than knowing the truth. At least if we know the truth then we can prepare ourselves one way or another for what is to come. By not telling the people of this beautiful planet what is going on, the governmental agencies are preparing the way for mass hysteria if the non-terrestrials are going to do anything harmful. After all, we receive warnings for things like volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, and tidal waves that enable us to take steps to protect ourselves.

If, however the non-terrestrials are so advanced that there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves against whatever they may have in store for us then we must be told now!

On the other hand if there are no non-terrestrials, as the governmental agencies would have us believe, and the secrecy surrounding the brilliant leap in technology in the last sixty odd years is solely down to mankind, I say show us incontrovertible proof! Throw open the doors of places like ‘Area 51” to groups of responsible human beings from various nations around the world who can once and for all put an end to all the speculation and rumour surrounding such places. If it’s good enough to send teams of people to inspect various situations around the world like Iraq’s so-called armament factories, or the former Yugoslavian countries various hell-holes, then its good enough for agencies like the United Nations to send similar groups to places like ‘Area 51’, and the so-called underground bases like ‘Dulce’. We’re not asking the various military groups to publicly expose their military hardware. All we want to know is whether or not it’s all our own work!

If it’s not then why not say so! Bring the non-terrestrials out in the open for the entire world to see. Let them address the world via the UN; let them tell us their intentions towards mankind once and for all! If it’s their intention to somehow or other assimilate us then we have the right to know! If however they are here merely to help us advance from a warlike race to a peaceful one, then let them say so!

By neither confirming or denying what is going on, the governmental agencies are reinforcing the commonly held belief by people not only in the US, but around the world, that they have a hidden agenda regarding aliens. Are we approaching Armageddon as prophesied in the Old Testament, or are we experiencing an unprecedented time of accelerated technological advancement?

The questions raised in this article can only be answered if we all demand to know the truth once and for all. The time has come when we can no longer remain complacent! Whether you believe in the existence of alien life forms or not, there is enough happening around the world as we enter the  new millennium, for even the most sceptical among us to begin to wonder what is really going on.

 

Want to take part in an experiment?

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My passion has always been the written word, ever since I read my first book out loud to my parents as a four year old.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of some good friends back in New Zealand in 2003, I had a roof over my head for a short while. In that time, I wrote a couple of science fiction novels – Turning Point and Onet’s Tale, plus a mixed bag of short stories.

The reason why we become Indie writers is because nobody in the establishment publishing world wants to know novelists other than their own stable, unless you find a small press editor to take you on as was the case for me back in 2010. Even though I thought I’d cracked it, we soon parted ways. Being dictated to by a total twat was not why I signed a contract with him. So it was back to square one.

I once sent away a short story to an Irish internet science fiction/fantasy/horror magazine. After a while you get used to the bog standard message I received back from them saying ‘sorry it doesn’t fit in with our publishing list’.

Unless you’re someone famous, you don’t stand a chance in hell of being published, bearing in mind that most of the books purportedly written by the rich and famous are actually ‘ghost written’ for them.

My first attempt at getting into print happened a few years ago, when I had an article published in a New Zealand outdoor magazine for the princely sum of NZ$60.00 – divide by three if you live here in the UK to see that it was no big deal financially! But at least it was a start…

Why should we be prevented from wanting to follow our dream, does anyone know? Where do I and thousands like me go from here, now that we can no longer rely on our books selling in their thousands the way they did a few years ago?

Talking to my good friend and fellow Indie Derek Haines yesterday, we both agree that the reason all Indie book sales through Amazon started to slow two months ago, and have now ceased altogether is because another deal has been struck behind closed doors, this time between the Big Five publishing houses and Amazon to bury all Indie books, thereby removing the competition. And yet Amazon Marketing Services are still sending out emails to all Indies to participate in paid promotion. Why????

Prove us both wrong if you can!!!

To give you an example, according to Kindle Direct Publishing its been twenty-five days since anyone bought or read any of my books.

At least I’m still being read by a few loyal people thanks to this blog. The other good thing is that the number following my posts is building on a daily basis; not just here on my blog but also on Twitter, and to a lesser extent on Facebook. What does that tell you?

In the last two months the number of books written by Indies like myself has disappeared from the public’s view since Amazon ceased all free Indie promotion without telling us.

So how do we as writers get people to at least look at a book, even if they don’t want to read it?

