Friday, 29 November 2013

The Ex-Men

I was out round a mates when someone introduced me to these Ex-Men clips from Pete Holmes's comedy show, aired in America. I haven't seen the show but I have seen his Dark Knight piss take vids with College Humor and I thought they were good.

Here's Holmes laying into the X-Men and doing a pretty good job. The best, by far is Wolverine, but the rest are good too. Let's go hero by hero shall we?

P.S They are a bit rude and sweary, so be warned.


For me, Gambit needs the sack for sure. Is it that he came in at a point when the Uncanny X-Men was at a real low point? Is it that he entered the team as another loner, in a team of loners, when all the characters seemed to be written to be as much like Wolverine as possible... because he was popular, and so to make a another character popular you just copy some of the traits of a popular character?

He can be written well, but for the most part he's just a bit crap from where I'm sitting. He's a Longshot/Wolverine hybrid, with none of the originality of either of the characters he's based on. 


Okay, there have been times when Bobby Drake has been a bit shit. The whole early period when he was covered in snow, because he couldn't form ice over his body yet, but was called Iceman? That wasn't good. I suppose they didn't want him to be called 'The Snowman.'

Forget that and though he may be a tad dull... okay, very dull, I don't think he needs to go. Just perhaps be less... Dull.


We do have to remember that Angel was the scrapper of the team before Wolverine turned up. He was the one throwing punches around with Beast, as Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Iceman did their thing from range. Is he the force Wolverine is? Or even half the modern characters really? No. But he's a hero from a different time.

In the comics he's been made to be a bit cooler at times, but for the most part, he's not got anything on the second big wave of X-Men like Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine or Banshee.


She was always shit. I hated her from the start. I always will. There is no middle ground here.


This one is complicated.

Wolverine is a great character and for one hundred issues he existed in the X-Men as the loner, later complimented by Rogue and Rachel Summers. Around the issue 200 mark the team changed and the direction of the X-men did too. We had the Massacre, which was a huge event in my young comic reading mind, and the Fall Of The Mutants that followed up the Massacre incredibly quickly.

The team changed and with that change came a harder edge, a  tougher X-Men and the characters seemed ever more likely and willing to kill or maim to get the job done, and though it wasn't the characters fault the popularity of Wolverine seemed to completely overshadow the entire X-universe.

Now things are pretty much the same. He's in several X-comics, two teams of Avengers and is one of the most overused and stereotypically written characters.

I'd fire his ass because in all reality Wolverine doesn't need to be in the X-Men. His star burns brightly and the light it casts unbalances a team book which should see characters moving forward and developing together, but Wolvie can't, because he's in all these other places and so he has to be a constant.

Recently I got over some of my irritation with the character by reading Paul Cornell's brilliant run on the Wolverine comic. It's great and I found I started to like the character again, so I would fire his ass. For sure.

I really enjoyed this one.

Right. Thanks to Mr Holmes and his comedic sketches and thanks for reading.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Presents and Correct

We have lots of children, seven in fact, and four of them are born around the Christmas season. Fluffy is on the 27th of December, Roo is on the 8th of January, TrojanHero on the 15th of Jan and finally Sauraus on the 27th of January.

You could be right in describing this season as a busy and financially draining time of year for us, and yet everything is going very well. We've had some luck in the form of large gifts just falling in our laps, cheap or even free, smaller gifts being found at even more reduced  prices and we've been chilled at finding them.

We have a big family, and we used to run on the idea that everyone got everyone else something each. It was a lot of present buying, a lot of money and it meant a lot of things were left in their stockings at the ends of the their beds, un-played with for a long time. It was too much.

Two years ago we moved to a new structure, a new way of doing things. Everyone gets a present form mum and Dad, the kids get a gift for mum and dad from them, and then they all put their names in a hat and they pull out the person they are going to give a gift to. It means that every person gets two gifts and a stocking. I wrestled with this new regime, thinking it was paired back too much, that it would mean they would be unhappy to have less, but I've come to understand that isn't the issue at all.

The issue was that I felt bad that we couldn't spoil them all because I didn't earn enough. It was all about pride, all about me, and coming into that first new Christmas I was dubious we'd see a happy day... But it turned out great!

On that morning everyone had a cool stocking of cheap books and some very cheap movies and some sweets and bits and pieces. It was cool. When they hammered downstairs they knew they were getting two things and so when they got them they opened them carefully, not with one eye looking out for the next one, but concentrating on what was before them. With fewer gifts to buy people spent longer shopping around for the right gift, not the easy one, and we even brought in elements of having to make or craft something too.

This year we have gifts bought, things stored and gathered, and I'm looking forward to the big day. We still have a way to go before we're ready, but we are getting there, even with the current sparse funds and lack of work, and though I am very grateful that we are coping... I dearly want this to be the last year we walk past the windows we want to look in and instead head to the ones we can only just afford.

Don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon that we are lucky enough to be surrounded by thoughtful people that can see the issues and act without prompting, to help us out. But I'd much rather be doing it, and everything else, on our own backs.

Still, their generosity is never forgotten and the kids love of the simpler gifts they receive is never taken for granted by me. I'm thankful for the wonder that they all are, and that is what the season is all about.

Not the presents, but the presence.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Twenty Six. Finish Line Number Two.

I'm done.

Let me quantify that?

