Saturday, 28 January 2012

The cover

The pic is one of Smailholm Pele Tower. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story of Brendan Earle,I just found it on the Internet, liked it and thought it would look good. That does partly have to do with it having a lot of sky in it where I could put the title, but isn't all.
The landscape that the story is set in is described as looking like Northumberland and pele towers are mentioned once early on. There isn't one that looks like this, but I did have the idea that it would be a good scene-setting device to help the reader picture the landscape. The scene isn't as clear-skyed as I'd have liked, being as The Land is first described as having beautiful summer weather,  but it being a bit darker and colder doesn't hurt for the tone of the story, which quickly turns more menacing.

A bit of advertising

For a change I'm advertising Mike Green, rather than me. This:!i=1494660313&k=HWqRpFt
should be a link to his photologue, a collection of his work for sale. It includes the pic that I know as The Starting Line, but which is here described as A Day at the Races VII Sweihan . It doesn't unfortunately include Dunes and Mist, which I love and which is featured in Brendan Earle and has a starring part.
will take you to his blog, whre you can see a host of other good quality work.
If Brendan Earle ever makes it into the world of old-fashioned publishing with an agent and books in Waterstones', then I'll try very hard to get Dunes and Mist as a cover pic. It won't make any sense to most readers why that should be on the front - until they get to that part of the book - but it is a great pic and does make sense within the story. It actually helps Brendan understand something about how his world is structured. Yes, that does mean that it helped me explain something that was going to be both hard and boring to get over without it.

I've published it again.

Brendan is now up and being ignored on Amazon,uk as well. Why only there and not in the US? Dunno, maybe going to happen later. There is a chance that I will (temporarily) withdraw the book from Smashwords and publish exclusively on Amazon for a while. This is so as to have Brendan available for the Kindle lending library. It would mean that anyone with a Kindle could borrow the book for free (I'd get paid for every viewing). Great publicity and an increased chance of getting sales later. Also something that can be told to agents/publishers to try to stop them rejecting/ignoring it. I'm going to think about it for a week or so and see how things go with Smashwords. For those who want to look, it's here:

More Gaia

I hadn't actually planned to post this (and I'm not doing it now 'cos of being too lazy to think of something new to say). I was looking through my second book - working title Virus - and read through the bit from Gaia that I've started it with. I hadn't thought about it for a while, but re-read it and got interested again. Gaia isn't anything more than a voice at the beginning of the first two books, but she is the real mover and shaker of book three - even in the parts where you don't see her, which will be most of the book. And she is most of the reason why you get the rest of the story.
Fair enough, I thought I'd put her next bit in here. She's worth it.

Stories. Where do they begin and do they ever, ever end? For you, dear reader, the answer to those questions may be with the opening and closing of this book. But for me? My end will come soon with the Resurrection, when the Chosen will fly up into the sky and meet their maker. Then I may go to my rest; my well-deserved rest.
My beginning is heralded by the chronicle you are about to read. But as to where I should begin this chronicle, when every story has a story that precedes it. Begin with a record of the Transgressions that led to the End Times? With the first understanding that the End of Days was dawning? With the children whom my grandfather saved? With the coming of my parents and their decision that I should be dedicated to the salvation of Mankind?
I would have you understand me and forgive, if you can, the things I have done and those I have not done. But every beginning is too far from this end. The years and years of the work. Each detail and the detail that gave birth to it.
Forgive me if I seem to begin in the middle of the story. Each beginning that I choose was given birth by another beginning and this way, at least, I may catch your interest that you might look at the Acts of the Believers and have your own beginning in them.

She is all of what she says she is and all of the characters that she presents as. This voice is very much the same as the one that appears at the beginning of Brendan Earle, but it won't be seen much in book three (unless I cahnge my mind, which happens a lot in the world of Brendan Earle).

