Weekly Ramble #31

Writing is home for me. But right now I feel far from home. Things are busy, damn busy and although it’s the fashion these days to have loads going on, it’s relentless right now. I just can’t catch a free moment, and I know if one want’s to write, one will write, but time is something I don’t have and inside it’s partially killing me not to be sat at the keyboard creating.

I’m an adult now, perhaps that’s the problem because I have responsibilities and stuff, that’s something I have to learn to live with whilst also feeding the need to write. 2019 is proving to be one of those important season finale type of deals with loads of plot arcs wrapping up and people rushing to resolve their stories whilst I’m jumping from one turning carousel to another. Many of the things I’m wrapped up in this year are more significant to others while I play the passenger and it’s tiring.

But the most important thing above all for me is that I am not alone and I haven’t been for seven years to the day. Today I celebrate walking my significant other home on a rainy late April night and asking her to be my girlfriend, it sounds like some next level sitcom romance stuff, and back then it was, and still is. I can only function while being happy, all of this circles around the concept of having someone and I do. Somebody said once that all you need is love, and beneath the shroud of busy and hectic life I have right now is just that. Don’t ever understimate the power of having someone and that makes me feel at home more than anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jack Thorn: A story of the Future: Chapter 2, Part 4

Jack again found himself sat at a bench in that familiar summer time scene. He tucked both hands underneath his legs while a figure approached along the wavy path. The man stood tall but slightly hunched. His wrinkled face smiled ear to ear when he saw Jack looking more like he did as a kid, very much how this man knew him.

“Grandad…” Jack said beginning to get up.

“Save your back son. I know I would, even in this crazy simulated thing,” Alan Robinson said. His west London accent sounded more prominent than his grandson’s mixed dialect. He offered a rough hand out, Jack shook it firmly and quickly. Both of their images flickered momentarily.

“Yeah, this system doesn’t like any contact. Apparently, it’s hard to simulate,” Jack said.

“This tech stuff passed me by years ago. I dare ask, but how’s that stupid war?” Alan eased himself down onto the bench. It would have been nice if the simulation simulated away the labouring years of working as a baggage handler, but they didn’t.

“It’s going ok for now. Where’s…”

“Your Grandmother? Arthritis is playing up so it’s just us fellas this time around which is nice. So you killing many robots?”

“I’ve done my fare share towards an Army of Earth victory sure,” Jack said and couldn’t help but smile at the man.

“Well it sounds like a hoot. You still hanging around with that Franco kid?”

“Yep.”

“I take it he followed you up onto that rock?”

“Uh huh.”

“Some things never change. Well it’s good to see you Jack. We’ve missed you out in the Sipson District,” Alan said, before Jack could respond he spoke again.

“I can see on your face this wasn’t just a usual catch up. Come on son, what’s on your mind? Your mother gave me the exact same look a thousand times.”

Alan had read his only grandson like a book.

“That’s what I want to know about. It seems I may have got myself involved in something that has given me questions about her. It’s called the World Force,” Jack said.

“Oh boy.” Alan sat forward and scratched his thin head of hair.

“That’s robot stuff, and there aint much I really know in terms of detail kid.”

“Well what do you know?” Jack asked.

“Ellen met your old man Clark over in New York. They had you in the wake of this World Force stuff, you know, a robot police force. You came to Sipson District to live with us and as far as I’m aware they did it to protect you,” Alan explained trying to cast his mind back to the past. A time and reminder of losing his only daughter.

“I’m sorry for bringing this up Grandad…”

“Everyone has a right to know their history Jack. Your mother, I always told you she was a doer. Never once did she ever give up on anything or anyone. She was also different from most people you know.”

“Now that I think about it, I have a feeling they were protecting me from something? I’ve only asked Clark once what happened,” Jack said.

“You’re calling him Clark these days, I’m guessing neither of you are on talking terms then?” Alan asked but deep down he already knew the answer.

“When I asked him what happened he was deliberately vague. I had just quit the academy and that chip on my shoulder back then was pretty damn big, so I acted out. I’ve got this feeling whatever they were protecting me from is what killed my Mother.”

