On The Matter of Asking (a sort of follow up to ‘A Singular Circumstance. One Summer’s Day’) September #BlogBattle-Eschaton

End of Days

Storms whose furies dwarfed the worst of winters past, driving the might of seas up rivers and into the least streams. Lands turbulent, restless as fever haunted sleepers. Mountains in anger threw down rock, snow and ice or hauled up worse from the depths of the earth. Disease flourished in the resultant death. And in the terror came myriad small wars.

For those charged with remaining calm and analytical the evidence led to one plausible conclusion. This in turn begged further examination for this conclusion flew against hard won rational beliefs founded in the sciences and many a mighty machine.  Yet all pointed to lore based on creed of the heart and ephemeral faith . The urgency of the matter compacted what might have otherwise been years of debate into mere days, for the process envisaged was innovative, an appeal to Devine Agencies. Across the breadth of consensus, there was, however, no other option. As one put it.

‘It’s worth a try,’

‘Lady Betrügerin? The Ghost of?’

‘If you likes Custodian Vastberaden. I’m  not fussy. Thanks for recognising me though. A girl likes to have a bit of a reputation. Quite a bit of effort there, getting yourself noticed by us. Took a risk. I could’ve nobbled you without discourse,’

‘It’s a time when risks don’t matter,’

‘I suppose it would be fer you folk, down on the ground there,’

The brief conversation concluded as the mist cleared, and light blue passageway ended with a simple wood arched door. The woman of youthful appearance and three centuries notoriety, knocked with deference, but spoke otherwise.

‘He’s ‘ere Guv’nor,’

‘Thank you Betrügerin,’

Opening the door and with a less than sober gesture of invitation Betrügerin stood to one side allowing the Custodian to pass through.

‘Best of luck with your pitch mate,’ she said and passed back into the mist.

Although the atmosphere of the room seemed clear Vastberaden discerned more mist, of a soft coastal sort, the variance made the task of focusing on the man at the other end of the room, problematic. The only detail The Custodian was certain of, the fellow was tall and studying a map laid out on a table, which might have been bigger than first inspection. Vastberaden supposed there would be challenges to the senses when meeting someone who was arbiter of the fate of the world.

‘Custodian Vastberaden,’ the voice was quite ordinary, paradoxically Vastberaden would have been disappointed if he had been addressed in majestic echoing tones, the business to him would seem to have smacked of ostentation. ‘You did not journey here of your own volition. Sent at the behest of eminent and intelligent people, though you did volunteer,’

No questions,’ thought Vastberaden, ‘It would also be disappointing if he had to ask. He is supposed to have a quite comprehensive knowledge,’

Then there was the silence. Vastberaden concluded he was going to have to do the talking.

‘Correct,’ the fellow said ‘You are here to state the case for Preservation of Your Civilisations’ Status. In the light of evidence to the opposite,’

‘Of course, he can hear my thoughts. But speaking can be more coherent,’

‘After all the study and conclusions based on investigations over the past century. We discovered this link or pathway, and felt a direct approach was the correct thing to do. After all the effort in forging our civilisation, fatalism could not be countenanced,’

There was a sigh.

‘Whereas your response can be considered positive in its level of determination, you must appreciate against the weight of evidence the achievements are outweighed by the mistakes, abuses and of course hubris,’

‘We are aware of the shortcomings. We are not complacent or uncaring. I would also point out that the current amount of suffering of the innocent is comparable to several of our more profligate wars. We struggle to see The Justice, nay even The Example being set by Higher Authority if I may use such a term,’

The figure looked up from the map, Vastberaden discerned emotion, though which one he found he could not make out.

‘You appear not to have perceived the disadvantageous changes you folk are bringing unto the World,’ one hand drifted across the map ‘Here, these are plain to see. For Humanity is not the only concern. Other Life. And Other Dynamics. They have precedence,’ there was a brief neutral gesture for Vastberaden to draw closer. ‘Come closer. You may be able to discern why things are unravelling the way they have been,’

Vastberaden looked down upon a map, whose basic outlines seemed distantly familiar, although total perception was made difficult by the movements and interactions of shapes, some geometric, some reminiscent of clouds or oceans while others tested the senses to comprehend. The Custodian shook his head in bafflement, at this one hand rested lightly on his shoulder, and in a jarring interlude there was a focus, albeit blurred.

Life was a part of The World. A factor which lived under the sway of forces able to sweep lands and oceans clean of it, and yet in its own various dynamics capable of causing those forces to react in ways folk had not expected to react. Many forms found balance and accord, some did not. Humanity appeared to be one such, and thus forged an extreme example of unbalance. Vastberaden considered the panorama and the circumstances unfolding, no the correct word be ‘unravelling’.

He looked up into a face saddened.

