Saturday, November 10, 2012

So Hard it could crack an egg

I’ve been writing…
My first draft of my “Regenerations” story is complete – and frankly it needs some serious work. The ending is awful, it’s there because something had to be – I sort of knew what had to happen in the end but wrote myself into a contrived confrontation. Still, it’s seven thousand odd words actually written down, which is better than nothing – though I’m not sure what it’s rambling about. Hopefully a week or so away from it may give a fresh perspective and help me figure out just what these people are doing. Rampaging Moas, errant teens, strange, super-powered girls? What the hell is going on? And I’m the writer.
As a kind of back-up, I’ve returned to an earlier story that could well fit the bill for the Regenerations book – a story I was convinced was definitely complete. A new look at it does reveal the need for a little more oomph and a bit of restructuring. I’ve been using my “technique” that I used for “The Royal Wedding from Hell” – which uses the Lester Dent Masterplot concept of looking at your story in 4 parts – which I think of as:
Intro – where we meet the characters and situation, and problems
Build-up – where we throw more problems in their way and reveal what’s going on
Blow-up – where the poor buggers get even more crap thrown their way and we reveal what’s REALLY going on
Finale – where everything gets sorted out
It’s not overly dissimilar to structure ideas explained superbly by Larry Brooks – his latest blogpost lays it out very well (he refers to the 4 parts as Setup, Response, Attack, Resolution). And I heard of Larry via Debbie Howell, interviewed in my previous blog as part of SpecFicNZ blog week.
So having done the “pantser” bit with both stories – in other words just getting some bl**dy words down which, at least, give me characters, places and some kind of idea – I can move on to the rebuilding bit, where we turn all that raw material into a coherent and (hopefully) engaging story.
In addition to all that, I’ve started plodding along with a novel – “The Camp” – I have a rough structure of 4 parts laid out, but am feeling my way forward, finding out what makes my main man tick to start with. 5000ish words so far, only about 45000 or so to go.
I’ve been watching…
Dr Who – the latest 5 episodes (Season 7, part 1) were an improvement on last season (“Asylum of the Daleks” was the best episode since Time of the Angels/ Flesh and Stone from a couple of seasons ago) – but, when you know that the Ponds are leaving at the end of episode 5, then the other 4 episodes have an air of just being there to fill up time waiting for the important one. Thankfully, Amy and Rory are gone now, as far as I’m concerned they royally overstayed their welcome, the new girl seems interesting (at least from her intro in Asylum of the Daleks) so we wait for Xmas and the other 8 episodes to come along. And it’s the big 50th anniversary next year so who knows what excitement is planned?
The fun and jollies of the US Election - like most of the rest of the world, I feel relieved that our man Obama won. Romney, himself, doesn't seem like an idiot (unlike say, George W Bush, Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum) BUT, he has to swallow the rest of the party line to keep the support of all the other red-neck loons that make up his party. I've got more to say on the warped ideology of the American right, but it will take another blog for that.
With the weird atmosphere of untruth that surrounded the US election, I found myself re-reading 1984 - I read when I was about 18. It was superb then, but with the wisdom that comes with age, it is simply staggering today. I will bring these threads together in my next blog.
Okay, and now, this month’s drabble is more of a sort of prose poem – compiled from the subject lines of the spam I get about various pills and, uh, “enlargement” products. Do they form some kind of art work? I’ll let you judge. If anyone wants me to forward one of the spams, please shout. I offer no guarantees about their products….
“So hard it could crack an egg.
Saucy young college hotties.
Germany gets first strike with extra inch
Vids from Yacht party
Your love tool is set to thrill
Butts that look awesome
Girls at $200 a pop
What really happened on the Tonight show?"
So - has anyone else written several thousand words of story, get to the end and decide that it really makes no sense at all?
What did everyone else think of the latest part-series of Dr Who? Are you glad the Ponds have gone?
And can anyone see art in spam? Probably not.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spec Fic NZ Blogging Week - Final Episode

Phew, this is sneaked in at the last minute but we made it. 7 days, 7 drabbles, 1 story. Ladies and Gents, I give you the finale:

"Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy - Episode 7"

Grunt was knackered. Another food riot supressed, another few hundred dead. He stumbled in to see Panathea.