If all eight hundred and ninety-eight of this blog’s followers collectively spend just five minutes checking out my books, using either of the links below, it might be enough to start Amazon’s algorithm sensing that people are actually interested in my books. It’s the kind of activity that always forces Amazon to take note…

Interested in taking part? If your answer is in the affirmative, click on the link(s) below. It’s no use just a dozen of you participating. It needs all of my blog followers to take part in this experiment. Remember, you must spend at least five minutes perusing my titles…

Click here for my books on Amazon.com

Click here for my books on Amazon.co.uk

😉

Its Time To Pay The Piper!

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Yesterday’s Chapter of Onet’s Tale was the last. Whether you appreciate the fact or not, thanks to my generosity of spirit I gave each and every one of you the privilege of reading a one of a kind novel, one chapter at a time, written in 2003 by myself then briefly published in 2010 before being pulled by the publisher when I left them after a dispute over their reluctance to pay royalties owed.

Now here’s the thing, according to WordPress’ stats, confirmed by Google Analytics, the number of you who actually took advantage of my offer, to say the least is pathetically small. Out of the five hundred and twenty people who currently follow this blog, only three actually read and commented as well as ‘Liking’. One of you from the prologue to the end. One is approximately nine tenths the way through as she catches up. The third is a late starter, still working his way through the early chapters. Together with one other person, two of them reblogged each chapter, for which I thank them.

What I need to know is how many of the few others who ‘Liked’ each chapter, actually read them? When I began posting Onet’s Tale over sixty days ago, I asked this exact same question of one fellow writer of my acquaintance. Unbelievably she informed me that she just ‘Liked’ because she did it out of respect. When I asked her if she had actually read the chapters she ‘Liked’, she replied that she hadn’t!

How can you possibly ‘Like’ a blog post unless you have taken the opportunity to actually read it in the first place. It makes no sense whatsoever! Her completely illogical response is why I’m now asking the few others who ‘Liked’ each chapter, other than the three who took the trouble to read the chapters as I published them, and then ‘Like’, did you actually read the book at least in part, or not?

We all know that while there are millions who still love to read, the majority who class themselves as writers these days, especially on all forms of Social Media – appear not too. Instead they pontificate endlessly on the English language and its use. In other words they do everything but write.

Whereas one or two of us like myself and my fellow authors Adele Marie Park, Bob Van Laerhoven and Derek Haines, are actually the genuine article. We don’t spend our entire time just talking about writing. We are writers in the truest sense of the word.

Now back to the totally illogical practice of ‘Liking’ blog posts. The whole concept of why people do it without reading the post(s) first, is utterly beyond me. After all, you wouldn’t ‘Like’ or dislike a sculpture, painting or play without first familiarising yourself with it first!

All I’m asking is that you try to break a bad habit. Start with this post. Don’t just click ‘Like’ – comment on it for goodness sake! Even if as one of the so-called writers out there who follow my blog, you completely disagree.

One thing is abundantly clear. I’m not the only one needing answers as to why it is people feel compelled to ‘Like’ blog posts, but neither read nor comment. Help me and everyone else make sense of this nonsensicle practice.

