Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

To everyone who reads my blog I'd like to wish you all a

And I hope 2008 brings you all that you wish for!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Tried this test after seeing a link from the Whispers of Wickedness site and scored 86

Take the Sci fi sounds quizI received 86 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Guess the Sci-Fi Movie Sounds hereCanon powershot

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm a Grandpa again :)

After almost eighteen hours of labour my daughter gave birth to her third child this evening, whoohoo!

Raphael was born by caesarian and a month premature and weighs in at 4lb 9ozs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm the first non-Amazonian to post his bookshelf!

Omnivoracious, Amazon's blog is doing a weekly banner feature of readers' books and I'm the first non-Amazonian to have his bookshelf up there! I've also been asked to write a few words about my selection, however, being a writer (of a kind) I've got a tad carried away and sent them a short story (almost) so it remains to be seen if it all gets posted. Anyway, should you want a peep at my ramshackle shelf and what I tend to read then click here before the bookshelf falls down (I'm useless at D.I.Y.) The banner shows a small part of the bookshelf if you click on my name on the right it takes you to more blurb.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Japanese to butcher Humpbacks

Against Western protests the Japanese are setting sail for the Antartica to hunt for Humpback whales which up to now they have refrained from slaughtering. However, as they have decided that the whale population has recovered enough to warrant a managed catch they are going to include Humpbacks so that they can 'study' and therefore help 'preserve' them... yeah right, in their stomachs?

The Japanese kill more than 1,000 whales a year in the Antarctic and also the Pacific Ocean utilising a loophole in the 1986 international moratorium that allows catching whales for 'research'. Only Norway and Iceland defy the moratorium outright.
But this year, Japan is expanding the catch to harpoon 50 humpback whales.

They also plan to kill 50 fin whales -- the world's second largest animal after blue whales -- as well as 850 smaller minke whales.

It will be the first time that Japan has hunted humpback whales since an international moratorium on the species took effect in 1966 due to overhunting. The former Soviet Union also defied the moratorium through the 1980s.

I drive a Mazda 6 and will probably change my car next spring for a new one, I will definately NOT be buying another Japanese one, I know this is a small token of protest but if more people spoke out perhaps Japan would wake up and smell the reek of disapproval that only they seem oblivious of.

If you want to lodge a complaint then this is a link to the London Embassy for Japan :- Link

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hot off the press! Joe Abercrombie's answers and secret identity!

Having the feeling that Joe is the sort of guy not to turn down a challenge I wasn't surprised to receive his answers to my five questions (some of which were a little risqué) and find that they were answered with poise and assurance. Here are the questions and Joe's answers:

1/ Joe, if you had the power to ban one single type of garment worn by humans on the earth today, which would you choose?

Why do I do this? Why?

1. Caps worn with the bill in any direction other than forwards.

2/ Joe, have you ever tried lighting one of your farts? If yes, why? If no, why not?

2. No. I once saw someone else burn himself quite badly attempting it. Not on the fart, incidentally, but on the lighter.

3/ Joe, if Megatron had a fight with Godzilla who do you think would win?

3. I think these two are both misunderstood, and would resolve their differences peacefully.

4/ Joe, if you were chosen to be the first human to meet an alien that had landed on Earth would you prefer to take a Desert Eagle Automatic with you are a Welcome to Earth sign?

4. I'd say the desert eagle, except I know I could never handle a .50 magnum. So gimme the sign. At least I could hide behind it.

5/ Joe, have you ever had a back, sack and crack wax? If yes, was it all you imagined it to be? If no would you consider having it done?

5. No need. I am entirely hairless, like an albino slug.

Thanks Joe


Now the more observant reader out there will have noticed Joe's last answer where he compares himself to an albino slug, strange you might think considering his photos show him with a head of hair and a stubble-covered chin, could they be images of a stand-in?

Below is an artist's impression of what Joe could really look like...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Five Questions For Joe Abercrombie

After seeing the five questions that Joe Abercrombie (he of The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged) was asked by Ken on Neth Space and his answers I wondered if he'd be up for me asking him five questions as I reckoned I could field five off-the-wall questions which would challenge him more. However, I made the mistake of asking him on his blog if I could ask him five questions... he said 'of course you may put questions on your blog. I don't promise to answer them, though.ha ha.'
Bah! that'll teach me to be more accurate with what I'm writing. However, I'm going to post the five questions anyway and see if he responds, they are all profound, thought-provoking and are here:

1/ Joe, if you had the power to ban one single type of garment worn by humans on the earth today, which would you choose?

2/ Joe, have you ever tried lighting one of your farts? If yes, why? If no, why not?

3/ Joe, if Megatron had a fight with Godzilla who do you think would win?

4/ Joe, if you were chosen to be the first human to meet an alien that had landed on Earth would you prefer to take a Desert Eagle Automatic with you are a Welcome to Earth sign?

5/ Joe, have you ever had a back, sack and crack wax? If yes, was it all you imagined it to be? If no would you consider having it done?

There, as I said, all profound and in perfectly good taste...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Street Festival Bridgend

Paid Bridgend a visit over the week-end where they were holding a Halloween Festival and I'd been invited to read one of my creepy stories at the evening get together. However, public speaking isn't one of my strengths so I declined but I did wander around the various stalls in the city centre and stumbled across this weird tent with some strange people selling books in it. They dragged me in a forced me to smile for a photograph.

From the left: Chris of Pendragon Press - Me (Bob Lock) - Steve of Screamingdreams - Frederick another author.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Estronomicon

Ok, the pdf of Screamingdreams' Halloween Edition of Estronomicon is live! Yes it will jump off the page and eat your face, here:
Eat my face!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Estronomicon Halloween Issue

Screamingdreams has released the Halloween Issue of Estronomicon and it's free here: OOPS! the link I had here was for the authors only, so they could check their drafts, hehe. When it's ready for release I'll re-link it, for those of you who already downloaded a copy, I hope there aren't any errors and you don't go selling them on Ebay if there are.... :-)

There are some great stories to read and excellent graphics to view, Steve's put together yet another fine Ezine, well worth a visit and it's all free. Hope you enjoy my story, let me know if you do or don't.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Well done Argentina

I haven't updated my blog in a while, mostly because things have been slow and there hasn't been much news. I have enjoyed The Rugby World Cup, especially the Argentinians who brought a refreshing uplift to the series. They had a well-deserved third place and I think would be a formidable team should they ever get the opportunity to play in The Five Nations Tournament.

