Friday, December 31, 2010

A sad tale of those who do, and those who don't.

I belong to a small writers group. There are only fourteen of us who are active although the books list sixty three members and, to date, I'm  one of only two members who has had the good fortune to be published. We are a diversified lot with ages ranging from sixteen up to over eighty and occupations ranging from solicitor to the unemployed. There are three members of the group who raise my sympathies and one who aggravated the hell out of me.

The one who aggravated the hell out of me is, as he tells every one who can't escape his grasp, a journalist. He is also the group's self appointed critic and, unfortunately, also it's chairman, a position he obtained by intimidating every one else. He and I should have an interesting time at the next A.G.M.

The three who raise my sympathies are a mixed lot and include both our youngest and oldest members. The one in the middle is probably the most interesting, and the one most deserving of sympathy, and more importantly, guidance. She is an ex member of the Australian Defence Force and served in Iraq. For a while the journalist plagued her with requests for stories on her military service, to the point where the Lady was about to leave the group. The journalist and I had a little conversation about that in the men's toilet and I walked out. He took some time to recover before he came out.

Like a lot of ex serving members she doesn't want to talk about her military service, she wants to write poetry, and although I'm no expert on that type of writing I quite like some of her work. Her poems tend to be about life, and pain, and fantasy. She writes of Unicorns and stars and darker things in the night. I'd like to help her get a few of her works published as I think they are good enough. Our resident critic  sneers at the lot.  I've given her the phone number of an agent I know who has read a couple of her works but I know she hasn't phoned him yet. She is to lacking in self confidence. I do hope she will keep writing, it's one way to get all the hurt, pain and confusion out.

Our youngest member is only sixteen years of age and desperately wants to write romantic fiction. She's a sweet little girl, polite in a way you don't see much in the young these days, and she spends a lot of time on the Internet. Face book and all those so called social sites. I think she gets a lot of encouragement from her peers but oh dear, if only she could learn to spell and punctuate.

Our oldest member is a delight. She always brings one of her delicious chocolate cakes to our monthly meet. No I didn't threaten to break the journalist's fingers if he touched the plate. That was someone else! Every one calls her Grand ma, and she loves it. She wants to write the history of the local area and she definitely has all the facts. Unfortunately she is that age where she gets a little muddled now and then and describes how  her next door neighbour came home from World War One. That is a bit of a stretch because he is only forty eight.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Bit of a Teaser.

As I mentioned in my first post I've been lucky enough to score a book contract. The contract is for a trilogy , working title is the Guardians. Book one  (working title again) is Lost @ Infinity. Genre is Sci Fi, theme is an Environmental Armageddon 

So for those who might be interested here is the opening scene of Lost @ Infinity:-

My name is Grahame Charles Harris. I'm a naturalised Australian Citizen but I was born in Colorado in the United States of America where I lived until I was nine years old. I am now a forty two year old man, divorced and still fairly tidy for my age. I do not habitually use drugs of any kind and I do not have an alcohol problem. Yesterday morning I woke up in The House, not my house, The House. It seemed like an ordinary house, or so I thought at first. It has five bedrooms, all with their own en suites, a large elaborately equipped kitchen, a huge living room, another separate toilet and a jacuzzi equipped bathroom. Nothing special, white ceilings, pale blue plaster board walls, blue is predominant, carpets, drapes, the whole decor. Quite tastefully done. If you like blue.

There are a few oddities. No furniture in any of the bedrooms, except mine.  At least I assume it's mine, that's where I woke up. The pantry is quite well stocked, so is the refrigerator, and the freezer. The water taps work, they supply both hot and cold running water. The lights and power also work, all the electrical switches work. There is no telephone though. The living room is fully equipped, stereo and surround sound, television, Cd's, even Blue Ray DVDs. The music selection is very good, exactly to my taste and there is a choice of new release movies, not B grade - the best of the big hit movies of this season! Once again exactly to my taste. There is a computer, it has an Internet connection. Popular, up to date, user friendly. Strange though that there is no telephone.

The computer seems ordinary enough, current operating system, current popular browser and email program. I've found I can connect to popular search engines and websites that I know. The operating system seems to have all the current patches, at least I think it does, there are so many I'm not really sure. It also has a word processor, the one I'm using to write this story on. I started it because of all the strange things that are happening.

So why am I rambling on you ask? Because I don't want to get to the strange part. It gets scary, at least it scares me. I woke up in a strange bed, doesn't usually happen, but sometimes a single man gets lucky. How lucky can you get? I couldn't even remember who I'd been with. O.K. I thought, strange bed, queen size, very comfortable but no woman. O.K. Fine. She's already up. God, what was her name? I couldn't remember a thing, not where I'd been, not who with, nothing!

My clothes were there, neatly folded, did I do that? I usually don't. Especially if the passion of the moment demands a quick undress. I had a quick shower, got dressed and noticed that the house was very quiet. In fact everything seemed very quiet, silent even. No traffic noise, no child noise, no background noise, no nothing noise. It was about then I felt the first slight chill of unease, it's surprising how comforting that background buzz of noise is to the urban man. Pull yourself together I thought, this is good, she's already left for work. I can sneak out and avoid the embarrassment of not remembering her name, or..... my God .... ANYTHING.  Work! What time is it? Where am I? Will I be late again? The Boss will not be pleased.

