31 Dec 2016

An urban fantasy story review

The Haunting Lessons (The Ghosts & Demons Series Book 1) by [Chute, Robert Chazz, Pop, Holly]



So I had the absolute pleasure of reading The Haunting Lessons by Robert Chazz Chute and Holly Pop. It's an urban fantasy story about ghosts, demons and a coming of age story set in New York City. Beautifully written in first person narrative, the story follows a freshly high school graduated teen as she experiences her first loss (in the form of her high school sweetheart), her first mental hospital to throwing up on a dead body on her first day working at a funeral home.


The story was both thoughtful, scary and funny and certainly had a few morals to pass onto the reader.

It was also one of those stories that was read in one sitting, as it took me the whole day.  

26 Dec 2016

The main character has a name

So good news, the story featuring the Turk and the Joint Space Forces has grown to just under 20,000 words, and am reaching a very important portion of the story where one of the characters is caught up in the middle of a spot of bother, Yeah, not going to add more to that. What I am going to say is that I have a name for the main character.

It will be Abdul Jafari and will be basing him on Kit Harrington's likeness, more or less (I need a visual aid to describe the main character after all).

Abdul has a grandfather and a cousin, called Ismail and Aki respectfully.

24 Dec 2016

A Christmas Eve Writing Update

A B-2 Spirit (centre) trailing a Space Shuttle while flanked by two F-15 Eagles

New story is coming up slowly but maturely, with some changes already put in . . . such as using the Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit as a template for my Leander Response Spacecraft instead of an Omega Class Destroyer. One awesome thing about having unlimited time is that one gets to write solidly, and with my involvement in preparing foods for tonight more a hindrance than a help, I have been doing precisely that--I've been working on my military science fiction story.



The purpose really is that I want to keep things as plausible as things could get by the year 2067, from technologies to where things are happening. This is in contrast to Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, which was set in the 2080s and yet the technology portrayed was more plot driven than the prequel Star Wars trilogy movies.
It may require some further tweaking to make it more a hard science fiction-like narrative, but I am actually happy with the current setup at 17,600 words.

Right, more later. Have a Merry Christmas one and all.

21 Dec 2016

Updating

Here we go, thought this might actually help me move my writing along. These progress reports will also assist you in knowing what I'm up to these days.

Ar this stage I only have the following that you can link through here,

And here too.

To be fair, they represent some of my earliest attempts in writing and looking back at them I cringe. But for now am leaving them up for prosperity's sake. The new year may see some changes.

As mentioned previously in an earlier post or two, Enemy is being edited currently. I hope that it'll be available for submission and/or self publishing sometime in the new year, and definitely plan on turning it into a series of sorts. In the interim I'm trying something new, a new story set in a military science fiction setting. Yes, I've done something like that in Cover Up. But it's been years since I've written in any other genre than the espionage thriller/police procedural, and admittedly writing military science fiction is hard despite my childhood love affair with it.

Nonetheless, I am determined. My previous post talked about how much I enjoyed Killzone and Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, so you'll have a rough idea what I'll be trying to achieve. The good news, the preliminary draft of the story has been received favourably by one of my writing mentors. I can confidently tell you three things.

  1. One of the characters is a Turk by the name of Abdul Jafari.
  2. The antagonists belong to the Colonial Defence Force, a combination of the old Provisional IRA and the PLO but made up of disgruntled asteroid miners and other jokers.
  3. It is strictly set within our Solar System and will be endeavouring to keep to hardish scifi.
There is one major productivity killer coming up, in the form of Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Talk soon . . .




19 Dec 2016

Instead of this, do that

A while back I wrote a number of stories, that at the time, I thought were pretty cool. I then collected them together and printed them out, bound them into 'books' and wrapped them up as presents for family and friends. I'm not going to do that this year. One, other than Enemy, I don't have anything major completed. And for another, in addition to Chasing Shadows that features Gene Bukowski, I just realised that I have two stories already featuring the Turk.