Other news: Got a horror short story coming out in the Halloween Edition of Estronomicon from Screamingdreams. It's called 'Here we go again' and I'll link it once it's published.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Empathy Effect

Well, got the first draft done of 'The Empathy Effect' it's a novella of about 44,500 words (thats about 155 pages I guess) and is more of a 'slipstream' story than 'Flames of Herakleitos' which was a dark/sf/fantasy novel. It's a story about a manic few days in the life of Cooper Jones who is a young man living in today's Swansea. A bit of a loner, ground down by a sense of shame (for not doing enough to save a school friend when he was a youngster from being brutally murdered) he seeks solace in drinking himself into oblivion every night. Add to that he is a Traffic Warden and the fact he has a strange 'power' which enables him to 'sense' what people are feeling, sensing, believing, even their desires or emotions. His power, however, is erratic and manifests itself when he least expects it, this leads to a pretty chaotic lifestyle which only gets worse when he gets setup as the fall guy in a robbery, kidnapping, murder and a dog-baiting ring.

Can Cooper stay sober enough to extricate himself ?
Can he save his girlfriend from a physcopath?

Can he stop the dog he's baby-sitting from savaging his family jewels?

Can he finally get some control over his empathic powers?

Perhaps, but first he has to save himself from drowning because someone's bound him to a lower stanchion of Mumbles Pier... and the tide is coming in...

As I've said, it's the first draft, perhaps when I've edited it a couple of dozen times it might get a little thicker or even thinner, but hopefully all the typos will be cleaned out.

Then all I have to do is find someone willing to publish it, hopefully because it's a little more 'mainstream' than straight fantasy or science fiction it might be easier to find a home for it.

Here's the opening, see what you think:


Chapter 1 June 13th 2006

You’d think if anyone of all people could have seen it coming it would have been a guy blessed with the ability to imagine oneself as another person or even feel that other person’s emotions. That guy that could thereby foresee the probable outcome of the other person’s actions before they occurred.
Well, you would, wouldn’t you? I’d think so too and usually I do foresee these actions. Nevertheless, when you see me trussed up like this – and bear in mind its not even Christmas yet so the possibility that I’m impersonating a turkey awaiting the oven should be discounted – then it doesn’t leave many alternatives to think about, does it?
Oh, now you are thinking, perhaps he’s a sadomasochist. He’s the type who gets off being wrapped to one of the support legs of Mumbles Pier with industrial strength cling film whilst the incoming tide laps gently around his crotch and his friend’s little dog – which he was taking care of – has been thrown into the water with a brick attached to its collar. Or you might think he’s the type who enjoys being told that his girlfriend has been made to swallow a stomach full of rat-poison-filled condoms, wrong again. Could I be filming the next James Bond Blockbuster? Check it out. Is that a camera over there? Is it capturing the simulated horror upon my face as I act out Bond’s cliff-hanging opening scene as a scantily clad, nubile young woman surfaces between my legs with a wicked smile and a knife between her teeth then cuts through the wrapping and saves me?
Then roll the opening captions!
I wish!
Some human beings have the capacity – some say through a gift, I say through a bloody curse – by means of a sophisticated and imaginative process, to be able to place themselves in another human being’s position and therefore sense how they feel, act, or react. This capacity, whether or not you want to go with the ‘gift’ word usually has its roots set deep within the recipient from an early age, and through time, develops as its host matures, regardless of the fact if the owner of this gift nurtures it or denies it. Don’t ask me how it works. I don’t have a clue, but work it does. Perhaps the ‘gifted’ have that little extra which normal humans lack. I’m not talking about magic or anything like that. No, I like to think it’s more along the lines of recognizing emotions in others on a finer scale than ‘normal people’. Perhaps we see facial expressions, body movements, even the tone of a voice; I’d even go as far as saying the way a person smells can give the likes of someone like me an insight into how that person is feeling inside and how he or she will react to certain stimuli. So, if you want me to put a finger on what it is I do, or perhaps feel, then I can’t answer you because it’s just as much a of mystery to me now as it was twenty-something years ago when it first manifested itself.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t wandered around all this time in the dark not understanding or seeking to understand why I’m different. I’ve been prodded and poked by the best. Doctors, psychiatrists, priests, you name ‘em, I’ve been poked by ‘em. They all more or less come out with the same word for me.
My name is Cooper Jones, and I’m an empath. Oh, and yes, the water is now up around my neck and I am going to start drowning soon.
I told you I was empathic…

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Covey Awards Result & Neil Gaiman Result!

Sadly 'Flames' was extinguished in The New Covey Awards for best cover art by Aleka Nakis' 'Eyes of the Dead' congrats to Aleka. Many thanks to all who voted for Steve's artwork, much appreciated.

However, I had a bit of luck with a competition in The Guardian by winning a runner-up prize in a Neil Gaiman comp of a copy of his film tie-in book 'Stardust', received the confirmation email today from Becky Fincham, Publicity Manager for Headline Publishing Group.

Thanks Guardian and Headline :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Vote for 'Flames' Book Cover

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams is the artist that designed the cover for Flames of Herakleitos and is in the running for an award for best cover on this site: Covey Awards I'd appreciate anyone reading my blog to take a trip over there and voting for him, the reward is just kudos and a winner's icon to add to his website but it would be nice for him to get some recognition for the cover :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fiction-Online Ezine (Story of mine there)

Stuart Tracey the editor of the webzine FICTION ONLINE has published a SF short of mine 'Do We Not Bleed?' in their September issue #4 and the download of the whole magazine can be found here : download and it's free! It is a PDF file so you'll need a reader like Adobe. This issue is a fat 29 pages long and has other shorts from : Sarah Hughes - Gareth L Powell - Andrew Knighton. It also has book and game reviews. Stuart is still open to submissions so if you have something you think would catch his eye go take a look at his site.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Are you Bionic?

