Friday, 21 December 2012

The New Age; can we survive it?

Well, the solstice hour has come and gone and we’re still here . . . did anyone really expect not to be? Don’t answer that!

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, age of Aquaaarius . . . only the oldies amongst us will remember that one.

The New Age; what does it bring? Um, well here in the UK; austerity - governmental jargon for, ‘Established authorities and the banks that own them made huge cock ups with their sums and now the sheeple have to pay . . . again and again and again until the multi-billionaires have restocked their wine cellars.’

The balance of world power is shifting from the West to the East and the planet’s resources are dwindling fast as the human population explosion continues to explode. Meanwhile, the ‘buy, buy, buy’ conditioning of commercial television continues to tempt the young with the latest gadgets, that are outdated almost the moment they leave the internet sites they’re purchased from. Online gambling is peddled after the 9pm watershed – like that ever did anything to stop children from being contaminated – and the desperate are cajoled into chancing their last few quid in the hopes they might win enough to pay the unlawful mortgage the banks sold them. Pensioners are struggling to feed themselves and keep warm after the likes of Gordon Brown stole and gambled their hard earned savings; why hasn’t he and his fellow thieves been convicted of treason?

An alarmingly high percentage of the population are prescribed anti-depressants to ‘deal’ with the pressures of unlawful demands for money from corporations.  (Have you ever noticed that all the utility bills arrive a week or two before Christmas?)

The education system has dumbed down to take account of the illiterate and innumerate it is turning out, whilst banks cash in on University fees for kids who don’t stand a hope of getting a decent degree or a job thereafter.

British manufacturing, small businesses and individuals are going bust at an alarming rate – the bankruptcy courts are handling dozens a day. The price of food and fuel has skyrocketed whilst salaries and pensions have fallen. Taxation is levied in triplicate upon triplicate for the sheeple whilst the super-wealthy pay nothing and fill out secret forms to claim back everything they’ve spent. Politicians continue to fake their expenses, pay themselves huge unwarranted salaries and take bribes from massive corporations who swallow up the little guys with a view to total monopoly.

Pause for breath.

Thousands more species of flora and fauna are becoming extinct as habitats are torn down to satisfy corporate greed, whilst native human populations are corralled into ghettoes or slaughtered for the continuance of commerce. The polar ice caps are melting faster than the ice cubes in the bankers’ champagne coolers and deluded religious fanatics threaten the very fabric of reason and biological fact.

And the rights and liberties of the common man have been eroded to tatters by legal sleight of hand; reducing us to a species of unwitting limited companies owned and controlled by the state, without our consent.


Who is ultimately to blame for all of this? All of us.

Why? Because we none of us said, NO!


Happy Commerce Day, folks!


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Final Prophecy is almost upon us.

Howdy folks, yep I’ve been slacking again on the blog front. But not on the writing battlefield. The Final Prophecy is almost upon us; the winter solstice of 2012, which hails the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of the New World.

This past twelve months has seen sooth seekers matching current events with ancient predictions; Nostradamus devotees are having a field day. But, let’s hope that the blackest prophecies are wholly wrong, or we’d better start ticking off that bucket list PDQ.

And I won’t get to sell many copies of my ‘Final Prophecy’ if the world comes to an end in less than a fortnight!

Book two in ‘The Ancient Knowledge’ trilogy is available in all e-book formats on Smashwords. Cutting it fine, I know, but as I’ve been writing concurrently with the unfolding ‘final’ year, it just had to crest on the wave of bated breath.

Paperback will be out in the coming New Age. If indeed it comes.

I’ve re-categorised the trilogy to, Epic Fantasy/Fiction, after taking on board some fabulous feedback from readers. The Ancient Knowledge series is definitely for a sophisticated reading audience: adults. Too many bloody long words! Though I shall not shrink from my devotion to the endangered English language, I have refrained from throwing too many tongue twisters into the pot this time around. There are one or three more contemporary vernaculars in there too.

Literary snobbery aside, The Final Prophecy is  . . . explosive, violent, controversial, irreverent and revolutionary. Truth is hidden in plain sight and there is as much fact woven into the tale as there is fiction.