‘You understand something of the problem. You folk with such inventiveness and ability have this talent for making things worse,’

‘Aye. This much is obvious. We made great efforts to seek out something which when it was staring us in the face,’

‘There is the irony. Consider your example. In your urge to find a practical and rational answer you did not rely on convoluted recitations, nor some of the more questionable religious practices. You worked on the evidence of activities of my,’ here Vastberaden detected a slight laugh ‘Own band’s extended efforts. Concluded there was a distinct pattern leading to some intelligence beyond your own realms. One combating malevolent people in your fields and cities. Thence was a most dangerous bold strategy of placing your people as potential false targets sought to establish contact,’

‘It cost us several brave folk,’

‘It was unfortunate. Some of my own have not yet, even ever grasped the subtleties of operations against the corrosions. Lady Betrügerin, though as ruthless as any is possessed of a certain whimsy which saved your life, physical. Know this here is an opportunity of insight. We have our own missions against Ignorance, Fear and Intolerance and despite our seeming apparel of celestial power, in the scheme of things are but talented dedicated, small folk. We cannot stop these events you have brought upon yourselves,’

In his career Vastberaden had known many disappointments, some defeats and a fair number of those designated as insurmountable challenges. To avoid shock and dismay he had prepared himself for this endeavour to be one of the latter, mixed with something of the first. Speak calmly, though. Good manners cost nothing.

‘You did, still allow me to have audience. Would you then, by definition have some advice?’

‘There is always advice. This would depend on whether the listener truly wants advice no matter how unpalatable, and not just an alleged solution?’

Vastberaden thought this reasonable. The one facet which had weighed heavily upon him was the notion of making an appeal to a celestial being. After all such folk would not necessarily have the same moral compass, thus what might seem a heartfelt appeal to you could be laughable or worse objectionable to them. And as for advice, well you could listen to as much of it as you wished, then filter through the whole flood looking for gems.

‘I would always listen to advice,’ Vastberaden said, as he often had, for many folk had taken this statement as willingness to wholeheartdly accept what they would say.

The conclave which had debated and finally acquiesced to Vastberaden’s mission walked into the most secret of chambers to discuss and speculate what had, was and might be taking place.  Such was their immersion in the whole venture none of them were truly surprised to find him already seated there. He was quick and economical to advise them he had journeyed to where intended, he had met with someone in authority and had positive news to give them. As was their experience in grave and weighty matters none of them hurried him along, even though a nearby substantial river, had driven by great rains broken its banks, rushed upon and caused the collapse of a castle.

‘There is guidance,’ he said, thoughtfully and told them of the great map and the information thereupon ‘The responsibility lays with everyone.  It is not a spiritual, but a physical matter. The resources of the world cannot be taken granted as servile, it is necessary work with the land, rivers, seas, yea even skies. New disciplines and means have to be learnt, old ones adapted. The great forces once thought to be under control are not, much study is necessary. The work will be hard and long. Everyone must understand, bend their minds and bodies to change,’

The first to speak was a graven military fellow, versed in the ways of war and state security, thus with the shortcomings and weaknesses of territories, rulers, influencers of rulers, those who would be either and of course the mentality of mobs and rumours.

‘This will be a very difficult task, like trying to turn around a great vessel in a narrow shallow when a tide has gripped it,’

‘Indeed,’ agreed Vastberaden, then speaking guardedly added ‘The folk I spoke with can offer some assistance,’

At this a woman appeared at his side, she smiled waved, a cheerful little gesture.

‘Lady Betrügerin,’ she said.

‘The Death Maiden?’ asked a man of theological scholarship and thus rather interested ‘Not legendary then Vastberaden?’

‘I can speak for meself.,’ she snapped ‘Quite real thank you. So is he,’ she pointed to someone turning from a mist to a more discernible figure robed, features hidden by a cowl, and in a thin hand holding aloft a scythe. He was silent. Vastberaden took up the discourse.

‘Those whose representatives you see here, are willing to take some time out from their allotted task purging evil dabblers in demonics, to assist as it were. In expunging those of arguably a more important threat. The ones who will not listen either through greed, ignorance or stubborn intransigence,’

‘Of course we can’t be everywhere at once,’ Lady Betrügerin said and the cowled figure nodded agreement ‘And we can’t go taking everyone of the world. Be a bit drastic. Things are bad enough anyhows.  Only the worst and most loudest, let the others learn. Y’know you can help there, by telling folk the ones taken was smited by Devine Judgement,’

As the cowled figure nodded so did the military man and the theologian; it seemed a reasonable approach the pair thought.

To be fair to the assembly being mortal there was a brief hub-bub, but general agreement.

‘Strange times. But necessary requirements,’ said the current chairman ‘You Custodian Vastberaden must be escorted to and speak with the emperor, in secret of course,’

Vastberaden seemed a smidge abashed and hesitant, Lady Betrügerin sniggered and nudged him.

‘G’wan,’ she enthused ‘Tell ‘em,’

‘I visited him first,’  Vastberaden confessed ‘He was annoyed. Said it would interfere with his gold mining enterprises. He was my first case. He’s gone from this mortal realm,’

Vastberaden rose, out of the chair and into the air with Lady Betrügerin and the cowled figure.

‘Initially I did display great doubt, myself. Then Lady Betrügerin, educated me, as it were. It didn’t hurt at all. Think on it, gentlemen,’ he said.

And left.

A Singular Circumstance. One Summer’s Day (August#BlogBattle- Peculiar)

 

https://bbprompt.com/2022/09/02/september-blogbattle-eschaton/

A Singular Circumstance. One Summer’s Day (August#BlogBattle- Peculiar)

Ware the Maid

        Hochtrabende The Tormentor was despicable. And cared not. He committed beastly acts all in his quest for final approval of The Nameless in Ascendancy and the subsequent bounty.