“There’s probably some truth there. We were never given a real explanation, we were just given you. Ellen passing destroyed your father, it tore him up inside. It tore us all up.”

For some moments they sat in silence, apart from the odd chirping of artificial birds.

“Maybe flipping out on him all those years ago wasn’t a great choice. I can’t exactly call him and say ‘Hi Dad long time no see, I’m fighting in the war now and probably going to be in the World Force, what really happened to Mum?’”

“That’s a fence you’re gonna have to mend yourself son. But you needed to talk to someone and so you’ve come to ‘old man Al’ for some wise words. All the best do these days. If you really want answers, then your gonna have to reach out. You know, he had uncertainties way back when, just like you,” Alan said and placed a hand on Jack’s shoulder, again the whole world flickered. He slowly pulled away and sat back with a groan.

“Uncertainties? Like what?”

“He walked away from that World Force stuff early on. Got himself all bent up about chasing down the First, you know the robot?” Alan said and continued,

“He came to me and took some time out. Put himself back together, all I’m saying is that it’s ok to be unsure about stuff. There are always people out there to help, like me, always son.”

“What happened after he came to you?” Jack asked.

“He carried on like before. Then it happened with losing your mother and all. That’s what hit the man hard. He was just a kid at the time like you. He couldn’t carry on that robot crime stuff, but the other guy did. Big fella…”

“Sarge? Jones?” Jack asked.

“Yeah that’s the guy. He still sniffing around that robot crime stuff?”

“Sarge came to me with a plan on bringing the World Force back and is looking for a captain. He offered it to me and mentioned the past. I think I’m going to do it. This means a real job after the war, maybe a future instead of just surviving to feed my kids.”

“There it is then, your uncertainty answered. You’ll be following your parents’ footsteps, maybe even finish whatever they started. You’ve always been a bright kid Jack. Follow your heart son. Right now I gotta go, I’m taking your Grandmother out tonight and gonna try and get her mind of the arthritis,” Alan said and groaned upon standing.

Jack did the same and looked up to the man he just needed some clarity and advice from.

“Good to see you Grandad. You take care,” Jack said shaking Alan’s hand.

“You too kid, especially up on that rock. Get home safe, put things back together with your Dad and find the truth. Don’t be a stranger either, I’m just a call away.”

*                      *                      *

The low Cliffeville sun had disappeared nearly twenty minutes ago and now the sky sat between that still light phase just before dark. Rouge sat cross-legged atop of a blanket set down on the roof of her all silver trailer. Here she could see everything around. From the nearby Denny’s diner out front to the very distant background where the outskirts of Cliffeville city stood. At the opposite end on the other horizon lay the shadows of buildings that made up the universally famous factory district.  She sat between two places that were opposite in nature, one of work and industry, the other of nightlife and people. Both of them to her seemed further away than they actually were, even out of reach or perhaps lost like her.

“I was insistent to the others that you are indeed fine, but they sent me up here anyway,” the Freak said and placed himself down beside her.

“Mainly because I’m the lighter of the robots around here, and this roof, well,” he added.

Rouge continued her stare forward past the diner.

“I see the uniform fits well. As a pot washer I firmly believe camouflage is somewhat overkill in terms of kitchen attire so I had no problem giving it over to you,” the Freak said continuing to fill the silence.

“Thank you,” Rouge said softly. She looked down at the borrowed dark camo uniform she received from the robot who sat beside her. She picked at the frayed and torn lettering that was once prominently shown on the front in a bright red.

“What does R.W.H mean?” she asked and turned to the balaclava, sunglasses wearing robot. He himself had commandeered kitchen attire in the form of faded whites and a dirty apron.

“That is indeed a long story.”

“I would like to know your story. It would take my mind off stuff.” She moved closer and gently leant her head upon the Freak’s shoulder.

“Well my story does go back some many years Rouge. There used to be such things called Freaks. Robots who had found misfortune in their lives, misused or mistreated. They were disowned by society, cast out and abandoned. Like me,” the Freak explained.

“And me,” Rouge added.

“A large group of us lived underneath the city of New York. We were known as the Freaks and of course I was their leader once. That was until a Warrior known as the Keeper came to the city.”

“A Warrior, like my guardian?” Rouge asked and sat back up.

