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Old Blog Revisited: You Think Being a Writer is Easy, Huh?

Well then check out this re-write of a re-write of a re-write from a few years past that features just two pages from The Psychic Historian...

rewrite

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 24

It has been quite a while since I posted an extract from one of these books…

They are, of course, the almost legendary Hamster-Sapiens series. And on this occasion I have chosen a random extract from – Fanfare for the Common Hamster.

Rootley was almost half way back to his disgusting hovel upon the hill when he gasped, and halted his forward progress with such suddenness that Brother Alfonso tripped over him, and Margarita was forced into a rapid avoidance manoeuvre that resulted in the heir to the throne of Sponx being thrown from his saddle and badly damaging the plume that usually danced gaily upon the top of his shiny brass helmet.

“Shit,” Margarita exclaimed. She then added, “Whatta ya make me do that for, ya damned fool hamster? I could have done someone a serious injury!”

“It’s Joan:” Rootley replied as he heaved the bulk of a confused Brother Alfonso from him, “She’s in danger. We have to go back.”

“And you know this to be true because?” Darkwood’s voice did nothing to disguise his annoyance at having to replace his plume with something of an altogether inferior material. But of course he already knew the answer: It was Rootley’s personal ‘talent’.

“Can you be more precise?” Brother Alfonso enquired as he straightened his vast snout.

“Cold.” Rootley replied, “A terrible, terrible cold.”

“Well, heck and humdingery,” Margarita exclaimed rather too loudly for the situation, “didn’t she mention working in some place that lived in eternal winter? Hey that must mean she made it home, then got into some kind ‘a bind”.

Well it didn’t take more than a moment for the new found friends to realise that there was only one course of action to take.

“To the sewer outlet, I command thee.” Darkwood bellowed in his most royal voice. “Joan, the walker between worlds, needs our help!”

Naturally Rootley, being small and nimble, soon found himself chosen to edge into the obsidian stench of the sewer outlet. As he did so he called out Joan’s name. He tried calling in various tones – from a surprisingly resonant bass, to a shrill soprano that hurt the awaiting Margarita’s ears and made Brother Alfonso’s nose bleed. But in response – save for the constant dripping of foetid water from the curved brick ceiling – all that Rootley’s sensitive ears could detect was silence. So, reaching out with both paws before him, Rootley plunged forward with the abandon normally associated with gay gerbils – and was immediately lost in echoes.

It was so cold inside Freezer Three that Joan’s brain had almost ceased to function. Fortunately she had found the wisdom to clamber inside a large empty cardboard box, thrust her paws between her thighs, and then insert her tail into her rectum before becoming semi-comatose. But even in this state her will to live supplied her ears with sufficient energy to listen for clues to salvation. First one pricked up, quickly followed by the other as Rootley’s muffled voice could be heard calling her name.

‘Hmmm’, she thought, ‘that resonant bass is quite pleasant: But I’m not sure about the soprano: It could shatter ice.’

Then her brain reactivated properly. This was no time for hibernation: Help was on its way.

Rootley was overjoyed to hear Joan calling his name. “This way, Joan,” he called, “Follow my voice.”

He then continued to utter similar inanities until suddenly Joan’s paw materialised from the wall before him. He didn’t see it of course; but in the heat of the moment he’d quite neglected to theorise the potentiality of irregularities within the topography of the different worlds. So naturally it was Rootley’s testicles that Joan’s flaying paw encountered first, and which solicited a yelp of such intensity that it startled her so badly that she lost her grip upon the icy floor inside Freezer Three, and tumbled back into the medieval land of Prannick – and the relative warmth of stale piss.

© Paul Trevor Nolan

Naturally the ribald Hamster-Sapiens series remains available as e-books at many outlets, including those important ones mentioned on the side bar and beneath the header. They’re very nice, and you really should buy all five of them. You wouldn’t be the first to do so, you know: you’re in good company.

Back – After Six Years Absence

Thought you might enjoy a reblog of something I wrote way-back-when…

How many times has your rip-roaring tale of gung-ho-ness stuttered to a halt because you’ve written your characters into a desperate corner, and you can’t find a logical way out? Loads of times, I’m sure – especially if (like me) you’re the sort of writer who can’t stand planning the whole story out before hitting the first key of the story proper. There’s nothing worse for a writer (other than writer’s block) than thinking up a fabulous new direction in which to take the story – only to be forced to ignore it because you can’t fit it into the pre-existing plot.

So my tip for today is this…

Insert needless asides and details that move the story along not one jot, and which might appear at first to be totally spurious, but will later be called upon to get you right out of the literary shit. As an example I bring you this extract from my book ‘Danglydong Dell Diaries’. You will find that it appears needlessly rude – but boy did it come to my rescue when I needed to save my characters from oblivion later in the book…

Blubbersday, the Forty-sixth of Plinth. Like the other two parties before them, the group that was psychically protected by Primrose Pickles entered Far Kinell through one of the four main gates. In their case it was the rickety old Historic gate, where market stalls had been set up that sold ‘old fashioned’ or ‘retro’ stuff – like woollen bloomers, clogs, wooden false teeth, earthenware bed-warmers, beetroot wine, and a plethora of multifarious strap-on dildos.

