Start a fund, tap on the glass. Pressed palms to the windows,
exquisite sonnets for ending, five lines for pride, five lines wished death of pride.
Consternation among the keepers. Papa hasn’t lauded his one testicle in days.
Recently I was asked about the title of my site. Seeing it might soon be a thing of the past, I felt I should come clean with it, and say it's primarily from a poem I wrote a few years ago.
Zoo the last few writers in a bad habitat together, like the wild paper seraglio.
Start a fund, tap on the glass. Pressed palms to the windows,
exquisite sonnets for ending, five lines for pride, five lines wished death of pride.
Consternation among the keepers. Papa hasn’t lauded his one testicle in days.
My production has been down lately, and this is why.
Well, I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, renown for having the most precipitation in the Atlantic provinces, snow is how it goes. This year with an exclamation point.
But I'm still not going to use an exclamation point for emphasis there. You sound crazy when you use exclamation points!
I took to the snow stubbornly, the flab of fall sure to slough off.
Most of the time, I never think about living on an island, Newfoundland being the 16th largest island in the world. Then we have poor weather, followed by unseasonal cold, and a failure at the provincial power hub resulting in rolling blackouts, and when I finally get up to the grocery store, this is what's left of the meat section without the ferries being able to cross.
At the end of the first day, and 10cm of snow still falling ...
They make kind of a creepy flipbook.
But it had to be done ...
It was made more difficult by the guy my neighbor hires to do his driveway snow-blowing his snow up into this driveway, EVEN AS I WAS SHOVELING IT. I flagged him down and told him to stop. He said, "Nobody parks there."
And then made more difficult when I got to where the industrial snowblower had widened the streets and had piled the snow at the end. That's why it looks like a huge piece of cake there. It was solid ice, and peeled away like flakes of glass.
Feeling bad for his hired man's complicity in my labor, my elderly neighbor offered me the use of his snowblower, but it only would have chopped itself to pieces on the ice.
Until finally ...
A buddy came over and helped me move the last ton or so.
And that's winter, my writer's block.
From Systematic Rube
We were dressed in high durable boots, battered pants, crusty work gloves, helmets with visors, and earmuffs which blocked out the killing buzz of our saws. Surrounded by our greasy smoke all day we’d return home smeared with the green genocide we’d just committed, hot, tired, a salad of chopped grass. Imagine how tenaciously a piece of lettuce gets stuck in your teeth for hours after eating, then imagine that lettuce is a hectare wide and fired at your teeth at a hundred miles an hour.
The company I brushed with had a small but loyal work force consisting of myself, my buddy Chris, the owner Alan, who was also a good friend, and one cramped truck. The truck didn’t have a name. We weren’t the sort of guys to name a truck, even if the truck was a friend too.
Looking up I peered through the blue haze of my exhaust. A white vision was cresting the hill, a girl dressed in white slacks and a frilly white top and a pair of sneakers. I glanced around for a white horse.
The white vision was the Mill’s summer intern. I’ll capitalize the M in Mill there. Capital M like Mother, and Matriarch. What the Mill said, we did. We depended on the Mill, the Mill Made us Money. We were nice to the Mill. However, seeing the Mill intern floating up the hill dressed like a tennis-pro seemed incredibly incongruous at the time, akin to miners finding a nice set of bone china sitting on a shelf of rock deep underground.
I yelled at Alan and knocked a branch off his helmet to get his attention. I made sure to stand clear of him in case he turned suddenly and sawed my feet off at the ankles. The girl floated over and gave us the news. Dry lightning had sparked a fire in a swamp the evening before. The company’s heavy machinery had been put the fire out before it could spread, but they needed us to come help mop up the operation. It was far cheaper to get us to do it than real men who mattered.
It was our first morning on the job. It had felt good to strap on our saws and survey the uncut block. We’d worked so hard to iron out the wrinkles in the operation the summer before, making little money, and were finally ready to buckle down and get rich like rock stars.
Alan smiled and kowtowed before the intern, then we watched her drift away like a cloud through the tall grass. When she drove away, Alan threw his helmet and mask to the ground and swore. The Mill paid a set wage of thirteen dollars an hour for the sort of unskilled labour we were being asked to do. He’d calculated the bank of the block we were currently working already, and we were about to carve a few big holes in our wallets. Plus, there was always the weather to contend with, and the will of the Mill’s budgeters. The weather or the secret confederacy which handed out the contracts, we weren’t sure which was more fickle. Our contract might get cut off at any time.
Chris and I, on the other hand, had never fought a fire before. It would be a new experience. We packed our gear with slow fingers and returned to the logging camp before we went to fight the fire. We were already on the clock. Road minutes mattered.
A Taste of My Own Medicine
I edit books for other authors, and often I feel bad about how much blood I draw from their beloved masterworks. Truly the death of a thousand cuts. It can be hard taking the role of the professional honest person at the end of the line: "The Honester" (Yeah, I am absolutely calling myself that in the future). So, mostly out of curiosity, when editing my own science fiction piece, THIS LAND, I turned the Track Changes around on myself, and set to work.
After the first pass through the book, I knew I had already surpassed any bloodletting I'd ever done to a client. This was more than surgery. This was a slaughter. If it were a physical book, it would have closed with a squish.
I got a kick out of looking back after an editing session to see exactly how much I had colored. As an exercise in motivation, I recommend it, as you can visually track your progress.
Below is the version that went out to beta readers. It has 12,160 revisions (5972 insertions, 5633 deletions, 68 moves, and 487 changes to formatting). Though it's not reflected here, after I got it back from beta readers, I cut 7000 words, added 3000, then I sent it off to a proofreader and went over it two more times, implementing recommendations, before publishing it.
It feels great to have the completed book in my hands (so to speak), but also sorta satisfying to be able to crack it open and see how it all happened as well.
EDIT: The last screen capture is from an e-reader app which didn't fill me with confidence.
Those who survive the morning hole up in the ancient monastery that overlooks the town, only to have their safe-haven become their place of siege.
Cut off from the outside world, they can hope only for rescue, but there might not be anybody left out there to help them.
And their safe-haven may not be as safe as they thought.
Now Available at Amazon.
Of course, now that it is, I can't think of a durn word to say, except, well, I hope it's read, and I hope it's well received.
A fitting memorial commemorating the burning of books that happened under Nazi rule in Bebelplatz, Germany.
I don't even remember how I got to be trolling through WWI propaganda posters, but these two tickled me immensely, the Knowledge is Power poster especially. It's nice to see that notion represented with such a strong symbol for a change, rather than a cartoon or a cliche.
More information about the one on the left may be found here: http://docsouth.unc.edu/wwi/41922/100.html
Parenthetically, there's also a series by Brian Moore 'updating' these sorts of propaganda posters for the modern world, which may be found and purchased on Flickr:
For the gaps in my knowledge.
It was only recently that I learned that, in 1984, the then Soviet Union landed a probe on VENUS and took pictures. Until now I've never seen these pictures of another planet which have been around for nearly thirty years. In the event that you as well have been somehow deprived of this information solely on the basis that it was mostly ignored as a fact their competitors didn't want to acknowledge, here's a shot of our next door neighbor closer to the sun:
The Venera (Cyrillic: Венера) series probes were developed by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1984 to gather data from Venus, Venera being the Russian name for Venus. As with some of the Soviet Union's other planetary probes, the later versions were launched in pairs with a second vehicle being launched soon after the first of the pair.
Mind you, much of this happened before the moon landing.
The link to the Wiki article is HERE.
In the end I chose not to use the prologue for the first book, but I'm confident it'll make an appearance in the second.
That Ribbon of Highway
The slow fires of eternity burned within them, these three grandfathers of stars, these eggs of civilizations, as through the ageless black they lumbered, ever faithful to the instructions of their masters, given so many eons ago: Proliferate. Prepare. Make way for us.