I'm done with this draft. That's far more accurate and far more revealing. See, I have hit 54,111 and that is a bit short of my target, and yet it is where I ended up. I know I now have to print it and step away from it.

I'll store it on a shelf in plain sight in the bedroom and walk past it every day for several weeks. Realistically more like a month or two. I'll peek at the contents ever now and then. I'll open the first page and then put it back. I'll wait until all else is done and then, when the time is right, I'll have to completely overhaul what I've written.

It's going to be a long and taxing edit and I know I'll moan and complain. I'm also hoping I'll laugh and maybe even be pleased during some passages, but over all I know this one hasn't gone anywhere near as well as I'd hoped it would.

That's cool. No big deal. Just means I get to work hard on it all over again.

Today's words are below...

     I was convinced it was my job to take out Houlier. I have to tell you, I was all set for a swift hit. Get him out of the way and move on. But then I thought about it, and I realised I was too close. The whole Isabel think would have made it a huge mistake, I’d be easy to trace as her ex husband and if I came to town on the same day he died it wouldn’t be hard for her to put me in the line of the investigating cops.

     Something I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of doing.

     So I went to plan B and that involved out sourcing. It’s not something I love doing but in this case it had to be done, so I had to find the best way to get the job done. I wanted it to be slightly silly, slightly daft, slightly throw away.

     I wanted people to stand by his closed coffin and have to find something else to talk about because the manner in which he died was a topic right off the menu.

     What I needed to do was hire a specialist… And that is exactly what I did.

That's the last set of words to be posted from this year. Again I'd point out it's unedited and as it went down on the page, so it hasn't been tickled and prettied before walking out in front of the beauty pageant judges, but still.

I have found this year tough, tougher than the other two years I've done the Nanowrimo. It isn't down to a lack of ideas, more a lack of understanding as to what I was trying to achieve. In the past I've known what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, and for the most part, I've succeeded. In the two previous years I'd come away feeling very positive.

This year less so. I know there is a mountain to climb on this one and yet know I've climbed mountains before and so why not again? 

I'd like to say thanks for popping in. Thanks for reading and following if you did. Thanks for coming on the journey. 

Next year is going to be a hugely busy year for me writing wise, and it's good to know that I can produce something even when I'm finding it a slog, even when I've lost my way and even if I'm having to learn about the project as I go along.

In the end, I got the word count and I finished in the month. 

For that, if no other reason, I'm a happy man.  

Monday, 25 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Twenty Five. Words On Top.

I had the weekend off writing and enjoyed myself. It was very nice and I really needed those hours to gather some senses. Sadly brain had decided to consider this project nearly over and so has drawn me to sitting quietly and listening to music to find the mood for the next one.


For now though I have the finishing chapters to do on this Nanowrimo project and I think it's probably better than I was dreading it would be.I am aware the edit will be hideous on it due to my inability to find the right tone for large sections of the book, but then none of my edits are easy.

I need one of those things... you know, those things other people have that cost money... Ah, yes; an editor. :-) Though for now I'll do the job and rely on test readers to tell me to piss off if things suck.

I cranked out 2396 words today, making my total 52,456 in total, which is excellent! I'm well above curve and still moving and I'm pleased I didn't give up on this as I was planning to mid month.

As an example I'm not going to touch the posted words at all today. I'm going to leave them as they came out. Already I can see things that need sorting immediately, odd worded sentences and the like, but I'll resist the urge to make them slightly prettier so you can see my point about needing heavy edits.

Anyway, here are some words from the day...

     Britney Usher sat down on the chair nearest to her, her knees pushed together, her ankles quite widely apart, her arms wrapped around her, as though she were hugging herself. She looked so alone, separate, and alone compared to the supported and loved Arnie, who had just made his confession and yet was still comforted.

     I made a decision of my own. I would do something that felt un-natural to me and yet I felt the urge to do it anyway. I walked over to the shattered and shaken Britney Usher, knelt down, and hugged her. She laid her head on my shoulder and then reached her arms around me, gently, unsure, fragile. I hugged her harder and those arms of hers attached like the most aggressive octopus in history and squeezed me hard, desperately, her arms shifting, her hands gripping my thick coat with her balled fists, but she didn’t cry. She didn’t try and cop a feel, she just held on for life like she couldn’t let go even if she’d wanted to.

     I knew the three second rule was a waste of time here; certainly in this situation, and I felt not just warmer for her embrace physically but also I felt I was doing something actively nice. Something even compassionate. 

There you go. More tomorrow I hope. :-)

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Twenty Two. Over The Finish Line!!

Had a tough day plastering today and so was knackered when I got home, but I waited and took my time and watched Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and generally stayed my hand and then, when the kids were in bed, I hit the keys.

I'd been considering the scene all day, working out who, what, why, when and how and all the other things your meant to, like how many times I can get away with saying 'Fuck', would it be better to use a different way to show how dangerous the main character is, or perhaps, should I really use the word 'Pubes' right there? Hmmm... Still it all played out from head to fingers to keys to screen and now it's in the lovely thing I call Kylie. All there. All 50,060 words so far.

I have a way yet to walk to finish over all and the edit is something that's going to be a big fat punch in the face. You'll see me moaning on here or more likely on Twitter about how I hate it/I like it/I hate it, but as I look back I can see where I've gone wrong and what I'll need to do to fix it. I can see the layout of the land far better and I know it's not such a bleak and ugly tundra as I first thought it was. There are trees and glades, glistening pools of water where insects skip across the surface, clouds above and though some of the land is shadowed by cloud and rain and thunder rolls after lightening flashes, some places are kissed by perfect sunlight and comfortable, warm breezes.