          This, he calculated would be last required location, another pastoral idyl to be despoiled by heinous cruelty to an innocent. Their suffering the last pieces to be set in place.

          He sat in unholy meditation, savouring hideous memories preparing himself.

 

          Kaltblutig was cruel; to be objective Life had been cruel to him from childhood. He was thus an effective henchman. He reasoned his cruelty was quicker and more efficient than Life’s version, so it was a sort of service. Had he met the right sort of philosopher they would have had interesting conversations. Currently though he was working for a necromancer, arrogant of course, but paid well. 

          Young Anfanger, dithered at his side.

          ‘She’s a looker,’ he giggled nervously ‘Think he’ll let us,’ he would have nudged someone lesser than Kaltblutig, instinct warned him not to ‘Y’know,’

          ‘Not supposed to be anything left to…Y’know,’ came the growl. The veteran looked to the door to the chamber, doubt nagging, he could say why. Only an odd feeling he was on this side of the door.

 

          ‘I am Lady Betrügerin. Youngest child of House Krachen. My father, two brothers, my betrothed and my prospective in-laws all predisposed to violent solutions will visit upon so much woe upon you,’

          Acolyte Glucklos winced. The kidnapped girl was possessed of speech characteristics and a variability of tone which made listening to her somewhat grating, the words ‘and’ and ‘so’ at a pitch and drawl to hurt the ears. Worse, despite being ambushed while walking through a wood, roughly manhandled, then tied to a table in the presence of a hooded man she did not appear a’feared, only annoyed and defiant. Peculiar. 

          And then she giggled

          ‘Why do you wear that silly hood? Are you possessed of a peculiarly shaped nose?’

          The suddenness of the question caused him to respond directly.

          ‘There is nothing wrong with my nose,’

          ‘Says you,’ her nose twitched ‘ I bet messing about with all things which give off these funny smells is causing your nose to grow upwards. That’s it. You have a sticky up nose,’ she giggled again, this time accompanied by an intense stare ‘A piggy-wiggy nose,’ she chirped.

          Glucklos was thrown into confusion. These were not the right responses of a kidnapped maiden. Suddenly he did not know what to do. He was gripped by an urge to rush to his master, Hochtrabende.

 

          Hochtrabende heard not the usual pleading, crying or general distress you would expect from a kidnapped maiden. Only a winsome voice, a protest from his acolyte and… girlish laughter? That was peculiar. Maybe hysteria. Yes, women did get hysterical. He would have her sing a different song. He strode out.

          Finding Glucklos had not laid out the ceremonial knives, nor lit the thick blighted yellow incense. He was in debate with the victim over his nose.

          Hochtrabende roared his disapproval and ordered the acolyte to attend to the preparations.

          ‘And here’s another hood,’ trilled the girl managing to waggle one finger in an accusative gesture ‘What’s your peculiar penalty? Droopy earlobes?’  

          Hochtrabende made to loom over her, malignant eyes glaring through slits. This one had a singular capacity to be annoying. He squeezed her face.

          ‘Cease your babble,’ he snarled ‘You are here to satisfy The Nameless in Ascendancy and bring forth Their Horror upon the world,’

          ‘That was very rude,’ she chided with heavy dignity and a slight sniff ‘And I don’t believe you. You are just some silly inadequate with paid bullies and a deluded fellow,’ she twisted her neck and batted her eyes at Glucklos ‘Poor piggy-wiggy here,’

          ‘There is nothing wrong with my nose,’ repeated Glucklos.

          The irregularity of the situation threw Hochtrabende into another bout of precipitate action.

          ‘This is but a taste of suffering to come in your journey to The Nameless in Ascendancy,’ he rasped drawing a curved blade down her arm, blood seeping from the thin line.

 

          Kaltblutig had much experience of screams. Fear, Rage, Defiance, Confusion, Thrills and so forth. That one was different, as if the door did not matter. Aside from the volume and the highest pitch he’d ever heard, there was an odd quality, he would reckon a warble. A right strangeness. His troubled, thoughtful scowl stifled Young Anfanger’s expectant tittering.  

 

          Unlike Glucklos who had hands to his head, all of Hochtrabende’s resolve was channelled into not wilting under the shriek. When finished the girl scowled

          ‘Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do,’ she wriggled her bloodied arm, muscle blossoming ‘This will not go well for you when my rescuers come,’

          The smugness in her voice was harsh, mocking. Hochtrabende had never encountered such distinctive affrontery, which fuelled his rage beyond his usual cold delight.

          ‘Wretch,’ he spat, unaware his vocabulary was narrowing ‘Know you, I have others in the wood ready to ambush any attempt. You are lost,’

          She stuck her tongue out. He had no response but to assail her other arm.

 

          ‘There’s that warbling scream again,’ Kaltblutig muttered ‘Downright peculiar,’

          By now Young Anfanger, influenced by the elder man, shuffled.

 

          Lady Betrügerin examined both arms, clenching her fists.

