Illegal Aliens XV

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland awoke after bringing an attractive young woman home, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.

One of a somewhat menacing pair of visitors finished last week with “that is irrelevant.” Maybe for them.


The man pulled a warrant card from inside his jacket and showed it to him, “It’s better if you don’t know the details.” The card identified the bearer as an agent from MI6 and little else.

“For me or for you?”

“Very funny, Dr Stevens; may we come in?” Neither of them seemed to have much of a sense of humour.

“I suppose; not like I have much of a choice, is there; I need to shower; do you mind waiting?”

“Not at all.”

The man followed Roland upstairs and waited outside the bathroom while he showered. The woman used the time to search the downstairs rooms; she found a letter, written in an obscure script, one that looked suspiciously like Arabic or maybe Farsi, on the kitchen table; after sending a picture of it to the office, she pulled a chair from the breakfast table and sat. Satisfied with her efforts, she’d await the outcome.


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for preorder on Amazon.
You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

Bastet had an important role in Egyptian mythology. One of the several gods of evil, Apep, would attack the Sun God Ra in the evening. He or it would attempt to eat the sun and place the Earth in eternal darkness. (Though as a snake he’d freeze first, but then logic was never a strong part of mythology.) Bastet would routinely defeat Apep and slice his head from his body with a flint knife. Thus the sun would be available for the new day.

The featured image shows the asteroid Ida and her satellite Dactyl. 99942 Apophis or Apep (a synonym) was supposed to crash into Earth in 2029 or 2036, but NASA has shown that it won’t. This image is often labeled as Apep, but it isn’t.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens XIV

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Last week Roland awoke, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.” A knock on the door interrupts their conversation just after Mr Shah explains that one of his workers couldn’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.


A loud knock on the front door interrupted their conversation; Roland said, “There’s someone at the door … I’ll need.”

“May the Gods smile on you, Dr Stevens. I think you’ll need them,” Mr Shah hung up.

Roland grabbed one of his wife’s old aprons and wrapped it around him in a semblance of decency; he hadn’t been able to face clearing them away; dressed, sort of, he answered the door.

A man and a woman, dressed in conservative suits, suits that signally failed to hide the bulges under their shoulders, waited outside.

“Yes?”

The man said, “Dr Stevens?”

“Yes, I am he.”

The woman added, “Good; may we talk to you?”

“Who are you?”

“That is irrelevant.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

Illegal aliens is up for preorder on Amazon.
You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

I was hunting for an image of the Goddess and found this. However, black and green eyed is more the way I imagined her. Bastet was not just some “piece of fluff.” It would have been terrifying to be occupied by her.

One of the duties of parenthood is encroaching on the weekend. We’re moving our youngest to his new digs at Auburn.
You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens is alive

Maybe not well, but it’s up for preorder

You can get a copy of the first bit on instafreebie.

We (I had a fair bit of help from my collaborating author on this) used Amazon’s kindle create on this.

There are good things:

  • Fonts, images, and special formatting are preserved if you export to pdf first. So you can have drop characters for leading pages and pretty section dividers without a lot of bother.

Well, that’s about it.

It’s not too hard to use. Except it’s really hard to create a functional table of contents.

There are, however, bad things too. When you export to pdf it is tricky to save the links from the document – i.e. the table of contents.  Make sure you tell word to save the internal bookmarks.  Check that they’re there with a pdf reader. Then when you get to importing it into the kindle create you should see a table of contents entry. It will be blank, but as you page through the document you should see it light up (there’s a box that will get checked) when you get to a chapter break.  You’ll see whatever symbol you used for the internal bookmark displayed below that. If like my collaborator, you’re a computer scientist, it will be a hexadecimal number. Who in their right mind wants to see that? Replace it with the chapter title.

If you don’t have a functional table of contents you’ll get a well-documented  error at the end of the publication process. It will say, “an unexpected error occurred.” The amazon people don’t know what that means either. It took us a couple of days to figure that one out.

Illegal Aliens XIII

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Last week Roland awoke, alone. Something of a surprise, and in some ways a shock. His mobile chirruped into life and the works manager – where he’d been called to examine a mysterious block of Roman concrete – told him the “bloody German bomb, it went.”