It's not perfect. Not writing project is on the first draft, of course it isn't. But I feel there is something here I can hone and temper, something I can craft into a thing of some beauty, and though it may never be covered in the fine engraving and gold leaf, it will still be beautiful to someone, somewhere.

I'm feeling confident, and that is probably the first time I can honestly say that about this book.

Here are the words...

     The hut had a single light lit and I could see that there was movement inside, someone was pacing by the window. I used all of my skill to get closer without being seen. No songs played in my head, I was treated to the soundtrack of the slopes; wild winds and the sound of snow impacting on my protective clothing. Ice and snow covered the slopes and the mountain ranges around us, ice also ran through my veins as I prepared to do what had to be done, what was called of me by some strange emerging code from inside. I was hell bent on saving Britney Usher and I was willing to sacrifice some of myself to complete my mission.

     I wasn’t sure if this was a step forward or just some strange reaction to being treated like a joke by my peers? Did I feel they had rejected me and so I would reject the rules that had governed my professional life up until this point? I didn’t know and what was even scarier was that I didn’t really care; I was running on instinct now, hunting for the kill without a plan and without restraint. I was predatory, stalking the hut, ready to take blood in exchange for… for what? For life? Yes. But for love and adoration? No.

There you go, words from the winning day. 

I'll continue to post up paragraphs for the remainder of the Nanowrimo season, but I'll probably take tomorrow off. I feel knackered and I think I've earned it. :-)

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Twenty One.

I am within striking distance of the end, just two thousand three hundred left to go before the target of fifty thousand words is reached. Of course, the story won't end there; I still have another ten thousand to write on  top for this first draft to be done. From there I'll leave it for a month and then return in the new year and edit, probably adding another ten thousands words of detail, fleshing out and actually explaining of the plot. 

Yes, I know most people edit down, but I get the ground work in and find I always need to expand in the first edit, then edit down in the second. 

Does this make it a long and sometimes frustrating process? Yes, but it's always worth it, whether what I churn out is amazing or just 'okay', because I'm putting effort into the craft, finding my way and gaining much needed experience. 

Tomorrow should see me cross the line. 

For now though here are today's words...

     My blood boiled at the thought of not getting to finish the copy of Chloe I’d bought at the airport, but even more than that, the idea that Britney and even Beefy were dead, clawed at my brain. I didn’t want to accept that as a possible reality and so ended up humming S Club 7 hits to keep my mind occupied.

     I recalled how nervous I’d felt when I went to a signing they were doing at Tower Records in London. I was there, in London, to carry out a simple double tap to the head, some banker that had become an irritation to his brother. I didn’t bother with the back story too much. It was an easy hit and to be honest I was far more interested in the idea of meeting my idols than I was of killing the target. 

More tomorrow, and perhaps a big celebration? 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Twenty.

No day time session and so hit the keys in the evening. Was looking for three Thousand but settled for two solid ones and the chance to leave it a logical breaking point. Tomorrow I can jump in and go for a good four Thousand. As of tonight I'm switching off on forty-four-thousand.

Posting four tomorrow would see me tearing towards the line and past it on Friday morning, which would be fantastic.

Here's a small bit of tonight work. It's not a lot but it is what it is. :-)

     I looked at her and knew what was coming. Inevitably, here was the fuck over. I dived sideways dramatically but due the beating I’d taken I wasn’t as sure of my place in the room as I should have been and I have to admit that I threw myself head first into the wall. I lay dazed for a time and then passed out.

     I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be waking up again.

More tomorrow! 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Nineteen.

Very tired today, falling asleep while typing and so I've posted just over a thousand words so far today. Not a lot, certainly not enough to see me finished by Friday, but I'm confident I'll get another session in today and my cold will pass, leaving me with enough energy to hit the keys.

At least, I hope so.

     I can see what you’re thinking, that you can’t believe that’s what we did? That and obviously you are trying to untie your hands from behind the chair, don’t do that, it will just lead to even more unpleasant events for you. Sit back and listen, believe me, you have the time.

     I think we found in that moment a happening, a change in our mindsets, even though it was only fleeting and perhaps doesn’t make up for the horrible shit we have done to our fellow men and women I do feel we had a moment. We agreed by that pool that there were people we would not kill, and so we all agreed that we would try and save as many lives as we could at the resort. 

More later and tomorrow I hope. Need to get the whip cracking. 

The International Day For Men.

So, there are things in this universe that annoy me, things I can nothing about, things like; The way Saturn's rings hang, or how people can't do simple jobs properly but then you have to interact with them, while they do their job badly, and you have no job. Standing there thinking 'I could do ya damn job if someone would just let me' really rots at the soul. Mike the fucking Knight being such a little shite.

You know, important stuff.

So, one of my pet hates is, of course, days dedicated to certain groups and how generally irritating they are. Let me explain.

On St Patrick's day I would always be dragged out by my great Irish mates and we'd bang a few back. Come St George's day and the pub's empty. That used to piss me off. Now I don't care. I celebrate what I want to and I don't get dragged into anything.