“You see Rouge, long before now there were two groups of Warriors. Some were good and others not so much. The Keeper particularly unsavoury and the original leader of all Warriors. He aligned with the First and together they convinced my Freaks to rise up and rebel for their mistreat and misfortune. I was overthrown and forced to leave. Instead of joining the rebellion I opposed it because back in those years there were many different robot groups. Some were good much like the Robots with Humans.”

“R.W.H,” Rouge said and settled her head back on to the Freak’s shoulder.

“Indeed, a group which I led to help the humans and good Warriors fight robot crime. We fought many battles and had numerous trials and tribulations. You could even say this time was an adventure for certain robots. It was indeed a war and war only ever has a single outcome. Loss of life and of course the inevitable rebellion. The Keeper was defeated and he left the First in capable hands to lead the rebellion, in which he did. Nearly every robot on this planet followed him out. Few stayed behind like myself and F.G.”

“What happened to the good Warriors?”

“They all perished but one, your guardian survived an attack instigated by the First and a new keeper which he created with the help of a surviving Warrior known as Sculptor.”

“Tell me more about these adventures for certain robots,” Rouge requested, her voice sounding somewhat dreamy as she closed her eyes.

“I handed myself in to what was the robot crimes department of the New York police force. My ambition was to help them and prove that not all robots are bad. I like to think some people were convinced even for a little while. Those were the days. I’ve been in all kinds of political and protest factions. Some violent, some shrouded by anger or even anarchy. The R.W.H was my proudest creation. We helped the World force. Maybe those days can return.”

Rouge gently moaned in agreement and steadily dozed away into a sleep. The Freak didn’t dare to move but continued his talk even if she wasn’t fully conscious,

“Maybe you can join us, with a little honing of those combat skills you possess. That may help a young Maverick who is yet to realize her calling.”

Rouge was already dreaming, for once her mind wasn’t clouded by the various sedatives and medical procedures from before. She could see and feel. Then came the alarming realisation that her mind was trying to tell her something, maybe it was a warning.

He’s coming. Ryan is coming.

 

End of Part 7

Tune in Next week for another edition of Jack Thorn. Same Jack time, same Jack place… Remember if you enjoyed reading, tell a friend, leave a comment and share it around on social media…

Copyright 2004 – 2019 ‘Jack Thorn’ and ‘The Thorn Legacy’ Written By Lee Hall 2019 All rights reserved.  

 

Weekly Ramble #18

You’ve got to face writers block with a smile. Not a happy smile, not an arrogant smile but an assured smile, because we wordsmiths have lived a hundred lives through thousands of words, we’re tougher than that ugly motherfu**er of an unproductive monster licking it’s lips at us.

It’s only a matter of time before we figure out a way around you, a way to destroy you and charge forth with our words. It takes more than courage, sometimes it just takes an unexpected little twist or burst of inspiration. The right song or tv show that influences our influence to find a way forward. Then when we see that path and before we have written it, just the knowing how, that’s where we feel our most powerful as authors, bloggers, writers, whatever word you fall under, the words are all the same, we just arrange them differently.

Redemption comes from completing that next project. We find ourselves during that process, we even expend ourselves getting there. That fire in our hearts, sometimes it can nearly burn out by what ever variable there is, but the constants keeps that fire stoked. I’m nearly ready for 2019, my most important hour is approaching and there are several forks in the road ahead along with uncertainty, all of which is excites me.

I’m going into next year with all my steam created from the fire inside me that is burning stronger than ever, even though weeks before it had nearly burned out. What I have planned will work itself out. Jack Thorn my destiny book, a stage play and even film writing. ABW comes to mind and if you don’t know what that is, look it up, that’s how I define my journey, a highway that we are all travelling on. Writing is a mostly solitary experience but together we must share our methods of how we travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #15

November is a shitty month. Its a kind of a between space, like an airport or a station, full of people on different paths; all of which are in my way… okay that’s super pessimistic and people aren’t the problem, they are the solution, but the point I’m trying to make is simple, November sucks, and its not a destination, its a holding space…

I’m not currently reading which is a problem. For a writer it’s almost like a blockage. With no reading there is no producing or creating, no flow, just stifling emptiness. Writing books has taken a step back for now; I’m part way through another stage play script, progress is slow like this month.