Grunt sat. "It was never this bad before."

"Before what?"

"Before they had  hope," he replied. "Too many people hoping for too much."

Pan looked out upon her city. Grunt was right. The numbers didn't add up. But she was the Bunyip Girl, here to bring the age of plenty.

Plenty was relative, however. If you can't increase supply, then reduce demand.

"Is that it?" she asked, "Am I prophesised to kill half the population?"

Grunt shook his head. Prophecies were just crap.

And there we are. The fun part about making it up as you go along is that you really don't know where it's going to go - and I really didn't think it would end up like this. Far bleaker than I was expecting, but then, maybe just beating the bad guys can't be the end - it really just gives something to start with. Beating the bad guys is the easy bit.

So Good Luck Pan, I hope you don't have to kill half your people but I leave it in your hands.

If you enioyed this - go check out the other blogs at SpecFicNZ .

And when you're done - go to Smashwords and buy my awesome ebook:
"The Royal Wedding from Hell"

As Mrs Doyle would say "Oh go on, go on, go on then...."

SpecFic NZ Blogging week Episode 6

Okay, maybe not posted every day...but, I WILL do the final episode by the end of today. So, on with the show:

"Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy - Episode 6"

The Big Kahuna dangled high above the city.

"Where's the food, Kahuna?" said Pan, "People starve, a bag of rice costs a week's wages. Release the food. Let us live."

"There's no more food, there's too many bloody people," he screamed, "the few eat, the rest barely survive. If it was fair, everyone would starve."

Pan looked down to her gang. They couldn't hear the conversation. The city sprawled out around them. Taking charge of it was a big ask of a street gang. But she was the girl of Prophecy.

Pan cut the rope and the Kahuna went down.

So what will Panathea do now?????

Find out later!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Spec Fic NZ Blogging week episode 5

I'm really enjoying Spec Fic Blogging week this year. The genius who got us all to interview each other should be rewarded - it's great to read about the different Spec Fic writers, what they're up to and how they do it.

For example, here's a great interview with Paul Mannering, who was good enough to publish my story in "Tales from the Bell Club".

And this link takes you to the Spec Fic website with all of the great postings.

And on with the show:

Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy - Episode 5

"You killed my parents, and pretended to kill me," said Panathea to the battered form of Inspector Grunt.

"There was some prophecy," said Grunt, "I assume you know about that."

Panathea sat back. The record had said she would bring down the Big Kahuna and usher in a new age of plenty.

"I'll help you get the Kahuna," said Grunt, "I can use my security clearance, get you close, you can take him out."

Panathea looked to the gang. The Roos seemed keen. The Wallabies were angry. Tangi the Moa was determined.

"Betray us," said Pan, "and you will die."

Hmm, 200 words to wrap this up.....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SpecFicNZ Blogging week Episode 4

And on we days, seven drabbles, One story.....

Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy - part 4

Another city block collapsed but Grunt wasn’t bothered. If he caught the Bunyip girl, all would be forgiven. He ordered the copdroids on, but the Street scum were putting up one hell of a fight.
The gang made their last stand at the last block. Most copdroids assaulted the front. Grunt took a smaller squad to the rear to capture any escaping Bunyip girl.
Suddenly, the copdroids fell silent. A gun was pushed into Grunt’s ear.
“Override command for copdroids; takes a while to work, eh?” said Panathea.
“You’re under arrest,” said Grunt.
“And you’re going to die,” said Pan.
3 episodes to go...but what has been prophesised? And have I thundered towards a finale way too soon?

SpecFic NZ Blogging week - Episode 3

Oops, missed yesterday so will have to do two today...

Seven days, seven drabbles, ONE story: Episode 3 of:

"Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy"

Inspector Grunt was called to Big Kahuna himself.
“We got it sweet right now,” he said, “Them poor, they is oppressed, they is hungry, they is broken. Which means they is happy. Which means us one-percenters is happy. Whole world is happy, eh?”
Grunt said nothing.
“ ’Cept for this Bunyip gang!”
“Just a bunch of kids, boss,” said Grunt.
“They busted the Records Office. Kid’s stuff, eh?”
“OK, they’re organised kids?”
“Zat so? How ‘bout that bunyip kid prophecy? Prophecy you was supposed to have nixed, like years ago.”
“We’ll nix it now,” said Grunt, “Nix it real hard.”
More later...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SpecFicNZ Blogging week day 2

