Time is ticking…


I used to hate that saying. Time after all certainly does tick and I find it irritating when people feel the need to remind of such. It’s doubly irritating if it’s my own mind that reminds me.

The short story I am currently engaged in battle with is finally coming along quite nicely. I’ve reached the halfway point as far as word count goes and foresee no reason why I won’t hit the deadline for the first draft. Whatever the result sending this thing out turns out to be, I can honestly say it’s been worth it just for the experience of working to a deadline. Of course, I may change my mind depending upon the reviews I receive. The last time my mystical editors cobbled together an anthology it was quite well received and so I really hope my efforts don’t let the side down.

It’s been a battle. There is no doubt about that. The story-that-is-now-progressing-well was not so long ago in its fourth reincarnation until I finally got a handle on it. There are a few reasons I struggled with it and the top three are as follows…

  1. Time travel is an enormously tricky subject that only really lets on just how tricky it is when you sit down and try to work out your plot. I’ve found the way around this particular hurdle was to just make shit up.
  2. The POV (Point Of View) was all wrong in the first four versions I attempted. Seriously, that’s nearly forty thousand words that went nowhere. In the end I experimented with a combination of two which I think works rather well.
  3. Before I found a POV that worked, I just had no love for the theme of the story, probably becasue of the two reasons listed above and seriously considered pulling out more than once. In truth, had I had other projects to be getting on with than I probably would have. It’s good now though.

Hmmm, I must digress a second. There are bits floating in my tea. It tastes funny too.

Right, well, bollocks to the tea. I think I have some Gin around here somewhere.

M.

Is that grass over there greener?


Danny threw the response bag down and slumped heavily into the attendant’s chair. He looked bitter and thoroughly pissed off as he swung his booted feet up onto the stretcher. I sat down in another chair and waited. I could sense a rant coming on and knew Danny well enough to know it was imminent. A long sigh cut the silence like a knife as Danny finally lost his rag.

‘Dude, I’m so sick of this job. Today is the first day in two weeks that I’ve actually been put on a shift with a paramedic. I’ve had nothing but drivers for eight shifts!’

‘Really? That sucks.’

‘Tell me about it. It’s just shit at the moment. We get sent to crap all day long, then I have to do everything because my driver is just so useless its offensive, and when I get a sick patient and I ask for paramedic backup I get told there aren’t any available.’

I nodded without saying anything. I knew there was more to come.

‘It’s just not fair. How am I supposed to develop as a clinician in my own right when the only two people on this bloody ambulance are the driver and me? Who do I learn from? Or am I just supposed to make it up as I go and learn from my mistakes, because I’ll tell you this… patients don’t like mistakes.’

I smiled. ‘You’re right there mate.’

‘Yeah! I know!’

‘So why are you so upset now? You’ve got me today.’

He sat and thought, a confused look etched on his face. ‘I don’t know really. I guess it’s because even though you’re here and you can deal with the sick patients, it’s still going to be me doing everything, all the dog’s work I mean.’

‘I see. Well, I don’t mind doing everything mate. Seriously, pop your feet up. Actually, you just drive me around and I’ll sort the shit out as it comes.’

He sighed again. ‘Thanks mate, but you know me. I won’t let anyone shoulder my workload. That’s not me.’

‘Things aren’t going to get any better you know, what with the cuts coming.’

‘Easy for you to say mate. You could drop out of here anytime you want and go and work on your farm instead. I’ll be here till I retire.’

‘Bollocks mate. What did you do before this?’

‘I was a pharmacist. Well, I worked in a pharmacy, as a pharmacist’s technician.’

‘So you could go and do that again. You’re not trapped mate.’

He started to pack things back into the response bag. Where things were date stamped, he’d check it. I couldn’t remember checking a date on any consumable in over five years. He found a number of cannulas and needles that were out of date, and I’m guessing, no longer sterile. He threw them away and went back to his systematic check, pack, check, pack routine. Danny was good like that, dependable. You knew if you took over an ambulance from him it would be spotless. Nothing would be missing. No patient would suffer because a piece of equipment wasn’t available or it wasn’t cleaned properly. Nothing got past Danny. His movements slowed and heย stared off into the distance as he spoke again.

