Curtains? No: But I’m Having Second Thoughts

By chance I discovered a post of mine that dated  from September 2017. It was titled Curtains For The Earplug Adventures? And this is how it looked…

Fear not, Earpluggers: the Earplug Adventures will continue, though at a reduced pace henceforth. Had I written this post yesterday, the title would have been a question mark short. In fact it would have been replaced by an exclamation mark. Yesterday I all but decided to quit writing my photo-novels entirely; but, being a sensible fellow (beneath this tomfoolery), I chose to give myself twenty-four hours to cogitate upon the subject.

“Oh, Tooty, what could have caused this almost-monumental decision?” I hear you cry into your coffee / beer/ wine / vimto / lavatory bowl. “Why, oh why, would you want to deny the world your fabulous literary/photographic delights?”

Well the evening hadn’t started well: I’d wanted to watch Star Trek: The Original Series, but the magic box beneath my TV said: “No – not unless you want me to stop recording either Bones or Medium.” Then the cistern in my bathroom decided to form a small boating lake on the floor beside the lavatory. So things weren’t going well when I decided to Google myself. Naturally (having punched in Tooty Nolan) I found page after page of my nonsense on sale – often on sites that I’d never heard of (and which make me wonder why I’m not receiving the royalties I might be due). Then I discovered that back in my dark depressive days – or 2013 to be more precise – I’d joined Goodreads. I’d even posted some book extracts there. Then I noted the absence of my 2014 novel Silent Resistance, and duly elected to add it to my listings there. But when I began a casual meander through the book in search of a suitable extract, I discovered that during the subsequent three years – all of which have been Earplug Adventures years, I might add – I’ve become a lousy writer. No wonder I felt the need to abandon my third Causality Merchant novel – Broker Me No Future: I can’t write anymore.  And what was it that I found in Silent Resistance that so disillusioned me? It was this paragraph…

When morning finally revealed the new day it was quite unlike those of recent times.  Although the sun was winter-weak, wisps of steam rose from the sodden wooden walls of a nearby barn into a perfectly clear azure sky. Likewise the early morning mist that slowly retreated from the surrounding fields and dissipated into nothingness. And the broad leaf trees of a distant thicket shone in glorious shades of orange and yellow, and were perfectly counterpointed by the sombre greens of a scattering of conifers amongst them.

I breathed deeply in the clear country air – something that was becoming more and more prevalent since the demise of industry, the motor car, and people. I could almost imagine that this was one year previous, and soon my sister would join me as I searched through the orchard for late fallers.

My reverie was interrupted by the arrival of Colin in the farmyard. He was studying the AA roadmap as he trudged from the farmhouse.

“Hey,” he called, “I’ve found a route back that doesn’t involve us going anywhere near anywhere we’ve already been. It’s a bit ‘round-the-houses…”

“Circumbendibus.” I interrupted.

“Circum-what?” He inquired as he came to a dead stop.

I repeated the word. “It means ‘round-the-houses.” I explained.

I think he was going to argue, but it being early in the day he thought better of it.

“Oh, right.” He said as he recommenced walking towards me. “Well I’ve found a route to that co-operative of yours that shouldn’t take too long – just as long as nothing gives us gip.”

It was my turn to exhibit ignorance. “Gip?” I said.

“Trouble. Pain. Inconvenience.” Colin explained. “A broken leg would give you gip; but in another way so would a broken-down car.”

“Got it.” I said. “Gip bad: we no want.”

“Yeah.” Colin responded – his expression clearly indicating that he thought I’d gone mad.

But any opportunity for us to swap examples of our personal lexicons was interrupted by the bus engine stuttering into life.

“How’s the fuel supply?” I shouted to Kylie as she leaned out of the driver’s window to wave hello.

After giving her dashboard a quick scrutiny she called back, “Loads. More than we need to get us where we want to go.”

“And afterwards?” I pressed.

Her face dropped. “Who says there’s gonna be an afterwards? We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

I nodded without replying: it was time to rouse the others.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

Well there you have it. I need…no MUST…get back to that standard of story telling. So, from now on, it’s less earplugs and more ‘proper’ writing – if I still can of course. A good place to start would be that unfinished novel. Now I wonder where I’ve stashed it away.

P.S This book is available as an e-book pretty much everywhere (take your pick), and as a paperback and e-book at Lulu (see Lulu logo on side bar).

