Ernest Bywater: Blog


Tinker Taylor - revised version with the Wizard

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Now that Tinker Taylor has been fully up for a few days I think I've had all of the typos etc reported and corrected by now. While I have been making revisions while it was being auto-posted, I've now made a few more changes. Some of the changes are differences in word usage between the rest of the world and the USA and they've been changed to match the USA. The latest versions are already on Bookapy, so those of you who've bought the book can go to your Bookshelf and download the latest version. The rest will have to wait until the Wizard and the moderators have done their jobs later today. Give them 12 to 18 hours as I don't know what their schedule is in relation to my time frame here in Australia.

Sorority and Fraternity

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I've had some email me with concerns on how a sorority operates, especially the one in my story Tinker Taylor: Spy & Soldier. So here's some information on what a sorority and a fraternity are.

The word sorority simple means 'a house or group of women,' while the word fraternity simply means 'a house or group of men.'

In the US the universities / colleges use the terms for single gender housing organisations that have restricted membership rules and have a management connection to the university / college due to being on the campus grounds so the university / college has some control over them. However, that does not mean that's the only way they can operate.

The sorority in the story has no management connection with the university and it is not on the campus grounds, so it operates under its own rules and under the general meaning of the word.

Now I've explained this, please, no more emails insisting sororities limit access via rushing etc. the way those under university / college control do.

Reposted Rivers Region Series Story Notes

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This is very loosely based on the Riverina Region of New South Wales, Australia and extended into the mountains to cover towns like Tumut and Batlow. Rivers is based on Wagga Wagga, Bowen's Creek is based on Junee, Wood Valley is based on Batlow, and Ryan's Ridge is based on Tumbarumba - - all are very loosely based on the real places. Please, no more emails asking me about where it is.

Time-line: I've been asked for a time-line for these stories. However, because some of them cover decades or lifetimes of those in them it's very hard to set an exact time-line for them that neatly weaves them all together, that was never intended. The best I can say is the majority of the current activities has the main characters as contemporaries and the most significant parts of their lives as being in the current decade. To that extent you can picture A Farmer's Life starting in the late 1990s, Mack also starts in the late 1990s, Michaels Mansion starts in the early 2010s, Flames of Life starts in the early 1990s, and Interesting Times starts in the early 2010s.

Michaels Mansion

Sidewinder vs Stinger Missile - Yes, technically the Sidewinder is an air to air missile only (although I have heard there is a ground fire kit for firing them - a reader told me there is one for some models but it's not a shoulder mount kit), and it's likely in real life a Stinger or a Strela would have been used. However, the people involved in the story are all retired Air Force and much more familiar with a Sidewinder than a Stinger and are calling it what they know. Due to the comments I considered doing an update to cover this point while leaving it as what they said, but I looked at it and it would cause major issues with the print book version so I'm not making any changes for this.

Pat's Age - He's in his third year at university, that puts him in the 22 to 23 year old bracket when the story starts. I didn't state this as I figured most people would work it out for themselves. In Australia most people finish high school at 18 or 19 and then go onto university (what some call college in the US) where most courses are 4 years plus post graduate studies after that (some are 3 year courses).


Archery and Shotgun loads: Mack taught himself how to use a bow from watching it on TV and Internet research, he was NOT trained by a professional

The use of rock chips in a shotgun. Shotgun barrels are essential unchanged for centuries and are simply smooth-bore metal tubes of quality steel. Mack uses chips about the same size, or smaller, than that of No 4 bird-shot - a typical shot used for rabbit hunting here in Australia. They are not likely to do any worse damage to the inside of the barrel than steel shot. And if they did it'd take an awful long time to do so. They feel and fire the same as a normal load and the effect at close to medium range is the same. Firing rock loads does have a less compact and wider spread at longer ranges than steel or lead shot. I know people who save money by self-loading with local granite rock chips. For the ranges normally used when rabbit hunting with a shotgun you see no difference, but the longer ranges for duck and bird shooting can see the spread a bit too wide for a good hit.

Football Field, in rural NSW most local football fields are big enough to play all four codes of soccer, rugby league, rugby unions, and Australian Rules - with Aussie Rules being more common the closer you get to the Victorian border. A typical full-sized Aussie Rules field can run out to 250 m x 200 m to give plenty of room around it and the actual playing area can is 185 m x 155 m. Check out wikipedia on it.

Flames of Life

Leg injury: The front muscles that are used to straighten the leg. But from discussions with a physiotherapist and other medical specialist the use of the front muscles are what allows him to mimic walking because he can use the muscle to provide some leg movement. However, with the back muscle totally useless he hasn't enough muscle power in what's left in the front only to hold the leg straight and put weight on it. That's why the mention of the frame at one point, to overcome that issue - but would be very cumbersome. He can and does move about with a cane on level ground by balancing his hip on the hand on the top of the cane and pivoting on it.

Building Owners - criminal conspiracy. I've had a few people mention they should be arrested and charged etc. One problem there is there is no legal evidence to do so.

Interesting Times

1. Waste - Maybe it's just Australian usage, but waste is anything I have and don't want, while garbage is what gets thrown in the landfill. Thus the recyclable containers are waste in the room and go into waste bins, they'll be recycled later. Remember, he made arrangements to have the recycling done.

2. The quotation is listed as an apocryphal Chinese saying, which means it's of doubtful heritage. Urban legend has it as being Chinese, but it can't be tracked down as such.

3. Figures given in dialogue are not always given as exacts, thus when the bikes are sold one person is using only the figures before the thousands.

4. DVDs and tech levels - blu-ray is only just starting to get some market penetration here in Australia, and it was almost non-existent 4 years ago when I wrote that part of the story. Also, those who do have blu-ray here still call them DVDs.

5. Mortgage release - I've had a couple of people say it takes the banks several days to release documents on payment of the mortgage. When I worked in the banks (many, many moons ago) all the mortgage documents were kept at the local branch the mortgage was lodged with, and immediately the sum was paid up the documents had to be handed over. If the payment was being organised via another mortgage and the documents sent to another lender, then it took days to organise the payout, but a cash payout requires an immediate hand over. I asked a local bank manager about this and was told some banks still keep the documents in the local branch safe, while others store them in the state headquarters. From a legal point of view once the mortgage is paid out the bank has to hand the papers over a.s.a.p. and once the person offers to make an immediate payout the bank has to accept it, if they refuse to do so for internal administrative reasons they can't charge interest from then on and can't take the money until they're ready to process it - neither suits the banks.

Reposted Comments on DiD Stories

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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 traveled 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:

Updated Repost of my Writing Style and General Story Comments

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I've been having a major issue with the Gestapo since mid 2015, the extreme limitations on my movements and the stress of the delays they cause resulted in me becoming very depressed in late 2017 and I've been under treatment and medication about it since mid 2018. I started coming out of the depression in May 2019. I'm still climbing the ladder back to better health. All this severely affected my creativity and writing with me having only short periods of useful activity. I've 650,000 words in over 30 stories I'm working on and trying to get finished and posted, so keep an eye out for new ones coming out.

Watch my blog as I only say things here about the stories here, and give alerts on new stories as well.

Oh, to me email, phone, snail mail, and face to face calls are social media, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other such stuff are data mining SPAM sites that I don't use; so please don't send me any invites to such places.

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's complete. Once posting has started I'll 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 to 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.

Aussie narrators use Aussie terms, so please keep that in mind, despite where the story is set. I use Aussie narrators for most of my stories, so, please, no emails about that.

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. My chapters do NOT match what SOL calls a chapter, and I list the SOL chapter numbers as Parts (green) in my Table of Contents. The submission wizard gets temperamental if the files are too big and makes them into multiple pages. So I try to match my chapter / sub-chapter ends with the number of characters the wizard is happy with - but not always as sometimes I just have to go past the magic number. Once the first part is showing the rest will be appearing every other day. If you can't wait to finish it you can always get it from my Lulu web site (listed below) while contributing to my welfare fund.

Sequels: I do plan to do a sequel to Rough Diamond, Star Performance, the Al Adams stories (on Earth and Chaos), Shiloh, Kim:Power Play, Odd Man in College, 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.

EMAILS: I reply to all emails from valid reply to addresses. However, some block emails from my ISP on an irregular basis - clients of those ISPs who don't get a reply, talk to your ISP about it. To get around this I'm using gmail to reply, but this takes more work by me, so I'm now doing email replies every six to eight weeks.

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. Please don't get offended if I don't respond to a basic 'thanks' email immediately.

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) and I also have my stories at Lulu - page link below.

All my stories are available as e-pub downloads or print books via Lulu. The stories are written in a 6 x 9 inch paperback format page using Libre Office and saved as .odt files then converted to HTML files for here. Note: I've been revising my works to make them smoother flowing and easier to read. If you've bought a past copy and the Lulu page shows a copy with an edition date before July 2018 and you'd like an updated e-copy, email me with some sort evidence you have a purchased copy and the format you want (epub or pdf), and I'll send you a copy of the latest version. The latest versions are being posted here as well.

I now have my own website set up with all of my stories summaries listed in natural divisions that may help you to sort out how they go together. But you will have to come back here or go to Lulu to actually read the stories.

If you think a story of mine is worth publishing in your local newspaper or magazine, 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.