Found this little test thingy, shows if you are Bionic or not:

See What You're Made Of - Visit The Official Site

As you can see I'm only 41% Bionic, so that must be my capped teeth, my reading glasses and my Borg Hearing Aid...

Friday, August 31, 2007


Found this site last night and I have to say the resemblance is remarkable!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Insight into Small Press Publishing

Steve Upham of ScreamingDreams Publishing has done a great PDF ezine regarding the trials and tribulations of adding a print publishing side to his Ezine Estronomicon. It's a free PDF and well worth a read here is the link: Free PDF You'll need Acrobat or something to read it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Two books worth reading!

I don't usually review or recommend books on my blog, but I do have Library Thing down the side to show what I'm reading or have read etc. However, I've just finished two books which I'd like to endorse to anyone who enjoys a fast paced fantasy and they are:

Although I normally read SF, Neal Asher, Gibson, Reynolds, Richard Morgan, etc etc, now and then I enjoy reading something in the fantasy genre, could be because in my younger days I played D&D turn based board games with a gang of drunken friends and had some great times, could be because I like MMORPGs too and they are mostly fantasy-based. Anyway, it was a joy reading these two books and I have a feeling that Joe might have delved into the D&D & MMORPG worlds now and then too. Both books are of the non-stop page turning variety and should be read in sequential order, the third, and I think final book is due out March 2007 ( a long time to bloody wait!)

His characters have a flair to them that has you rooting even for the nastier of the bunch, take Glokta the torturer for example. A character that was once the best swordsman in the land but now crippled through being tortured himself. Glokta has embraced the only skill left to him, inflicting pain, seeking out confessions (whether or not the person has done it!) with an expertise born from an intimate knowledge of suffering, you can't help but like him!

Logen, the barbarian who seems to have death sitting on his shoulder, wherever he goes bodies are usually left in his wake, broken, torn and always bereft of life (and that's not only his enemies, his friends can also end up the same way)

There are loads more of well-drawn characters within Joe's novels and even if you are not a fantasy genre reader I'd still say give these stories a try, you may become converted!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some more stuff published

Had some more of my work published lately, firstly had a poem of mine - 'The Grapes Of Wrath' published in the summer issue #15 of Whispers of Wickedness Magazine (also have a short story on their website)

And the other good news is I had a set of four SF/SFF haiku printed in Hahaku a collection of senryu-scifaiku with a smile, edited by Teri Santitoro and published by Sam's Dot Publishing, and best of all I got paid for them! A free copy of the little book and $5.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Big Ben

The recent news that Big Ben will be silent for four to six weeks brought to mind a poem of mine which features the old clock and as I haven't posted a poem or short story here in a while I thought I'd put this one up for perusal.

Big Ben tolls the sombre voice of midnight

Big Ben tolls the sombre voice of midnight,
Awakens pigeons from their slumber.
Invites dank fog which follows roiling tide,
Up the River Thames, creeping, seeking.

Tendrils of misty vapour climb embankments,
Explore abutments of silent bridges,
Reach into gas-lamp illumed alleyways.
Which concede to its grasp and darken.

As the last knell fades into oblivion
So too does the sparkle of life in her eyes.
The mist reaches her now, inquisitive, pervading.
But to her, the dewy blanket comes as a friend.

Gently it covers the once warm, now still form,
Whose last movement is but the slowing,
Dripping, coagulating pool of blood, whose steam
Joins it fellow vapour, and explores onwards.

It writhes now, as he stands, wipes the tool of his handiwork,
And returns the blade to the leather doctor’s bag.
He surveys his great masterpiece.
A pique of displeasure crosses his face,

As London’s smog, in its shame, tries to hide his art.
Far off a shrill whistle sounds; a shutter closes.
Her whimpered cry, even though stifled, had found ears.
With a last, longing look, he turns; black cloak swirls, churns,

Her wispy blanket, parts, saddened to show what he called art,
What she called terror and unbearable pain,
The police, in their ignorance, shall call it ‘A Mystery’
History writes… ‘Jack the Ripper’s first victim’.

He leaves now, trailed by the mist too frail to hold him.
It condenses on the gaunt metal railings,
On the shimmering gas-lamp; it turns to tears that fall on her face
Only the fog knows him; but it can do nothing, but weep.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Swallow Flies!

Six years later and the Doretti is ready for the road. The hood was made by a local chap in Swansea. He had some mohair material which was left over from a Mercedes soft top and that did very nicely, thank you. His recovering of the seats was pretty good too. Managed to source a brand new windscreen and after searching high and low I even managed to find a supplier for the unique rubber sealing needed to hold it in place. Things were looking up!

With the help of my late father-in-law, Tony Rinaldi, we jury-rigged a tripod hoist in my garage and with a great deal of effort and luck managed to get the engine into the car. It wasn’t long before the straight four TR2 power unit was rumbling away sweetly, a great note and throaty roar burbled its way out of the straight-through exhaust system and woke all the neighbours up.

The first test drive was around the little estate I live on and within days the car was ready for its first M.O.T. in decades. It passed first time. We had a lot of fun with the Doretti even though we never did any long distance driving in her. It’s strange, but after spending all that time and money on the car it worried me each time I took her out! I hated each stone chip, each damned fly that spattered against the paintwork, heaven forbid if someone scratched or bumped her! Even when I cleared most of the rubbish out of my single garage it was a struggle getting her in and out and I wondered how the hell I had ever managed to restore her in such a confined space, needs must, I suppose.