Well it didn’t happen, did it? I didn’t dig out Broker Me No Future after all. But since my broken promise to myself that feeling has returned. I know where the unfinished manuscript is: I found at the bottom of my shoe basket recently. I am gonna do it. Honest! So sorry, Earpluggers, I think the little silicon guys will need to take a back seat for a while. Let’s see if I can still write. Watch this space!

 

Evil Made More Evil

Of course, the evil to which the title of this post refers is nothing less than this reasonably fabulous e-book…

…which is now available at Lulu in it’s new and improved form. Or Second Edition, as they prefer to term it. Naturally it’s quite pleasant, though if (as its author) I’m totally honest, it isn’t as good as the tale that precedes it. But what the heck: it’s part of a vast saga; so who cares? Usual stuff folllows – that stuff being a nice montage and a snippet of the text…

Oh, I dunno; maybe it’s not so bad after all!

P.S For the first few days following release, the iBooks version is the old, unimproved version. But fear not; the Second Edition will appear.

Distant Land (part 44)

Captain Cedric Mantequilla wasn’t an overtly emotional earplug; but something in the Skail Brother’s tale of an uprooted and decimated civilization broke through his not particularly stony reserve…

“How sad.” He said into the silence that reigned upon the bridge of the Brian Talbot…

“Agreed.” His crew responded in a fusillade of croaks as they avoided each other’s gaze by paying overly close attention to their work-station screens and read-outs.

Even Folie was feeling a little subdued…

“What are we going to do now?” He asked. “We can’t just fly away like nothing happened.”

“And it’s not enough to show this video to anyone who is willing to watch. “Placebo said quietly. “We have to do something more positive. Can star ships go back in time? Can we stop the disaster from ever happening? Maybe warn them, or something?”

Folie picked up on this: “Hey, maybe we could show them their own video: that’d make them think twice about tapping into alternate realities. And it must be awful having so many earplugs using so few toilets!”

Cedric remained mute and immobile throughout this. At the rear of the bridge, three crew-plugs chose to quietly conjecture…

“Cedric isn’t the bravest captain that ever was.” The pink earplug, known as Lawrence Bunion, stated. And before his colleagues could put their feet in their mouths by saying something derogatory about the captain, he did so himself: “Me – I’m all for trying something stupid like that kid suggested. But I reckon Mantequilla will cut and run. He’ll probably panic and order max speed in any direction other the one he morally needs to take.”

But he was alone with these negative thoughts. The others believed that, for once in his life, the Captain would overcome his natural propensity for panicky actions. This would be the time when he would exhibit the type of character that star ship captains, throughout the Galaxy, were famed for.

“I’ll bet you a week’s wages that he doesn’t.” The orange crew-plug, whose name was Brett Scuttles, whispered.

But before the deal could be ratified by a dry spit and the shaking of hands, Cedric stood and led Folie and Placebo to the front of the bridge…

“Sorry kids,” he said to them as everyone turned their attention to the main viewer, “but star ships can’t travel in time. Only space.”

For a brief moment Brett Scuttles  wished that he’d not suggested the bet: he couldn’t afford to lose that much money. But his concerns evaporated when Cedric added: “But it can find that frozen world that so closely resembles Earth. And maybe it’s crew can visit that world. And maybe…just maybe…that crew can figure out how to use their fancy equipment and bring that world back to life.”

Folie was confused. “I’m confused, Captain.” He said. He was also at a loss. “I’m at a loss too. What would be the point? There’s no one left to live on it.”

“Not now maybe.” Cedric replied through a grim smile. “But when we cross over into that alternate reality and fetch all the survivors back, there certainly will be.” He then added loudly, in his most commanding tone: “Helmsplug – set a precise course that follows the Gravity Whelk’s ion trail back to it’s planet of origin. We don’t have forever to get this job done: so get us their quickly…huh? Maximum thrust all the way. No holding back. Talking of which: I need to visit the lavatory – and damned quickly too. So let’s go-go-go!”

