The Way Things Work January #BlogBattle-Dynamic

Out There Navigate

He awoke like wading through jam. There was that rhythm of a brightly delivered  knock on his quarters door.

‘Compositor. If you please,’ and there was the high cheery voice.

After the customary reflex swear word Sylan opened one eye.

‘Yeah. On my way ’ the gruff bark was acceptable in the situation.

As the door slid open a slender face, bright yet with some concern looked up at him, at the caller’s side a large dog stood tongue out, tail wagging. Sylan scowled at both.

‘Lady Ensign Croí Eadrom,’ he said being as civil as possible.

‘This is my dog. Reluctance,’ she said in mock sincerity ‘Thus you can see I am disturbing your precious rest with great Reluctance,’

Sylan pinched the bridge of his nose. Irrespective of her superior lineage, exasperation begged he should empty the nearby jug of water over her. Thankfully her  whimsicality stilled the urge.

‘We have an issue?’ a fatalistic question. This was the problem with serving on a scout corvette, no room for two shifts of Compositors.

She grimaced remaining wide-eyed, again comic

‘A cluster of titchy Depressions. A light year out and closing. Popping in and out. C’mon,’ she said to both Compositor and dog and they followed, Sylan not sharing the carefree easy canine gait. How and from where?  In the meantime he had to consider those fist size version of black holes, darting out of the Four Dimensions seeming not to be adhering to The Speed of Light.  Corvettes could dance away from them, the larger the ship, the greater the time and space needed to steer away from them; hence corvettes, a wide gossamer, scouting ahead, seeking these, the latest unexpected  and broadcasting the warnings.

When it came to the welfare of the World Craft, five hundred myles long and an irregular width at maximum of a hundred myles, warnings had to be  multiplied to scales of years of time to react. Initially all on the shoulders of a few. He supposed that was how it worked. He only dealt in figures, not ramifications.

The Ensign as usual chattered away about how she loved the corvette, the stars, the mysteries of The Universe. She made the whole vista of danger seem, so natural, to be met and respected.

Lorgaire Thall captain of the Corvette Gealbhan was again reading It Doesn’t Work Like That. A somewhat bold treatise on The Ethereal by controversial theorist Maighdean Ardea. Nonetheless he oft referred to it for perspective. Unknown and Unexpected being the trade of The Avant Squadrons. The constant challenge of matching the Four Dimensions with depths of The Ethereal.

‘I maintain this is more evidence of White Hole possibility Captain,’ said his navigator handing him the summary ‘This clutch of Depressions did indeed just appear. Flung out as it were,’

‘The Ethereal was enough of a trial upon The World, Navigator. Out here in the Cosmos these seeming spontaneities would have us believe travel between stars   near impossible,’

‘As we journey we learn Captain,’

‘Indeed we do Navigator. At one Inspiring and Humbling,’

‘Once long ago, around and on The World we The Ard Tiarnai thought ourselves knowledgeable above all. The High King did warn us,’

‘Captain,’

Captain, Navigator and Lieutenant of the Watch all turned. Compositor Sylan, typical of his race could not match their physical elegance, yet his eyes bright and manner alert indicated the dexterity so common amongst The Fiontraíoch folk. Woe unto any of the Ard Tiarnai who thought the Fiontraíoch to be lesser folk.

‘I regret having to disturb your rest time. Master Compositor,’ Captain Thall said.

‘The Cosmos is no respecter of our comfort,’ Sylan replied ‘We should be grateful we got this far,’

‘I respect the gloom of your long-term forecasts Compositor,’

‘It would be nice to be wrong on that score, but I suppose Captain, the more persistent we are the more we reduce the possibility. How may I assist you with these Depressions?’

The Navigator laid out the chart and the information dutifully printed from the Assessor machines, and he appraised Sylan of his own estimations. Naturally Sylan listen attentively. Not his place to interrupt a Navigator.

‘May I sit Captain?’

‘Of course Master Compositor,’

Seated he surveyed the evidence, then with all due respect asked the Navigator to repeat his own estimations. The three officers accepted this; novice ensigns were ever lectured not to ever question a Compositor. Sylan set down his thick pad of paper and with an ancient pen began to write. As he did he spoke. His gruff basic accent falling away as his tones turned to a slow steady litany.

