I had a major change to my long-term medications a few months back and been having some significant issues as my system adjusted to the changes. This has seriously affected my ability to concentrate and write, thus I've not done much during this time. I also have a huge pile of emails I need to reply to, now I'm getting a bit better able to concentrate for more than a minute at a time. If you sent me an email and haven't had a reply, I WILL get to it, unless you use an ISP that blocks all traffic from mine - some do that, like Comcast.
I do intend to do more of the Chaos Calls series, and sequels to Times of Old, and Rough Diamond; and have some start on all of them as well as some other stories running around in my head. I just need time to be able to concentrate on them and finish them. On top of that I also have picked up working on sequels to some of Cazna's stories at Stories On Line which I've done revisions of.
Just keep and eye on this blog for further action and allow me some time, please,
Times of Old is over 59,000 words in 6 parts, full story is available via lulu if you can't wait for it to go up a part every three days.
Just added: I've got a few emails about a cultural thing to do with carpentry. Here in Australia I was taught by a carpenter to call the cut a rebate. In the US most seem to call the same thing a rabbet - the wiki article on a Dado joints calls it both, amongst other things.
I've had a few emails where people say I should credit cmsix. Just two points here: yes, I am aware of his writing and make an oblique reference to one of his works early on in Times of Old.
Second, cmsix did NOT create this genre and he was far from my first introduction to aliens and time travel. The first story I read along these lines was back in the 1970s and was in an old pulp fiction paperback. At SOL I first read time travel stories by authors like aubie 56, The Scot, Jim War, and Old Guy before I found cmsix's works. Some of those pre-date the stories cmsix has on SOL. His big one, John and Argent seems to have been written in 2005 or 2006, from what I can find on the Internet, well after I had read stories by others. So please stop saying I should credit him for the idea, as it was around before him.
I've had some emails about the story, but today I received an anonymous email that is more if a tirade about how the story varies from the reader's ideas. May I suggest the person involved write their own story if it upsets them so much. However, I will address a few points they raised so others won't feel the need to comment on them. But first, please read my earlier blogs about my style, which is in the vernacular and a lot freer than most.
Early dialogues with the aliens - remember, this guy thought he was going to die and is surprised not to be dead. Then he's hit with the idea about being the main star in a survival show, as it says in the story, he realises they can just eliminate him if he disagrees, so he takes the job on. No need for a serious discussion at all and he's also still a bit shocked by the situation. I defy anyone to be anything but a little flippant in that situation. Reality call Anony-mouse.
The lengthy email then goes on about the weapons and the wagons as being useless after a few decades and he should be concentrating on books and information, paper and printing presses. He took two long emails to cover it all. I need only say: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - which I've applied to the story. Ed is a guy wanting to stay alive, not an evangelistic scientist on a quest to change the world by taking a hundred tons of gear with him.
He first ensures his survival; designer cave to live in, armoured clothing, guns to survive a major attack, a show and tell manual on medicine and the local herbs, (think of these as insurance) then standard weapons of the era to hunt and survive normal attacks, basic tools and seed to convert from a hunter gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one, salt and cooking gear to get an in with the locals, finally a wagon and horsepower to move it all to his living area. He also gets the knowledge to talk to the locals.
For those who've not studied it, no culture can develop and sustain metalworking and metal based tools or implements until AFTER they have developed a decent agricultural lifestyle that enables them enough people to be free to concentrate on such activities as mining, smelting, and blacksmithing. No one person can do all that themselves, and it takes one hell of an infrastructure behind the society to do it - an infrastructure that would take decades or lifetimes to develop from a hunter gather society, no matter how smart and knowledgeable the leaders are.
Ed has to move the society along at a sane pace they can absorb and change to, one step at a time. Which is why the book on tools he asked for and why the focus on woodworking tools. Yes he cheats and gets long lasting high quality metal ones to start with, but all are tools that can be duplicated from within the available materials and technology of the era. The only thing he has that can't are the guns, and he doesn't want them to be available to anyone else, anyway.
In short, Ed's approach is to improve the life of the people and advance towards civilisation, but at a rate they can handle and sustain, not huge unsupported leaps of tech that can't be sustained.