          ‘My favourite walking out dress torn and badly stained,’ her voice censorious ‘Whereas I normally avoid the propensities of the male where retribution is involved in this case pinches and punches will be considered,’ she glowered at Acolyte Glucklos ‘As for you  Piggy-Wiggy, there will be a severe nose straightening,’

          Maybe it was the imperturbably assertive voice, perhaps the sense his master was losing authority or mayhap whole unreality of the situation which caused the young man to tear off his hood and pointing to his nose scream into the supposed victim’s face.

          ‘This is a normal nose. An average nose, curse you!’  

          Hochtrabende was about to yell the lad was not supposed to reveal himself however this was hindered by the gasp of surprised outrage of Lady Betrügerin

          ‘Cadet Lord Glucklos. Third Son of House Raffgierig. And your father, Duke Bestechlich titular patron of the Cheese Mongers and Purveyors Guild of  Handelsknoten.  The scandal. He will have to stand down and lose the substantial stipend as they find another noble mascot,’ she tutted. Gluckloss howled and intended to strike at her face but bungled the business, she jinked her neck, he missed and as his palm flew by she savagely nipped his little finger, drawing blood.

          By then Hochtrabende had composed himself. He dragged the youth back to the corner swinging him about to view a table with tomes of evil lore.

          ‘You fool. This girl is either insane or possessed of some latent manifestation. Calm yourself and we will consult the Foul Volumes,’   

 

          In his long career on unpleasant actions Kaltblutig had never known such a bunch of oddness.  Hochtrabende usually indulged in malevolent pretend aloofness. Not ranting Self-preservation told him orders forbidding witness of what went on behind the doors no longer applied. He peered through the usual space twix’d locked door and frame.

          ‘Nah,’ he groaned ‘Don’t turn your backs on her,’

 

          When master and acolyte turned back, their intended victim was sitting up, busily untying the ropes to her legs. She paused to waggle her bloodied hands.

          ‘Blood does so slicken ropes and skin, allowing hands to slip out,’ she explained with an air of domesticity.

          Hochtrabende, in horrified desperation, mind filled with impossible answers to this situation began to chant a plea to his patron, hoping fervour and faith would do in place of sacrifice. Glucklos charged in clumsy scamper waving an ornately curved blade, an inappropriate weapon for the thrust.

          And he was felled by the promised punch to the nose.

 

          Hochtrabende lowered his gaze from the usual upwards chanting pose. The girl was not in front of him.

          ‘Yoo-hoo,’

          She was above, impossibly at ease on no particularly visible perch.

          Her eyes bright, teeth sparkling in a cheerful smile and arms outstretched she swiftly descended.

 

          On seeing the girl slip loose Kaltblutig had exited, only to find outside of the previously abandoned abode bodies or soon to be bodies of the lot Hochtrabende had hired. Waiting were ten men in the very dark green of the dread LifeGuard and adding to the dread two in the night black habits of the Custodians of The Lord God’s Will. One of the LifeGuard pointed at Kaltblutig.

          ‘Ah Master Kaltblutig. Yes. We’ll keep him,’

          For a man steeped in cruelty and its consequences, the words were as good as it got. He surrendered.

 

          He was bound, set against a tree and informed he would be telling the LifeGuard every last detail about long list of his employers, locations and deeds.  Meanwhile the body of Young Anfanger was carelessly hauled out by one LifeGuard. They formed a perimeter at the entrance and the Custodians went in, sometime later they hauled out Glucklos, he was alive though, holding his bloodied nose and babbling protests about its state.

          ‘We’ll be keeping this one,’ a Custodian said to a LifeGuard ‘Regrettably all we found of that wretch Hochtrabende was a pile of ashes. Again too late. These debased amateur meddlers thinking themselves able to deal with unquantifiable forces.

            ‘So our unseen allies, they evaded us. Again,’

            ‘Aye, just those hints of screams, barely audible,’ he patted the dog at his side  

          ‘And the locals will be grateful we tracked and apprehended a group of recently arrived bandits before any harm was done. To them, anyway,’

          The two men shared a brief, cold, knowing laugh.

          Kaltblutig shuddered. 

 

          The return was ever the demanding exercise, and therefore a slow rise from the crouch was best, as always the warmth of the greeting washed over them.

          ‘How good to see you returned intact. Still in the female form,’ the voice was gentle and thoughtful ‘Your preference?’

          ‘I do confess to an ease. I feel a may have been such before my original arrival,’

          ‘Aye, there is a likelihood. To return to current matters. Indications are of a complete cleansing. Can you confirm?’

          ‘The tracking and the luring were quite easy and the clues sufficient for the authorities. The rest fell predictably into place. He was left naught but a pile of ash. The evidence was balanced as directed. Sparse enough to ensure mystery but sufficient to encourage study,’

          ‘Others will be returning from their missions. We will gather and evaluate both progress and influence. This recent trend is most distracting. The misinterpretation of an ancient account elevating some ill-fated and obscure dabbler to the level of an evil deity would be farcical, if there were not the suffering many and promotion of negligible individuals to popular notoriety. It is not be tolerated. I daresay some philosophies would be the basis of condemnation on our methods and goals, and yet when faced with the corrosion and nurturing of such evils what is to be done?’

          The returnee sighed, straightened, then made their way over to a bench from where they could look down upon the world they had just left in all its combinations. As they mused their hair darkened and the clothing took on a more basic appearance, they absently scratched their neck. When they spoke their voice was more of the crowded streets of a city.