As for the fact that only three people actually read, or are currently still reading Onet’s Tale. It makes me wonder why people bother to ‘follow’ my blog, or anyone else’ for that matter, if they have no intention of reading the posts we provide. Perhaps seeing how many blogs you can follow is today’s equivalent of collecting stamps…

~~~

 Now I’m going back to where I had got up to in Frederiche Nietzsche’ “Thus Spoke Zaresthustra”, before I began posting Onet’s Tale for you, two months ago.  😉

Two Milestones Reached Within Days Of Each Other

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My blog first appeared on Google Blogger before I moved it here a couple of years later. It was the best move I could have possibly made. From then on people began to take notice of my blog.

It’s hard to believe, but it has finally reached a major milestone as far as I’m concerned. Today’s post is its 2000th! And now to top it off, it has reached yet another yesterday when it passed 500 followers.

While this may not mean much to a lot of people, it means the world to me. My sincere thanks go out to each and every one of its five hundred and one followers. I hope you continue to enjoy its posts for many years to come…

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😀

Internet Friendships

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Is there anything more unusual, or indeed as unlikely as an internet friendship? I prefer to think of the phenomena as being a classic Claytons situation. If you are wondering what I’m wittering on about, bear with me.

Years ago, in the nineteen-seventies, a southern hemisphere company whose name totally escapes me now, marketed a non-alcoholic beverage resembling bottled whisky in Australia and New Zealand, advertising it as the drink you have when you’re not having a drink, under the brand name Claytons.

The word soon entered the Australian and New Zealand vernacular. No matter whether you are an Aussie, or a kiwi like myself, we use it to describe all kinds of things that are obviously not what they seem. For example, a common-law couple might be described as having a Claytons marriage.

So, now you know. To me, an internet friendship is the kind you participate in when you are not participating in one. Or is it?

Strictly speaking, at best we can only ever say that we are acquainted with one another. To become true friends requires that we physically meet or have met at some time during our lifetimes, spending time together. Think about it.

All we have to go on when engaging via the internet, to help us decide if we like one another, are the totally sterile typed words on the screen in front of us, just like these ones. What we cannot do is pick up on each other’s tells, such as audible inflection, avoiding or making eye contact, etc, etc.

While we may enjoy reading what each other has to say, chances are that if we ever actually met we might find we have absolutely nothing in common, or worse, that we instantly dislike each other.

Yes, you can use applications like Skype or similar video call systems to contact one another, but all that does is let us see each other, warts and all, as well as putting an actual voice to someone we know through uploaded photographs and by what they type.

Even then there is no guarantee that we might actually want to meet. Take the use of our everyday speech patterns. Some people’s voices can, and do, get on your nerves. Especially if they are of the whining variety. Some people tend towards the endless use of expletives, seeing nothing wrong in peppering every sentence they utter with them.

In a way its a blessing that we are separated by the many miles between us. If we ever did actually meet, chances are that after we had sized one another up in the first thirty seconds, that one or both of us would turn on our heels and head back home. Humans are funny like that. Some would say that we can and do act irrationally when it comes to meeting one another for the first time. Remember, when we actually meet, we don’t just use our eyes and ears to size one another up. Our other senses along with our inbuilt intuition comes into play. A few thousand years ago it used to be known as our fear or flight response.

Our typed conversations hide a multitude of sins. For instance – it might be that one of us has a body odour problem. Or perhaps one of us is inclined to pick their nose. It might even be (god forbid) that one of us spits, or doesn’t use a hankerchief when clearing our nose! The point is, how would you or I know? We wouldn’t. No one would. And yet, despite all of that, we do become friends in the completely unfeeling world of the internet.

At best maybe what we are is the electronic twenty-first century equivalent of nineteenth and twentieth century pen pals, destined never to meet, but happy to communicate with one another, maybe not every day, but certainly several times each week.

PS – If memory serves, a glass of Claytons tasted positively foul – bleh! No make that double bleh!!

😉

It’s confession time – well almost

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To all of you who have yet to retire, take it from me when I say I thoroughly recommend it.

All of my adult life I worked for someone else. Who benefited the most from the relationship? In each case they did. Before you start, yes I know I should consider myself fortunate to have been in constant employment, receiving a weekly wage from my sixteenth until my fifty-fifth year, when I was eventually considered too old for the  labour market, winding up on the scrap heap back in 2003, along with millions of others.

By the bye, I don’t envy anyone looking for full-time employment in these days of below minimum wage zero hours work contracts…

Despite being bitter at the time, eventually I looked upon it as the best thing that happened to me, even though the next ten years were tough financially when I was left with no choice but to rely on the dole. I’d been paying into Social Security all my life. So I had no problem with getting some of my contributions back. I’ve never understood the sniffy attitude of some people who think it’s somehow shameful to accept a helping hand when we need it, especially when part of everyone’s wages are set aside for that specific purpose.