Moments later, the heading having been entered in to the navigation computer,  the Brian Talbot blasted into an uncertain future…

The End

Now watch out for the next thrilling tale – ‘A Tale of Three Museums‘.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019  

 

More Bottom of the Freezer Cooking (with your chef Tooty Nolan)

Well, following the huge success of my last B.O.T. F. C post, I thought the time right for a second helping, so to speak. Inspiration was born out of necessity. I had a few ropy lumps of veg hanging around, which needed cooking before they became inedible, (that’s right, I don’t believe in throwing food away. It’s not that I’m a skinflint: I just feel that its plain wrong to do so) and precious little else in the fridge. So it was ‘raid the cupboard and freezer time’. Hurrah: another Tooty Concoction!” And this is how it should be done…

First up, microwave the ropy veg. Then slice a few potatoes – preferably ropy ones that need using up. Microwave them too. Did I mention you’d need a microwave? Well you do. Better still try two – because you are going to need another one to microwave a lump of frozen cod, which you will then crumble. Meanwhile open a packet of something similar to this…

…and stir it into the requisite volume of milk, which then goes on to the hob to be boiled into a bubbling cauldron from hell. Meanwhile open that can of red salmon (that’s been bugging you by always sitting in front of whatever you want at the back of the cupboard) and drain off the juice. Place the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a baking…er, I don’t know the correct gastronomic term…let’s call it a bowl. Then add the ropy veg, followed by the cod and salmon. It should look exactly like this…

Strictly speaking you could eat it like this: it’s all been cooked after all. But no, add that sauce…

Back to the fridge now. Some ageing cheese should be crying out from behind the Boursin and spreadable butter, beneath the forgotten vodka spritzer on the lower shelf. Grate some Cheddar and Mozzarella and liberally coat…

Then shove it in the oven at max power until the cheese has melted and the concoction is bubbling merrily. The result will look like this… 

Then serve it up; sit back and watch it disappear rapidly; collect the empty plates; then listen to the family say things like; “That was yum: we’ll have that again!” Or, in the case of my wife, on the ‘phone to a friend: “Yes, it was very nice. I’ve never  tasted anything quite like it before; but it was nice.”

 

Distant Land Less Distant

It may have caught your attention that the 43rd episode of Junior Earplug Adventures: Distant Land gave the very distinct impression that the tale was drawing to a conclusion. Well, were you to gain that impression, you wouldn’t have been very far from the truth. In fact there is just one more episode to come. But, in the time honoured way of things in my publishing universe, the e-book version is always released (or, as I prefer to term it – unleashed) first. And so, once again, this has come to be. As you read this, this book…

…sits atop the listing on my Spotlight page at Lulu.com. And so it should: it’s…er…almost unique. Only the other thirty-three volumes of the Earplug Adventures saga come close. Check it out now.

Playing Catch Up

Well it seems that the Nook and the Kindle are still lagging behind Lulu and iBooks. By that I mean that (so far) Barnes & Noble have reached ‘Earplug Aftermath‘ of the refurbished Earplug Adventures, and no further. And Amazon are only at the ‘The Invasion From Hyperspace‘ stage. But keep an eye open: they’re bound to catch up eventually. If they don’t, we’ll let this lot loose on ’em!

Cometh the Earplug Cometh!

Yes, that’s right, the next in the series of touched-up, much improved, made gorgeous, Earplug Adventures has arrived at iBooks and Lulu.

As the blurb on the 2016 psuedo-cover suggests, it’s uncommonly long (for an Earplug Adventure)…

WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS A HUGE NUMBER OF CHAPTERS! When danger comes visiting in the Museum of Future Technology, who do you call for? Magnuss Earplug, that’s who. Cometh the moment, cometh the earplug, or so they say. The usual mayhem ensues.

And boy does my right forearm know it. I have spent hour upon bloody hour on this refurb, and my ‘mouse’ hand has cried “Enough!”.

Anyway, here’s the usual montage…

And, of course, a snippet…

And just for my loyal reader, Jayne – it features those popular favourites of hers, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger!

 

Distant Land (part 43)

Take-off for the Gravity Whelk had been uneventful and rapid. Now Richter and Beaufort looked back at their frozen home world…

“I’m aghast.” Richter gasped. “That scientists could be so stupid. If only we’d gone all ecological…like composting our turds: eating curly kale and nut loaf: complaining about fashionable log-burning stoves: dispensing with pleasant holidays, and walking everywhere instead of riding a vehicle of some sort – despite it being impracticable…our previously beautiful planet would still be habitable.”

“Yes.” Beaufort commiserated. “It’s a sod, isn’t it? Now let’s try to detect that Way Station: it appears that it’s no longer in orbit.”