          ‘It’s a peculiar old state of affairs an’ no mistake,’      

 

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.

Motivations, Inspirations, Imaginations…And Characters. A Journey Care Less and Content

Strolling

Foreword

You know how it goes. You have this idea for a topic, and you start off. Then some allied aspect else occurs to you, which begs to be added on, which in turn leads you off down an interesting lane and somehow the original topic is behind you, round a bend somewhere and you are there, scratching you’re head wondering ‘So?… How did I get here?’

The intention was to write about World Building and how the one which formed out of my work was a place I liked to revisit, just to be there. Then the theme became something else. Here was another writer wandering through This, That and The Other. For no other reason than ‘Just Because’….

The books which are part of the post are not mentioned because there is no intention to publicise them. You’ll find enough information in earlier posts. The subjects of this post are creativity, inspiration and motivations. Anyway back to that start…

The Beginning

Sometime ago I promised myself ‘Tone down on the politics. Concentrate on the writing. Be at one with your creativity,’………………..

The next day……

Back on the soapbox or picking fights on Facebook. Will I ever learn?

Learn what? To desensitise myself against thing which get under my skin? Remove some part of me?

Well, maybe not picking on an easy FB target and ridiculing them. Maybe ‘They had it coming. Taste of their own medicine. See how they like it,’ Are not worthy and mature reasons, perhaps those sentiments border on excuses. Weighing down someone’s ‘one liner’ with three paragraphs of International Relations Theory and History? Maybe that’s showing off a bit. Overkill much?

I tell myself my political and social comments should be addressed to Word Press where generally the standard of debate is higher.

The fact, though, the political part of me, is one reason why I write fiction as I do; the challenge being to try and tone down the preachiness. A character sounding off on some political issue in the middle of an action episode sounds ‘odd’. A lesser character taking up half a chapter on observations on an injustice just spoils the narrative and detracts from the plot.

Yet there is nothing wrong with placing your opinions or views in a narrative, the characters will let you know if they think you’ve been too wordy. Those lesser characters’ two or three lines of conversation will suit just as well.

On reflection my views were one of the driving forces and at the same time a bit of a challenge to fit in neatly. I loathe the latent misogyny trying to slither back into our cultures. Thus was more than happy with Three Strong Women characters appearing. Prejudices on the grounds of race, religion, adult consensual choices tend to be a red flag, so those who embrace any or all of these prejudices would truly hate my trilogy. Sometimes a mischievous part of me nurtured on Facebook would snigger while whispering ‘If anyone hates this part. Good…they got it coming,’.

Another motivation and this is not criticism just personal taste, I did not wish to read anymore grimdark or ‘gritty’. The real world had enough of that for me. Happy endings and good folk running rings around bad folk was my intention.

In addition is a little fantasy of the whole trilogy being on a public forum where I would wait for the inevitable feeble whinge that is it is all ‘woke’, whose users are such easy targets…. (Ah but there I go again. Looking for confrontation)

Yet as I go treading into more dangerous and delicate yet related ground; it has been an observation that there is more than one way to receive criticism or even ire for portrayals of characters outside of your own social, ethnic, political, belief system grouping. This observation, and the word is stressed comes from reading commentary from those whose group is portrayed, in a sympathetic or positive light and yet is perceived by the commentator as not being the correct portrayal. My own conclusion is in this fraught world where colonialism, in the European sense has died out and the old Cold War alignments disintegrated and social norms are altering it is for many people or peoples essential their group are portrayed accurately and in a balanced, mature context. Of course my get out clause being; ‘These books take place in a Fantasy World. Not this one,’, though human natures being what they are it is unlikely this response would be seen as satisfactory. Never mind… ‘You can’t win them all,’ . And anyway folks this is a world of my characters and they led me through allowing me to explore (or was that witness?) all manner of the possibilities.

Characters eh?

One advantage, or salutary warning is once you let your characters in on the act and they start to influence you, the pace of writing picks up until the creative or speculative processes reach a velocity which leaves all caution behind. In a very paradoxical, maybe cussed mood, the lack of sales encouraged me and them onwards. We reached the ‘What The Heck’ Stage, followed by ‘C’mon Rog’. We just have to go this way, you know parts of the back story have been building to this. Remember the sub-text kiddo,’. This of course led to other directions for taking the main narratives too.

Maybe the final result would seem to some a vainglorious mash-up of genres, sub-genres and styles. And there would be no argument from me. In my defence this is what happens when the driving forces within you set the imagination in movement and in turn you feel confident enough to let the narrative take control.

Should the whole work come to public attention and there is consequential criticism of the plot line, characters and result, let it be so.

For I had far too much fun putting the whole together to regret. (apart from those stupid persistent typos and a few instances of getting the names wrong- sometimes you can be too indie).

And now I am learning restraint and economy on a monthly Blog Battle*, which is as much fun being very instructive, while keeping my interaction of Face Book to a minimum.

*

BlogBattle

https://bbprompt.com/

Just an Opinion, (of course)

Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking with Allen Carr

You will excuse me, but in relation to the title, it would seem, to me, that is, the solution is an obvious one.

A simple and polite refusal to join in this controversial although still social habit, irrespective of who is inviting you. Why you need instruction in the form of an entire CD escapes me.

