Friday, 12 January 2018

Caffeine and me

Sorry for my absence but I've been sort of busy.

    I made a bobo the other day. I had to collect a car from France. Nothing too unusual there. However, I also made an appointment for it to go into the garage upon my return.

    Now for the bobo part. I accidentally made the appointment for the actual day I came back.

    On approaching the south of France in the aircraft we passed through the most amazingly vast thunderstorm. That it was almost a hundred miles wide didn't really bother me until much later. As I was looking out of the window an incredible explosion engulfed the aircraft about three feet from my head.

    "Oh,", said the captain with a jaunty laugh, "you may just have heard a small thud, We were hit by lightning." I heard it. It nearly boiled my eyes.

    A couple of hours later I began driving the car and entered that same thunderstorm. It was like the end of the world - for two and a half hours. But I couldn't stop because I had precisely sixteen hours left to get back to England. The car I was driving only does about five miles to the gallon, so on the first fuel stop I had a double Espresso. I don't like coffee. I mean I really hate coffee, but it helps me to stay awake. At the subsequent and following fuel stops I had more double espressos. 

    By the time I got to Calais about eleven hours later I'd consumed about seven double espressos and I was like a zombie on steroids.

    Much later I got to England, and after another two and a half hour drive, dropped the car off at the garage and then decided to go home. It was about a minute after climbing onto my motorbike when the caffeine left my system. Talk about a danger to myself and everybody else on the road. I almost got killed about ten times on the way home.

    I mumbled something incomprehensible to my wife who'd very kindly made me some dinner, and without even disrobing, fell onto bed and wouldn't have woken again if WW3 had occurred. When I did emerge it was with the biggest hangover I've had in the decade since I stopped drinking.

    How can people drink coffee - it's horrible.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The dreary days of January

Do you know why this country (England) has such bad weather? Do you want to know why it's the most depressing place in the world at times - and I should know cos' I've lived in France.

    It's because we have four weather fronts continually, or should that be continuously, arriving from four different directions. One sweeping up from Africa, One hurtling over from the Siberian Steppes, and another drifting down from Scandinavia, and the last (thanks USA), a warmer one coming from the new world. When they hit they cause the most awful turbulence. 

    The only reason I'm bothering you with this ephemera is because right now all four of those dratted weather fronts are coalescing right over the roof of my house. 

    My only only desire is that the strongest of them is coming from the east. I wouldn't mind if my whole neighbourhood got blown over to Bermuda or Miami. At least then I might even get to see the sun. I kind of remember that from when I was in LA: big, yellow and hot. 

    Role on summer.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

I blinked and then it was gone.

It's the same every year. I love the build up to Christmas which usually begins about mid March and as it gets closer the atmosphere of everything and everyone changes. Suddenly the world seems a more more exciting place, like when I was a child. Then poof, it's gone.

    My daughter has flown the coop so the day was exceptionally quiet. I miss her already. It isn't like she's gone to another continent (no matter how much she'd like to) but the house doesn't seem right without her. Not that I'd tell her that. The only sound we heard in the final two weeks were furious muttering and curses that her iphone had slowed down on her. Don't know about the rest of you but I believe Apple when they say it's to cut down on battery consumption. I really do believe them. Why, they'd never even think of pre-installing automatic obsolescence just so that their several trillion customers will eagerly queue to part with a £1000!!! to buy the newest one.

   Admittedly I was really too busy to notice. I thought I'd use the spare time to do yet another draft of my new novel. Only one more to go now I think. Finally all the plot holes are gone, and all the tangents off to which I never sped. Furthermore all, well nearly all usages of the word "that" have been eliminated. I'm still chasing "which" but I've pared them down to a minimum.

    I hope you all enjoy what's left of Christmas an that the new year brings all you could ever have hoped for. I've just about given up on Santa leaving a brand new Harley at the front doorstep. But there's still enough of a child left in me to continue hoping. Alas, according to my wife there's still way too much of a child in me. Don't care. Want one.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The part I hate most.

I've finally finished the last edit but one of Sod's Law. Now comes the part I hate the mostest: the bit where I get rid of all the typos. I read somewhere a few years ago that the best way to find and destroy typos is to read the book backwards. 

    It works but is the most tedious and boring and method of doing it. I then tried a couple of the most common pieces of software for this, to which I might treat myself as a Christmas present. The only thing is that they don't seem to have been coded by someone who's ever heard of regional accents or dialects. Or in fact anyone who speaks English like an englishman.

  Now even I'll admit that when I'm writing with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek some of the words and phrase I use are fine over here on the wrong side of the Atlantic, but probably won't be recognised by anyone else. The problem is that the software spent so much time pointing out my mistakes but completely missed all the absent full stops, commas and in fact just about everything else.

