From Unexpected Places (Something Concerning Odd Motivations)

Inspiration and Themes

It’s another ‘You know how it goes’ . You’ve finished your latest work, truly finished. The end was reached the several re-writes, editings, and other associated efforts have been navigated. (Including the occasional episode when the book cover was being put in place, the artist adds a little something and you thought ‘Wow, I have to fit that into the narrative!! ‘ And under the spell of the image you unravel some little part……). All this attended to by one means or another your work is then made available to the public and belongs unto the Ages.

Thus, should follow an interlude of rest and repose. Working at a factory pace does not suit Creativity or Perspective. A writer should not find, one morning their writing has become a chore they feel they must do. Writing should either come from the joy or the restlessness to see ideas taking shape as words. A ‘Because’ not a ‘Have To’.

So time to look at a Fantasy idea. There might be promise there. I would attend. I started.

And stopped. Basically, although there were a couple of amusing bits, it was not working; the word ‘Re-hash’ kept cropping up whenever I read the day’s output. Ah well, something to be left for another day….

Time to revisit the Quantum Space Opera project. On to the opening chapter. There was that word ‘Re-hash’ again. Seems I had invested so much time and effort into my previous project my creativity was still running on the loop. BlogBattle challenges were welcome, making me move elsewhere, but left to my own devices I was running in that loop. The one hope I had was another word… ‘Screwball’ as in 1930s and 1940s Comedy Films, in short when stuck, look for something outside of Serious. There was inspiration here because when scrolling through the Audio Book selection of SF, and seeing the endless lists of Genocidal Aliens, Ancient Long Forgotten Evils, Another Colonial Marines / WH40K Space Marines series one phrase kept popping into my creative mind when relating to the evil protagonists…. ‘Their heads fell off’; it broke the monotony. Thinking there might be a start of a way out, I pondered on this phrase. Now obviously such a gem had to be used sparingly, or if the pace was very fast with mocking frequency. The plot still eluded me though. Even the great Robert Sheckley would not build an entire book around heads falling off, maybe a chapter or paragraph here or there but he was a master of his art / craft. No, the whole structure needed more thought. Still, it was a start.

Buoyed by this slender hope, the musing phase started, as to what would prompt such a statement and where would the exclamation or discovery fit it. Musing on such an aspect does not require a serious frame of mind; irreverently speculative would be a better turn of phrase. Such a state is of course very volatile and unpredictable. In consequence it was with some delight, although not surprise, that bursting into the musing came a small scenario drenched with very inappropriate and excessively farcical humour based on a misunderstanding in verbal translation. There were inane sniggers, for it is a fact of Male Human Nature that no matter their age, life experience, social standing or professional achievements no man ever rids himself of that adolescent streak. However, this ‘situation’ arose, the attendant, events leading up to, social interactions, ramifications, motivations etc were causing the dust of musing to coalesce. The original slender thread of the plot began to take on shape, birthed by an urge to place both comic ideas into some context. They would only be additions of course to a deeper and wider narrative, but in doing so gave some basis and inspiration for getting there. ‘The plot became the thing, wherein the comedy I could bring’ (sorry about that Mr. Shakespeare- no apologies to you Hamlet, to me you always were a royal pain)

Now the words and the possibilities are forming with some ease. Being of the ‘Pantser’ school I have not much of an idea where this particular project is going to go. But if I did, where would the fun in that be?? No, I’m just going enjoy the whole uncertainty happy in the security of the knowledge someone, somewhere, will be involved in a humorously unfortunate incident and some group with suffer from sudden detachment of heads.

Oh, in case anyone was wondering. The Quantum aspect? In comparison with starting a plot for a book, simply no trouble at all to fit in.

Here’s to Inspiration, no matter where or how the dear muse should turn up.

And I do believe I have inadvertently created a template for a book cover.

As Legions Before Us. We Will Be Tested

Child victim of War

Foreword: Two previous attempts at this post binned; five days of rehearsing paragraphs in my head before they made it to the page, and I still don’t know if  it is even close to the original intention. The drive would not let me rest though. Bear with me. Encapsulating these aspects of The Human Condition were never destined to be easy.

Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, then Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Northern Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Niger (to name but seven of the approximately twenty plus conflicts in Africa), Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, (blink and you might miss those two) and now a war in Ukraine which is coming into its eighth year when shorn of the curtain of a fight for independence by minorities was elevated to one which cannot be avoided. These are the sometime headline ones; not the ones packaged into small items on the brutally repressive regimes and the bloody conflicts between communities or criminal gangs.

Ukraine. If we are starkly honest with ourselves, and this is a time to be so, this one takes hold of us by the heart and mind, because those folk and their towns look so very similar to our own. And in the next sentences I walk a literary minefield. Do we notice more because of the colour of their skins. Yes? For the simple reason that familiarity brings a greater degree of emotion. Deep inside lurks the feeling with a myriad of deeper causes ‘That could be me. Us,’  You can’t stop it. No more than someone native to any of the nations above would bitterly think ‘Welcome to our world. You, of The First World,’ Human nature: You might be blessed enough to have the gift of Thinking Before Speaking; dare anyone here claim they have the gift of Perception Before Feeling? You will have to accept, I don’t believe you. No person has that sort of Objectivity. The Invasion of Ukraine, an industrial powered, visceral, savage, unavoidable, twenty-four seven media reminder what has been going on non-stop somewhere, sometime, somehow. For some folk who follow the world news, maybe the last straw. If anyone out there and has been weeping, threshing, howling, shutting down their TV or laptop save for rom-coms, sports feeds, domestic themed shows, or wildlife documentaries….I for one don’t blame you. Just come back to us some time.

And of course there are those issues on your doorstep. Pandemic, voter suppression, job security, rising prices, civil rights, domestic and civic violence, environmental concerns; those for examples. We agonise and rage over what is happening in Ukraine, but we worry about doorstep issues. We even might taste fear over one or more of them, dread them starting to link up, like a series of small forest fires merging into one vast wall of speeding immolation.

A short while back, I wrote about the importance of Hope. A plea to not to give way to despair. In all honesty an easier work to write. This is about the application of Hope. … Firstly we can all Hope, and we can all believe we will sustain the intention in a good way. Until our own Reality comes in; the inescapable truth of a War in The First World. Not just in the fierce imposition of the media, or the stream of consciousness interchanges between others. It comes creeping up on us. Sometimes swirling about us when we planned on going to sleep, or maybe dragging us out of a restless half-place, or maybe hovering there while we go about our daily chores, worse intruding upon our leisure time asking ‘Should you be….’  

You will be tested. I cannot predict how, where or when. I can tell you those myriad of emotions you are feeling are part of rehearsal. Steady yourself for a journey into a Batman’s Gotham City grotesque warping of Doctor Suess’ ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’. You could already be finding you are wishing one man dead, perhaps joyfully celebrating resistance and shrugging at the sight of dead Russian soldiers, bitterly seeing those in your country who are ‘soft’ on Russia as not just wrong or nuisances but traitors and possibly paid by Moscow. Be prepared to be feeling emotions beyond anger, to find callousness has become part of your prism. You will be drawn in. Conflict and War are most adept at justifying; the shock being you will believe, In This Case, it was right to embrace them. If you ever thought you were angry over something outside of your own personal life, now you are stepping up (or down-depends on your viewpoint) a piece. Beware how you tread; an emotional solution the Ukraine could became your template for problems at home. You might well feel fatigue at some stage, taking comfort when the news slips down the ratings…’Can’t be so bad anymore?’ Really?

Those words disturb you? Do you feel I have stepped too far into incitement, a tabloid rabble-rouser, safe in his age and home? Are you, instead nodding your head and invoking battle criesIf You Want Peace Prepare For War’, ‘Democracies Don’t Start Wars. We Finish Them,’ ‘Justifiable War. It’s In The Bible’ (it’s not actually -Augustine of Hippo might have been the first to write on the subject). Or are you shaking your head and thinking What is he on about? I don’t understand where he is going with this?’. Perhaps you are there gnawing on your lips and saying ‘Well. Yes. But there has to be a better way. There must be. Surely we can’t keep on killing. Can we?’. There we are then. You, me, others; drawn into in a confused internal conflict where principals, ethics we are told about and the ever raw emotions collide, maybe merging in pairs or a trio only to fly apart like some of the more exquisite subatomic particles, or remain in constant antagonism. Whichever; they will plague us with a constant restlessness, even if that be only a far off rumbling of someone else’s storm.