Well, as time was to tell, Beaufort was entirely correct. When they finally discovered it, almost a million measures beyond its normal orbit, the unmanned space station communicated the news that its sensors had detected the global catastrophe and resultant significant drop in global temperatures, and (in fear of freezing solid) had elected to ease itself to a wider orbit, where it was a bit warmer…

“Clearly smarter than the average earplug.” Richter sniffed disdainfully.

“And infinitely smarter than Whoops Brannigan et al.” Beaufort added.

Then it was time to set metaphorical sail, and blast for the deeps of the cosmos…

And so the museum’s sole-surviving space craft continued to blast for the deeps of the cosmos until it had carried the Skail Brothers in as deep as they felt was comfortable…

Then they cut the motor: dropped the buoy; turned around: and blasted back in time to make the journey into an alternative quantum reality with everyone else.

“So there you have it.” Beaufort said as his brother turned away and left the room. “Our story. So, if it isn’t too much trouble, please bear witness to our existence. And learn something too. We were dumb asses: don’t repeat our mistake.”

The screen then faded, and everyone watching realised that the show was over…

“Ugh.” Placebo complained. “I was enjoying that.”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Distant Land (part 42)

And what a call it was. The recipient? Only Princess Cake of Potwell, that’s all! Well, her Equerry anyway…

“Whadda ya mean?” Beaufort roared at the poor individual through the Comm-Panel’s microphone. “Why isn’t she there? She should be packing.” Then moderating his tone, he added: “Oh, she’s a lazy sod who’s left it all to you: I see. Well where can I find her? It’s really important.”

The unseen Equerry gave the adventuring earplug the information he required, and soon Beaufort and his brother left Yaki to help herself to breakfast cereal, and were making good speed along  the corridor away from their delightful quarters…

“That Yaki’s a nice earplug, isn’t she Beaufort?” Richter said as they hurried along.

“Charm personified.” Beaufort agreed begrudgingly. “But don’t go getting any ideas, brother: she’s a Geisha Boss: she knows how to push male earplug’s buttons. And yours are just bursting to get pushed. Turn left just down here.”

Moments later they found themselves in the iced-up skateboard park in the lower levels…

Richter was disappointed and almost surrendered to the powers of fate; but Beaufort was no pushover: “Let’s think, Richter. Her Equerry said she was coming down to here to convince herself that they’d made the right decision to evacuate the museum. Where else would she go to cogitate and ruminate – besides the skateboard park? Think. Think!”

“Um.” Richter replied. “Well, when she was little, and her Dad was out on ceremonial visits to distant lands, she used to play in her favourite hide-away. It was an atom-proof bunker from the old days, when the museum was under threat of nuclear attack.”

“Brilliant.” Beaufort yelled so loudly that shards of ice began falling from the frosty ceiling. “Let’s go!”

It took a while, but eventually the brothers found their way to Princess Cake’s childhood sanctuary…

“What, the flipping heck,do you want?” Princess Cake demanded.

Clearly the museum’s figurehead and nominal ruler was annoyed at the intrusion into her solitude, so the Skails trod carefully as they told her of Yaki Hogwashi’s request. To which Cake replied: “So what do you want your ruler to do about it?”

“Two things.” Beaufort answered. “One: the Gravity Whelk was once the Royal Barge. Your father used it to make royal tours to nearby worlds. When we returned, the ignition keys were handed into your possession. Two: we’ve forgotten the way to where we parked the ship. We were kind of hoping you’d use the Royal Locator Beam to find it.”

Finally, or so Cake felt, the Princess had something useful to do. She could actually help. “Yeah, alright.” She replied. “I carry it in my bustle. Follow me. Or rather – follow my bustle.”

Five minutes later…

“It’s okay.” Cake said to calm the Skail’s fear of being swamped in snow, “the route I’m taking is through a dry, desert-like valley, where the snow can’t fall. Oh look – there it is.”

And it was – although the Princess hadn’t been entirely accurate: there were patches of snow that had collected in hollows everywhere…

“Flipping heck, this place is barren.” Beaufort complained. “Is it very far, Your Highness?”

“It’s just over that rise.” Cake answered, as she extracted the Gravity Whelk’s ignition keys from a secret pouch in her royal bustle. “You go that way: I’m going to find piece of high ground, from which to watch you depart”.

