Hands up…

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Akhen

…who read my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale, the sequel to Turning Point, the science fiction story I wrote in 1995? Not many of you I suspect since after falling out with me, the publisher pulled it off the market!

A few days ago I was looking for some of my unused saved material for my fantasy anthology Goblin Tales, which I am currently re-working. In amongst everything stored in the sideboard I came across my original MS for the story in question under its original title – The Berserker Saga, saved on a CD. Before you ask, I wrote it while on a trip back to New Zealand in 2003. Needless to say I spent many months more than I intended back in Nzed while I wrote it. It all came to an abrupt halt when my then laptop objected to having coffee spilt all over it. Thank god for the CD!

After returning here to the UK it would be seven years before I was in the position to offer it for consideration to a publisher, let alone afford a replacement laptop. As it was, it was available on Amazon for barely six months back in 2010…

So, once I have finished re-working Goblin Tales, I’ll be tackling The Berserker Saga once again, minus all the nonsense the publisher insisted must be added, such as his curriculum vitae of the characters, just because he couldn’t remember who is who, plus his adding his and his then business partner’s names to the by line. The latter being the reason we fell out!!!

The more astute among you will have read it chapter by chapter already, since I published it here on my blog over many weeks last year. As its 102, 518 words in length on 196 A4 pages, which equates to a little over 324 pages for both the ebook and print versions, I fully expect it to occupy me for most of next year (2018).

More later

😉

 

Well, Its Hyperlink Time

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As I draw nearer to completing Céleste, now is the time to begin inserting the hyperlinks necessary for the e-book version. What do I mean by that? As it will be in preorder mode for maybe a week or ten days prior to its publishing date, you will still be able to take a look at the first few pages using Amazon’s Look Inside feature. The first hyperlinks you will come across are on the second page. They consist of two pre-publication reviews by two fellow science fiction writers. I will also be adding them to Céleste’s blurb on Amazon, minus the hyperlinks. After you have read what they have to say, by clicking on their hyperlinked names in the e-book, you will be taken directly to books by them I deem to be their best. I’ve done this in grateful thanks for their involvement in Céleste’s journey from idea to end product.

The other hyperlinks you will find are on page three, consisting of chapter headings. By simply clicking on the relevant chapter you can go straight to it, once you have bought your copy.

As for Céleste’s e-book price, I’m still thinking about that. One thing is certain, it won’t be any more than my usual US$2.99. Both of my fellow authors, Nicholas Rossis and Derek Haines, agree that I’ve cracked it once again with this science fiction romance. Its success or failure all depends on whether or not the reading public agrees with what they had to say in their pre-publication reviews…

More later folks,

Jack

😀

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

😀

It’s Spring Cleaning Time in Goblindom

Now that my latest novella Cataclysm has finally left home, I have the time to do something I’ve wanted to do for the last two years.

What is it I hear you cry? Since I first published Glob’s tales back in 2012, I’ve never been happy with the end product, especially from a formatting point of view. So from now until its done, whenever that may be, I will be in full format mode along with sentence reconstruction mode where required.

I owe it not only to you the readers, but also to Glob, his brothers, Bejuss and all the good folk of Goblindom. Here’s hoping that when I resubmit the MS to Kindle Direct Publishing, that they (Amazon) will have come up with an automatic system to update all copies of not only Glob’s tales, but also all other revamped eBooks already out there on Kindles and all Kindle computer and smart phone apps. Thinking about it though, a chance would be a fine thing. When has Amazon ever used commonsense by offering anything like that in the past?

You never know, once I’ve fully reacquainted myself with Goblindom I may even feel inclined to write the prequel that The Story Reading Ape has been pleading with me to produce for many months…

The Time Before Map

The Revamped Goblindom Map

I’ll keep you up to date via future progress reports.

PS – just sent this to Amazon. Click on it to read 🙂

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😉

Progress Report 5

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This might be the location. Then again it might not…

Well, I’m almost ready to begin my latest hybrid scifi/archaeological eBook. While I’ve been researching until my eyes bleed, with my brain turning to mush from all the historical and pseudo scientific information I have been digesting, not to mention reading the wild imaginings of people like Plato and others of his ilk, the hardest thing is to psych myself up to write it.

The last eBook I wrote was my scifi novella The Next Age published in October of last year. Starting a new project is not as easy as you would think, given the amount of time that has passed – almost an entire year…

As yet I have absolutely no idea how long it will be. Whether or not it winds up as a full length novel (150 – 200,000 words), or a novella (30 – 50,000 words) is entirely down to how it evolves. At the moment I am sticking with the working title History Rewritten. As I get further into it, something within the text will hopefully spark its final title.

For those of you who have been following the previous four ‘Progress’ posts, you will know that my main character will be Dr Gilbert Briggs, the new head of the fictitious UK Advanced Science Institute, which for the purposes of the story, I locate in the city of Norwich in the English county of Norfolk, barely forty miles north of where I live, here in north Suffolk.

In the short story that set me on this path, and which begins the book, Gilbert invented and built the ‘Teleportation Gate’ and the subcutaneous homing beacon. To test them out before he allowed anyone else to travel through time, he had himself sent back to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, where his own ancestor almost succeeded in killing him.

Now all I have to do is regain my inner writing discipline. Once I get going, I’ll be fine. It’s just the act of starting that is the hard part…

😉

Up and Running!!!

