Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Patience required

Now Milly Molly Mayhem has been added as my sixth Kindle offering. How many more stories must I upload in order to get any reader's attention?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Poisson d'Avril

On April Fool's Day this year, any offer of a translation assignment arriving in my inbox will be viewed as a malicious mockery of my current extremely precarious situation! 

A predatory tax man sequesters my bank account, leaving me little to live on...  and all for a sum which a couple of years ago I could earn in a fortnight. And that 'little to live on' calls for income. Okay, from 2 April I'm open to offers!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kindle number six

Shorter than my previous novels and written faster, Milly Molly Mayhem was intended from the outset in December for publication this month. There's a certain satisfaction in having met that self-imposed deadline. That makes my sixth Kindle Edition uploaded and begging for readers!

A winter story, told with the chilling headlines of December 2014 through February 2015 in the back of the writer's mind, and set in those months against the background of hybrid warfare, 'non-state actors' and developments leaving the world’s politicians and security experts flailing when confronted with perils not previously imagined. The perspective is that of Milly McLeod, a young British Army Intelligence Officer with plenty of reasons of her own to be confused.

The narrative avoids wallowing in dystopianism. The parallel referencing of books written for children in the early twentieth-century reminds of a world very different from the one we have inherited. Swallows and Amazons, Biggles, The Prisoner of Zenda and even Milly Molly Mandy on the one hand, Dai’esh, Boko Haram and Wikileaks on the other.

Joyous mockery of pseudo-academic techno-babble provides a level of light relief.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ciao, Andreas

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Here comes the sun!

This year for once the vernal equinox will be noted by many who otherwise might be oblivious to the Ostara festival celebrated by Druids, Wiccans and neo-Pagans. Tomorrow's solar eclipse will be hard to ignore, even here in Munich where only two-thirds of the sun will be in the moon's shadow. While I am by no means in thrall to any school of esoteric thought, I have always seen the date on which the days become longer than the nights as a cause for quiet rejoicing. I shall preempt Easter, ignore the seasonal wares piled high in the supermarket, and order my eggs with beans, bacon and toast!  


Picture me unimpressed. As on the 11th of August 1999 in Cologne, I waited this morning for any hint of a darkening of the sky. Again there was nothing of any consequence to report. Perhaps two-thirds of the sunlight obscured was not sufficient to make any appreciable difference? 

Oh well, the 1999 snapshot reminds me that I should maybe wear my kilt to celebrate the arrival of spring? 

Sunday, March 08, 2015

What a wonderful app it would be!

An email from my sister on the 2nd of December last year provided the trigger for my latest storytelling project. It was the passing mention of a trivial item of family news. My niece, a Warrant Officer in the British Army Intelligence Corps, was on her way to Bahrain for a week of exercises. She had packed a swimsuit and was determined to enjoy weather far different from the winter now starting to chill us in Europe.

My opening scene was instantly clear in my mind… St. Nikolaus Day at poolside of a hotel in the fictitious Emirate al Markaziyah. I began a new document, entered a working title and, with improbable ambition, claimed that the finished novel would be published in March 2015!

It was inevitably going to be very different from anything I have written before. The action moves from the sunny Gulf back to cold Germany, Switzerland and England. For once there is no subtle advocacy of social nudism, gymnosophy or heliotherapy! In this case the sub-text is less frivolous. The three months of writing have also been months during which the real-time headlines have described a world dangerous in ways which appear to leave the politicians and the intelligence community on the back foot. This helplessness finds its indirect reflection in my narrative.

Not that I have wallowed in trendy dystopianism. A contrasting leitmotif references books written for children in the early twentieth-century, portraying a world very different from the one we have inherited. “Swallows and Amazons”, “Biggles” and “The Prisoner of Zenda” on the one hand, Dai’esh, Boko Haram and Wikileaks on the other.

There is joyous mockery of pseudo-academic techno-babble, there are driverless cars and a reclusive arch-villain too! I had plenty of fun during the short, dark day of the winter season.

Somewhat to my surprise I completed the first draft last week, meeting the deadline I whimsically imagined back in early December. In a first edit, glaring plotting inconsistencies have been corrected, adverbs culled (although in moderation) and 'weasel words' (a recurring embarrassment) purged.

I imagined the app illustrated above!