You might cryTested? I did not sign up for this!’ Well sorry soldier, The Human World’s dynamics has the monopoly on this particular conscription, switch on some communication,  step, outside the door. Yep. You’re drafted. Even trying to be detached is some kind of statement. Your only other option is Hermitage while trying to avoid the Media finding out about you and placing you in today’s circus side-show.   

Regrettably there are no test-papers, no Yes/No/Maybe forms to fill in or on-line courses for you to tackle to see if you have passed as an In-Tune Human. (We don’t count social media for this circumstance, there are too many opportunities for pollution by those who wouldn’t even qualify for consideration to try the test; they come from Right, Left and up underneath). Thus you justifiably ask ‘You are telling me an awful lot of grim stuff. Is that all you are dealing in this time. Some Old Testament prophet re-enactments?’ 

Well, maybe. Or look at it this way. This is a journey. The weather is unsettled, make sure you carry an umbrella, a hat, and a shower proof jacket in a back-pack. Ones woven with judgement, perception and reflection. Unsettled weather. Best carry a bottle of cool reason ease the parched feeling brought on by the sudden heatwave of anger. Take opportunities to find yourself some shelter to get out of the extremes; wait for the breaks, indulge yourself in the respite. If you can grasp a short span of calm and understanding, a wish to be charitable or helpful in some positive and constructive way, thus you are coping, you are not destroying. ‘So far so good’; ‘I could have done worse’ ;’I’ll know better next time’  Maybe not the most positive of statements or evaluations, but, in testing times perpetual excellence leads to burn out, or worse Arrogance – the doorway to…..too many bad choices.

To conclude The Testing will not end in the foreseeable future. Your continued, dogged, sanguine efforts to help the victims and stand against oppression mixed with the realisation we are all fated to stumble at times, not living up to expectations; these will be part of the way upwards and outwards. Surviving and then washing away this latest deluge of the dross of Ignorance and Aggression.

Take care of yourselves folks. You are a precious resource.

I Ask Of You A Difficult Task

Truth be known. Some might think this as two tasks. Some might feel the source material and sentiments are not appropriate. Stay with me though.

Firstly I would ask you to read the following Russian (there’s the current trigger word) WWII poem by writer and war correspondent Konstantin Simonov, written in 1941 to actress Velentina Serova. The moving work was carried by many USSR soldiers, wrapped with a picture of their wife or girlfriend, it became an unofficial icon, a means of coping, a hope the bearer would survive.

Wait for Me

Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
Wait with all you’ve got!
Wait, when dreary yellow rains
Tell you, you should not.
Wait when snow is falling fast,
Wait when summer’s hot,
Wait when yesterdays are past,
Others are forgot.
Wait, when from that far-off place,
Letters don’t arrive.
Wait, when those with whom you wait
Doubt if I’m alive.

Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
Wait in patience yet
When they tell you off by heart
That you should forget.
Even when my dearest ones
Say that I am lost,
Even when my friends give up,
Sit and count the cost,
Drink a glass of bitter wine
To the fallen friend –
Wait! And do not drink with them!
Wait until the end!

Wait for me and I’ll come back,
Dodging every fate!
“What a bit of luck!” they’ll say,
Those that did not wait.
They will never understand
How amidst the strife,
By your waiting for me, dear,
You had saved my life.
How I made it, we shall know,
Only you and I.
You alone knew how to wait –
We alone know why!

That was the easy part.

Now I want you to think of that poem not as a soldier to his love, I want you to see the writer as HOPE, writing to you. I ask you to not to think on how moving to read of such intimacy between two people. I want you to think of this notion HOPE we hold so dear, speaking to you. Of course, within you, some of the words and phrases will change to fit your perceptions, this is fine; the necessity is to cling to HOPE.

