Product Placement?

If there’s one thing missing from the Earplug Adventures that has probably gone unnoticed, it’s product placement. Yup, you can search through 30+ volumes and you will fail, miserably, to discover any product placement. This isn’t because I’m virtuous to the point of sainthood, but because no one has ever offered me money to place their product in one of my tales – the bastards.But, just to give would-be advertisers the idea, here is a couple of product placements that wouldn’t go entirely without comment, were they to appear in the next serial / e-book…

Before they start their day – defeating would-be dictatorships and alien threats to the Museum of Future Technology and what-not, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger always enjoy a huge bowl of Scotts Porage Oats – even if it does make Magnuss delightfully windy.

And…

When Dr Gideon Snoot and Flaxwell Maltings break from their heavy schedule whilst shooting the Earplug Adventures, they pass on Cafe Puke and march straight to Starbucks. Coffee that’s guaranteed to keep them awake at the controls of the Scroton Five – and tastes quite nice too!

Okay, advertisers: I leave the ball in your court.

Photography/Story-Telling: Inspiration Can Come From the Stangest Sources.

Many are the  times that I have related prosaic sources for my Earplug Adventure’s photographs: – from peeling paint to polystyrene packing pieces: cornflake boxes to drainpipes. But the latest must be the least inspiring of all. A badly-taken photo of the sun through the branches of a tree. See, even my bad photographs can be turned into something worthwhile. At least they can, if you’re a self-professed genius like me! I was about to delete the picture, when the aforementioned inspiration struck, and I asked myself: “How would this look as a negative?” Always a good place to start when you’re looking to create something all science-fictional and other-worldly.The results of this silent, rhetorical question are five pictures in sequence – which will, most certainly, absolutely, no-chance-of-being-omitted, be included in A Tale of Three Museums. I just don’t know how pertinant they’ll be. And here they are. Imagine, if you will, that you’ve  wandered from your cabin into the control room of a Scroton Five…

 

…as it travels through hyperspace. An alarm sounds, and you turn sluggishly to regard the forward screen…

“Ugh – what’s that?” You ask intelligently. Then a form begins to resolve…

Fortunately the ship’s defense system is automatic…

You’ve read Earplug Adventures before: you know what a bunch of shits End Cap Hyperspace Pirates are. There can be only one action. “Fire!” You yell semi-coherently, as you rush for the space toilet. “Now – for flip’s sake!”

And because the ship was built on Scroton, you know the weaponry is of the irrisistable kind. Moments later…blam!

The final shot is the original photographic balls-up. It’s not the sun shining through a tree: it’s a spaceship exploding. It’s obvious really – if you’re me. And because of that, you can re-enter normal space in complete safety, and go upon your interplanetary way…

 

Don’t Buy This Book….Yet!

It has been a while since I completed the re-write of this tremendous tome…

…but I’ve been loathe to advertise the fact. The reason for this uncharacteristic behaviour is because my publisher has recently revamped its operation, which included dropping several on-line author facilities and migrating all the files from the old system to the new…and things didn’t go…well let’s just say they didn’t go well.  From my point of view, they didn’t go well at all. They didn’t go well so utterly absolutely that – according to my account information – I’ve never sold a book, and they owe me zilch. Worrying, to say the least. They’re working on it – or so the auto-response to my e-mail said. I hope they’re working on pricing too. For some reason some of my books, in certain geographical regions, are selling for less than cost price, which means I owe the publisher if any of the books sell in those regions. Worse still is the fact that the system won’t accept my imput and let me alter the book price. Also worrying. So – for now – I’m pointing no one in the direction of my publisher. I’ve even removed the link on the side bar and the Tooty’s Books page beneath the header. But, because I can’t wait any longer to show off the new and improved photos from Worstworld Vol 2, I’ve decided to show you little montage from the book, which should show up on all the usual e-book retailers very soon…

 

The Scroton Five!

Ah, the Scroton 5. No, this post isn’t about a 1960’s British pop band by that name, which, I feel confident, never existed: but about the long-winded gestation of this ‘new’ space craft in the Earplug Adventure universe…

Originally this craft, and this craft alone, was to be named Scroton Five: but then I accidentally created this space battle shot…

Suddenly there were three more of them – and not one of them was slated to appear in the next Earplug Adventure: A Tale of Three Museums. So the single craft became a ‘class’ of space vessel – one of which was slated to appear in the next story. And, most importantly, it was to be piloted by none other than these guys…

…Yes, Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – the ‘stars’ of the next story!

My problem, regarding shooting scenes that featured them adventuring in the Scroton 5, was simple and singular. My space ship only had an outside. There were no interiors. And now that I no longer have access to a bloody great factory and everything inside it, finding inspirational parts to build the interiors became impossible. My shed didn’t help – being full of tools, garden stuff, and nothing that was any good to a desperate author. So it was back to my attic studio, and a prayer to The Saint of All Earplugs…

I began searching through several containers of earplug-related ‘stuff’ – with no luck, until I realised that one of the containers itself could be my saviour…

I call it a Domti box, because it (and several others) came home with me when I returned to Britain from Spain several years past, and were purchased (at a very reasonable price) from a shop named, unsurprisingly, Domti. This was impetus I needed. Soon the creative juices began to flow. Picking up an ancient LCD portable DVD player, I brought the two items together in a  holy union…

“Hmmm,” I mused, “If I were to put some space scenes on a DVD…Yeah, then build a control room floor that would sit above the working part of the DVD player…”

Cue the lid of a black box file, a tube of glue, and a few random widgets that had been tossed, willy-nilly, into the Domti box…

“Yeah, I can work with that.” I continued to muse. “But what about the reverse angle shots?”

Well box files have a lid and a base. The lid made the control room floor: the base could easily become a back wall…

So, a few minutes later, with the cutting and glueing complete, what did I have? Well there was the main screen and control panel, of course…

…not to mention a pair of seats for the pilots. There is also a cage behind the seats for the obligatory Ship’s Oracle – another of my regular inclusions/plot devices. Naturally I included a space toilet too…

After all, what would an astronaut do without a loo on the bridge? And some other items, for which I’ll invent a use when neccessity strikes…

At the rear there’s a window-type frame that might, or might not, look into an engineering section (when I’ve built it, of course)…

And a door that leads to…somewhere…

All together it looks like this…

…and this…

And when I populate it with a random crew…

And we see what they see…

…you know I have a ship that can kick literary ass…

A Free E-Book Gets Free-er.

By that, I mean that this e-book…

…which was free-of-charge previously, remains free-of-charge, but has been enhanced, improved, and contains more photos and lines of script. In short, there is more that is free; therefore it is free-er. Currently available at Lulu.com – or you can wait a few days from this posting date for other suppliers to get their arses into gear – and then get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, etc – also gratis.

It’s quite a tale: you really should give it a look.

It’s Better to Know.

Yes it’s better to know – than not – that the delightfully rehashed version of this fantabulous e-book…

…has been published by Lulu.com – finally! Yes, I have been extremely slow regarding this re-work. Also, a few days from this post date, the new version  will replace the original at iBooks. It always take them a while to catch up – as it does at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. So, if you’re a Nook, iPad or Kindle user, give them a week, at least, before you, very sensibly try to download the new and improved version.

Of course, there follows a pleasant montage and a titchy sample of the tale…

Charm itself, I think you’ll agree.

 

Any Writer Who Can Think Up the Name ‘Chunder Bellows’ Is Alright With Me

That was a reader’s quote, after his happy reading of this book…

And here’s an extract from the tale that he so enjoyed…

The first few days at Chunder Bellows School for Blistering Idiots were a total blur for Lancelot. Quite literally: The college nurse had filled his eyes with a solution that almost blinded him. It was a deliberate act: The college authorities didn’t want him identifying the persons responsible for trying to free his brain of the millstones of stupidity by beating some sense into him. But it was to no avail. All subsequent Intelligence Quotient tests came up woefully short.

Lancelot himself ached all over, and had there been a train back to Hamster Heath he would have gladly boarded it – even if he’d been forced to pedal solo for the entire journey. But as the days passed from his life – so did the bruises pass from his skin, and in next to no time at all he was well again. He even introduced the sport of Poo-Jumping to the college fitness administrator, and had a huge ramp built on the playing fields so that he could practice running down hills very fast indeed. But eventually he fell afoul of the college founder – Chunder Bellows himself.  Lancelot sat nervously in the corridor as he waited to be invited into Chunder Bellows’ private suite high in the belfry. He wracked his brains as to how he’d managed to offend the legendary hamster. Was it possible that he’d accidentally failed to notice his eminence whilst shopping in the town? He didn’t think so: Chunder Bellows came from European hamster stock, and was almost twice the size of his fellows. He also wore his head fur in a turquoise Mohican cut, and swaggered so vainly that smaller creatures were often forced to dash into heavy traffic to avoid being bowled over by him. So that seemed unlikely.