International Women's Day rocks up and everyone praises women and delivers lists of inspirational women and their hard fought contribution to society and history. That's cool, I joined in and slammed up some real life women that I admired and thought were awesome. Come International Men's Day and it's all 'every day is men's day.'

Yeah, I get it. This is obviously a patriarchal society which plays host to many a ridiculous assclown or wanker that cops a feel in the office or on the train. Newsflash; those people are arseholes 365 days a year! Boom! They are not going to be swayed by a day of highlighting what's wrong with our society. Let's face it we could make 'What's Wrong With Our Society' day everyday and it still wouldn't cover all the stupid shit we let fly, from M.P's and their pay rises to rape culture and female genital mutilation, through to casual racism and the buckling economic policies that punish the poor for not working when there are no jobs whi
le at the same time make the rich, richer.

We could do that all year round.

I think the reason I hate these'special' days is because they aren't special. They are every day. Treat people right, equally, fairly, kindly and cut ya fellow human beings some slack. That's every day. That's how it should be. But yes, I know there is inequality, and the system itself is screwed and isn't going to get any better and I know other people need these days. To hail their personal heroes, to vent about the shit they've heard said to them, to point out the incredible in someone else.

So keep the days if you want.

Today is International Men's Day, so treat it like a normal day, but add a 'thank you' to the guy on the checkout that's just trying to make ends meet and still chatted to you warmly even though he feels stuck in a job that's doesn't pay enough to really support his family. Say 'I love you,' to your father figure, be he your biological, foster, step or honoury father. Say something nice to the guy in your life that makes your day, be he your best mate, lover, husband, brother, dad, uncle, or just the guy that serves you your coffee just the way you like it.

Take these days and use them to be positive, supportive, and thankful and you are probably doing it right, and through your support and positive attitude we may activate the change that this society so desperately needs.  

So what I' saying, as each day of the year celebrates someone, is celebrate, be positive and help the people and around you. Because that's what we are meant to do, because that's what we need to do, because everyday, every single day, is a day to show compassion towards your friends, family and neighbours.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Eighteen. The Feel Like Crap Day.

As the title may have hinted at, I feel like crap. It's a cold, day one, and I'm hoping it pisses off a.s.a.p or I'm going to have a pretty crappy week. Still, hit the 39,000 mark today, leaving only 11,000 to go.


Here are the words...

     I wondered if we could all team up, kind of form an assassin version of the Power Rangers? Each week posed with eliminating an almost impossible target? I’d almost certainly be the Red Ranger. I know it would be a lot of pressure, being in charge, but I thought I was up to the task. We’d have call signs and costumes and those crazy sized robot things and it would be cool.

     Isabel cleared her throat and I snapped back to the pool and the room and the murderous ex. I’d probably be much happier clad in spandex right now. 

More tomorrow, I promise. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Fifteen. Better Times.

Day fourteen sucked, day fifteen is a much happier animal. Got plot flowing, voice moving, character in a better place and some confidence back. I'm sure it won't last a particularly long time, but a day like this is invaluable in terms of morale.

Here come the words...

     I stepped into the hall and looked around, listening for the tell tale silence that came just before an attack. Okay, that sounds crap, but there is this – quiet, that descends just before anyone pulls the trigger. Even I take a breath and know that the pressure I place on the trigger will change the world forever. Maybe not for everyone, but you have to accept as an assassin that your actions have consequences. Each death can alter the direction of multiple lives, that’s why each contract should be carefully considered, not for ethical reasons but for ripple control.

     Have I told you about ‘the ripple’? No? Okay, it’s simple. When you live and breathe and act and love and generally interact with the world then you create waves. Those waves gather on the shore and they can have incredible effects.

     You can create huge waves, great big monster ones, without them being negative. Those waves are the ones that people surf on and paint, the ones that crash on the beach and inspire people with their thunder and their roar and their furious, unstoppable, frenzied nature. They remind people to be wild and powerful and to run screaming into the rain, their face held high, lit up by the flashes of lightening and thrilled by the accompanying thunder.

     Other people can send huge waves that smash against the rocks and strip at the land. They rush over flood defences and sweep people from feet and back into the sea. They can drown and destroy and rush through people’s lives and tear everything to pieces, leaving them broken and desperate and alone.

     Most people don’t go that far or have that great an effect. Their small waves lap upon the beach and fill the rock pools and are just taken as part of life.    

  Each time an assassin takes a life we leave a ripple, a ripple that changes the wave as it approaches the beach. That ripple washes out and effects the waves around it and if the wave was only small then sometimes it can collapse them, others continue on diminished but are not destroyed.

That's it for today, a raw piece of writing in need of cleaning and polishing. I do quite like the passage, even if it's not particularity original. :-) 

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Fourteen. Slim pickings.

Today, life encroached on writing time with a vengeance. I was reminded of my own tragic lack of employment, chased jobs and building contacts and joined lists and submitted c.v's but this isn't out of the ordinary. As I can't drive, have a fairly low level of formalised education and little to show from my years in construction, other than a left hand that aches when it's cold and a set of knees that complain bitterly regardless of whether it's cold or not, I've found it hard to find work.

Things will change and no doubt improve at some point, through work or books or naked dancing... Hopefully not naked dancing, but today was a day when the words hid behind a black cloud of financial gloom.

Oh joy.

Still, on the bright side I'm well ahead of my word count, pushing forward with other projects and hope to be bringing something new to the table to help my work hit an audience and bring in some trade.