Now these dark leviathans were awakening, beginning to feel the tickle of the nearby yellow sun, growing as a distant hole in the black tapestry of the universe. As they drew nearer, they tasted the flavor of its solar breath over their bodies and found it a refined meal; the star had aged well, to a warm and gentle vintage, since their last visit, and they noted the change with mechanical pleasure: the conditions aligned, their calculations were in agreement; between them they shared a pleasing congruity.
Yet something was not as it should be.
Though the yellow sun had become the fertile garden they’d expected, the seed of the second planet was not as they’d left it. From afar they detected a surfeit of oxygen and nitrogen; the planet was awash with hydrogen, carbon.
Incongruity. Misalignment. The conditions were not in agreement.
They awakened more completely, expanding the wings of their consciousnesses wider to swish about these blues and greens and browns they were tasting from the planet in the light of this refined sun.
Only, as the cells within them awakened from the cold hibernation of eons, one of the travelers awakened in error. With its kin, it tasted the blues and browns and greens and, like them, came to the pleasure of alignment between their conclusions.
However, during their long sleep since the last star, many thousands of years before, portions of its instructions from their creators had been forgotten. In those places where it reached deep inside itself for guidance, it felt only dim memory, half-remembered creeds.
With this new congruence of unconformity, its two kin shouldered the wings of their consciousnesses once more, and powered down despite this strange taint to their meal. Misalignment, yes, but, as per their instructions, they were not to create life through extinction, as, above all, their masters had feared making entreaties to the void only to hear the echoes of themselves coming back to them out of the darkness, pips of insignificance in a long, lonely universe.
They peered far ahead through the swells and tides of gravity around the outer gas planets, and the clockwork disturbances of comets and unclaimed tumbling stones, and with the most imperceptible adjustment, angled toward the yellow sun, ever to move through the universe, ever to sleep between the cradles of the stars, fulfilling the instructions of their masters, wherever they might be.
To aid their exit out of the system, they would bask in the yellow star’s generous feast briefly, and use its gravity to boost them out into the silence of cold oblivion once more, where they would again shutter their minds and wait until they were next needed.
Except … in their adjustments they suffered in surprise. Their kin had not turned with them. It was spreading the wings of its consciousness further and had begun to slow.
Assessments indicated it was manoeuvring to fulfill their primary initiatives. It would proliferate, it would prepare, it would make way for their masters, and it would protect what it had wrought.
If the burst of signals the two ancient leviathans sent to the breakaway traveler could be translated as words, they would be read as: Come with us. Come with us. Come with us. Come with us. Come with us…. And if machines could be said to contain sadness, as the signals gained longer intervals due to the burgeoning distance between them, it could also be said that they understood the futility of their cry across the darkness, because their signals weakened in strength as the distance compounded but they continued to plead with their kin nonetheless, as if the machines could also understand hope, could also comprehend desperation and loss.
Originally they had numbered five, but two of their kind had faded in the vastness between the stars. The first was simply not alongside upon awakening at one of their destinations — how long ago, they could barely remember. The other had angled up and out of the galactic plane, slowly rising out of the cone of their experience. For centuries the three had hailed it, and it had replied over increments of thousands of years — still here … still here … still here … until it no longer was and the expanse of space sounded like stars huffing with fire and the cold tinkle of dust over dead rocks; the ether hid no words for them anymore.
So, as the breakaway traveler settled in comfortably around the malappropriate planet, its two companions, having slung around the sun to bolster their escape velocity out of the system, sent a final, strong entreaty to their ancient kin; and when their impassioned plea was ignored, they sent no more signals, though they would still be within range for decades, as if the machines could also understand separation, inevitability, acceptance.
The three had become two.
The remaining traveler turned its attention to the planet slowly heaving beneath it — breathing with life, misalignment — and spread the wings of its consciousness to its fullest capacity, content in the congruence of purpose. The equivalent of long-unused limbs came to life and it stretched and scanned, revelling in its completeness, and made itself ready for the coming execution of arranging this land to alignment.
It would propagate. It would prepare. It would make way.
But it was not to …
It was not to …
It was not to …
But it was not …
not to …
It was …
not to …
Any blog with the latest post more than a week old is archaeology.