Do I miss not being in the working force? Hell no! To an independant (some might say rebellious) spirit like myself, having to spend eight to twelve hours a day from Monday to Friday or even seven days a week, endlessly doing the same damned thing day in, day out, not forgetting to always expect the boss to bitch about something or other, was anathema to me.

Since I officially reached retirement age a couple of years ago, I no longer have to rely on the dole. Nowadays I get my State pension, something else I contributed to all of my working life. Compared with what I use to earn, it’s a mere pittance. But I can live on it – just. To hear the way some politicians rave on, you would be forgiven for thinking that retirees like myself are a burden on society. Complete poppycock! All of our lives we worked hard. We’re entitled to take it easy. It still rankles with me that I had to wait until my sixty-fifth year to finally achieve my goal of complete independance from the day to day drudgery that everyone old enough to work has to endure for decades.

Nowadays I’m no longer bored stupid working for someone else. I get up when I want, go to bed when I want and do what I want when I want – well almost. As a lot of you will already know, I now have a new boss. It’s called The Written Word. Compared to my former employers it leaves them in it’s dust when it comes to making demands on my time. Being its willing slave occupies ninety-nine percent of my time, writing novellas and novels. The remaining one percent is divided between enjoying life, eating, sleeping and blogging. Oh, I almost forgot to add that I’m also a long time video gamer. So as you can see there is an awful lot to squeeze into the remaining one percent of my time.

Regarding my blog – which is this one by the way, (I thought I’d point that out for those among us who are known to be a bit slow on the uptake), as of today I just need one more blog follower to finally reach four hundred.

I started blogging back in February 2010 on Google’s Blogger. How many people got to read my ramblings meant nothing at the time. Way back then, the whole concept of a blog was totally alien to me. The fact that my then publisher warned against doing it, was a good enough reason to go ahead from my point of view. If anyone like him is stupid enought to start dictating what I should and should not do, I’ll do the opposite every time!

It wasn’t until I deserted Blogger for the good ship WordPress that my posts began to be read, and as a consequence the number of people who wanted to follow/read what I had to say has slowly but surely increased. At the time of writing this, the number of people following my blog stands at three hundred and ninety-nine. Once I reach four hundred, its all ahead full for the next port – five hundred.

One last thing, I would very much like to thank all of you who follow my blog. Without you it would simply fade into obscurity.

Thanks once again

PS – I went to bed at eight o’clock last night, It’s now 01.38. The content of this post woke me at midnight LOL 

Now in 2020 I have 909 followers….

 

❤ xxx

Despite everything…

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Once you are truly bitten by the writing bug you just can’t quit. I know, I’ve tried on more than one occasion over the past twenty years. With most things I have done during my lifetime, it didn’t matter what it was; sooner or later I would eventually grow bored and have to change direction yet again.

Therefore at various stages over the years I have thoroughly embraced the following, sometimes singly – often collectively. For instance I love chess, wood carving, carpentry, painting and astronomy. Occasionally I used to try to play the chromatic harmonica. But unfortunately, Larry Adler I very definitely was not. 

As well as the above I have been known to delve into boat building, sailing, hiking, cross-country running, cycling, sculpture, photography, hunting, caving and climbing. Even though I say it myself, I did manage to become accomplished at one or two of my activities. Boat building being one of them.

Yet none hold a candle to the satisfaction I get out of writing, which probably accounts for why I still put myself through months of mental hell for you the reader, each time I write a novella or novel.

With each book I feel that I improve. My detractors may totally disagree. In fact I know they will. But like all longsuffering writers I’ll be magananimous when it comes to my critics.

I even get a kick out of writing something simple like a blog post. Besides acting as a platform for links to my books (click on the About Tab above), maintaining this blog on a daily basis has introduced me to so many wonderful people in all four corners of the world.

Unlike all of my previous activities, writing is the one thing that has brought me out of myself. The only real drawback is that nowadays I can’t simply lose myself in a book anymore. The writer in me ends up editing it while I’m reading, making it anything but a relaxing pastime the way it used to be.

Why do I still do it? Writing is like a recurring disease. Once contracted, your stuck with it whether you like it or not for the rest of your days.

Does it get easier over time? If I’m honest – no. Each new story is hard won. If you want to write, one thing you cannot be is a quitter. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not! Does writing blog posts like this one help your writing skills? Definitely.

At least with one of my interests  – chess, I can take a short break from writing occasionally. Time to make a move. Checkmate! That’s it, playtime is over. I’d better get back to writing chapter six of The Guardian.

Catch you later folks. Hope you enjoy the Larry Adler video as much as I did when I saw it.

Be good…

😉

I tell you, it’s a wonder I’m still here

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It’s hard to believe that I was born on this day, sixty-seven years ago. With everything that life has thrown at me since that day way back in nineteen forty-eight, it’s a wonder I’m still alive to tell the following tale.