In the spirt of the poem this is not the soft HOPE we all evoke ‘Gee I hope things will be better’ and then leaving the rest to someone or something else. This is the dogged, persistent HOPE in the face of all seeming evidence to the contrary. The one which keeps us carrying on and not falling into the mires of Fear, Dread, Despair or those wretched excuses for not wishing to face Reality: Conspiracy Theories and Fashionable Cynicism. HOPE which takes you beyond the boundaries of Reason. HOPE which all your experience thus far tells you is a naïve and pointless exercise, because all the evidence, dependant on the situation is whispering or screaming at you there is nothing left but Doom and Gloom, ‘Roll up all the maps’  ‘Shred those inspirational posters’  ‘Sing nothing but lamentations,’ …….and so on. Yet, HOPE is there, just because.

This HOPE is a hard Task-Maker. It does not promise you perfect solutions. It does not try to sell you The Happy Dawn or The Cheerful Ending, Song (and roll credits) This HOPE is about the beginning, the one which is unsatisfactory but better than all the alternatives which could arise. This is the HOPE for a grudging end to fighting and an ill-humoured backing off. This is the HOPE which serves up rations, blankets and some shelter, to stave off the hunger, the dispassionate elements of weather and the fear. But this is the HOPE which lays the groundwork for other HOPES to seed and grow and from them even brighter ones and so on.

This is a tough HOPE. It is used to being mistaken for and called other names such as Fatalism, Cynicism, Realpolitik or Pragmatism. This HOPE knows them well and sometimes even rides in on their vehicles, grinning knowingly because it has turned them to its use.

This HOPE knows it treads a lonely and harsh road. Yet it bids you follows, for without this rough companion your eyes are clouded with grey hopelessness or blood red rage, your ears are filled with screams which will not be blocked out, your meals taste of ashes and you smell burning and dead. Your thoughts are ragged, your heart turns to a husk and your capacities for Compassion, Tolerance and Respect wither away to a sharp stalks fit only to be used to lash out in futility as you stagger in a haze seeking a solace which in the paradox of human nature you deny; Hopelessness.

Wait therefore, beyond the roiling caused by emotions of the latest media feed, and the confusion of a myriad of discordant sounds. Wait not for the perfect dawn, the soft tender brush of first sunlight, the cheer of birdsong and the growing warmth of day. HOPE as you wait for the coming soon of night’s end; HOPE for the storm and the chill to end; HOPE your shelter will hold fast. Then as you rise HOPING for HOPE, embrace its own patch of warmth, its sliver of comfort, its whisper that your HOPE is one voice in a choir which despite all that may be visible never stopped singing HOPE‘s song. For all The World

You may scoff, you may doubt, you may even wonder just what this post was about. You should not be surprised to feel so, I did give you advanced warning of what was ahead.

You may go away, feeling you’ve ‘Got it’. Then in unknown days ahead come to feel the return of the burden of the media feed and things you feel you have learnt and your hold on HOPE start to lessen. You should not feel surprise to feel those either, I know I will. Thus you must return to holding tight to the rough calloused hand of this HOPE.

A Difficult Task to consistently HOPE with all your heart.

A Woman Unbowed. Wish Her Well.

Mohadese Mirzaee

23 year old Mohadese Mirzaee became the first female commercial pilot in Afghanistan. With the arrival of the Taliban she fled her home and currently lives in Bulgaria. Determined to continue with her ambition and nurture her talent.

May her ambitions be fulfilled, her courage and determination be rewarded.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/nov/16/mohadese-mirzaee-female-afghan-pilot-refuses-to-be-grounded-taliban?fbclid=IwAR0cQfcKsJjsjLnIqzNQBvGiuPVXsV24-hT2hPo8FFg9EpbxnvC6bHfYZdg

  

Restless

Sailing Ship

I must go back to a narrative again, to follow the Muse’s eternal cry

And all I ask is my laptop and an idea to guide me by

(Thank you John Masefield for Sea Fever)

You finish one project, it’s taken you quite a while, you’ve experienced all the varying emotions, you’ve fought through the ‘Why Am I Bothering’  fug, you’ve edited or negotiated editing, all typos etc have been sought out, a book cover was navigated you have striven with marketing  and finally the work is ‘Out There’ . Then you might think to yourself ‘ I deserve a rest,’

Of course you do

And yet to visit another nautical bit of plagiarism from a jolly yarn.

