Tag Archives: writer

Meh and un-meh. Thoughts, ramblings and a progress report.

It’s confession time. I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently because we’ve reached a new stage in Dad’s illness and I’m still adjusting to the grimness. If someone you love has dementia then there will be stuff they say when you know it’s the illness speaking, rather than them. Over the last three of four months, Dad’s condition has deteriorated rapidly to the point where his illness is doing far more of the talking than he is. It’s been pretty stark.

On the upside, there have been a lot of big events in the family and among friends to keep me busy, although some of them are going through tough times too. But there’s been less down time and no more than a few hours in any of the last five weeks to plan, gather thoughts and generally sort myself out. If I’m a bit maudlin, this is usually good. The more I socialise and the more stuff I do, the less time I spend in the Slough of Despond. Also we all know the writer who wants to get stuff out of their head has to put stuff in. I even have a book cued up to read for the holidays. I think it’s called put your pants on, or possibly pull your pants off but it’s about finding ways to plan your writing more effectively. I’ll review it when I’m done!

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, hectic life. When things get too busy the time for everything else but the household chores disappears and trust me in this house, even they are a bit, er hem, rushed. Or neglected. Phnark. And my house is hardly a smoothly oiled machine at the best of times. I mean, it has McMini and me in it. But if there’s not even time for chores or the myriad stuff I have to remember for McMini’s school (sad stuff there too) I do tend to get a bit flustered. And guilty. And sad. And on top of already sad, that’s not good.

And what with the state of the world right now, and the shit we’re all in, I slightly feel that if I can’t say anything positive it’s best not to say anything at all. Hence the significant lack of posts on here and the shockingly low quality of my email newsletters. Sorry anyone reading who also receives my emails. The interesting stories will return. Soon.

Because I’ve realised something.

It’s time to have a word with myself!

So, first of all, I apologise if my posts and emails seem faux jolly, as if I’m going through the motions (when they appear at all). In a sense, they are and I am. But it’s important that I continue writing them. A huge part of the trick of managing life-grimness, for me, is to keep on keeping on. The small every day things become harder and harder to do, but doing them anchors you in reality, in normality, and stops you from floating away into some kind of mad disjointed netherworld of despair. That’s why I write, of course. Because – don’t laugh – writing all this stuff that is madder than a box of frogs keeps the rest of me sane and grounded.

Keep calm and carry on. That’s my life and I’m this bloke.

Right, that’s that off my chest, let us move swiftly on to other things.

News

Mmm. The 10k short is with the editor, although she has RSI and due to the vagaries of the power companies where she lives she is currently in the process of going off grid – ie switching to solar – so I’m not sure when it will come back. Which reminds me, I must look and see if there was anything I was meant to be doing to it.

Meanwhile, McMini’s birthday party is finally in the bag so I must do an invite. It’d be much easier to draw one but the lamp in my scanner has gone so I suspect I will be doing something with clip art. Oh dear. He and 9 other little darlings are going to do den building and fire building in a local park. Luckily I have help in the form of my friend Jill so if it all goes tits up at least we can laugh about it later.

With this and the rest of the holidays fast approaching my writing may well slow but I’m going to try and do the 20 minutes a day thing because that worked really well.  Whatever happens, I will be doing some reading. Both the aforementioned keep your pants on book and one of my own for editing/developmental purposes. I’m 40k into a 60k novel. It’s not my greatest work because I’m experimenting with keeping both my plots and my books simpler and shorter so I can sell them cheaper. However, it’s not bad and I think it could well be better by the time I’m done with it.

If the pants book helps I hope to be doing a bit of outlining over the holidays. There have also been more developments with the one about the ex gigolo space dustman who lives on P deck. I’ve been working out how he gets there – I think that will be a long short that I can give away to folks who join my mailing list (or who are already on the other one). Also working on how he gets his ship – I think he builds it from scrap but I’m not sure. It may be a lease ship. And how Admiral Ash, the female lead, ends up being de-thawed from her stasis pod. Thinking she might be in his ship with him now, rather than in space. Depends if he builds it from spare parts. I also need to draw a cover for Jump because I can’t afford a proper one. I should be able to use the scanner in my parents’ printer for that one but the invite is more time critical. It has to go into school tomorrow because it’s the last week.

