Three Hoodies Save the World

Constant moaning and whinging about everything

It’s cold.

I know England is just a drafty little island squatting in the North sea, but we’re usually saved the worst excesses of weather by Ireland to our left and the rest of Europe to our right.

Someone obviously forgot to tell the weather man that because for the past two weeks it has been cold, I mean really cold.

Before you say I don’t know what cold really is, I do. Five winters in the arctic showed me just how important it is to cover up and not sweat too much, and when a visit to the little boys room becomes unavoidable, then speed is of the essence, especially if you want to keep all your original equipment.

No, it’s been cold because it’s still a little warm. A contradiction in terms I know. But when the temperature hovers between plus five and minus five or so the moisture is still in the air, draining your energy and darting through the heaviest of clothes with a jaunty smile. It’s only when the temp drops further when said moisture freezes. After that provided all the necessary points on the body are covered, ie, the ankles, groin, wrists and the head (the places where all the arteries come to the surface) then one could effectively run around naked if one chose, and the police didn’t arrest you, or a randy moose didn’t mistake you for his next mate.

In fact it’s been so cold that for the first time in about four decades I toyed with the heretical notion of dumping my bike (into the nearest frozen lake) and getting a car. Coming home at night has almost killed me. Apart from the usual line-up of lunatics, the cold is so intense that my tyres never get warm and afford me as much grip as ice skates bolted to my wheels.

But it’s alright now; normal service is to be resumed and my bike is safe. The weather man reports temperatures in double digits for next week. Meanwhile, the next largest commercial channel says that we’re in for another mini ice age. I’m not listening because I’m banking on the BBC being right for the first time in years. The law of averages has to be with them once in a while.

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Before Jamie was a vampire, he fought for a cause. When he wakes at home – miraculously recovered from his battle wounds – he learns that a lot has changed in his absence.

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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 incredible 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 the most 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.

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.

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.

Top Five Blogging Hazards

Tricia Drammeh

ID-100259633Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blogging can be a fun, but necessary part of building an author platform. If you’re not careful, blogging can land you in a great big boiling pot of hot water! Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid trouble if you know what to look out for. I’ve compiled a list of the top five blogging hazards along with some tips on how to keep yourself out of trouble:

  1. Using images and photos improperly obtained from the internet. Photographs and memes can make your blog post look visually appealing, but did you know that you can get in serious trouble if you use images without proper attribution or permission? I know of one author who shut down her popular blog in response to “take down” notices she received regarding the photos used on her site. I also know of another blogger who was sued for an…

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What I learned writing my first book

wise words

Michael James

Writing a novel is hard.  That’s what I learned.  The end.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Okay I may have figured out a few other things.  It’s a laborious and thankless job with a remote chance of payoff in the end.  Still, it’s better than the alternative, which is not writing a book.

In Feb, 2017, I completed the final sentence of the first draft of my book. It clocks in at about 80,000 words and took about 7 months to write. It was my first attempt at writing a novel, and I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing.

1. I LEARNED HOW TO BE FINE WITH BEING TERRIBLE.

I put this first because it was the hardest lesson to learn and slowed me down the most. The first draft does not need to be perfect. For my first two months of writing, I was unable to move past a chapter…

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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.

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 driving down the most dangerous road in southern England. Wish me luck.

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.

eBookBetty.com 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 Carré) 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 naylors 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.

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