For a brief moment Colin was quite taken by the latter, and even went so far as to study one or two of them minutely.

“Ere,” Boney called down to him from the broad back of Gargantua the giant cavy, “leave them fake dicks alone. Nothing good can come of tinkerin’ with the unnatural.”

“But I’m unnatural.” Colin reminded his current owner. “There isn’t a natural product in my body. And I was just wondering if I could utilise one of these as an addendum to my ‘special tool’. It could be fun. I could frighten sailors with it.”

Boney had to think about this for a few seconds. “Yeah that sounds alright.” He replied finally, “Maybe we can mass produce ‘em too, and sell ‘em as advanced alien trinkets. They don’t have no patent laws in this world, do they?”

It was a brilliant idea, and Colin duly flicked a few coins in the vendor’s direction, and snatched up the largest, most impressive specimen on his stall. It wobbled alarmingly in his paw as he walked away, and appeared almost too real for comfort. “Indeed they don’t.” He said quietly.

Primrose, meanwhile, was reconnoitring the immediate area with all six senses. She cocked her head upon one side – as if listening to something that no one else could hear.

Gargantua noticed this, and immediately he began mimicking her.

“What are you doing?” Primrose inquired.

“Hoping that whatever you’ve got rubs off on me.” Gargantua replied. “Maybe I can be the first recorded psychic cavy in history.”

“Do they keep such records in Prannick?” Primrose was instantly fascinated.

Gargantua shrugged his shoulders, which almost flipped Boney from his elevated perch. “Somewhere in some secretive cubby hole of The Wheel they do, no doubt.” He said.

Primrose’s fascination dissipated. “I’m trying to sense Tybrow Mooney’s presence, or at least his spore.” She spoke sternly, “Don’t interrupt with mindless trivialities.”

Colin arrived. He waved his wobbly dildo in Primrose’s direction. “What do you think of this, Primrose?” He asked politely.

Primrose wasn’t really paying much attention. “Lovely.” She said absentmindedly.

“Would you like me to go back and buy one for you?” Colin offered generously, “There was a sign that said ‘One size fits all’. Obviously I wouldn’t know what that means, but I’m sure it must be a positive attribute.”

Primrose then noticed the dildo as it wobbled like an elongated jellybean. “No!” she screamed. “It’s disgusting. Put it away.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan

To discover how this was put to good use later in the tale, check out Danglydong Dell Diaries at any e-book retailer. It’s also available from the stockists mentioned on the sidebar and under the header – those being Lulu, Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Well, Will I Do This Again?

The ‘this’ to which the title refers is writing. Sure the sentences between the photos in my Earplug Adventures is ‘writing’: but it isn’t proper writing. Proper writing is when the author describes the scene. Proper writing is the sort of stuff I used to live for. The sort of stuff I used to dream that (one day) I’d be really good at. The sort of stuff that comprised these four books…

The sort of stuff that looks exactly like this…

An extract from Silent Apocalypse.

Horse knew the way to our destination. Without any input from Driver, he turned across the road. By dawn’s early light we could make out the shape of a service station. Weeds grew through the cracks in the concrete, and rust had rotted the pumps. It had obviously been abandoned long before the plague had struck. Driver pulled us up in front of a plate glass window that had become opaque with dust and grime. The remainder of the building was coated with neglect also, and at some time a graffiti artist had immortalized himself. All in all this was a place that no one in their right mind would give a second glance. It was because of this very reason that the building had been selected. But that was something we were to learn later. An up-and-over door rattled open. Before us stood our man in black or at least someone who looked very much like him. Their isolation suits made each of them indistinguishable. Only body language could tell them apart. He beckoned us from the Crag Bus. I looked at Driver. He nodded.

We disembarked. Taking instructions from our mystery-man, we hurried into the dark recesses of the service station. I turned to watch him return to the Crag Bus. For some reason the acoustics of the building allowed me to catch their conversation. Driver leaned forward to best see the other man:  “Cosgrove, is it?”

The man, whom Driver referred to as Cosgrove (and quite clearly hailing from somewhere in North America), spoke without preamble:  “We’re not exactly packing them like sardines.”

“Can’t help that.” Driver replied flatly.

“It’s not like we have unlimited time…” Cosgrove spoke as though this was a well-worn conversational path.

“P’raps if you made them Whispers of yours easier to understand…” Driver suggested.

“Whispers, is it?” Cosgrove might have been amused if he hadn’t been so worried about something, “That’s a new one. No, we can’t make the message any clearer. We can’t take every urchin we find. We have to be selective – you know that. Only the brightest and the best…”

Driver finished his line for him. Obviously he had heard it many times before: “Only them what can decipher the hidden message. Yeah, I know. Aint too sure I agree with it: we could missin’ an awful lot of good’ uns.”

Cosgrove appeared weary. Perhaps this made him reply snappishly: “You don’t have to agree with it: Just do your job.” Instantly he regretted the outburst, though Driver appeared to take no offence. “I’m sorry, old-timer. Forget that. You’re a brave man. We owe you a hell of a lot.”