Monday, 23 January 2012

The original prologue

They taught me to think of them as my parents and I still do think of myself as their little girl, though the relationship wasn’t either biological or legal. And even though they hung the name Gaia on me. I mean, how hippie is that?
They taught me to think of him as my Grandfather, though their relationships with him were similar to mine with them. Not as deliberate, though. Like, I was definitely on my parent’s to-do list, but he kinda got them all dumped on him.
I haven’t been able to be with any of them for some considerable time. Way things work out sometimes, huh? What the hey, come the Resurrection, we’ll all be together again.
It’s kinda hard to say who took up the Faith first, him or them. Like, they brought him the Word, as we call it. But it wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know, y’know. Just like, information about the World and the Flesh that he didn’t already have clear, having only guessed at it by looking at folks. But it’s because of them all that I do the Great Work.
Some of the story I’m going to give you comes straight from his memoirs. I got them left to me after he’d passed on. Some parts come from what my parents saved for me while they could. Some other parts I’ve had to sort of work out. Mostly, I think it’s right, but, to be honest, I’m a lot like Grandfather, and he lived to tell stories. His were mostly fiction, with some deeper Truth buried in them, of course. Mine are mostly the truth, with what you might call a Higher Fiction tucked in here and there.
I know, I know. Me and all those capital letters just don’t seem to go together well do they? And most of the time I don’t talk about it. I just get on with the Work, doing a bit here, a bit there, y’know?  Usually, I try to be just a regular girl.
I know I’m not, but I try.
Like anyone else, though, I kinda want people to understand me. And, like I already said, I just like telling stories. When you hear this one through, I think you’ll agree; it’s a doozy. And why am I telling it now? Well, the Resurrection is close, so I figure it’s about time to get it on record. This is my story too, though I’m not in this part of it, it sort of leads up to me.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Gaia and this book.

Someone responding to my sample posted up on, which deserves a plug, as it is a very useful place to get feedback on your writing, once told me I should change Gaia’s name as it had been used in another adventure novel. I didn’t point out that it had also been used in Lovelock’s The Gaia Hypothesis, which is where the idea to use it came from. Gaia doesn’t really like the name, though she understands why her parents gave it to her. It is central to her self-image, but she dearly wishes they hadn’t hung such a hippy-sounding tile on her. She knows who she needs to be and does do what she has to, but she’s also very conscious of who she’d like to be and fashions an identity around that image.
In the first version of this story, Gaia didn’t come in at all. I hadn’t thought of her. The book got to the point where it finishes now and stopped there. It was a good place for it to stop and that’s why it still does, but I had no idea what happened after that point. I had already decided to make a virtue of this necessity and pretend I was being a bit edgy. What happened next to Phoebe and Adam, what had been happening outside while they had their adventure? I thought the reader could decide for themselves. This isn’t as naughty as The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which cheats by not telling one story or the other, but it was still a bit weak. Fowles knew what his possible endings were and, as a story-teller, should have picked one and told it that way. He got away with it though, so had left an open window for me to do the same. I sent the book off to MacMillan New Writing and waited to become rich and famous.
That didn’t happen. While I was waiting for them not to publish (and no, I’m not surprised that they didn’t), I read Iain M Bank’s Feersum Endjin. It’s a brilliant book, I think possibly his best, and it caused me to think about the future of machine intelligence and the idea of a mind being stored inside a programme. I’m sure I’d seen The Matrix by then, but I hadn’t thought about it except as a way of abolishing the laws of Physics.  Magic can work inside a computer programme – you just have to tell it to. At the time I hadn’t read anything about the idea of the Singularity though, so I wasn’t thinking about the idea of the abolishing of death. Once you get onto that a lot of other possibilities open up.
I sat back and thought a bit and realised that I did know where the story could go. I sat down and started to write the second book. Gaia was one of the first things I knew I would have to put in it. As soon as I had though, I realised that she could/would probably have to go into the first book. As she says, she isn’t in it, but it is a big part of her story.
I took the prologue that I’d written for the second book and put it at the front of the first. It considerably confused an already confusing beginning. Originally the story started with Adam becoming conscious in Newcastle, a part that hasn’t changed much since I first wrote it. After a while of people telling me they didn’t know what was going on, I decided I needed to give a bigger hint.
This is something I’m very reluctant to do. Orson Scott Card, writing his book on how to write SF and Fantasy, points out that the SF crowd are very good at ‘holding in abeyance’. They read, to nick an example from a book that my daughter Aki just introduced me to * , the term storking (the spelling is correct) and are quite happy to wait a page or so at least to find out that it means to dump an unwanted child on someone’s doorstep. In more extreme cases, and as long as enough hints are given, they are happy to hold off for a long time. In this I don’t see them as being any different from Mystery or Detective story fans. I don’t know for sure that Agatha Christie ever rushed to assure readers that the butler did it so that they wouldn’t get confused and fretful, but I doubt she’d have become such a big seller if she had.  I read William Gibson, Iain M Banks, China Mieville , Philip K Dick and Neil Acherson. They all charge cheerfully into their stories knowing exactly where they are going and pretty much dare the reader to keep up.
So I wrote the next part of the prologue. That will come in a couple of posts’ time. To my mind, it pretty much tells you what is happening, but it still seems to throw some people who can’t join the dots between it and the first posts by Adam and Phoebe. Tough. That’s all they are getting. Anything more would be a spoiler, akin to telling everyone that there are no butlers here, which I’m not promising.
Anyway, getting back to Gaia. She means every word that she says about the End Days and resurrection.  How real these concepts are to her and what the implications of that are to others doesn’t become obvious until book three, tentatively titled Resurrection, by which time the reader might have worked out a lot about her. She may have another prologue appearance in book two, working title Virus, but I’m still thinking about that. This wasn’t my original prologue. I have a very clear idea of what Gaia looks like and how she sounds in ordinary life. After a bit more thought, however, I realised that she’d have to assume a disguise and present herself as two different personalities. I think I can tell you that and still not give away anything. When I finally get round to writing Resurrection, it shouldn’t get in the way of anyone reading it to know that Gaia isn’t going by her own name in it. I’ll post the original prologue just for interest and then move on to the second part of the current prologue after that. Step by step.

I've published it.

Bob Studholme's Smashwords Author Profile:
Book page to sample or purchase The Chronicles of Brendan Earle, Apprentice Mage. Totally Interactive. (Autosaved).:

This means that you can see the book and read about 30% of it on the website. If you like what you read, you have the chance ot grab a copy for free if you dive in quick. This is the coupon code that you need to use:

Friday, 20 January 2012


My name is Gaia, and this document my testimony of the Last Days and the Resurrection to come.
You will not find me in these pages. This is the story of Grandfather and those he saved. The tale is told in their voices, and so of them you will meet many. One might say a legion.
What was for them an adventure was, for my family, the beginning of our history. So this is, in many ways, an indispensable part of my story and that the reason why I must introduce myself. My achievements are not modest; still, I do but continue the Great Work of saving and converting which Grandfather and my parents began.
Ours is an uncommon chronicling, as we are an uncommon family, so I will commend to you the words of Sir Francis Bacon, who wrote, in The Advancement of Learning:
 If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties”.
For those who tell you this tale did not know all of its twists, and what they knew, they did not always tell clearly. Moreover, I am my Grandfather’s grandchild, and we spin stories as spiders do webs.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Nothing to do with writing.

In Brendan Earle, my first book, world building was done by trickery. The trick was that my fictional author (Alistair Cameron) had nicked ideas from everyone, so the first time you see one of the central chacters the description makes it clear that he is dressed like Neo in The Matrix, but then changes into an outfit like Luke Skywalker's. The landscape is 'like Nothumberland' and the story gives enough clues that it has been stolen from Harry Potter that I think the reader will fill  in a lot of gaps.
By the second book we are getting onto scenes that haven't ever been described in Cameron's books. It's a world that needs to be created, and, although there is a lot of 'magic' that can make things work, I've wanted to make them workable in a real world that doesn't need it.
This is one great source of inspiration. Natural builders use strawbales, adobe, cob, clay and lime plasters. Their houses look traditional, but have as many mod-cons as the builders want to put in them,which can often include high-tech in the form of solar panels and electricity producing windmills. They are also, very often, beautiful, as you can see here:
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I'm going to self publish through Smashwords soon and will include a link to these images (wonderful what you can do with a digital version), but will give this address in any print version that ever gets produced too.
The Pattern Language is an interesting concept and gives itself to the writing of fiction very easily. I think so anyway, I haven't worked out how in any detail yet. Okay, enough for today I think. There will be random posts from now which will include chapters from the book and discussion of them along with snippets, like this one, of places that give inspiration.