‘Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November* in my soul [a few more ‘whenevers’ have been omitted Melville being Melville ] …….. then, I account it high time to get to my paper and laptop as soon as I can’  

In short. Do writers ever rest? Did not one plot have away in its unused corners threads and motes which begged examination? Was there not a minor character whose shadow would dog your heels and whisper possibilities? On some journey, be it physical, of the imagination, or amongst the other tangles of human consciousness was there not a murmuring of creativity beginning to coalesce?  Or did something just come into a writer’s head, a modest literary version of The Big Bang?

Ever wonderous, and tortuous is Creativity, calling you on. Embrace the Restlessness, it requires you to fulfil.

Would we have these feelings any other way?   

*Actually those are qualities which make November my favourite month. It marks the finality of the Summer’s assault on my senses – I know, singular. Anyway it has set loose my own restlessness- two projects are beckoning. One SF which requires a dip in Quantum Physics and Mechanics and might take some time (Quantum and Time, now there’s a paradox in the making). The other, that’s a follow on from my previous work, a generation later, and I have not the faintest idea what the plot might be, but one of the Muses is insisting I get writing. Ah good ol’ stream of consciousness, what little nuggets might there be amongst all the silt which will come forth from the dredging. 

  

 

5 Days of Marketing… Well, That Was Interesting

Firstly, there was nothing new in the option, process, call it what you will. Books uploaded on Kindle and as a Promotion Option select a number of days…Free. I’ve taken that pathway before and notched up maybe 10, 15 tops on each occasion, and no reviews, the latter is understandable, more about that later.

This time I decided ‘What The Heck’ and put the whole trilogy up as Free, to summarise for those new hereabouts:

Of Patchwork WarriorsSkirmishersthe-gilrs-in-yermetz-in-finality

The results were, to repeat……interesting. Now maybe it was the chance to snap up an entire trilogy for nothing or maybe it was the stunning art work on Vol 2 & 3 by Matthew David Sharpe See FaceBook or Odiousrule on Instagram. It certainly was not my haphazard, chaotic, sometimes barely visible Marketing stratagems. Anyway as of today 1st November 2021 at 08:54 GMT the totals are 2 sold and 110 taken up for free. Well that was different. I’m not certain of the breakdowns because neither figure divide into 3, and there are various permutations: Taking up the whole trilogy; opting for Volume 1 as a tester; taking Volume 2 and/or 3 to get the full set. Who knows?

Of course there always have to be perspectives on these matters. A noticeable take-up on a free offer, does not signify the beginnings of a writing success; you have to be practical and consider the paring down. Not everyone who picks up a free book will read it, not everyone who intends to read a book free or purchased gets around to reading it straight away; (I have five sitting in my Kindle and have given myself strict orders to read them, no excuses); not everyone who reads a book even if they like it finds time to rate or review; not everyone who takes the time to place a review is going to complete the book and the review within but two weeks and finally not everyone who breaches those previous ‘nots’ is going to be kind about the business. To name but three Brandon Sanderson, George R. R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie may get 5,000 to 15,000 ratings with 80% 5 star and many positive reviews but not everyone is at their standard or has that sort of following. Thus the sense of perspective is vital to avoid any crashing disappointments, just file the whole event in the ‘Interesting’ category and see if anything else comes of ‘The October 2021 Initiative’.  

This, therefore, is not a post of the sort which suggests ‘A Way’ . No, this is nothing more than one writer recording an event which was, and it cannot be stressed enough, …’interesting’ (in a modest way of course). I will of course follow the progress, what author wouldn’t? But will only report back my findings at the end of 2021. Did this ‘interesting’ pick up have any profitable (not in terms of monetary gain) results? Who knows?

Meanwhile back to reading, jotting down notes for a Space Opera SF, which may or may not see the light of day. As maybe writing up more on the trilogy of its own little blog 

The Precipice Dominions

It does need up-dating.

Show Don’t Tell

Writers starting off, floundering a bit, wondering which way to go or reflecting on whether they should or should not continue will be aware there is something approaching an article of faith which is: A Writer Should Show Not Tell’

Just out of whimsey, as it were, I typed in ‘Show not Tell’ on Google and the busy little search engine proudly informed me that in 0.84 seconds it had identified 2,210,000,000 hits. Now how many of these actually refer directly to the subject of writing I did not venture to examine. If for some unaccountable reason I were to seek out each and every hit at the fanatical pace of 5 seconds per hit it would take approximately 350 years for a single person. Since this does not take into account all functions necessary to physical and mental well-being, what might happen to human culture and environment the effort seems somewhat unnecessary. A dedicated team of 1,000 might complete the task in ten years, although the attrition rate would probably be prohibitive and result in the organiser being actively disliked. Suffice it to conclude a lot of people have a lot to say on the subject.

It is only fair at this juncture to admit, yet again, there is within me a not so latent flaw which persistently inhibits any possible success; this being as my wife wearily reminds me ‘You will not be told’ . Thus if anyone even intimates to me how my writing should be done, at best they receive a politely vague comment and communication withers. Therefore there is a certain bias in this post; my apologies.

Considering the number of hits again. It cannot be denied that amongst all the comments and advice on the subject there has to be a certain diversion of view as to what constitutes ‘Show’ and what might be thought of as ‘Tell’. From this, taking into account all other Human responses to ‘Subjects’, ‘Beliefs’, ‘Outlooks’ and so forth, some of these diversions would be quite strong, if not, one fears verbally ‘violent’. Now whereas the proponents can have a thoroughly cathartic time arguing with each other and suggesting their opponent is displaying ignorance or heresy on the matter, none of this is of assistance the poor help-seeking writer, who at times, battered and buffeted by storms of advice must feel something akin to a literary sea-sickness.

One equitable solution for a writer experiencing problems in this area, would be to turn their back on the various advice books, columns, posts and writing exercises to simply read (or listen if they have a taste for audio books) thus be witness to a number of published writers at work. The choice should be very broad and should steer from the very successful who are sometimes indulged by the publishing process because their name ‘sells’. Far better to seek out those of more modest achievements who still need to rely on every bit of their art and skill to keep their audiences.

This is not a suggestion the writer should try and copy styles, more a question of absorbing the various approaches and bringing them to their own style. Because, I daresay when the various Show Don’t Tell  advisors visit books there will be levels of disagreement as to where Show or Tell started or finished at one particular part and whether either should or should not have been used.

Writing is a constant learning process, with a vast panorama of ways and means by which the writer reaches the conclusion of their work. Far better to absorb an empathy with Show Don’t Tell than to struggle to attain it by some dangerously close to mechanical process.

Keep on writing. No matter what.

Thinking about and hoping for Jill Dennison -Filosofa’s Word

As many of you may know Jill has not been in the best of health in recent times. I e-mailed our battling girl the other day, and sadly she is still in hospital suffering with serious heart and kidney issues.

She gave me permission to post this up-date so in her words  “as many of our mutual blogging buddies know what is happening”

As I’ve outlined she is quite unwell and can only manage short messages, but I am guessing will appreciate messages of support and concern.

We all know Jill for her ceaseless battles against political irresponsibility, sheer opportunism and downright hate.

I think I speak for us all, when I write how much we already miss those delightful Monday morning compilations of cartoons, captions, photos and cute videos; along with the adventures of Jolly and Joyful which start the week so well.

And although always ready with a well-aimed tirade against some deserving target or another, Jill has also been there to remind us there are folk who are working so hard to make the world a better place with her Wednesday slot of Good People Doing Good Things.

Let us all give some time in the day to turn our thoughts to Jill Dennison, her family and ‘moggies’, and for those of you in the USA, for her sake don’t give up the fight, the rest of us around the world have got your backs.