On the eyebombing book front. I am slowly getting there with working out kickstarter layers. It’s really hard to do because I have no cash so it has to be benefits in kind, like taking them for an eyebombing walk, so I’m scratching my head about international sponsors at the moment. All I can give them is books and their name in the front. I have to get about £15 for each book to be able to afford to have it printed and send it to them. Thinking this might have to be more of a local endeavour. We shall see. Might have to look at a different size too. I was going to do stocking filler 6″x6″.

Also, if anyone’s thinking of forking out for Escape From B-Movie Hell hold off, I’ll have some good news for you on that front next week!

That’s all for now, pipple toot!

13 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

You may choose bath time, or DEATH.

As  you may all know, Escape From B-Movie Hell, my latest book, is about to hit the streets. I am still frantically primping mailshots and generally phaffing about so obviously the ideal thing to happen today would be for something to go so unbelievably, mind bendingly, heroically wrong that the wheels would fall off and I’d achieve absolutely nothing.

But that wouldn’t happen would it? Not unless my life ran like a badly written sitcom with a totally unrealistic plot.

Yeh. You’d better believe it. Of course it did.

This has been the most amazingly bizarre day.

McOther got the 7am train to London. McCat appeared shortly afterwards hopped onto the bed stinking of creosote and left black foot prints all over the duvet. Upside no black footprints on the stairs. Still not sure how he did that but very grateful, all the same. Downside, creosote is poisonous and the way cats clean creosote off their feet is to lick it off.

Oh oh.

There was quite a lot of creosote – admittedly, a bit less than before now he’d left so much on the duvet but still. There was only one thing for it.

“Kitty McCat you have a choice,” I told him. “You may choose bath time or DEATH.”

I’m pretty sure McCat chose death but I overruled him anyway and washed his feet. A process which sounds so simple written down doesn’t it? But which, by dint of him being a cat was not simple and took many minutes. I was soaked by the end and stinking mightily of creosote as well. McCat was a little less stinky, with very damp legs and a lot less gunk on his feet but a lot still there all the same.

Just to throw a little tension into the mix, school run time was looming. And if I was going to get the cat to the vet and McMini to school I had to do something RIGHT THEN!

So I rang the vet and was told to bring McCat in for ‘cleaning’ as soon as I could.

That’s when I looked at my giant cat box and my small car with two seats. No room for cat AND son in car. No other car available, well, there is McOther’s big Chelsea Tractor but I need a wi-fi transponder to drive it and it’s in his pocket. I could get in there and drive to the vets but McOther will receive a phone call telling him someone has stolen his car. And the police will arrest me as I come out. That would make McMini very late for school.Where he was due to be any minute but the longer the cat went with tongue access to creosotey toes the more likely he was to get ill.

But it was OK, a neighbour has kids in McMini’s class and I rushed over and asked if she could take McMini with her lot. Yes. Hoorah! But I noticed they were in uniform. He had his class party today and I thought it was a home clothes day but it seemed I was supposed to send him in uniform with the home clothes in his bag.

Bollocks.

Never mind. With the cat possibly a mere handful of licks away from death there was no time to go home and chance. My son takes at least an hour to put on his clothes anyway. So I hugged him and dumped him and legged it back across the road where I put the cat in the box in car and went to the vet.

I’d called ahead so when I arrived and gave them my name the receptionist called, “The creosote cat’s here.”

Several staff came out to look. I was ushered into a consulting room and the vet confirmed that McSpanner Cat needed more cleaning and that they would be happy to do it for me and just keep an eye on him for the morning.

I left Mr Creosote with them and went Christmas shopping. I bought things for my dad. Handkerchiefs and socks. I looked at all the things he would have liked once and couldn’t cope with now and felt a little teary.

Then I went to home (via the gym). Immediately I got in, the vet rang.

Turns out that McCat had enjoyed a wonderful morning. I think his hosts had enjoyed it too. To wash his feet they put a little warm water in the bottom of a tank so they could stand him in it and lather his toes with swarfiga. He lay down, rolled over and luxuriated among the warm suds. Diva like. On his back. He is such a tart.

