My book update : Options….

It was around March/February of this year I sent out my manuscript to the various powers that be protecting the gates to publicationville.

Only a few rejections have trickled back to my inbox since then. I did once receive a reply over a year since submitting, guess they are busy rejecting other writers. Not that I am bitter, these literary agents have to make a living somehow and choosing my crap maybe isn’t for them.

Slowly and in an orderly manner I am accepting the ‘standard’ way of publishing my book won’t work for me. The whole pander to an agent by telling them what my book is similar to simply isn’t my style, it never will be. Editing a book can only be done so many times. So in this ever growing world of reliance of internet I have to address my options.

Option 1

Self publish my book – This will involve mostly all costs coming out of my creaking wallet. Editing, cover design and formatting onto amazon are all things I am not a professional at. Therefore they will cost me. I consider this option my last resort, by that I mean when every other idea has been tried several times.

Option B

Keep hitting out to literary agents, maybe I will get lucky – This one is wearing thin right about now, but I will start a new campaign sometime later this year when my self-esteem has re spawned. Although like the lottery you need a ticket to be struck by lightning twice. I like those odds.

Option C

Crowd Funding – Let the ‘people’ decide – This depends on what crowd funding outlet I choose. Some you can just sign up and go where as others such as unbound you have to apply, in which I did yesterday. Thanks to Matt for pointing that one out to me.

Option 4

Give up, become a guy that used to write. Say that in bars in a half drunken slur to a much younger bright eyed version of myself – Although the promise of a constant booze top up sounds nice it isn’t viable for my liver or livelihood. Plus I’m better than that to give up now, I hope.

Option E

Mothball the Clark Thorn series – This is a very viable option, I started all of this as a back story for the Jack Thorn series, now I know that story I could just move on. I do have an idea for a horror story also.

 

Even after glancing at the options I have to keep going. The weekend after completing the first draft of my third book I am back editing the first one. Hey maybe combining the options could work, I may just get lucky and the good people of unbound may see something in my book. But I am definitely mothballing the whole being drunk in a bar thing.

 

 

 

 

 

The Nutrition post: Are you what you eat?

Famously ‘you are what you eat’ was said by somebody sometime and diets are a big thing these days. With the emergence of more diabetics, heart disease patients and obesity; eating right has never been more in the spotlight. Social media, the modern tool of society heightens it further.

If we are so aware of what eating ‘wrong’ can do then why are so many people’s health situations steadily declining?

I ask this from experience because nearly ten years ago I checked myself into hospital with rather severe chest pains. They gave me a gown and hooked me up to several measuring devices. During that time inside I was immensely worried. Anyone else would be. Many questions were asked and the conclusion they came to was digestive related. Acid to be precise. They prescribed me pills and I went away.

Over the last ten years I have suffered from acid reflux related problems and the start of this year particularly has been quite bad. I would like to state that I am not over weight and neither do I eat that ‘badly’. Being on acid stopping pills can only do so much and that is where society comes in because the nature of eating is going wrong.

You can only throw so many treatments and pills at somebody but after all that it still won’t work.

After some extensive research I can say that I am not eating ‘badly’ but neither I am eating the right things that counter acts the over production of acid within the stomach.

Everyone is different so we all have to find our own healthy mediums. But here I am at 25 having to drastically change my diet. Why? Because I was never aware or told what certain foods can do once inside the body.

Many times I have visited the doctor and not once have been really informed what is causing my reflux. Without shaming or blaming my doctor they can only do so much in a few minutes they get to diagnose and send me on my way.

But that is the problem as a whole, people are just not informed by what food really does to you. Top athletes will all say that nutrition is just as important as training and yes they can put percentages on the packaging but that still doesn’t clarify what’s happening on the inside.

I’m using myself as a case study here and it isn’t to give out diet advice and how to loose weight but simply to the lift the lid on this subject of what different foods really do to you.

The internets is a world of resource and to me is the greatest tool of the modern man, for information. Here’s what I already knew: I have an acid problem, it’s painful and uncomfortable. The acid can spread to other areas of the body and can cause weird pains.