‘It bears repeating sirs, if the opportunity arises, you should visit the hub of the Engines of World Craft. Of course Compositors and our like have to witness this majesty. The many chambers, five miles underground set in catacombs so grand in dimensions that if empty a squadron of  battleships of the fleets could dock in each. Therein are the devices. The towering grey obelisks inscribed with external wiring like long forgotten runes. Their companions, the shimmering black towers, plain, implanting in an observer the feeling they are watching them with hidden eyes. All connected by intricate patterns of piping veins for miles of secret wirings, and leading far beyond to deeper places wherein lie the vast dangerous machines. Heavy and looking deceptively ponderous as they churn, or slowly spin or grind away supplying the World Craft with its atmosphere, tides, weathers, days, nights, shielding from the uncaringly hostile universe, and by magnificent ingenuity its movement at speed belying the bulk,’

Two pages were by then inscribed with figures, small neat script starting in the horizontal, then veering at occasions into vertical, and back again to level until the script became patterns within patterns.

Sylan stopped and slumped a little over his work, from one alcove on the deck appeared the Lady Ensign Croí Eadrom a raven on her shoulder up in a light steps she moved to Sylan and upon reaching him set her hands gently upon his shoulders, in response he absently patted hers. She and her bird looked to her Captain. Before she could speak, he said, with a sigh.

‘Yes I know Ensign. You come with Grave Concerns,’

At mention of  its name the bird inclined its head. The Captain treasured these irreverences of hers.

‘As you wish you may take Compositor Sylan back to his quarters where he may be allowed to resume his rest. Thank you Compositor,’

Mute and now smiling Sylan rose and once more patting the ensign’s hands left the deck. He knew he had been at work, but right now, even though recently formed, the memories were evasive, he would shepherd them in after he rested. The bird hoped onto his shoulder. Her menagerie. Ever the mystery.

On the deck the Navigator examined the figures.

‘Captain. I will need to verify by examination through my two auditors and Assessor machines, but it would seem we need swift evasion of the squadron, alert the sub-fleet on station to act as necessary and to pass this back to fleet command with a strong recommendation they report onto World Craft Naval for them to alert Council and High King that the World Craft should take prompt oblique course from current,’

‘That is indeed a heavy work load Navigator. You must attend without delay,’

Permission given The Navigator left.

‘Lieutenant of the Watch,’ Lorgaire Thall said ‘As we cannot burn up any time waiting, I will be in my quarters drafting the introduction to my final despatch, a task which will take some time. Corvette Gealbhan is now within your charge. Ensure those Depressions are observed for the slightest deviation in path or alteration in speed. Therein will be the only reasons for you to interrupt me,’

Lieutenant of the Watch gave out the necessary orders to all crew on observation duties. In addition to make sure nothing was missed he allocated extra crew to the task. All matters attended to he took his stance, gazing outwards, not action of any use of course; yet you could not help but be drawn to the immensity, a craft had to have its share of viewing ports. No amount of devices could make up for the urge to physically see.

Being alone he allowed himself the luxury of a sigh. There would be no rest for the next five, even ten watches. Any information which suggested The World Craft would have to make even the slightest change in direction would end up being a converted to a political decision. Not just propulsion or direction, but environmental adjustments would be made, even shifts in populations to compensate. How many of the thirty millions he wondered. And there would be those subsequent affects on the productions of support, the shepherding of floral and fauna.

Decisions to be taken upon the entire Dynamics which would start with the information from one speck of a craft. Although the responsibility now weighed upon all of the crew, he was glad to he out here and not back upon  the World Craft locked into the entirety of the administrations levels likely to be tasked with coping of any changes.

A door opened, there were soft skipping footfalls. 

‘Ensign Croí Eadrom’ he said, without turning ‘Is our Compositor settled?’

‘He rests,’ she said drawing alongside, no bird nor dog in sight, in a most  unconventional action she whistled soft ‘How is it possible someone can produce so many figures, so precisely, so quickly, ahead of any machines?’  