I challenge, therefore I offend; inevitably. But, having said this, the anthropological and theological suggestions I make are no less plausible than older biblical/science fictions.
I stood on both sides of the fence and wrote from my character’s heart – or lack thereof. I have found much wanting in the established authorities and doctrines; as have we all. I have looked closely at our species and found much wanting there too. I have also, I believe, identified what makes us uniquely beautiful. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

The journey to The Final Prophecy has had me weeping with grief and frustration and raging with fury and inner violence. The mere fact I am capable of such extreme contrasts of emotion is testament to an inalienable truth; there cannot be light without dark. To deny it is in defiance of nature. And look at the results.

For the last two thousand years we have been told we are the ‘light’, by the darkest souls on Earth . . .

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

'Paul Martin's Handmade Revolution' - Championing British arts & crafts.

I am extraordinarily pleased to announce that, 'Phalaenopsis Phenomena Revolution', will be appearing in the very first episode of Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution. The brand new BBC 2 show will be broadcast on the 8th of October at 3.45pm, so be sure to watch or record for later. This new series will be the making of some incredibly talented arts and crafts people. And not a moment too soon! I have no doubt the show will become as popular as all Paul Martin’s BBC programmes and I sincerely hope the programme runs and runs; showcasing the fabulous yet anonymous talent that abounds in this fair country of ours. Bravo BBC!


I was recently a lucky finalist with one of my glass orchids for the BBC’s forthcoming production, ‘Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution’. Due to be aired on BBC 2, autumn/winter 2012, the popular ‘Flog It’ presenter’s concept is set to be another ground-breaking winner for our delectation. Paul Martin’s career is a splendid evolution of artist and creative thinker whose varied pursuits have culminated in superb programmes for Aunty Beeb. He’s a ‘muso’ too; played drums for, ‘The Average White Band’; sooo my era! And he still swizzles the sticks with local blues and jazz bands at home; good for him. His genuine passion for arts and crafts, both ancient and contemporary, oozes from our screens on ‘Flog it’, tempered by a gentle light-heartedness that endears you to him immediately.

‘Handmade Revolution’ is a seamless natural progression of his zeal for all things unique and beautiful, made by the hands of similarly passionate people. With the aim of encouraging viewers to experiment and perhaps discover hidden talents, the format of the programme also delves into the rich history of Britain’s arts and crafts heritage.

Having spent two gloriously sunny days at the Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Bromsgrove, for the filming, I was stunned by the variety, quality of craftsmanship and creative talent represented. People with very little - if any in some cases - formal training, producing breathtaking works of art and craft born of enthusiasm and natural creativity. I believe there were over a thousand applications originally and the whittling process was very tough. I was overjoyed to be invited to audition and thoroughly convinced I didn’t stand a chance of making the finals when I saw just a few of the potential candidates work. I danced about my studio for quite some time when I received the call congratulating me on being selected.

A nervous few weeks followed as I made an orchid especially for the show; the usual, ‘if it can, it will’ minor irritations occurred during the lengthy process, but despite always feeling the next one will be ‘better’, I was satisfied with the end result. Phalaenopsis Phenomena ‘Revolution’ was then laid to recline on a gossamer bed in a locked room until ‘D’ Day.

Upon arrival at the location, nervous tension was palpable; mostly from me, but good old BBC pros looked after perspiring participants with admirable calm and good humour. The sun put its hat on for us, but the Jinney Ring’s duck population were dwiving the sound men quackers. I think I heard ‘orange sauce’ mentioned a number of times.

Avian hooligans and ensuing overruns aside, one by one we braved the fiendish black boxes and seized our opportunity to shine. I’ve only been making glass for about a year, so I was particularly nervous of discussing my work with the judge, but she was genuinely enthused by everything I said and asked some very searching questions. I know I babbled, but that’s what editors are for.