In addition the title suggests a certain element of victimisation. Why should you refuse to share this social interaction with this one particular person? The idea of groups of folk stalwartly announcing this intention seems rather unsettling.

I can’t help but feel The Mass Media is at fault here.

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The Plagiarism Approach)

Skirmishers

shy-man-partyI looked at the Kindle Report page……Sales…….umm less than the first primary number….

As did we……..Oh…….oh….That this too solid flesh…….wouldst ……..melt

Pondering oneNo….I don’t think the tragi-comic-self-referential ploy is going to work, we’ve done it once, and like I said at the time with Dostoyevsky references it might have worked better.

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The Comic Tragedy Approach 

Shakespeare 1 I wouldst suggest; the Bard. For have you not already allowed a quote in the opening sequence? Everyone is aware of some Shakespearean  hex-tracts. T’would resonate.  

Existential crisisAhhh, yessss. TOOOOOO, BEEEEEE or NOT tooo BEEEEE…… THAT is the…….question????

We’ll let you know

Writer 2Well, here’s one that occurred to me. 

Skirmishers

Romeo and Juliet Balcony (2)But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire is the sun

enthusiasticIt’s cookin’ I tell ya!!

Pondering twoI don’t suppose they’d go with adapting The Prince of Verona’s last tines…. “For never was a story of more woe than this thy hapless marketing show” 

Whimsey 6Hmmmmm…..Maybe another of THE BARD’S works might be more…..shall we say…amenable to the project.

enthusiastic 2

You got it chuckles!!

                                                                                              Chuckles!…I love it

Plot Image 1This is a winner!

richardiii-1A book! A BOOK!! My kingdom for A….. BBohook!!

Do not worry

Do not fret

Here’s a choice, you’ll not regret.

Available on Amazon Kindle at 0.99   

Pondering oneThey got the link OK. I’ll give them that. I’d still go with Dostoevsky though.

shy-man-partyAye, “To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.”…..I think we could use that

Pondering oneSee what I mean. You got to go with Dignified Irony….Anyway let’s quit while we’re ahead for the day. Raya and the Last Dragon ok with you? 

shy-man-partyThere is a form of dignity there.

 

Arketre On The Prowl screenshot (2)Ya’ll have to admire the persistence though…. I mean, yeah Stupid… but still kinda admirable.

Karlyn on the road (2)That’s true Flaxi, I kinda see wot they was tryin’ and if you’re not tryin’ to seriously sell stuff it’s a bit of fun. And since they are books about us anyhow, we should have a say….. See, like this…..Ahem…

“Now can the grumbly winter of your discontent at ol’ books 
Made glorious summer by these exciting volumes

The Precipice Dominions 
An’ all the clouds that low’r’d upon your moods
In the deep bosom of the ocean Kindle be buried”.

Aww, was fun…! Go on Whychie (That’s ‘Trelli ‘to you readers!) you give it a try

Trelli At Ease screenshot (3)…. Alright then, otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it:…….(deep breath)…

“The quality of writing should not be force(d)
It should floweth as the small stream through the glade
Upon its happy way. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth them that writeth and those that do read
‘Tis fayre in its modesty. Yet becomes
The impressive volumes The Precipice Dominions when written for their own sake.”
 
Yes, ok…That was a bit of a giggle. You’re turn now Arketre. Otherwise it won’t balance properly… 
 
Arketre on Leave (2). Since you two are set on us being so singular; here’s mine then
 
“Writers, readers and easy-goers, gimme some time yeah?
I’ve come to tell you about these books, but not to sell them, right?
The intensity in some stories really holds many folk.
While the casual, feel good is also worth a read 
So let it be with the Precipice Dominions series.  

Right, we’re done………………..You take care, then…………..And we’ll be seeing you

(Chorus)……………BECAUSE THERE’S ONE MORE VOLUME TO COME !!! 

.Masterful Delivery, I tip my hat…………………Yes, they saved it. Could get sales. 

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The Low-Key Approach)

SkirmishersThe Book

haughty response 2 The author has declined to appear for this post; he says he may not appear ever again; which may, arguably be a wise move. That said the team….. Well to be frank a certain selection of the team who have a more realistic view of the world and didn’t inform the others decided on this approach.

Doffing a hatThere we are m’dear. Nothing to be worried about, just say what comes in your head.

Impatient fellowYeah you bozos listen up. Ok, this is not how I would have done it. But you give the girl some space here. Or you’ll be speaking with the Knuckles Brothers.

Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised Heck, I don’t know how I got caught up in this; that’s one of the things about surfing the net, you never know. Anyway, since I’m here. This book, Vol II of what’s called The Precipice Dominions which I guess is allegorical. Y’know like the state of the nations and folks in the books, all wired up and on the edge with their plots, plans and ‘stuff’ you get in Fantasy Novels.

So the sometimes cute, sometimes deadly couple Arketre and Karlyn are making the best of The Sweet Life up in some faraway place called Terasonia’ cause they know sooner or later ‘stuff’ is going to happen. Trelli is being taught how to use her powers by some girls in this Libratery place (think of nuns, but not like the Sound of Music, and a lil’ bit like those weird women in Dune whose names I can’t remember ). Then A & K are sent off to see what they can make out of a sort of rebellion against the local prince, while Trelli gets despatched with a long beautiful & snooty called Coltello and some escorts to do something which didn’t make sense to me in another faraway place, called Fenshan. Then there’s all sorts of mini-adventures with Trelli turning up like a faux-ghost to rescue A & K from “The Dark Side”  that’s got into them.

After that Karlyn goes off one of those freaky path ways she uses to help Trelli with her task, and Arketre having been promoted to officer starts throwing military intimidation around in all directions. This is when things get all complex, because some renegades from that even more far off Shadow Lords realm invade. And this is the good thing, unlike most books they  don’t get to slay hundreds of locals until only our heroes are left with magic doo-hickies; the girls are just part of the army. Some guy I know who reads military histories says its also all allegorical (I like that word; I’m gonna use it a lot at coffee breaks) to do with other wars, but I switched off after he started on his fourth example.

Anyway, the girls do well. Trelli swings that power of hers about, keeps her cool and gets ‘lucky’ (y’know…. I mean lllluckieeee!). We get some of Karlyn’s back story which is fun because she gets dual identity; her usual kooky self, and sometimes all regal, and imperious, like in one of those historical dramas. And Arketre goes action mode and kinda edgy.  Impatient fellow I like that girl!!

Y’know it’s no spoiler to say it works out, because by now you should know that’s what the writer is all about. There’s a bit at the end which is really funny, in a way which is sweet, and a take on how men still see us girls but A & K use to their advantage. 

There’s lots of other things going on with other characters which I guess Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised leads into the next volume, so you might want to get a notebook out to remind yourself of who is doing what, where, when and why for future reference. 

Although, it’s like 200,000 words and lot going on, it’s not a bad read. Even if Fantasy is not your thing, despite some gory bits it’s a kinda light. Not Game of Thrones, and my boy-friend says ‘Joe Abercrombie; it’s not’  he reads a lot of Fantasy so make of that what you will. So for 0.99 whatevers; y’know.

anger-clipart-rage-2 Too many women having there own way! Naah that won’t do! If you ask me…..

Wives and lovers woman clothed

WE AN’T!!

worried-manI’ve never seen a man so out of shape move so fast….

Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised(I was warned something like this might happen) Anyway. Like I was about to say. It’s on Kindle Amazon, and it’s free for the rest of Friday then it’s 0.99

And that’s about all we have to say on it. OK?

Re-Launch

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

victorian-mens-costumes-2Well that’s was rather restrained. In an trans- Atlantic sort of way, wouldn’t you say Chumbleigh-Smythe?……. Oh quite so old chap. Mind you 200,000 words, that’s rather large book…I say haven’t you heard about these Thimbles they can put books on? Dashed clever…… I think Fotherington-Jones you might mean a Kindle…….Kindle Harrington-Carruthers? What sort of word is that???…..Oh it’s something to Americans dreamed up…… Hmmm how very curious…..Now what were we talking about?…..Where to go for lunch I think…Good idea. 

Pondering oneI saw worse on the last marketing run. The girl saved it……again.

Pinnacle of Creation? (An exercise in speculation and perception with figures)

Foreword:

The two pivotal ‘dates’ are based a very broad scientific estimates; the latter being arrived  on a possible assumption that ‘nothing else happens’, which in our Universe is stretching it a bit.

The maths are replete with rounding ups and downs to suit the narrative. This is therefore not a serious mathematically based socio-environmental statement. It is a speculative musing intent on giving one sense of perception of ‘Our’ place on this planet.

 

Most of us will be familiar with the old saw about the history of Humanity being placed in the context of a 24 hr clock. I never cared for this, because it was based on the assumption that at midnight there was no need to go any further because we had arrived…yea! And the 77 seconds it took for us to get there was all you needed to know.

If we ignore this monumental piece of vanity and consider a possible Life of the planet Earth, we see a different alternative. So let us look at the figures

Age of Earth to date                           =                 4.5 billion years

Remaining Life Expectancy of Earth  =                 7.5 billion years (then falls into the Sun)

Total Estimated Life of Earth             =               12.00 billion years

24 Hour clock

1 hour                                               =        500,000,000(0.5 billion) years

Each quarter on clock (1/4 of an Hour)=       125,000,000 Million years

Each minute on a clock (1/15 of quarter)=         8,333,334 Million years

Each second on a clock (1/60)            =                138,890  thousand years  

 

So now we have arrived at the rough figure of 138,890 years per second, let us consider Humanity in the scheme of things. Now I am not going to inflate us with the arguable time we’ve been around, scratching, surviving, hunting and gathering. I am going to fast forward to our much vaunted ‘civilised ‘period which is when we started to farm, build communities, tear up the land and fight wars. This is estimated at 12,000 years ago. Divide that figure by 138,890 and you get a time of 0.0864 of a second. That is all we’ve racked up so far and even if we concentrate at making things right and double that it will still only be .0.1728 of a second. Still a long way to go to get to the magic 1 second. 114,890 years as an estimate.

Some might say we have achieved so much in such a short space of time. I would argue, let’s just count another 0.00864 (1,200 years) of  a second before we start celebrating our speck of existence.

Conclusion: If these figures unsettle you, then feel free to find another interpretation. Scientists, Historians, Economists and Sociologists do this all the time.

Addendum: If you are a writer, don’t be discouraged by this, you are part of the Quantum World and must work on the Planck Scale
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_units  

Some Thoughts on Revisions and Re-Writes

So as I work through an updated and improved version of

Skirmishers

And the Nagging Demon of Doubt says ‘What’s The Point?’

 

I take heart from the fact that Samuel Taylor Coleridge author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 

Ancient Mariner

Returned to this work over and over during 40 years and that there are at least 18 different versions.

 

Pondering one Are you suggesting that you’re…….

 

Whimsical one No! Just saying. That’s all. 

worried-man Please close this post now.

Just for Marketing and Giggles – The Controversially Aggressive Approach

Portrait Angry older man screaming on white background

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE LOT OF YOU!!

Laughing Guy

You’re just gonna love this, aren’t you folks?

shy-man-party

Words fail me.

Portrait Angry older man screaming on white background

Listen to me willya! This book has been out for one month, there’s been a advertising campaign and still you an’t buying it!! WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE?????  Ohhhhhhh I know what it’s all about. All those social media types with their Youth Orientation and what is ….’Trending’, so anyone who is not in the right profiles gets ignored. It’s just like what happens to me, Pete and Burt when we asked the Town Council if we could play our Kazoo renditioning of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ on the 4th July three years back, and they turned us down because it might have been seen as ‘disrespectful’……. HA!…Disrespectful! They just didn’t want three old guys strutting their stuff that’s all! And don’t think we haven’t noticed they have not replaced that old omnibus of Dick Tracy cartoons in the town library which they removed because ‘they’ said it was in need of repair….HA!! What AND happened to the ‘Smokey Stover’ collection???….They still won’t answer that question!!    I tell ya, it’s a pretty sorry state when an ordinary guy who’s lived an ordinary life, not making a fuss or being on ‘Reality TV’ can’t get his book noticed…Just ‘because’. You take Burt, who spent ten years researching  and writing up a three volume commentary on the History of Pot Roast and did anyone take it up? Did they…Huh? I mean, it’s POT ROAST for pity’s sakes, y’ can’t get more patriotic or basic roots of culture  than POT ROAST!!!  And then you can’t get anything controversial  published unless you’re already well known or some sorta wacko that a bunch of TV executives found. Me an’ Pete collaborated on two volumes being critical of folk of high profile irrespective of politics, gender, race, religion or which baseball team they followed titled ‘And Here’s Another Idiot’ followed up by ‘It’s You Stupid Lot that Make Them Wealthy’. I mean how controversial can you get? But did anyone give us a sniff! Did they? Hah! Nnnnooo because in their eyes we were 70 year old nobodies, with no profile or ‘Twitter’ accounts! I tell ya, it’s The Living In A  Stacked Deck scenario all over again!!! 

PuzzledErr…Excuse me. But…err…What’s the book, and have you read it? 

Doffing a hat

Oh I can help you there young lady.

Of Patchwork Warriors It’s on that Kindle device  

Portrait Angry older man screaming on white background

I was gettin’ there! I was gettin’ there!!!    Laughing and pointing

Just catching his breath…That’s all

Portrait Angry older man screaming on white background

I heard that Charlie Smerhoffer! You and your stupid easy going attitude! Well, let me tell you, when ‘they’ come and take away all those Short Story collection you read at the Library and replace them with ‘Controversial’ drivel written by any yahoo who’s got a PROFILE and a bank account inversely proportional to the size of their brain then don’t come moaning to me about it!! 

Pondering twoI’ve read all the posts on this topic and I’m still none the wiser. 

Confused person on Brexit

Yeah, I printed them out and collected them in a binder. It still didn’t help.

Portrait Angry older man screaming on white background

THAT’S BECAUSE YOU SHOULD BE BUYING AND READING THE BOOK!!!!

Vintage engraving of a victorian era professor or schoolmaster reading a book.

But you see, my dear sir, there is an inherent flaw in your argument. For surely the whole purpose of these whimsical marketing endeavours is to raise the profile of the work in question and thus encourage the individual to purchase a copy. Thus by your last statement you have created a contradiction in that, if a person were to purchase a copy of the said volume, then there would be  no need to read the marketing. Ergo your previous comment is void of any substantial meaning.

Little girl sticking tongue out. PNG - JPG and vector EPS (infin

Naaah! Stop being mean to Gramps!

YEAH!!!!

Wives and lovers exasperated-11451246Oh great. Another marketing classic.

Haughty response 4

Awww don’t worry, I’m sure Ms Blue Collar is on hand to save the day.

Meanwhile……

ITALY-FRANCE-WEATHER-FEATURE

Pondering oneNo sales since the 21st of Feb then? 

WIN_20201130_14_37_57_Pro‘Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day….’

Furtive…Uh-oh that don’t sound regular.

WIN_20201130_14_37_57_Pro

 

‘If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well . It were done quickly’

worried-manQuoting Shakespeare’s MacBeth…to himself….That will not end well.

WIN_20201130_14_37_57_ProBear like I must fight the course.’

Pondering oneYou might want to miss the next post folks….

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The Bandwagon Advertising Approach

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The Advertising (Emotional Appeal ploy) Approach