First things first, Episode 2 of "Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy"

Mama Bunyip found the baby Panathea, almost dead, in the sewer. Most Bunyips would just eat the human child.
But Mama Bunyip had the Touch and saw there was something about that girl. Touch said Prophecy.
So Pan was raised by Bunyips in the dark and stinking tunnels beneath the City.
Pan was 13 when Mama Bunyip died; her protection among the other Bunyips gone. She climbed to the streets above.
Most stray teenage girls were chewed up and spat out by the Streets.
But Pan was raised by Bunyips. The other Street scum soon found out what that meant.

More excitement tomorrow....

I was interviewed today by Debbie Howell as part of Spec Fic NZ Blogging week and my answers are on her excellent blog - ( She writes about far more interesting things than me as well.

In return I chucked some questions to her. And please, I'm sure Debbie's ignorance of Doctor Who is just an accident of circumstance and not an appalling lack of taste, after all, she correctly identifies Tim Tams as being better than Toffee Pops:

Tim Tams or Toffee Pops?
I think I'd have to go TimTams ... That's a bit of an eye-opener, eh? When I was younder, it would definitely have been Toffee Pops. But, I guess, my sweet tooth isn't quite what it once was.
On the other hand, Toffee Pops thrown in a food processor (a whole packet) with some cream cheese (250g?? I think ... been a while), whizzed, rolled into balls and covered in choc sprinkles, or chopped peanuts, or whatever .... divine ... let me repeat - DI-VINE.

What was the best meal you ever had?
Hmm .. There are a few that I vaguely remember, but the one I can actually describe, was the old version of the Moonriver Salmon from Lone Star (did I say I was classy? Hey, Lone Star used to do good value meals ... now they're expensive, but they give us free meals for our birthdays ...). The salmon was served on noodles. The noodles had some sort of brown sauce on it ... soy, mixed with oyster, perhaps? (I think that's what I did when I recreated it at home, anyway). But the best bit? The aoli with just a hint of wasabi through it ... YUM!

And which movie can you watch over and over again?
Much to my husband's chagrin: UHF (aka "The Videot from UHF"), aka: Weird Al's movie. But, last time we watched it (I found another person who hadn't seen it! Yay! I had to enlighten them ... but, no, you don't borrow the DVD, I must watch with you ...) hubby still laughed. I think he just groans about it for show. It's a funny movie. Otherwise, there's the classics like "The Neverending Story", "Dirty Dancing", "Cocktail", and of course "Star Wars". I suppose Michael Jackon's "This Is It" counts as a movie, so that one slides in there, too.

Who is best Doctor Who?
Erm ... next? (oops)

What piece of writing are you most proud of and why?
I'm going to say I have two. I have a short story called "Oasis", which I was challenged to write last year by the Canaries from I had been lamenting over how much harder it was to write fiction than non-fiction (once the research has been done, of course), and that led to a challenge to write 10 pages, double-spaced in three days, with the prompt: "Main character wakes up with no memory, a stolen animal (your pick), and an incessant cough". The cough was easy - I had a cold at the time, myself. It was tough - I was sick and I had to turn all dragon-lady-ish over my writing time, banishing hubby and toddler from the house as often as possible, but I did it ... and then that story went on to earn 2nd place in a local Writers' Workshop contest. Not too shappy.
 And, of course, I'm proud of my novel, "Healer's Touch". It started out as nothing more than a way to pass the time when I was temping. I found myself with the most mind-numbing job of sitting there waiting for the phone to ring so I could put the caller through to the person they actually wanted to talk to ... Yeah ... no "Press 1 for so-and-so", nope, you got me for that. In between phone calls, there was nothing for me to do (and for security reasons the internet was pretty well locked down, so no email, no FB, no games ...). And so, I turned to pen and paper.
 What started out as nothing rekindled my relationship with the written word (I had left fiction behind in my pursuit of a scientific career ... yeah, that turned out well). And now I'm due to publish it early next year! Of course, the story bears little resemblance to those early days, although my original MC is still there, he's just been relegated. Also, I wasn't going to have magic, initially ... I wanted a "real world", with scientific explanations. But, magic is fun to play with, so I brought that in, and the story shaped itself from there.
 So, yeah, keep an eye out for "Healer's Touch" in 2013 (o:

