JG’s Writing Blog
Onward, to glory!
Taking full advantage of being back to 100% I have made a lot of progress on the novel this last week. I have chapters 1 to 6 pretty much done, with 40’000 words now written. Chapters 7 to 12 have a lot of major scenes already completed, I just need to fill things out and that’s it. I hope to have the whole novel completed on schedule at the end of May, in which case I shall at last be sending off to various proof readers!
That’s the plan anyway.
Meanwhile, I’ve been doing other writing projects as well just to keep me occupied. I had 3 little ideas during the week which I have taken note of and hope to be developing further once I sit down properly and figure them out. 2 novel ideas and a short story. Right now, the short story is more likely to get developed given time available. Novel ideas are nice but time is very restricted!
I also did a little fiction for the Paradiso infinity campaign which has got back on track at our local gaming centre, which I present to you all below.
So only a small blog update but hope you guys enjoy the little story below and progress has definitely been good!
* * * * *
“Sergev! You look like hell!”
Dimitri Trencov walked from behind the folding table and embraced his old comrade in a bear hug. Sergev Vortravic hugged his old fighting companion back, glad to see a familiar face.
The two Ariadna veterans were in Dimitri’s work tent, an old and battered affair that had seen its fare share of war, off-planet and on. The Veteran Kazak had earned the nickname of ‘old bear’ referring to his huge stature and veteran status amongst the line Kazak’s. In comparison to Sergev’s shorter but no less muscular form, he was indeed a bear; a bear meeting a wolf.
For Sergev was a Stavka operative, nick named ‘wolfcub’ for his youthful appearance yet ruthless efficiency. The wolf, the hunter, let lose on the planet Paradiso.
“Dimitri” he said as they broke off. “It has been too long Old Bear.”
“Ha! Old Bear is right, and getting older!”
Dimitri was in his fifties now, a true veteran, with a well groomed greying moustache and bright blue eyes. He indicated a folding chair and crossed the tent space to a metal cabinet.
“How long’s it been?” Dimitri asked as he opened the cabinet and retrieved the expected clear bottle of quality Kazak vodka and 2 small shoot glasses. Sergev took the offered seat.
“3 years” replied Sergev. “3 long years with too much time behind a desk.”
“That’s what you get for joining Stavko! I warned you!”
“That you did. What was it you said? ‘Too much paperwork and not enough action?’”
“Certainly sounds like me!” replied the Old Bear boisterously as he set the two glasses on the folding table and poured the two of them drinks.
“To fallen comrades and dead foes!” intoned Dimitri, raising his glass. Sergev copied the gesture.
“May the fallen be remembered and our enemies stay dead!” replied Sergev in the time honoured manner.
They both downed their glasses
Sergev did his best not to cough but Dimitri smirked regardless.
“They must be serving you the watered down stuff da?”
“Very funny you old ruffian.”
Dimitri refilled the glasses regardless, his grin widening.
“Well I take it your not just here to talk just of old times?”
Sergev nodded, taking the now refilled glass as his expression turned serious. “Regrettably yes my old friend. I’ve a prisoner with me, an engineer from the Haqqislam. He has information and we need that information fast.”
“So you come to the Old Bear because you know the Old Bear can get that information fast.”
Dimitri nodded “What do you need to know?”
“Specifically, coordinates of an alien artefact and what, if any, research they have conducted on it.”
“You think this engineer will know?”
“We hope so.”
They downed glasses again. Sergev had to wipe a few tears from his eyes.
“It’s good stuff. Brewed it myself!” declared Dimitri in triumph.
“That explains a lot.”
The Old Bear laughed, having downed his own glass to little effect. He refilled both drinks again.
“I take it when you say Alien you mean the Combined army?”
Sergev shook his head. “Not this time Old Bear. This…this is something new.”
The Old Bear frowned. “Now you have me intrigued old friend.”
Sergev, having recomposed himself, raised his glass. “That was my intent.”
He downed the powerful tasting concoction, again doing his best not to cough as the liquid burned its way down his throat. He was aware that his vision was blurred slightly but felt sure he could survive at least a few more glasses. It was a tradition of the Old Bears; the drinking of a lot of vodka during briefing’s. He respected you more, the more you drank.
The Old Bear downed his glass likewise, before nodding sagely.
“Alright Sergev, I’ll try.”
“Please. We are up against it. The Pan Oceania, Nomads and the Japanese have all captured similar individuals. Not to mention other forces we have not identified yet. The race is on to see who will get to the device first.”
“I will do my best. Let’s just hope this engineer you have acquired can help us.”
He had by now refilled the glasses yet again. Sergev was thanking a variety of Gods that they hadn’t been talking too long else he strongly suspected he would be on the floor in only a few more servings; the old man was right, he’d not kept the practice up during his time with Stavko, a failing he was now paying for.
“I will do as you ask.” The Old Bear raised his glass. Sergev, recognising the gesture, did likewise. The glasses touched and both men drank deeply.
Business concluded, Sergev got carefully to his feat, head swimming.
“Gods Dimitri, what was in that?”
“What else but damn good Vodka!”
“Next time.” Sergev suppressed a cough. “I’m bringing my own bottle.”
The Old Bears laughter followed him as he made his way out of the tent on unsteady legs. He reserved to himself to find a cot to collapse in, at least for a while.
Busy, busy, busy
Ah to be free of illness again. At last, I seem to be back to normal. No more cough, no more allergic reaction to penicillin. For those following my twitter account (@jgwritesnovels) I had an allergic reaction to said medicine on Friday; woke up with red marks all over my body, looking very much like I had chicken poxes. It scared the hell out of me as you might imagine.
Fortunately, the doctor assured me that it was just an allergic reaction and I suffered no other ill effects. A note has been put on my medical file and the marks have now faded thankfully.
Taking advantage of my back-to-normal status, I’ve been busy.
First up, on Monday past I attended a crime writer’s seminar hosted by the fantastic No Alibi’s bookstore, held in Belfast Museum. Attending were 3 crime writers. From Sweden, Jan Arnald (pen name Arne Dahl). From Finland Antti Tuomainen and from Northern Ireland Stuart Neville. Each of them read extracts from their latest books and also chatted about work, as well as answering a few questions from the audience (and it was a big audience!). I was very well impressed and will admit to being a little star struck when I approached Jan to get my newly purchased copy of ‘the blinded man’ autographed (a police procedural set in Sweden. Am reading it now, very, very good!). Sadly I’d only money for one of the books so couldn’t get Stuart Neville’s excellent Rat Lines (about Nazis harboured in the irish state after World War 2) or Antti’s ‘The Healer’ (set in a near-future dystopian world). But I shall prehapes purchase both in the future. The extracts were very good so think I will definitely give them both a go.
Enthused, I have been working hard on book 2 all week and have written a lot. Word count is up to 36’000 now and continuing to grow. In particular, a lot of Act 1 and Act 2 A (to use recently learned screen writing lingo) is done. I now need to finish things off with a good Act 2 B and Act 3 (climax!).