So this is what I'm going to do:

  • Continue waiting for Enemy to be edited.
  • Finish one or both stories featuring Abdul Jafari. One is set on Mars and the other has him flying about aboard the Rapid Response Spacecraft Otago. I do realise that the likelihood of finishing the stories before Christmas are petty slim to naught, but if I can finish one to a level I could give to the editor for a look straight after the new year I'll be happy. Alternatively, I can just edit the sucker myself . . . 
  • See if Chasing Shadows could be part of a multi-story serialisation and/or series featuring Gene Bukowski - essentially making Enemy into the pilot episode or stand-alone?   
What are you up to?

18 Dec 2016

Something new on the horizon

With Enemy still being edited, I decided to try something new. Well, not quite, my editor recommended that I stop working on the planned sequels and grandiosely arced series and/or serial of interconnected novelettes, novellas and short novels featuring Gene Bukowski and his merry band of friends and enemies. She has a point. Enemy is being edited and there are corrections that need doing, especially corrections that may impact on the continuity and the like. Being the good author that I am, I followed my editor's instructions.

All I can say about this new story is that it features a Turk as a main character and a spacecraft belonging to a multinational space programme. The inspiration came from two sources, this one . . .

Image result for killzone

. . . and this . . .
Image result for call of duty infinite warfare

I love both games and the ideas behind them just tickle my imagination, the second one especially as it is set in our Solar System. Plus, I've always wanted to write a military science fiction set in our very own backyard, and do it much like a David Weber, Eric Flint, Tom Clancy or a Richard K. Dick novel (what? It's good to aim high) . . . it just I didn't feel confident that I had the necessary skills or mindset. Enemy has shown me that I can do it, especially as an espionage thriller, and do it in a way where the story is character driven.

All going well, I could do that with my next story.  

1 Dec 2016

Dr Strange Review

So went to see Marvel's latest addition, Dr Strange, and actually liked it. Don't get me wrong, generally speaking Marvel does pretty epic movies to begin with and it's one of those things I actually enjoy because their movies have that little thing known as a plot. The fact that their characters are people we can relate to certainly helps in that aspect as well, as one cannot tell a story without them.

To me the movie was about Strange's realisation that there was more to life then just his job, especially after that car accident. For anyone who experience loss of anything that can be a pretty powerful message, especially if one could relate to the character in question. For me, it did.

Go see it.

27 Nov 2016

Klingon propoganda

I'll just leave that here for now . . .

Been awhile . . .

We are barely a month away from Christmas and New Year celebrations, with 2017 promising to be another year of change, self discovery and new opportunities. Oddly enough, I said that at the end of last year too. This year has certainly been one of change and self discovery, or rediscovery as the case may be at times.

My attempt at self employment had led to actual employment, albeit one that is a short term contract that I'll need to reapply for come next month when it becomes permanent. Learned lots about myself during both phases, and much about community development in a place like Dunedin here in New Zealand.

Writing wise? That has stalled a little. One short novel is the hands of editors, and has been for a while now. It is the one featuring Gene Bukowski, in which I hoped would be a series of stories following the adventures of what was to be a police-espionage thriller hybrid. Time will only tell. I do have two stories written up (one of which hasn't made a date with the editor just yet) in that premise, and am doodling with another possibility.

That's that for now. I will not promise to write regularly here, but will endeavour to update when I can.

7 Jun 2016

Anyone happy to accompany me, and wash their hands afterward?


I had the most interesting conversation yesterday, one that I want to share with you. The topic is more or less standard, it was about going out drinking with friends, and it started with the question "What happens when you need to go to the loo?". For many of you it'll be a simple matter of excusing yourself and sneaking off, do what needs doing, and then come back. For myself, it's a little bit different.