I pulled on my shoes, found my car keys next to the orange juice, croissants and coffee set out for me and raced for the front door. I opened it and stopped. My senses reeled. I stood there, immobile for perhaps thirty seconds, then spun round and slammed the door behind me. Boy oh boy, what ever I'd been on the night before was still in my system. What had I been on? I usually steer clear of that sort of stuff, maybe someone had spiked my drink, maybe a Mickey Finn, maybe that's why I couldn't remember. Reflex action, I checked my wallet, no, the credit cards, and the money, were still there, so was my ID and a couple of personal photographs. I hadn't been ripped off.

I didn't feel drugged, or disorientated. In fact I felt great, clear head, no hang over, and the wheeze I'd developed lately when I exerted myself wasn't there either. I turned around and cautiously opened the door again, I peeked out, pleasant stone pathway, carefully manicured garden, the car was there in the drive, I couldn't see any damage, it's green, yep, that's mine, the one I always drive. Then I slowly looked out, following the curve of the driveway down to the road. My heart skipped a beat. I slammed the door again and waited for my my breathing to calm down. I wasn't hallucinating, it was still there, or perhaps I was hallucinating and nothing was there. Or perhaps I'm dead, or dreaming. If I'm dreaming it's way past time to wake up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grumpy's Grumblings

Here is a list of things that currently annoy the crap out of me which just goes to show that I really am a cantankerous, grumpy, bad tempered, intolerant, old man!

The Price of being Published.

Wow, ripper, I've got a contract, woopee, you beaut, I'm an Author, Oh glee, and I even got an advance. You mean they are REALLY gonna pay me for this??? Now hold on!  There's got to be a catch here somewhere. Marketing??? What's that? Oh! I have to do WHAT? !!!!

Media People.

I've spent 68 years on this earth and the only time I've ever been bothered by these people was when some bloody nong tried to stuff a microphone up my left  nostril, just after I'd returned from Vietnam. I sat him on his arse. Very satisfying. Since then media people have ignored me with a profound dedication.  Good.  

Now suddenly I'm to be a published Author and  someone from some damn  literary journal I've never heard of wants to know my opinion on  the third century  poetry of Lord Nerd of Mugwump.  HUH? Who? The look of  shock and horror that  I didn't have a clue  who the bloody hell they were  raving about branded me  unconditionally as a literary  whore. So I've prostituted the written word to the evil lust of commercialism?? I should  worry? I asked, as I counted off  the zeros on my advance on royalties cheque. So  I'm a literary  whore? Eat yer heart out!

Hangers On.

Now, for  me,  this is a  very new phenonema. Some bloody fool  (me)  innocently mentioned to another bloody  fool that I'd scored a book contract. The other bloody fool  mentioned this to  a third bloody fool  and  you  can  guess the rest.   I live in  a  suburb  where celebrity  means  you've won the  weekly  chook  raffle at the pub. So far  I've been  invited to  three speaking engagements, two school  lectures,   a  women's group meeting,  two service club dinners, one historical  society bash, one  football  club brawl  and the local boy scouts. The  local  boy scouts  being the only  ones  who've  offered  to pay for any  expenses. 



 Bloody research, blessed is research because there will come a day when everyone who writes must do research. It is the great leveler. Even those illustrious high fliers who have initials like SK and TC  have to do research. Just imagine kiddies, you creep furtively into the local library to research the sex life of the rare yumandubrah grey moth and there sitting quietly, with the very reference you want is ????  ??????. Fill in your own blanks - who ever you'd like to wake up in the morning and find you've become - or perhaps you'd just like his/her cheque book - no matter. Now of course it's highly likey that these grand pooh bahs of the literary word employ some poor slavering fan, at a pittance, to do the research for them, but, it still has to be done- Oh joy - they're human afterall - their words - complete with correct punctuation and spelling - don't come from some great voice in the sky. They too have to work at it! I am content.

Government Websites.

I am thoroughly convinced that government websites are the bureaucrat's (damn I have trouble spelling that word) latest torture to bring us poor voters and other ordinary folk down to our knees. So you want to try to find something on a government website - GOOD LUCK!! The index of all government sites is incomprehensible, a logical layout, if there is one, is not designed in a methodology we mere mortals can understand. Government websites are designed like Government offices. By the time you find what you want you're to damn exhausted to ask for it.

Search Engines.

Oogle and Numbat and Yea bloody Ha or what ever they call themselves. Have you ever tried to use them? You put in your search word, or words, something like - Senate Enquiries and Royal Commissions - and what you get back is a hundred bloody thousand hits - All references to Senate, Enquiries, Royal and bloody Commissions. It's quite easy to get over half a million hits. Hmmm you think. I need to narrow down my search, so you go to advanced search and it boggles your mind with all the options. So you got to HELP. Help? Help my arse. First you must have a degree in computer geek speek to use it and the one thing you are looking for will be conveniently buried under a ton of incomprehensible gibberish that you have no hope of deciphering. Haven't these people ever heard of plain bloody English?