When I collected him he was still damp with a couple of bald bits where it got so sticky they had to shave it and wearing a buster collar – or cone of shame as we call it. They told me to keep on him until he was dry. I tried not to mock the afflicted by laughing as I watched him bumping into things, and getting stuck between two chairs as he tried to chase a ping pong ball under the dining table. At one point, he even tried to force the cone of shame through the cat flap.

He failed on that score.

However, he did manage to lick his tail, one back paw and his bum while wearing the cone of shame, a cone he was wearing expressly to stop him from being able to wash himself. He licked the cone of shame a lot too. It was very funny watching him rolling around on his back trying to get one leg round it and into licking reach.

I attempted to take a photo and he looked at me as if to say, ‘Oh no you don’t.’ Then he curled up and waited stoically on the sofa until I left.

He provided some very unhelpful assistance while I made some cakes for McMini’s teachers. Forget the stuff on his feet. He is already the cat version of Mr Creosote the man, a la Monty Python. No food is safe. The cakes proved to be an epic fail. Definitely back to the drawing board on that one – I may as well have let McCat hoover up the mixture the way he wanted to – but first more ingredients required. There is cake mix on the cone of shame.

On the upside, the vet only charged £30 even though McCat was there all morning. Also he is fine albeit a little cowed by his experience. Welcome home Mr Creosote. Like the stuff he walked in, that name will probably stick.

And this is the world of weirdness I live in. At least you can see why my books are strange. Write what you know and all that. And I do.

Now, all I have to do now is put the clean duvet cover on and I’m back to where I was at the beginning of today. A lot of action then, but eff all achieved.

Never mind, if you want to make me feel better, you could always buy my book. If you do it before Sunday you can get it for the knock down price of 99p. If you use the giveaway link, there might even be a free ebook reader in it for you. If you’re interested, you can find links to buy it from the major stores here:

http://hamgee.co.uk/books/escape-from-b-movie-hell/

If you’re not interested… well… I will stop talking about it eventually, I promise. I leave you with a picture of what McCat was probably doing in the bath… at the vet’s.

20150513_131756

8 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

Stealth Marketing in the Grand Tradition of the British Navy.

OK, I’ll admit, it’s a tenuous connection, especially in the extremely likely event I’ve got my facts wrong, but there is this lovely story about Admiral Rodney; that he was concerned that the demand of the British Navy for oak trees to make ships was outstripping British supply. He therefore carried acorns in his pockets and dropped them wherever he went. Actually, it may not even have been Rodney who dropped acorns wherever he went… thinking about it, I have a vague recollection that it was some Elizabethan dude…

Sadly I haven’t been able to get a sniff of conformation on this story in connection  with Admiral Rodney or anyone else. The internet, usually a rich source of substantiation for such bollocks, is disturbingly mute on the topic. Then again, it might have been invented in Britain but it’s definitely American and the demand for trivia pertaining to European history is probably limited over there. I expect I’d be more likely to find it using Google.fr. Possibly… if I was better at French. Or maybe I’ll have to find “Our Island’s Story” a three book set of the most engaging and charmingly written, albeit ideologically unsound and dubiously jingoistic, version of British history ever produced.

But I digress. The reason I mention it is because in a small way I like to think I am upholding this proud naval tradition… except with flyers and bookmarks advertising my books rather than acorns.

GooglyJoy

Eyebombing, harmless naughtiness.

Seldom, do I leave the house without my  pockets weighed down by promotional literature; two business card sized things for books one and two, book marks for three and four, and a packet of googly eyes – because if my target area proves unsuitable for leafleting, there’s always eyebombing.

Wherever I go, I leave promotional bumpf, printed at bargain basement cost. If there’s a rack, I put them in. I was particularly gratified, after leaving some in a hotel when I arrived for the night a couple of weekends ago, to find that the staff had straightened them all out nicely with the other leaflets when I went to breakfast the next morning. As if they were legit.

It helps that as a 45 year old bag, I can pretty much dump these things where they’re not supposed to be in broad daylight, because I look like an upstanding member of the community who is far to old to do anything furtive, subversive or childish. Even if I’m right there, sticking googly eyes on the back of a builder’s lorry, or walking into Starbucks and laying out my  leaflets as if I’m a member of staff, I get the impression that the people who witness it can’t quite believe their eyes or assume my presence there is kosher.