Outliner or Pantster?
I started out as a pantster because I wasn't even trying. But once I got it on my head that I'd like the story to really be something, I drafted an outline here and there, and I applied story structure - woo! Sure, I had a go at writing off on other tangents, but I did, ultimately, return to the outline I kind of had in the back of my head from way back when. Sure, I've slipped in parts of my experiments, but on the whole, I stuck to my vague plan, that became less vague as time went on.
 These days, I find myself more comfortable with something in the way of a plan in mind. But, if I start hearing voices in my head, then those scenes get written down as is, ready to go where they are needed.
I think I am a Pantsliner? Hmm ... that doesn't sound right ...

Do you have a day job?
Oh yes. Technically 2, I guess. I have a part-time job as well as being a mum. Luckily being mum to a toddler means I get day-time sleep times to write/read/interwebs, for now ...

Lady Macbeth is often seen as the Fourth witch. Discuss.
 Oh, gosh ... Been too long since I checked out any Shakespeare. And my favourite was always "A Midsummer Night's Dream", so I'm a little lost on the witches ... and Macbeth. Better add them to my reading list, eh?

Monday, September 17, 2012

SpecFicNZ Blogging week 2012 - It's ON!!!

SpecFicNZ Blogging week is with us again, and once again I challenge myself to seven posts, seven days, seven drabbles (so seven, exactly, one hundred word episodes) and ONE story.

Last year's effort was called "Going Down" (click here to find part one and go from there) and it was completely made up day by day.

This time round, I've done some more thinking ahead of time...well, I did two parts. Parts 3 - 7 may be a little more improvised.

Without further ado, I present Part One of:

"Panathea - Bunyip Girl of Prophecy!!"

Panathea was born to the sound of gunfire. The copdroids had nearly broken through to her parent’s house.
A bullet took her exhausted Mum. Chester, her Dad, put Pan in the nurse-o-matic and dropped her into the sewer. Prophecy said she would survive. He went to face the authorities.
“Where’s the kid?” growled Sergeant Grunt. Chester’s life dribbled from his bullet holes.
“Gone.” Chester died smiling.
Grunt blasted the only copdroid with him. The public would hear Chester the terrorist was dead. Grunt’s superiors would hear the child was dead. No child, no prophecy.
Prophecies? Surely, they were just crap.

More thrills and spills tomorrow...

Log on to SpecFicNZ and see what else is going on during the blogging week.

And while you're here - go to Smashwords and buy my awesome ebook:
 "The Royal Wedding from Hell"

Go know you want to. I can promise that Prince Harry does not appear naked in it, nor does Princess Kate for that matter. And it's available in all e-formats, so you can read it on Kindle, Kobo and everything else, even just plain old pdf.


Friday, July 13, 2012


It's out. Editing done, formatting done, cover done, uploaded to Smashwords and has even had ONE whole actual, full price sale!!!

Yes - the novella the world has been waiting for has hit the Internet in ebook form:

"The Royal Wedding from Hell"

Click this link and BUY IT NOW for the ridiculously low price of just US$ 1.99 (in fact, you can get it for just $1.49 until the end of July). Oh, go on, you know you want to.

"Relive the Royal Wedding of Kate and Wills, but this time, with demons, swordfights and car chases. All of the romance, all of the pageantry, all of the flesh hungry beasts of the abyss. Join Kate, Wills, Harry and Pippa as they take on ancient forces of darkness, hordes of monsters and a plethora of possessed celebrities. It's the Royal Wedding from Hell"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A distinct lack of activiy caused by Game of Thrones

I’ve been writing...

Not a lot actually, my friendly PHD in English Lit did a thorough proof-read of ‘The Royal Wedding from Hell” and I’m slowly implementing the changes. I’m pleased to say there weren’t that many, I’m just finding it way too easy to watch telly than sit down at my PC - in particular Game of Thrones is the best TV show in years.

Sod it – I WILL finish the final edit. AND, I WILL finish the cover (surely karma, there’s a lot of articles about covers floating round the NZ Spec Fic community right now), AND I will get the story formatted and published on Smashwords, then Amazon, then everywhere else I can find....