You see, I have a "designated hand washer". They're like a designated driver, but they get to wash their hands after helping me to the little disabled person's room. But that's me. Over the years, especially when I was still at university, I was--and still am--fortunate that some of my friends were happy to assist me when I need to go while out partying and so forth. If anything, it let me be free from the system and enjoy being part of the group. But that's just me. What about others? I guess this is where this article comes into play.

For a moment I want you to imagine that you are on a wheelchair like me.


See, handsome devil, aren't I? But I digress. So anyway, you're on a motorised wheelchair, reliant on others and want to go clubbing with your friends or colleagues after a long week's worth of being stuck in an office. What do you do? Here are some options:
  1. Wear a catheter bag for the night, and drink responsibly.
  2. If you are like me, and the idea of a catheter bag just doesn't sit well with you, have one or more of your friends happy to help. As they are friends with you, they'll understand that now and then you may ask help them. But remember, they have to be comfortable in doing do, but then you know your friends and colleagues best.
  3. If you're flying solo or none of your friends are comfortable with the idea of helping you, seriously consider the first option.
  4. On the other hand, if you can take your support person with you, then do so (here in New Zealand there is such a thing as individualised funding for people with disabilities to hire support workers without the need of a third party). But whatever you do here, do not be a prat and get drunk unnecessarily.
  5. If you have no one with you and you really want to go out, and a catheter bag idea doesn't sit well with you, ask one of the bar staff or bouncers. They may say "no", but it never hurts to ask.
  6. Seriously consider the first option.
  7. Go to the toilet before you go out.
  8. Don't drink to excess.
  9. Stay home.
I think that the ultimate thing here is about doing what is best for you, and as you can see I am a strong proponent of catheter bags. Above all else, be responsible when drinking. Trust me, you'll be better of in the long run.


This first appeared in LinkedIn on June 1, 2016

10 Apr 2016

Why I pulled Compromised

Until a few days ago, my Amazon page had four titles plus my academic thesis-turned-book. You will notice that "Compromised" is missing a price tag, that is because I'm pulling the novelette off Amazon.

Why, you ask?

The straight forward answer is this, it's not selling at all, so why embarrass myself by having something written three to four years ago taking up space? Besides, I plan to rework it eventually.

8 Apr 2016

Cleaning up stuff

I have been writing for a long time, since my second year in high school as a matter of fact. Some of the stuff have been forgotten and trashed, forever lost and yet not forgotten.

Some things on the other hand had clung on for dear life, hoping to be seen by me once more and be given a new lease of life. Over the next couple of weeks that will be my focus, starting with a trio of stories that once upon a time featured the predecessor to Carl Nicole (coincidentally, the book featuring Nicole's predecessor was taken off Amazon because it was not selling).

Just as equally, I will be returning back to a concocted story inspired by the likes of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek Enterprise and a hint of The Expanse (but really, much of the idea came from the Jovian Chronicles, but without the mechs) and my own imagination.

Right, off we go . . .

Cover Up at 99 cents on Amazon

As I was cleaning up my Amazon page, one of the stories I opted to keep is "Cover Up".

Why, you ask?

For one, it is one of my better stories and am proud of what I have achieved with it. For another, it's a good story.

Go, check it out on Amazon.

25 Feb 2016

When Businesses Include





I cannot get enough of this video.

Yes, it may be a promotional gimmick, but it is for a real product launched in Turkey; check it here and read more about it here.

I can only dream what it is like to do things those far more able can do Can you imagine that for a few hours you are treated like a member of the community, and not as something no one knows what to do with or interact because to them you are different? It is inspiring. Living with a disability and using a motorised wheelchair, has its share of challenges but being part of a society that nurtures one's abilities despite their disabilities is a beautiful goal for us all to achieve, and I know that businesses like Sky Fitness Dunedin and PowerTech Training are definitely making that happen . . . for which I am thankful and fortunate to experience first hand.

2 Feb 2016

Does it matter?

Bad guy, turning to the title character in the Ironside reboot, and asked: “You really a cripple?”

At which point, the actor Blair Underwood responds from his wheelchair: “You tell me.”

