The Take Home Message

I haven’t posted for a while because I have just been so busy. My day job is taking up more and more of my time and energy – out of office hours too.

Well Ordo Lupus is now published at and any reviews comments would be gratefully received.

I had this idea for promoting it: to hire a wolf and put a sandwich board on it with a poster of my book and walk it around the bookshop districts of London ie Charing Cross Road and the Embankment. I have actually made enquiries of a theatrical animal handling company but I cannot see it happening. It has to be illegal cos even with a young tame wolf which is muzzled, its got to be capable of some damage with its claws if it gets riled.

On to the main subject of my blog today.
I recently joined which is a network of writers who review each other’s work: its mostly short stories but they do novels too Ordo Lupus is in the queue for the second week in June but I tried my short story Inchoate first to see what would happen. I had a huge response and I had a hard time answering all the emails. Most were very polite and all were constructive.
One reviewer complained that Inchoate didn’t have a ‘take home message’. I’s fairly obvious what he meant by this but I had never come across it before and never really felt any need to include one. In fact I think many of my stories do not have a simple message. Inchoate is about an adolescent/young alien who is given the job (probably his first) of monitoring early man/hominids in North America 2.4 million years ago. he botches it and sparks premature consciousness in man, which has a knock on effect. He is put on trial for it and then subtle clues indicate that not all is as it seems. I think its true of all my stories that contemplation is needed and indeed consideration in it’s ancient context (that of religious focus on one’s own thoughts after absorbing something). That may sound pretentious and it’s only something I aspire to – I am not saying I achieve it always. This requires subtle clues with lead to varying levels of subplot if it is successful.

I must say I don’t like being preached to and I find stories that have a simple ‘lesson’ quite annoying and even a simple message unless its something totally new or very subtle.

Anyway I tried to explain all this and that I didn’t see that one absolutely always had to have a ‘take home message’ but he was having none of it. I am not sure if I am right or if he is right. Any views anyone?


I have changed my mind on the title of the novel which is now almost ready for publication. I finally settled on:

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate.

I really like this title – not too much like a Harry Potter title but still has that ring to it. I like the rhythm of it actually. Also like the fact that I managed to get two descriptive words – gate and temple in there. The temple bit will be fairly obvious to most readers but the gate bit is only alluded to in the text.

The manuscript is now uploaded to

I have started work on building the cover for the book. I am having some problems getting permission for some of the images. One of the owners of an image seems to be uncontactable.

As far as the new sci-fi story is going, I have been making good progress and the plot is developing. What is suprizing though is that an element of plot has crept in which I never planned and I have no idea where it will go. Where do these things come from?