As for new stuff... there are things afoot that will get my creative juices flowing. First up is a new New Zealand sci-fi anthology - a follow up to the cracking “A Foreign Country” (which featured my story “Miramar is Possum Free”).

Submissions to the new anthology (provisionally called “Regenerations”) are open to the end December 2012. Which means I’ll probably finish something and get it submitted just before cracking open the New Years champagne.

AND, I will run my fastest ever Half-Marathon on June 24th around Wellington Harbour.

Now – go and buy “Tales from the Bell Club”, featuring my horror story, “The Girl in the Cabin.” – it’s available as an ebook and in a re-cycled tree version.
GO ON, GO BUY IT NOW!!!! Please.

And today’s drabble.....Game of Thrones, Season 1, in 100 words

Under duress, Ned Stark decided to confess to being a traitor rather than denounce the new King, Joffrey Lannister, as the bastard son of his Mother and her twin brother. Joffrey still had Lord Stark’s head.
Ned’s family declares war on the Lannisters. Lord Tywen sends his dwarf son, Tyrian to the capital to be the King’s Hand. Turmoil engulfs the Seven Kingdoms.
Across the sea, Daenerys, the sole heir of the old Mad King, has hatched three baby dragons, and swears vengeance.
In the north, the Night’s Watch see that the White Walkers are rising.
And winter is coming....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First draft done...and we wait for first reactions

It's always great to finish something, or at least, get it to a state when you can't go any further without several second pairs of eyes. And so it was that I came to the (first) finishing of "The Royal Wedding from Hell".

The first edit was fun - taking that very first, warts and all version, re-reading it, giving every major chunk a number, making a wee post-it note for each chunk and then arranging and re-arranging bits to make sure it all makes sense, re-writing some bits completely, cutting out bits and writing all new bits (like how I somehow missed a major character getting killed - he was there one moment, then gone the next).

So after a week or two of that, I reached a version that can be passed out to my 2nd readers, including a Phd in English Literature who is excellent at the hardcore grammatical proofreading, as well as annoyingly good and honest story critique. Though it did make my teeth grate when I handed the manuscript over and she said "ah, a misplaced apostrophe" a second later.....

So with the actual writing bit finished (for a week or so surely) I can take it easy, right?

NO, because I have to knock up a cover for my novella. I have gone back to my faithful old desktop PC, still running Windows XP (Service Pack 3), still running very well and clear of bugs (mainly because it is not connected to the Internet) and still with PaintShop Pro installed on it.

I've not touched PaintShop Pro for years since the photo editing tools that come with Windows 7 are good enough these days, but, I need logos and layers and fancy fonts and some way to make a blood splattered effect.

And cover design is interesting - just casting my eye along the shelves of the bookshops or around Amazon and I realise that there's an awful lot of ways to put your name and the name of the story on the front cover. Name above, or name below title?

Along with cover, I need to make some kind of similar themed banner for the blog, and thumbnail versions, and other little logos to go here and there for Facebook and so on.

And then - I have to make sure the finished, finished version is formatted to go through the Smashwords convertor, then figure how to do all that again for Amazon.

And then try to plug the whole thing - it would be nice to have someone buy it in the end. And maybe even read it.

It is all a great exercise though - and hopefully I can put it all to good use again when I get to writing and publishing "MechaObama vs The Angel Romney".

And now, 100 words of awesome Prince Harry and Pippa action from The Royal Wedding from Hell (2nd readers version, very subject to later editing...)

“Cover your ears,” said Harry. Pippa did as she was told as Harry hit another switch.
A sonic shockwave pulsed out from the car and the dozen or so armed cops were thrown backwards.
“Woah,” said Pippa.
Harry clutched his head. Blood trickled from his nose. “So that’s what happens with that,” he gasped.
“Harry, get us to the church on time,” said Pippa.
He shook his head to clear it and pumped his foot to the floor again. The car shot forward, hurtling towards police barriers and the tower of Big Ben.
They roared past the Houses of Parliament.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recording my Reading

One of my goals for 2012 was to make a record of every book I read. I do read somewhat voraciously, and I found that I’d read books and then they would just drop out of my head completely. No more, I thought.