Let’s hear it for Jill then and put your own posts up in support of her 

Keep on keeping on kid, you’re a true American patriot 

On Getting Your Work Noticed (Just an Observation)

The end of an edit / re-write beckons; approximately 11.5% of some 248,000+ words left to ‘listen’ to and ponder over. Word is not happy with the weight I have placed upon it, pretending to lose the Dictionary additions, altering margins and spacing at random intervals, changing the Spellcheck to another language, failure to comprehend any literary constructs apart from business speak; the usual protests against an unprofessional artistic use of its programmes. BUT my trusty memory stick is ever at my side reminiscent of a faithful hound, lest Word pulls its most evil of tricks and crashes the whole work (which it dallied with back in July).

Thus this will conclude a work in three parts which will in total tally up 600,000 + words and has taken somewhere around six years to complete. A time in which edits, proof-reading and re-writes were all done within my own bubble. Thanks to Amazon Kindle and the free-book promotions I guess about 30 folk have Volumes I & II downloaded and a big thanks to those kind folk who also purchased copies (probably about 10 sales). If Volume III bumps the totals up by 33% that might be in line with my expectations (based on the previous performances). Sometimes those figures were disheartening but were unlikely to be the sole cause of the low mood, more symptomatic of a general lassitude, my late father used to refer to this as ‘being at the bottom of the wheel’. Outside of the central character of a mid-twentieth century swashbuckling or ‘happy’ musical film, who does not experience these times?

At this stage a writer facing such results will have reached a crossroads of some sort of another. Their outlook will be dependant on amount of the effort they have previously put into their marketing, networking, assistance, outside editing and beta-reading to name but a few of the preparation and research strategies available to them.

For some despite their very best and diligent efforts in these areas, their work still fails to gain recognition and a despondency sets in. This is very understandable. They may well decide writing is not for them and seek other paths. Whether this was the right choice or another promising writer was lost to the caprice of the market, we will never truly know; this sort of judgement belongs as it were ‘to the ages’.

For others there can be an analytical response, they shrug (after a period of flushing out the disappointment) and ‘go back to the drawing board’. Maybe, they think, the work needs some tweaking, nay complete overhauling. Records of advice: friendly, editorial and beta will be consulted, the work re-read (a painful process at times) and the writer returns to the battle carrying out that very delicate balancing act between others input and how they, the writer, wishes the narrative to go.

Some will decide, they do so love writing, but maybe they chose the wrong genre or wrong style of narrative. They start again, maybe using the very bare bones of the first work. This happened to me, twice. First attempt was grim, bloody (and also unreadable). The second attempt, set in the world of my current books at an earlier time was comedic satire, the volumes are now a source of folklore and history in the current works. This third is a mix, one might say real as can be found in Fantasy. 

I stood at the crossroads and looked back over my shoulder. Had I utilised any of those aforementioned strategies and resources in my journey. Yes, but due to the vagaries of life met with three sources whose advice or commentaries were not to my liking, and hereabouts there are some strong opinions retained on their competencies and ability to use perception, but we shall move on. I was glad of the observations and reviews by Audrey Driscoll https://audreydriscoll.com/  Berthold Gambrel  https://ruinedchapel.com/  and Rachael Ritchey https://rachaelritchey.com/ Each gave support, advice incisive and constructive and was taken on board in future efforts. Those who indulge in throwaway criticism would do well to stay away from me, their comments get analysed, critically…yes one is not supposed to indulge so in kicking back at a bad review…. I have nothing to lose, there would be ramifications for the throwaway reviewer.  

And there came the decision. If my work was currently not surfacing into public attention amongst the many thousands of efforts by unknown writers and my approach to all the strategies and resources was idiosyncratic, nay even shambolic and I was using the massively populated medium of Amazon Kindle, then what was there to lose in going my very own way? The books could be recorded for the public to find, there would be some gratification there, and at the same time all creativity, imagination and experimentation could be utilised just for their own collective sakes. Thus I gave vent to all manner of writing about varied circumstances, maybe some had no business being in a book seriously put together with sales in mind as a benefit; some might send editors and beta-readers into much head-shaking or saying ‘WHAT???’ Let it be so. I have enjoyed this veering off at tangents, exploring issues narrative, and it is all mine.