***

When I was about ten months old, I had my first encounter with danger. Fortunately for me, when they realised I was missing from my pram, my parents searched the garden and eventually found me hanging in midair above the cold dark waters of the garden pond. All that was between me and death was a bit of barbed wire which had dug itself into the fleshy pad directly below my left thumb. Dad had put the wire up once I started crawling. Maybe that episode accounts for my later adventurous nature – who knows? I’ve still got the arrowhead shaped scar on my left hand. Mum said I wasn’t crying. Apparently I was just hanging there with not a care in the world.

 1_12_05_14_1_18_00 Then when I was five I was almost drowned yet again when a large Pike dug its teeth into one of my legs and began trying to drag me into deep water, when I was collecting frogspawn in the shallows of another pond on the farm to put in a jam jar. Fortunately I had mum’s small garden fork with me. I forget why. It was a long time ago. But it’s a good job I had taken it with me. Repeatedly stabbing the monster fish with it, made it let go of my leg. Those future tadpoles were hard won I can tell you.

In the nineteen-sixties came military service during the Vietnam war, where I was badly wounded, not once but twice.The next thing that hit me between the eyes was when I lost my beautiful Mai and our four month old son John, when the suburb where we lived in northern Saigon, was wiped off the face of the Earth, thanks to friendly fire, while I was up country on patrol.

A few years later came the first of three mental break downs, followed by being thrown on the employment scrapheap when I was fifty-five, and as a result, being made homeless; meaning I was forced to sleep rough for several months. As if all of that wasn’t enough I also suffer from skin cancer, a legacy of living beneath the hole in the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere for forty-two years. Its a wonder I’m still here, and yet I am.

Given all of that, is it any wonder I resorted to my first love, books, to console myself, which led me to write my own and much later, to blog? The written word has become everything to me, no matter whether or not my books are read. Fortunately for me they are.

As for why I’m still here – I’m a stubborn cuss. I’ve had to be. Anyone with a weaker disposition would have given up the ghost years ago. Not me. Now all I have to do is survive the next three years to reach my seventieth birthday.

Child’s play

😀

I’ll try anything once, or in this case – twice

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Like most people, I’ll try anything once. Talking with Chris, the storyreading ape a few days back, he enthused as only he can, (bless his heart) when I asked him about why he uses hashtags on so many of his blog posts. So, following his advice I decided to try it for myself. According to him they are totally necessary when your blog posts appear on sites like Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin, to induce people to read them – and here was me thinking it was the post’s title and content.

Well, I have used them twice now. Not just in conjunction with the three aforementioned sites, but also on Facebook, Pinterest and Stumbleupon. In each case I saw no appreciable increase in views. In fact they remained exactly the same as always.

So why do people bother with the hashtag symbol for number (#), using it in a way that was never intended in the first place? If the whole idea is to make your posts known to a wider audience, by adding hashtags in front of key words, why is it that they simply don’t appear to do the job?

There is a lot of advice on how to use them, such as this from Twitter. Despite following their advice as well as from Chris, nothing happened, advantageous or otherwise.

One thing I did note in Twitter’s case, they quite clearly state in their extremely helpful ‘how to’ page that the hashtag comes into its own when used with tweets that are trending, such as breaking news items, or those featuring the latest antics of a celebrity, airhead, moron – idiot. If that’s the case what chance do ninety-nine point nine percent of most bloggers have with getting their posts noticed by using hashtags?

The phrase – not a cat in hell’s chance, immediately springs to mind.

Like I said in the beginning, I’ll try anything once. Will I continue using the humble hashtag in this particular way? I don’t think so. I’ll just use it as it was originally intended, to indicate a number. Perhaps when someone scientifically proves that using it increases views for posts in the way Chris and some others believe, I may reconsider. But until then, as far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out. In the meantime I’ll go back to relying on the hashtag free content of my blog posts to sell themselves on their own merits to everyone out there in internet land.

Sorry #Chris. I did give it a try – #honest I did.

# 😉

I need to take some time off

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No matter whether you write fiction or non-fiction, to do your work justice, you have to be in the right frame of mind. When I heard of the death of my best friend Graeme a few days ago, it totally threw me. It’s still throwing me as I write this. I tried to get back to working on my latest WIP yesterday, but I just couldn’t. I haven’t felt this low since the mid sixties, when I lost my own young family.

It doesn’t mean I won’t be contributing daily here on my blog. Maintaining it is a means of catharsis for me. By sharing things about myself along with what interests me, it’s my way of staying relatively sane in an insane world, amongst other things.

I need to work through losing the one human being who told me to have the courage of my convictions and write, back in nineteen ninety-five. I owe my moderate success as a mid-list writer to his boundless enthusiasm and total belief in me.

I could have merely carried on writing my WIP as if nothing was wrong. But I’m not made of stone. Far from it in fact. Like a lot of writers I know, I’m ruled by my emotions. Right now I’m still grieving for the loss of my best friend. I’m sure you will all understand that I need to take a short sabbatical from my latest sci-fi novel. At least I hope you do.

I will get back to it sometime soon, but not just yet if you don’t mind…