Fortunately, Goodreads provides me with the means to keep a record. So now, every book gets a rating out of five, a quick review and the date I finished it.

How do I decide on what rating? I had to come up with some kind of scheme. All reviews and ratings are done as soon as possible after the book is finished (or given up on), so there’s little hindsight involved or deeper musings – it’s all about the most immediate reaction.

No stars – So bad I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
1 Star – At least I finished it. But that’s about all I can say.
2 Star – Not recommended, fails to entertain but there is something that redeems it from being something I actively dislike.
3 Star – Solid, I’d say give it a go if you like that sort of thing – essentially, the book does what it says on the tin.
4 Star – Above the call of duty – pushes the barriers a little more. Go on, read it, even if this not usually your thing.
5 Star – Go and read it now. You have no choice, you must read this. Hits all the right buttons and then a bit more.

A few examples...

No stars – “Star Wars – I, Jedi” – it had a great premise, the first person narrative of a man on a revenge mission who has Jedi powers, hence conflicted between the light and dark...but it was just dull, was going nowhere. Gave up.
1 star – Kevin J Anderson Star Wars books – I finished them just to see what would happen, but sort of regret doing so.
2 star – Dragonlance – unoriginal, fantasy pulp with very annoying main character that managed to all come together at the end. Unfortunately it was only at the end.
3 star – The Da Vinci Code – a thumping good read, but your life will not be incomplete without it.
4 star – True Grit – a western, with outlaws, gunslingers, chases and shootouts. And a terrific first person voice and character that shines through. Maybe you don’t like cowboy stories, but you will like powerful characters up against each other, their enemies and the frontier itself.
5 star – The Grapes of Wrath – JUST GO AND READ IT NOW.

A recent 4 Star book was "Antithesis" by New Zealand author, Pat Whitaker. My review:

"Intelligent science fiction - there's a novelty. No hyperspace, no big robots, no time travel, just a well thought out story about ants.
Well, there's a fair bit more than ants going on, although, as Whitaker clearly enjoys his research you will learn a lot about the creature that makes up possibly one fifth of all the biomass on Earth.
One of the book's strengths is the sense of location - Whitaker really makes Namibia come alive, and brings a sense of history and how that has affected and continues to affect local communities.
If the book has a fault, then the main character is perhaps too good (at her profession, morally, socially) and a touching subplot about a local girl is resolved a little too quickly.
The ants are the stars of the story, Whitaker keeps it tight and efficient - much like the insects themselves."

I do recommend seeking it out - first of all, its simply a good piece of intelligent sci-fi, and secondly, it's good to support independant authors and publishers. Click on the link above to go to Smashwords where you can download a copy.

And today's drabble is a shameless trailer for the upcoming "Royal Wedding from Hell":

It is 2011. The world suffers from the worst economic meltdown in decades. Millions of people are       struggling.
Goddamnit, we need a party. Luckily, there’s a big one coming.
Prince William is about to marry Kate Middleton in the biggest show of British pageantry since Charles married Di.
Hundreds of thousands will line the streets.
Millions will watch on TV.
Nothing can go wrong.
But Harry has lost the rings.
And an ancient evil is stirring.

All of the romance,
All of the pageantry,
All of the flesh hungry beasts of the abyss,
“The Royal Wedding from Hell”
April 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Tales from the Bell Club", featuring my story "The Girl in the Cabin" is now available from Amazon:

It looks like a great anthology - the editor, Paul Mannering (a New Zealand writer and fellow Wellington dweller) has come up with a intriguing theme - all of the stories are personal narratives of folks who've suffered horrifying experiences, all set within the great pulp era between the late 1800's and early 1900's. The Bell Club is where they tell their tales.

My story was originally conceived as a horror Western, but in hindsight was more horror than Western, which made it a neat period piece and this anthology seemed to be a perfect home for it.
Fortunately for me, Paul accepted it. It's always very satisfying to see your writing reach the outside world.

When I get my copy I'll post review of the other stories.

Huge thanks to Paul and the folks at Knightwatch Press who put in the hard yards that help aspiring writers like myself get into print.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm sceptical about Global Warming Scepticism

I find myself in a difficult space. I am not a Global Warming sceptic, yet I find one of the writers and thinkers that I most admire is.