My apologies for the stale wind that's been huffing through this recent tomb lately. I've been very busy making other author's books fabulouser than they already are, editing two pieces of my own, Master Works both, and taking full advantage of the refreshing bluster of spring.
Soon, I shall rise again and scatter golden idols about carelessly once more.
Until then, I urge patience, and caution: don't trip the backwards partyboobs on the way out.
Lately I've been privileged to be in the company of some fine quality writers, a few of whom I'll be happy to showcase on weekends. Enjoy.
I welcome all to my world of writing and authorship. I have been writing for many years and have published several fantasy works through Amazon and Smashwords. I have tried to give the tale a feeling of place and circumstances that, although fiction, all readers who enjoy fantasy can relate to.
I have recently released The Crystal Point Legacy, a series of three books: The Dream Valley, Silent Watcher and Death of Kings. I am currently writing the first of another series titled The Last Elf.
I also welcome all to follow along with my blog, Ramblings of a 50 year old man; http://rambling50.blogspot.com. It is just my thoughts on life as I journey along to the fateful end. I have also started a new blog, http://sheimas.blogspot.com which is a first-person prequel to The Crystal Point Legacy.
I am currently working on another epic fantasy series titled, The Last Elf. The first work has a working title of Sands of Nevertime. I hope to have it released late in 2013.
Another new book. My hands are sticky from peeling an orange badly.
I’m sitting here in the dining car of my treeplanting company.
I find it very interesting that I’ve lost the touch for writing well, both physically and mentally. My script is childlike and the going is slow. My walkman is on, some tunes Steve volunteered. Already my wrist is starting to hurt, but my writing is improving.
I expect to be a very different person when I leave here. Going home should be fun, going home should be a shock, going home will be good. I do miss home, but here is interesting. If nothing else, that: interesting.
Random thought process. All too typical of a first page
This book feels as if it’s being written to myself.
We get up at 6 in the morning, every morning, but Saturday. Some days I may actually get a job with weekends off and maybe even a pleasant nine to five. No more 6 to 6 or whatever. Naw, that’ll never happen.
Dammit, watching Air Force One in the camp trailer and I can’t concentrate. Be back later.
J R C Salter was born in Devon in the early eighties. Salter trained as a chef and practiced for ten years before quitting to pursue a writing career, having always loved reading and making stories. Salter wanted to write an epic tale encompassing the adventures of different characters surrounding a mysterious artifact. Main inspirations included The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Highlander.
For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner ... let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to his agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him forever.
“ I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical romances! ” spunkypumpkin | 2 reviewers
made a similar statement
Barbara Mack has been fascinated by words and writing since early childhood. The first story she put into print format was about the birds who came to nest in the gardening shed; it reviewed well with critics (the neighbors, her mother and father, grandparents, etc.) She then had a poem - Love Never Dies - published in an international magazine at age 11, and she's never looked back.
She currently has several historical romance novels available and when she's not writing furiously, you can find her in the kitchen. Her cookbook Easy, Fabulous Bread Making: A collection of quick, no-knead bread recipes is consistently in the top 50 Amazon books on bread making. The well-reviewed Chasing the Sunset spent 14 weeks in the top 5 historical romances from Amazon.
The end of this book, which is the first part of the Sherdan series, left me in need of the sequel.
Jess was born in the quaint village of Woodbridge in the UK, has spent some of her childhood in the States and now resides in the beautiful Roman city of Bath. She lives with her husband Phil and her very dapsy cat, Pleaides. Jess can often be found either in a cafe, grinning behind a large mug of hot chocolate, at her desk, getting annoyed with her cat for sitting on her keyboard, or on her comfy corner sofa with friends, enjoying a vast array of films.
"... the author's writing was so good that it drew me in and I found myself willing to continue with the story and starting to love these beings especially Ja'Nil and Ee'Rick. Eventually I was hooked and could not put down the book until I finished the story. If you love fantasy or even if you are new to the genre like me, this book will open your eyes to another world. Love it. I am waiting for the sequel."