From many google searches and from remembering school science I came across something called the PH scale. A measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. This includes food.

food ph

Now we are getting somewhere. But my findings concluded that what I eat on a regular basis doesn’t do enough to balance the stomach’s PH scale. Below is my now defunct usual weekday diet.

Wake UP – No breakfast, Cup of tea

10am Yoghurt, Cup of tea

12 – Lunch – sandwich, tomato soup and (or) tomato pasta and fruit, cup of tea or canned carbonated drink

1400 – Yogurt

1500 – Black coffee

1800- After gym snack – Usually glass of milk

1830 – Cup of tea

1930 – Dinner (large meal)

From the list above there isn’t much that actually acts as an alkaline in the stomach. Some of you will recognise the dairy part of my diet and research suggests that most dairy products remain neutral to the scale. So there I have been eating mostly acidic foods and trying to neutralise my stomach with yoghurt, which at best will only tip the scale back to neutral. That is until I have bread or pasta and then my pre gym coffee the scale goes back to acidic. Another conclusion is too many hot drinks and the larger meal at the end of the day. Right now I am suffering from tea withdrawal but that’s part of the struggle.

It would seem I was on a constant loop but then it gets a little more complicated. My understanding of food and what it does has been completely changed. Because foods can be defined as alkaline or acid forming. An example and this blew my mind:

Lemons although incredibly sour and contain citric acid are actually alkali forming inside the stomach.

Mind blown, I’ve been doing this all wrong.

Mind blown

 

Then my research concluded:

Most dairy is acid forming in the stomach!

These two examples show even a layman like me honestly has no idea about nutrition and what foods do once within.

A healthy stomach is one within the center of the ph scale. Having a one sided acidic diet over time can cause problems. But the outlook is good because most alkali foods are well known vegetables and fruits. They are largely available and normally quite cheap. On my studies I found a rather nifty website with some decent info.

Of course before changing a diet drastically talk to a doctor and remember balance is key.  Your thoughts? Do you have a strict diet or do you eat whatever you like?

 

The Hell Fire Caves : A paranormal (sort of) Adventure

Ghostly stories shrouded in mystery. History of speculative happenings deep below. A place where hauntings are said to be frequent.

 Turn out the lights and read on, but don’t shower alone or go into the woods because there could be tears before bedtime…….

hellfire

I walked through the dark and cramped corridors that lay below a west Wycombe hill. Known as the hell fire caves, just the name can suggest what this place could have once been. The cold damp air puts a chill in the atmosphere suggesting and maybe fueling ones imagination that this place might even be haunted. The dark can have a way with one’s mind, especially when the imagination is thinking what could be there.

Hopefully I have enticed you enough to read on because my experience of the hell fire caves turned out to be better than expected. Some could argue it was something from nothing, but isn’t that how good experiences are born?

So there we were putting our token through a flimsy unattended turnstile and heading into an arched white washed corridor. There were pictures and writing displayed, you can read most of that on Wikipedia, I said and I did some time ago. There was a level of intrigue for me considering the stories surrounding this place.

The man made and cut corridors were narrow or low in places. Most surfaces were damp or cold to the touch, every so often we were shown a caged display of some manikins. If you looked at their eyes they would follow you.

hellfire2

Pretty scary huh?

Of course during this experience there were the usual high jinks of a group of friends. The ample choice of nooks and corners gave us scope to hide and jump out on people. Maybe that was the design. Deeper we walked and to a grand opening. A banquet hall once. The loose stones below my feet crunching.

At this point there wasn’t anything that really appealed to me or to say ‘yeah go the hell fire caves, check it out’. We delved deeper, the floor slanting angular downwards. Low light hid the many corners and coves as we came to the final chamber. Four or five period dressed manikins were set up in party scene, but maybe more than that happened during the times long ago.

Around we turned with ‘is that it?’ in our heads.

Continuing back up to where we came, the banquet hall again approached. Our group headed up the slope of the cavernous corridor and as we did there was something. In the shadows I saw a small girl clutching a teddy bear.

That wasn’t scary

hellloComing out into the larger much better lit banquet hall we all discuss what we just saw. Implications such as we were the only group in the area, this little girl was on her own all the way down here. At least five of us saw her so the ghost idea immediately diminished.

