If any of you lovely visitors would like to browse my authorly output, kindly click on the Amazon Affiliate Links in the sidebar on the right.
If any of you lovely visitors would like to browse my authorly output, kindly click on the Amazon Affiliate Links in the sidebar on the right.
I finally got there. On the afternoon of Saturday 29 September 2018, at just before 1500hrs (in time to start watching Jeff on Sky Sports and keep track of the live scores over a cider or two, or three,) I decided I could safely wrap up the manuscript for book 3 of The Oblivion Trilogy and email it to Lisa, my publisher at Green Cat Books. I’ve already revealed this on my
Faceache, sorry, Facebook author page so I’ll make the big reveal here too: the title of the final work in the trilogy is ‘Assault on Charlestown.’ Now, I’m not one to give out massive spoilers but, the title might just give a little hint as to what’s going on within those pages! Keep an eye on this, my Bloggy McBlogface, and my Facebook page for release details.
In other news, we’ve had lots of visits from our granddaughter, Amelia and much cuddling, cooing, and grizzliness (not from me!) has ensued.
Music-wise, I’ve made some new discoveries that I’ve been enjoying on You Tube. Floor Jansen, the Amazonian lead-singer from Nightwish, has teamed up with a chap called Jorn Viggo Lofstad to launch a separate venture called Northward. There are only 2 tracks released for our listening pleasure so far, but both are excellent and the project sounds extremely promising. Mr Lofstad is the guitarist in a Norwegian Prog-metal band called Pagan’s Mind. Well, it would have been churlish not to check them out, and I was pleasantly surprised. The singer has a touch of marmite about him but, overall, they’re a talented bunch with some awesome tracks. A definite go to listen when I’m in the right frame of mind. The last two are German bands with female singers. Beyond The Black have three albums out and are similar to Within Temptation, symphonic metal with a mainstream twist. I’m ever so slightly addicted to their music at the moment. As an added bonus, some of the videos on You Tube have a medieval/fantasy bent to them. Elvellon have been around for about 6 years but only have an EP and one album to their name. Regardless of that, they are well worth checking out, there’s a heavy gothic twist to their music with more than a nod to earlier Nightwish, and they are HEAVY.
Life can involve a lot of cheating but the cruellest are those cheats life pulls on you. I was relatively young when my parents passed away; I lost my mum in 1992 and my dad 3 years later in 1995, when I was just 22 and 25. A bigger twist of the old knife blade was the fact my mum missed my wedding by a little under 3 weeks. I am certain they would both have been wonderful grandparents and chastise life as often as I can for denying them that role.
They never stray too far from my thoughts, often popping up at interesting moments. So, here I come to the reason for this Bloggy McBlogface. I was going through my regular, routine online checks this morning when I wondered what they would make of my activity. It’s an effort thinking back that far, so I did a quick check online and discovered the nascent worldwide web was available commercially in the early 1990s but it was nowhere near as pervasive and widely used as it has become. I wonder if mum and dad would even have been aware of its existence, I certainly can’t imagine it ever factored into their working lives. As you can see above, I needed to fact check something and instantly turned to the fast, easily accessible resource provided by the internet. It really is that simple nowadays. Information on any subject you can imagine is merely a few clicks away, anytime, anywhere. Any item you can think of that may enhance your life, or that you simply want, is just a few clicks and a wait for delivery away.
The same thoughts apply to mobile phones. Brick sized mobiles were famously available to yuppies in the 1980s with the ability to make voice calls for as long as the battery, and arm strength, would allow. The first text message was sent in late 1992, after my mum had passed away. Look at mobile phones now. Smaller, faster, more powerful. They’re pretty much an indispensable item to anybody who wants to live successfully in the 21st century. Internet on the go, satellite navigation, banking, cameras, shopping, games, you name it, it’s likely to be available on that little device you think nothing of as you slip it into a pocket. Just take a moment to consider that: a pocket sized device that can do so much, many times more powerful than the computers that helped mankind place the first footsteps on the moon. The more I think about it the more I think I’m in the middle of a science fiction story not real, everyday life.
I guess I take two things away from this little period of musing. Firstly, how little we think about the great technology of today and its ease of use and accessibility. It’s just there, at your fingertips – and who can honestly say that something so readily available isn’t something they just take for granted, dismissed as a normal part of life. Secondly, this fantastic technology that we all use without so much as a second thought would be incomprehensible to my parents who last walked this Earth 26 and 23 years ago. That’s an incredibly short timescale. If I’m still drawing breath that far in the future, what will have become commonplace that seems like science fictional fantasy today?
Last but not least, here’s a photo of Anne and Richard Lee, my parents:
Ok, hands up – I’m crap. How long is it since I last blogged? Nearly a whole month by my reckoning and I’m not at all proud to have to admit that. In mitigation I have suffered a flare up of my multiple symptoms and they have definitely slowed me down until recently.
So, what has been occurring? Well, I went to see Iron Maiden (why have I never mentioned them in my music blogs?) on their ‘Legacy of the Beast’ tour at Birmingham on 7 August. I avoided the support act, Mrs Lee and I always find it best to protect hearing before the main act takes the stage. We both had a superb night and sang ‘happy birthday’ to the 60 year old Bruce Dickinson who looks far healthier and in better physical condition than I. Also with considerably more energy.
In other music, I found out Floor Jansen of Nightwish was releasing a separate project (Northward) in cooperation with a guitarist called Jørn Viggo Lofstad from a Norwegian band called Pagan’s Mind. Needless to say, I checked them out – if Floor has teamed up with him he has to be good, right? So, Pagan’s Mind has joined my listening arsenal – me likey!!
I attended both market days at Newark Book Festival and, despite a smaller crowd than last year, sold the same amount of books. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Newark Comic Con 3. I spoke to a few people and handed out some business cards but sales were lacking. It was noticeably down on visitors from last year. Apparently a Con had been held in nearby Lincoln the previous weekend and the general consensus was that people were ‘all Conned out.’
Book 3 of The Oblivion Trilogy took a hit in overall progress. It’s school summer holiday time so Mrs Lee is off work and Kathryn isn’t at college. While it isn’t a proper excuse for reduced output, I combine it with the flare up of symptoms and humbly offer those two reasons for your (harsh?) judgement. However, the word count has accelerated over the last week or so and I can report that I am writing the penultimate chapter on a current word count of 82,595. The headcount has risen drastically and caused me some anguish as, in Stephen King style, I have killed my babies. I hope to have the first draft complete by the end of next week and begin the necessary rewrites and edits. I am acutely aware some of my recent writing has been of poor quality and has merely advanced the storyline and put words on the pages. Therefore, I have to rely on time and my rewriting skills to put those passages to rights. Whoever suggested writing novels was an easy process? Easy – no, but enjoyable – oh yes!
The Department 44 Files have been declassified and published. My latest book, the essential follow-on to Oblivion, is now available in paperback and on the Amazon Kindle. I have (very helpfully) attached an Amazon Affiliate link to the kindle version on my sidebar – to the right.
In other news, Mrs Lee and I tied the knot 26 years ago today – yay us!!
Well, I’ve not, but the title is apt when you consider I haven’t blogged since 1 July 2018. So, what has this ‘ere author been up to?
Quite a lot of writing as it happens. Book 3 of The Oblivion Trilogy is fast approaching the 60,000 words mark and the climax of events on Obsirion II is in my sights – oops, spoiler alert!
With regard to The Oblivion Trilogy, book 2, The Department 44 Files, will be released in paperback and on the Amazon Kindle on 1 August 2018. I’ve already sold a couple of ‘author’s privilege’ pre-release copies.
Those copies of TD44F were sold on my market stall at the Newark Book Festival over the weekend of 14&15 July. I thought attendance was down from last year over the 2 days, probably due to the unusually clement weather, the football world cup and Wimbledon. Even so, I matched my sales figures from last year, therefore I mustn’t grumble.
I’ve also booked myself a table at Newark Comic Con 3 on Sunday 5 August 2018. If you’re local to Newark, Nottinghamshire, or fancy a drive for a day out, the event is held at the Newark Showground, NG24 2NY. I’ll be (hopefully) selling signed copies of all 4 of my books.
I have, of course, also been listening to lots of music. Edenbridge, an Austrian symphonic metal band, have become a firm favourite although I continue to listen to Stone Sour, Nightwish, and Leah. I’m off to see Iron Maiden with Mrs Lee next month so they’ve had their slot to get reacquainted. Random new entrants have included Sabaton, Leaves’ Eye and Iced earth. Naturally, Rush still figure quite heavily, how could they not – Tom Sawyer is on TV as I type.