‘The thing is,’ he said, ‘you forget the reasons you left in the first place. I feel like it would be taking a step backward if I was to go back to working there.’

I thought about that for moment and then, with a smile I said, ‘Not unless you’d taken a step forward into a hole. It would only be right to extricate yourself in that case wouldn’t it?’

He laughed. I laughed.

‘I see what you’re saying. Thing is though, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.’ He looked sad again. ‘For me though, it’s a case of old grass or no grass.’

And the winner is… Me!


I found this post in draft form on my hard drive today whilst wondering what on Earth to write about today. It goes like that sometimes doesn’t it? You have to write just to get the words out but know that you might write utter shite in that same effort. Me’h, I don’t care. The fact I’m sitting here pumping the words out and not playing with my urethra tells me I have chosen the more productive of options.

So, what have I won? Well, it would appear I am in possession of a golden ticket for the upcoming Black Library Weekender…

Clicky clicky…

… to be held in Nottingham later this year. I think there were only eighteen of these bad boys on offer and so I feel justified in my glee. Having been a fairly big fan of the Games Workshop and more specifically its publishing arm, the Black Library, for many a year now this event to me is a big deal. Seriously, when I knew I had won a ticket I was as happy as this guy…

The fart decimated the area around him for twenty yards and blew a hole straight through his underwear, but everyone agreed it was worth looking this pleased about.

 

The weekend promises to be crazy fun and I know I’ll enjoy it but there’s two main reasons why I want to go:

  1. I get to meet the authors, poke them and see if they really are human.
  2. I get to have a twenty-minute chat with an editor. This is the big one for me. You spend your whole writing life trying to get your shit in front of editors and so this is just too good to pass up. The total expense of buying the ticket, booking the hotel and estimating the amount of booze I’m likely to get through is going to be a tad on the heavy side but I’m hoping it’s going to be worth it. If nothing else, maybe they’ll take a look at my stuff and tell me to try origami instead. I could argue that I’m pretty good at the ‘paper ball’ already but doubtless they’ll show me how to make an even more aerodynamic one using my own manuscript. Awesome.

I made a total arse of myself the other day when I called to book the hotel. You know those moments where subconsciously you’re saying to yourself, nay, shouting to yourself ‘DON’T BE AN ARROGANT ARSE’, but you just can’t help it? I had a moment.

‘Hello. Is that the Belfry Hotel?’

‘Yes sir, it certainly is, what can I do for you today?’

‘I’d like to book a room please. I arrive on the Friday and would like to stay for three nights, leaving on the Monday.’

‘Okay, let me see what we have available.’

‘Oh, I should mention that it’s for the Black Library Weekender.’

‘Oh right? Do they have a corporate rate here at the Belfry?’

‘Err, yes. Did I mention my golden ticket?’

‘No sir. What ticket is that?’

‘I have a golden ticket. There was only eighteen. I have one.’

‘Okay sir, I’m not seeing any concessions for a golden ticket.’

‘No, you wouldn’t. I was just saying, you know, that I have one… a golden one.’

‘Okay sir…’

‘There was only eighteen and I have one.’

‘That’s nice.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Will there be anything else, sir?’

‘No, I’m sorry.’

I’ve no idea why I felt the need to apologise to the girl but I don’t know, I sounded like an arse in my head. Hopefully, she won’t be working the day I check in and I won’t have to pretend I’m blind again. Pretending to be blind by the way, although morally ambiguous is bloody good laugh. I used to work as a life guard in a swimming pool and as you do, I wore shades just about all day. My colleague was in on the joke too. Every so often, especially during busy periods one of would get up from our ‘chair of sexiness’, pick up a white stick which we kept next to the chair and walk up and down the poolside sweeping the stick back and forth. Whoever’s turn it was not to be waving the stick would watch the reaction on parents face as they pointed and gasped. A blind lifeguard eh? Priceless.
Oh one last thing. Whilst running a spell checker in WordPress, I was a little dismayed to have it come up with this alternative:

 

There’s no fooling this computer is there?