I'll keep writing while there isn't any work and if work comes then I'll keep writing when I've finished working. As far as I can see writing is in the future no matter what and so why worry about today's work count. So long as I keep chasing and dreaming and  improving then something will happen.

     I organised hiding places for everyone, under the bed; behind the sofa, in the cupboard, in the walk in cupboard, you name it, we found effective places to stash ourselves and then we stayed near our bolt holes. I had a guard on the door; Python, who was listening out for trouble and so I tried to sit down and think. I thought about the hotel, the lack of guards, the assassin who had snuck in before us and the network Ezri and Eric were there to set up.

     I thought about that long and hard and at some point I nodded off and dreamt that I was walking along a beach. Behind me a car pulled up by the sand dunes and as I looked I could see some people running down towards me. As they came one of them did a cartwheel and Bradley did a comedic fall as he ran.

     It was S Club 7. They ran down and music was drifting onto the beach from the ocean and I hugged Rachel and I was so happy. It was a beautiful dream and after hours of doing dance routines with them and playing in the sand Hanna turned into a massive crab and started snapping everyone in two with her pincers.

     I woke with a start, covered in sweat with Britney shaking my shoulder gently.

‘Who the hell is Hanna…?’    

There ya go, slim pickings today.

See you tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Thirteen.

Today I smashed out six thousand and twenty three words. I gotta tell you those last twenty three were bloody hard. 

No, seriously, it's been a long and tiring day at the keyboard and I've made a big dent in the Nanowrimo 'words remaining' column. I'm not just seventeen thousand words from the end and I think I'll need an extra twenty of top to finish the first draft of the book. So I'm feeling pretty happy about the progress of the work in regards to speed, though in terms of the actual quality of the content I just don't have a scooby. I'm hoping it's not a total disaster. 

Please let it not be a total disaster. 

Here are some of the words from today.... Just a few.

   I thought back to the time when I booked this holiday and I remembered wanting to go white water rafting, but was talked out of it by the agent and sold this one instead. I thought she was very persuasive at the time and perhaps was a little too in love with the holiday package she’d put together for me, but when someone really believes in something they can sell it to you without you even knowing it’s their belief that you are hooking onto, not the product itself.

     Come to think of it, the package was almost too good to be true when I bought it, and was one that tailored to me perfectly. It was like it was designed specifically to tempt me to this mountain, this resort, at this precise time in the year.

      I looked at the room and realised that the only other person that could have been lured here was Britney, but then, who would want to kill her?

The plot thickens... Like soup if you add croutons or sprinkle bread or a bit of flour in it. Yep, no idea what I'm talking about.

Goodnight. *falls over and sleeps* 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 Day Twelve.

Only a thousand words cranked out so far and so I have an evening session to do. I'm hoping to post a final total for the day of three thousand words. That means I'm going to have to get my arse in gear if I want to also watch some more of my current television obsession; The Walking Dead season three.

Here are the words, remember, they are largely unedited and so in much need of being hit with a stick (much like myself most days) but that stick will come in the new year... At some point.

     As an assassin I do my best not to speak to people on a regular basis; the client and the go between are always far better off not knowing that the man they are about to send to kill someone for them is a massive S Club 7 fan and loves Chick Lit and Rom-Coms. They want someone that snaps necks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They want someone who is interested in the money and nothing else. They want someone as cold as ice, because that’s what they assume you have to be like to do some of the terrible and crazy shit I do to people.

     The truth is that most of the assassins I’ve met were military trained, had a rigid structure to their life and were taught to kill by society’s engine itself, or by the other turn were guys that had come up on the streets and were brutal fuckers that would stab their mothers in the ear if the man in charge told them to. The first was more cold and clinical while the second was animalistic and could be more unpredictable.

     That was what made me so special; I was a self made man. I didn’t have the structured legitimacy of an agency killer or a Royal Marine, and yet I did as good a job, if not better, than they would. I also had the rough twist of a man who was self taught, who had fought for the right to command respect in the community and that everyone knew was someone not to be fucked with. But I didn’t have a mob boss to strip away at my humanity and become indebted to, I was free to make my own decisions and pick my own targets. 

More tomorrow. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Eleven. The one with the Spatula.

Day eleven has been kind to me in many ways. I took further strides towards knowing where I'm really going, enjoyed my character slightly more and cracked out two thousand seven hundred words in the morning session. Not bad, though it took some time.

I'm due for an evening session but I thought I'd stick this up now, a short passage from today's mad ramblings. I think there is bound to be a fair amount of sad and reflective stuff to read today considering the date, and so I picked something that may make someone smile... Though probably not.

‘Here’s a crazy thing,’ I said, my figure lingering over the play button, ‘I can tell you that the person about to come and whack this guy in the head is a Auburn haired beauty from the Liverpool area that loves baking and watching super hero films. I can also tell you that she can speak three different languages, once crushed a man’s throat with her thighs and she smells of summer meadows... She also shouts when engaged in excellent sex and is known for beating her lover, consensually, with plastic kitchen spatulas.’ I pressed play and as the captive moaned on strode a woman in combats who smashed the moaner in the head with a cosh, dropping him to the floor instantly.