When the time came to the parting of our ways it was a sad but also happy moment (although to look at the photo of me with the money you’d be hard pressed to see the happy part!), sad because the car had been such a big part of my life for quite a few years, but happy because I knew it was going to a good home, Jill Royle, the daughter of one of the owners of an original Doretti dealership. In 2000 Jill sold STT 24 to Eddy de Heus of Loosdrecht in Holland to make room for an extremely rare Doretti Mk2 (HRF 60). As far as I know, Eddy, who is a passionate Doretti collector still has STT 24 and I was extremely pleased to see that he’d even taken the car on a jaunt through the Dordogne. Although I never got to drive her to exotic places like that I feel that a part of me is still with her, bonne chance STT 24…

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Verging on the Mediocre


Well I finally had enough today and booted my telephone and broadband provider into touch. I'm quite a patient bloke, can spend hours watching the tip of a fishing rod waiting for a bite, knowing full well there's no worm on the hook, but it's the thought that counts... there's mind over matter for you. Anyway, mind over matter, that brings me back to my ISP and 'phone, they don't mind charging me for two telephone lines for over a year even though I only have one. They don't mind charging me for receiving a TV package which I cancelled in March because I couldn't get the channels I was promised. They didn't mind disconnecting me immediately and picking up their set top box. It didn't matter that they kept on charging me for a service I can't receive anymore.

Back to the telephone... so, two lines for over a year, Customer Support worked out a refund of £200 or so was due, had my July bill today, had a refund of £10.37p hmm.

Ok deep breath, let's make a cuppa and start dialling... got through to CS after about 30mins and explained for the nth time the problem, was put on hold. Fast forward nearly an hour and I'm told I need to get transferred. I phone BT and arrange to get my old BT line re-activated, it's due to go live 6th August, my number will stay the same. Then I'm going to go with the Sky package (already have TV) now for phone and broadband. Get through to my original ISP again, wait in cue, write a 100,000 word novel, get through to an Asian lady, she asks me all that I've explained previously, I do so. Get put on hold, this time for over an hour, finally it dawns on me that no-one is going to come back on the line, I put down the receiver.

Need to make a call to my Mum, pick up the phone, it's dead. Can't ring out or receive calls. Just finished writing my letter of complaint and my copy to Ofcom, now waiting for my ISP to boot me out too.

The thing that compounds the insult is that I was a beta-tester for the first cable modems and broadband connection for this particular ISP and have been with them since the start... didn't I say I was patient? Well I don't mind, they can be as mediocre as they want from now on, doesn't matter to me anymore...

Oh, by the way, they did say:

An engineer is going to call to disconnect you and take away the set top box on 25th August...

I replied:

Ahem.. this was done back in March...

Doesn't matter sir, we'll send an engineer out on 25th August to disconnect you and collect the box...

The non-existent box? The one you disconnected and removed in March?

An engineer will collect it on 25th of March...

Sheeshh... just as well I don't have any hair to tear out isn't it?

And mediocre is probably too kind a word to use:
mediocre =
of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate.
rather poor or inferior.

Monday, July 23, 2007

One of my shorts on Whispers of Wickedness

Whispers have published one of my shorts on their site, it's a knee-length pair that I wear during the winter when it gets a bit nippy... oops, sorry that's the wrong submission, was thinking of another site...

Here's the link to the Whispers one: Story

Here's an updated page from Screaming Dreams with a couple of reviews and a shopping cart thingy for anyone who'd like to order a copy of 'Flames' (signed by Steve and me) you'll have to click on paperback books and navigate to the correct page, couldn't link directly, Steve's been tweaking his site.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The cat's away Part 3

Well, I haven't been able to update the blog for over a week because utter chaos ensued after my last entry. My daughter ended up in hospital with pancreas problems and had to have surgery (she's on the mend now) thank goodness. My grandson went down with a virus, it's called 'Slapped Face Syndrome' and it truly looks as if someone has been belting him around the cheeks, they are red and rash-covered, it's contagious so I suppose my grand-daughter will come down with it too. And, the next invalid, Nia, my dog, has been really ill too. Remember I mentioned she was sick? Probably due to the Chinese meal left-overs? Well, I was wrong, believe it or not she had pancreas problems, yes, you've read it right, the same sort of thing as my daughter (who says lightning never strikes twice?) Last week-end the dog was really ill, took her to my vet on Sunday and they gave her some injections (one of which was a pain-killer). Got her home and tried to get her out of my car and she collapsed, saliva running from her mouth like a tap, my neighbour, a nurse, advised me to get her back to the vet ASAP. Got back there and it was closed. Had to go to an emergency vet where they thought she had a reaction to the pain-killer (which was opiate-based) they kept her over-night and gave her IV. She's been ill all week and Friday I had to drive her to a specialist in Bristol who did scans, she has Pancreatitis and a heart murmur, she's slowly recovering but has to go on a strict no-fat diet. I haven't got her insured and this week believe it or not I've spent over £1000 getting her sorted out.
What a bloody week, I just hope things have reached their peak now and normality looms large on the horizon!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tha cat's away Part 2

Hmm... bachelorhood isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Experimented with the washing machine and managed to get quite a lot of my T-shirts, trousers, sweat-shirt, covered in loads of pink fluffy stuff which seems to have migrated from a bath-towel. The bath-towel looks kind of bald now but I've got colour co-ordinated clothes, I just don't dare wear them...
Next thing that went wrong was ordering too much Chinese from the takeaway, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, but being a generous bloke I thought I'd share out the remains with my two faithful hounds, they both gobbled it up. However, late last night I awoke to the sound of projectile vomiting (good job they had elected to sleep in the conservatory instead of on the bed) however, Nia, the biggest, was on the settee and managed to pebble dash it, all the cushions, a large part of the wall, the floor and my other dog. I had to hose most of the stuff off and then chucked it all into the washine machine again, I've got a feeling the washing machine doesn't like me because it wouldn't start, then it wouldn't bloody open either for me to get the vomit-covered stuff out. I threatened it with the sweeping brush which caused Nia to vomit again, this time in the kitchen and it worked. So all clean again but I wonder what next adventure lies in wait for me? Think I'll do the ironing....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Whilst the cat's away...