 

Is scary how accurate this actually is. I don’t believe either of us got any action through sitting on that chair.

M ๐Ÿ™‚

This is not an amused face…


;

Okay… slightly miffed as this is the second time I have written this post but…. count to ten….

Okay. Feel better now. Where was I?

Today, is actually a pretty good day. I have just submitted a short story to a publishing house and feel really quite chuffed with myself right now. I am sorely tempted to crack open the wine and have a mini celebration all on my own but I’ll have to try to resist. My wife took her motorbike into work today and I happen to know that she was running low on fuel when she left the house. She’s at that nervous stage in her biking life whereby she knows the bike needs fuel but she’s never filled a bike up before. I went with her the first time but today she is all on her own. I got a text message a few hours ago that said she hadn’t stopped on the way and so she’s hoping she can make it to the fuel station on the way back.

*Sigh*

No wine for me just yet. I wonder if I’ll have to go and rescue her? Running through the options, it would seem the most likely scenario will see my driving to the fuel station and buying one of those annoying little containers. Then I’ll have to stand in a cue of cars like a lemon until I can fill the thing up. Drive off, fill up her tank and then drive off in disgust. Okay, maybe not disgust… but that won’t be a joyful face.

I’m off work today, and have been praying all week for a nice sunny day today. Behold! It is sunny! I was insanely pleased about this when I got up this morning as I’ve been itching to get out on my own bike all week. Alas, look at what I found in my tire…

Arghhhhhhhhhh! I don’t believe it!

It should be noted that this is an image dragged off the net but, yeah, this is the same thing I found this morning. A fucking nail!

I rang my local garage and asked if I could pop in on the off-chance and have them just change it over quickly. I could almost hear the bitch sniggering down the phone, and I swore I heard her mouthing to a colleague ‘Oi, Daphne…. this bloke’s asking if he can just pop in on the off chance!’

Bitches.

Anyway, the end result is that it will be Tuesday afternoon before they can do the work. I’d do it myself but they don’t even have it in stock so I’m doubly shafted.

So, Tuesday…. hmmm. Just in time for me to go back to sodding work.

Damn, I really want to open that wine. Maybe if I text her now she can tell me of she thinks she’ll make it to a garage? Hmmm, maybe not. As pissed off as I’ll be having to rescue her, I doubt my wrath will compare to hers if I can’t perform said rescue because I’m drunk.

*Sigh*

M ๐Ÿ™‚

Think…. think… oh sod it.


The title pretty much sums it up. I’m supposed to be studying and yet I keep getting sucked into bloody Facebook and various other forums,

Well, in an effort to do something constructive I thought, ‘Hey! Why don’t I write on my blog?’

I mean, its been fucking aeon’s since I even looked at this thing.

Damn this wine is good.

You see what happened there? I was telling you how long its been since I wrote something and then I go and get all involved with the wine again. I’ve been doing that all night. You don’t believe me? Ha, well I started that last sentence a half hour ago. I’ve been trawling through Facebook since. Oh, and Its my second glass since even starting this post.

Damn this wine is good.

Did I mention I like motorbikes? I do. I think they are gods own mode of transport, should he actually need anything. Anyway, this is just a random tangent I’m letting my fingers tread so bare with me a while longer. I’ll tell you about my latest project. Take a look at this…..

Image

I call this beast El’Rusto. Its a fucking heap…. for now.

This beast has been keeping me busy for a few weeks now. I bought as a project and possible business venture with the wife. The plan was to buy up mechanically sound but otherwise cosmetically challenged bikes and make them look all pretty again. Simple eh? I mean its bomb proof right? Eh-er!

