Book Extract…

I haven’t posted here in ages, but my Altered Ego, the Ark, did a post over here 

http://atheistenquiry.org/2014/02/11/if-god-does-not-exist/

about sailing off the edge of the world and during a further conversation it brought this to mind.

From the fantasy novel, The Nine Amendments.

Undertaker, Isack Knewtun is having dinner with Captain Blithely. He is sailing to Sunniclimes….

Isack, who fastidiously avoided most things to do with the Church, didn’t seem to think excommunication sounded too bad until  Captain Blithely explained that although they were only planning to throw him out of the church, it was the six-storey drop from the bell-tower that would have been the problem.

‘Ah, I see your point. What about the prayer and the circle thing?’

‘You prob’ly know that when the wardens mark you for excommunication they make the sign of a cross, like an ‘X’. Three crosses and that’s a strikeout. The sign of the circle, or nought, ‘spossed to counteract it. Mr. Winky’s little prayer is sort of forun. Means, Please keep me out the sh—’

‘I think I understand,’ Isack interjected. ‘We were talking about your brother, Captain.’

‘Oooaargh that we were. Well then. ‘Parrantly one of their lot had come a cropper while convertin’ the ‘eathens up in the jungles of Wethafkarwee. Are you familiar with the place in question, Mister Knewtun?’

‘I know of it, but have not visited the country.’ Isack’s idea of well-travelled was having visited all the cemeteries in and around Port o’ Bill.

‘Visited. Right. Doubt it’s the type of place you’d choose fer a visit. Those what ‘as visited, as it were, didn’t return to tell the tale, oooaaargh. In fact, none that I’m aware of even had chance to send a postcard.’

‘Yes, I had heard it to be rather foreboding.’

‘Oh, I wouldn’t know nothing ‘bout bodin’, Mister Knewtun, I’m only a simple ship’s captain. What I do knows is that it is a very portentous place where they ‘ave very interestin’ culinary ‘abits. Sometimes involvin’ visitors.’   Blithely pulled on his pipe in a sagely manner and finished the draw with his familiar phrase.

‘Good gods, cannibals!’ Isack exclaimed. He was aghast.

‘Aye, caninballs, Mister Knewtun, caninballs. So’s you can p’raps understand the C-word’s urgency on settin’ off on their rescue mission.’

‘I can indeed, Captain. What an awful business. Very rum,’ Isack added for maritime effect.

‘Oh, sorry, Mister Knewtun, where’s me manners. Pour us all a drink there, Mr. Winky, if y’please.’

‘Aye, cap’n.’

Winky got up to oblige.

Isack had never drunk rum from a tankard before and certainly not one that was full to the brim.

‘Er…’

‘Don’t worry about it, Mister Knewtun. There’s plenty. Wonderful cleanin’ properties. Removes encrusted salt and loosens up the barnacles a proper treat, it does. On the ship too, fer that matter.

‘Where was I? Anyways, they was in such an ‘urry they wouldn’t let any of them poor sales-ladies off the boat ‘afore they set sail. Said that although this was a rescue mission, the girls would be able to help the C-word with other positions of missionary work. They also took with ‘em several tools of their trade, includin’ one hundred fully armed and caparisoned soldiers. My brother was not an ‘appy man, I can tell you, Mister Knewtun.’

‘Doesn’t seem as though he had much choice, Captain,’ said Isack sympathetically.

‘Oh, ‘e ‘ad choice all right. There’s always that, Mister Knewtun. The choice ‘e was offered was, relinquish control of your ship to the servants of the Mighty, or swing. So he relinquished. For a while, at least. Well, the ship landed at Wethafkarwee and they found their warden. Some of ‘im, anyways, so I ‘eard. But the wardens of the C-word reckoned that as they was already there they might as well do some convertin’. Can’t say fer sure what they converted them Fkarweans into but it was probably similar to the conversion undergone by that unfortunate T-word warden.’

Isack noticed a look of disgust and contempt on Blithely’s face when he said C-word. A look suggesting that while not condoning cannibalism, it had even less respect for the Church.

Although Blithely didn’t ‘hold none fer foruners’, at least the Fkarweans didn’t invade Judysear and force everyone to worship their god, which just happened to be a five-toed sloth called ‘OO-OO.’ And of course, they had to eat something, he supposed.

‘They set sail shortly after their convertin’ and ‘eaded ‘ome. But what Fkarweans was left was proper…you know, like when you ‘as too much to drink.’

‘Er…drunk?’ Isack suggested.

‘The other word.’

‘Ah,’ Isack nodded, eyeing his own drink cautiously.

‘So they sets off in pursuit and gave chase, forcing my brother to alter course. Those little canoes o’ theirs can go right fast with enough motivation.