‘See, I know who this woman is because I know who the man in the chair is, the man behind the hostage taking, the mastermind terrorist who is leading this band of dangerous killers, a man who loves the feel of plastic utensils on his well honed and pert rear. I know who he is because... I’ve worked with him before,’ I turned smiling at my friends and realised they were less amused than I was. Again.

Lord Blackadder, no less. 
‘I worked with him just last year. He’s a hit man from Munich called Klaus Gunter, and he once got lost in a strip club in Berlin... while sober,’ I added, trying to emphasise his inherent incompetence in an amusing way, much like Edmund Blackadder would. Only I wasn’t very good at it.   
‘So you’re saying this man is an idiot and couldn’t plan this?’ Asked Python and I nodded my agreement.

‘Much like Optimus Prime... There’s more to this than meets the eye...’          

So, there you have an exert of today's work.

More tonight and tomorrow... I hope. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Silent Sunday

Remembrance Day Poetry.

Okay, I'm really not a poet and that's cool, but I thought it was an idea to try and have a  go. Obviously I really haven't been shot or had a hard life at all and so the tragic stuff is perhaps hard for me to quantify in a way that sounds true.

That's not to mean I won't give it go.

Remembrance Sunday brings the two minute silence for those that have lost their lives in war. I've seen plenty of arguments about the colour of the poppy people wear and why that is an eligible thing to argue about. Personally I see the silence as something that we should all try and take, if it's to think of the tragedy of the lives cut short or the horror of war in general is, of course, up to each individual. Wear what you feel you should and think what you wlll, but take the time to think. I think that's the important bit.

For me I think about it all if I can and hope that perhaps we can become wiser in the future and find the way to grow and move forward  without the need for conflict. Though I doubt that will ever happen. One of the things our species has learned to do very well is find conflict and pursue it.

Anyhow, here's a poem. Feel the need to tell me it's dire? Go for it. You learn through criticism.

We wander, weary and lonely,
Through the worlds where rage and pain ruled,
We stayed long after the exodus,
When the lucky ones got to go home.

We wander, weary and lonely,
Gathering but ever apart,
Facing each other forever,
Rushing the light that has gone.

We wander, weary and lonely,
Remembered but not understood,
Once we were cut down together,
Now we stand always one.

We wander, weary and lonely,
Together but always apart,
The soldierless souls now hell’s what we know,
Our eyes ever turned from the sun.

We wander, weary and lonely,
Watching others gather in rank,
Sent to fall for the will of another,

Never resting but ever we’re still.

There you go, I forge forward proving bad poetry goes hand in hand with war and tragedy.

Tomorrow? More Nanowrimo. 

Dulce Et Decorum Est.  

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A Special Toy - Blog Competition.

I've been over to @tattooedmummy's place again, mucking about and singing songs, and there, low and behold; a competition! Well, I knew I had to enter, and to enter you simply have to blog about a favourite toy you owned as a child or a toy perhaps your child owns.

The rules at the lovely @tattooedmummy's blog, found here - , the prize is provided by the awesome people at 'The One Stop Bug Shop.' They have a website and the link for it is right here - , and that's really all the links you need... Right?

This is easy, see I still have one of my most prized childhood treasures, something I thought long and hard over and had to make many deep and painful sacrifices for... Yes, I owned a Giraffe hand-puppet.

I'll take you back to the nineteen eighties. I was short, small and kind of odd... So not much has changed really. No, seriously...

Okay let's start again.

It's my birthday and as we live in London and I have some money to spend I'm in the greatest toy shop in the world, long before Toys'R'Us crammed more things under one roof than a big thing crammer with loads of space, this was the place to go; Hamleys.

Yes, I'm in Hamleys with my folks and family and I'm torn. See there are three things I want more than I need oxygen and yet I only have enough money for one of them. Action Man with Eagle eyes, beard, small pink scar on cheek and I think he came with either a parachute or a full amount of kit that include such classics as plastic knife, big gun that fires lots of bullets and  back pack, boots and cool helmet.

Going up against the man who knows how to do all the action is a similar sized plastic doll type thing of Han 'the fucking man' Solo. He comes with plastic hair that looks nothing really like him, pistol and belt to carry pistol in.

Yeah, fucking cool right?

Finally we have the outside choice; a hand-puppet, either of a dog that I feel would swear a great deal when no-one was listening or a giraffe with cold, dead eyes. He had the look of a savannah stalking Dexter Morgan and I knew he'd get me in trouble. Lots of trouble.

I to and fro and it's no good, I can't make up my mind, so my dad sits me down in a quiet area and says we have to go soon and so... I have to chose.

The agony.

After a while I know I have to go with my heart and so I pick the monster that would happily stamp on a thousand Lion cubs heads, and we leave. Me and my giraffe; Ken. Ken and I form a bond on the way home. He doesn't have arms or legs, nope, he's just a neck and head, two ears, two silly horn things, a felt tongue sewn into his mouth, two hard button type dark eyes and a pattern that would bring all the she giraffe's to the yard.

Over the coming years the boy and his giraffe had many adventures, many of them would end in the giraffe placing bricks in peoples shoes, the giraffe savaging someone else's toy, the giraffe sneaking through darkened corridors (the boy following closely) waiting for someone to walk out of their room so that the giraffe could pounce and strike fear into the hearts.

The boy and the giraffe did fit into the sometimes rowdy house well, with three older brothers all stalking around there was always some fun to be had and an older child to pounce and with a younger brother and sister there was always someone to tickle and perhaps sometimes chew.