Its been a bloody disaster. Okay disaster is a bit harsh. Its not worked out quite how I thought it would. To save time here, and because I am a super lazy fucker, I will now compile a list of things I have learned and that have most likely fucked me off over the past few weeks.

  • CBR 125’s are as plentiful as council estate chavs.
  • Many council estate chavs are highly likely to own a CBR 125 at some time or another.
  • Being a chav, they are also highly likely to neglect little things like, oh I don’t know, servicing, MOT, basic maintenance. That sort of thing. Anything important that would involve any degree of responsibility.
  • Its also highly probable our friendly chav does not own a garage or even a shed. El’Rusto will sit outside in the garden, alongside a fridge maybe, and possibly a sofa.
  • If, like me, you are super keen to get to work and hopefully turn a profit, you’ll discover that because of all of the above, you’re in for real treat.
  • On getting the bike home (and into some decent light that doesn’t involve Mr Chav showing you the bike via a zippo lighter) you discover that the bike is more rust than anything else.
  • All of the fairings are scratched, cracked or both.
  • Every single serviceable item i.e air filter, spark plugs, breather pipes etc. are all absolutely fucking knackered.
  • An oil change will have you tearing at your own eyes as you struggle to make sense of the black sludge that drains from the sump.
  • Inspection of coolant will reveal that there is none.
  • Same for break fluid.
  • The forks will be badly pitted with the fork seals resembling something like Mrs Chav’s knickers after a night on the town.
  • You’ll probably sigh with relief as your realise the tires appear to be in good order, only to realise that that the rims are banana shaped.
  • Every little task you set yourself will, upon further investigation, be hiding a fucking big problem requiring not the half hour you planned but a full day.
  • I could go on… but the wine is running low.

I’m so glad this is good wine.

So, not to worry. The bike project is finally starting to make some headway now. I have conquered most of the major problems and corrected them and I’m happy to say that I think I nearing the finishing line. No, don’t applause. I’ve been here before and I don’t want anyone fucking clapping until that thing passes its MOT. I’m not sure if I had a goal prior to starting this other than to make money but now I certainly have one. I’d like this thing to pass its MOT first time with no advisories. That would be bloody wonderful and a testament to my manly skills too.

Right, wine? Wine??? Where the fuck is my wine?

Black Library Rocks Again


It’s back! At long bloody last the big BL is back.

I was so pleased when I discovered this that I accidently opened a bottle of wine and drank half of it whilst skimming through the pages.

I am pleased for two reasons.

1) I live in the middle of no where and find it difficult to get into town to buy my books. Instead I mostly buy them online. I especially like browsing the black library’s “upcoming titles” page and adding them all to my wish list.

2) This year they are accepting open submissions from aspiring writers. This is really great news. I will be forever writing now and poor Jems will never see me again.

Okay, well maybe she will. Maybe when I go make some tea or I dunno, get more wine perhaps.

M ๐Ÿ™‚

Hello?! Can anyone hear me????


A great start to the day.

This morning I received an email from a magazine in America. I had long forgotten that I sent anything to that particular magazine so it really was kick-ass when I opened my inbox.

You see, I have a few short stories that are just kind of laying about on hard disks or in my desk drawer. One day I thought to myself ‘Why don’t I try sending some of this shit off?’

So I did.

I’ve trawled freelance writing forums for months now. They are awash with the number of people who have sent things off and subsequently wondered if they have just mailed their work to a black hole. Suffice to say I thought I was one of them.

The email I received this morning however was most heartening.

While the magazine is not buying my work, they have suggested I try to send the same piece again in six months time.

‘What? Is that it?’ I hear you cry.

Yep. I can see how others would say that this news is nothing, that I have been perhaps let down gently but I would disagree.

I have had a response, and I am led to believe that those are few and far between.

For this reason, for this tiny insignificant victory, I rejoice.

I will try again in six months too and not only that but I will also send more work out to other magazines.

As Bill & Ted would say ‘Most Excellent, Dude!’

Toodles,

M ๐Ÿ™‚