Shaking off the negativity


Lot of negative waves at home and day job at present. Angie’s under pressure with a total change of work system and practices, which has a knock on. I’ve been acting as her ‘receptionist’ and fending off some of the time hogs to let her get back in control of her workload. This has eaten into creative writing time.

Walked into evening shift yesterday afternoon to be told we had to be nursemaided off the premises by ‘Security’ from now on because some whack job has been threatening other staff. No idea why, we’re one of the least offensive and most people friendly organisations I’ve ever come across. The problem is; Whack job, obviously what is called a ‘borderline personality’ has extended his threat to everyone else who works in our little office. Our Executive Director is very upset, and I can’t recall the first time I ever heard her swear, but I heard her curse last night. As for the rest of the staff, they’re rattled, which has a bit of a knock-on effect all round.

For myself, I don’t react well to being threatened, even by proxy. Never have. Not unnaturally the hackles go up and get in the way of everything else. I’m usually pretty well controlled, but where petty bullies are concerned I have a tendency to go straight into combat mode. Which rather impacts on the rest of life. Left alone, the stress and anger stains and corrodes the creative impulse. Gets in the way.

As part of a coping strategy, my own anger at being under unjustified threat has been faced down and held up to richly deserved ridicule. This morning I took a time out to corner my own red beast, give him a richly deserved spanking and tell him to play nice. To mind his own business until he’s really needed. Writing about it helps. As for whack job, there’s a handy little article on borderline personalities in the October 2013 issue of Psychology Today, which is getting yet another read through.

Thinking about the threat situation dispassionately, there’s some extra material here. A rich seam of narrative to be mined and refined. In ‘Falling’ my hero has to break up with a slightly goofy and predatory girlfriend, and I think I’ve just found the key to unlock that story element. Where their relationship starts out as a ‘no strings’ kind of deal, it morphs, as these situations are wont to do, into a morass of suspicion and jealousy, which will no doubt end with my hero getting slung out of a very cosy gaff. Well, who’d have thunk it? An extra story layer. Well I never. Inspiration comes from the strangest quarters. My irony meter just went into overload.

Today I am also looking at the ‘Freemen on the Land’ movement, watching videos, examining their philosophy. listening to what they say. Looking at what their opponents say. The reason for this interest, an iteration of their philosophy is putting in an appearance in ‘A Falling of Angels’ where the ‘Freemen’ find themselves as an organising factor in a massive refugee camp. Literally creating their own parallel society, and at the same time both helping and hindering my mind reading detective in his hunt for the killers. However, that’s enough of a giveaway for the moment.

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Rambling on and on


‘A Falling of Angels’ is still work in progress. A very slow work in progress. Editing, re-editing, proofing and spell checking, but not much in the way of actual creative writing. Still, I’m happy with the way the story is developing. My lead character is driving the main thread along steadily, and the side plots and protagonists are suitably venal and unpleasant. They, particularly my gay club owner and highly intelligent crime boss feel nicely three dimensional. He, like villains always should be, is far more fun to write than my ‘hero’, the telempathic Detective Sergeant Paul Calvin, forever on the brink of losing both job and children.

Progress on ‘Darkness’ is likewise sporadic. There’s been too much going on outside world; shift changes at day job and Angie wanting to move. Now my shifts stretch to midnight, with the resultant knock on to domestic life. Makes it hard to settle down to a narrative. I feel like I’m just rambling purposelessly.

There’s an odd kind of feel to events, too. It’s unusually cool for August, with the temperature on our deck barely scraping up to the sixties Fahrenheit. According to the forecast, the trend is going to continue for the next week or so, when normally we’re restocking on sun block. Very odd. Maybe September will be sunny.

Up and running with the first two volumes


Right. Distribution issues notwithstanding, both ‘Sky‘ and ‘Falling‘ are now public domain at the princely sum of CAD$3.99 each. Edited, re-edited and proofed until my eyeballs feel like they’re going to seize up.

That’s it. No more. Time to move on and finish the series before going back to work on Cerberus. Will be monitoring for distribution issues while I’m in the UK and Ireland. Now it’s time for the day job.

Indexing and formatting for eBook


Getting an eBook right is a massive effort. Over the past two weeks I’ve done little but revise, spellcheck and index two pieces of work for release as eBooks while the muse for writing new works is passing me by. Headings need to be properly organised. Titles in Heading 1, Part section titles in Heading 2, and sub section titles in Heading 3. No stray code fragments to mar the text and all the major spelling and grammatical mistakes are being ironed out. It’s hard work and takes up every single free minute. Angie has been loudly wondering where her husband has gotten to.

Not far now. Another two days concerted effort I think. The Metadata is fixed. Cover artwork is fixed. Title, copyright page and forewords have matching Author names and title headers. Nothing for the automated format programs to reject. Along with a part time job that is more like full time plus overtime, I don’t get time to get out and sniff the air. Not that I’m a big socialiser anyway. I never was.

The trip to England, Ireland and the Hague is just over two weeks away and there’s a lot to pack in. Family, friends etc. I’ll take the slaptop and if I get a chance to write will pick a quiet spot and juggle concepts while the girls are off shopping and whatever else they do.