“You don’t have to go payin’ me compliments: It aint no bother. You’re the brave  ones so far as I’m concerned: I don’t need one of them isolation suits. But you…if you get just one nick in it…”

He left the suggestion hanging. Obviously it meant death-by-virus. Cosgrove clearly was a brave man.

“Well you’ve brought us another six: That’s six more than yesterday. If I get a little unreasonable once in a while, you’ll forgive, won’t you?”

Driver took up his reigns, “I’ll forgive you anything ‘cept failure.”

Cosgrove gave Driver a long, lazy salute. “I won’t fail. Our future depends upon it.”

Driver gave him a wink. Horse then turned the Crag Bus around, and they disappeared into the dawn mist.

Cosgrove quickly made his way to us – sliding the door closed behind us. Electric lights came on. We were all taken by surprise at the cleanliness of the buildings’ interior.

“Kids.” He said, (I hated the term) “Follow me.”

Without a word from any of us, we followed him to a door, which for all the world resembled an airlock. It hissed open, and we entered behind him. I felt a little trepidation run up my spine as it closed behind us once more. There were two small doors opposite.

“Right,” said Cosgrove, “I’m going to take the left-hand door: You take the right. One at a time, please.”

Then without another word Cosgrove promptly disappeared, as promised, through the left hand door. We all looked at each other. No one seemed eager to take the first step.

Lee put it into words. “Hey, we’ve come this far together: I aint too keen on breaking up our little team.”

“Yeah,” Wayne agreed, “Why should we separate? I say we all go through together.”

‘Is it camaraderie? Or are we just frightened kids who’ve been whistling into the dark for too long?’

We strode to the door as one. Donald pushed a green coloured button, just as he’d observed Cosgrove do. A lock was heard to ‘clonk’ open. He pushed upon the door. It swung silently open upon well-oiled hinges. Inside was a small room, not unlike an elevator. It was just large enough for us to pack ourselves in with a little room to spare. There was yet another door leading to somewhere else. The door through which had entered closed. The ‘clonk’ was heard again. Locked in. I didn’t like it.

“Thank you.” An electronic voice spoke, “Now please remove all of your clothing.”

Everyone erupted with varying degrees of colourful expletives. Unfazed, the voice repeated its instruction. It then added, “Decontamination will begin in one minute.” Now it dawned on us why Cosgrove had wanted us to go through one at a time. Donald tried the door, but there was no green button to press. In fact there were no controls of any kind. This was a one-way door!

“P’raps we could be decontaminated with our clothes on.” Lee said in desperation.

“Perhaps if we hammer on the door.” Katherine suggested.

I looked from one to the other several times. “Which door?”

“Both.” Wayne yelled.

Three to a door, we began hammering upon the hard metal, and shouting at the top of our voices. The electronic voice informed us that we had thirty seconds to prepare. At ten it began a countdown. When it reached zero we heard the now familiar ‘clonk’. Donald dared push at the door. It swung open into the ‘storeroom’, where Cosgrove stood waiting for us. It was difficult to make out his face behind the mask, but his eyes told us that he was not best pleased.

“Now that was a painless lesson about doing what you’re told, when you’re told. Ignore me again, and the next time it’ll be a whole lot less agreeable. Now go through one at a time.” He emphasized this last line. With that he re-entered his own door.

We shuffled about awkwardly for a moment or two. Finally Kevin made a decision, and approached the door.

“Need a bath anyway.” He said as he entered the room. “Bye.”

The door closed on his cheerful wave.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

A rather inactive excerpt, I think you’ll agree; but you can’t expect to have action-action-marvel-mystery-and melancholy at every turn – can you? No, of course not. By the way, this book, and those appearing above, are all available as paperbacks and e-books at Lulu.com; and as e-books at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other suppliers.

And to answer my question in the title of this post: God, I hope so!

 

Big Problem with Latest Earplug Adventures!

I was rather hoping that the Time Tamperer e-books would be published by now; but (if I understand the forums correctly) it appears that the publishers, Lulu.com, have huge problems with the software that converts Word documents into EPUB – the format required for e-readers. The glitch seems to have first appeared in October 2018; and despite their best efforts, continues to reject manuscripts in a random manner. I’ve gone through the manuscripts of Vol 1 and Vol 2 with a fine-toothed comb and can find no errors my end – but still the converter refuses to convert Vol 1 – showing an ‘unknown error’ each time I try. In the short term I plan to publish in PDF form, so that my adoring fans can still get their mitts on a readable copy for their laptop or whatever – even if it isn’t any good for e-readers. Hopefully Lulu can get their problems sorted and before long these lovely e-tomes will appear in all their glory…

Coming Soon – to an E-Book Supplier Near You!

Once again the latest story is simply too big for one e-book. So, as a result, the multi-megabyte tale will be published in two volumes. And this is what they will probably look like – assuming that they get past the publishers standards, that is…

Utterly charming, I think you’ll agree. So watch out for more news on the subject.

P.S If you think either cover closely resembles a pile of excrement, please say so in the comment box: I’d hate to produce a shitty book.