‘I am sure I do not know. In any case it is not good manners, nor productive to question the nature of any race, nor why within each race some excel at one discipline or another. There is no room for such,’

‘That’s true. Just curious,’ she quipped joining in his gazing ‘We all have our tasks,’ another soft whistle ‘Makes you think though, dun it?’ he winced at he mangling of language ‘I mean. Here we are, all in a flurry over titchy things,’

‘Depressions can carve through a planet’s surface if they strike. The damage to something as delicate as a World Craft is ghastly to imagine. Solid objects we can handle,’ he gestured to the depths, the unseen ‘Those Depressions are unstoppable. All necessary actions must be taken soon,’

‘Yer,’ she continued ignoring the requirements of acceptable speech ‘We’re not so grand are we? We have to keep on our toes,’ one hand drifted into a pocket of her jacket and she brought out a small brown and white rabbit, which she proceeded to cuddle and stroke. ‘Always keep alert I say,’

The Lieutenant had been waiting this, she always did this at some stage, but he’d caught her out, surely.

‘That’s a rabbit,’ he pointed out with solemnity. ‘I would suggest there is not even any lerts,’

‘Rabbits,’ she replied with a dignity so heavy as to be comic ‘Are always alert. Hence her name,’

‘Alert?’ he replied sensing defeat.

‘Quite so,’ she said, and with the rabbit settled on one shoulder popped upon a large pocket, the heads of two mice mouse appeared. ‘These are the Concern Sisters,’ she explained ‘I need discuss with the observation crew their morale, I will explain I have small concerns,’

He shared the rest of the crew puzzlement on how she managed to inspire cheerfulness, or level out tensions with such humour. No one of course discussed just why she was here. It was unspoken. To do so might upset the entire system; each unto their own, on this journey vast to them, but a speck to the Universe.

One slender thread in the pattern of Survival. From here on a corvette to Council of The High King on the World Craft. It was how The Dynamics worked.

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A Cautionary Collection of An Indy Writer’s Musings.

Melodrama

In case you weren’t aware ‘Indy Writers’ are folk who eschew for various reasons the conventional route to getting into print by submitting their work to agents or publishers. ‘Tis a long hard road often with scant, if any reward. Yet they do this for various reasons, and operate or strive by various maxims. Here are some of mine. I should warn you I have found regular doses of Sardonic Humour help me through the scant periods, which do seem to be rather unjustly long.

I am playing the long game. My grandchildren’s children will clean up when my work is discovered.

‘They’ don’t know what they are missing.

Arrogance in a writer is like seasoning. A smidge enhances the work and motivation. Too much makes everything unpalatable. 

The first draft is supposed to be terrible, if you think it’s not, you’re not doing it properly.

When it doubt, just put words down and sort them all out afterwards.

Awww Geez Louise you guys. It’s different already. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of literary history when this work of mine breaks on through..

Well. We’ll see in 200 years time WHO is held up as an shining example of early 21st century use of the artful and incisive working of sub-text and adventuresome extrapolation when employing the Fantasy Genre as a mirror to the complexities of Human societies while celebrating the heroics of the independent folk of varying stations and maintaining an optimism that evil will fall before determination. Uh? WE’LL See!

I have not failed. I simply keep encountering folk who don’t understand what this book is about (You then say ‘Thank you Mr Thomas Edison for allowing me to plagiarise your original  statement)

It’s not my fault Amazon’s search engine is faulty and doesn’t direct folk to my Kindle work.

Maybe, just maybe my last marketing drive wuz a bit off-the-wall.

Folk have very many books To Be Read. Be patient .

And if all else fails…..

Hah! If that’s what I gotta write to get successful. Well PFFBBBBBBT! To the lot of them…….PFFFBBBBBBBBBBBBBT!!!!

Whimsical 2

(However you don’t want to get to that stage. No seriously. Just keep on keeping on working the nuancing and talking with other writers, but don’t read ‘How To….’ books they just lead to excessive PFFFFBBBBBBBBTs, and that’s not good. And if you do make it, just give a small mention to this post…Huh guys?….Just a tiny mention….A word mebbe?…Huh?)  

 

Some Musings Inspired by…. Not Too Sure What

plato

Despite the fact that there is a risk a lot of the old seasonal joy for one reason or another has been sucked out. It is still a season to be Quirky

And since it is supposed to be religiously inclined season

Some religiously inclined or inspired musings

Is the current pre-pre presidential nomination spat between ex-occupant of the Whitehouse Trump and Govenor of Florida De Santis with Trump’s threat to form of third party and thus tear apart the Republican Party God’s way of saying to the rest of us ‘Hey guys. I’ve got this covered,’?