They didn't go too far, they were robust and perhaps naughty, but never evil or nasty, and this giraffe later came to stay with the boy, moving from house to house, flat to flat as the child grew and became slightly taller than a child... but only slightly.

It's a testament to the lasting friendship of the the pair and their effectiveness in combat that now the giraffe is with the boys children, and yes, when one of my older brothers came round and was greeted with the sight of Ken wandering the halls of the flat on the hand of another small child the response was, 'Oh fuck, that giraffe was evil!'

So yes, I had a buddy and he came with me, and now he's a bit worn and threadbare and his eyes are scratched and yet, when I see my mate, I can still pull him on and feel like stalking the halls once more, or perhaps waiting behind the sofa for ages till someone walks in and sits down, only to get scared shitless as the giraffe makes a well executed attack.

The bond is still strong, so strong in fact that he's in one of the books I've written and am currently editing. You won't be able to miss him.

He's the killer giraffe with the scratched, dead eyes.

Just another victim.

So thanks for reading, do you have a toy that really played a strong presence in your childhood? Join the comp thing and relive some of those good times.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 Day Eight.

A fairly flowing day today so far. At this point I'm trying to work out if I can get away with not doing an evening session and instead hitting some Walking Dead Season Three. I'm half way through and it's bloody fantastic!

Anyway, I crossed the twenty thousand mark this afternoon, on day eight, which is something I'm damn happy about. @Mamacrow is hammering ahead and though she's only three hundred words ahead of me at present I know she's intending to do some tonight and I don't want to be left behind.

It's honestly not a race... Nope.

Enough of all that though, here's some words I wrote today...

     I’d told him there was always a plot to kill someone happening and shoved him off his chair merrily. I didn’t have to listen to him gag as I had my I-pod on, but I could see he put up quite the fight for life.

     Shame really, he seemed like quite a nice guy. Of course the agency planted a hold load of electronic evidence to suggest he was a global threat to nation states electronic security and that he had a thing for Moomin porn. It’s weird how a minor detail like that can make people look round and ignore the glaring mistakes made by an agency that was desperate to have him discredited.

     They included a whole load of information on his computer that he’d apparently written and though it fitted his style quite well there were a few spelling mistakes (and the dude was incredibly anal in everything he did), some obviously over the top paranoid shit and a whole ream of slash fiction that he’d supposedly written but never released.

     You could see the frame up job from all the way across the internet.

     Now I want to know who wrote the Moomin porn and why they decided that Moomin Momma loved being done by large groups of black Moomins? There is an agent or an analylist hidden somewhere at Langley that really just wanted to write, but instead is forced to crank out terrifyingly twisted slash fiction which sees beloved children’s characters doing very unwholesome things.

     That guy probably gets paid better than I do. 

That's ya lot for today, but is it my lot? Not sure. 

Thanks for reading. :-)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 day Seven.

Day seven has been a very slim day. Just over a thousand words but I think I did turn a corner in my understanding of the main character and the tone. Sounds stupid as I'm already 17,000 words in but sometimes it takes time to really find the voice.

Here's today's small offering...

     I was beginning to build a picture of the events surrounding the attack on the resort and to be honest it made no sense at all. It was like a picture of the postman drawn by a four year old. There was a triangle type shape that could have been a body, a weird, uneven circle for the head, the eyes were uneven and different shapes , the arms and legs were sticks that came out at strange angles and the bag the postman carried looked like a two dimensional red toilet cistern. 

More tomorrow I hope... Much more.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Six.

Good morning session but honestly, the music is driving me spare. It's not that I hate it, but it really isn't what I'd ever normally listen to and once the session is over I wander the house humming it. Erg.

Must find some alternative stuff asap or I'm going to turn into a rainbow-filled serial killer.

Here are the words...

     I tried to way up the odds. If I told her, Beefy and Python who she was that increased their chances of being killed for ‘knowing too much,’ and yet they hadn’t been executed on the spot so they were obviously not high on a kill list. In fact, they must have been on another list all together, because the catchment team was well set up in the hut out there, well away from the resort.

     Hum. I considered pulling on an orange sweater and platted knee high skirt and proclaim that there was a mystery, but that would be silly and so I logged that ‘clue’ in the back of my head and spilled the beans.

‘She is a member of an elite British intelligence kill team, certainly not the most senior member but she is still incredibly well set up. They go around killing people that they deem to be a threat to Great Britain,’ I said as I watched the snow fall, trying hard not to have one of those shit internal memory sequences. ‘I’ve met her several times and worked with her on a piece of work. She’s about as dangerous as they come at my level.’

More tomorrow folks. :-)

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013, Day Five.

Yesterday wasn't good. In the last entry I moaned about the mistakes I've made but by the time I went to bed last night I had convinced myself that it was an option to scrap the project and start form scratch, taking the four days loss on the chin.

This, I think, would have been a massive over reaction.

This morning I had a few fresh ideas. I decided I'd highlight the bad section in red and leave it in, so as not to lose the word count, and track from the place it went wrong. Start that area a fresh, so to speak. I did that and felt it went okay and then started a new chapter and flew along merrily for the time I had and it was much easier going today.


So, I have another session booked in for the evening I figured I'd chuck this up now and then steam on ahead.