It's that time of year again. People scramble to buy the right present, some times for children, some times for relatives they can't stand. In the process they manage to overspend, max out their credit cards and create a year long nightmare for themselves that sometimes ends up in heart break.


Yep, weather, that stuff that can be wet, cold, hot, dry and all stages in between. Weather can be the blonde Barbie doll or the terribly ernest "mature" male on straight after the news at night. They quack on about fronts, and charts and systems and averages until you are so mesmerised by the bullshit that you don't remember what the hell they did say about tomorrow,  they probably had it wrong anyway. It annoys me because on the rare days I fight my way out of my garret, and wistfuly look for the sun, I invaribly get bloody rained on. Because blonde bloody Barbie or ernest bloody Ernest doesn't bloody know what they are talking about!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas is not merry for some

O.K. So I lied. I said my next post would be on the 30th but today is only the 26th. I'm posting this today for two reasons, the first is because I'm gradually getting my head around using the design features of the blog. I've changed from the black template to something I think is easier to read. The black might look slick but I'm damned if I could read it easily.

The second reason is sadder and much more serious. I'm one of those people that gets to spend Christmas day on my own. My family is far away and I don't like to accept invitations from well meaning friends. I always feel like the odd man out at other people's Christmas celebrations. Some years, if I don't want  to be alone I'll go help the Salvos or something like that, so, you might say, I've learnt to tolerate Christmas. 

Other peope have not learnt to do the same, and for them Christmas is a very sad and depressing time. So sad that an elderly gentleman not far from me took his own life yesterday afternoon. Some of his immediate neighbours were terribly upset by the event but, once one asks around it soon becomes evident that no one thought to so much as wish him a Merry Christmas, or even invite him over for a cuppa. It's very easy to be sad and remorseful after the event. Especially when you've done bugger all to prevent it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My First Blog

G'Day and thanks for taking the time to have a look at my new blog. Yep, you guessed it, new blog, and new blog writer, so bear with me - I'm bound to make a few mistakes, and foul things up at least once or twice.

There are undoubtably a few things you'll want to know like;-

1. Who am I ?
2. What am I going to write about ?
3. Do I know what I'm talking/writing about
4. Will you possibly learn anything new
5. Is it worth coming back for another look?
7. Will I reply if you message me?
8. Can you link to my blog?

Will I stop waffling and get on with it? - O.K. Here goes

1. Who am I ?
I'm an old fart, retired, and possess ample quantities of  the crankyness that cames with old age. Besides that I still write and from time to time have even been paid for it. Just recently I've been fortunate enough to sign a contract for my first novel. It's Sci Fi and has an 'End of Days' type theme, heavily influenced by my belief that mankind will go out with a whimper, not the bang that all of Hollywood dictates. To put it bluntly I think mankind, being the only species on earth that continues to crap in it's own nest, will end up choking quietly to death on it's own effluence.

2. What am I going to write about ?
Anything that amuses, creates a controversy, entertains or informs. Whether I know what I'm talking about or whether you think not.

I'm going to write, and write about writing. I might even post some of my work for you to tear strips off. Constructive criticism will be graciously received, flaming will not.

The Para Normal and things that go bump in the night. I'm a skeptic but still have an open mind. If the subject interests you and you're not to far out on the freak fringe you might find my thoughts interesting. Please don't message me if you are having sex with an alien, I've got troubles of my own.

The Environment. No I don't live next to a nuclear reactor, and no I wouldn't  want to if I could. The best advice I 've ever had concerning things nuclear was in the armed forces. Nuclear survival 101. Quote; If subjected to nuclear fallout put your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye. Unquote.

When I was a young man the population of this country was less than 11 million. Back then we could do all sorts of radical things like swim in unpolluted water, eat non gene modified foods and breath fresh air. Now we are hell bent on populating ourselves into oblivion with the tacit approval of our political drones. I could describe my opinion of our current crop of  incumbents but I am mindful that this blog might be read by some with tender sensibilities so I will refrain. Am I a political activist?? HELL NO! I'm about as apolitic as it is possible to be. With a couple of individual exceptions I think that they should all go out and get a proper job.

3. Do I know what I'm talking/writing about
Most of the  time yes. Some of the time definitely not. On writing,  and on the environment, most of the time yes. On the paranormal you can make up your own mind, provided of course that you have one.

4. Will you possibly learn anything new
Perhaps, perhaps not. But you might have the occasional giggle while you are finding out.

5. Is it worth coming back for another look?
That's up to you but if you don't I hope the blue bird of happiness craps on all your birthday cakes.

7. Will I reply if you message me?
Always, if only to give you the finger for being a jerk.

8. Can you link to my blog?
You will be most welcome and I will reciprocate of course.

This is my first try at blogging so now I'm going to sit back for a few days and see if anyone bothers to comment. If you do message me I will throw open the door of my cold, windy, writers garret and shout your praise to the world. On the other hand if you tell me  to go get a day job expect the Hounds of Hell in company with a cohort of Banshees, or at least a nasty reply.

My Next post will be on Thursday 30/12/10