At this juncture let me say this is not an attempt to mask vanity with an air of assumed artistic superiority or the self-indulgent woeful stance of someone ‘suffering’ for their art. No this is just me, writing as I write, for a particular  purpose, and because the whole project will not let me be until it is concluded this way. To put it another way for those starting out or those having doubts:

Writing about my approach as one you should follow is not the reason. It would, quite frankly be irresponsible for me to contend this is worthwhile way of ‘doing things’. Not so, the above words are tailored to illustrate my position and current view of my own work. For advice on the matter of publishing, please, please seek out others. Going Complete Rogue is generally a bad idea. 

As long as the writing does not mask an agenda promoting Hate, Intolerance or questionable politics I wish everyone well with their writing. Published conventional or self-published, the writer’s efforts are to be celebrated, another record in the great endeavour writing, another statement ‘I was here’.

That you strive at your work with the conviction you have as much right as any to do is enough for me.

Meanwhile, nearly a year after the original narrative of Daughters of Circumstance. Arbiters of Consequences was completed, still working on the final ‘publicationable’ document? But of course.  

And Thus Is Completed The Narrative

Another Launch (Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, But It’s Satisfying)

Musings on Writing (Another series). Important Reactions to Use on Suitable Occasions

On Deciding Which Place To Be

I suppose it may have been the Summer again. Or to be more objective my attitude to the summer season. The heat, the bright sunlight, long daylight, activity even muted by Covid; these do not suit me. Of course at 70 one should not wish life away, years, months even days should not be squandered and yet winter draws me ever on.

Summer brings out the worst in me, particularly this one had me in a very combative mood and willing to engage in arguments on social media, on all manner of topics, just because. All very undignified and not the least bit profitable  There was an effort not to smear this mood all over WP and keep it where it belonged – FaceBook. Hence my general absence from WP

Happily there was a smidge of constructive dignity still working within. This, of course being attention to my own writing project. If you have followed my blog you will know about my ragged progress and less than serious approach to marketing 

Another Launch (Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, But It’s Satisfying)

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The British Approach

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

Although the last volume of the trilogy was in theory completed one year ago, the re-write process beckoned. This, personally is an enjoyable stage, aside from the obvious corrections, tinkerings and checking continuity in all its manifold ways, there is the joy of realising the overall intentions were surviving the necessities of a narrative. On this particular jaunt there was an urge within to re-visit the previous two volumes and work through them one last time to ensure they led in a sort of cohesive manner unto the third. Thus 2021 has been a year in which three large (If you are doing epic fantasy ‘large/long’ is something of a requirement) volumes were aligned. Yet another series of re-writes, I like to muse over the situation that should these books ever achieve noticeable sales status how early purchasers could brag they have ‘first editions’ and argue the case for the writing or narrative of those. A writer whose history does not contain even the words ‘some modest success’ should always keep an element of whimsey in their head (either that or take marketing and allied disciplines seriously)

On the whole the process has been yet another enjoyable and enlightening process. AS WE all know Word has many failings. Yet Read Aloud along with the ability to shift entire chapters around like chess pieces do carry their own particular appeals, also a sense of The Unexpected. In the case of the former this would be the sudden lurch into another gender’s voice, like some intrusive boor blundering into a conversation you are having with a friend, while Word throws up a frantic yellow bar warning in a woefully inadequate attempt to deny all culpability. When it comes to the latter shifting portions of the narrative might look fine at a particular juncture, but they could have a tectonic effect in The Continuity much further on down; by then the original revision is so embedded into the narrative it is necessary to give way to the impetus set in place back at at Chapter Fifteen and amend with much vigour to the events laid out in the first (or second) draft at Chapter Fifty-One. These are something of a melding of the Artistic, Imaginative and above all Inventive in the business. Some folk enjoy crosswords, siduko, chess or card game puzzles. for me the challenge of the re-write is the thing.   

The Third Volume nears final (only three re-writes) completion, the artist who did such stunning work on Volume Two’s cover is on the case.  Skirmishers  So maybe the final work will see the light of Kindle by the end of the year.

Ah me, this is where I should have been spending more time than was spent. Three volumes completed, a joy in itself. But soft, I have tarried long enough. Time to break camp and set forth on the final clime up the last 35,000 words.

Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences.   (Being Volume 3 of The Precipice Dominions)

I do love this happy burden.