I have also had a lot of little ideas for short stories and subsequent books in the series. I won’t say too much, but survice to say that right now I have at least 10 direct sequel ideas (many of which already have scenes and characters mapped out and one is pretty much a whole book ready to go, just not yet!), 3 spin off ideas (same universe as the current novel but different characters and situations, maybe even different writing styles too) and 9 other novel ideas (again ranging from one sentence possibilities to a lot of scenes, characters and dialogue already written). So I definitely have variety to keep me interested in writing.
I also completed the most recent short story challenge between myself, K and Matt. That of a poetry challenge, the subject being ‘cats’. Now, when I say completed I mean that I’ve done the challenge; doesn’t mean I did it well. The poem isn’t my best work, indeed I think it’s too short and the ending sucks. However, in my defense, it’s the first time I’ve written poetry since primary school (we didn’t do any in high school as far as I can remember). I definitely think I can do better and fully intend too. In the future when I’m feeling braver I will show you all the cat poem. You will laugh at least.
For now, instead, I present to you another one of my old short story challenges. This one was ‘smuggler on a train’ and is quite short. I hope you like anyways. Till the next blog update everyone.
* * * * *
One last job
One last job; after this, no more. No more smuggling, no more running the gauntlet. He was too well known to the cops and too well known to bloody border patrol with their bloody sniffer dogs; bane of his existence. This was the last job.
He sat in the train cabin, pretending to read a newspaper.
The other passengers didn’t seem to notice him. There was a young trendy looking girl in the corner busy on her Iphone. An older man sat beside him, reading the Daily Mail, whilst directly across sat a prim and proper business woman idly reading a book. No one was paying any attention to anyone else.
“This train is bound for Southport,” intoned the automatic announcement system. “the next stop is Branston.”
Good, one more stop after that and he was home free. Then the briefcase full of counterfeit notes sitting between his legs would be dropped off with the courier and hay presto, he was off to a condo in the Mediterranean!
The train came to a halt at Branston station. Several burly looking men in suits got on board at the nearby train entrance. They immediately looked toward him and his blood ran cold.
The voice came from the trendy looking girl in the corner, her authoritative tone at odds with her appearance. She wasn’t playing with her Iphone anymore. She was looking right at him too.
“I’m Constable Mckee.” she said, the barest hint of a smile playing across her face. “I’m afraid you’re under arrest.”
Battle against sickness!
I really do hate being sick. Unfortunately until the meds that the doctor has prescribed kick in I must endure a rough cough and various aches and pains. Bleh.
Still, I have managed to do a lot of writing despite feeling ill so that’s good news. Draft three is proceeding very well indeed and if I can just get over this sickness I can make a final push to finish the book!
That and I had a really good chat with Mat about the second book’s cover art. Mat did the first books cover and has some really good ideas regards the next cover. Many of you will have seen his work on the Facebook page and on the various blogs here and there. It is good news that he’s up for having a go with book two.
Apart from that I’ve still not been able to source a printer for the first book as I’ve not been able to take a proper look through the Writers and Artists handbook. That plus as I said before the cost of printing it on my own is prohibitive. So a printed version of book one is sadly still far away. I’ll keep trying through.
Keeping with tradition, here’s another short story for you all to enjoy. This one’s original premise was ‘waking up in a room and not knowing where you are’. This one is a break with my normal writing style as it’s from a first person perspective. Hope you all enjoy. Till next time.
* * * * *
I opened my eyes. What I beheld, was definitely not what I had seen before I fell asleep.
A blank featureless white ceiling, a single neon light flickering above me.
This isn’t right.
I felt stiff, as if waking up from too much running the day before; too much exercise. Except I hadn’t exercised the day before. I’d been at home, relaxing on my day off, doing very little other than pottering about the house and watching some documentary.
I rose, slowly, feeling my muscles ache.
This isn’t right.
The room itself was much less blank than the ceiling as I glanced around. I had been lying on some kind surgery table. Directly in front of me was a heavy looking metal door with no handle, and what looked like a keypad set into the white wall beside it.
I rolled my shoulders, my muscles still aching. I looked at my hand.
Black lines criss-crossed it. Oddly spaced, as if they ran…
Ran under my skin. I looked up both my arms, noticing with horror how the black lines crossed all over my arms, right up to were I couldn’t see them anymore under the white surgery garb I wore.
This isn’t right! What the hell is going on?
I was becoming scared now. I looked around the rest of the room. By the far wall, the oddest of things was hung. It almost made me flinch off the table.
It looked for all the world, like a suit of armour. I had at first thought it a man standing, regarding me, the way it was propped up by the wall. It was painted in random colours of green, black and brown all over. Pouches adored its belt, a huge knife secured on one hip. The armour was angular, alien to my eyes. I didn’t recognize it…
Mark 4 Avenger Armour.
The thought came uncalled for, making me blink in surprise.
What was that? Where am I? This isn’t right.
I am Jonathan Taylor, I am 26 years old. I have a wife, Jessie, and 2 daughters, Emma and Laura. I work at…
Delta assault unit, 3rd platoon, Special Operations.
I felt cold sweat breaking out over me. What the hell was going on?
This isn’t right!
Ignoring my muscles, I got down off the surgery table and hobbled over to the door as fast as my still tired legs allowed me. Frantically I typed on the keypad, noticing it had spaces for 4 digits on its small digital display.
A load buzzer sounded. I tried again.
The buzzer again. Frustration boiled in me. I gritted my teeth.
Buzzer. The sound mocked me and I screamed at it.
This isn’t right!
Downloading mission data
I gasped as my eyes went black for a second, my vision blurring. I felt dizzy, grasping at the walls for support before sliding to the ground. I felt sick, my stomach muscles tightening. Then, just as suddenly, it was gone. My vision returned and the nausea abated.
Missions launch: 3 minutes.
Where were these thoughts coming from? What was going on?
This isn’t right!
“Please don your armour plate marine.”
“Who are you?” I yelled at the room, looking round for the source of the sudden, alien voice. It was a female voice. I knew the voice…but from where?
Real. Your not Jonathan Taylor. Your not married. You don’t have kids. Now get your S*** together, and don your armour marine. Your oscar mike in 2 minutes 30.
I stand up, blinking.
I stumble toward the armour. My mind was a whirl of emotions and memories. I blinked, trying to dispel a thousand different images parading before my minds eye. Battles, friends, visions, missions. My eyes teared up. What was happening? What’s going on? What…am…I…
They’d cleaned up the armour plate pretty good. They could never get the bullet impacts completely clean, of course, but you had to hand it to the armourers they’d done a damn good job.
I grabbed the Avenger chest piece, always the first piece of the jigsaw, feeling its reassuring weight. It had saved me more than once these many years.
I slide the armour over my head and let my arms slide through. I blinked. That was odd. My eyes were teary.
“Delta 7?” came Marian’s voice.
“Yeah yeah.” I muttered, continuing to suit up.
“Delta 7 are you?…”
“Yeah, I’ll be Oscar Mike shortly ok?” I called in the direction of the door. Hell if I knew were the microphones were in this place. I never did after awakening, but it seemed the most logical place.
I was fully suited up in 2 minutes, everything except my XM3000 rifle. Ammo pouches, grenades, combat knife, everything else was ready to go.