Blog customisation


While editing and proofing the last few days output, I took a break to clear out the blogs Askimet comments spam box, and in among the attempted SEO spamming, Ads for Chinese prostitutes (Go figure), incomprehensible malware links, and one string of obscenities (Why? What was the point of that? Apart from a classic demonstration of the posters sub literacy.) I found one sensible comment about the look of the blog so I approved it. ‘Space it out better’ I think was the request. It’s here, go look for yourself.

Now I’ve looked at changing the blogs appearance before, and quite frankly this is one of those “Could you be a bit more specific” moments. This blog isn’t perfect, because when all’s said and done it is what it is. I could spend thousands of dollars and it would still be imperfect in the eyes of any given beholder. Why? Because we’re all different and hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see.

It’s all part of the human experience. Still wouldn’t get me any more traffic, because while the end result of any given story may well be dramatic, sexy, violent and all that jazz, the process of writing is only exciting to the actual writer. A person with their head down, emptying the contents of their head into a word processor isn’t dramatic to watch, is very unsexy, and about as non-violent a pursuit as it comes. Dull, dullness without anything to relieve the watchers’ tedium. Short of giving away every story development, quirk of character or plot twist. Just dust the cobwebs off me as you pass. The lights are palpably on, someone’s definitely home, but you can bang as hard as you like on the door because we’re not taking visitors today. Ignore the dog barking. Just make an appointment for next week please. I’m having far too much fun writing about refugee camp cannibal gangs, blackmailers and genetic manipulation. Not forgetting the DarkNet (The Internet’s ‘evil’ twin) and similarly linked themes.

Anyway, the blog isn’t a priority. What with various narratives and shift work, it tends to take a back seat. I just don’t have time (or the graphic talent) to fuss with it. For the moment I’m going with the cheap ‘n cheerful free WordPress template I’ve selected. Unless anyone else has a sensible suggestion. Otherwise I’ll be back here on Wednesday evening, maybe even Friday. TTFN.

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? #WritersLife


Picked up poet Mary Oliver‘s question via LinkedIn this morning, and it very much resonates with what’s going on in my life at the moment. Well, not just mine but Angie’s as well. We’ve been pottering around looking at lots to build a house on, and finding that everything eventually devolves to suburbia. The whole work-eat-sleep-mortgage thing, which we’ve already done. So why on earth are we planning to anchor ourselves down to a plot of land for the rest of our useful lives? Nail ourselves to one location? Chain our souls to real estate? Go down the suburban road once more? Do the networking thing? Cultivate contacts to further our ‘careers’? Sell our souls to the machine again? We’re both over fifty and pretty active, I don’t see the point.

Would we do it for Laura and Jo? Not really, they’re all grown up and making their own lives half way around the world. As for me, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, if there were a club especially for people like me, I wouldn’t let me in. I’m not a social animal. The Bear is my totem.

So after drifting around plots and lots with various enchanting views, we ended up in the Genoa Bay Marina Espresso Bar down past Duncan. Down at the end of one floating jetty was a 60′ Gin Palace, registered in Edmonton, Alberta of all places. A gleaming monstrosity of fibreglass and stainless steel. Very palatial. A million bucks worth straight out of the yards. Beautiful lines. It looked fast and graceful, even just moored at the floating dock gathering algae next to all the houseboats.

All of a sudden, Angie gets all upset, which bothered me as it was a gorgeous day and we hadn’t a care, apart from looking at various interminable building sites. She confessed to me that this whole looking for houses process was making her unhappy, and she didn’t want to do it any more. She expressed a wish to live on a boat and cruise the coast and gulf islands for the next ten or twenty years. So as we wound through endless Canadian suburbia, we talked it over. I expressed surprise as Angie tends to suffer from motion sickness, and her on a boat? To be honest I never even thought about it as a life option. She said no, she was willing to give it a try. Life on the water. We joked about her having a ‘mid-life crisis’, well why not? Without crisis and adventure, life is dull, dull, mind strangling routine. The morass of souls, the slough of despond, a round of endless quiet desperation.

I reflected that some of my early years were spent playing around on British canals on cabin cruisers. This brought up memories like being at the wheel of a fishing boat following a gyrocompass bearing back into Looe after a days deep sea fishing out near Eddystone. Force four south westerly freshening to six. Dirty green sea under grey skies, bucking the restless horse of a Lochin 38 Hulled fishing boat at fourteen knots. Five foot swells slamming at the bows. Slewed at twenty degrees from the line of travel in the cross wind.

I have my BC pleasure craft license, know the basics about R/T drills and have a modest understanding of basic seamanship. Angie is a quick learner, and both sides of the family have more than a little salt water in their veins, so why not? We don’t really ‘belong’ anywhere, and would only be stifled by life in one place, regardless of how nice the views or people are.

The sheer chutzpah appeals. The thought of Island hopping, following the weather around the world while working online has a certain appeal. Phoning the kids from Southampton or some other locale. “Hi love, fancy a weekend off?” Hire cars when need arises, not buy them. Move our money around the globe, spread the risk, take a chance. I have more than a couple of ideas about that. Yes, so we’re having a radical rethink about how we live our lives, and today we are going to talk to boat brokers.

Head of the Beast now available for the Nook


Another day, another milestone. Head of the Beast featuring mind reading detective Paul Calvin is now available and listed for the Barnes and Noble Nook.

Two days off from the day job, and I’ll have an explore at getting it listed for the Kobo eBook reader. Just awaiting my proof copy of the paperback to approve for distribution on Amazon and the rest of the mainstream online booksellers.