     On the bed sat Britney Usher and her two bodyguards, they were all in their underwear. Britney’s was incredibly well supported on her top half and her knickers were as tiny as the bra was supportive. They were honestly the smallest pair of knickers I’d ever seen.

     They made the pair Sigourney Weaver wears at the end of Alien look like a parachute.

     The two bodyguards were in their boxers and I have to say they were all in great shape. The big guy was carrying too much muscle and it probably did affect his ability to move swiftly, but when you’re a bodyguard sometimes size can stop an incident before it even starts. It’s a great deterrent. Sadly his package suffered terribly due to the size of his quads. It was like a party sausage pressed between two huge hotdog rolls. His buddy, the smaller guy was super toned, much like myself, but honestly, it was hard to know where to look. He looked like he was trying to smuggle a python through customs in a small handbag. 

That's it for the day. More tomorrow ;-)

P.S. I promise I'm not writing porn. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 day four. A tough day.

I didn't have a good day today. I cracked out 4000 words and it was really hard going. Later on I was feeling a bit uneasy about the whole thing and realised I'd broken at least five rules set out for this project and been incredibly lazy.

I am officially pissed off.

What I'm going to do is ignore the screw-up, knowing I will have to fix many things in the book anyway, and just continue. I know what I've done wrong, how to fix it and now that I've made the mistake I'm sure my next session will be more focused and idiot free.

I hope.

I'll still put up some stuff I did today.

     I worked my way down through the next valley and was making good headway when my phone rang. It was a work number and so I switched it off and continued on my way. A minute later it rang again, and then every minute for the next ten minutes, finally I stopped and decided to answer the call.

‘Apex?...’ A strong American accent came from the receiver and I laughed.

‘I’ve told you dumb C.I.A pricks I won’t answer to those stupid codenames,’ I answered and there was a pause.

‘Algernon? Are you engaged?’ The question was delivered with the same kind of silly spy drama that I can’t stand and so I hung up. I stood there in the late afternoon sun and waited for the phone to spring into life once more, which it did. This time a women’s voice was on the other end and she had a thick French accent.

‘Algernon you are not playing nicely and Agent Smith is upset now.’

‘Fuck agent Smith, if you haven’t already,’ I answered and she snorted.

‘Is that any way to talk to your wife?’

‘Ex-wife, and yes it is. Now what do you want?’

‘You’re aware of the incident in the Alps?’

‘I am just on my way away from the area. There are multiple well armed terrorists in the resort and I’m on fucking holiday so you’ll have to find someone else to kill them. I’m an assassin, not a super hero.’ 

There ya go. More tomorrow... I hope. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 Day two.

I was woken early by the girls and knew I had a stag do to head to today so instead of rolling over and have a snuggle with my wife I decided to sit up and get some words in. Precious, precious words.

Just a small offering to the Nano god today, just over an thousand words, but it does keep me in front of the curve and confirms I'm running on about a thousand words an hour when slightly distracted. Hopefully I can increase that ratio to one thousand three hundred words for every hour when totally in the zone.

I'll have to wait and see.

Here's the short exert of the day:

‘Is everything alright Ms Usher? Perhaps the gentleman would like to be left in peace?’

     She looked up at him and I could see she was considering making a scene. I stood up and the bodyguard stepped back a pace, forced back by the stare I’d given her and then him. He could feel the danger coming off me now, the electricity that buzzed from me, telling him I was a cold blooded killer and that he was in deep trouble. At that moment I smiled and dropped the work stare.

     No point in upsetting him and making matters worse.

That's all you get today, but more tomorrow I hope. :-)

Friday, 1 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 Day one.

Today I had a full day on site and was still suffering from a hideously tough day previously. I has hoping I'd still have the energy for the Nano and it turns out I did! Yes!

Last year I posted as many days as I could, placing up a paragraph from the days work. It helped me to push myself forward and I think it helped me accept that others would see my work at some point, and that I needed to be able to show it off in all it's forms, rough and smooth.

This year I'm doing the same thing. I'll use these posts to show my progress and flash up a piece of the days takings. I'll look at that piece and try to remove obvious spelling mistakes and idiotic typos but try and leave the raw writing as it went down. This may mean that at times it's clunky, I do apologise in advance, but as it gets cleaned and edited it becomes better, sharper. For me it's important to show that the work changes from what you first type to the piece you decide is good enough to send to an agent or commit to as a self published book.

As always comment as you wish, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, but consider that this is straight out of the ground and not a cut diamond. :-)

      I was drinking from my mug of gorgeous, hot, chocolate Ovaltine when someone sat down on the chair opposite me and pouted. I’d noted her presence but greeted her approach with silent apathy. Now she was invading my space as her bodyguards stood at the bar and looked superficially tough and alert. In reality I could see the big one, who had a shaved head and I thought would probably be very handsome if he just dropped a bit of weight and went for a leaner, more approachable look, was studying the other bodyguard with some interest. The other man shifted his eyes around the bar/lounge, taking in the scene, but when he thought no-one was looking reached out a few fingers and brushed them against the big man’s arm. The effect on his friend was obvious to me, thought I was pretty sure the pretty-pop-princess in front of me had no idea what was really going on behind her.

     They made a sweet couple and I wished them all the best, though if someone offered me twenty thousand Sterling to execute one of them I’d have taken the job. Business is business after all. 

None tomorrow as I'm on a stag do for a good mate, but watch this space Sunday. :-)

Thanks for reading.