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So, it’s Christmas day, and, as, if not exactly usual then at least it’s better than the alternative, I’m bored out of my skull. Better than depression.
I’ve had occasion to rant about this subject before, but Christmas as a whole gets me down. So what do I do over Christmas that could cause this?
There’s slightly more on telly, and I usually buy the Radiotimes so I know what’s on and what I’m missing (not much). Christmas is one of the few times when I actually watch TV. Top Gear, Doctor Who, maybe the occasional documentary, drama or detective series, and if Star Trek Discovery or a new sci-fi TV series ever makes it to terrestrial digital free-to-air then I’ll probably watch it. Otherwise the main use of my TV is so I have a decent-sized screen for watching DVDs on. There’s always Die Hard.
I treat it as a holiday, in general. I take it easy, try to do something a bit different to what I normally do. More and better food. One of the few times I’ll actually have alcohol. Listen to different music. Have the heating on all day for a change.
Maybe it’s the more food thing. Usually, my weekday meals are toast for breakfast, crisps, cheese and sandwiches for lunch, pasta/rice and peas for dinner. Over Christmas, chocolate is liberally added, and dinner expands to involve meat – mince or sausages generally. And that’s the thing – more effort to cook, more washing up needed. You know how easy it is to cook rice/pasta? Boil a pan, bung it in, few minutes later bung in a handful of peas, another few minutes and drain & serve. You can safely leave it and ignore it between those brief bursts of activity. Not so when cooking meat, you have to stand over the frying pan constantly, stirring or turning, making sure it all gets done properly and not burning it. Then there’s the washing up; an extra pan to wash, and it needs to go straight to soak, it can’t wait for the next evening’s wash. The plate used needs to get cleaned properly as well, a pasta bowl barely needs more than a wipedown after a day sitting in the sink.
But no, it’s mainly the crappy weather and that everything’s shut and the thick clothes. White Christmas? Only to the extent that the clouds have come down right low and you can’t see anything out of the window.
So, yeah. Merry Christmas.
Yesterday, I was playing Star Trek Online. Despite it being based on a TV show structured around a socialist utopia, there are a large number of right-wing trolls who play it. Someone made a comment involving the words “treasonous remoaners” in world chat, so I replied with “Which is more treasonous, supporting the deliberate destruction of the country’s economy, or protesting it?” I didn’t see the reply because I blocked the idiot (I play STO to unwind, so I don’t need the stress of a political argument).
But it got me thinking.
In October 1918, a peaceful socialist coup occurred in Germany that removed the aristocrats from power. Germany had been under blockade for four years, it was financially and resource-bankrupt, the population was starving, and its’ renowned military was getting it’s arse kicked – as a state, as a military power, as a country, it was on the point of collapse. Unless the country wanted to be invaded and destroyed brick-by-brick and the population massacred, the only sensible choice was surrender. So the MDSP and UDSP signed an armistice, and a few months later began morphing into the Weimar government as they negotiated the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler called them traitors. That was one of his key points on his rise to power, that traitors had signed away Imperial Germany’s greatness. Technically, he was correct, in that it was a coup – but given that the supreme chancellor voluntarily turned over governmental powers to the leader of the MDSP after telling the Kaiser that his services were no longer required, it was considered by the rest of the world to be a legitimate transfer of power (especially as, at the time, no democratic mandate was required for the German government to do anything). Hitler’s actions when in power caused to happen to Germany in 1945 what would have happened in 1918 or 1919 if the armistice hadn’t been signed.
I really hope that in 25 years time, World War 3 doesn’t start with a home-grown Fascist dictator in London ranting about traitors dropping our country in the shit.
I have a significant birthday coming up in two months. If you feel the need to buy me a present, buy via the following link and support Alzheimers Research UK
Producing, directing and appearing in this
“Mort” by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, part of PTerry’s Theatre Month 2018. Skipton Little Theatre, 7.30pm Tues 17th – Sat 21st Apr 2018. Tickets £10. Book on 0752 714 1176 or firstname.lastname@example.org or http://skiptonlittletheatre.co.uk/next-production/times-and-tickets/
A whole series of NaNoWriMo novels, now available as EBooks!
Book I – Please Kill the Neighbours
Most nuisance neighbours can be dealt with by a court order. When your neighbour is a country ruled by an evil wizard, we recommend a demon.
Of course, you need someone … disposable … to summon the damn thing.
Meet Cullan and his companions, Alys and Kenyon, and follow their adventures when they’re blackmailed into escorting Morgan, a gifted young mage, into a hostile country so that she can fulfil her Destiny.
Book II – Finish the Job So We Don’t Have To
Whenever you kill an evil wizard, there are three things you should remember:
1. Kill his bodyguards and sidekicks as well;
2. Steal all his treasure;
3. Have an escape route planned in advance.
So… Second time lucky?