Everyday recently I am assessing my options, and without seeming above everything, I feel as if I am too good for the writing platform in which I am sat. I’m a higher class player in a lower division and I know that sounds super ego but it’s true. My ‘success’ feels somewhat held back by my lack of salesman skills. I’m not a seller, I am a creator and I have learned they are two completely separate entities.

I watch or read stories thinking I could have done that better or different; my vision for a story has been enhanced through my journey past four publications and two stage plays. I can never sit and not create, even when the pages are blank, my mind is full of ideas. And it’s okay to create.

What I need is someone to sell that creativity to a bigger wider market. Someone who sells like I can create. Do I dare contemplate trying to get an agent? I know this time the circumstances are different but the goal has always been the same, to create, perhaps someone else can deliver…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #14

I’ve had an epiphany. Whilst publishing I became lost. My mind began to reel and wonder why this was all worth it. Why bother when the ‘rewards’ for this deal are pretty much minimum.? Why try to recapture nothing more than a ‘fad’ of deciding to publish a book two years ago? Back then it felt like everyone I knew came out to support me. Today it feels like I stand within a ghost town of that support; not that I hold any anger or bitterness towards the fact I feel very much solitary in my latest publication because I am not. There are only a handful of supporters this time; they are the elite, they will never fail me, they will always support and only partially that is why I do this. 

So why do I do this? That is where my epiphany came from. I don’t do this for reads, for sales, for money, for recognition, for reviews, for exposure or any other temporary possessive thing. I do this simply because it fulfills me. I write stories because ultimately they are truly about life and what I have seen and felt in this life. In essence they contain more truth than any conversation I have ever had. So if anyone ever asks me why my work stands out it is simply that, my stuff doesn’t contain an ounce of bullshit, it is the truth personified and that is all I will ever strife to do in writing, to make it feel real.

I have to create, and I always will. Publishing is more or less just a side effect or even a symptom of that. Hell, I’m just sitting in a chair typing away and playing around in the worlds I build. I know for a fact I am not for everyone in this world and neither is my work, and I am learning to live and accept that. I don’t ever intend to please everyone, because why I write is purely selfish, I do this for me.

My appreciation for those who have paid money to read my stuff will outshine any other feeling I have for this work. That small group I call the elite are there for me and I am ever so damn thankful. Hopefully they’ll feel what I do when I lay down those words, if they don’t I have failed but then again I am just doing this for me, because I am a creator and I need an outlet.

4 books equals experience in not only writing but everything that comes with it. A book series takes time to establish readership, leaning all of you writing efforts onto one series is simply foolish, I have learned that only today. As a writer we must cross genres, test our ability daily, go places even we feel uncomfortable, tell other stories. Good luck writing just a series, unless your J.K it aint worth it, but my all means write. Sit in that chair and bleed for the words, above all create and make, if that doesn’t stick try again, and again and again. For the love of god never give up, a young naive fool walks away from a battle worth winning. A experienced person will only ever wage wars they can win. Life is too damn short to dwell on failure or lack of success when most of the time it is in the eye of the beholder anyway.

So what only a handful of people bought your new release. They are your elite and your tribe. Reward them, let them know they have made you happy for just a second enough to know they care.

Either way I’m already into my next project because I will Always Be Writing…

 

 

Weekly Ramble #13

Crichton has been gone 10 years. Something I  learned yesterday on the anniversary of his passing. Sometimes we are too busy in the world to stop and reflect, sometimes we just have to step away to think about life and how one day we are here the next we are gone.

More recently I have been too damn wrapped up in getting my 4th book published that I’ve lost my way a little, I’ve lost who I am whilst trying to be what I want to be. And learning of this poignant anniversary brought back a memory that carries everything I stand for. I’m not being dramatic and I am not trying to take anything away from a world renowned writers passing this is more of a tribute than anything and its also truth. When you speak from the heart and when you speak truth, people truly listen and care. 