    Here's a case in point:

‘I am a policeman,’ the man said patiently despite the barely concealed agitation in his eyes. ‘Detective Sergeant...’ but got no further as something appeared at lightening speed from the edge of Arnold’s vision.
    The something was a hand - a very large hand. And it was now encircling the man’s neck. It was not a hand Arnold recognised and his eyes fixed on its long fingers, their length and girth clearly sufficient to crush the man’s spine. Furthermore, those fingers were currently squeezing with wrathful vigour. Arnold looked past the hand with interest and onto the pulsating arm, then slowly at the body to which it belonged. He could not stifle the gasp.

    Never before had he seen such a face. It was a woman, probably. A virago of a woman. High cheekbones almost pierced the skin as jaws laden with yellow teeth ground nauseatingly together. Her eyes, if it really was a she, were black and lifeless while from her throat a low guttural groaning denoted either imminent asphyxiation or a bizarre form of laughter. From the heels of her ten inch Doc Marten boots to the top of her masculine haircut she must have been six feet tall. And every inch of it was muscle as displayed through the skintight jeans and short sleeved t-shirt tautly stretched over a thin bosom-less chest.

    At first I compromised and changed most of it just to satisfy the whining of the software. When I'd finished, the passage bore no similarity to the original so I changed it back and checked it letter by letter.

    I'm looking forward to finishing this; my new one, Snodden, is burning a hole in my brain.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Got through the day alive.

What I should say is that I got through the trip to work and back home alive. Let me tell you that if someone (me) is stupid enough to ride a scooter thirteen miles through six inches of snow unscathed, or undead, then everything else is a bonus.

    Whilst waiting for my arms and legs to thaw out I idly scanned the latest edited version of my new novel. You'd have thought that after five edits I would have spotted the fatal flaw. It's just another example of falling in love with one's own words. I'll begin again at the weekend. Perhaps it's too much editing in too short a time. Nevertheless I will produce something to be proud of. Not by Christmas as was my wish but shortly after - probably.

    I did get time at the weekend to fiddle with my new book's cover. I've often wondered through it's many changes, if I should have put some background behind the central image. And after messing about for hours with GIMP discovering how to insert backgrounds finally settled for none.

    My in-house arbiter of taste (she who must be obeyed) has graciously granted her approval and I will reveal it on the day I publish.

    My only concern-ette is the weather. Most of the snow is gone but tonight it's supposed to drop below -40 C or some abominable temperature. So tomorrow all I have to worry about is white ice, black ice and ever other shade in between whilst riding down the most dangerous road in southern England. Wish me luck.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Help me I'm boring

Whilst taking a break from writing I've been reading. No biggy there, most writers read - it's a prerequisite of being a good writer.

    My problem is that I keep reading the same ten book series again and again and a...etc etc. It's no problem because I love the series. What is a problem is that like Independence Day, The Langoliers, and several other films to which I know every single solitary word of dialogue it's the same with these books. I know what happens in every single chapter - every single page. is a great place for finding books and kudos to Betty? for doing it. However, I don't read or write romance and crime isn't my bag so-to-speak. I have managed to find half a dozen great books on EBook B but there have to be more books I can read.

    The problem is that the stock of 60's espionage novels (especially if you don't like John le CarrĂ©) is finite. Most of the post apocalypse books are full of zombies and Stephen King is no longer writing what I want to read. I quite like Vampires (especially joleene naylor's series) but I think I've done that to death - or undeath.

    Well what do you want to read?
    I don't know!!

    I try not to read too much of the genres in which I write in case I accidentally copy them, which leaves me little else.

    Looks like it's back to Len Deighton.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

So what am I going to do for the next two weeks?

On the basis that I am never ever going to write more than one novel at the same time ever again, I find myself at a loss. I've just finished the latest reincarnation of Sod's Law so I'll leave alone for a fortnight before the next. The new, new novel is waiting for me to recommence but for that reason it'll have to wait.

    About twenty five years ago I read/listened to a hilarious novel by Tom Sharpe entitled Vintage Stuff. It came as about ten extra long cassettes (if you don't know what that means you'll have to ask your granddad. I was about to embark on a journey from the south of France to a ski resort in far off Switzerland, and clearly I couldn't read.

    I began about eight o'clock that night and plugged in the first cassette straight away. For those of you who've driven in the snow (or in fact anywhere in France) you'll know it's a dangerous pastime and even with four wheel drive the journey was long, dangerous and arduous. And cold since it was January and the heater in the Ranger Rover packed up about fifteen minutes after I left.

    After driving all night, avoiding insane driver who didn't have four wheel drive, or a brain for the most part, I arrived at the ski resort with a vehicle packed with all my boss's gear only to find that I was still one whole cassette from finishing the book.

    Even though I was tired beyond belief and frozen solid I couldn't get out of the car until I'd finished it off.

    About a week ago I bought the book for my Kindle to see if it had stood the test of time. It had and nearly cost me my job because I couldn't stop reading it and almost being sick because it was so funny.

    Anyway, this long drawn out passage is just a way of recommending the book for all of you who want a real slice of English comedy. You won't get better and I guarantee you'll love it if farces are your thing.