Day two was even more nerve-wracking. Judgement day. Naturally, everyone wanted to be the judges’ favourite and win the mystery prize; but there wasn’t a single confident face.  The ‘wall of death’; a blacked out marquee in the grounds of the Jinney Ring, was the focus of attention as the judges deliberated over our labours of love. The temperature inside the marquee was rising exponentially as the hot summer day wore on, and sweltering camera crew regularly exited the tent and dropped like flies on the lawns, guzzling tepid water as they wiped dripping brows.

When it was at last our turn to run the steamy gauntlet, Paul and the judges, also seeking respite from the heat, did their best to bolster our frazzled nerves with words of encouragement. Finally, we made our entrance and stood before our pieces displayed on a table. My initial reaction was one of awe as I looked upon the work of my rivals. I had only managed to peek at a couple of the entries during filming, but the standard displayed before me was a joy to behold. Paul announced the highly secret ‘prize’, garnering a number of sharply drawn breaths and broad smiles. I was utterly astounded and I think it probably showed quite a bit; I do hope I didn’t have spinach stuck in my teeth.

Before the favourite was announced, I’d already mentally cast my vote. I was proved to be in agreement with the judges. The work is stunning; its creator phenomenally talented and skilled. I was bowled over by it in an instant and I know viewers will be too. A truly deserved triumph and I hope a dream is lived as a result.

All in all, I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in a glorious part of the country and participated in what is certain to be another well-deserved hit for Paul Martin, the BBC and the talented contributors whose artistry and craftsmanship superbly validated the entire concept.  

Be sure to watch out for it later this year . . . I’ll be checking in to make sure you do!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Sheep and the Wolves - a parable.

In response to the latest ‘law’ - about to be passed without our consent - allowing the government and all its insidious guard dogs to read our mail and censor our internet access; I have composed a little parable.
Before I begin; I’d like to make a prediction. Within the next five years any E-book, be it fiction or non-fiction, that does not meet the approval of the Coven of Power, will be deleted arbitrarily.
They no longer need fire to burn books.

The Sheep and the Wolves - a parable.

Once upon a time there dwelt a large flock of sheep on verdant and bountiful plains. They grazed contentedly; their lambs cavorting freely as they learned the ways of being humble sheep. Their life was simple and peaceful; they lived the life Mother Nature intended; doing what they would, but harming none.
Then one day a man and his dog came to the open grasslands that were the sheep’s ancestral home, and began to build a fence around them. The sheep did not understand the fences, and being trusting good natured creatures, they asked the dog why the man was closing them in.
The dog replied, “To protect you from the wolves.”
The sheep thought about this then asked. “But you are a wolf. Is the man protecting us from you?”
“No,” the dog replied, “I am here to protect you from the other wolves.”
The sheep thought again; a difficult process for sheep. “But we’ve seen no other wolves,” they finally said.
The clever dog replied. “Ahh, but that is because you have never looked!”
The sheep agreed, they had never looked for wolves, but now they were afraid that the dog was right and there were many unseen wolves that might devour them.
The sheep were grateful to the dog and the man for so kindly protecting their interests, so they went back to grazing the small area left to them.
The next day, the man returned and sent the dog to round up the sheep into a shearing shed he had built on their land. The sheep were angry and upset and tried to run away from the snarling, snapping dog, but the dog shouted at them, “There is a price to pay for your protection! You accepted our fences and guardianship, so you must offer up your wool to us in payment.”
The sheep thought again and decided that perhaps this was fair. It was a small price to pay for protection from the other wolves that would most surely devour them.
The following day, the man and dog returned and took their lambs. The sheep were devastated and tried to save their children, but the dog snapped and snarled and told them, “Stop complaining! Have the other wolves stolen your children since you came under our protection? You owe us this small thing in return for your continued safety.”
The sheep were not happy about this, but they decided if giving their children would save them from the other wolves, perhaps it was not too high a price to pay.
The following day, the man and the dog came back and took the older sheep from the flock. The others cried, “Why have you taken our kin? You have taken our wool and our children in payment, what more could you want?”
The dog replied, “Ahh, but they can not give us valuable wool and lambs because they have grown old and weak, so they must give their lives to us in payment for the protection they have received. The other wolves would devour you all!”
The sheep were very put out about this, but fear of the other wolves convinced them that the old and the weak were small sacrifice for the protection so kindly bestowed upon them all.
The following day, the dog and the man returned to the flock and forced them all into the slaughter shed. The sheep cried, “Why are you devouring us all? We have paid our debt with our wool, our children and our old and weak for your protection from the other wolves! Why are you doing this?”
The dog replied. “Because the fences built to protect you are so expensive to maintain that we can no longer afford to keep you on this land. But if we set you free the other wolves would devour you all and we would be out of pocket, so we have no choice but to sell your meat to pay the debt you owe.”
The sheep were horrified, but the other wolves were fearsome monsters and to risk being devoured by them was too dreadful a thing to contemplate. So they stood in line and waited their turn.
The last sheep in the line said to the dog. “Now our debt is paid, please may I ask who will devour our meat?”
The dog replied, “The price of the slaughter man is high and you sheep have cost us dearly, so your meat is worth very little. The only thing you’re now good for is dog food!”