I'm a bachelor for a couple of weeks whilst the wife visits relatives in Italy so I'm doing all the things I get told off about doing when she's here, for example, I'm eating all those rubbishy ready-made foods which all Italian wives frown at. You know the ones, they tempt you even though you know there's more goodness in the packaging than in the product. I've let the dogs sleep on the bed! I've 'pruned' runaway bushes in the garden (which I'm not allowed to touch) (they could be dead now) shhh... I've taken up a 10 day free trial of World of Warcraft (Burning Crusade add-on) and resurrected my level 60 Warrior - Cormac - yeah, yeah I'm a fan of Neal Asher - and am clicking away killing mobs, npcs, other players (Horde characters) though mostly I'm getting my arse handed to me as I'm not as quick as youngsters that play this game, there should be bonuses for old giffers like me...
I've had Classic FM rattling my windows with my Hi-Fi turned up to OUCH! When I've had time to watch the telly I've watched programs I like! Sheesh, now when I look at it all it seems pretty mundane stuff, where are the parties? Where are the strippers? Where are the kegs of beer? I must be getting old... Oh well, time for dinner, now let's see, will it be that Chinesy thingy with all the coloured bits in or that weird-looking curry? Hmm... or I could pop around to the pub and have a steak and a pint...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Update on the Pratchett Play

Well I went to see The Truth by Terry Pratchett in The Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea with my wife and daughter on Friday night and really enjoyed it.
The adaptation by Stephen Briggs was as good as I expected (already seen one by him before) All cast members gave a good performance and Brian Willis was outstanding as Mr.Pin, one of the hit-men, in fact I thought he was too good, makes you wonder what his day job is...
I'd really have liked to have taken some photos but it wasn't allowed, oh well...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Terry Pratchett comes to Swansea

Ok, perhaps a bit misleading, Terry himself isn't coming but one of his books is being brought to life on the stage of The Dylan Thomas Theatre between June 12th and June 16th, performances start at 7.30pm and tickets are £7 each (I think there are concessions though)
The play being performed is The Truth which is Terry's 25th novel and deals with the first Disc World Newspaper.
Brian Willis (Hideous Progeny, Scorpion etc) is playing the part of Mr.Pin one of the psycho hit men and if the play is anything like the last Disc World one I saw at this venue then the audience is in for a good time.

Adapted by Stephen Briggs

Directed by Lianne Halliday

Hopefully I'll be attending the Friday evening performance and going for a pint afterwards in the pub across the road.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rescue Me! I want to see more!

Arghh! I can't stand it!

Watched the series three finale of the American Firefighter series Rescue Me the other night and it ends on such a damn cliff-hanger that I'm gagging to see what happens.

Emmy nominee Denis Leary has done some excellent writing throughout the whole series, in my opinion, and, I have to admit to never really liking the guy when he was doing stand-up comedy, but this is a whole other kettle of fish. He's not only the co-creator but also co-writer (along with Peter Tolan) and plays Tommy Gavin, a New York City firefighter who has to overcome post 9/11 depression, alchoholism, a dysfunctional family and the anguish of losing his young son to a drunk driver.

As far as storyline goes don't expect great battles where firefighters combat roaring infernos that seem impossible to overcome, oh, that does happen from time to time but the joy of this series is in the characters themselves and the mundane everyday things that goes on in the background of their lives. Each character is a little gem in a brilliantly written set of stories, makes our London's Burning look like cheap costume jewellery in comparison.

Leary has even set up The Leary Firefighters Foundation in response to a massive fire in his home town of Worcester which claimed the lives of six firefighter which included his cousin and also his best friend.


The series three finale leaves viewers holding their breath as Tommy Gavin wakes up from a drug-induced sleep (administered by Sheila who wanted to keep him home for the night) and struggles to leave the burning house only to collapse before finding the way out. We're left wondering if Tommy and Sheila survive, or they too go the way of many of their friends and former colleagues.

There are some clues on the Rescue Me website, series four is due to start in June but I imagine that means in America and not the UK, I'd guess we'll get it here sometime in the autumn or winter. So, if you don't know this program, now is the time to start watching it from series one.

Even the opening credits are a joy to watch and the opening soundtrack C'mon C'mon by Von Bondies rocks your socks off...

... did I mention I like this program?

Monday, April 30, 2007

First review of 'Flames'

Just had my first review of 'Flames' and boy oh boy was it a great one! And I need to thank Garry Charles for his kind words. The full review can be read on the Whispers of Wickedness site.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Flames of Herakleitos eligible for Welsh Book Of The Year 2008

I'm not going to get my hopes up but can't help but feel a little excited to see that 'Flames' is eligible for The Welsh Book Of The Year 2008 and is listed on Acamedi's site : Academi

I'm in the March list and numbered four. It's early days yet, probably many more books to be added and already there are some tough books to beat and some pretty big names in there.

How it all works is a mystery to me, I don't know if it works on sales or if there is a voting system. Unfortunately, if it is sales-based I think 'Flames' will struggle as it will be difficult to get it stocked in bricks and mortar shops due to publishing costs and the discounts that the big shops expect. However, it seems to be moving quite well on Amazon, so who knows?

Friday, April 20, 2007

The continuing story of Swallow Doretti – STT 24

It didn’t take me very long to realise that perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew with this endeavour. I’ve always tinkered with cars (old ones – new ones are best left to robots and computers) and had got my TR4 back on the road after buying it with a seized engine, so thought, ‘what the heck? It’s not all that bad… hmm’
First thing to do was power wash the whole thing to try and get rid of the dog poo smell. It didn’t work; the bloody thing seemed to be ingrained into the metal. I tried to leave most of the car outside on nice days, just to air it. Even took the partially stripped chassis to Singleton Park in Swansea where they have a Classic Car Show in May. It brought many enquiring people to its side, mostly asking what the smell was…