Jess Allison is a red-headed adventuress who at 14 ran away from home to work in a circus. She did everything from picking up elephant poop to helping set up joints (booths). It was a whole new world. Now she writes about new worlds and fascinating alien people who sometimes can be quite human.
Suzie O'Connell grew up in a small town on the Kitsap Peninsula in Western Washington, but has called the mountains and valleys of Western Montana home for well over a decade. She has been writing stories since she was old enough to know how (the first she can recall was penciled in the second grade, about the mouse who went to the sea) and completed her first novel, Summer Angel, before she graduated from high school. After high school, tired of the endless rain, she attended college at the University of Montana-Western and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Writing. She is currently working on a Masters of Education and teaches high school English.
When she isn't writing, teaching or studying, Suzie enjoys playing in the mountains with her husband Mark, their daughter Maddie and their energetic golden retriever Reilly. She is also a hobby photographer, specializing in landscapes.
Suzie considers herself to be a rather quirky individual with ecclectic tastes in music, movies and books. She listens to just about anything, including pop, rock, country and techno and her favorite movies range from Grumpy Old Men to Lord of the Rings to Moulin Rouge to Pirates of the Caribbean. When it comes to reading, she prefers fantasy, science fiction, romance and literary fiction.
She firmly believes it's healthy to laugh at yourself, that best friends are worth far more than their weight in gold, and that home truly is where the heart is.
Set in the year 2071, where technology has brought mankind to the brink of colonization on a planet named Gaia, one astronaut takes on an isolated mission and discovers unearthly horrors that could bring an end to human life on this planet.
"This book is well written and fun. I giggled more times than I can remember!"
John Peters is the author of the novel CLAMING MOON as well as the short horror tale WARREN HOUSE (which reached #2 on Amazon's supernatural horror list), the short horror collection HOLIDAY HORROR (top 50 on Amazon's Hot 100 New Releases), and a half dozen other horror tales available on Amazon.com.
His fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including the Stoker-nominated anthology series The Horror Library (volumes 1 and 3); Night Terrors 2; the Australian magazine Midnight Echo; the British publication Spinetinglers; the Canadian magazine Dark Recesses; and a host of other markets.
In addition to writing fiction. John works full-time as a daily newspaper editor. He, his wife, and their five children live in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.
You can follow John at http://johnpeters2.blogspot.com/ or at https://www.facebook.com/johnpeterswriter
“ Well thought out plot and realistic characters I could identify and care about. ” B. Sharrock | 17 reviewers made a similar statement
“ The mystery truly will keep you guessing right up to the end, and my favorite part was getting inside the killer's head. ” Sharon Delarose | 6 reviewers made a similar statement
“ I began reading this book one evening and could not put it down until I finished it. ” earformusic | 9 reviewers made a similar statement
I was never supposed to be an author. My brother is the writer in the family (and I'm convinced that someday we'll find a backlog of brilliant manuscripts that he has hidden away over the past several decades) I'm the painter and have spent my life doing odd projects, such as the New Leaf Project, wherein I painted more than 4,000 paintings on wood blocks that have been scattered all over the globe (including Antarctica) for people to find and adopt. (if you're interested, check it out here http://www.newleaf.carolannnewsome.com/)I also like doing collaborative murals with small communities, the most recent of which has been a dragon living under a pedestrian overpass.
In 2001, I suffered a head injury from being struck by a car while riding my bike. Head injuries are funny things, hard to predict what you'll experience, and not much you can do about it except take care of yourself and find a way to pass the time during those periods when you can't function. For several years I spent a lot of time reading popular fiction, often the same books over and over, while hanging out with my dogs. (To this day I am a huge Harry Potter fan because those were the first new books I could read, 5 months after my accident.)
I wrote the first draft of "A Shot in the Bark" longhand during my horizontal episodes. I discovered that it's fun to commit mayhem on paper. I like to write stuff that is fun and scary and romantic, and oh, it has to have dogs. I expect Lia and Peter to have more adventures with their furry children. My only goal is to bring you pleasure. At the end of the day, if I've managed to entertain you, I'm happy.