Month: March 2014
For those writers of you, like me, who need a bit of cash
I am excited and delighted to announce that the second edition of Amit Bobrov’s Fantasy tale The Journals of Raymond Brooks is out now and I edited it!
I first met Amit through Goodreads.com and I took a peep at the opening pages of this, his first novel. I was immediately grabbed by the opening premise; Modern day assassin creeping up on house with two vampire survivors from the middle-ages. I had to read it!
What I experienced was an enchanting tale which guided me safely though a complex set of ideas. There were only two things which let the book down slightly, a slightly under-developed (very understandable for an Israeli writer) view of the extreme religious period of the Late Middle Ages and a poor English edit.
Fortunately I have ample experience of the former through my personal genealogical research, which took me back to 1240 France, and the number of weighty academic books I have read on the Medieval. Amit and I were able to work together to address these issues. I also did a small amount of development editing.
The result is what must be the first installment of a sweeping epic tale. I know Amit is working on the second book and a third is in the pipeline.
If you want a quick synopsis I would say the story is rich and complex with at least three protagonists and two narrative perspectives, which is why I see it as an epic. By the end of the book there is Jaunee, an elf-like vampire, her partner in crime, Ray (Raymond) and one other mysterious character in the background. This last character will be developed in the next part of the story.
Ray is an immigrant who is struggling to survive on the streets of Late Medieval England. He becomes the apprentice to a blacksmith, whose daughter Ray falls in love with. Jaunee is another survivor, a street urchin, whose own adventures eventually lead her on a course which converges with Ray’s. Neither are typical characters, both are complex.
While other non-English writers might settle for something which is ‘vaguely right’, Amit was open to suggestions and listened very closely to my opinions on how he could get his tale across in the correct period-setting. I am very impressed by Amit’s love of his art and how far he is prepared to go to bring the reader a tale which feels authentic.
If you like fantasy with a few twists, and a writer that is not afraid to mix genres, try this one.
Out on Amazon: The Journals of Raymond Brooks
17 Days to War? This was the innocent looking subtitle for an episode of a recent high profile BBC series to mark the Centenary of World War One. It instantly upset me, not deeply – I mean I wasn’t throwing things at the TV or thinking about writing a letter because I was close to tears. But the grammar of that phrase bothered me! I think the Beeb made a shocking error here because their grammar is ambiguous and could mean something insulting. Let me explain:
17 Days to War may seem like an innocent phrase to you but it grates on me, as a writer, editor and reader. It grates especially because I know a thing or two about war, although I have never had to fight in one, for which I thank God in my heart almost every day! I am not a war-lover, despite writing fiction about it. I have an affection for the technology used but more than this, I love writing about people, people in difficult situations, and there are no more extreme situations than war. I would like to think it’s an emotive subject for anybody.
That’s why it is particularly important that the BBC get it right. That’s why I was disappointed that the BBC – known as Auntie Beeb to some of us since childhood because of its supposedly ‘teacher’ attitude to delivering content. One is supposed to be able to rely on the accuracy and correctness of anything they show us. I think the Beeb made a shocking error here because their grammar is ambiguous and could mean something insulting. Why do I think this?
Of course, such language might be part of this new trend to ‘dumb down’ everything for the masses. I hate the trend in adverts of taking good songs, even great songs, like All You Need is Love and not only getting a choir to sing them but actually changing the unusual original time signature to 4/4 and cutting out half a bar just so that ‘normal people’ can hum it more easily! How the hell did it become one of the biggest sellers of the 60s then if people couldn’t hum it! Are people becoming more stupid? Perhaps they will do if advertisers treat them that way. I also hate the poor grammar now used in adverts. All of this just makes BBC’s slip worse.
According to dictionaries:
The word ‘War’ can be a noun; 1- A state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state (ie Japan declared war on Germany), 2- A state of competition, conflict, or hostility between different people or groups (ie she was at war with her parents), 3- A sustained effort to deal with or end a particular unpleasant or undesirable situation or condition (ie a war on drugs).
4-The word ‘War’ can also be a verb; Engage in a warm (ie small states warred against each other)
5-According to Macmillan Dictionary it can also mean: b) [COUNTABLE] a particular period of fighting between countries or groups of people
Let’s look at possible uses of these terms in sentences
I may as well say in advance that I don’t think any of them do but if you think differently, please let me know:
However, the usual construction for indicating a period leading up to war would be ’17 Days until War’, not ’17 days to War’. Nowhere can I find an erudite quote using that sentence construction. It seems to me that the BBC has erred shamefully here. And it’s not even a main title!
I could accept it if it were a main title. There are many book, film and newspaper article titles that do not use good grammar. Just to gran somebody’s attention, I think its acceptable to bend the rules a bit. But here it is just a subtitle so it should fit one of the correct forms
Another word that is both a noun and a verb is ‘sleep’. It too is a state, can be a period in time and can also be something you do.
You can say, “We are going to sleep.”
You can say, “We are sleeping
But you wouldn’t normally say 17 hours to sleep because that can mean two things; 17 hours of sleep or 17 hours available in which to sleep. They are both quite different.
Yet another word which can be both a noun ( a state) and a verb is holiday
You can say, “We are going to holiday.”
You can say, “We are holidaying
Now if you say 17 hours to holiday, that can only mean that you have 17 hours in which to holiday.
Looking at the phrase in a purely temporal setting:
Can you say 12 hours to noon?
It sounds weird. That’s because it is wrong!