There again

Considering the proliferation of popularity and adherence to one of possibly one of the most idiotic beliefs ie Qanon. Is it possible that down in Hell Satan is saying to his devils and demons ‘Hey guys. Don’t fret none. I’ve got this covered,?

And yet

Evidence of God’s Unfathomable Love is the fact that we are still around. Although don’t get too complacent, there’s some unsettling evidence in the Old Testament that like all parents, His patience is not infinite. (Sobering, Wry Humour or Just Another Christain Sounding OFF? I dunno, you decide – Meanwhile all challenges to my personal faith will be explained in a post coming here, sometime before 25th December)

About that previous one. Here are some thoughts on perspective.

Earth- 4 billion years old. Life 3.5 billion (about). Humanity (sort of) about 1 million- tops. Current estimated life expectancy of Planet Earth about 7.5 – 8.0 billion years. Even if we make it to another million, that’s only 0.00025 of the whole time span. Be humble people.

Gee- That’s a BIG universe. (Latest estimate 90 billion light years and counting). Gosh- Are quarks that small. (43 billion-billionths of a centimetre).

Put those those two together and on a cosmological scale and you’ll know how a quark feels. Like I said, be humble people.

Ok, I’m done for today

When or Not To. That Is THE Question? November #BlogBattle-Cultivate

Beards

The smallish nation of Unbedeutend located on one side by the bend of the vast river Gewaltig and cossetted on the other by the Zackig mountain range was thus left alone. That was how it had been for three centuries.

However, King Lastig not one to leave well alone. After five years’ tenure of not doing much he decided Unbedeutend needed an image as well, something which would make the men of Unbedeutend stand apart. Lacking a constructive imagination, he pondered another two years then one day an ambassador dispatched from a neighbouring nation for annoying his own king hoping to do something with his miserable lot remarked on the fine impression Lastig’s full beard and moustaches made.

Lastig took this to heart and a spark was set aflame. Unbedeutend would be the home of that most socially acceptable display of masculinity, luxurious and well-maintained facial hair. He voiced this opinion several times and his court who had its fair share of facially hairy men were much pleased, those not so took the hint and within some seventy days not a chin or upper lip was  perceived, on the males that is. Naturally this ceased to be a fashion and more of a friendly suggestion with elements of an edict.

And so many clean-shaven males of Unbedeutend commenced to cultivate facial hair. Those wishing to maintain or obtain status ensured their efforts were maintained to a high standard. ‘Straggly’ becoming a word certain to doom a fellow to mockery or ostracisation. Over the next three years barbers obtained sufficient importance to elevate their once humble Barber’s Guild to The Learned Advocacy of Master Coiffeurs and began to invent all sorts of rules and regulations, obtaining seats of local councils and so forths.

Lastig was very pleased he had set his nation on a path to Status. For did not much facial hair mean masculinity?

His folk along the Zackig mountains thought so, and consequently folk from other three kingdoms who resided along the mountain borders with Unbedeutend had to confront a frequency of by swaggering males displaying their beards, at close range. Concerns were raised by said border communities this could escalate. The kings and their lords thought reacting to Threat By Beard would be seen as excitable and thus did nothing, except look with some suspicion at some of their own fulsomely facially haired men about court. After a while other local matters took their attention and sense prevailed. Unbedeutend, who cared? Aside from peasants on the borders, so what.

In Unbedeutend males continued to emulate their king. Although some in various positions of authority or wishing to be thus looked upon others with facial jealousy and unable to keep pace suggested these others were trying to exceed the king in stature. The consequences were varied and because no one wanted to disturb the king’s joviality very restrained, merely muted as innocent officials on the rise, gently fell from grace, or lesser also innocent folk seeking to rise in court were modestly ostracised back to their estates. It was all very civilised.

Queen Fellyone and the ladies of her court, circle and salon could not, of course, become involved, so they concentrated on flower arranging, which was very socially astute as peasants would not have time or resources to do likewise. Not so with men.

