Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Onward, to glory!

Taking full advantage of being back to 100% I have made a lot of progress on the novel this last week.  I have chapters 1 to 6 pretty much done, with 40’000 words now written.  Chapters 7 to 12 have a lot of major scenes already completed, I just need to fill things out and that’s it.  I hope to have the whole novel completed on schedule at the end of May, in which case I shall at last be sending off to various proof readers!

That’s the plan anyway.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing other writing projects as well just to keep me occupied.  I had 3 little ideas during the week which I have taken note of and hope to be developing further once I sit down properly and figure them out.  2 novel ideas and a short story.  Right now, the short story is more likely to get developed given time available.  Novel ideas are nice but time is very restricted!

I also did a little fiction for the Paradiso infinity campaign which has got back on track at our local gaming centre, which I present to you all below.

So only a small blog update but hope you guys enjoy the little story below and progress has definitely been good!

* * * * *

“Sergev!  You look like hell!”

Dimitri Trencov walked from behind the folding table and embraced his old comrade in a bear hug.  Sergev Vortravic hugged his old fighting companion back, glad to see a familiar face.

The two Ariadna veterans were in Dimitri’s work tent, an old and battered affair that had seen its fare share of war, off-planet and on.  The Veteran Kazak had earned the nickname of ‘old bear’ referring to his huge stature and veteran status amongst the line Kazak’s.  In comparison to Sergev’s shorter but no less muscular form, he was indeed a bear; a bear meeting a wolf.

For Sergev was a Stavka operative, nick named ‘wolfcub’ for his youthful appearance yet ruthless efficiency.  The wolf, the hunter, let lose on the planet Paradiso.

“Dimitri” he said as they broke off.  “It has been too long Old Bear.”
“Ha!  Old Bear is right, and getting older!”
Dimitri was in his fifties now, a true veteran, with a well groomed greying moustache and bright blue eyes.  He indicated a folding chair and crossed the tent space to a metal cabinet.
“How long’s it been?” Dimitri asked as he opened the cabinet and retrieved the expected clear bottle of quality Kazak vodka and 2 small shoot glasses.  Sergev took the offered seat.
“3 years” replied Sergev.  “3 long years with too much time behind a desk.”
“That’s what you get for joining Stavko!  I warned you!”
“That you did.  What was it you said? ‘Too much paperwork and not enough action?’”
“Certainly sounds like me!” replied the Old Bear boisterously as he set the two glasses on the folding table and poured the two of them drinks.

“To fallen comrades and dead foes!” intoned Dimitri, raising his glass.  Sergev copied the gesture.
“May the fallen be remembered and our enemies stay dead!” replied Sergev in the time honoured manner.
They both downed their glasses
Sergev did his best not to cough but Dimitri smirked regardless.
“They must be serving you the watered down stuff da?”
“Very funny you old ruffian.”

Dimitri refilled the glasses regardless, his grin widening.
“Well I take it your not just here to talk just of old times?”
Sergev nodded, taking the now refilled glass as his expression turned serious.  “Regrettably yes my old friend.  I’ve a prisoner with me, an engineer from the Haqqislam.  He has information and we need that information fast.”
“So you come to the Old Bear because you know the Old Bear can get that information fast.”
Dimitri nodded “What do you need to know?”
“Specifically, coordinates of an alien artefact and what, if any, research they have conducted on it.”
“You think this engineer will know?”
“We hope so.”

They downed glasses again.  Sergev had to wipe a few tears from his eyes.
“It’s good stuff.  Brewed it myself!” declared Dimitri in triumph.
“That explains a lot.”
The Old Bear laughed, having downed his own glass to little effect.  He refilled both drinks again.
“I take it when you say Alien you mean the Combined army?”
Sergev shook his head.  “Not this time Old Bear.  This…this is something new.”
The Old Bear frowned.  “Now you have me intrigued old friend.”
Sergev, having recomposed himself, raised his glass.  “That was my intent.”
He downed the powerful tasting concoction, again doing his best not to cough as the liquid burned its way down his throat.  He was aware that his vision was blurred slightly but felt sure he could survive at least a few more glasses.  It was a tradition of the Old Bears; the drinking of a lot of vodka during briefing’s.  He respected you more, the more you drank.

The Old Bear downed his glass likewise, before nodding sagely.
“Alright Sergev, I’ll try.”
“Please.  We are up against it.  The Pan Oceania, Nomads and the Japanese have all captured similar individuals.  Not to mention other forces we have not identified yet.  The race is on to see who will get to the device first.”
“I will do my best.  Let’s just hope this engineer you have acquired can help us.”
He had by now refilled the glasses yet again.  Sergev was thanking a variety of Gods that they hadn’t been talking too long else he strongly suspected he would be on the floor in only a few more servings; the old man was right, he’d not kept the practice up during his time with Stavko, a failing he was now paying for.

“I will do as you ask.” The Old Bear raised his glass.  Sergev, recognising the gesture, did likewise.  The glasses touched and both men drank deeply.
“Thank you.”

Business concluded, Sergev got carefully to his feat, head swimming.
“Gods Dimitri, what was in that?”
“What else but damn good Vodka!”
“Next time.” Sergev suppressed a cough.  “I’m bringing my own bottle.”
The Old Bears laughter followed him as he made his way out of the tent on unsteady legs.  He reserved to himself to find a cot to collapse in, at least for a while.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Busy, busy, busy

Ah to be free of illness again.  At last, I seem to be back to normal.  No more cough, no more allergic reaction to penicillin.  For those following my twitter account (@jgwritesnovels) I had an allergic reaction to said medicine on Friday; woke up with red marks all over my body, looking very much like I had chicken poxes.  It scared the hell out of me as you might imagine.

Fortunately, the doctor assured me that it was just an allergic reaction and I suffered no other ill effects.  A note has been put on my medical file and the marks have now faded thankfully.

Taking advantage of my back-to-normal status, I’ve been busy.

First up, on Monday past I attended a crime writer’s seminar hosted by the fantastic No Alibi’s bookstore, held in Belfast Museum.  Attending were 3 crime writers.  From Sweden, Jan Arnald (pen name Arne Dahl).  From Finland Antti Tuomainen and from Northern Ireland Stuart Neville.  Each of them read extracts from their latest books and also chatted about work, as well as answering a few questions from the audience (and it was a big audience!).  I was very well impressed and will admit to being a little star struck when I approached Jan to get my newly purchased copy of ‘the blinded man’ autographed (a police procedural set in Sweden.  Am reading it now, very, very good!).  Sadly I’d only money for one of the books so couldn’t get Stuart Neville’s excellent Rat Lines (about Nazis harboured in the irish state after World War 2) or Antti’s ‘The Healer’ (set in a near-future dystopian world).  But I shall prehapes purchase both in the future.  The extracts were very good so think I will definitely give them both a go.

Enthused, I have been working hard on book 2 all week and have written a lot.  Word count is up to 36’000 now and continuing to grow.  In particular, a lot of Act 1 and Act 2 A (to use recently learned screen writing lingo) is done.  I now need to finish things off with a good Act 2 B and Act 3 (climax!).

I have also had a lot of little ideas for short stories and subsequent books in the series.  I won’t say too much, but survice to say that right now I have at least 10 direct sequel ideas (many of which already have scenes and characters mapped out and one is pretty much a whole book ready to go, just not yet!), 3 spin off ideas (same universe as the current novel but different characters and situations, maybe even different writing styles too) and 9 other novel ideas (again ranging from one sentence possibilities to a lot of scenes, characters and dialogue already written).  So I definitely have variety to keep me interested in writing.

I also completed the most recent short story challenge between myself, K and Matt.  That of a poetry challenge, the subject being ‘cats’.  Now, when I say completed I mean that I’ve done the challenge; doesn’t mean I did it well.  The poem isn’t my best work, indeed I think it’s too short and the ending sucks.  However, in my defense, it’s the first time I’ve written poetry since primary school (we didn’t do any in high school as far as I can remember).  I definitely think I can do better and fully intend too.  In the future when I’m feeling braver I will show you all the cat poem.  You will laugh at least.

For now, instead, I present to you another one of my old short story challenges.  This one was ‘smuggler on a train’ and is quite short.  I hope you like anyways.  Till the next blog update everyone.


* * * * *

One last job

One last job; after this, no more.  No more smuggling, no more running the gauntlet.  He was too well known to the cops and too well known to bloody border patrol with their bloody sniffer dogs; bane of his existence.  This was the last job.

He sat in the train cabin, pretending to read a newspaper.

The other passengers didn't seem to notice him.  There was a young trendy looking girl in the corner busy on her Iphone.  An older man sat beside him, reading the Daily Mail, whilst directly across sat a prim and proper business woman idly reading a book.  No one was paying any attention to anyone else.

“This train is bound for Southport,” intoned the automatic announcement system.  “the next stop is Branston.”

Good, one more stop after that and he was home free.  Then the briefcase full of counterfeit notes sitting between his legs would be dropped off with the courier and hay presto, he was off to a condo in the Mediterranean!

The train came to a halt at Branston station.  Several burly looking men in suits got on board at the nearby train entrance.  They immediately looked toward him and his blood ran cold.

“Mr Anderson.”
The voice came from the trendy looking girl in the corner, her authoritative tone at odds with her appearance.  She wasn't playing with her Iphone anymore.  She was looking right at him too.

“I'm Constable Mckee.” she said, the barest hint of a smile playing across her face.  “I'm afraid you’re under arrest.”