Quotes for 2020 #16

A new year, A whole new decade. A daily series of quotes from my favorite authors. Just for the hell of it…

Somehow I got sixteen posts into this opus without picking a quote from Neil Gaiman, though I may have mentioned him a couple of times along the way. If I have learned anything from Gaiman over the years its this, never let your self be pigeon holed and never write the same book twice…

Which probably explains why I am writing two separate trilogy’s at the moment, because I’m a slow learner. But the other thing I learned is genre is just a label, and labels don’t matter, write the story you need to write not the story you think you should.

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Quotes for 2020 #15

A new year, A whole new decade. A daily series of quotes from my favorite authors. Just for the hell of it…

Today’s words of slightly damning wisdom come form the much missed master of heroic Fantasy David Gemmell. A writer who’s attention to character was sublime.  A former journalist and newspaper editor, Gemmell had his first work of fiction published in 1984. He went on to write over thirty novels. Gemmell’s works display violence, yet also explore themes of honour, loyalty and redemption. There is always a strong heroic theme but nearly always the heroes are flawed in some way. With over one million copies sold, his work continues to sell worldwide.

Reading his work as a teenager taught me more about writing characters than any other writer ever has, no one is beyond redemption, and no one is as pure as driven snow, and its the shades of grey that make us human…

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Quotes for 2020 #14

A new year, A whole new decade. A daily series of quotes from my favorite authors. Just for the hell of it…

Today’s words of ‘wisdom’ come one of the great pioneers of Sci-Fi Ray Bradbury. Neil Gaiman, who has yet to feature, wrote a poem called ‘the man who forgot Ray Bradbury’ for Ray’s 80th birthday. Its full of references to Bradbury’s fabulous body of work. Though he is sadly no longer with us, his legacy in words will I suspect be with us for a long time to come.

Unless of course the firemen turn up…

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Quotes for 2020 #13

A new year, A whole new decade. A daily series of quotes from my favourite authors. Just for the hell of it…

Today’s words of ‘wisdom’ come form the most esteemed Samuel Langhorne Clemens without whom Canadian rock legends Rush would never have written Tom Sawyer…  Which frankly is reason enough to be fond of old man Twain…

Oh he wrote a lot of really good books as well. Books which pushed the frontiers of early american literature. Was an ardent abolitionist, strongly anti-imperialist and for his time a progressive liberal who believed the world not only could but should be a better place for all no matter there creed or colour. He even managed to delve into time travel and other oddities for the time and wrote books which have stood the test of time…

But mostly, he inspire Rush to write Tom Sawyer….

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Quotes for 2020 #12

As its not just a new year, but a whole new decade. I thought among all the other things I do here I would do a daily series of quotes from my favourite authors. Just for the hell of it… Twelve days in of doing this and I am still using that opening line. I really should write a new one… But anyway moving on…

A quote from an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi, who also had a stamp made to commemorate him. (confession, I love this quote, but I have never actually read any William Faulkner but feel I probably should have done…)

Interestingly, as I discovered researching him a little, Faulkner detested the fame and glory that resulted from his recognition. His aversion was so great that his 17-year-old daughter learned of the Nobel Prize only when she was called to the principal’s office during the school day. Which only makes em what to read him more…

 

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How to Save the Planet: Guest Blog by Luke Eastwood

How To Save The Planet  – a science fact emergency

We live in a very strange world, one where what would formerly have been science fiction a few years ago is now very much the real world. One of my favorite films ‘Soylent Green’, based on Harry Harrison’s book ‘Make Room! Make Room!’ was far fetched back in the 1970s but now it looks as if the planet really is burning up and we might end up with trees in a museum!

It was not science fiction that inspired me to write this new book, but a sense of frustration and impending doom due to the continued inaction of governments, corporations and ordinary folk like you and me – who are mostly waiting for someone, somewhere to do something. Unlike the film ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ in real-life there is no omnipotent alien coming to save the planet from our stupidity and lethargy.