In 2005 I was sixteen years old when I took my first job as an airline cleaner at Heathrow Airport. Whilst on that job I found a discarded or even left behind book titled ‘Timeline’ written by Michael Crichton. I quit that job way before I finished reading Timeline but that book had a lasting effect on me. It inspired me; an already want to be writer; it pushed me to read more and so every time I had some extra cash I spent it on his work. Michael Crichton became my writing idol for some years, all I would read is his stuff, all I could read was his stuff. Slowly I became more and more immersed in his science fiction- research heavy narratives.

Now why is just finding a book and reading it anything special? because of what came next. That sixteen year old kid who quit cleaning planes never forgot the style of Critchton or the tales he wrote, that sixteen year old kid lived his life and read all he could. Then he delved into writing seriously. He worked tirelessly much like Michael and he eventually became a published author of 4 books. His friends and family supported him and spread the word about a book called ‘Open Evening’ a book inspired much by Jurassic Park and Prey. 

It wasn’t until I stopped and thought about it for a moment that it actually sunk in. That moment I found a book influenced who I became and only all these years later has it actually become apparent. Books have a power to not only immerse but to influence others.

We aren’t here forever and I never got the chance to thank Michael for his influence on me as a writer and a person. He’ll never know how he shaped my work and possibly others. You can still see his work even today; Westworld and the new Jurassic films come to mind. His books will live on through readers and writers alike and that is what we work for. Sometimes that wordsmith goes silently by whilst others become immersed in their worlds. The day I learned of Michael’s passing ten years ago crushed me because I knew there wouldn’t be any more of his works and I would never get the opportunity to meet him.

Maybe one day…

 

Weekly Ramble #10

The 4th book release is nigh, and things have been taking off, but this isn’t just all me. My projects are brought to life by the efforts of some real dedicated people. As a writer I would simply be lost without my editor. There is a hell of a lot more to editing than most people think. All of my stories have been painstakingly crafted, long after my work has been done.

This one may the best work I have seen not only from an editing point of the view but the cover artwork also,  a reveal will follow, and I am sure it will impress, it blew me away and conveys exactly what I want to say in this story.

Readership is growing by the day with my most loyal readers leading the charge with reviews and general buzz about my words. The tribe is small but very effective and dedicated, something which means more than anything else. This thing will take time, it always does, in essence writing a book feels like sending a letter two years ago and finally getting a response this week.

Reviews really do sell books but most importantly above all, people talking to one another sells them more than anything. We live in a world where spoken communication is dying, maybe talking about books will keep it alive for a little longer, we’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #9

Twitter is shit. There you go I’ve said it. And it’s the truth. I’ve never really figured out the tweet machine and so my jury rests upon the fact it sucks, probably like all social media. Everybody is just looking for that one up so they can sell you whatever they want to sell.

I asked myself recently if I could live without twitter and so I chose not to install it on my new phone, and I’m better for it mostly. Now I check on the ‘land of weird repetition of the same shit’ once a day at best.

Facebook have seemed to distance themselves from it also, and I know for a fact they aren’t perfect, but these days I have taken more of a shine to Instagram which is linked. Truth is, nobody can withhold and keep up a presence across all platforms unless you have a media team, and I do not. Either way, this revelation has made me feel good.

In fact I’m doing great right now, things are moving towards my 4th book release and I’ve even got my first book review gig. The wheel is beginning to turn with another review for the Teleporter and organic sales of Open Evening.

Its the first day of new a month and with it comes the hope of good things as the leaves begin to fall into a new season. I’m optimistic this somewhat difficult year will have a decent end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #8

I’m writing a screenplay. It’s a world of rules and words I have yet to explore. A venture in which I inevitably wanted to pursue, maybe there is someone out there who see’s the vision of Open Evening as I do, a thrilling, run and chase story that delves into the unknown and unexpected.

There has been progress in my indecisions of what to do next as a wordsmith. We are a species that is in fact always drafting. I have at least 3 future projects in the pipeline and there will always be more. Sometimes it feels as if there is no finish line but to keep working for me is bliss, a purpose, even a calling.