A second chance arrives for Cullan and his companions to loot the Tower of Morss – not that they really want to go back there after what happened last time. Especially with an invading army in the way. Oh, and having to kill the three most well-protected people in a besieged city first.
Book III – All’s Fair in Love and Politics
Inter-monarchial relationships can be tricky things. There are all sorts of things to consider concerning alliances, succession, trade, and so on. Not to mention security – with all the travelling between two countries that will be going on, it makes it easier for someone to, for example, kidnap someone.
When Queen Elspeth is abducted on a state visit to Galorndan, Cullan and his companions are ordered to once again travel several hundred miles to find someone – this time to rescue, not to kill. Although, someone probably will need killing while they’re in the area.
Book IV – Things Never Go Smooth
Gods exist. Some of them are family. And all families have squabbles. Some might say there’s profit to be made from them – others say that now’s a good time to hide in the cellar.
A chance sight of a Princess on the streets of Doronatha causes big problems for Cullan – not only do two Gods have their eye on the Princess, the Princess has her eye on Cullan. And to make matters worse, the only ones willing to rescue him aren’t going to get paid for it!
Book V – Cult Following
People keep getting kidnapped. It’s not usually an occupational hazard when you’re a mercenary, so when it happens to you, it usually means your friends have to go and do the rescuing.
An obscure cult from the mysterious continent across the Eastern Ocean has decided that Morgan is the one spoken of in an ancient prophecy. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s been fingered by Destiny, but at least the cultists could have asked before taking her back home for training.
Book VI – Customs & Duty
There’s a vicious new bandit chief operating in the area. There’s also a conspiracy to usurp King Dashell and prevent his marriage to Queen Elspeth (for economic reasons, not political). Guess who gets hired to sort it all out?
If there’s one piece of advice a young soldier of fortune might get from an older one, it would probably be, “never mess with religion, politics, or trade”. This does tend to cut down the available avenues of work, though. So with a coup being plotted and not much time left before it swings into action, Alys, Cullan, Kenyon and Morgan have to take their new mercenary company after the ringleaders, and hope they don’t get involved with all three at once.
Book VII – The Dragon, Shrouded
An exhausted and desperate man staggers out of a mountain pass bringing dire news from the South. Ancient legends are re-awakening, and dark forces are mustering to bring them into the light.
The Burning Rose Armed Company, now a Royal bodyguard detachment, are sent to investigate the man’s story. With very little solid information to go on, and people disappearing, they nevertheless follow the trail into the vast Kcodi desert of the South.
Book VIII – The Dragon, Rising
War is coming to the North, whether it wants it or not. They are ill-prepared, fragmented, and unenthusiastic about the prospect – unlike their opponents. As the powerful joint Kingdom of Turnobae-Galorndan scrambles to forge an alliance that will give them the men to oppose the Sword Bearers’ Army, what they need most is time…
Rather than face a massive army of religious fanatics who have found a symbol to rally behind, the Burning Rose are sent into Ras Natara on a twofold mission. First, a diplomatic approach to the Sultan to persuade him to diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand. Then, a clandestine trip into the heart of the Nataran desert to find the prophecised dragon and kill it.
Book IX – The Dragon
War! Invasion! Massacre! Betrayal! Mercenaries!
The Burning Rose have quite spectacularly failed in their mission to avert a war with an enemy that has a dragon. As a punishment, they are not allowed to take part in the desperate defence of the North against the massive army of fanatics fielded by the Sword Bearers. Instead, they have to journey into a legendary wasteland and find a talisman that can help them defeat the dragon. Without the dragon, it might just be possible to defeat the Nataran army that outnumbers the armies of the North by at least two-to-one.
The Original Trilogy
A single volume collection of Books I, II and III, with a new introduction, and an exclusive short story.
Available as paperback only
The Budding Rose Trilogy
A single volume collection of Books IV, V and VI, with an introduction, and an exclusive short story.
Available as paperback only
Good news! I have re-worked the ebooks (again) so that iBooks and Kindle won’t throw a wobbler and refuse to accept them.
Bad news: It’s the Christmas holidays, so they are still being assessed by the QA teams.
All my books, both ebook and print are available through Lulu, and as soon as the ebooks get accepted for Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo and Amazon Kindle, I will let you know. All ebooks are £1.99, print versions range from £8.75 to £11.49.
More good news! In April, the final trilogy will be published in one big volume (paperback only). It will contain the entirety of Books VII, VIII and IX, the complete map with everything named on it that came with Book IX, an introduction, and an exclusive short story that will be found nowhere else.
More bad news: It’s so big it will cost £25.
Even more good news! I will be publishing one new short story a month online until September. At some point after that, I will be publishing them all in something for you to buy, including at least one story that has not been put online. The book will include notes on where each story lies in the general chronology of the Have Sword & Sorcery: Will Travel™ world.
So, Happy New Year! Lots of things to look forward to from it!