Mr Shah clicked his tongue, “Captain Carter examined the area before the blast – there wasn’t any bomb.”
“He must have missed it; that was Roman concrete, and you know as well as I do that the Romans didn’t even have gunpowder, let alone high explosives; what does he say about it?”
“Nothing; can’t; he caught it.”
“Oh … I’m sorry.”
“Well. Just a heads up mate; expect you’ll get a call;  they’re thorough bastards.”
“Who?”
“MI6  … there’s a chance it wasn’t a German bomb.”
“Shit.”
“All I can say is it’s a good thing I’m Indian, Hindu. They’ve already interviewed Na’el … gave it to him; put him through the ringer, poor lad; not that there’s anything he’d have to do with a bomb; can’t even stand the firecrackers on Guy Fawkes.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

One of the things I’m proud about this selection is that it brings to life the poly-cultural nature of the south of England. They, like the land of the free and home of the brave, have tensions between rural and homogenous urban regions (mostly Wales, the West and the Midlands) and the diverse urban areas (concentrated around London).  However, there is a reason curry is the national dish. The diversity brings a vibrancy to the country that is undeniable. The header image, which I stole from ITV, shows one of the bands in the Notting Hill carnival – Mardi Gras on Thames (except it’s not on Shrove Tuesday).

I had hoped to announce that pre-order was finally available, but Amazon is giving me “an unexpected error occurred try again later” error. Oh well.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens – blurb drafts.

We’ve been working on blurbs.

Here are a couple:

Buried, forgotten, something is stirring, awakening the old gods, restarting the old feuds. Called in as a working archaeologist to examine a block of Roman mortar found while digging the new underground, Roland Stevens is soon in the thick of it, buried in a tangled web of deception almost as deep as the ruins he studies. Still mourning his missing wife and son, disappeared into the wilds of Wales, he meets a mysterious young woman and the sparks fly. The fire they light changes the world.

 

Gods, Aliens, or merely Human? A rip in time and space awakens something forgotten and buried. Something best left alone. Left buried in the block of Roman concrete from the works on the new underground line. Consulting archaeologist Roland Stevens, called to examine, finds it the least of his troubles. Pulled into a tangled web of deception by a mysterious young woman, can he solve the mystery in time?

Any thoughts?

Illegal Aliens XII

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland, an archaeology instructor at Reading University (academic ranks in the UK are different than in the US, he’d be an assistant professor in the land of the free), is on his way to London. He’s on call when something unusual turns up in the works on the new underground. After an interesting conversation on the train, he arrives to find the odd item – a block of Roman Concrete which is covered in inscriptions.

Roland’s dinner continues, with an unusual choice of meal. He has just asked his visitor if she’s hungry. She has just sniffed him and told him he’s the one. Shades of the Matrix?  Continuing on  things are about to heat up.  They did, but was it real?


Sunlight streaming through his window finally wakened Roland. He rolled over in bed, reaching for her, hoping last night had not been a dream; he had a panicked moment, “She’s not here!” Then he heard a tuneless humming from downstairs.

The humming stopped; evaporating like the dew in the sunlight of the morning.

Roland leaped out of bed and took the stairs at a bound; there was no one down there, not in the kitchen, nor the front rooms, nor even the loo; the loo he, and … it was too much.

His mobile shot into life, “Bloody hell!”

He answered it, “What the hell now?”

It was Mr Shah, “Did you hear the news?”

“What news?”

Mr Shah’s voice, tinny on the mobile continued, “When we lifted that damned block of yours … the bomb, the bloody German bomb, it went.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

My coauthor informs me that he has a paper deadline this weekend, NAFIPS, whatever that is. Something about Fuzzy Restricted Boltzmann Machines. Whatever they are. (actually I know and they’re sort of cool in a nerdy sort of way.)

Was this hot strange woman a dream?

Maybe, maybe not.

To be honest it wouldn’t be much of a story if she were.

There’s another minor Egyptian God you should know about. Aker.

