This is bad… VERY bad!

No, no, no… this just won’t do at all! Some things in the Universe are just not meant to be tampered with – the formula which led to Doctor Who being one of the all-time great Sci-fi TV shows is one of them.

It’s true… I’ve cheered on the good ones and thrown my old shoes at the screen when they brought out the bad ones, but until now, they all had at least one thing in common.

Look, I get it – I really do. I’ve stood in front of many a group of corporate employees over the years, championing a culture of equality and inclusion in the workplace and beyond that, in society in general; and I’d be one of the first to applaud when anyone representing a minority group, or one which has been subjected to gross forms of discrimination since history began, rises to the top and is duly rewarded for their efforts. In this case, however, I have an issue with the choice for the new Doctor for the 2018 series’ and it has nothing to do with Jodie’s acting abilities.

I suppose, now that I think of it, the root cause of my issue can be traced back to when Elizabeth Sladen was playing the role of Sarah Jane Smith alongside Doctors 3 and 4 – Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker (1973-1976). It might have begun before the introduction of Sarah Jane, in that her predecessors may have had their own ways of reining in their own wayward Doctors, but my first memory of one of the time-travelling alien’s companions outsmarting and outwitting their guide on their respectful jaunts through time and space sits firmly with Elizabeth’s character. In my mind, she laid the groundwork for the many companions who followed… to the point where companions were no longer limited to just being companions, but took their own place in the spotlight and became major contributors in plans for survival, and oversaw the downfall  and destruction of such evil aliens as Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians, Ice Warriors, Sontarans (my personal favourites) etc, and who could forget the Family Slitheen, from Raxacoricofallopatoria?

Don’t worry… I’m coming quickly to my point and it’s this – the new (female) Doctor is, no doubt, also going to select her own travelling companions for the duration of her time at the controls of the Tardis and unless the BBC has gone completely troppo, one would have to assume the majority of them will be male. So now we’re going to be faced with the situation where a female will once again be continuously upstaged, outfoxed, belittled, berated and suffer the indignity of being forced to stand in the shadow of her lesser male companions.

Nice one, Chris Chibnall et al. I can’t help but wonder – did you really think this choice through, or did you just cave to the pressure being exerted by a mostly fleeting audience?

 

GG… off my soapbox… over and out!

 

All in a day’s work…

Sometimes, sitting down to write these posts is kind of like entering a confessional.

I’ll admit it, I’m a wordsmith – always have been. My fascination with words, their construction and derivatives etc, can be traced all the way back to the days of learning the alphabet from flash cards at the Haulgh County Primary School in Bolton, Lancashire, in the early 60’s. Oh my God, that was so long ago!

Later, I became a huge fan of the colour-coded SRA Cards – each being a test of reading ability and comprehension. These were the tools of education and learning, but for me, they were something else. For a young boy seeking every opportunity to escape the horrors of the world that surrounded him, when the SRA box came out, I was instantly transported to my happy place.

Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”was required high-school reading in 1971. This was the first time I recall reading beyond the story and seeing the cleverness of the writer. I left school a few years later and read “The Lord Of The Rings” while sitting on a train, doing a daily 2-hour commute to and from work. At the time I believed Tolkien’s skill, particularly in the first few chapters, was a continuation of where he left off in “The Hobbit”. However, from the commencement of Frodo’s journey, Tolkien’s maturity as a writer and the application of his skill went through the roof. From Bombadil right through to the end, I was captivated not only by the story, but by the obvious shifts in the writer’s ability.

I discovered King in my late teens and having not long emerged from a particularly dark place myself, immediately found myself drawn to his chosen genre. Stephen is another writer who, like Tolkien, shows a constant shift in his level of maturity as a writer. When you look a little deeper into the works of both men, it’s very difficult to reconcile that what they offer up later in their careers was written by the same hand that delivered their earlier works – such is the change in their abilities as writers as they honed their craft.

The changes they achieved are the same changes I aspire to. With each novel, each chapter and even each page, I try to do better than I did the day before and I can only hope my level of maturity as a writer emulates theirs.

I like to play when I write. I like to play with my characters and play with the emotions of my loyal reader. I like to write the kind of character you might hate one minute, but then when you turn the page, suddenly find yourself cheering for them and championing their cause. And then, on the very next page, you might find yourself hating them again – because I try to make my characters a true and realistic reflection of the people you meet in everyday life. They’re your friends, then they’re not your friends, and then they’re your friends again.

Back to wordsmithing… I enjoy resurrecting old classics, dusting them off and breathing new life into them. Today, for instance, I used the word ‘pugilist’, and recently, words like ‘shenanigans’, ‘gormless’ and ‘cretin’ have all had a run. It’s my way of injecting a humorous aspect into my writing, although taken in context, you might never know.

It’s getting late and I’m bordering on somnambulistic, and on that note…

GG… over and out!

Houston, we have a problem!

 

The dreaded #13 curse has struck again!

I probably need to take a longer look into it, but I’m sure there’s a pattern emerging in the process I’ve adopted for writing. It seems every time I get to chapter 13 in my books, something beyond my control conspires to derail my plan and sets me back in terms of projected completion – sometimes, by months!