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Just to let you know that thanks to your support and kind comments on my post Got a Minute the other day, I have finally made a start on my next novel, or novella, depending on how many words it ends up at. For now I’m using the working title – Targets Rewriting history in the twenty-first century, until something better occurs to me.

As many of you who read my blog will know, it simply started out as a series of four short stories involving my character Dr Gilbert Briggs and his team of technicians and field observers at the UK Advanced Science Institute based in Norwich in the county of Norfolk, and Briggs’ breakthrough when he took a science fiction concept (time travel) and made it reality when he concieved and constructed the Teleportation Gate; merely as an exercise to see if the idea was worthy of following up. Pat yourselves on the back folks, you’ve convinced me.

For anyone who hasn’t read the first four scenarios – no Briggs doesn’t exist. Nor does the Institute or his gate. I had to say that simply because some individuals with no brain believe that certain fictional characters do – honest.

As I have already written four scenarios concerning historical targets, I’m off to a good start, both ideas and words wise (10,414 words and counting). I promise I’ll keep you all up to date as I progress.

Now purely for your information, I have in mind the following historical characters as the next four targets for Briggs and co to ‘visit’:

Boudica

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Alfred the Great

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The only female Egyptian Pharaoh – Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut

Alexander the Great

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More later as I get into writing mode proper once again. So I’m about to start researching Boudica, once I’ve given the first four the once over grammar and punctuation wise that is.

Thanks again folks. Without your positive encouragement, I would not have decided to expand the Briggs idea…

😀

Been there, done that. Do I really need to go on?

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Writing is a funny old game, not for the faint hearted. For me it is a hobby which helps to prop up my meagre old age pension. For others, it is a poorly paid fulltime occupation. Unless you are a Dan Brown or J.K Rowling, you certainly won’t get rich.

To be successful at it you must first have masochistic tendencies, but develop a hide thicker than a rhinoceros to counteract the problem. Secondly you must become driven, disciplined, love research and telling stories, and above all, love words.

Why do I say masochistic? What other calling do you know of where the second something you have written is published, it is descended upon by certain individuals like a flock of ravenous vultures looking for the next carcase to devour, who have never written anything of note in their entire pathetic lives, but simply love to inflict vicious criticism?

Why develop a hide thicker than a rhino? See above.

Why must you be driven? Because without inner drive you will never write word one, let alone several hundred thousand more.

Why must you be disciplined? Because to write a book you have to shut out everything else in your life, becoming almost monk like. You cannot afford to become distracted by everyday mundane matters like family, friends etc, (sometimes I even forget to eat when I’m on a roll).

Why must I engage in research? Because most books worth a damn rely upon it.

Why must I love telling stories? If you don’t know the answer to that one, then don’t even begin to write!

Why must I love words? Words are everything, unless you are drawing a comic or cartoon, where the pictures convey what you want to say.

There is one other thing which I haven’t mentioned so far, and that is procrastination. From time to time we all are struck down by it!

So far since nineteen ninety-five I have written six books, five of which are still available and selling, despite the nefarious machinations of armchair critics and other assorted cretins. But right now I am in a period of procrastination. At the moment, writing another book, or even dedicating my waking hours to researching for it is a real problem for me. Daily I say to myself – OK, been there, done that, do I really need to go on? Do I really need to write another book?

The short answer is yes. For two reasons.

The first is that for me, writing has always been an addiction. The second is that If I never wrote another book in my entire life, I would be playing into the hands of those moronic individuals who just love to tear my work apart, hoping I will cave in and go away.

Sod that! I will write that next book. Just not yet.

As for the cretins, I’ve got new for you. For a start I’ve lived a damned sight longer than most of you. I’ve been wounded while doing my military service in South East Asia. In short, I’m made of far sterner stuff than any of you. So watch out. This old boy isn’t a quitter…

 

Does a writer really create a story?

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Have you ever stopped to wonder how a story makes it to the page? As a reader looking in from the outside, providing you like it, or at least are intrigued by it, you get caught up in the story and its characters, their foibles, thoughts and desires. But does the writer really create the story before your eyes, or does he go along for the ride just like you?

I firmly believe that the writer is in reality nothing more than a glorified reporter. The characters and events unfold before his eyes. All he does is record them for posterity and nudge them down a particular path to see what will happen next.

Every story has a starting point firmly fixed in the writer’s mind. But after that, it’s up to the events to take the writer along for the ride recording the adventures, disappointments, delights, apprehensions etc, etc of any characters involved.

In life we all have a fixed starting point; the time of our birth. Where you go and what you do during your lifetime is governed by a mixture of opportunities, fate, and chance meetings. The same can be said for what unfolds before the writer’s eyes.

In the story, I firmly believe that what happens next is determined by the story’s events, not by what characters say to one another while engaged in mindless chatter. The world they inhabit lays the ground rules for the way they react to it. Chance meetings within that world can and do change the way the stories’ characters relate to one another however. In this instance they may not necessarily be influenced by the events portrayed.

In reality all the writer does is be the very first person to read the story. He goes along for the ride just like you. But unlike you, at least he has some involvement in it by recording it. After all, the characters couldn’t do it for you; they were too busy living it.

I’m busy right now at the beginning of a new science fiction novel’s storyline. Where it will take me over the next several months and who it’s as yet unknown characters will be is anyone’s guess. Only time and patience on my part will tell. Equally, whether or not it will become a Space Opera is an unknown at this moment in time.

Wish me luck, not that I need it; I’ve been here before on more than one occasion…