Aker was the guardian of the borders, sort of a shy, quiet, standoffish sort of God. But someone you wanted on your side.  He was usually described by a lion (often a spotted Barbary Lion). He and Bastet tended to clean up the mess that the other gods left behind, including killing the snake god Apep.

 

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens XI

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland, an archaeology instructor at Reading University (academic ranks in the UK are different than in the US, he’d be an assistant professor in the land of the free), is on his way to London. He’s on call when something unusual turns up in the works on the new underground. After an interesting conversation on the train, he arrives to find the odd item – a block of Roman Concrete which is covered in inscriptions.

Roland’s dinner continues, with an unusual choice of meal. He has just asked his visitor if she’s hungry. She has just sniffed him and told him he’s the one. Shades of the Matrix?  Continuing on  things are about to heat up. This week, they (finally) do.


They continued until all the meat, both the small amount in the curry and the two almost raw beef burgers were finished; Roland offered her a chip, “It’s not meat, but man does not live by meat alone.”

“There’s wine … and fish as well,” still, she tried it and pronounced it palatable.

In the process of eating, she slipped her feet from her shoes and ‘played footsie’ – tickling his legs with her feet. Eventually, when the meal was finished, she slipped onto the bench next to him and cuddled up. She chewed, gently, on his ear while encouraging him to place an arm around her shoulders, to pull her tightly against him. She was guiding his other hand to explore parts previously unknown when Paul, the bartender shouted, “Here you two – get a room.”

It sort of broke the mood, but only for the time being, Roland asked, “Do you have a place to stay?”

“I do.”

“You do?”

“With you,” She smiled at him, “Unless?”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

This is about as hot as we write.

Bastet (Spelled Bast in hieroglyphs – the et is added to make it distinct when we barbarians pronounce the final ‘t’) is an interesting Goddess. Symbolized by the cat, she specialized in family, dance, and joy. Once you get outside of the major Egyptian gods, the family trees get … complicated. Mostly because the various versions of the legends contradict each other. She’s sometimes the consort of Anubis and sometimes his mother. Her husband is sometimes Ra, sometimes Ptah, and sometimes Ra is her father. As I said, it gets complicated and the authorities disagree with each other.  Women would often have a charm of her and attach a kitten to the charm for every child they either had or wanted.

Devotees of the Goddess would bring votive offerings – mummified cats. However, it is interesting that many of these mummies are actually not real cats, but straw and papyrus bundles. Somehow, I think Bastet would approve of the substitution.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens X

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland, an archaeology instructor at Reading University (academic ranks in the UK are different than in the US, he’d be an assistant professor in the land of the free), is on his way to London. He’s on call when something unusual turns up in the works on the new underground. After an interesting conversation on the train, he arrives to find the odd item – a block of Roman Concrete which is covered in inscriptions.

Roland’s dinner continues, with an unusual choice of meal. He has just asked his visitor if she’s hungry. She has just sniffed him and told him he’s the one. Shades of the Matrix?  Continuing from last week  things are about to heat up.


The bartender put the bottle on the counter, “Roland, lad, Here’s the plonk.” Roland started to stand but the woman reached over and touched him; he shivered at the touch, as though a spark passed between them.

The bartender laughed, “I’ll bring it over; time you met another girl.”

In the background, his cook called out, “two burgers, one curry.”

After the food arrived, the woman looked at her plate, “This isn’t meat.”

“Take the bread off.”

She still stared in confusion, and then tentatively picked up the patty.

“That’s not how you eat it,” Roland reached over with his knife and fork, cut a piece, and offered it to her; she put her mouth over the piece and pulled it off; she swallowed, “Meat, it is meat.” Smiling at him, she picked up her fork, and her knife, and after some initial awkwardness, cut a piece of her burger, “For you.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

I found an Americanism that had crept in, Barkeep. I mean Bartender, actually Landlord or Publican.

This image from MotherBedford.com shows American utensils from the time of the Revolution. You can’t scoop food with those forks.

While I’m on the subject of Americanisms, Yanks tend to hold their utensils upside down. Eating forks with 3 or 4 tines, as opposed to cooking tools, became established in Britain during the 18th century. Typically they were flat and used to stab/hold things. Curved forks were developed in Germany towards the end of the 18th century, but by then the stab/balance on the back of the fork pattern of British and European usage was established. It wasn’t until after the American revolution that the curved spoon-like forks we use today became popular. Hence Yanks tend to use forks like spoons.  The most practical way to use the forks in the image above is to use them to hold down a piece of food while cutting it, and then to switch to a spoon to bring the morsel and sauce/dripping to your mouth. Mind you now we’ve moved on to those awful sporks.

The featured image shows the Royal Berkshire regiment playing in 2006 outside the Oracle in Reading. They were recruiting, and for the fun of it playing an arrangement of the Black Adder theme.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens 9

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland, an archaeology instructor at Reading University (academic ranks in the UK are different than in the US, he’d be an assistant professor in the land of the free), is on his way to London. He’s on call when something unusual turns up in the works on the new underground. After an interesting conversation on the train, he arrives to find the odd item – a block of Roman Concrete which is covered in inscriptions.

Roland’s dinner continues, with an unusual choice of meal. He has just asked his visitor if she’s hungry. She has just sniffed him and told him he’s the one. Shades of the Matrix?


“The one?”

“Yes,” She moved across the table from him, “This ‘beef burger’ of yours; it is meat?”

“Mostly.”

“Good,” She licked her lips. However, she also reached over and took his hand, “You’re nicer than I thought – than I remember.”

Roland found himself getting lost in her dark, her deep dark eyes, “Good … Are you a student at Reading?”

“No.”

“Oh, I thought you might be a foreign student, speaking that Italian dialect.”

“No … I am a student; is not this the language?”

“Sorry, no; you’re speaking an old Italian dialect, almost Latin.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

I’ve been experimenting with Amazon’s newish kindle creation tool (The down load link is here) It’s a bit kludgey, which may be my poor overstressed laptop, but has several neat features. The one I’m really pleased with is the ability to control the font in the text. If you generate a pdf it will keep the fonts!  So you can use various unusual characters for things like drop capitals and section breaks without losing them. I haven’t experimented with pictures – though one of our manuscripts will have a couple of maps, but expect they’ll work well. It doesn’t do a good job at generating tables of contents, so the old standby of bookmark/internal hyperlink is still a good idea (this works in pdf).  It’s also not clear when and where you associate the cover with the book, but presumably they’ll make that clear when we’re ready to pull the trigger.

The other program to experiment with is their textbook creator tool, but that’s more complicated.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Illegal Aliens 8

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation. This is the start of a new work, Illegal Aliens. It is something of a cross between a horror story, a science fiction tale, and a romance.

Roland, an archaeology instructor at Reading University (academic ranks in the UK are different than in the US, he’d be an assistant professor in the land of the free), is on his way to London. He’s on call when something unusual turns up in the works on the new underground. After an interesting conversation on the train, he arrives to find the odd item – a block of Roman Concrete which is covered in inscriptions.

Roland’s dinner continues, with an unusual choice of meal. He has just asked his visitor if she’s hungry.


She laughed, a laugh that pierced to his core, then said, “Yes, very hungry;” she kept staring at him; he wasn’t sure he liked it; she smiled, at him; he decided he did like it.

“Let me order you something, I’m having the curry; it’s usually good.”

“Meat.”

“Meat it is,” Roland looked at today’s menu – on the chalkboard, “Paul? A beef burger for the lady and a bottle of that Romanian plonk, two glasses.”

“Rare or well done?”

Roland looked at the woman, “How do you want it cooked?”

She grinned and licked her lips, “Raw.”

Roland said to the bartender, “Make it two burgers for her, rare as can be and go easy on the chips,” after that, he patted the seat next to him, “Do you want to sit here?”

She continued to stare at him, which made him nervous, then glided to the chair next to him; not the one he’d offered; she sniffed him, “Yes, you’re the one.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

One of our books is in Patty’s promos. Don’t let that dissuade you from taking a look at the many fine authors who have made their work available at a hefty discount.

 

You can find my, well our, works here.