I took a last look round the preparation area. The damn place always freaked me out. I had always meant to ask the damn docs why they got us to suit up in such an odd place. Probably a psychology thing but still; freaking weird.
I dismissed the thoughts. I had bigger things to worry about now.
“This is Delta 7.” I spoke into my helmet response mike. “Inbound 30 seconds.”
Now…what was the damn door code?
Well that’s maybe a tad overly dramatic to call what I have at the moment Man-flu. But it’s certainly not fun. It may actually just be a continuation of the cold I had a few weeks ago. Whatever it is, it won’t go away.
Despite this, I have continued writing. I’ve been working my way through draft 2 of novel 2 more or less every day, making amendments and updates here and there. It’s going well and I’m enjoying fleshing out the story.
Likewise whilst I’ve not been on www.authonomy.com that often, I have been reading through stories and making some comments just to get into the way of things. I even made the decision to upload my books 4th chapter to the site, though that is as far as I will go with the book. It’s a good site, I would definitely recommend it and they have strong community.
I even managed to write another little short story. This one was the ‘emotion’ short story I mentioned a while ago. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve got the emotion aspect of the story to come out properly; it lacks a certain something. However, I’m posting up here anyway for you all and I hope you enjoy.
Hopefully by my next blog update I’ll be feeling better and will have more detailed news on progress. Take care guys.
* * * * *
The platform was a rudimentary thing. No more than weak plastic structure set up in haste; it would do he supposed.
He stepped up the steps of the platform and over to the podium wearily, his legs moving with reluctance; he did not want to be here. Not here, not now, and certainly not giving a speech. But with rank came responsibility. Prehapes he should have realized that sooner?
In front of him, emblazed into the podium itself, was a holographic digital screen displaying his prepared speech in clear 12 point font. A glass of water sat nearby on a stand. He took a sip from the glass, his mouth already dry even before he began. He looked up, looking across the hanger bay to those assembled around him.
One hundred people stared back at him, the majority young, fresh troops of Pan Oceania Fusiliers. The occasional Orc trooper, helmet-less but clad in full battle armour, stared out from the masses. Amongst them were other regiments too. Kamau, Bagh-mari. Even a few Akalis.
They had all come to hear his briefing. Hear him ‘give them a bit of courage’ so his old friend General Mcdonald had said. They needed it. With the 2nd offensive of the Combined army only just concluded, courage was in short supply amongst the Pan Oceania forces. The boys and girls of the latest run of reinforcements needed courage before they entered the hot zone.
Who better to encourage them than a real life war hero?
He cleared his throat, straightened his back and placed both hands on either side of the podium, adapting a stern gaze as he let his eyes float over the assembled troops. He was gratified to see at least a few of the troops straighten up.
“Welcome to the Paradiso front ladies and gentlemen.” He said in a strong, clear voice, accent strong with hisSydneyupbringing. His tone was businesslike and his voice carried easily across the hanger-bay; he was not a man who needed a microphone. He glanced at his digital speech.
“I will not mince words. We are in the fight of our lives. Make no mistake, the Combined Army is a formidable foe. We are fighting a hard battle. But we will be victorious.”
So far, so good. He took a sip from his water again, before looking back across the audience.
“You will each have read the briefing I am about to give you, but General McDonald felt it would be wise for someone who has been on the ground on Paradiso to brief you personally. That person is me.”
“My name is Captian Vandra. I was in Ravenbrucke. I was on the front line when the aliens arrived. I…
Stick to the script he mentally reminded himself.
“It was we who held the line during the first attacks of the Combined Army…”
It was we who were the first to fall.
The sudden memory was unwelcome and unexpected. He pulsed his lips, keeping that particular sentence from escaping.
It was we who first watched people die on Paradiso.
His hands had started shaking. He gripped the podium tighter, to keep the troops from seeing. He was aware he had paused too long.
Stick to the script
“Ravenbrucke was a hard battle, tougher than any I have faced in my career.”
That’s better, nice and easy.
“The attacks were sudden, without warning. Our primary objective was to keep the aliens at bay to allow citizens to escape.”
His next prepared sentence caught in his throat. A new one emerged, unhindered. He didn’t try to stop it this time.
“We held them…held them as long as we could.”
He wasn’t reading from his autocue anymore. He knew the presentation managers would be exchanging words of concern.
The hell with this.
The statement rolled across the audience. A simple, biting statement of fact. Not what they had expected. Several of them exchanged worried looks. Others kept looking toward him, maybe hoping that this was just part of the introduction; that shortly, he’d be back on track.
Vandra cleared his throat.
I will tell them the truth and to hell with the consequences.
“Right now Dan and the other tech guys are trying to figure out how to salvage this quickly developing situation. Thing is, I don’t need a microphone so they can’t just turn me off. Isn’t that right Dan?”
A technician at the back threw his hands up before slumping back in his chair, folding his arms in resignation as his holographic control console melted away.
“The other boys in the presentation team aren’t going to step in. Because they know my reputation. Both my professional, and my physical.”
Just to be sure he turned a daring eye on the security corps troops at either side of the podium.
His look said I will have my say.
The troopers, good soldiers, took the hint, and advanced no further.
He gripped the podium again. The audience looked to him, now much more interested. That or they just didn’t know what to do.
“We held as long as we could. The term shoulder to shoulder didn’t mean much to me until that day. When we really did stand shoulder to shoulder as they tore into us. The merciless Morat. The invisible Shasvasti. A hundred different kinds of horrors came out of those drop-ships.”
“We held as long as we could. Through the screaming, the blood, the pain…the loss.”
He felt the pain of loss gripping his heart. His jaw tightened as he fought down the feelings of regret from that day. Regret at being one of the survivors. That he lived, when others died.
“We held as long as we could. But they were too strong, too many. I remember taking a wound to my shoulder and down I went. The last thing I remember was a trauma doc signaling for aid before he got hit by something and fell on top of me.”
Doctor Mcleod. A good man.
“We lost a lot of good soldiers that day. Damn good soldiers.”
He’d been hanging his head and at this point looked up at the audience again. He knew his eyes were watery with tears that wanted to flow, but that he would not allow to flow. No. No he mustn’t, even though now he had a captive audience. An audience watching a man falling apart.
Despite his best efforts, a single tear dropped from his eye. As small as it was, everyone seen it; noone moved. They simply didn’t know what to do, even as General McDonald himself arrived from one of the side hanger-bay doors and advanced on the audience, his expression a mix of anger and concern.
Captain Vandra sighed heavily. He opened his mouth to continue.
You can’t fall apart. You do that, and you deny them the one thing they had in abundance that day. Courage.
He closed his mouth and nodded, as if remembering. “The courage” He breathed, yet his voice carried across the audience. All ears heard it.
“Courage.” He said again, louder this time.
He looked up, his expression hardening. Changing.
“We ran short on ammunition awful quickly. Food and rations too.”
His eyes narrowed.
“But the men and women who stood beside me that day did not run short of courage!” He almost yelled the last word. He wiped his watery eyes.
“The enemy had better weapons, better equipment, some would say better tactics.” He straightened now, that single tear now but a memory. Just as quickly as his mood had darkened, now, his mood rose. Rose to that of a warrior. Of a fighter. Of one who would not defile the memory of his dead comrades.