Writing is something I find myself needing more everyday, I also find myself enjoying it even more. The success I have had is minimal; but these books are an investment in time, they will always be there, even when I am not, I wonder if authors of yesteryear thought that too. Many of which never saw their titles reach the pinnacle of success in their lifetime. A true artists lament. But that isn’t why I write. Of course the fame and lifestyle of earning big bucks would be a desire, but I write because I enjoy building worlds and the characters that reside in them. Their struggles and overall battles towards redemption echoes mine and others in real life. If there is no element of realism in fiction then why write anything at all?

Have something to say, even if it is whilst being chased by unholy demon creatures who came from underground. There is always a message, there has to be. We function as humans by looking at the finer detail by taking someone else’s words and interpreting them for ourselves.

This all sounds artistic and deep, but it’s truth, and truth is something all fiction must contain if you want to grasp a reader. Pull them in with shit that you’ve seen or seen others go through. Make it life or death, convert the mundane into high octane, put action where there was once just peace and solitude. Overall make the reader believe what you have to say, base characters on real people without dropping their name to avoid a lawsuit, relate to where you work and the fact management will always be the bad guy. Look for the hero where there are only villains and maybe that saviour you need so much is staring you back in the mirror.

If you plan to write anything in this life, make it count, and make it as if you have something to say. In years to come some English lit major will probably spin that into some prose study stuff, but that’s alright, people are still reading your work. To write is to build and vent, it’s probably what sets us apart from the animals, we can create, and we can do it well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekly Ramble #1

I’ve been inclined to start a weekly article called the ‘ramble’,  a place to take my writing and more importantly opinions of stuff that 3 novels and counting just couldn’t contain…

Everyday I find myself scrolling through social media, playing the proverbial game of bingo spotting the usual bullshit that fills up our timelines and stories, yeah I’m in that crowd, but normally I share stuff because it might enrich someone or at least make them aware of my efforts as a writer, it could even make someone happy.

el director

Us human beings have and always will be on the hunt for instant gratification, hell I’m sure that’s what the ‘gram’ is named after, a basic extension of life invader or Facebook as you all know it. An opportunity to create blatantly planned and set up moments… back to that game of bingo, I see a full plate of food with a pair of sunglasses and maybe a book. The only thing missing is the phone which should be face down, just eat the damn meal and read the book instead, nobody really cares about your average life. People emptily like the picture probably because it’s better than the one below it, of that person telling you how good and full his life is when really deep down that post is aimed at an ex and so again I stamp my bingo card.

You can define the social media user by two crowds, the constant posters and the ones who hide but are always watching. The watchers will say they’ve had enough of Facebook and will probably deactivate their account when they get round to it, or in fact they have just returned from a three month stint of that blank profile picture, you’re not fooling me, you are just the same in nature to the constant posters, you need it, for the gratification and because it’s still there you return.

I mean I am no saint when it comes to social media, of course I probably over use it, I am human after all, and my weird journey as an author wouldn’t be what it is without that. Success as a writer and on social media echo each other in the same bipolar way. Take my latest novel, The Teleporter, a super hero type comedy with a hell of a lot of relation to this modern world, it’s anti Trump, and sometimes pro booze. There are so many things in that book that make it unique, despite that and all my marketing efforts, it sold less that 20 copies. Bipolar right? Or maybe bad timing or maybe nobody is interested unless it’s Marvel or DC, or so many other theories, I think maybe the cover has something to do with it, not that it’s bad, I think it’s wonderful, but is there some kind of primitive dislike for a certain colour or font? Because whenever I put that cover up anywhere on social media, the likes and attention are seriously reduced. Is it the title? Weird huh? and you should see for yourself, it’s probably the most interesting outcome I have had for a book, it has simply been rejected.

Now rejection is something we all need to embrace if we want to use social media, people wont always be there to like your stuff, and people that do without fail, are they liking the content or the person? Rejection may as well be my middle name when I began this journey into the words, I still have the rejection emails in the hundreds via the inbox of a time not so long ago.

I continue to process why the Teleporter has seemingly failed, and I say that in the least dramatic sense, I know some have read it, but not a lot, and it is still very early to really gauge the success of it. How I process this stuff is simple, retreat into writing, keep churning out content across genres, I’m holding hundreds of darts and the target is somewhere ahead. As long as I keep throwing, some day the I’ll make something stick….