12 hours to live makes you think of 12 hours left to live.
You don’t say one month to Christmas. You say one month until Christmas.
I would love to know that the BBC’s title is correct. But I don’t think it is and I think the meaning suggested by the phrase, ’17 Days to War’ is 17 days within which to make war! This is an insult to all those who suffered in the Great War or remember somebody who did. Not only that but it also contradicts the whole mood of the series, which aims to show how almost everybody did their utmost to avoid war. If I was a conspiracy theorist I might even believe that the War was deliberately started by the British Government and that the BBC is secretly trying to divulge this! Either way, shame on you BBC!
Is there a specific grammatical rule for war and time that I don’t know of? I would like to think the BBC knows some archaic grammar rule regarding the word War. I would be a lot happier if there was one and I knew it. But have searched on the internet and I can’t find it. Perhaps there is, and if if allows the phrase 17 Days to War, please can you let me know?
Lovely photos. Is it england Rachel?
Snowdrops unwilling to part with winter, entrench springtime in a bed of snow-white wintry pearls.
‘You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.’ ― Pablo Neruda
With a sigh of dismay, we shake our heads in disdain at the human civilization and disparage its deepening potential for destruction as we learn of once frosty Arctic bears perishing amidst their liquefying home, Gabon elephants tortured for their regal tusks, torched Brazilian rainforests, Cambodian natural treasures disfigured by landfill & nature turning in on itself in a revengeful rage against man with floods & tsunamis. We quarantine ourselves away from the natural world in a sphere of technology and are left to tweet of global warming, talk of drought on our touch-screen TVs and bemoan on our smartphones, the fate of our children, who will inherit nothing more than an over-blazing sun and an outdated Iphone
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this was just going to be a Facebook post but I got too worked up!
Tesco Low-Energy light bulbs
What happened to low-energy bulbs (the ones with the curly tubes)? I was in Tesco (yes, let’s name names) and I needed a bulb cos my hallway 40w has blown and its too dark – no window. So I go to the shelf with 50 types of bulb and there are 2 single 100w low-energy bulbs! Anyway, frustrated, I go to the counter with a pack of 2 40w bayonet, old style bulbs and they don’t scan! I am at the head of a big queue but luckily the shelf is only 20 feet away.
“You have to buy another. We can’t sell you this!” the cashier says.
“But it’s Tesco’s own brand!” I counter.
“Can’t sell it to you!”
I run to the shelf and an assistant comes to help. He can’t find any other 40w bayonet bulbs so have to give up. I go back to pay for the rest of my shopping and ask:
“Why don’t you stock low-energy bulbs any more?”
“We did once. Then we stopped.”
So not only doesn’t Tesco stock low-energy bulbs any more but Tesco is stocking its own brand bulbs which it can’t sell? How surreal is that?
Tesco Carrier Bags
It’s almost as crazy as the plastic carrier bag fiasco. Most supermarkets stopped doing carrier bags for a few weeks. You had to buy a tough, canvas reusable one for about £2 (or a cheap plastic reusable one for £1) and carry it with you to work (if you worked) and then all the way back to the supermarket when you shopped on the way home. It was a pain. Then I noticed that they were starting to give people the £1 plastic reusable bags because people had no bags and no money for the reusable bags and supermarkets who didn’t have plastic bags where haemhoraging customers. So about two weeks after this they start doing the disposable plastic bags again. I guess they admitted defeat on the environmental issue.
I feel sorry for the poor inhabitants of that island in the Caribbean where all the carrier bags and plastic garbage from around the world washes up. Did anybody tell them we have given up on recycling and environmentally friendly policies?
On the way back from the supermarket about 12 noon today) I passed Balfour Beatty roadworks on Tottenham High Road just outside the Town Hall. I had noticed a a Balfour Beatty diesel Vauxhall Astra with its driver sitting in it and the engine ticking over on my way to the supermarket. When I returned it was still ticking over, he was still in it, and all the time, 1 hour, he had the driver window wound all the way down. It’s not particularly cold today so why did he have to have the engine generating heat just so he could sit there with his window open talking on his mobile – for 1 hour!
I didn’t take his number plate, but Mister, you know who you are!
Five minutes later I came to another building site (Loughman) – right outside Tottenham Arts Centre. I had passed a digger that was sitting empty. I had seen it being operated on the way to Tesco with about half a dozen men around it. I guess they had gone for a tea break or to lunch but the men were nowhere to be seen. And the engine was still ticking over (don’t know if petrol or diesel)!
Again you know who you are.
If you are from Balfour Beatty or Loughman I would love to hear from you, especially if you are the drivers of those two vehicles. You can defend yourselves here.
Continuing on my theme: I mean, I know it’s obvious that the Conservative Government has give up on reusable energy. What is it Dave Cameron said off-camera to another MP, “Enough of that environmental shit!”
But when did the public and retailers give up? When did we all give up?
Am I wrong, or are we seeing the first signs of a kind of fatalism creeping in about recycling and environmentally friendly policies?
What is your view? if these stories make you angry and you feel anything at all, have your say by leaving a comment.
I have now created a survey to ask people about hand washing. What I want is to get a feel for whether people without OCD wash their hands when they come home or not, and if they only do it sometimes, when?
If you don’t have OCD and would like to take a moment to help the OCD community, please complete the single question: it will only take you a few seconds and you won’t have to leave any personal details. Please only complete this if you do NOT have OCD.
This survey link will always be available on my OCD page in the menu at the top of this page.