With the car dismantled and the engine sent off to be stripped down and examined by a professional -- I know my limits-- I began to do what I could in my single garage. The chassis was in very good condition, due to the aforementioned chrome-molybdenum steel which doesn’t rust. Superficial dirt and detritus was wire-brushed off and soon bright metal showed underneath. This was rust-proofed (just in case) and then the chassis was painted with black Hammerite (great stuff). The chassis out-riggers were mild steel and they had to be cut off and new ones made up and welded on. I treated myself to a MIG welder and found out the hard way never to weld lying down with the weld seam dropping bits of red hot metal down your neck. The inner body shell was also mild steel and so were the floors which had rotted away completely. Fortunately enough, TR2 floors were very similar in shape and were available as new parts. Two were ordered and fitted, with some adjustments made. Other pieces were cut back to sound metal and new panels and pieces were let in. Steering was TR2 so all those parts were renewed as was suspension. The petrol tank was mild steel and was like a sieve, however it was used as a template and I had an engineering company make me a new one in stainless steel, you can see my old Jack Russell guarding it in one of the photos (gone now btw, great dog he was). Ohh! The red car on the cover of the magazine near the tank is… yes, a Doretti.

The doors were pretty sound, but the skins were in bad shape, so I chiselled them off and once again used them as templates for new ones. They were made in mild steel, even though all other outer panels were aluminium, because of the possibility of them taking knocks during their lifetime, aluminium although being light and rust-proof is very easy to dent. Ahh, I said rust-proof, well actually is does rust but in its own way. I think perhaps it’s some kind of oxidisation, or whatever the term is, because where the panels fitted to the mild steel body there was a weakening and even holing of the metal. I was told this is due to some sort of electric charge that happens between the two metals; perhaps it’s true, too technical for me. Where necessary this was patched and strengthened by a professional aluminium welder, again something that a specialist needed to do.

At last the car began to take shape. The mild steel inner body had been bead-blasted and primed, pieces added and primed and finally offered up to the chassis and it all fitted very well indeed.
The inner bodywork I painted myself in my garage as much of it wouldn’t be seen anyway. Then the outer skin went on. Once again it went together much better than I imagined. By now I had received the re-built engine (crank reground, new bearings, four new piston liners, four new pistons, new valves, head skimmed etc etc) so I had fitted it in place before putting the body on, however the body slotted over with no problem. It was only later that I realised the engine couldn’t stay in situ because the bloody engine bay was going to be sprayed with the rest of the car… everyone say d’oh!

And so STT 24 began looking like a car again, petrol tank went in, I started trying to find a source for a new windscreen (old one was cracked) and took the seats to an old guy in Swansea who did car re-upholstery, also took him the old hood which was so moth-eaten it had begun to look worse than my bank balance…
Next instalment will be added sometime soon. How will the re-spray turn out? Where will I get a wiring loom from? How the hell am I going to get the engine back into the engine bay without a crane? Why does my bank manager want to see me?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Why isn't stuff researched a little more, or am I too fussy?

I enjoy watching SF stuff (films, series etc etc) and also reading the same. As you probably know I enjoy writing it too. Although I haven't an academic or scientific background I try my best to be accurate with what I write and usually research the subject. Therefore, when I see(and it's mostly through that medium and not books that I spot the flaws) things like in the last Doctor Who, where the hospital is transported to the moon, the Doctor explains that they are within a protective force-field and that's how they can breath, how come he didn't explain why the gravity seemed to still be Earth-standard? How when the alien space-craft landed and the aliens marched across the moon's surface you could hear their stomping boots? Okay, you might say, well Doctor Who is aimed at kids, point taken. But what about last night's Battlestar Galactica (spoiler here) 'A day in the life' where we see Cally and Tyrol working in a damaged airlock only to find out that it's still leaking atmosphere and it automatically shuts them in to protect the rest of the ship. So how can they escape? By blowing out the main airlock doors and getting shot out into space and then captured by a shuttle holding position outside. Their protection? Little face masks like the ones that drop out of airplane ceilings just before you kiss your arse goodbye. From how the episode ends it looks as though they survive with nothing more than a couple of burst blood vessels in their eyes. Now, I thought, but I admit I'm no expert, but shouldn't rapid decompression affect you a lot more than that? Doesn't even being in space for a few seconds mean that because of your internal body pressure you suffer ruptured organs, boiled blood, frozen extremities? Oh well, perhaps I am being too picky...

But I certainly would have wanted to wear a space-suit

Sunday, April 08, 2007

First Swallow of the summer

This time of year always makes me think of my old Swallow Doretti which I discovered tucked in the back of a garage in Swansea in 1989. It was in a very poor condition and served as the sleeping place for a Doberman (and also it's toilet) At the time I owned and drove a Triumph TR4 (will do a story on that in the future) which I had to sell to make room for the Doretti as I only have a single garage. My wife thought I was mad when I got the car (if it could be classed as one at that time) home. It was stinking of dog poo, old oil and quietly rusting metal. However, I knew it was a rarity and well worth the trouble of restoring, six years later I was finally proved right, but it was a long, hard six years. The Swallow Doretti was designed back in the 1950s by an engineer named Frank Rainbow for The Swallow Sidecar Company, which evolved into Jaguar.

Only about 290 were made and many of those went abroad, mine was chassis number 1181. Dorettis have an aluminium skin over steel frame and a chrome-molybdenum chassis which was very, very strong. The running gear and engine was TR2 1998 cc straight four. If I've imbedded a flash slideshow correctly you should see some photos of the car before restoration work took place. Over the next few days I'll update the blog with more photos of how the restoration went and how the car finally turned out. As you can see, when I started the work I still had my hair...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Poetry site updated

Somehow my poetry site got deleted this week (someone trying to tell me something?) However, I think I've got it sorted now and the link should be working again. Here it is, and if you don't like it just say so, don't go deleting it again!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

News and photos of the booklaunch

The launch of 'Flames of Herakleitos' took place last night (Friday 23rd March) The event was opened by David Woolley, published poet and director of The Dylan Thomas Centre and I then gave my opening address welcoming quite a large number of guests, old and new friends. Music and song was supplied by Franco Rinaldi a Welsh/Italian singer/musician and then a reading was given from my book by my niece, Holly. Who, I have to admit, did an excellent job, much better than I could have done. However, I didn't get away with keeping a low profile and gave a rendition of two poems of mine, Follicly Challenged (sub-titled- to all the curls I knew) and was assisted by my daughter, Juliana who supplied the last line, here is that poem:

This barren dome, damned cranium bare
That once so flowed with lustrous hair
You betray me with your flashing beam
That startles horses when I’m seen

Those lovely locks so careless shed
Found on my pillow and not on head
I mourned them all as their life did wane
And swirled round sink, disappeared down drain

“Comb over” I tried, to hide the loss
Made jokes of rolling stone and moss
But in my room I cried alone
When finally threw out my faithful comb

And shaved off the last few failing strands
That clung to scalp with desperate hands
Then heard the words I do most hate
As my daughter slapped my naked pate.

“Hi baldy…”

Holly then recited a poem of mine entitled 'In your hand' and then Rhys Hughes was kind enough to give a rendition of poem of his which drew the audience into a surreal world where Vikings invaded his bedroom ( we all waited with bated breath to see if he was either ravaged by them or forced to join in with their Abba songs) Finally Holly read my 'Magic Colouring Book' poem and I ended the reading session with ' Mother please don't cry for me.' The evening was rounded off with a mixture of music and singing ranging from old Neapolitan songs to Tom Jones's Delilah.

Some of the literary, artist, publisher, musician guests included: Mike O'Driscoll - Steve Lockley - Paul Lewis - Chris Teague - Brian Willis - Rhys Hughes - Ian Simmons - Steve Upham - Tony Harwood - Stuart Ross - Monica Konggaard - David Woolley

Thanks to everyone who attended and made it the happy night that it turned out to be :)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

First book has arrived!

The first copy of ' Flames of Herakleitos' burst through my letter box and set fire to my hall today and I can't say enough good things about how the finished product looks. I'd heard that the printers, Diggory Press, had a good reputation for delivering the goods on time and for the quality of their work but I was pleasantly surprised to find it better than my expectations.

Here I am doing a 'look at me I'm an author pose and I also eat spectacles'
(I won't post the photo of me holding the book upside down...)
Diggory's site says the book will be available from them this Saturday 10th March for the rrp of £9.99 and P&P within Europe of £1.99 I'm not sure if it will also be available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble etc on the same date, but it should be in the near future. I also think Steve Upham will be selling copies from his Screamingdreams site too. If you go to your local bricks and mortar bookshop and quote the ISBN 978-0-955518515 they'll be able to get you a copy too.

UPDATE: Amazon has it listed here

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Whispers of Wickedness

Whispers of Wickedness, an online, and printed magazine of Dark Atmospheric Art and Fiction have appointed me as their Poetry Editor. Their original poetry editor John Saxton has gone AWOL it seems, so for the time being I've taken on the position. Let's hope I prove to be up to the challenge!
Whispers of Wickedness

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A new constellation is born in the firmament of Welsh SF/F/Horror

The writers, Steve Lockley, Paul Lewis and myself were talking about the lack of any Welsh group or method of meeting like-minded people in Wales whilst we were supping a few beers in The Old Inn in Penllergaer a week or so ago and Steve thought of starting things off with a Yahoo group.
The name chosen for this distinguised collection of people is
SOUTHWALESFANTASISTS and it can be found on . As suggested by the title of this post, it is populated by only the brightest stars in the Welsh SF/F/Horror heavens, okay, there might be a black-hole or two and a stray brown dwarf, but as they say, that is another story....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy St. David's Day!

March 1st in Wales is our patron saint's day, St. David. It's a day when most of Wales's natives can be seen out wearing our national flower in their lapel, the daffodil. It's the time of year when minds turn to springtime and the promise of summer. Our daffodils with their yellow nodding heads seem to confirm that winter is almost over.

Bore da!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

'Flames' is smouldering... combustion date 10th March 2007

Just a quick update on the book. Diggory Press have now shown it as available for purchase from 10th March 2007 on their site. It will also be available from FROM LEADING WEBSITES SUCH AS AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE, PLAY.COM, POWELLS.COM, TESCO.COM,WH SMITH.

Flames of Herakleitos

Steve Upham and I will be approaching bricks and mortar bookstores too, however, you should be able to quote the ISBN number to them and order it, even if it isn't on their shelves.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Which Science Fiction Writer Are You?

Thought I'd give this a try and here's the result :-

I am:
Frank Herbert
His style is often stilted, but he created what some consider the greatest SF novel of all time.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Ahh... if only I have the talent that this guy had in his little finger, then I'd be more than happy :)

Paul: What do you call the mouse shadow on the second moon?
Stilgar: We call that one Muad'Dib.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blurb on Sfcrowsnest

I've been lucky enough to have a bit of blurb on that most esteemed SF/F Site reports on the upcoming book launch and other authors who are getting work published by Screamingdreams. Thank you Geoff :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Youwriteon Book Of The Year Announced!

The first Youwriteon Book Of The Year has been announced and my hearty congratulations goes to UK's Guy Saville for his story, The Africa Reich. Second place went to Patricia J. Delois and third to Michael Alan. YWO also decided to make a children's book award and first place for that went to, H.J.Windsor, second place to S.Star and third to Bob Burke, congrats to everyone listed and good luck with placing your stories.
Flames of Herakleitos was in contention but once agreements were made with Steve Upham of Screamingdreams that the book would be published by him it had to be withdrawn.

YWO has proven to be a great help to all budding novelists. Feedback from the writers who contribute has been outstanding and, in my case, a great help in smoothing out kinks in the plot, grammatical errors etc. The site boasts a hell of a lot of hits per month which demonstrates its popularity and best of all, IT'S ALL FREE! so get over there now and take a look!

There is some blurb on the BBC page too and here's a link:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My first ISBN!