“They do not have the same level of courage!”
Murmurs came from the crowd. The advancing form of General McDonald slowed, the yell of frustration in his throat dying before he could utter it.
“You men and women now take the place of the soldiers of Ravenbrucke. Will you be brave?”
Fusiliers exchanged looks, but some of the other regiments knew this was a direct question.
“Yes!” growled an Orc trooper, stepping forward from the front row, the armoured giant easily towering over the other troops.
“Will you be brave?” asked Vandra again.
“Yes!” yelled two Bagh-mari troopers in unison, stepping forward, their camouflaged armour plate shimmering.
“Will you be brave?”
“Yes!” a troop of Fusiliers roared, punching the air.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” chanted the audience now, every regiment, every individual, men and women, chanting and yelling at the top of their lungs. Yet even over the din Vandra spoke and his words were heard.
“We will batter them to a stand-still, make them bleed for every inch of land they take! They will run screaming back to the hell spawn that sent them with their tails between their legs! And it is we who will send them there!”
“Yes Yes Yes!” chanted the excited audience. They roared their approval and Vandra’s chest swelled with pride. He almost believed his own words.
No wait. He did believe his own words!
They had made them bleed for every inch of ground. They had made them fight bitterly for every piece of Paradiso soil. They had died in their hundreds. They would do so again!
It was not his soldiers who had failed. The aliens had failed! Paradiso was not their’s. Humanity was still here, fighting. And not giving up.
Another tear rolled down his cheek, but this time not of regret. It was pride. Pride in his people, his army, his comrades now in arms. General McDonald was at the platform steps, walking up with a smile on his face. He knew what the end of this speech should be.
He marched across the podium, the audience still chanting, and embraced Vandra in a warriors hand shake.
“You are one surprising son of a b****.” He said as the two of them turned toward the audience.
He had done as he was ordered. He’d given them courage.
* * * * *
Amongst the assembled fusiliers, one stood watching. In the background, unnoticed. She smiled and nodded.
Yes. Captain Vandra’s speech was very inspiring. Good for the humans to have such inspiring leaders.
She slipped from the assembled troops as they calmed down and moved to their various units. Internally, she prepared a micro-data burst for later transmission. The transmission read simply:
Captain Vandra: Flag for termination
* * * * *
I love writing
Very obvious statement I suppose saying ‘I like writing’, but it’s very true. I am immensely enjoying writing.
The 2nd Draft of the 2nd Novel has been printed off and I am reviewing and editing all 86 pages. Still a lot of scenes to fill in and fill out but definitely on the right track and more importantly, on schedule!
Likewise, big news this week is I have signed up with the author and readers website Authonomy.com run by Harper & Collins publishers. This website allows authors to upload their books, get them reviewed and if enough positive comments are passed on about the book, the editors at Harper & Collins may take an interest in it. You never know.
So I’m going to make at least a few of the chapters of the first book available on Authonomy and if there is enough interest maybe the whole book depending. You can only view the book on the authonomy website, not download or otherwise, so it should be ok. We’ll see.
The book will of course still be available for purchase on Kindle.
I also have plans to make the book available on Kobo, Google Play and WHSmith but I need to investigate just how their own upload processes work. This will happen sometime in May as I’m still tied in with Amazon Kindle till then.
Finally, as usual, a little short story for you all. It’s another Infinity the game themed story, part based on the campaign we are running at the wargaming club. For those familiar with the infinity background, this doesn’t tie in with the official background but was a nice little experiment in character interaction in a Sci-fi setting. Hope you enjoy, even those who may not be familiar with the infinity background and setting.
Till next time.
* * * * *
The clear windowed doors of the plush high rise office slide open soundlessly, and Chandra Spec-Ops commander Jane Halliday marched in. Clad in the full battle uniform of the Assault Sub Section, Jane looked out of place amongst the sickeningly peaceful setting. Her sharp silver eyes told of a battle hardened warrior woman, her short blond hair pulled back in a ponytail and her face hawk like. She had a bored disinterested expression already prepared.
Here we go.
“Jane! How lovely to see you.” beamed Diane Kildra, standing up from behind her expansive office desk and walking round to meet her colleague.
The two women could not have been more different. Diane was dressed in a figure hugging light grey dress, trimmed in the traditional ALEPH purple. It was designed to perfectly emphasis her curvaous figure, in stark contrast to the angular battle armour Jane was clad in. She had high cheek bones, a wide friendly (if false) grin and bright, captivating blue eyes. Her face was framed by short brown hair, and her long eyelashes and expertly applied eye-liner spoke of a woman used to being obeyed without question and swooned over without argument.
Jane rolled her eyes. “I see you’ve gained a few pounds since last we met.”
Diane stopped mid stride. She burst into laughter.
“We are witty today.” She said, rolling her own eyes in mock annoyance. The remark, after all, referred to an impossible situation. Both of them were installed into the latest L-hosts; the very best synthetic bodies ALEPH could provide. Diane was crafted within the most advanced civilian diplomatic model, built as the perfect unit to conduct business with; particularly for men. Jane, meanwhile, was in the female variant of the special operations combat L-host. Immensely strong, formidably well engineered and battle tested in a dozen different war-zones. One to kill, the other to captivate; two different styles of warfare, at least as far as ALEPH was concerned.
“I’m in the mood.” Jane remarked. “At least for now. That is unless the reason you’ve brought me here turns out to be another one of your pointless little face-to-face visits. In which case, I fear, my mood will darken.”
Diane pouted. “Touché.” she remarked, spinning on her heel and swaying her hips as she returned to her table.
Hasn’t she ever heard of jeans and T-shirt? Thought Jane inwardly
“I would offer you a seat but you never accept one.” Diane said over her shoulder
“Yeah, I’m that kind of girl.”
Jane approached the table, allowing Diane to activate the holo-imager attached to it.
“What do you want Diane?”
“Patience Jane, patience.” From a desk drawer Diane retrieved a small paper packet. From the plain none-descript packet she retrieved a cigarette.
“You don’t mind?” she asked Jane. Jane raised an eyebrow.
“Is there really any point?”
Dianne shrugged, lighting the cigarette with a small golden lighter she had taken from the same drawer.
“It’s a good question.” She took a puff, letting the smoke waft from her mouth and nostrils. “The tobacco and nicotine don’t affect my synthetic body in the slightest. The various chemicals in this pointless smoke stick are completely nullified by my built-in scrubber and detoxification systems. I can neither taste nor smell the smoke, and neither can you, as your automatic systems phase out the horrible chemical taste.”
She regarded the cigarette for a moment, before taking another puff.
“You know I can come back if you and the cigarette need a moment alone.” Said Jane, deadpan.
Diane smiled without looking up.
“Actually, it illustrates a point rather well.”
She turned toward Jane, the smile on her face now changed; to one that suggested that at last, she was getting to her point.
“Mankind, indeed woman kind, has a terrible tendency to continue doing things that are either bad for them or pointless. Or both. Take for example our current situation on Paradiso.”
She waved a hand at the holo-imager. The gesture recognition systems activated, uploading and displaying the pre-programmed video holographic replays. Suddenly across the front of the table various security camera video feeds appeared, suspended in mid-air as if by invisible threads. Visions of war played out in front of Jane.
“They’ve been busy then.” Remarked Jane, her built-in comlog already downloading the video sequences and attached intelligence notes for later analysis.
“Indeed. That’s why you’re here.”
“In-fighting isn’t something new.”
“The reason for this in-fighting is.” Said Diane, her expression now much more serious as she set the cigarette in an ash tray that had rose up from the innards of the table, and started to pace.
“Let me tell you a tale.” She said next, clasping her hands behind her, tone now businesslike. “Approximately a week ago an unknown data source was detected by several of our allies, originating within the Combined Armies zone of control. Being the good little co-operators that they are, they immediately scrambled a variety of emergency retrieval teams. Characteristically they then set upon each other like ravenous dogs. At the various detected data sites, they tore each other apart in order to acquire the data source for themselves. Some succeeded, some did not.”
She turned on her heel, retracing her steps as she continued. Jane tracked her movements.
“The data source lead to another site not far away. Once again, retrieval teams descended, proceeded to kill each other and eventually, it was the Yu Jing who acquired something very valuable.”
She gestured to one of the replaying videos. It grew in size and sharpness before stopping, magnifying on a Yu Jing Hackers data sleeve. The enhanced holographic image focused and sharpened on what looked like a holographic representation of an organic, pillar like structure projecting from the hacker’s comlog.
“Cosmolite. So far, so usual-business.”
“Yes, we thought the same. But then we realised…this ones transmitting.”
Diane, relishing her story telling, did just that.
“Unfortunately for the Yu Jing, the Old Man of the Mountain got wind of their little discovery. He beat them too it and acquired, as far as we can tell, some kind of alien black box. Even after a carefully executed ambush, the Japanese did not retrieve the alien artefact and the Bahram assassins escaped with it.”
Diane gestured to the display again. A new video emerged from the background gaggle, melting through the first. This one showed what appeared to be the inside of a building and Ariadna forces moving stealthy through the corridors.
“Our story gets better. The Nomads retrieved vital data on the alien artefact even if they could not acquire it directly. Two of their research sites on Paradiso, which happened to house the information, then suffered almost simultaneous biological alerts. During one of those biological alerts, Ariadna and Pan Oceania forces infiltrated the research positions. They acquired a great deal data.”
Diane chuckled for a moment.
“As well as providing me great amusement.”
Jane turned her frown toward Diane.
“I’m serious, watch the feedback. Never have I seen a Black Ops operation turn into a comedy show so quickly. I recommend watching the scene where the Pan Oceania hacker meets the Ariadnian Chasseur. The two of them just don’t know what to do.”
Jane’s deadpan expression did not change.
“Anyway.” Continued Diane, taking the hint. “The second infiltration will be of greater interest to you.”
By her command, the display now showed another video playback. In holographic detail, it showed Nomad forces exchanging fire with figures in the distance. A zoom in on a stilled image and a quick enhance…and the identity of the figures was suddenly apparent.
“Tohaa.” Growled Jane, crossing her arms. “I thought first contact had not been officially confirmed with them?”
“It hasn’t.” said Diane, freeze framing the image of a Tohaa soldier in mid firing position. “They shouldn’t be on Paradiso. And they certainly shouldn’t be attacking their allies.”
Diane flicked her wrist and the display melted away before the two women. At the same time, Jane’s comlog chimed internally, indicating that her download of the intelligence data was complete.
“Command wants you on standby, 24 hour notice.”
“For what?” queried Jane, eyeing her colleague
“For war, if necessary. It has been decided that whatever that alien tech is, it is not to be left in the hands of one human faction or another. And certainly not in the hands of the Tohaa.”
“When you say alien, you mean this tech is neither Combined Army nor Tohaa?”
“Yes, that is our assumption.” Confirmed Diane, taking a seat again and reaching for her still smouldering cigarette. “Combined army have tried to retrieve the data and artefacts without successful. Likewise, the Tohaa attack on the Nomad research station indicates that they, too, want that technology. This is alien in the truest use of word. Alien tech being pursued by other Aliens, as well as us.”
“I’ll assemble a team.” Acknowledged Jane, activating her comlog. In her background vision, various veteran Assault section personnel profiles floated, ready for analysis.
“It’ll be rapid deployment on short notice I take it?”
“Yes. Be ready Jane.”
With a curt nod Jane turned and strode from the office.
“Diane.” She said over her shoulder as she entered the buildings lift.
Jane turned just inside the lift doors, the barest hint of a smirk on her features. She paused for effect.
“Purples not your colour.”
The lift doors shut, just as Diane was opening her mouth. She made a face as she flicked ash from her cigarette.
“I hate it when a Chandra grows a sense of humour.” She muttered to herself.
I hate having the cold :(
Unfortunately I have had the cold this past week on and off so haven’t had a chance to write a proper blog update.
However, progress is being made on the 2nd Novel, 2nd draft. I reached the halfway point on the 16th March and am continuing to write well. In between sneezing of course. I’ve also been reading the Writers and Artists Yearbook and its making a lot of sense. Starting to get a strategy for publishing together but its slow going.
As a little treat, the short story I present to you this week is my Paradiso Fan Fiction competition entry from a couple of months back. I hope you all like, especially the Infinity the Game players.
Hope you all manage to avoid the cold. I can advise against the experience!
* * * * *
By Vedal Slayer
Marie-Ann, 1er Regiment de Para-Commandos, stood up, reaching for the computer tablet secured on the transport planes low ceiling. Long blond hair, tied in twinned braided ponytails, cascaded down her back. Her sharp feline features frowned ever so slightly as she unlocked the two security tabs that held the tablet in place. She paused for a moment, green eyes blinking. She let out an exasperated sigh.
“They’re called hips Jean-Paul, and you can stop staring at them.”
She glanced over her shoulder, as the young Jean-Paul rather lamely found the ceiling of the MX-47 assault transport suddenly very interesting. The new paratrooper was a youthful eighteen years old and evidently straight out of boot camp. For a paratrooper he seemed very wet behind the ears and despite excellent scores in parachuting and heavy weapons use, Marie-Ann had her doubts as to whether he was the right kind of soldier for the Ariadnian Expeditionary Force.
But needs must.
“Moi-du.” muttered Claude, seated opposite the young man and shaking his head, doing nothing to mask his amusement. Claude was the most veteran of the three of them, two years on Marie-Ann’s four year service. He was a big man, perhaps too big to be a paratrooper. He had wide shoulders, thick powerful muscles and a wicked sense of humour. He was the groups support gunner, cradling his light machine-gun as they awaited the drop point.
Rolling her eyes, Marie-Ann retrieved the tablet regardless and twisted to sit down again. As she activated the battered computer and waited for the digital display to boot up, she glanced over again at Jean-Paul. He was still managing to look embarrassed behind his jump goggles.
“Were there no beautiful jeunes filles at the training academy?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes madam, but…ah”
There was a long, awkward pause. Mercifully for Jean-Paul, Claude broke the silence with typical directness.
“But none of them had as perfectly formed an arse as yours, Madam Sergeant.”
Jean-Paul seemed to go bright red, while Marie-Ann glared across at her partner.
“You know the rule. You get one per jump, that’s it.”
Claude shrugged his huge shoulders with an accompanying boyish grin, seemingly unaffected by Marie-Ann’s demeanour. “That’s why I made it a good one.”
“I’m surrounded by man-idiots.” muttered Marie-Ann as the tablet came alive at last, the aged and scratched interface screen lighting up. Immediately it displayed the mission area overlaid by a 3D satellite geo-image.
“The coordinates command passed to us mean we should be able to rendezvous with the patrol party relatively quickly. That’s assuming we’ve been provided with accurate maps this time.”
“Hmpt. Lots of trees.”Claude said sagely, leaning over to look at the tablet display. “Did our honoured hosts remember we don’t use the fancy jet pack toys?”
“The exact words used were ‘be assured the clearing will be large enough to allow for parachute drop’.” She cast both of them a sideways look. “The O-12 people use the word ‘assured’ far too often for my liking. At least we’re not jumping into a fire fight this time, just a meet up with a standard combat sweep.”
“Assume the LZ will be tight” Marie-Ann said next, reaching above her to stow the tablet. “Keep good control of your chutes and a close eye on your oxygen. Don’t get dispersed, we want to all land in one piece. Understood?”
“Yes ma’am” replied the boys in unison.
“And Jean-Paul.” Marie-Ann eyed the new recruit as she spoke, flicking her twinned ponytails back behind her head and securing them with a hair clip.
“If I catch you staring at my ass on the way down…”
She locked him with her brokers-no-argument stare and paused to allow him time to go red.
“I will eat your spleen.”
Claude leaned in, his expression one of mock seriousness.
“She will too.” he stated truthfully.
* * * * *
“Not bad,” commented Marie-Ann as she kept her rifle up, covering Jean-Paul who was busy pulling his pack and chute into the safety of the clearings edge. “you jump well.”
“Thank you ma’am.”
They had jumped successfully onto the O-12 cleared area. Their hosts had at least got the location information right. Around them the forest was awash with trees and creepers, the atmosphere thick with moisture and unnaturally silent.
“I could almost forgive you for leering at me on the way down. I do hope you enjoyed the view.”
Marie-Ann was rewarded with another deeply embarrassed expression from the young man, an expression that was all too quickly becoming his trademark.
“Now, hand me your spleen.”
“Comms appear awfully silent madam.”reported Claude, interrupting the two of them as he moved up to crouch beside them. The cheekiness was gone, replaced with the veteran soldier that Claude truly was.
“We should at least be getting background chatter from other units.” Marie-Ann frowned. “I don’t like it.”
“Could be the forest?” Claude hazarded, casting his eye round the seemingly endless greenly that encompassed them. “This planet is strange, even more so than home.”
Marie-Ann had to agree. Paradiso was alien, much more alien than Dawn and that was saying something. The clearing they had jumped into had only been cleared a few hours ago, some of the trees still showing signs of chemical destruction. Yet it had still been hazardous. The lush forests here were voracious, regaining the land they had lost with vigour. The native species were openly hostile; Marie-Ann had already crushed the head of a snake that had snapped at her as she was clearing her chute .
The planet doesn’t like us.
“Claude, take point, we’ll proceed on mission. I’ll take the comms. Jean-Paul you’ll take six.”
She was business-like as she gave her orders.
“During which,” she added, “You will keep your eyes everywhere except my backside.”
She glared at the young recruit and he had the good sense to cower before her.
Satisfied, the three of them headed cautiously into the deep jungle.
* * * * *
“What the hell is going on?” Marie-Ann hissed to no one in particular, leaning up against the nearest tree for cover and sighting down her rifle.
“I do not know madam,” said Claude next to her, training his weapon likewise. “but it sounds very much like our patrol is in contact and raising Merovingia brand havoc.”
They had been moving through the jungle for only ten minutes when the sounds of fighting had drifted through the dense foliage; the whip crack of automatic weapons mixed with the tell-tale rumble of explosions. It was not a good sign.
“But with who? That doesn’t sound like alien weaponry.”
“No.” agreed Claude. He cast Marie-Ann a rare serious look, “Sounds more familiar.”
Marie-Ann put her hand to her ear, activating her short range comms link.
“Delta four, this is Maverick six, we’re moving in on your six o’clock, requesting sitrep.”
“Maverick six…Delta four.” replied the radio almost instantly, the connection heavy with interference, a strong French accent responding.
“Heavy co…multiple tan…pan ocea…”
Jean-Paul looked round from a few feet behind the two veterans. “Did he just say…?”
“Watch your six!” snapped Marie-Ann almost automatically, causing the youngster to flinch and resume his watch.
“Delta four, Maverick six.” Marie-Ann again spoke into her microphone, “Repeat please, did you just say Pan Oceania?”
“What do we do?” asked Claude.
Marie-Ann’s expression hardened. “Our job.”
“Claude, weapons free, you know the drill. Jean-Paul with me. We’ll flank them. Wait for my signal.”
“Oui madam” said Claude. Immediately he rose from his position and was bounding quickly through the thick jungle, making his way through the creepers and trees toward the fighting. Marie-Ann beckoned Jean-Paul to follow her, her posture hunched as the two of them took the route at an angle to the source of the shooting.
“Time to go hunting.” she stated bluntly, rechecking her rifle and flicking the fire selector to automatic. “And time for you to live up to your grenade launcher scores Jean-Paul.”
“I will Madam.” stated the boy. Marie-Ann looked over to find the newbie rechecking his weapon, winding the clockwork mechanism of his grenade launchers circular magazine in preparation. His reply had been very businesslike; she decided that was a good sign.
“Lets go.” she ordered.
* * * * *
“In position” Claude radioed 5 minutes later. Perfect timing thought Marie-Ann as she and Jean-Paul made it to their own starting position. What they saw brought back painful memories of the corporate battles that had ravaged their own planet.
They had come out on a low ridge, over looking a battle in progress below them.
The area was obviously a drop ship landing site, though by the looks of it not one that had been recently used. The whole area was encompassed by thick tree’s and creepers, the buildings obvious only by their outlines amongst the greenery. A battle was in full swing. Tracer fire criss-crossed what seemed to be an evenly matched fight between Ariadna troops and a Pan Oceania squad. Even through the tree’s and bushes Marie-Ann could see the dark blue uniforms of several Metro’s exchanging fire with Fusiliers taking shelter in a bombed out and overgrown bunker. Nearby the bulky form of an Orc trooper, braced by a tree trunk, was blazing away with his MULTI-rifle at a heavy machine-gun Moblot position. Individual or group duals were taking place all across the site but mostly around the smoking remains of a dropship visible at the far end of the relatively clear landing strip.
Here and there, bodies lay where they had fallen, evidence of a battle that had been taking place for some time.
Marie-Ann took it all in, grim faced. Determination gripped her.
So much for friendly fire.
She pushed her comm-link.
“Cover us Claude, I’m going for the left flank.”
Seconds later the familiar angry rattle of a Ariadnian manufactured machine-gun echoed through the forest. With a hand signal Marie-Ann bid Jean-Paul to follow her. They ran quickly, dodging through the low hanging vines and tree trunks as Claude blazed a path in front of them.
An Orc trooper emerged from the tree line to their left, MULTI-rifle up and scanning for the source of the machine-gun fire.
Marie-Ann fired a three round burst into the giant armour suited figure, causing him to stagger back into the foliage, his own return fire flying wide. She dived for cover behind a thick tree trunk as Jean-Paul came up beside her. Sensibly, the boy had switched to his rifle, his grenade launcher slung over his back. She patted him on the shoulder, and signed to him their attack plan.
Three, two, one.
They both ducked round the tree and fired at the same time from kneeling positions. The Orc trooper, not expecting two attacks from different angles was caught unawares. Both paratroopers emptied a clip into him, bullets ricochetting off his armour plate. He staggered back before one of the bullets hit a weak spot in his neck armour and tore out his throat. He collapsed back, gasping for breath with sickening wet gurgles.
Marie-Ann wasted no time, bounding toward the fallen enemy. She dropped her empty magazine as she ran and had rammed home a fresh one by the time she covered the distance to the fallen warrior. She kicked the MULTI-rifle from the mans grasp as he brought it up in a last futile gesture, before stamping on his already wounded neck. She heard the distinctive crack of bone and the trooper lay still. Jean-Paul joined her, having switched back to his grenade launcher. The boy’s adrenaline was up now.
She patted him on the shoulder again, pointing off to the left. The boy nodded, moving up from his position and…
The bullet impacted through his shoulder, spinning him round and rolling him onto the ground. Marie-Ann’s weapon was aimed and firing half a clip in the direction of the crack of the sniper shoot. Up a tree her bullets shredded the timber to dust and caused something to flinch, its form translucent like water.
Wasting no time she was up from her crouch and grabbing Jean-Paul by his backpack. The boy was in pain, cursing through clinched teeth and trying to bring his grenade launcher round to fire. Marie-Ann fired another long burst one-handed in the direction of the Croc. She must have succeeded in keeping the snipers head down for no more deadly rounds came chasing her. She was able to drag Jean-Paul round behind the tree they had previous used to ambush the Orc.
The boys breath was coming in short rasps of obvious pain.
“Lie still.” she ordered, dropping her guns empty magazine and reloading a third time, now more concerned as she cast around for more enemies. Her hand went to her comm-link again.
“Delta four this is Maverick six, I have one man down, requesting medic.”
“Confirmed Maverick six, this is Delta three.” came a surprising clear reply. “I’m inbound.”
“Watch your route, we’re under sniper fire.”
“I know.” said the Emergency 112 medic as he leapt down beside Marie-Ann. He was fortunate not to get a face full of rifle-butt. She didn’t bother to ask were the hell he had come from and just let the man do his job.
“Watch yourself. He’s up in the trees.”
“Not for long.” said the medic, nodding to his right before he bent to the task of checking Jean-Paul. Marie-Ann frowned before looking to were the medic had indicated. From the undergrowth nearby rose the formidable form of a Moblot, carrying a primed panzerfaust.
Their was a flash and hiss, then a thump as the rocket hit the tree were the Croc trooper had been. A body fell with the shower of leaves.
“Delta six to all Delta call signs. Enemy is falling back to a dropship. Let them go. We’ll deal with them later.”
“He’s just letting the bastards get away?” cursed Marie-Ann, looking to the medic for an explanation.
“Yes I am.” Said the Moblot coming up on the three of them, dropping his panzerfaust as he approached. He evidently didn’t fear any additional sniper fire for his pose was relaxed. “They didn’t come here to fight us. We just happened to interrupt their little party.”
He pointed across the clearing.
From the direction of the destroyed dropship, Marie-Ann could see a Metro and a Chasseur hoisting a wounded man in muddy work fatigues, his leg a bloody bandaged mess. He looked Asian, his uniform dark orange and yellow.
“Yu Jing.” stated the Moblot bluntly. “Engineer by the looks of him. He should be able to tell us why this mess happened.”
“Bastards.” muttered Marie-Ann, her attention now returning to Jean-Paul.
The doctor had removed the boys jump goggles and his face was contorted in pain. He was very pale.
“How is he?”
“In pain, but stable.” Stated the medic. “He’s lucky, the bullet went straight through him. For once we should be thankful they use armour piercing rounds.”
Marie-Ann nodded. Losing a rookie on his first combat jump was the height of bad luck.
At this point Claude appeared, coming upon on them as the Ariadna forces regrouped. In the distance, the sound of weapons fire had been replaced with that of chopper engines; the extraction craft were inbound.
“Hell of a first day for the boy.” commented Claude as he looked over the rookies wounded body.
“Doc says he’s stable.” said Marie-Ann. She looked up at the big man and gave him a rare smile. “But your right.”
“At least…I’ll have a war wound.” breathed Jean-Paul. Marie-Ann looked to him in surprise, finding the boy looking up through his pained expression, trying to smile through the discomfort and the effects of the medics meds.
Despite the situation both she and Claude laughed.
“That you will boy.” chuckled Claude. “For the jeunes filles!”
* * * * *
Now we’re getting somewhere!
What a confident sounding title! But it’s true, I am getting somewhere.
Work on the second draft of the second novel is proceeding at a good pace. It would be nice to boost speed a little more to make the deadline of the end of March more definite but there a just only so many hours in a day! It is good progress though, a lot of scenes are starting to come together nicely and the characters are all having meaningful conversations to advance the plot.
I’m doing my best to spend at least a little time on the novel each day, even if it’s something as simple as tidying up a scene or writing some dialogue. True, I did manage to have some difficulty over the weekend involving a faulty pen drive, blue screen of death and corrupted novel files but thankfully, one has backups, recovery programs and a working laptop!
I’ve also had progress with the printing of the first book. At the moment, two big options are open to me.
The first is vanity publishing. I have been in touch with two local paper-publishers who will print the book for a fee. Buying in bulk seems to be the best idea as it’s the cheapest per book and seems easy enough considering all they need is the cover and manuscript. The difficulty then is marketing the printed book; getting the word out and selling it on. Obviously I can do it individually with friends and family but if go for a very big order of books I’m going to need an online medium to sell them on and get a lot of marketing on the go. That will take time.
Twitter and facebook might help with that, particularly now as a business colleague of mine has given me some very interesting ideas regards getting noticed on Twitter that I’ve not tried yet. The option is there and the vanity-publishers have confirmed that the current quote they have given me is valid for a few months. I have time to think and maybe investigate some new strategies.
Option two is of course getting it published properly. In this vain progress has at last been made as I have got hold of the book ‘Writers and Artist yearbook 2013’. It’s been recommended by friends and a few authors I’ve been in touch with and I must say, they were spot on. It’s an excellent book, listing publishers and agents, as well as a lot of helpful info on how to get published. I’m working my way through it and already seeing a lot of potential. The problem is that, say I did successfully impress a publisher with the work, it would still take a long time until the book was published in paper-back and I’d have no control over price, location etc. Then again, the opportunities that would open up could be immense.
Both the options offer big opportunities. I shall investigate both further and see how things go whilst I try and sort book two.