The moral of this story is, if you fear the other wolves more than the one chewing off your leg - you’re a dumb shit sheep! Oh dear, that means we are all . . . baaaaa, baaaaa, baaaaa!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Cover Art Competition

Lobo Publishing is running a cover art competition to create the cover for the second of The Ancient Knowledge trilogy; The Final Prophecy.

This is an open competition, so if you always wanted to see your work on the cover of a book - enter now!
There will be a cash prize of 100GBP to the winner, 50GBP to the runner up and 25GBP for third place.

Entrants will recieve a written brief to create landscape format, front to back cover art.
Original artwork can be done in any medium, but all final submissions need to be in digital format.

All entries must be in by August 31st 2012.

To learn more and apply for an entry form contact and put 'Cover Art Competition' in the subject line.

Happy creating and good luck to all!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Being Belial

This is my first blog post in over a month - which means I’ve been writing hard, so all else takes a back seat!

I am presently writing The Final Prophecy - second in The Ancient Knowledge trilogy. Right now, I’m the devil. And I’m really enjoying him. The Final Prophecy cannot be written without his influence and what better way to represent him than from his point of view?
He is, of course, the embodiment of gorgeousness and temptation; his amorality and iniquity pristine in its logic and deliverance.
Lord Morgen, now on Earth and in delicious human form, precipitates Armageddon - The Final Prophecy of 2012 - from which there is no escape. Viewing the carnage through his eyes, the end of human civilisation is an exciting diversion. Torment, suffering and lingering death are chocolate fudge cake and cream with toffee drizzle, for Lord Morgen. He views his corrupt human allies - politicians, bankers, corporations, clergy etc, as one might view a deadly virus through a microscope. With contemptuous fascination.
His is a unique perspective; as singular as that of a god - whichever version you choose. But as I write, I begin to realise that at this stage of the game, Lord Morgen is more of an observer than perpetrator of the destruction.
He played his part when he created the historical markers that set humanity on its ultimate path to self-annihilation; tipping the natural balance off kilter when he ‘suggested’ a possible answer to an unanswerable question. Then all he really had to do was let hunter-gatherer man intensify, twist and defile the new ‘idea’ over the next twelve millennia or so, until it evolved into a profligate tide of conflicting beliefs and avaricious perversion.
Twelve thousand years on and the results of his seeding have blossomed into twenty-first Century ‘civilisation’.
So, the devil can now sit back comfortably and enjoy the show.
And what a show! His protégés have done him proud. With so many more levels of human iniquity than are attributed to Dante’s version of hell, he celebrates and encourages the worst of man.
Lord Morgen’s task is so much easier than his nemesis’, Alice. She has to dredge the prehistory of the human soul in order to scrape together enough of the Ancient Knowledge to claw humankind back from the abyss.

And now, in true devilish fashion, that’s enough. You’ll just have to wait until The Final Prophecy is published on November the 21st 2012, to learn the rest!

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Luxury Tax on Knowledge?