‘Well, my brother pointed ‘is ship at the horizon and hoisted ev’ry sail ‘e ‘ad, believing they wouldn’t give chase to the edge of the world, like. But they did. Meanwhile, them wardens was screamin’ blue murder, knowin’ full well that my brother was set on sending ‘is ship off the edge, if necessary, rather than fall into the ‘ands of the Fkarweans.  ‘E wasn’t about to let anyone make a whore’s derves outta ‘im.’

‘But that’s an old wives’ tale. Surely your brother knew the world is round?’

‘Not ever ‘avin a wife, young or old, ‘e was in two minds about what shape the world is. Flat or round, made no difference to ‘im, long as the water didn’t fly off.

‘But the Chur…sorry, Mr. Winky, the C-word, knows it’s flat and they’ll sail right round t’prove it. That’s about the time they got all the sailors t’mutiny and key-holed me brother, Mister Knewtun.’

‘I’m dreadfully sorry, Captain Blithely. Truly I am,’ said Isack.

‘S’okay, Mister Knewtun, Fkarweans got all but one of ‘em anyways. Found the poor wretch washed up on a beach a ways up the coast. Tha’s ‘ow we was able t’piece together the story. Died shortly after, ‘e did. Boat drifted ‘ome on its own a few days later, and at least my brother was already diced.’

©Douglas Pearce 2013

 

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I’m Mandy. Fly me.

Writing and (the art) self-promotion.

The title refers to a song by the band 10cc which parodied the 70’s (?) advertising campaign by the carrier National.

I_m_Jo__Fly_Me

I was thinking of sub-titling this piece:  I’m Douglas. Read me.  And even reading that sentence I cringe. But I have left it as it does illustrate the point of how I feel about self-promotion.

When I first set out on the path to being published I wanted nothing to do with marketing. Nothing at all. Well, maybe signing a few books. But that was it.

douglasbooksigning
“Lyz. How do I spell my name again? One es, or two?”

However, when I began to investigate Submission Guidelines of many literary agents more and more required details of what I was prepared to do to promote me/my book/s.

That’s your bloody job, I thought. And, by and large I still think this is the case. Yet it is an inescapable fact that for every JK Rowling type there are a fair few “Douglas Pearce” types, and to become a JK type author one has to be out there, and with social and electronic media being what it is these days you gotta at least be ‘on the bus, brother’.

So, you post a blog, get your mug on facebook, and maybe even your face on a mug, sunbathe on the roof of your house and wave when the Google Earth satellite goes by, and generally try to think of the least embarrassing ways of attracting the Paparazzi in an attempt to get yourself on the back page of the Weekend Newspapers or on Facetube or whatever with (hopefully) most of your clothes on.

Trouble is, I am not one of those in-your-face A Type personalities; the anonymity of sitting behind a laptop and the generally accepted solitary environment required to write has made me become somewhat reclusive these days. So much so that whereas before, say five or six years ago, I might have described myself as being sort of outgoing that is not the case any more.

When I did my first book launch I was assured by my publisher that I wouldn’t have to read anything. She lied! Can’t trust my own bloody publisher, dammit!

It was not a pleasant experience, but I survived it.

Lyz (my publisher) said afterwards that I looked decidedly uncomfortable. I just wish she hadn’t said it with a malevolent grin that had all the hallmarks of  “Suck it up writer boy –  you have to read as well!” written all over it. I am going to record myself for the next one and lip synch.

But all said and done, a few people have still found time to graciously write what they felt about the book. Like this….

 ‘The book is original, funny, entertaining, and a very good read. The plot takes you through several unexpected turns and “red herrings” and leaves you guessing ’til the end – and even after the end. The style reminds me of Terry Pratchett and Tom Sharpe with a dash of Douglas Adams. ‘

Ennui  (Reader)
– See more at: http://www.pkaboo.net/almostdead.html#sthash.ibn7YMKR.dpuf

This is what I was made to read. Out loud. You can too, if you like…

http://www.pkaboo.net/ADpreview.html

There, Lyz  See? I did it.   Please can I go now?

Wimmin’s rights! Yeah, right!

wimmin

 

While reading a few posts in The Ark Stealth mode I came across this piece on Holly’s blog and it reminded of something that I wrote ….

This snippet is from book IV with the current working title of Oh Little Town of Brothelingham, of the comic fantasy series The Mining of Lif  

The King of Sunniclimes, Infidel Castrol read the latest construction reports. He was fuming.

This current bout of ‘down-time’ was costing him a fortune.

And more importantly, time. He wanted to see the train; his train pulling into the newly-constructed station at Menfis.

It was delay after delay after delay.

The line was originally supposed to have run direct from El Stan-Bull to Menfis. The route would have meant it passed through Mount Horibilis.

The King saw no problem with this. In fact, he quite liked the idea of a fifty-kilometre tunnel.

However this idea was metaphorically burnt at the stake when it was pointed out that Mount Horibilis was of great religious significance.   Many people believed Mount Horibilis was also the legendary Mount Sinaisitus, where the Prophet Mo Sez was supposed to have met the One God.