There are other stealthy methods I employ. I leaf through books in the fantasy and science fiction departments in book shops and libraries and slip my cards between the pages for readers to find. I shoved a load into all the Terry Pratchett books in Tesco. I leave them on tables in restaurants and bars, on shelves in stores, slipped behind mirrors in public loos. Naturally I left them on the seat on the tube – on the few occasions I went to London.  I slip them under the windscreen wipers of nice looking cars. Indeed, I have not been above sticking fridge magnets with them on to lamp posts in my locale. Sometimes I even leave whole books. I have even convinced myself that all this works because I have been contacted by a fellow who went home and bought both my books after he and his wife started reading a copy one I left on the shelves in Costa.

Perhaps it sounds a bit strange but all this clandestine activity makes me feel better. As if I am at least pushing the envelope, even if I seem spectacularly unable to push my actual books onto anyone.

It’s easy to get disheartened being an author, even about the things that make you happy, so, for example, a while back, an author friend had a book picked as a read of the month on a forum I visit. I was genuinely over the moon for him because he’d missed out for so long. But it also made me feel a bit disheartened because it occurred to me that of the authors I know well, in the cyber sense, on that forum, I am now the only one who hasn’t ever had a book read in the monthly reads thing. Occasionally stuff like that catches me on the hop and makes me churlishly low – even while I’m being delighted for someone else. I suspect it’s because books are very personal things to write so it’s easy to take that sort of thing the wrong way and feel like the kid in the playground nobody wants to talk to.

Well, we all go through these ups and downs but folks, if you’re going through a down like that I proscribe a bit of stealth marketing, or, if you read books rather than write them, try a bit of cathartic eyebombing. Seriously, it’s a hoot and it’ll pep you up in no time.

So anyway,  it was with much amusement that I read this post on indie hero recently confirming  two things. First, I am not the only one who likes a bit of stealth – he calls it guerilla marketing. Second – tsk – I missed a trick.

I must make myself some stickers.

31 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

Even More McMini

Oh deary me, another one of those weeks, I foolishly volunteered to do a blog meme, thinking I could easily rustle up three victi er hem sorry, three nominees to pass it on to. I have two happily queued up and ready but can I find a third one? No. I have four but two who will break the chain. Even worse, it’s only as I answer the questions that I realise I’ve actually done something very similar before.

Note to self. No memes. No blog chains. Nada. Zilch. Ever again. Why adding a few million links to a blog post should take so long I don’t know but it does. Also, as I’m facing a couple of weeks sans internet, I’ve been scheduling some posts to appear in my electronic absence. Unfortunately, this means I’ve spent all week working on my blog without actually posting anything.

Chaos Fairies 1: Efficiency 0

Never mind, onwards and upwards. I thought I would share some of the latest gems from McMini, so here they are.

On April Fool’s day…
W
e went to the park. Wisely, because the lavatories are at the opposite end to the swings, we went to the bogs first.

“Mummy I need a poo,” said McMini.
“Oh dear, do you? Alright, hang on and I’ll come in with you.”
McMini stood in front of the loo with his hands behind his head.
“Shouldn’t you sit down for a poo?”
“No. I’m only having a wee.”
“Might I suggest that you hold it and aim it for greater accuracy.”
“Oh no Mummy, I much prefer doing it like this, and it’s alright I don’t need a poo. It’s April False day remember? I was just falsing you.”

I put him straight, on both counts.

On his reading assignments…
“Mummy I wish I didn’t have to read a book every night, they are terribly long.”
“Yes, they are but a lot of them are quite fun and you read them very well. Anyway, you don’t remember to change your book every night do you? So technically, you don’t read one every night.”
“True…”
“So what happens if you fail to read your book?”
“We have to sit with one of the big year olds and read it the next day. And it’s always the same big year old.”
“You don’t like that, then?”
“No.”
I laughed at this and told him that I thought ‘big year olds’ was brilliant. I kept forgetting it and asking him to remind me.
“Oh Mummy you really are a porridge brain,” he rolled his eyes. “Come on, say it after me, Big. Year. Olds.”
“Big year olds. Right.”
“Got it?”
“Got it.”