Coincidentally, the actor is able bodied. Look, there are many arguments and counterarguments about who should be portraying disabled characters, and the like. Just check one here. Personally, it doesn’t really matter. When you get down to it, the person best suitable for the role ought to be cast.

Case in point, the rebooted Ironside. The character was a paraplegic, and the show has scenes where the guy is recalling past events when he still walked. For that, you need an actor who was able bodied.

Pretty simple, wouldn’t you agree? Look, I write fiction. okay, maybe it’s more accurate that I try writing fiction. Nonetheless, it’s all about the story.

1 Feb 2016

Enough with the revisions already . . .

mock cover for work-in-progress
Have you ever reached a moment where your creative muse just tells you
"Stop! Hammer time!" 
. . . No? . . .

Okay, mine recently told me . . .
"Stop! Enough already with the constant revising, okay?"
Yeah, mine did that. Rightly so too, I have been working on the story for the better part of a year in one form or another, most of which involved trying to come up with a setting for it. Well, the final version of what I'm hoping to be a series of stories featuring Carl Nicole and his fellow Interpol Intelligence Teammates.

Now onto the second story . . .

27 Jan 2016

To Rework A Story

An old mock cover for my current work-in-progress
Remember how I posted the other day that writing is no longer just a solo affair? Yeah, that blog post right here. See it . . .

Today was such a day, where I spent a good hour with my editor just going over the manuscript after they had read it. To say that it was an interesting experience was an understatement, but neither am I upset nor regret the fact that the editor had completely ripped the manuscript apart. In anything, I am thrilled. For one, there were some good points to the work-in-progress.

The first being that my secondary characters Sia and Papa, siblings to one another and childhood friends to the main character, are likable. Yay to that, right? The thing is, it still had some big plot holes but are easily fixed.

So really, the story is living up to its proposed series name and story title . . . seen to your right . . . Not that I'm complaining, as it means that story will be better when it will be ready to be seen.

24 Jan 2016

Writing is not a loner's activity

Well, maybe in part it is.

The actual creating and writing up the first couple of drafts is a lonesome activity, that much is certain. Afterwards however, not so much. Between interacting with editors like myself, where I have obtained the services of a very good one indeed (check her out here), and beta readers and then deciding if I want a story to be independently published or submitted . . .

Yeap, you cannot do this alone.

19 Jan 2016

Just some random words

So today's post has nothing to do with writing.

Why? The short answer is "Why not", but it's largely because three works are already in the hands of my editor, and a fourth is looked at by a story doctor. Still, I am happy with the first of the three in the editor's hand, so that ought to be something at least. I have promised myself that 2016 is the year I'm going to write better, stronger and longer narratives (it was recommended that if I would like to be represented by an agent, I need to write a novel that was not less than 80,000 words).

The reworked Enemy Within is almost there, at 31,000 words at last count. The other two may need a little more work, but am getting there . . . it's that both have reached that point that getting a second pair of eyes are crucial to their development.

In the interim? Who knows, a paid job be nice.


1 Jan 2016

New year, here we go . . .

The new year is only a half day old, at least here in little old New Zealand. In that time I had slept in, as one does on a holiday, and then finally get up and look things over that needed doing before I sit down and start on something writing related. As I did, I realized that in the large scheme of things I have produced very little in anything related to writing to begin with in 2015, at least nothing on Amazon or Smashwords (The last was Cover Up, which was put up on Amazon back in December of 2014).

I also know that I've been promising a new story, but it it has yet to eventuate. It will. Soon. The good news is that it is halfway through being edited.

As for everything else? Well, am back on the job market, so that means more time working on a new writing project while job hunting and/or creating an employment opportunity for myself (if it means becoming a full-time writer due to my stories making some money, that be nice).

How about you?

Dragoon Liberator and other projects in development stages

As I started out on my writing journey, many, many eons ago, I focused on shorter works. Gradually, I moved to longer pieces and had come ...