Finally, I’m a man of my word. I said I’d be posting more interesting content and so I shall! Below is a short story I wrote late last year as part of the little competition between K, Matt and me. This ones inspiration was ‘A detective who is scared of mirrors’ and was originally supposed to be only 400 words long I think. I have since spell and grammar checked it since the original writing (wasn’t that well checked over originally, bad me) and its possibly a little longer now. I hope you enjoy.
Until next time all
* * * * *
“Good to see you sir.” said the NYPD officer, beckoning Jacob to follow him.
Detective lieutenant Jacob Kingston fell into step behind the officer as he was lead through the police lines. His partner, detective Laura Barnes, did likewise. The call had come through over the radio. Homicide at the Newquay fair park. It was a not-so-lovely little run-down fair park, often frequented by the nastier drug dealers and gangs of the city. Police stayed away, leaving the forgotten attraction well alone. That was until two people were found dead. Jacob, and his partner Laura, had to find out the who, what, when, where and how. And fast.
The scum would be held at bay for only so long.
“What’ah we got Sanders?” asked Jacob as he strode ahead of Laura, his longer stride leaving his shorter subordinate in his wake.
“Same as what we radioed sir.” said Sanders, passing through the ageing Newquay entrance. They moved deeper into the old fair ground, passing a small rusted ferris wheel, a merry-go round that didn’t look quite so merry no more and a haunted house with building integrity issues.
Jacob was about to ask just where the crime scene was when Sanders halted and pointed.
“Right in there sir.”
Jacob looked to were Sanders was indicating. His eyes went wide and his face paled a little.
Of all the buildings this one was actually in relatively good condition. Whilst the yellow paint that adored its front was flaking, the attractions name was still clearly printed in a bright red across the yellow background.
Hall of Mirrors.
Panting, Laura came up on the two men just as Sanders turned to head back to his position on the line.
“Thanks for waiting!” Laura snapped sarcastically, casting Jacob her best ‘pissed off lady’ look.
Jacob was still staring, biting his lip. Laura’s enraged expression quickly turned confused.
“What? It’s the hall of mirrors.”
“Oh…” Jacob paused for words.
“Yeah” he settled on rather unconvincingly.
“You alright?” asked Laura next, frowning. “You’re sweating.”
“Fine!…just, fine.” Jacob fumbled for a handkerchief he kept in his trouser pocket. He wiped his brow. “Just the heat you know?”
With a distinct lack of confidence, Jacob started toward his childhood nightmares made real. Laura followed, after tracking Jacob with a raised eyebrow.
Well there has been progress, and good progress, all around.
I’ve been working away on the second draft of the second novel now, already starting to tighten up the story structure and define the characters more clearly. Everyone has their part to play. The plan now is simple:
End of March 2013 = finish second draft.
End of April 2013 = finish third draft and get cover sorted.
End of May 2013 = deploy draft to proof readers.
June 2013 = complete final draft with proof reader comments.
1st July 2013 = book released!
Yes I know, very ambitious of me. But I’ve got to have something to work toward to drive me and get this next book finished. I’m determined to finish it in 6 months and 2 months have already passed.
I have also taken another step toward making the current novel more widely available by enrolling with Google Books, part of the Google Play system. Hopefully, once my current agreement with Amazon expires the book will be available on the likes of Nexus 6 devices as well as Kindle. When I signed up with Amazon I agreed to only distribute the electronic version of my book with Amazon. This agreement is due to expire shortly so i’ll have more freedom as to where the book is distributed from.
I’m also continuing to hunt publishers for the current novel. Only problem has been just making time to research and contact. Hopefully I will have more time over this weekend.
Finally, I’m hoping to update the blogs to make them a bit more interesting to read. At present they just update on the books progress, which is good, but I want to give people a bit more for taking the time to read the blogs. Plan is to start posting up short stories again, like I used to, to give people a bit more to work with.
Some stories will be old ones that I have updated whilst others will be completely new. Should be interesting for all of you either way and I welcome any comments!
Till next time.
The good and the bad
Its has been a busy week, with many ups and downs.
The IRS got back to me about getting me a tax code so I can at last get a printed version of my book from Amazon.com. Sadly, they said no. Something about the required documentation I sent through not being sufficient, despite the fact that I sent them my passport (which fortunately, they returned). So yet another delay on the road to getting the first novel into printed form. However, undaunted, I intend to give the IRS a phone on Monday and discover what the problem is and maybe move things along. Just means that sorry guys, those waiting on a paperback version will have to wait a little longer.
I also didn’t get to finish the latest writing challenge of writing a short story based on a song. My choice, Johny Cash’s legendary song ‘Boy named Sue’ just didn’t work out. I just can’t write a story that gelled properly; my attempts didn’t do it justice. Going to go back to the drawing board and find a different song to write on. Just means I’ll have to play catchup for a bit.
However, got good news too. I’m making good progress with going over what I’ve done so far on the second novel. Already got a lot of new ideas, just have to finish going through my little paper draft and we’ll be back in business.
I’ve also been doing a couple of pieces of new fiction.
One was for Bad Company Redux, the wargaming club I’m with. They are running an Infinity the Game ‘Paradiso’ campaign and I put up my first blog post about the campaign on their website with a little fiction to tie things together. Check it out at http://badcompanyredux.com/ in the ‘Badlands’ blog (in the future this will be entitled the ‘Paradiso’ blog)
I’ve also done a little fiction piece for a mate of mine, which i’ll post up sometime in the future. I think people will like it but I want him to see it first.
Another big update is my actions on Twitter. I’ve now decided not to advertise my book on Twitter anymore as I’m convinced its not really working. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on connecting with fellow writers / interested parties and retweeting whenever I can, as well as just updating people about my blog posts. I’ve over 1700 followers now so that’s good, plenty of people seem interested in my little corner of the internet.
So that’s the update this weekend. I hope to keep writing and get a bit more done on the second novel. Stay tuned everyone!
Keeping out of trouble
Good progress this week.
Main thing is that I have at last printed out what I’ve done so far on the second novel, which is good because it means I’ll be able to look through the 52 pages and start filling in the blanks so to speak. At present I have a lot of good scenes but not necessarily enough scenes to link all of them together. I also need to figure out names of new characters, better descriptions of characters and locations, and tighten up the storyline. All is doable, just need to sit down and do it.
I also had a fantastic brain storming session this week with a good friend (thank you Jo!) so a lot of new ideas have blinked into existence and I’m trying to figure out how to either integrate them into this new novel or into the series. We shall see!
Added to this I’ve the next in our story competition challenge series. This time the challenge is to write a story based on a favourite song. Unfortunately I’m already behind in this (nothing written yet!) but I have chosen a song; a particular Johny Cash number that should do the necessary nicely. I hope I can do the legendary man justice.
Also, the wargames club which I’m part of has recently started up an ‘Infinity the Game’ campaign and I’m going to be writing some fiction for it to tie together the various factions and battles. The plan is to do this mission by mission (12 missions in all so 12 separate fiction pieces to write) as well as battle reports and painting so we’ve the complete package. Just like all the writing I’m doing, I just need to schedule time to do this.
Plenty to look forward to, plenty to keep me out of trouble.