On biology…
I told him he was getting much taller and that I couldn’t believe he grew inside my tummy. He stopped for a moment in shocked silence.

“Mummy, I didn’t grow inside your tummy. I am a boy. I grew inside Daddy’s tummy.”
“No, it takes a man and a lady to make a baby but everyone, girls and boys, grows inside the Mummy.”
“Oh. Are you certain Mummy?”
“Very.”
“So did I just grow?”
“No, Daddy helped.”
“How?”
“Well, men and ladies are made to fit together. The lady’s bits go in and the man’s bits go out like putting a plug into a socket. Then they have a very special cuddle and it makes a baby.”
“Can I have a special cuddle Mummy?”
“Not with me sunshine and certainly not yet. Special cuddles are only for grown ups.”

This was the point where half of me was standing outside myself, looking at what was going on, thinking “holy shit how did I get into this?” The key with these, is to offer enough information to shut them up without them a) getting more interested or b) saying or doing anything weird at school. I think I got away with it but I am beginning to understand why they used to feed kids all that bollocks about storks.

In church…
Loudly, during a particularly quiet, prayerful bit.

“Mummy, I have just done a fart and I can smell it and it’s a really stinky one.”
“Would you like to nip out and have a poo?”
“No, it’s OK, Mummy, I am fine.”
A few seconds later.
“Actually Mummy, I do need a poo.”
There was giggling from the other members of the congregation as we walked out.

At the Altar Rail…
After a lot of lively chat to me about robots and lego StarWars figures I told him he must try to be a little quieter now because people around us were trying to pray.

“Why don’t you try saying a couple of prayers? I’m going to.”
McMini screwed his eyes tight shut and buried his head on his hands. I knew he was really concentrating because only his legs were wriggling. After about 10 seconds he looked up.
“Mummy, I am having a lovely chat with God.”
“Good stuff little one. You carry on.”

Another at the alter rail conversation:

“Mummy, you’re not going to die soon, are you?”
“I hope not. I will at some stage because everyone does but hopefully not yet.”
“Are Annie and Poppa and Gramma and Pappa going to die soon?”
“Not for a while yet, I hope.”
“But they will die before I do?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so.”
“Where do we go to get new Grandparents to replace them?”
“Well… it doesn’t work like that. They’re relatives, so when they die, there’s no-one to replace them.”
“Oh…”

Later that day….

“Mummy Annie laid* you. Who laid Annie?”
“Annie’s Mum, my Granny [name redacted].”
“Oh… who laid her?”
“I think my great, great Granny’s name was ….”
Long thoughtful silence.
“I see….”

On Manners….
While Enthusiastically Eating a Jaffa Cake, also in Church.

“Mummy look! I am ripping it like a dinosaur.”

Still in Church, still in a quiet bit…

“Look!” McMini held up a picture he’d drawn. “he is a baddy cowboy.” McMini then coloured his eyes in brown. “See? He has brown fire coming out of his eyes!”
“Brown Fire sounds like a euphemism for something else.”
“No it’s not brown fire Mummy. It’s pooh. He has pooh coming out of his eyes in big brown pooy streams.”
“Ah…” I replied as the people in the pew behind started giggling. What else could I say?

On school…

A sweet, friendly guest asked him, “Are you at school?”
“Yes.”
“Do you enjoy school?”
“Oh yes,” he said with enthusiasm.
“What’s your favourite lesson?”
“Lunch time.”

On history…
McMini told McOther a long and complicated story about a little girl called Frank who had hidden in a house under a bed from an evil soldier called Hitme. We later discovered that one of his friends had been to Holland over the holidays where she had visited Anne Frank’s house and told McMini all about it.

On cleanliness…
When I was trying to hurry him up going to bed – which takes a sod of a long time, believe me…

“Please will you stay here and play some more, Mummy?”
“I wish I could but I can’t. I have to go and cook your Dad’s tea and have a shower.”
“You don’t need a shower Mummy, you’re very fragrant as you are.”