And now for a Bloggy McBlogface revelation: I’m planning to write a sword and sorcery epic after The Oblivion Trilogy. I’ve started world-building and got a very rough first draft of the beginning written up (6,000+ words.) Fantasy has been the mainstay of my reading for years and years, with David Gemmell’s output receiving the most attention. Most recently, I’ve been reading Sci-Fi (hello, Peter F. Hamilton) and H P Lovecraft, so I’ve decided it’s high-time I got reacquainted with current fantasy writing. I’m currently about halfway through book 2 of James Maxwell’s The Shifting Tides series, which I rate very highly, and plan to read 2 short-story collections – Legends and Legends 2, Stories in Honour of David Gemmell. The collections feature many current fantasy writers and proceeds from the sales go to The David Gemmell Awards, so they’re also worthy purchases.
There came a knock, knock, knock at the door and Mrs Lee accepted two boxes from the post-person. Inside, more copies of Oblivion, ready for upcoming events, and some author copies of The Department 44 Files. It sure felt good to hold my 4th release in my hands!
Anyway, cast your eyes over a display I put together of my total output to date, including a photo of the dedication inside TD44F:
I’m often to be found berating myself for thinking the worst of people, bemoaning the seeming loss of common-sense and reduction in perceived levels of intelligence in society. Try as I might to maintain some level of hope for our future and convince myself it’s the minority not the majority, I too often sense I’m fighting a losing battle.
The rise of (so called) talent shows is a favourite piece of evidence. Coming clean straight away, I’ll admit to watching the earlier series of Britain’s Got Talent and Pop Idol, I’ll often still be found viewing The Voice when it’s on. However, it soon became apparent the main draw of the shows, at least in their earlier, audition rounds, is the voyeuristic ridicule of the untalented wannabes. You’ve all seen them, just like me they can’t sing a note in tune or in key, yet they’ve fallen for the lure of instant fame and money for no talent. It’s true the British love an underdog, but, do we really have to love the deluded, direly-in-need-of-a-reality-check so much?
It runs insidiously deeper. Lack of knowledge is somehow seen as cool and something to be emulated. Without any hint of apology I trace this directly back to the phenomenon of Jade Goody. I know, I know, she fought a brave battle against cancer and lost (I have 2 very personal reasons to despise cancer) and left young children behind, I can’t find fault in that at all. What I can find a huge, ginormous, gargantuan fault with is the way her lack of knowledge and education was lauded – ‘oh, look at Jade, she said Portuganese.’ Now, some will say that she made pots-full of money out of it, pots of money I personally haven’t made, and that is very true. However, it wasn’t her, was it? She was hooked up with very clever people who latched on to the (incomprehensible) popularity and marketed her mercilessly, built a whole business and businesses around her. If that’s what floats your boat, then fine, but I have too much self-respect and wouldn’t want my legacy to be so tainted, I would want to be a force for good, for learning, and advancement.
Therein, also, lies the crux. Business and marketing have no regard for much more than the bottom-line of the ledger. If it can make money, go for it. I can cite a couple of examples from TV adverts I detest. The first – a certain product that you spray in the loo to contain the odour of your deposit. Why? So the next person doesn’t smell your emissions. I’m sorry but when I have to use a public lavatory, I expect nothing less than the funk of previous users. It’s one of those things, I wouldn’t expect to walk into a convenience and smell roses, it isn’t the natural home of roses! Also, here are more chemicals to be filtered out at expense by the water companies and a plastic container that carries an extra environmental cost. The second – pods to throw in your washing machine. They come in a box anyway, so where is the environmental saving against separate powder and conditioner/softener? What really boils my blood though is the TV advertising. See how easy it is to throw a pod in your washing machine with a ridiculous grin on your face – who the f*ck grins like a moron when they’re sorting out a washing load? Next come the displays of absolute f*cktards who are incapable of measuring out powder and liquids without covering the floor with it. Excuse me? Who pours the powder straight from the box to the washing machine drawer? Ever heard of a scoop, advertising executives? And you don’t need to fill the cap of the conditioner bottle to measure it out. Washing machine drawers have graded receptacles. People must actually see these adverts and think ‘oh yeah, I might spill some, that would be easier.’ Unwittingly, they’re knocking themselves down, assuming the role of the f*cktard.
Come on people, we’re all better than this. The human brain is still the most powerful, capable, and fastest computer in existence (on this planet, anyway.) Use it!!