And she did – although it was only a very small piece of high ground that wasn’t very high at all…

“Good luck, boys.” She called. “Now be on your way. You have tale to tell. Go shout it at the Universe.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

 

Delivering the Goods.

Good old Barnes & Noble (those who sell my ‘Silent’ books rather better than anyone else) have added the tarted-up, refreshed, improved, and generally much more wonderful versions of these e-books…

…to their listings. So if you (as a Nook user) ever balked at purchasing the originals because of their dreadful photographic quality and dubious prose, balk no more! Click the link to see them.

P.S Later stories to follow, obviously.

P.P.S Currently Amazon have only the first two on offer – so Kindle users will need to wait a little longer for later tales in the saga.

Third Day of the Earplug is Go – Again!

On the off-chance  that you were to visit Apple Books, or perhaps my publishers – Lulu.com, you would discover that this e-book…

…has enjoyed its authors’ loving attentions and has been made nicer by the application of touched-up photos and a bit of jiggery-pokery in the writing department. Naturally a montage follows (which looks beguiling in the extreme when viewed on an iPad)…

And a photo-snip from the manuscript…

Decent, eh?

 

Distant Land (part 41)

It would take time to organize the evacuation of the icebound Museum of Future Technology…

And because the protective electromagnetic screen’s vast energy consumption was…um…vast, it was decided to lower them and trust in the integrity of the building’s multi-layered outer walls to maintain a livable temperature inside – at least for a while. But, just to be certain that no one would freeze to death, whilst preparations were completed, it was recommended that non-essential personnel remain in their quarters and keep their wooley socks on. This included the Skail Brothers. So Yaki Hogwashi wasn’t surprised  when, the following day, Richter answered the door to her insistent knocking…

“Why, hello!” The yellow earplug said as his eyes alighted upon the attractive Geisha Boss. “Whatever you’re selling – I’ll have half a dozen.”

Beaufort, who was looking out of the window, called out: “Enough of the smarm, Richter: invite her in.”

So, moments later, Yaki had parked her posterior at the dining table and duly introduced herself…

“Nice quarters.” She added. “The decor is divine.”

“Thank you.” Richter replied. “I can take no credit for it, I’m afraid: I leave all the decorating to Beaufort.”

Beaufort decided to dispense with niceties: “Whadda ya want?” He all but snarled at the uninvited interloper, whom he didn’t know, nor really cared to. “I was darning a hole in my underpants!”

In response Yaki dropped her smile. “Okay.” She said. “I’ll get cut to the chase. I make a point of knowing who is doing what to whom inside the Museum of Future Technology. My geisha business relies on it. So I know that several months ago you were dispatched off-world to find an alternative energy supply. Our current situation strongly suggests that you failed.”

“Not for the want of trying.” Beaufort said in the sibling’s defense.

“I don’t doubt it.” Yaki replied. “But you returned in a fully-functioning ship that bears remarkably few scars.”

“What are you inferring?” Beaufort snapped. “Are you calling us cowards?”

Yaki was appalled at the suggestion…

“What?” She squealed. “No, of course not. Flipping heck. No – I was just pointing out that the Gravity Whelk remains space-worthy. That it can still fly!”

Richter chanced a half-smile.”What do you want us to do, Yaki?” He said quietly

To which Yaki replied: “Tell our story. Don’t let our disappearance go unnoticed. Let the Galaxy know that once we were here. And let them know what destroyed us. That conspicuous over-consumption has devastating consequences. Make sure that others don’t make the same mistake.”

It was a long sentence, and Yaki had been so earnest that she’d forgotten to breathe throughout it. So she slumped back in her seat and awaited the Skail’s response…

“Actually,” Beaufort said slowly, “the thought had occurred to us. But we didn’t know quite how to go about it. All the Comm-Stations are under several measures of ice and snow. We can’t dial out.”

“No, that’s right.” Richter spoke clearly and concisely. “But the Gravity Whelk isn’t!”

A split second later the three earplugs had leapt from their seats and were on their way to the Skail’s communication panel…

They had a call to make. And it wasn’t to order a gross of toilet tissues!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Earplug Aftermath: New & Improved

Were you to visit Lulu.com, you would discover that this wondrous e-tome has been renewed and refreshed…

…and, more importantly, republished. Yes, the fourth e-book is now available in it’s superior second edition. Here’s one of those montages that I’m so keen on…

Further, may I present a photographic extract from said e-book…

All very nice – I think you’ll agree.