Out amongst the common folk and those elevated, but not invited to Court. matters evolved as the cultivation continued. Those of meticulous and reflective mien grew narrower styles, thus enabling them to finger the hair thoughtfully while saying ‘So’ or ‘Ah’ or a long drawn out ‘Yesssss,’. Some tolerated as outgoing and outrageous indulged in slightly untidy appearances, while military folks’ efforts were by length and width measured according to rank.  Religious fellows attended to the matter according to personal conscience. Books on how to conduct neat and respectable ways of eating proliferated, though those who had long cultivated facial hair felt somewhat insulted by the latter move. An indicator of social pressures which the king’s advisors’ advisors should have taken note of.

There were however other pressing issues, the one most close to Lastig’s heart being his only son and thus heir Prince Gravierend, unlike his father serious and reflective also not prone either socially or worse physically to displays of facial hair. He was capable at arms and took an interest in military matters, so no one was inclined to jest with him at not joining the era of beards, nonetheless an embarrassment to his father and as some courtiers suggested a possible focus of discontent. The solution was relatively simple. The neighbouring southern nation of Beunruhigt was now suffering from a few ill-disciplined barons. Gravierend, was only too glad to go with a volunteer retinue of sober and able fellows, who began to shave as soon as they crossed over the border.

For administrative purposes Lastig’s nephew Earl Schleichen was made nominal Prince of the Office, in order that someone be princely for all the required ceremonial duties of the said rank. Schleichen had for some time been maneuvering to get A Position. He was aided by others who thought they could control him and with him shared a dislike of Gravierend who they thought merely affected his serious disposition. Wars it had been agreed were serious things and who knew what might happen to a young prince. Lastig distracted by various issues relating to beards did not notice.

At least half of the court should have anticipated the first problem would come from The Church and within the Church. To begin with the issues were minor. The most boring and to be avoided priests and bishops got into tussles over the theological implications of long or short beards. In rural areas congregations found over enthusiastic priests indulged in hair to the extent their sermons were quite incoherent coming from behind what appeared to be small bushes. This led to neighbouring priests who had issues with the excessively hairy associate to suggest an excess of hair was all vanity, some even began, with congregational support, to shave. This allowed wives and mothers weary of shedding of hair, unpleasant sights at meals and discomfort at times once tender and intimate to lend support, and everything became schismatic.

The disruption spread to more urban areas and in the tide those men who had long nurtured facial hair and were expert in its management were wont to voice distain at less expert fellows and the disrepute they were bringing upon the art.

Vocal disputes became more frenetic and louder, thus hair was tugged, which accelerated and riotous behaviour became common, bordering of Unrest. Lastig, like most folk of genial dispositions when thwarted and deprived of uncomplicated options lost his temper and became dyspeptic.

To begin with he commanded his lords to stop the violence, without telling them how, and demanded his government to issue edicts and laws. As each official had been told personally each went away with different ideas. The results were rather obvious, the lords had opted for the simplest solution; Hit People, as the lords were the ones with the soldiers, so things simmered down; except that the lords now thought themselves rulers in their own realms claiming they ‘understood’ the local situation; which most of them didn’t. The Church weighed in with a bewildering number of contradictory opinions thus even the schisms had schisms. The most extreme example being ‘The Sisterhood of The Equal Hair’, a group of women who partook of secret potions which encouraged facial hair growth; whether this started out as a religious, political or satirically ironic movement was lost in the confusion of the times, needless to say the results were unsettling.

Lastig now started to make very uncomplimentary and ungenerous remarks to folk in his court, mostly to do with their competency, although peppered with barded observations on their own beards. He said he would sort it all out and locked himself away in a room wherein he worked for five days and nights drafting The Royal Decree of Stability. When it was produced no one understood anything of its nature, while Lastig seemed to be unable to offer any coherent clarifications. In later years in Universities Professors of Politics, Philosophies and Rhetoric would offer up this work up as the prime example of why drafting without ideas was a bad approach, some radical and naturally covert institutions used it as a reason why kings should never be involved in formulation of law.

Even so Lastig insisted upon its application, the first, to profit were lawyers, the second being Schleichen. It was noted that whereas Lastig began to display evidence of Straggliness, Schleichen’s beard was more luxurious and maintained, thus even though he was growing more obnoxious he felt confident enough to drop the ‘of the Office’ part of his title and experiment with passing his own edicts, all to do with the accumulation of his own authority and wealth. Such was the chaos very folk noticed.