Since the invention of the printed word, books, newspapers and periodical publications have become our quintessential source of knowledge, entertainment and communication. Due to this information revolution, civilisation raced along an evolutionary super-highway. It became therefore universally accepted that books are an unequivocal essential and should be freely accessible to everyone. And as such, exempt from VAT.

This established, the printed word is gradually being shuffled into retirement by its youthful electronic usurper; the internet. Of course, we die-hard paper lovers will resist it as long as we can, but the ecological and financial stresses of paper books will eventually tempt - or force - us into the electronic library if we wish to sate our hunger for the written word.

I have strayed and bought a Kindle; I have to say it grew on me very quickly. The benefits of the microchip are obvious, especially when you consider just how many volumes these little gadgets can store. And who of us doesn’t have an electronic gadget of one form or another? You cannot function - or legally exist - unless you have numerous electronic tags and gadgets attached to your name.

In which case, I’ll dare to hypothesise that within another decade or so, printed books will be prohibitively expensive, outside of an occasional purchase.We will do the majority of our reading via electronic devices.

All electronic books - no matter what their literary value or purpose - are subject to the full rate of 20% VAT.

Ergo, books are destined to be downgraded to ‘non-essential luxuries’ for the masses.

Here’s a little quote that settles quite comfortably into context, ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

No matter what specious voodoo mumbo is used to explain the purpose of VAT; it was originally levied as a luxury tax, which is exactly the reason why it was NOT levied on books. If we allow this stealth tax to pass quietly by as the e-book revolution rages, we will lose another of our basic civil rights to Napoleon and his comrades.

There is a tiny prick of light at the end of the tunnel; I found this proposal regarding the removal of VAT from e-books on a Parliament data search - ‘Early Day Motions’.
                                                (As an aside, I really think they should come up with another handle. Given the copious excrement we’ve come to expect from politicians, I’m itching to make a cheap joke!)

What do you think?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

John Locke - The Indie Paladin

I have just read John Locke’s, ‘How I sold 1 million e-books in five months’; a title destined for the same success story as the top ranking e-book series to which it refers - Donovan Creed. I’ve no doubt that this book has sold to innumerable Indie authors and will continue to do so as his target audience pay homage to it.

Mr. Locke is a superb salesman; sharp, intuitive, witty and ruthlessly focussed. I felt as though I was sitting in a room full of enthusiastic wannabes hanging on his every word, chuckling heartily every time I found myself obeying his commands to, ‘go back and read that section again - I’ll wait.’

His book promotion strategy is based on knowing your target and aiming for it, or finding a niche and writing for it, though his admission that he wrote five books prior to publishing the first, did slightly quell my enthusiasm in the beginning. I, like many Indie first-timers, wrote the book, dived headlong into self-publishing and only then discovered what the old hands knew: publicise the book for at least six months before your release date.

This little setback aside, Mr. Locke goes on to help repair the damage with a concise strategy to homogenise your book with an existing readership. He goes into great detail about how best to use social media and maximise your blog entries, without bombarding your followers with inane chatter for the sake of something to say - the fast route to instant deletion.

Mr. Locke’s indomitable spirit and self-effacing manner are prerequisite tools for a good salesman. But in fairness, he reiterates that he wrote this book with a view to helping other authors navigate the self-publicising minefield that probably eliminates many good writers at the outset. He plainly routes for the little guy over the big bully legacy publishers and would be delighted to learn that his marketing strategy has created similar success for other Indie authors. And he clearly appreciates his OOU’s (One Of Us) readership, to whom he pays devout respect.

I too love success stories of this nature, and despite the fact that John Locke doesn’t need the income from his book sales, I sincerely hope that he continues to be a trail-blazing, guiding light for the Indie publishing revolution.

I’ve not had the pleasure of Mr. Donovan Creed, yet, but if he’s anything like his alter-ego I’m sure I’ll enjoy his company . . .

Monday, 9 January 2012

Hail the reading angels!