As Mo Sez was held in high regard by several nations, and revered by some it was deemed unwise to ruffle any theological or political feathers.

King Castrol had no feelings either way regarding prophets. Although, he had very definite views when it came to profits.

Nevertheless, he was advised not to go making holes in things that were already considered holy.

The outcome being, that the railway line would now follow a route around the mountain…

‘Besides, Your Majesty. The phrase, she’ll be coming round the mountain has a certain poetic and timeless quality about it. Whereas, she’s coming through the mountain just doesn’t have a ring about it.’

‘She? Who the hell is she?’

‘Why, the train, sire. The engineer is emphatic that a thing of such beauty could only be a she, sire.’

‘So, what’s the damn problem this time,’ King Castrol asked.

‘The employees are demanding wages, uncle.’

‘What the hell are they?’ yelled the king.

‘I believe they’re a form of remuneration for work,’ replied the king’s nephew, Shane Guava.

‘I know what wages are, you half-wit. I was referring to employees. Since when do I have employees building my railway-line? They’re slaves.’

‘Oh, right. Since last week, apparently.’

‘Apparently! Apparently! The king bawled. ‘You’re Senior Overseer, for crap’s sake. Just execute a few of them.’

‘Could prove awkward, uncle. They’re organised,’ Shane tried to explain.

But the king was having none of it and vented his anger with a string of invective that included a suggestion that eyes would be the first organ he would have removed if the building of his railway was not back on track immediately.

‘They have an agent provocateur. A woman.’

King Castrol knew what a woman was. He wasn’t sure about the other person: this agent provocateur. But he didn’t really care.

‘So what? Execute them as well. Execute ‘em all, if necessary. We’ll get more.’

‘It’s Emily Pankreas, Uncle.’

A small frown creased the king’s brow.

‘The name rings a bell. Isn’t she a notorious leper or something?’

‘A suffragette, Uncle Fiddey.’

‘Same thing, isn’t it?’

Shane sighed. ‘She campaigns for woman’s rights, amongst other things.’

‘Women’s rights, women’s rights,’ the king mused trying to recollect where he had heard the term. ‘Isn’t that one of those hideous cloth things they use when…?’

‘No, uncle. It’s not,’ Shane interrupted. ‘It’s about equality and the right to vote.’

The king had a vague notion about voting, having heard the term mentioned by several of his wives. It had something to do with scissors paper and rocks and whose turn it was to share the royal bed. The thought of sharing anything, let alone his bed with a creature as hideous as Emily Pankreas was enough to make him shudder.

He focused on the word equality.

‘Equal rights for what?’ he asked suspiciously.

‘To be treated the same as men, uncle,’ Shane explained patiently.

‘You mean standing up to pee, farting and belching. Things like that?’

Shane gave up.

‘The thing is, we can’t get rid of her. She’s here to emancipate the slaves and she won’t go until this happens.’

‘With all the bananas and rice they eat I would have thought they were emancipated enough already.’

It took a few seconds.

‘Not constipated, uncle. Emancipated. She says they should be free.’

‘Free?’ Castrol frowned once more then quickly brightened, a smile spreading across his bearded face. ‘But that’s exactly what I want!’

‘No, no. That’s not…’

‘And what about the other one?’ the king interrupted.

‘Other one?’ Shane replied. Now it was his turn to frown.

‘The agent provocateur. What about him?’

Shane took a deep breath, shook his head then tried another tack. He hated it when his uncle tried to be devious. He was easier to deal with when he was merely losing his temper.

‘Never mind him for now. The point is, before I left, she lay down in front of the train and chained herself to the tracks. She is refusing to move unless we free the slaves and begin treating them like human beings.’

‘Lay down in front of the train, you say?’ The king had a calculating look in his eyes.

‘Yes, uncle.’

‘Good,’ Castrol said triumphantly. ‘Run over the bitch!’

Shane was almost at his wits end.  ‘We can’t. She is the Queen of Judysear’s cousin.’

The king sobered very quickly after this announcement. Anything royal-sounding would mean an entourage. He never travelled anywhere without at least fifty people in his retinue.  ‘Ah,’ he said nodding his head and rubbing his scruffy, tobacco stained beard. ‘So it’s political.’

At last! The Old Fart gets the picture, thought Shane.

But alas, the mighty ruler of Sunniclimes, His Majesty King Infidel Castrol thwarted his nephew yet again.

‘So build the track around her,’ he said with finality. ‘There. Sorted.’

Shane cradled his head in his hands. His shoulders shook.   He might have been laughing or crying. It was difficult to tell.

Shane had already considered this option but Emily Pankreas had promised to kill herself if they attempted to bypass her. And manhandling a cousin of the Queen of Judysear was asking for trouble. Even if they succeeded, and she refrained from killing herself he suspected she’d probably find some way to lie down on the track again. In his mind, Shane tried to imagine what several hundred kilometres of railway line would look like with Emily Pankreas-shaped diversions every few hundred metres.

Copyright DSP