Elsewhere, actually in Beunruhigt, King Travach was grateful for Gravierend’s efforts, the surviving ill-disciplined barons were wishing they had not listened to their deceased associates. Surviving assassins sent curt letters of resignations to those in Unbedeutend who had sent them.  Also daughter of Travach, Princess Leilanna (The Studious) and Gravierend had formed an attachment. As there was no more ill-discipline in the realm he escorted her to visit her favourite widowed aunt whose border lands were in the shadow of the Zackig Mountains. It was there the pair and their loyal retinues encountered a large but furtive band of ruffians and men of the Zackig mountains on the Unbedeutend side, seemingly engaged in transporting large sacks. The encounter from the viewpoint of the disreputable groups was not a profitable one and the survivors were ordered to hand over the contents of the sacks.

Human hair.

On severe and persistent questioning there were general confessions the hair was for the manufacture of false beards, of which there was a flourishing market in Unbedeutend. Gravierend with Leilanna at his side and retinues following was swift to ride back home and demand explanations. The first folk of rank he encountered, were found with large amounts of unexplainable gold, they tried to protest and bluster, in doing so raised other suspicions and were found with false beards.

Gravierend raised the matter at court, as he had a battle hardened retinue no one tried to stop him, in fact several arranged to be elsewhere. Naturally a scandal broke involving nobles, bishops, some merchants and The Learned Advocacy of Master Coiffeurs, more unexplainable gold and false beards were revealed. Prince Schleichen was involved, was forced to flee the kingdom, those of his family who could, disowned him. Lustig suffered a collapse, pulled his hair out and retired to an undisclosed remote tower, Queen Fellyone repaired unto a spa town five hundred miles south west and stayed there, for her health, Gravierend, with some fatalistic reluctance took the throne, married Leilanna, spent a year knocking heads together, putting down inept rebellions, placing unexplainable and confiscated wealth into civil and civic projects for the good of the ordinary folk and drafting the following edict.

‘Beards. I could not care less,’

Most folk got the message, there was much rejoicing and men who had had beards most of their adult life felt dignity and sanity was being cultivated again. ‘The Sisterhood of The Equal Hair’ under the stern examination of Queen Leilanna, confessed that the whole thing had indeed been an ironic jest and were glad it was all over.

And those who wished to, shaved happily ever after.

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.

A Matter of Mixed Fortunes (May#BlogBattle-Pastoral)

Pastoral

Lord Preldehal scowled towards Lord Reivod’s construction.

The fellow wishing to break from widowhood and respectable poverty had entered in marriage negotiations with the wealthy mercantile family Beeinflusser, they seeking access into Gentry classes. They made things with sanctioned machines. Reivod had agreed to turn arable lands to something termed by his possible in-laws as Profitable Enterprise. Still in the early stage, all to show was a loss of woodlands, disgruntled farmers and smoke. Preldehal being competent in farm management did not see advantage to the region, only to the pockets of Reivod and his prospective in-laws.

Sanctioned machine? To his mind they skirted questionable areas which meant dabbling with Stommigheid otherwise named Ethereal. Dangerous stuff. Yet you raised such concerns at your own peril attracting the attention of The Custodians of The Lord God’s Word. Accuser and Accused both viewed with equal suspicion.  

But not satisfied to sit back Preldehal utilised his knowledge of the landscapes and his unfocused son. Weltfremd’s latest affectation to idyllic countrysides had been manoeuvred by his father by a gift of woodland, and its modest stream. Preldehal had suggested the stream could be utilised to make a pond. Weltfremd enthused on this venture.  His father was certain there would be minimal success but the resulting diversion of water would impact upon the flow and quality of the River Wichtig, itself vital to the running of Reivod’s machinery; hopefully ruining the profitability.

‘Good friends,’ Weltfremd announced loudly to friends, male to work, female to encourage. ‘To task,’ thus struck a shovel into the ground, while singing a work song. At once, more or less his group joined in. The initial fervour was worthy, however the organisation being based solely on digging a hole irrespective of other factors was not a sound one. The girls as the first careless showers of earth arrived retreated with servants but not so far as they could not observe the group of young males divest their upper clothing. There were giggles, not from the servants who would have to carry everything back again and found the singing irritating. A nearby unseen observer had their own concerns.    