Well the ISBN for Flames of Herakleitos has come through to Steve over on Screamingdreams. It's the first one for me (I have been in a few anthos and shared ISBNs but this is mine, all mine!)
Editing the damn thing is scary though, I'm on my third PDF from Steve and hopefully the last. It's really surprising how you still come across errors even after reading through your manuscript loads and loads of times. I think the writer must see things more in his mind than what is actually on the page and accepts what he thinks is right even though the text is actually wrong. For example I found I put from instead of form, yet I must have skipped over that mistake at least a dozen or more times. Oh well, fingers crossed, this might be the last edit...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Lost Room

Well had a nice surprise tonight watching The Lost Room. It went out on Sky One and I quite enjoyed it. It looks as if there will be a conclusion too as there are only 3 episodes, which is refreshing. I could never get into Lost and glad that I didn't, too many damn episodes and still no-where near what it's all about... or so I've been told.

Anyway back to The Lost Room, written or created by Christopher Leone - Laura Harkcom - Paul Workman - don't know of any of them but I'll certainly be watching the next two episodes, great entertainment.

Spoiler follows:

Joe Miller a detective is searching for Objects to use as tools in rescuing his daughter, Anna, who disappeared inside the Room. These Objects have magical, some say miraculous qualities. The key to the room, for example, it will open any hinged door with a yale-type lock anywhere in the world, turning the door into a portal accessing the room nevermind where that door would open normally. Then when you leave the room, it opens not to where you originally entered from but to any door that the holder of the key has in mind, or to a random door if the user doesn't focus.

This is just one of the Objects shown tonight, others are a pen that can microwave anyone it touches, a nailfile that makes you drop off to sleep and a bus ticket that teleports you to a highway miles away from your original position. Heady stuff and extremely well done, can't wait for the rest!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Flames of Herakleitos website

With the book due to be released in March and the book launch in The Dylan Thomas Centre on the 23rd March around 7ish in the evening, I thought it a good idea to buy the domain name.

I've managed to upload a flash powered website which I cobbled together myself, it's still under construction but viewable. Hopefully when I get the ISBN and the Amazon listing etc I can include a purchase link :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Grow your own Earth!

Here's a SF short story of mine, hope you enjoy it.

Dormitory 736 Block C
Alpha Module,
Pleiades University,
Sirius Orbiter 4

My dear Professor Toopha,

Many thanks for you recent correspondence; I am well, thank you, and so is my symbiant. I hope this finds you and yours in good health too.

As you will see from my enclosed holograph crystal; the project you gave me is reaching a major point in its evolution. However, I feel it only fair to warn you that things are not going as well as I had hoped.

Although the image that you are looking at now seems to portray the Earth in my study-room as being in a stable condition it is far from being so.

As you well know the Pre-Cambrian era went very well and the cooling down process and the forming of the oceans was spectacular, I stayed up overnight just to watch the incredible fire-work display.
The Palaeozoic week was pretty boring and that’s why I didn’t send you footage of that particular period, the only thing I found of interest was when the fish left the water and became land animals.

My favourite was definitely the Mesozoic era, especially the dinosaurs. I was really impressed with them; the birth of the small mammals interested me too but I had no idea at the time the importance of what I was witnessing.

I feel at this point that I should apologise on behalf of my friend Pleeba Delmot. That evening we had both been out partying and when he was incapable of finding his own dorm I foolishly allowed him to stay at mine.
It was only the next morning I found out that he had poked his tentacle into the globe and had caused the vast climate change which lead to the extinction of so many species. It’s rather a pity as I am sure that the dinosaurs had real potential. Please accept his apologies; he was under the influence and not aware of what he was doing.

Finally, as you know from the footage I’ve already sent, we are in the Cenozoic era and I can’t help but wonder if Pleeba’s tentacle has caused more trouble than we first imagined. Let me tell you why.

Around the Cretaceous period of the Cenozoic era, just about the time of, shall we say “Pleeba’s Event”; I noticed a new species emerge. We named them mammals. Normally I don’t think these little creatures would have lasted all that long. Most just provided a nourishing snack for the smaller species of carnivorous dinosaur; but the “Event” took place and the dinosaurs just couldn’t adapt to the climate change. But believe it or not Professor, the little mammals did!

During the Tertiary period of this era they evolved in leaps and bounds. That was about a week ago for us, millions of years for the little planet.
One particular species, the primates, became quite ingenious. Even with the handicap of only an opposable thumb instead of tentacles they soon started to use tools; this was something that no other creature had done before. Now, here is where it begins to get scary.

Within a matter of days, these primates had begun to develop quite an intelligence; I was amazed. Their technology even made me have to install dampening fields around the globe as their emissions were beginning to disrupt my music system next door!
Finally, they even attempted to leave the globe itself and therefore I had to vector into the system a mass hypnotic state to make them believe that they are really living within a genuine universe. Now they think that their machines have even left the planet to explore their solar system and more. Many of these beings, that we named Man by the way, imagine that some of them have actually visited a small, nearby satellite which they have named the Moon!

However, I fear by the time you read this, the project will be over. I thought the dinosaurs were violent but these little biped humans are incredibly vicious.
Not only do they kill, and I don’t mean just for consumption or preservation, the lower species with no regard whatsoever, but they also slaughter themselves on the slightest whim!
For example; they have this thing called War; which I first mistakenly took for some kind of sport, but it is far from it. They have wiped out billions and billions of their kind with this strange act. But that is not all; they do not seem to be content with destroying themselves and every other living creature on the globe. They have now invented thermo-nuclear devices and the planet is absolutely littered with them. It seems they are now attempting to destroy the globe itself!

I tell you my dear Professor, this is the best project you have given me yet; I only wish it was not reaching the end so soon. This has been one of the most enjoyable months I have spent here in Pleiades University. I had hoped that you would get back in time to see the little planet in my study-room before it is too late; but I fear within the next few hours the creatures called Man will succeed and destroy both themselves and the fragile world before you return.

With this in mind I beg you to procure another “Grow your own Earth” kit from the University Supplier as I would dearly like to see what happens when the dinosaurs evolve alongside the mammals.
However, this time I think I will keep Pleeba well away from my study!

Your most humble student,

Kloompa Teabod