Many authors, particularly the debut kind like me, depend upon dedicated book bloggers and reviewers to supply invaluable feedback on our work. Without these voracious and discerning bibliophiles, new authors would remain anonymous and unread. The internet is many things, good and bad, but as far as newbie scribblers are concerned it is a veritable gift from the gods of literary endeavour.
The review angels don’t charge fees to read once they accept your submission, and gift their time in offering an honest appraisal. If this kind of genuine altruism were as prolific in all walks of life, the world might be a better place!
I have requested a number of reviews from such reading angels and the feedback has been hugely helpful in understanding the way people perceive my book. Yes, it’s wonderful to get a five star, but I don’t expect that to be consistent. I received a review today from The British Fantasy Society - absolutely fabulous, but the reviewer did remark on something that slightly grated on him. I was strangely - or perhaps even perversely - pleased with his criticism. It tempered his otherwise glowing review, giving me valuable insight into which buttons my narrative presses. As it happens, he was spot on with his criticism and I know this because I’ve often seen close friends eyes rolling when I get on my hobby horse! I shall take this into consideration and work my messages with more subtlety and stealth. Sledgehammer back in the shed.
As reviews start filtering in, the heart of The Toy Sorcerer begins to beat. It feels almost as though the book is taking its first real breath as more people turn pages and give it life. The Final Prophesy is unfurling as I feverishly pound the keys every chance I get. I’m managing very little sleep these days, but that’s just a symptom of an active - or overactive - mind at work and I’m grateful for it. I live in terror of lethargy!
My quest for feedback continues and I shall be knocking on many more reviewer doors.
Hail the reading angels!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2012 - The year of bated breath?

Forgive me, for I have not blogged for three weeks! There never seems enough time in the day - or night - to achieve everything on the, To Do, list and getting a round toit is tough - perhaps I should try looking for them on Amazon?
Anyway, I digress as per. It is 2012, a year shrouded in eschatological beliefs and theories regarding the end - or spiritual rebirth - of our world. The Mayan apocalyptical predictions have always been a subject of much conjecture; depending on the interpretation, either the world will come to a sticky end or merely move into a new cycle (calendar). The New Age theory is similar; the Christian ‘Rapture’ or ‘Millennialism’, is entrenched in the idea of a rebirth of a world enjoyed by the good and the meek after the rest of the sinners have been judged by God. They’ll be a lonely couple, eh?
Another theory suggests that the Earth will be destroyed by a passing asteroid or planet known as ‘Nibiru’. There is also the sun flare theory. In fact, there are so many conflicting ideas and interpretations, one may as well toss a coin as to which you choose to entertain.
Personally, I’d like to consider that any ‘rebirth’ will apply to our species alone, as opposed to a catastrophic extinction event that affects the entire planet. After all, we have to face the fact that, so far, our behaviour hasn’t exactly been . . . exemplary, has it? Unfortunately, religion and politics - one and the same animal - is primarily to blame. Voltaire always springs to mind; ‘If God didn’t exist, man would find it necessary to invent him.’ And of course, the invention of gods has always been a highly profitable venture for their proponents - currently, the Vatican is the wealthiest corporate body in the world and grips the global purse strings in its despotic hands. This is off the back of a religion that propounds the theory that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to pass into heaven. In which case there will be a very long ‘naughty queue’ of Popes and Bishops outside the basement door, won’t there?
So, if the ‘rebirth’ of human kind is burgeoning, how will it manifest? Divine enlightenment? Military apocalypse? Or are we teetering on the precipice of human evolution brought about by necessity?
Which brings me nicely to the book plug for, The Final Prophesy; second in The Toy Sorcerer Chronicles. It is essentially this event that Alice and her compatriots are instrumental in creating. The concatenation - isn’t that a delicious word - of dimensions; Earth and the Dream Realms, initiates a global conflict that results in the necessity to ‘reboot’ the way human kind behaves, not only toward each other, but everything else that inhabits the planet.
The knowledge of the Ancients is finally rediscovered - hidden for millennia by the bad guys - and the conspiracy of god creators and destroyers is exposed for what it is. The birth of the New Age unlocks the human mind and so begins our return to a symbiotic relationship with Earth.
But new beginnings are never easy; the yin and yang are forever opposed . . . book three.