If you get the idea this person's emails annoyed me, you're right as they used a superior tone to abuse me and I'm handling the situation in a valid realistic manner that would continue instead of their plan to fail approach.
This is a combination and update of my previous blogs. Plus a late note about a new post - 5 Ultra Short stories. My work is slow at the moment as I'm working on a saga on another site with another author, it's up to the collaborative edit stage, but due to his health and mine, it's a slow process.
EMAILS: I've been out of action for several weeks with a severe back issue, sorry about the delays with replies. I reply to all emails from valid reply to addresses. However, comcast.net, sbcglobal.net, and excite.com block emails from my ISP, so clients of those ISPs who don't get a reply, talk to your ISP about that.
Thank you for reading my stories. I do many things to put food on the table and deal with life, this interferes with my writing, so please bear with me when there are delays in stories appearing. I do NOT post a story until it is complete. Once posting has started I will only make changes to deal with typographical, spelling, continuity, or other important errors like copyright infringement when someone points one out to me. If you see an error, and not just a UK / USA spelling difference error, please let me know.
Writing: I write as if I'm telling the story while sitting around a fire. I find the use of present tense adds to the feeling of being involved, but don't do this with all my stories. Most authors write in the past tense, as it's easier that way; you use only one tense throughout. In the present tense you sometimes have to refer to prior events in the past tense, and use both tenses as is appropriate for the situation. I often write in the first person, as this adds to the sense of being involved too. These are both valid, if not common, ways to write. Please, Anonymous, no more emails about it being the wrong way to write.
Headings: I use colour codes to indicate headings for Chapters (red), Sub-chapters (blue), and Sections (bold black). They're centred, look more colourful, and are easier to locate.
Sequels: I do plan to do a sequel to Rough Diamond, Star Performance, the Al Adams stories (on Earth and Chaos), and others. I also have many works in progress to finish, so don't hold your breath. Just watch out for the new stories and enjoy them as they appear. They are planned out, but I need to do some research before writing them, watch here for the announcement of when they go up.
Thanks to the anonymous feedback email senders who send a smiley or a thanks for each chapter. You more than make up for the anonymous abusive ones. I usually respond to emails I receive. I've been surprised by the number of people who send me an email of a basic thanks for each chapter. Thank you all. However, responding to all emails is now eating into a lot of my free time, please don't get offended if I don't respond to a basic 'thanks' email. When I know the email to be a first for that story from you, or it's been a while since I replied to you, or it has something that needs a response, I'll reply. But, sad to say, I'm not replying to a basic thanks email for every chapter when I recognise the address or name as one I've replied to. I just wish I had the time to continue to thank you all for each email.
I'm an Aussie and have never been to the USA in real life, all the knowledge comes from Internet research. So anyone who wishes to give me advice on such things is welcome to send me some information and ideas so I can incorporate them into stories. Please note that in doing so you give me the legal right to use that idea free of charge.
I write as both Ernest Bywater and Ernest Edwards (the Clan Amir series, only part is at SOL and FS) and have stories at Stories On Line, Fine Stories, Lulu, dpdotcom, ASSTR, and my own web site (page links below) - not all are at all places as each site has it's own clients and special rules.
All my stories are available, or soon will be, as PDF downloads via Lulu and / or dpdotcom, and most are also available as printed stories via Lulu as well. All my stories are written in a 6 x 9 inch paperback format page using Libre Office and saved as .odt files then converted to pdf and tagged text files for SOL and FS. I do not make stories available except as html, PDF, or as a print copy.
Please keep an eye on this blog as I only say things here about the stories, and all the important info goes here.
If you think a story at SOL is worth publishing in your local newspaper, talk to them and have them email me. I'll gladly give them approval to reprint it free, especially for Always a Marine and Coming Home.
Star Performance: I wrote this as my entry in the NaNoWriMo November 2010. Six Parts.
Had an unexpected question about poppers of fruit juice see:
Always a Marine and the Three Cartridges: It's short and the title says it all. Please read the third paragraph of the funeral carefully, the only uniform I mention the colour of is that of the Marine Corps League, which is a red coat, and they provide the Honour Guard, not the serving Marines. Thank you to those who found someone to ask about the three cartridges, and for passing the information on to me. Three sources checked with senior NCOs in their local military and they signify - Honour, Country, and Duty.