In Church…
As the Gospel was read from the middle of the aisle, McMini moved over to where the bloke with the incense thingummy (the thurither) was swinging the incense container (the thurible). Slowly but surely he held out his biscuit, kippering it gently over the smoke. Needless to say the thurither (try saying that with your mouth full) started swinging it a bit further in McMini’s direction. Finally, wee man shuffled back to me, kippered gingernut triumphantly in hand.

“Mummy that incense smells delicious!” he said.

* Like an egg as in gave birth to.

24 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

An ad hoc sort of world: Introducing Mr Jim Webster and the Tsarina Sector.

This week, I am mostly featuring a guest post by my good cyber friend and fellow writer, Jim Webster. I have voraciously consumed Jim’s fantasy books and now he is dipping his toe in the water of Science Fiction Whodunnits – is that a genre? I guess it is now – I will be voraciously consuming them an’ all. Jim’s new book, Justice-4-1, Tsarina-Sector will be out soon. You can check it out on his author page at Safkhet – his publishers – here, while his author page on Amazon, which gives you details of all his books, is here.

Right then, take it away….. Jim.

Jim Webster standing in front of a hedge he made earlier.

Jim Webster standing in front of a hedge he made earlier.

When I got the idea for ‘Justice 4.1’ I had a world in mind. I’ve read a lot of SF and Fantasy over the years, and I’ve ‘lived’ vicariously in many, many worlds. I wanted mine to be different.

Firstly I wanted the reader to like the world, to feel sympathy for it, to feel as if they might like to live there. After all if I’m writing a book about someone trying to save their world, if you don’t like the world, you are likely to wonder why they bother.

Secondly I wanted the world to be complex. I wanted a range of technologies, a range of lifestyles, a lot of different communities who all had their own rules, mores, cultural norms, but who somehow managed to rub along without too much bickering on the margins. This is something that probably stems from my love of work of the late, great, Jack Vance. He was a master of creating strange but somehow convincing communities and cultures.

Finally I wanted a world that was somehow ‘just getting by.’ Not actual poverty, just a series of hasty improvisations to keep the show on the road. Here I think I was influenced by a lifetime in agriculture. I can tackle most things, but if I ever had to do something properly, using the proper tools and the proper materials and document it properly, I’d be lost. So I ended up with Tsarina, a world that “wasn’t as much colonised as infected by humanity – explored for the sake of completeness and named after the exploration ship’s purser’s dog.”

And the people? Well I long ago learned that there are no ordinary people. Stop and talk to them, walk a mile in their shoes, and you realise that ‘ordinary people’ do extraordinary things all the time. So I assembled my cast from such people, amongst my heroes are insurance loss adjusters, a pop station DJ and a middle aged traffic cop.

And the villain? Surely we’ve got to have a really good villain, dyed in the wool evil, cunning, with subtle plans that will subjugate star systems and bend worlds to his will. Well, here you’re in luck. We have. Probably.

Thank you Jim. I hope your villain is evil, I like a good baddie gah no an oxymorn… but you see what I mean.

You can buy the Tsarina Sector from Amazon UK here and from Amazon US here. You can also read an exerpt right NOW on this blog. HERE!

Tsarina book coverThe flitter was hardly luxurious. It was a spacious workhorse with just enough concessions to comfort to deter personal injury claims from those who hired it. At the moment, it loitered over the northern highlands of the Border Kingdoms at a safe altitude. To their north, the highlands rose steadily until they became snow-capped and were lost in the clouds. Below them was a jumbled badlands of gorges and ridges, twisted rock, frost-shattered and crumbling. Wheeling below them was a pair of great four-winged aradons, keen-eyed carrion feeders. In the distance, perhaps five miles away, Kilonwin Kardoverin could just make out what might be another pair. As far as he could tell, they were the only signs of life in sight. He looked down; even with vision enhancers, the ridges showed virtually no sign of life. He counted three stunted bushes with occasional blades of grass poking through the loose scree.

Kardoverin strapped himself into the co-pilot seat and fiddled with the camera array, determined to get as much footage as possible. Kardoverin had a reputation in the industry as one of the best documentary makers in the sector. This reputation was based on arrogance, a casual disregard for personal safety, and painstaking camera work. He was reputed to get five times as much material as was needed, even for top quality holo work. He turned to the pilot. “Can we get lower? I’d like to film into those gorges.”

“Why?”

“Well, there’s damn all up here.”

“Why not zoom?” The pilot sounded nervous.

“They’re in heavy shadow.”

“Look, this is the Border Kingdoms, it isn’t safe.”

Kardoverin adjusted the central rig and raked the peripheral arrays so that they covered both flanks.

“Take us down fast; we’ll be through and out.”

“They’re barbarians! They shoot at people.”

“With black powder weapons.” Kardoverin’s tone was dismissive as he checked the satellite relay. It seemed to be working perfectly. “Look, just go in, one quick fly-through. It isn’t as if I’m asking you to land, or even hover.”

The pilot muttered something blasphemous under his breath and brought the flitter round. “I’ll take us up that gorge on the left, it’s narrower. Being so overcast, it’s less likely to be inhabited.”

He opened the throttle and brought the bow of the flitter sharply down. The clumsy craft accelerated rather faster than Kardoverin had expected, and he hastily checked the camera focus. This model of vehicle was effectively a rectangular box which flew and had little consideration of style. But for his purposes, the open top meant it had been comparatively easy to fit the cameras. The pilot brought them down sharply, heading south, gaining speed as he lost altitude. Then suddenly, he spun the controls and the flitter turned and banked so sharply Kardoverin felt himself hanging in the harness. Then the pilot pointed the nose of his craft straight into the mouth of the gorge, still dropping and gaining speed. As they entered between the towering rock walls, they were barely twenty feet above the ground and moving faster than Kardoverin would have believed possible. Kardoverin kept his eyes on the monitors, running his fingers over the controls in front of him, altering the zoom, the angle, the filters. They were deep in the gorge now and the boxy craft was travelling at breakneck speed. Kardoverin constantly re-adjusted the controls. “Isn’t this a bit fast?”

The pilot’s answer came through clenched teeth. “If I could go faster, I would. I want us out of here and—” He paused. “Oh hell, we are in deep—”

There was a staccato rattle of automatic weapons fire from one side. The burst struck the pilot, jerking his body against the seat harness. Kardoverin tore his gaze from the monitors and looked towards where the noise had come from. The second burst hit the front of the flitter, and the engine began to whine. Kardoverin frantically unbuckled his harness and stood up to reach over the pilot’s body for the controls. The third burst struck him in the chest, spun him round and left him draped over the side of the flitter. Thirty seconds later, with no one at the controls, the flitter struck the rock wall of the gorge and exploded.

Wow. So, that was an excerpt from Justice 4.1 The Tsarina Sector. If you would like to find out more or stalk Jim on social media you can do so in the following places:

Find out more about Jim:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/
Smashwords:   https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/fjpwebster
Safkhet publishing:  http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/authors/Jim_Webster.htm

Stalk Jim on Social Media:
Blog: http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22998.Jim_Webster
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JimWebster6

Find out more about the book:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TsarinaSector
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1908208236/
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1908208236/

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Updates, General Wittering

Box 010: Number 11, C. E. Martin

Well hello, and after a bit of a hiatus, welcome, once again, to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, except in the holidays when I turn into Mumzilla and everything goes a bit mental, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is C. E. Martin. He writes paranormal military thrillers, now there’s a genre mash up. Nice. He has written the Stone Soldiers Series. The first book is called Mythical and you can find more details about it at the bottom of the page.  You can find more about Stone Soldiers on his website here.

Hello C. E. from me M T. So, before you launch into your cathartic rant, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, yes I would. I reside in the midwest with my wife and two daughters.

After serving four years in the USAF, I returned to the midwest in 1994. Toiling by day as a civil servant, I enjoy reading classic pulp novels and watching B Movies in spare time.

Oh you are a man after my own heart. I love B Movies. So, what else do you do when you’re not writing.

I lurk around the internet or on Xbox Live–when my kids let me have the TV.

I can just about manage Lego StarWars on my phone so that’s impressed me straight up. Right then, let’s get onto your rant. What is the first thing that you would like to see wiped from the face of history?

Easy. My first item is Hippies. Here in America, hippies radically changed society with their free love, drugs and romanticized communism. Personally, I think they are the root of many of our society’s problems. Especially now that they’re old and gray and fill my tv with their old age sex drug ads. Egads you nasty old dopers, I don’t want to know what you do in your private lives or that you need drugs to do it. Go in the forest and hug a tree or something.

Ooooo controversy! And that bit about aged sex dopers fills my mind with horrible images. Phnark. OK, onto your second item.

My second item is fraudumentaries. I’m talking about stuff like Animal Planet’s mermaid show (Mermaids: the Body Found) or Discovery’s giant shark special. Dammit, stop trying to trick people into believing your fiction is real. You’re not Orson Wells and this isn’t War of the Worlds.

Woah! Sounds completely barking. We used to have a newspaper like that called the Sunday Sport. Luckily nobody took it seriously though. Onwards and upwards then. That is THING 3?

My third bugbear is Romance/erotica Novels. First off, why is it so terrible for men to read Playboy but women can read novel after novel about heaving bosoms and long-haired Fabio wannabes? I call Fifty Shades of Hypocracy on that one. Secondly, Romance/erotica is a HUGE portion of the book market. If those books didn’t exist, readers might have to turn to something else… Like paranormal military thrillers (which I happen to write).

Mwah ha hahargh! You and me both! Actually I enjoy Romance but without the squelchy bits – I think they call that cosy. Erotica is a bit hard for me (phnar phnar). I tried to write a proper sex scene once and it was one of the funniest pieces of writing I’ve ever done… but in so not the right way. Phnark. 

My fourth item is low fat foods. Okay, people, if you want to lose weight get off the couch and get some self-control. I am so sick of accidentally buying food with a bunch of low-fat chemicals in them that tastes like crap. Give me some real fat with some real flavor. Chemicals belong in a lab.

Tell me about it.  I, too would rather just eat less of the full fat version. I’m not too excited about forms of pretend sugar either. Right then, what is your fifth and final item?

My fifth item is American versions of British TV shows. When I was growing up we loved Benny Hill, Monty Python and the Avengers. What happened? Why do popular British shows now have to be remade for America? We speak the same darn language! And name one American remake that’s half as good as the BBC original. Everyone else in the world watches Top Gear. Why does the USA need their own, far less entertaining version? Top Gear even comes to America once a year!

C. E. Martin. Thank you very much for joining me today. Now it’s time to vote. You can find more information about the first book in the Stone Soldiers Series, Mythical – along with details of where you can stalk C. E. Martin on the interweb below the poll. Join us next week when we find out how many of C. E. Martin’s pet hates you have voted into the black hole of existence for ever.

Mythical, Stone Soldiers Series #1

Colonel Mark Kenslir is the last of the Cold War supersoldiers–and he’s just come back from the dead.

Sent to Arizona to hunt a heart-devouring shapeshifter, Colonel Kenslir and his team of supernatural-smashing soldiers thought it was just another mission. But instead of stopping the monster’s murderous rampage, Kenslir and his stone soldiers became the latest victims in a trail of carnage blazed across the southwest.

Suffering from partial amnesia, with no weapons and no support, Kenslir must rely on two reluctant teens to help him remember his past, complete his final mission and avenge his men.

You can stalk C. E. Martin on the internet in the following places:

Http://www.StoneSoldiers.info
Http://www.facebook.com/CEMartin.Author
@troglodad
http://www.amazon.com/C.E.-Martin/e/B0089W99VC/

4 Comments

Filed under Box 010

Results. Box 010: Number 1, Michael Brookes

This week’s special guest was Michael Brookes author of The Cult of Me’ and its brand-new, just-published sequel, ‘Conversations in the Abyss’. You can find his Amazon author page here or visit his blog here.

Well everyone, the votes are finally in and I am delighted to report that two of Michael’s choices have been voted into Box 010. Yes, here they are:

  1. People who drive without lights in fog.
  2. Film remakes.

Michael, thank you for joining us, we will put your choices into Box 010, with great glee, I might add, and seal the lid closed with an industrial sized nail gun, oh, and a great deal of super glue.

Thank you for joining us. Next week Simon Royale will be joining us with some more items to put into Box 010.


Leave a comment

Filed under General Wittering