I've often thought the science did not seem completely cut and dried, but it also occured to me that funding from organisations with a vested interest in disproving global warming would far outweigh anything from the opposing viewpoint. Is it likely that manufacturers of solar panels and wind turbines could stump up more for research than the oil and motor industry? In that light, the sheer weight of evidence is what overcomes the sceptical view.

However, highly respected Australian broadcaster and writer, Clive James is a Global Warming sceptic.
I've just read his excellent book "A Point of View" - its made up of transcripts of radio monologues he gave for the BBC over several years, along with postscripts for each one revisiting and occasionally revising each piece.

A recurring theme is his sceptiscm of the anthropogenic global warming model. He frequently points out in his postcripts that every time he raised his sceptiscm in his broadcasts, there was resistance within the BBC to let him make the point. Fortunately, and James frequently credits his Producer, the right of free speech and the fact that the programme was called A Point of View, usually overruled the preferred, mainstream position.

A lot of the time, James is railing, not so much against the science of Global Warming, but more the unpleasant moves to try to silence any dissent. The lessons of history, particularly of those societies which have suppressed any dissenting voices, loom large in James's commentaries. He cites an unpleasant tendency to label those who question the prevailing view on Global Warming as "denialists".

James is no Tory, but it seems that age and experience lends him a perspective that is frequently missed by many left-wing commentators. Bullet-headed ideology will blame the evils of capitalism for bringing environmental ruin upon us all and prefer to leave the poor of the world without the decent standards of living that those of us in the corrupt and awful west enjoy.

I do join Clive James in refusing to join up to the view that the world has been ruined by the evil forces of Western capitalism. I'd say it is a fact that western capitalism and free trade has brought prosperity, freedom and health to more people than any planned economy has ever done. The evidence, and sadly the body count, largely points out that the more controlled the economy, and thus society, the more entrenched in poverty and oppression are the people stuck living in it.

Clive James has not turned me into a Global Warming sceptic, but he has provided a warning that we should always question the accepted wisdom - for the liberal democracies that western capitalism relies on, it is essential to have constructive and open debate.

Besides - as long as Fox News and the various lunatics campaigning for the Republican Presidential nomination tout the notion that Global Warming is a myth, then the smart money would say it certainly isn't.

In a very seperate vein, this month's drabble pays tribute to one of the great All BLacks and the imminent movie based on Edgar Rice Burrough's pulp classic Barsoom series.
Ladies and Gents, I present "Dan Carter of Mars":

The tackle had been brutal. Dan vaguely recalled the sensation of being carried off the pitch and laid out in the treatment room but then, everything went black.
He awoke on Mars.
He’d missed winning the World Cup through injury. Now he was on another planet. Maybe it just wasn’t his destiny.
He was picked up by green-skinned Tharks, who came to prize his strength and speed.
Later, they captured a beautiful, red-skinned Princess. Dan was determined to escape with her.
“You must kick this ball through their gates,” she explained.
“No worries, eh?” said Dan. His Destiny had arrived.

Monday, January 30, 2012

An Acceptance!!!!!

I'm very chuffed to have my story "The Girl in the Cabin" accepted for an upcoming anthology - "Tales from the Bell Club", from Knightwatch Press, and edited by fellow SpecFic NZ member, Paul Mannering.

This story was originally called "Everyone goes to Hell", and had been written for a western horror anthology. Having had it rejected from a couple of places, it sat in the pile of stories that I was going to get around to reviewing and sending out in at the start of 2012, but when I saw Paul was looking for stories, it got a wee re-work to get rid of (in hindsight) its unnecessary framing story and off it went.

Hopefully this exciting-looking collection will be out in the next few months.

So, I AM a writer again....

Of course, if I got off my lazy butt and did some more actual writing I might get to be a writer more often.

More recent news...

I have got myself a Kobo ereader, which I am enjoying and will start looking for some self-published ebooks to see what's out there.

I've also decided to post a review of every book I'm reading, this year, on Goodreads. So far so good, have managed 3 novels and 2 graphic novels.

Right now....

I'm reading - Bram Stoker's original Dracula (free ebooks are great), and very good it is too. True Grit, the novel that two films have been based on (good so far), and a compilation of Clive James's short opinion pieces - very good stuff.