Translator Pastoral ClnMyla was seated in his one comfy chair; one brief interlude of relaxation from supervising his three translators, ensuring the entire community of Lord Preldehal’s had at least nominal adherence to the Word of The Lord God thus avoiding the dyspeptically pedantic attentions of Custodians of the Word.  

‘Sorry to trouble your Interlude,’ the fellow said, back from observing ‘There’s something going on in Draybelle Woods. Not the usual ‘something’, even if it does involve young folk,’ the fellow pulled a face ‘Heir Lord Weltfremd is involved,’ this intelligence resulted in a long fatalistic sigh from the Translator Pastoral.

‘Since, those being one of his father’s own woods, that part would not be surprising. But judging by the troubled look upon your face Marthrik Healme there’d be woe you’re about to tell me. Sit yourself down and partake of the fresh coffee man. Unhappy tales are best told with refreshments,’ The invitation being gratefully received, the man began.

‘At your instructions I was patrolling the lords’ borderlands at the juncture of current potential disputes, when I espied numbers of privileged young with servants in tow by foot, horse or cart heading for Draybelle Woods. There to be greeted by Weltfremd and provisions. The purpose, to dig a pond, which the male part set about. Whether the result will be a pond, a mud hole or a swampy patch I couldn’t say. This was not my main concern,’

‘Enthusiastic young privileged folk with no idea what they are about is always cause for concern. Yours Marthik?’

‘It was the singing,’

‘The singing? I can anticipate the efforts might not be pleasing to the ear, but that would not be the problem now, would it?’

‘They were using tracts from the Second Holy Book, only they were wrongly sung,’       

‘Since we can dispense with the possible sin of being out of tune, there would be more to this yes?’

‘They were not using the officially sanctioned restrained celebrations of The Lord God’s Creation or the tastefully crafted appreciation of His Wonderous Works of Beauty. Not even one of the ten acceptable hymns of Natural Ways,’

ClnMyla often turned a literal deaf ear to the genuinely inadvertent transgressions which could arise when folk got caught up in the optimism and honesty of the one holy book which was about being Happy, within reason. Often a defence presented to his local Court of the Ecclesiastes began with ‘But in the Second Holy Book….’. He had been careful to school Marthrik in this difficult path which suggested the fellow had already sifted the evidence. The Translator Pastoral bade farewell to any chance of further relaxation.

‘And?’ he asked.

‘I reckon they’ve got hold of a proscribed version. However since none of them were dancing about undressed, waving branches or adorned with badly made animal masks it’s possibly accidental and not true heresy,’  

‘Accidental can be worse. Approach softly, we don’t want to alarm them and be setting off natural force,’

For the first time Marthrik looked startled.

‘Force?’ he echoed, twitching.

‘Call it Stommigheid, call it Ethereal. Our Higher Translators Extraordinaire and Council of The Custodian’s Conclave may deny, but there is everywhere a natural smidge of these most evasive of elementals. Even the dullest of us can set this off by a combination of circumstances. Without intentional summonings,’

‘Thank you for seeing me My Lord,’ ClnMyla said in his conversational tone, he had left Marthrik to continue observation ‘I was out on one of my rare constitutional rides, past those lovely Draybelle Woods. It was remarkable to hear your son and his friends singing as they went about some honest work,’

‘Singing?’  Preldehal asked, his concern stilled because of the word ‘remarkable’ was spoken generously.

‘That they were. And from the Second Holy book, itself ,’

He let the words hang, the absence of an immediate response suggested a lordly dither. His worries concerning the potentiality of unpleasantness between Lords Preldehal and Reivod began to solidify.  

‘My Lord. I wonder, do you think it might be of encouragement if I were to present myself there and give a formal blessing. They’re your woods and it would not be fitting to just go tramping in there,’

As ClnMyla anticipated the lord was only to happy to agree, relieved The Ecclesiastes was content with the effort, a defence against any outrage Reivod would raise.  

He reckoned arrival on the second day when enthusiasm would be waning and various aches, concerns about dresses and general discomfiture would be settling in would suit. 

Translator Pastoral ClnMyla was caught off guard at the sight of the lad standing on a rock addressing a captivated gathering of youthful folk and servants, all a lot more dirty than he had expected. Held aloft indeed was copy of The Second Holy Book green edging to the pages.