I don’t know whether it’s a psychological thing in that, having turned the corner of the story I’m writing and being on the straight run for home, I take the foot off the gas and get lazy, or whether it’s more of a coincidental matter and that the problem will iron itself out when I’m finally able to take full control of my environment. One thing for sure is, it has nothing to do with creative flow because my brain just simply won’t stop working. I have a very clear picture of where the remaining chapters have to go and how they need to be structured, but I just can’t seem to climb into a decent physical groove or find the right headspace required to get it done. At the moment, my ‘other’ job is a major contributor to my frustration and I can only hope I’ll be able to mesh the two pursuits together more smoothly in the not too distant future.

Incidentally, have you ever wondered how Triskaidekaphobia – the fear and superstition synonymous with the number 13 – became as culturally widespread as it is? Invariably, when you go looking for patterns, you pre-program your brain in such a way that you find find what you’re looking for quite easily – like when you work out the solution to a word-find puzzle, or Sudoku. Looking for patterns in the occurrence of numbers is no different; however, some of the root-causes of superstition surrounding the number 13, and their cross-cultural similarities, are really quite fascinating.

Other factors in my life may well be contributing to the temporary stall of Chapter 13, but at least, dear reader, I’m still scribbling stuff here for your amusement.

GG… over and out!

It was 20 years ago today…

It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, since J. K. launched a series which saw her take a position in literary history and at the same time, re-ignited the page-turning passion of numerous generations.

Happy Birthday, Harry; and congratulations, Ms Rowling – 10 points have been awarded and Gryffindor wins the House Cup again!

gg… over and out!

Cloudy, with a chance of…

Don’t you just love wet days?

Ok, so, for many hard-working folk, rainy days mean loss of production and missed opportunity – but for me, whenever we’re on the receiving end of a damned-good drenching, I open up my mind and head off on a voyage of discovery.

Today, for instance, I took a trip with Captain James Cook and learned about celestial navigation – a topic that will prove to be a critical element in my current chapter. Lawrence is lost, you see, and he’ll look to the heaven’s in more than prayer before he find himself again.

As is so often the case with me (Oh look, a bird!), one thing led to another, and another, until I found myself at the old Moreton Bay Pile Lighthouse – quite literally, a pile, light, house…

Of course, this had nothing at all to do with the story I’m writing and won’t feature in the plot in the remotest possible way. However, early next year, when I start work on “Beacon”, who knows?

That’ll keep you guessing.

gg… over and out!

Noises Off!

I have to admit, as far as writing is concerned, I haven’t been able to achieve a whole lot in the last few months.

The problem has been one of background noises, caused mostly by external factors rather than internal, that I just couldn’t seem to get away from. Like a chronic case of tinnitus, they were louder on some days and in some hours of some days, than on others. Since around mid March, every day seems to have carried its own annoying, inescapable, evilly-distracting drone.

For a man who’s often found wanting when it comes to staying focussed for any decent amount of time, it’s been a very difficult period to navigate through. Unfortunately, because many of the causes impacted on me personally in some way, they had to be addressed directly and as a matter of priority. As a result, a lot of the things I’d rather have been doing had to be set aside – writing, sadly, was the first casualty.

The good news is, the last few days have been promisingly peaceful and yesterday, I even found silence enough to be able to re-open my latest labour of love. From the review this morning of what I’d accomplished yesterday, I’ll be in a happy place for the rest of today at least.

Gotta go… I have to deal with a ship in the desert.

 

GG… over and out!

Less is more.

I received some feedback the other day, that the samples for the cover design I’ve been placing here are too small to get a really good look at the detail in them. I have to send my apologies through on this one… I’m still a novice when it comes to sizing and placing elements in my posts and I can only promise to try to deliver better representations in future.

That said, I think I’ve settled on this one. All the finer issues on the front of the cover have now been dealt with and to me, it’s looking very crisp. I’ve requested a view of the rear, with blurb inserted, so I can proof-read prior to final acceptance.

On an unrelated note, I’m planning an injection of additional funds in the not-too-distant future, which will move my books to a new level with regard to marketing. This will allow for the purchase of new bar codes, which was an oversight on my part when I purchased a package of book numbers mid last year. I’ve since learned that for printed works (as opposed to ebook versions), I require both an ISBN and a bar code in order to get my books listed on multiple supplier ordering systems.

In conjunction with the re-releases of my books with the new codes and ISBN’s, I’m also planning revised editions of “GOTH” and “HUNT”.

Every day, I learn something new!

gg… over and out!

Spot the difference.

Isn’t it always the way, that when you witness something remarkable or strange and you try to point it out to others, the thing disappears? Like seeing a shooting star in the night sky, while the person standing next to you is looking the other way.

I thought it would be a good idea to document what normally happens during the process of cover design; however, the process this time seems to be taking forever and is proving to be everything but ‘normal’!

I woke this morning to the arrival of the latest iteration of the new cover and I have to say, I’ve stared at it for so long, I think I’m in danger of developing a few extra wrinkles in my forehead. Can you spot the differences?

I’ve written back and re-requested the changes I asked for a month ago – let’s see what happens this time – but in doing that, I found myself in the terribly uncomfortable situation of having to give a bit of negative feedback to a person whose work I really admire. All I could think while doing it was, how would I feel if a ruthless editor got hold of one of my books and started slashing away with a red pen at all my hard work.

I doubt I would like it at all… so, taking that into account, I tried to be as objective as I could, while also being direct on what I required.

Please don’t take this report as a spray on Akira’s work… it’s just another example of the sorts of things that can get in the way of producing something great, when creative minds collide.

The frustrating wait continues…

gg… over and out!