Watching - excellent Battlestar Galactica re-make, better than I remember Moonraker, acceptable Doctor Who Xmas special, very good Tintin at the movies.

This blog's drabble..

Jerry, a one-percenter, looked out from his penthouse suite and regarded the rabble below. The noise disturbed him while he created wealth.
Worthie, his butler entered. “Sir, they demand your head, your bonus or more equal distribution of the wealth that they have produced for you.” He raised a big gun.
“Damn it, Worthie,” said Jerry, “take a billion dollars as a raise.”
“Very good sir,” said Worthie, “I’ll go shoot the swine, shall I?” Jerry nodded.
Worthie headed out the door with a smile and keen eye.
Jerry felt better. This wealth distribution thing was simpler than he thought.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

At last - the Tale of Sloppy Bunny

I’ve been watching...

Falling Skies - a new US sci-fi drama taking place six months after alien invasion has torn society apart, following the squabbling survivors. Frankly I saw the first couple of episodes and have given up on anything more. As a long-standing Dr Who fan, I encourage people to watch “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” for pretty much the same storyline, (humanity on the brink of extinction, bickering survivors, aliens abducting humans and implanting them with stuff to make them mindless slaves) but with far better aliens, and, of course, a Timelord who’ll sort the whole mess out.

Survivor – not a sci-fi series but the US gameshow (let’s not call such things “reality” shows, if this is your reality then maybe the aliens have actually invaded). A fairly dull series that has finally lifted off in the last couple of episodes.

Brandon, a nephew of a previous, and far more charismatic and devious, contestant, is continually harping on about his sodding faith and praises Jesus for helping him win challenges. It’s a pity Jesus wasn’t helping him to avoid getting chucked out. Oddly enough Coach Wade, the architect of Brandon’s fall, also claimed that God was telling him what to do.

So what does this tell us about God? God, like this viewer, can’t stand Brandon. God, like this viewer, would like to see the mental Coach Wade win. Or perhaps, God doesn’t give a monkey’s about Survivor.

(God doesn’t seem to take an interest in the US Republican primaries either, since His most devout candidate, Rick Santorum, trailed a weak fourth in New Hampshire.)

I’ve been reading...

Hearts in Atlantis – more Stephen King, and again, cracking stuff. The master on form and on about the sixties and the ‘nam.

Imajica – actually failed to finish the first volume of this Clive Barker epic. Promising start but it trailed away.

Adrian Mole: the prostate years – a little disappointing, mainly because the previous Mole book was so utterly superb. Mole struggling with real issues than his usual delusions is not as funny, but Sue Townsend is still an excellent writer and the Mole circle of family and friends are simply a fun bunch to be around.

I’ve been writing....

I’m actually managing to churn out a few hundred words a day, often around a solid thousand – “The Royal Wedding from Hell” is coming along quite nicely. As always, my abortive first version laid some groundwork for a much better second version; it’s all getting a lot weirder and more sinister.

And, hopefully, if I pull my finger out, it will be a novella that will be getting published in ebook form in time for Kate and Wills’ first anniversary (29th April).

Is this self-publishing an act of vanity? Probably yes, but it’s also an exercise in just getting something “OUT THERE”, and getting a handle on how this new world of publishing works. There are already self-published writers of ebooks who have chalked up a million sales; sooner or later someone will self-publish the next Harry Potter or Stieg Larsson. To be honest, I don’t think it will be “The Royal Wedding from Hell”, but we’ll have a go.

And this blog’s drabble – I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand Beatrix Potter.

Binky and Sloppy Bunny peeked round the corner of the greenhouse. Farmer Gruber, with his spade, was waiting, just by the hole in the fence.
“We’ll never get past,” squeaked Binky, “but, the baby bunnies need these carrots.”
Sloppy stubbed out his cigarette. “No probs. I’ll distract Gruber, you get the carrots away.”
Binky watched as Sloppy hopped round the greenhouse and shouted “Oi!”
Gruber charged at Sloppy. Sloppy pointed to the corner.
Gruber turned and whacked Binky’s brains out.
“Nice one,” said Gruber, handing over a big carrot.
“Keep the carrots coming,” said Sloppy, “you’ll keep getting rabbit pies.”