‘Your mentorship,’ enthused Weltfremd ‘You find us at break from our efforts,’ he gestured to the rather irregular, wide but shallow hole. ‘I have taken the liberty of addressing everyone to lift our spirits,’

‘We have made a little dam,’ a bright eyed muddy young woman joyfully announced ‘To hold and channel the waters,’

At this point as they all broke into a spontaneous song to do with rain, ClnMyla politely took the copy of The Second Holy Book, seemingly to allow Weltfremd to lead the singing. A brief thumbing through the said tome commenced. Deeply worried the Translator Pastoral was as the skies suddenly thickened with rain clouds; surprised he was not. There were Ethereal forces at work.

Breaking up a volatile crowd even a small one in this situation was not wise, lest unforeseen lightening bolts occur. Instead as the first thick rain drops fell ClnMyla tucked the book into the folds of his cloak. He managed to get his hood up before a herald of the deluge arrived. In his dignified but purposeful flight he met Marthrik.

‘Thank Lord God you have left Translator Pastoral,’ he said ‘They built a dam,’

‘I heard,’

‘In the shape of the discouraged symbol of the Generous Otter. It was not a structurally sound or artistically worthwhile representation,’

‘I would have thought the Graven River Badger would have suited better. Anyway let’s away,’ he produced the book ‘Things will calm down, eventually,’

With the torrential rain the intention to produce a steady, directed flow into the hole meant to be a pond of course failed, much water with one or two of the smaller stones burst upon the clearing, to reinforce the celestial inundation. Folk were transported in all directions. By good fortune the hole impeded some of the impetus pitching them only into muddy puddles, although some being cracked in the ankles or shins, hopped about a bit first to end seating in undignified postures. By then the singing had given way to wails, pleas for assistance and as is the mentality of mobs accusations upon Weltfremd, of which some were thrown back at the accusers in forms of handfuls of mud. It appeared the alleged spirit of the Generous Otter was not taken with the image of him as a dam.

Unto River Wichtig the resulting mix flowed  

The rain turned into a steady drizzle which followed the sorry party to the nearest village where irrespective of status they were shoved into a barn, until by various means everyone was transported to their homes, each with a tale to tell.

ClnMyla addressed a perplexed and guilty looking Lord Preldehal.

‘This My Lord, is not a version of The Second Holy Book you should be having about the place. This was crafted by folk who took the message of tending to Nature’s Bounty slightly too far. They meddled with forces not to be meddled with by the well-meaning innocents. Now you’ll not to worry about your son, he will return sadder, whether wiser I cannot say. In the meantime I will be examining your library and you should take arrangements with your sheriff’s office and captain of your retinue to prepare for some minor upsets and spats between families,’

The fuss lasted forty days with some pre-emptive weddings involved. Lord Reivod was amused, particularly as the extra water provided greater industry. His prospective in-laws would be pleased on their inspection.

They arrived with a guildsman of the Mechanicals, experts in machinery and its tenuous link with Ethereal influences. Reivod’s anticipation faded when the fellow returned from inspection shaking his head and sucking breath between his teeth.

‘Got trouble here squire,’ he said, Mechanicals used that term to everyone irrespective of rank ‘You got flowers growing in your pipes, nasty case of Yellow Flag. You been meddling with Ethereal?’

‘The very idea!’ the lord spluttered.

‘Anyways,’ the fellow addressed to the prospective-in-laws ‘I can’t sanction this. Oh dearie no. Not with such infestation,’

Reivod was left with a location filling with Yellow Flag and no prospect of marriage or wealth. Later, thanks to mediation by the genial Translator Pastoral across the border did find consolation in a young widow recently relieved of a choleric farmer.

The Yellow Flag proved to be a popular ornamental plant, while Maybelle Wood became a place of many sought after blooms, which spread. Both men settled their issues and entered into a most profitable floral supply. Weltfremd expunged from polite local society left to acquire status by his unexplainably found talent of dredging distant waterlogged locations. By good happenstance the expected pregnancy within the Reivod household and the surprise one in the established Preldehal marriage led to births of daughter and son, whose amiable relationship over the years resulted in the union of the households.

Custodian of the Word Marthrik Healme renowned for his more philosophical approach was fond of citing this one as an example of The Lord God’s Ways being mysterious and wonderous to behold. Usually said with a wry grin.      

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/

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.

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.