Over the next hour Lancelot ran scenario after scenario through his head until he could think no more. Only when he was utterly spent mentally did the red light above Bellows’ door finally illuminate. Lancelot had been warned about this. It could mean one of three things. One: I’m free now, please enter. Two: An aerial attack is underway: Run for the shelters. Or Three: The lock on the lavatory door is broken again, and I can’t get out. It was dependent upon the number of flashes per second as to how someone should react to this visual stimulus.

The beat of the flashing light was slow and steady. To Lancelot’s mind this indicated a certain calmness of spirit. It fitted scenario One perfectly. So Lancelot knocked smartly upon the huge wooden door, and entered.

The interior of Chunder Bellows’ suite was hugely impressive – especially to a young hamster who had lived his entire life in a two-room apartment above the town cheese shop with his mother, her aunt, and someone who referred to herself as the Fairy Lesbian. It was huge, panelled throughout with dark wood, and enjoyed a view out over the grounds of the college. Lancelot couldn’t help but notice that it also enjoyed views directly into the girls changing room, showers, and unsightly nipple fur removal facility. But he said nothing.

Bellows stood, and almost filled the room with his bulk. He didn’t offer a paw of welcome. Instead he merely towered over Lancelot until the youngster began trembling. Only then did he re-seat himself, and offer Lancelot a cigar.

“Well, well – you’ve caused quite a stir.” He boomed – not angrily, but not in a friendly fashion either. But it wasn’t neutral either, and Lancelot was at a loss to describe his benefactor’s mood.

“Is it the Poo-Jumping, Sir?” Lancelot inquired nervously, “I know that several students have miss-timed their take-off, and have consequently soiled their uniforms. But I’m sure that with sufficient practice…”

Bellows cut him off with a wave of his meaty paw. “No – it’s not the Poo-Jumping.” He growled. “I only wish that it were. At least I could do something about it. No my problem is far worse. Tell me – how did you get here?”

Lancelot wondered how literal Bellows was being. Did he mean to inquire after the route that Lancelot had taken from where he’d been clandestinely urinating in the mosquito-breeding pool – to Bellow’s office? Or did he mean the college itself? Then in a moment that the young hamster would have considered an epiphany – had he been aware of the word – he realized that during his brief time at Chunder Bellows he’d learned to think in a slightly less linear mode, and could now see alternatives to his first, and usually only, thought. It had been a general question: Not specific to time and place. The grand master of the college was asking after Lancelot’s reasons for approaching the college in order to gain entry to its hallowed halls of learning.

“It was either this – or extermination.” He blurted. Then in a more calm manner explained that he’d actually failed the Right To Adult Existence examination during his last year at school, but was given a reprieve when the mysterious Fairy Lesbian put a spell upon the examination board members, and demanded that they allow him one more chance. If he could prove them all desperately wrong by maturing into a hamster of average intellect, he would be allowed to live beyond his tender years, and not consequently waste millions of Rodentos being housed, fed, and entertained courtesy of the public purse because he was too stupid or bone-idle to get a job.

Bellows nodded sagely at this. Then he leaned forward in his chair, and peered at Lancelot in a most disturbing fashion. “That’s all very interesting – but it’s not the answer I was looking for.”

He then explained that he’d meant ‘how did Lancelot get from Hamster Heath to Poxford’?

“The last train to Poxford.” Lancelot chirped gleefully – fully aware that such a journey would never again be made, and as a result his momentous journey would go down in history.

Bellows peered some more. “Do you recall any of the passengers?” He asked.

Lancelot thought back over the intervening months. Only one person stood out from the crowd. “There was a pretty girl with powerful thighs pedalling on the seat opposite.” He recalled. “She stood out a bit.”

Bellows had a weakness for pretty girls. “Really – in what way?”

“She wore crotch-less knickers. From where I was seated it looked like two sand eels wrestling in a thicket.”

For a moment Lancelot thought that Bellows was going to have a heart attack. And it was this simple act of Bellows clutching at his chest and fighting for breath that brought forth a second recollection of the journey for the young hamster. “Oh yes that reminds me – there was that lovely middle-aged female who might have been having a myocardial infarction!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013