Rough Diamond: The bulk of the story is a diary style account in the first person. Like most first person accounts, the main character starts out by making a statement today, and then giving a bit of background on the situation. In doing this, once having moved you back to the start of where the background starts, it's told in the present first person. I'm sorry if you don't like the style or have problems with it, but this is how most people actually tell events in real life; and it's how I write.
I've had a some people question the Casinos and the IRS. Here's my explanation:
The IRS: is concerned about the taxes being paid. Once they find the money is going to the company, they concentrate efforts on the company, to ensure they're paying the right taxes. Once that's resolved, they walk away - their only concern is tax revenue. They're unlikely to be investigating Anian himself, or look at his actual age as he won't have a Social Security Number as he's a legal foreigner and it's not his taxes they're looking at until the end of the tax year and he lodges a return.
The Casinos: my research shows the Indian Casinos, which are what Anian deals with in New Mexico, do NOT operate the same way as the big commercial ones in Las Vegas etc., they're less likely to be quick in banning people and the like behaviour. I make a point of his mentioning being connected with The Spirits and how some of the Indian staff connect with this too. This is another reason why they won't be so quick to kick him out and be prepared to put up with him once he places limits on his activities, that and his big tips. OK, I may be a bit out in the reality of the situation as I didn't have an opportunity to talk to the actual casino staff about this, but it's a very reasonable premises to go with.
I hope you pay close attention to the very last sentence of the story as it applies to all politicians and government employees, domestic and otherwise.
These are told in the first person by an Aussie, so he's using terms he's more familiar with, even to the extent of putting them into the mouths of others - anyway, that's my excuse why swimmers will stay as swimmers and not become trunks, and similar minor points.
I often skip minor repetitive detail that does NOT have a direct involvement, I point out how frequent this is done at the start and then drop it as a routine matter; except where I wish to use it to show Al moving between scenes etc., so please assume he does routine matters a few times per day, even when I don't say so.
Damsels in Distress has a universe rules wiki by Lazlo at:
Chaos Calls: Learning Visit - The opening does give away a bit of what's to happen in Finding Home as it's the end of Finding Home. That's there to set Al's character up in Chaos without having to make a new one.
Release of Prisoners: In the section where the main camp is attacked, after the attack Al and Joe are speaking to Colonel Bond, the next paragraph mentions the teens get down from their positions and release the prisoners. They help clean up the site.
Return Home: I mention the travel home is faster than the travel through the forest. I say that as when they bypassed Bridgetown and worked their slow way to the enemy camp they travelled in the forest amongst the scrub and trees, making their way with great care and working hard not to leave a trail while scouting ahead before moving. On the return trip they travel on the road that goes through the forest, that's open and no scrub in the way, making for a faster trip. The return trip has a lot less in the way of natural obstructions and makes for easier movement.
Chaos Calls: First Rescue - Up North, I've had a few people say that US citizens would use the term Back East when talking about going from New Mexico to Frederick. One editor raised this, so I do have the US CITIZENS use that term; but Al is an Aussie and would never say it that way, to him it would be 'up north' as a purely descriptive term, and the same for Eduardo as he's a Mexican. So, please, no more emails about Al saying up north.
Chaos Calls: Dragon Dilemma - Bearings, the bearings I use are steel roller or needle bearings in a steel race - not ball bearings. These can be cast metal. Bearings will never be common on Chaos, it's metal poor, as the metal bearings of the wagons are worth a lot. A rich person like Al can afford them for a special project.
A troop is a basic military unit and has varied a lot between countries, forces, and time periods. The earliest use of the term was for an organised group of warriors on foot. Today, more people are used to a cavalry troop. In more modern usage it varies between being the equivalent of a platoon or a company and has varied in size from around 30 to 70 members. On Chaos Al is setting up a troop to be the equal of a platoon, but with 65 members as that's what he sees as a reasonable sized force to safely act on its own. In older times military units had larger numbers than they do today - think pre gunpowder period, please.
The carts I mention are something like a dog cart modified for use by a horse, they are only as wide as an average horse. Here's an image of roughly what they look like in real life: