Looking towards the future!

Over the last couple of months while I have been suffering from lethargy in terms of posting I have been working away behind the scenes and I thought today I would take the chance to fill you in on some of what is going on in the background.

The first thing is I have signed up for a course on Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry it is a free 4 week course, just 3 hours a week. you might wonder why I would take on doing extra study when I am already snowed under and I am not gaining a qualification from it but I am looking at it as a chance to gain knowledge which may be useful going forward. We all know in this Internet age that cyber-piracy is something many authors are coming up against, work plagiarised or republished on pirate sites where they are given away for free, and while some will argue that gaining readers this way is a counterbalance to the loss of earning on that book, for others it is a loss they cannot afford. We all write the copyright notice at the front of our books but how much of it do we understand, what actual rights we have and protections are offered by it. If you are interested you can find more details here.

The other thing I have been looking into is publishing options, it was brought up on FB a couple of weeks ago that there were other options for print on demand other than KDP and Createspace, so I took a little time to look into it. The most popular way is the use Createspace however I have found a suggestion that long term it may be best to use a combination of Createspace and Ingram Sparks, you can read the article I found helpful here. The trilogy I am working on at the minute will remain on Createspace as setting up the other requires money to invest in buying ISBN numbers but I have begun the process of getting ready for this for future series. When you buy the block of numbers you register them to an imprint name and I have decided to go with Raven’s Rest Press, I have set up an email, FB and Twitter to grab the name there, I will be adding the logo to my other books and I would not be averse to perhaps collaborating with other indie authors who want to publish under the name and help promote each others work. I am not going to  go too much into things here as obviously I am still setting it all up but I will keep you up to date with my experiences. Right off to the day job now after all until the books start selling I have to fund the present as well as investing in my future.

Anger and Indignation

Yesterday in the UK a man who committed heinous and terrible acts alongside his partner died.

Quite rightly people are remembering the victims, many doing so rather than mentioning the man’s name, what I want to talk about today is the ones who are commenting about the fact he should have been killed years ago, that he should never have been allowed to live this long and then I wonder how many have actually read the articles over the years and understand the complexities of the situation.

You see while I myself may personally agree in the idea of the death penalty being reinstated there is the question of the families to be considered. This man has wanted to die for decades, for him incarceration was a far worse punishment than death, but the families of the victims have been some of the most vocal in their pleas that he not be allowed to. While some have their children home to rest in peace, one remains missing, the suggestion he may one day reveal the poor boys final resting place was enough to make it worth suffering him to exist for those who had the most reason to wish him dead. Over the years various members of victims families have begged him to let the boy come home and be laid to rest with his loved ones, trips to the moors have been taken, we will never know if he was just taking the p*** or if the movement of the land meant the remains were no longer where he thought they were. Recently some guns were found belonging to the man, perhaps yet another clue, and his letters written behind bars are to be kept from the public in the hope that their may be clues hidden in those but the question is, did he only take the one secret to his grave with him?

I am a huge true crime fan, I read books, listen to podcasts, watch TV shows and films and last year I listened to an audiobook, One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley by Carol Ann Lee, and recently I was drawn to listen to it again after listening to a podcast, we know that there were four victims of the moors murderers but the question that keeps coming back to me is, were there more?

When Pauline Reade’s Body was found one of the officers says they had eight case files which they thought could be potential victims, the four victims were all included but it is never said what happened about the other four, you have to wonder if up there on the moors more than one body remains, the man himself has hinted at times there may have been more but never given facts. The woman, his accomplice, down played her own part in the murders and I doubt would ever have admitted more existed, but more than that we know they travelled to length of the country at numerous times over this time period, who is to say there are not other children missing across the country who may have crossed there path. The children’s murders happened 6 month apart but there was then an eight month gap to the murder which would see them arrested.

You see for me this is the thing, I have only seen one suggestion of a potential victim who got away, the four victims all had fairly well established time lines which in some ways makes it easier to put together a story for what might have happened but what if there are others not in the immediate vicinity, children who were not as well cared for who no one was sure when they disappeared or where they disappeared from? The only two people who know if they did more, are both now dead, the family of Keith Bennett may never know where he is, the families of Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, may find some measure of peace. He claimed to have killed four other people, the police say the investigated looking for the crimes he claimed to have admitted to, but he was a liar! This was a manipulative, sadistic person who enjoyed playing power games with other people, who can rule out that the number he gave could be right but the details wrong, time has passed since the crimes and generations of families passed away, but you wonder if those with missing children wondered if their child could have fallen prey to this cruel pair, because there is no evidence of other victims that does not necessarily mean they do not exist, only that the pair kept no trophy from that kill, left no paper-trail that led back to them.

In keeping this man alive so long authorities denied him the freedom of death, then denied him his wish to die and they honoured the families wishes that he be forced to live in the hope of revelations, if the death penalty had been imposed there may very well still be four bodies laying in the cold desolate moors rather than one, because with nothing gain I do not believe they would ever revealed anything. While as a society we may feel anger and hatred towards this pair and their actions, it sometimes requires a more logical and less emotional view to see the bigger picture or maybe it is the fact we personally have nothing to gain or lose that makes us simply want to rid the world of this type of evil. We would love to believe this type of evil exists only rarely but somewhere round the world even as I type this a predator is stalking their prey, while we may very well wish to rid ourselves of the rabid dogs, we owe it to their victims to discover how they became what the did, learn how they cover their tracks, where potential opportunities to stop them were missed, we should only destroy them once we can be sure there is nothing left to learn from them. History will grant them infamy, we have to ensure the names of their victims are spoken as loudly as those of the criminals and sometimes real justice and retribution come in forms that we would not automatically choose.

A – Z Reflections 2017 – #AtoZChallenge

I had hoped to have been posting my survivor badge and talking about how well this years challenge has gone, well truth it 2017 I FAILED!!!!

I did manage about a third of the posts they were posted late and I did not feel I really wanted to get stuck in. The truth was that my normal exploits in A – Z have been planned ahead of time, I pick a theme research a couple of options for each letter than go with the one that interests me the most. This year I was already chasing my tail, theme reveal day arrived and I had not even given it any thought, I should possibly have stuck with my gut reaction at that point which was to skip this year but instead I thought I could wing it. I made a snap decision to do the dictionary thing without considering how it would play out. I mean fair enough I did drop lucky with the words I got, partly I suspect due to the dictionary I was using being one I have a had a while that maybe fell open at pages I had previously use, but that luck could not have held out for the whole thing, in fact the next word I had picked for M was mandible which would have ended with a post on wrestling.

So what did I learn, well first I need to be prepared better, I need to pick a theme ahead of time which excites me and makes me want to write about it. I need to begin preparing the posts well in advance, research and write them with at least a week in advance so I don’t end up falling behind when life gets busy. Secondly I learnt that when I fall behind I have a tendency to want to quit, and while knowing when to call it quits is not a bad thing I need to learn not to talk myself out of doing things because it might involve knuckling down and focusing my energy. Some times we can actually learn more from our failings than our successes, they teach us our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all have plenty of both. I find that when I am doing badly in one area of my life I tend to find everything is going badly and becomes hard work, for example being tired and stressed at work makes me grumpy at home and makes it harder for me to focus to write, this gives me two options to either try to be happy all the time, which I am pretty sure is impossible without serious drugs, or to learn to compartmentalise more, and to force myself to sit at the computer and write no matter what my mood even if it means writing something completely different to the piece I an working on at that time. I have also been struggling to fill my journal in lately which again goes alongside this lethargy I have been feeling in general.

Some times it does us good to really stop and think about what is going on with us, why we are struggling, are we taking too much on? Are outside influences having a negative impact? In my case I think it was simply poor time management skills combined with a lack or direction both in terms of writing , blogging and life generally, hopefully the writing of this post it actually part of me turning this around.

March/April Resolutions 2017

Okay you might notice the title is for two months together, and you will also see the lack of form compared to how I normally do these posts, the fact is the last couple of months life has got in the way. That doesn’t mean I have done nothing just that what I have been doing does not necessarily relate to things that can be shared at this point. I have a grandchild on the way, have helped my daughter move, have been researching swag, exploring new possibilities to take advantage of moving forward (really excited about that bit but not something you will hear about until the back end of the year).

My priorities for the next couple of months is the Queen of Ages trilogy, losing the extra pounds I have regained and getting ready for #Darker2017. It is so easy to buckle under pressure, I have a couple of times in fact I have come close recently to throwing my arms up in the air and claiming I cannot do this any more. May will see my resolutions posts take their normal structure once more but part of my resolutions for this year was to not let everything get on top of me and stress over things I cannot change so in that aspect I succeeded at least, I recognised that I lost my way, rather than spending time and energy backtracking I have simply focused on moving forward.

It is also worth noting I failed the A – Z Challenge but I am going to do a separate post on that. Not much more I want to say here really I have book reviews to write Glossybox reviews random posts and a trilogy to complete.

L is for llama – #AtoZChallenge

llama

[lah-muh]
noun
1.

a woolly-haired South American ruminant of the genus Lama, believed to be a domesticated variety of the guanaco: often used as a beast of burden.
2.

the fine, soft fleece of the llama, combined with the wool for coating.
Let’s turn the timer on…
last year on my way to dancing we were driving past a field on the way to Marsden when I got all excited and started shouting ‘Llama!’ Of course, technically as you know if you follow my Instagram, they weren’t llamas they were alpacas, same family different wool. But they look very similar but are less inclined to spit. That is the first thing I remember ever learning about llamas, they spit!
The first time I ever saw one I was a kid, I was with my grandparents and we had gone to Bridlington. We had been on the ‘front’ for a while and been for lunch at a restaurant on the front, I used to think I was so grown up, obviously back then there were very few actual restaurants that did a children’s menu, so I would order a ploughman’s lunch, and then after they would bring round the dessert trolley with cakes and desserts on it, I would usually pick Black Forest gateau if there was not a plain chocolate cake option, which as this was late 70’s there frequently was not. After eating we would catch the land train up the hill to Sewerby Hall this was where I first saw a llama, my granddad warned me it would spit so we gave it a wide birth even though I was fascinated by its seemingly huge eyes, I had never seen a camel at this point either so had know way of knowing those lashes were nothing compared to other family members. I think I thought of them as a little like horses, but deformed, more comical then graceful and sleek, but the one thing there was no denying was they were kind of cute and had personality, especially as it spit at a small boy who was annoying it.
I guess animal families in some ways are a little bit like our own, don’t get me wrong we are all human and not separated by species and sub-species but if you follow my meaning we have those that look pretty, think vicunas, then those that are productive like alpacas, then you start getting the strange cousins that can be a bit grumpy at times, like the llamas, then you have the really camels who just walk and talk different and have those huge humps. You have to wonder when a llama looks at a camel do they recognise they are the same family or just look and think freak?
That’s it timer has gone and so must I

K is for kindle – #AtoZChallenge

kindle1

[kin-dl]
verb (used with object), kindled, kindling.

1.

to start (a fire); cause (a flame, blaze, etc.) to begin burning.

2.

to set fire to or ignite (fuel or any combustible matter).

3.

to excite; stir up or set going; animate; rouse; inflame:

He kindled their hopes of victory.

4.

to light up, illuminate, or make bright:

Happiness kindled her eyes.
verb (used without object), kindled, kindling.

5.

to begin to burn, as combustible matter, a light, fire, or flame.

6.

to become aroused or animated.

7.

to become lighted up, bright, or glowing, as the sky at dawn or the eyes with ardor.
And the timer begins…
This is another one of those words where the first meaning that springs to mind is not one listed in the dictionary, until a few years ago these meanings would have all rattled round my head but now Kindle is a trade name for my ebook reader. Don’t get me wrong I do still prefer real books but my Kindle is a life saver when going on long journeys, and free ebooks have been a great way to find new authors that I can then happily invest my limited funds in at a later date.  In one way of course, the very name Kindle for the device, ties in with one of the original meanings, because if you find a good book to read upon it then it does indeed kindle the imagination. Maybe on a winters evening you could even light a bonfire, using kindling of course, then sit with your Kindle and allow it to set your mind ablaze round the fire, while paying suitable attention to the actual fire of course, I have recently bought a incinerator bin so when the weather allows a few dry days I hope to sit by that as it burns my garden rubbish and enjoy a book in peace, of course dry weather also means having to wait until no washing is out and no one is having a BBQ as rose wood can be quite smoky.
I have to admit I do like having fires, even without reading a book just sitting watching the flames can let the imagination run lose, the pictures you can see in the flames the way the embers glow and move as the fire dies, so many chances to think on things. I grew up living in a coal board house where we had coal fires and there is something very comforting about sitting reading by a nice warm fire but I have to admit I do like the ease of modern heating systems where the house can be kept warm with the turn of a thermostat instead of getting up in the cold and having to wait for the fire to be built and lit to get warm, in an ideal home I would love to have both.
The timer has pinged so time to do some house work then get another post done.

J is for jester – #AtoZChallenge

jester

[jes-ter]
noun

1.

a person who is given to witticisms, jokes, and pranks.

2.

a professional fool or clown, especially at a medieval court.
Let’s start the timer…
My initial thought when I think of the jester is to think of Harley Quinn and the Joker, probably because I only just re-watched Suicide Squad a few days ago but when I consider the actual definition I am reminded of a book I once read though I cannot remember the title. When you first think of the medieval court jester I think it is easy to dismiss them as fools, weaklings, people of no consequence but when you actually think about it logically they really were in an incredibly dangerous and potentially powerful position.
Think about it they had more access to the monarch than probably anyone else, they could hang around without raising suspicion after all their job was to be there at their masters beck and call, to amuse him whenever he saw fit, and because they would often be of small stature, possibly with impediments or deformities, either physical or mental, that would have held them back in life. In the book I read the jester was a dwarf if I remember correctly but incredibly intelligent and used his position to manipulate the King’s opinion on his courtiers, of course it had to be done carefully mock the wrong person who had too much power and there may be repercussions but do it in such a way as to make the person look bad if they react to the jester and subtle undermining of a person’s character can be achieved.
Got distracted and the timer has gone off but going to leave it short as I am behind on these posts.