Deciding to go back she was no longer there.

 

She’s probably got back to her group

But did somebody see something else?

Thinking nothing more of it we continued up and past the hall. All the time on our minds was the girl, for me her safety, to others maybe ghostly suggestions. The hell fire caves had got into our heads. This thriller had now become psychological.

Getting closer to the surface we took the decision to turn back and see if we could find this ‘girl’. The heart was pumping and at this point we ordered those with torches on their phones keep them on.

There was no way she could have passed us, we would have seen her.

Our group split and we took a parallel path each and went separate ways. Along the cold dark we went, several feet crunching on the floor. Coming to an opening there was light, of the other half of our group. We met and then split again as the paths did.

Not being a believer of such things (due to lack of experiencing things) I led my team. The people behind cautiously peering around corridors as opposed to my clumsiness. We came to another corner where the path of the others would meet. Me being first I stepped out into better light. I looked down to see the girl standing in the centre, with closed eyes and arms wide. The teddy in one hand.

My heart jumped.

The amount of witnesses quickly extinguished any chances of this being a ghost. She was really there and with other people, but for only a second I was in a horror film.

banquet

The Banqueting Hall

The hell fire caves; was this experience heightened because of the place? Is there something else at work playing on our minds? Either way it made a good afternoon. If you check out the Wikipedia page there is a few stories of the ghostly persuasion. Nobody knows what happened during the hell fire club’s short reign, but we all know something certainly did.

You can see footage of our experience, there is even a mystery mist near the end of the video……

cave encounters

 

 But just remember it’s not the dark you should be afraid of, it’s what is lurking in it………

 

Check out the photo below, is that the arm of a person or someone else in the background? Sleep tight……

hellfire3

 

 

 

The General Election : Britain can certainly moan

From glancing ever so briefly at social media over my weekend it’s safe to say people are rather unhappy with the outcome of the very recent UK General election. In fact I couldn’t name one person I know that is genuinely satisfied with the result.

Did people actually get what they wanted?

Is that the state of modern politics? People are somewhat becoming used to getting something else as opposed to what or who they voted for. Instead of vent and rant with an opinionated spat on the internet, I would rather look at little deeper as to why there’s some grumpiness right now.

The disgruntled are in simple terms reacting which is an effect. Writing 101 states that every cause has an effect so what is that cause?

all parties 1) The SNP Revolt

I sat next to my good (partially drunk on Asti) friend Matt Streuli as the election results came in at the rather wee hours of Friday morning. The theme at that time was SNP taking seats from Labour. Rather quickly a Scottish revolution became apparent. We even saw history right there, the youngest ever MP aged 20 had been voted in.

Now without voting numbers and proportions aside, the Scottish folk are obviously looking for change, with the referendum theme still fresh they looked for this change through Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. She wanted to get the Tories out and said this more than once during the debates (remember that, it’s important further down). She even offered to collaborate with Labour to do this, but was there any other choice?

2)  No coalition is better than a coalition

Down south most of the voting public were thinking either red or blue. We knew that team yellow proved to be irrelevant to Downing Street this time around. Ed Miliband of labour didn’t spend the last 5 years as prime minister, David Cameron did (elected or not).

 The devil you know?

The exit polls suggested this early on. But voting an all conservative government in is just an effect of the SNP wanting to get the Tories out. How would they do that, by teaming up with the only other party as big as conservative, Labour.

Again we are seeing people use their vote for a different agenda.  Think about it carefully for just a moment. Conservative got in because people didn’t want another coalition of two parties who hadn’t seen Downing street recently. It really is a case of the devil you know but this time there is no conscience of Nick Clegg on Cameron’s shoulder.

The minority of Scotland posed a threat to the majority and led to the election of David Cameron.

Conclusion 

That’s how I see it anyway, and even after looking at the first past the post rules and proportions. UKIP had a good day in terms of votes but were marooned by these rules.

It will be an interesting 5 years, seeing what Scotland will do, of course the deficit and borrowing. Will they put the rubbish of the deficit into just another bin called borrowing? Food banks, an issue that is ever increasing, how many will we see in 5 years?

There are some things that you can’t blame the past 5 years for. Our interest rate is rock bottom, but the world economy is still recovering. For me it will be interesting as in the recent budget they promised more control over the science and research budgets.

I am optimistic for now, but then again nothing ever works out how you expect it to.

 

political map

polls

 

 

The problem with social media

The Hall of information has been in the dark quite recently with no new material coming to fruition for quite some time. My efforts towards drafting Clark Thorn Rebellion (book 3) have taken center stage because a deadline for finishing it has been set! As of the middle of July drafting will be finished, my task from now is to pen around 30 to 40 thousand words and wrap things up nice n pretty with a bow and ribbon.

I don’t give much news out often because simply there isn’t. The life of an unpublished author is much spent trying to prove to the world that we are doing something. But a minute by minute update of ‘today I made a cup of tea and wrote 2000 words’ doesn’t make much for blogging entertainment. Much like writers can’t go onto the stage of Britain’s got talent and say they are that. There just isn’t a well spotlighted outlet for budding pensmiths to be noticed (not one that hasn’t pissed me off anyway), you get the self published ones who constantly (and I mean constantly) shove their books up on FB and twitter. They claim to be great and all but most of the time they followed me first, then you expect me to buy your book? I was just being nice by noticing your efforts and clicked like, don’t take the M out of Michael about it.

Social media is a circus full of people saying ‘me, me, me’ and quite honestly after a few years I just cant be bothered with trying to compete with the like mongering and share this and share that, follow me because I am somewhat relevant even though I live under another name and won’t follow you back. I’m a writer and that’s as far as I am willing to take it.

Right now social media for me is just for contact, the whole blogging thing is a bore to me because the train to publishingville hasn’t set sail yet and wont for some time. So this journey to publication much like British rail is currently delayed.

I like writing and will always write but I don’t like social media for what it has become, the land of bullshi**ers and people blowing smoke up their own rear end.

Maybe that’s me being reclusive but nothing would make me more happier than to live in a small community of close family and friends, write stories, send them to publishers and write the next one. I guess we all have that perfect scenario but that’s life.

Moan done, back to my laptop and the world that I control.

The amount of people who do take what I do seriously has stayed at a level amount for nearly two years. I don’t blame people for not taking me seriously, I haven’t been published yet and thus their theory is proved.  But for some of those people around me who do not believe I can write, I can only say two words to ya and that’s Hotel Doom. A play I wrote last year will come to life in the near future and people will finally see what I capable of.

There was another debate…

Last night was yet another date on the election campaign debate tour and I have to say it was rather enjoyable. Good on ya BBC, you put on a decent show (I will ignore the 70’s for now). Talking of shows there were two no shows. The current leaders of Britain Nick Clegg and David Cameron were both absent. Damn did they miss out the action.

In fact the two words Nick Clegg weren’t mentioned once. Does that suggest the liberal democrats are now a lost cause?

So here we saw the five potential downing street parties go head to head about issues in forms of questions raised by the audience. The leaders all introduced themselves and the audience slowly came out of their shells to applaud some of them.

Already I liked this debate more than the 7 way a few weeks prior. There just seemed to be a better energy about things. One common theme of slamming David Cameron indicated that he had been badly advised not to be there. Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish national party even suggested a coalition with Ed Miliband’s labour party just to get the conservatives out.

Nigel Farage came across strong and with relevant points but half an hour in he weirdly insulted the BBC audience. He is quoted to say “This is a remarkable audience even by the left wing standards of the BBC.” We would then see the other candidates lay into Farage somewhat defeating him. Of course the pantomime style booing ensued. Although nearer the end he did get some applause. I will give it to the man, he can talk but is the controversy of UKIP really him?

Ed Miliband did his usual talking to the camera and people at home instead the audience. Although it’s kinda cheesy it does work. Yet again he talked about previous labour getting it wrong, and getting money from a mansion tax.

Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru (Welsh party) came across likable, but are the needs of Wales the needs of the UK? Her best moment and maybe of the whole debate came from her comment to Nigel Farage about disagreeing with her opponent on the far right (boom boom).

Natalie Bennet of the Green party heavily opposed any type of nuclear weapons when asked about trident. (Cough cough, tell that to the other countries that have nuclear capabilities)

Well I think I have said something about every candidate.

From this debate and with 20 days until voting, I now know who I will be voting for. I t could be 1 of 7 or is it 1 of 5. Either way if you are of voting age in the UK, this BBC debate is definitely worth looking at.

 

ladies man

Ladies man

 

 

Thunderbirds are…….. BACK!!!!!

Calling international rescue, this is ITV and we have nothing to compete with BBC in the family science fiction department. That’s how it would appear to me anyway. The early Saturday evening slot has been a battleground for some time in the UK. With the trend of remaking and re booting blasts from the past (no pun intended) because this show really does begin with a blast.

tbirds

In fact you could say it picks up right where Gerry Anderson’s 60’s puppet bonanza left off. Although mostly CGI (something which could put people off) most of the hard-core Thunderbirds fans really liked it. There were plenty of references to the old show keeping those fans in nostalgia city as well as hooking in the younger target audience.

Watching to me felt like the whole concept of Thunderbirds had been re mastered. Including the cool sequences of the Tracy brother’s journey to their numbered aircraft. I know the concept of computer generation compared to intricate models will seem short handed. But the detail was second to none and there was some real sets created. So here we are thrown back into a world of natural and man-made disasters and there is only one group that can save the day. International rescue.

The opening title sequence mirrors the original but this time around every character even the smaller names had much more involvement. Within minutes we were thrown around the globe to various rescue efforts and season length plot lines were spawned and teased to the audience.

Thunderbirds is all about the aircraft and all of the originals were there with some minor updates. Over all I was happy with this reboot/ continuation and will be watching more. But the only disappointment was at the end. It came to our attention that this show would be put out on Saturday mornings, an interesting and maybe idiotic choice. But maybe they see the Saturday morning slot as the big draw.

But there is an online petition to change that, check it out here

tbirds2

CGI does put people off but I thought it looked decent

 

The first episode being shown slap bang in the middle of a bank holiday weekend was an imperative and important choice from ITV, hopefully one that will attract more people to their channel swamped by bad singers, Simon Cowell and Ant.

FAB

UKIP: Controversy Creates Votes?

 

uk

We all know that controversy creates cash. But does it get votes? The 2015 general election is quickly approaching and so my main focus this week is UKIP.

Yes the UK independence party. No matter where you stand in British politics you have an opinion about Nigel Farage and his team. I will even admit before the turn of this decade I voted for them, but before the angry mob congregates outside stately Hall manor let me explain.

Before their rise in popularity quite recently, UKIP had this thing about keeping our currency what it is. They were heavily opposed to the Euro and that is my reason for voting. In hindsight I chose wisely but the UK kept the Pound anyway (and boy look how that turned out on the mainland). So pitchforks and torches away, for now.

mob

Gotta love a decent angry mob

But for much of the country there is a rather strong divide. Some will support UKIP and others will absolutely hate them. Constantly there are headlines in the news, only yesterday was Nigel Farage apparently driven out of a pub by an angry mob of protesters (I can’t vouch how true that is). But never the less his party are in the news, again.

Some will even say UKIP are racists and that they are anti-immigration. They want to tighten the borders and make Britain great again.

The way I see it is more open minded to them. I still don’t know who I will be voting for come May but much like any country there are people from other places here. Britain is a country of a thousand cultures and nothing short of breaking human rights will change that. It’s too far gone and that isn’t a negative. Because these people come this country to work, to pay tax and contribute to society.

Does UKIP want to stop that?

There are many places in the UK where the people desperately want change. Many run down coastal towns that were once predominantly British are an example. Farage is running for Thanet, a coastal constituency. But now these places are feeling the squeeze of this country as a whole changing. If you don’t want your town to keep up with the times then it will only decay further.

Right now, unless any other UKIP parliamentary candidates get removed, will make some ground this coming election. But there aren’t enough run down coastal towns in the UK for them to get into Downing street. But I could be wrong,  I have been before.

This election is the hardest to call, ever. That’s because parties like UKIP are coming out into the spotlight. Unlike labour, conservative and liberal, UKIP are pretty bad at handling image (I might think twice about liberal). They are a young party compared. Time will tell whether or not Nigel’s controversy gang will surpass anything more than a daily mail web edition headline.

What do you think? Personally I know for sure I won’t be voting UKIP, but do you feel different? There are some people who are worried about UKIP, are you one of them?

(Keep it nice and friendly. Any angry or behaviour I deem unacceptable won’t be tolerated and your views won’t be published here, yes the Hall of information can be a dictatorship if need be)

You can hear my opinions in more detail in a podcast known as off the radar, go check out our latest series.

farage

Before he realized the angry mob was coming his way!

 

The Eclipse 2015: Did you see it or was your view clouded?

I left my house this morning at a somewhat earlier time. Advised by a particular news website (not mentioning names) that when the eclipse happens there will be traffic pandemonium. Half 9 UK time is classed as sill the morning rush hour (yes people get up that late) and that was when this event had been predicted to happen.

Upon walking out into the fresh morning air I couldn’t help but look up to the grey murky low cloud base that covered everything above my chimney line.

Great start  (I did laugh initially like Muttley or even an Hyena)

I expected nothing less than the whole of Britain to be cloudy. In all honesty it’s the only weather we know can cope through without something going wrong. So off I went along my normal drive to work. That being the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory science research facility in Harwell Oxfordshire.

Still the clouds remained and the eclipse time loomed. Looking out of my minuscule 2nd floor workshop window, I could see people starting to gather. Again I looked up at the apparent clouds and that was when a speck of blue shone through.

The damn clouds were clearing. I trudged up the large mound towards the back of site with my boss. Taking out my piece of sh** phone I looked at the clock (my second best app) and then I looked up. There it was the crescent sun. A beaming smile in the sky. Just in time the clouds parted, I did expect the Simpsons theme to kick in at any moment. Ladies and Gentlemen, I saw it. Many others didnt, and the photographic evidence is here.

A decent photo imo! Happy eclipse day! Enjoy my ‘gallery’ below and thanks for actually reading this!

Wait for it...

Wait for it…

Pic_0320_004

 

Pic_0320_006 Pic_0320_007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to change: More like it’s about time we changed

Never before has society of the free world ever been so aware of mental health. We know so much more about the human brain that we used to but still there is a rather taboo stigmatism towards the whole subject.

If we look back some years, let’s say 1950. A time where cars were on the road (although fewer than today) but the concept has been left unchanged since. You fill up with fuel, you fight traffic, get new tyres, avoid costly maintenance bills and repeat. But recently the electric car has begun to emerge, we have hybrids and more people opt to cycle. Research and development is happening and the world is very much aware of the pollution most standard vehicle causes. People are beginning to think and want to do something about it.

The car is a luxury but the human mind isn’t. After years of medical research we can pretty much diagnose and tell when somebody’s mental health is not so good. But why is our approach so bad?

I don’t want to start a war between two perfectly viable contingents (that being the whole green issue vs mental health). But they seem to care about the long term effects of the planet and not what is happening now in society, that being the wrong perception of mental health. Whether that is depression or any other condition somebody has, back in 1950 you were locked away for the most treatable conditions.

Look how far that has come on.

Having never suffered from any mental health issues I am outside looking in. But I have been mistreated and discriminated at some level. We all have. That’s a part of life and that’s what is happening to people with mental health issues. I have close friends who do suffer with depression, but I have found it’s handled better if you just talk about it. Even asking them about what they are going through helps.

It isn’t difficult to say something nice and if you haven’t got anything nice to say, treat people with a level of respect that you wished to be treated with. That shouldn’t be any different towards people who have mental health issues in any degree. They are people just like us.

The Hall of information is open to anyone and everyone, that includes people who thinks it’s time to change.

There is a campaign currently running for a better work capability assessment. Rethink Mental Illness, the National Autistic Society and Mind are all working in association with each other. Courts have ruled that the WCA is unfair and puts people with mental health issues, autism and learning disabilities at a ‘substantial disadvantage’. So check it out and help change happen.

You can treat and pioneer in medical care as much as possible. But my philosophy as of recent is simply to have the right attitude. If that changes then everything else will follow!

time to change