We are on are own, or so it seems. It is us who have to take action now in order to prevent a catastrophe that is fast approaching. This book is designed to be a succinct reminder of how humanity got into this mess and also offer 10 practical solutions that can change society for the better. All of the suggestions are fairly simple to do, the biggest problem I see is that we are constantly distracted from focusing on what is really important by a combination of work, home and family commitments and the deluge of daily information that we are hit with by social media.

Most of us are easily distracted and quickly forget about infernos in Australia, war in Syria or the plastic nightmare in the world’s oceans. That is why at the end of the book there is a list of ‘to dos’ to cut out and stick up on the fridge or whatever place catches the eye.

This subject is too important to put on the back-burner, we all need to act as individuals in unison, very quickly in order to avoid creating the dystopian world of ‘Soylent Green’ and countless other SF scenarios that are best avoided if humanly possible!

Luke Eastwood

You can buy  How To Save The Planet at electricpublicatons.com, lukeeastwood.com or well-known online retailers. 50% of profits from this will book go to Greenpeace.

 

 

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Patronage…

I have been told at various times in my life I can be a little, well to be blunt, ‘A patronising arsehole…’ Occasionally I have also been called ‘Arrogant’, ‘Obnoxious’ and a fair few other choice words… There are many reasons for this, its hard to go through life without upsetting someone along the way, but mostly its because I have at times been a Patronising, Arrogant, Obnoxious, Arsehole… Generally as a form of self-defence…

Now, that is not a good reason, it is just a reason. We are all a mixture of our best and worst personality traits at the end of the day, and I have a larger collection of personality traits than most people (see, arrogance….). Though most of my worst traits are, like many peoples, reactions to my own insecurities. But with age comes wisdom, or so they say, and I have a fair few years under the bridge. Sometimes I even realise when I am being an arsehole and manage to reign myself in…

Sometimes…

‘Oh the masks we wear to hide out true faces from the world, least those we wish to be our friends see the true self we keep hidden…’

I have got older, and perhaps wiser, but more importantly I have learned one valuable lesson, if you want people to like you for who you are, its probably wise to be yourself. If you remember who that is behind all those masks you have worn over the years…

None of this is even slightly relevant to what this particular blog post was supposed to be about, but its half an hour past witching, I’ve a large rum and coke at my side and I let myself loose with a blog post about something I decided to do, well yesterday now, and started with a pun on the actual subject I was planning to talk about… Which is patronage (hence patronising, see what I did there, of course you do…).

One of my new years resolutions was to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while and put a little of my monthly budget to one side for the express purpose of joining Patron. Its something I’ve wanted to do for a while, indeed something I think I should be doing. Something I feel everyone should at least consider if they have a few spare shekels in their monthly budget. I may not be rich by anyone’s standards, but I am fiscally comfortable in a way that many of my fellow writers and artists are not. I have a good job, with a solid income, that brings in more money than I actually need.

Life was not always this way, I struggled to balance the books for many years, raised two kids paid, two mortgages in the process. There have been times I have lived on beans on toast and scraped through a week with just enough money to get to the daily grind and back. Times when, to quote an old Pogue’s song,

‘ I’ve often had to rely upon, the kindness of strangers…’

Life in short was not always easy. And when its a struggle just to put food on the table, when life is just ‘hard graft,’ as the Yorkshire would say, finding the will, let alone the time, to be creative is difficult. I’ve been a writer, that is someone who writes, since my teenage years. But many of the years between then and now were fallow. I always wrote a little for my sanity, but it was a struggle, as life itself was a struggle. Or to be clearer, life was life… The life most of us live.

These days my struggles are more prosaic, and the one think I don’t worry about is money, because I have reach a point where I have more of it than I need. Hence I feel its time to pay back some of that ‘kindness of strangers’. Hence Patron.

Patreon is one of the better crowd funding sites. Through the site you pay a small (or large for that matter, if you desire so and can afford it) sum of money each month to an artist, writer, or other creative person, and aside a very small commission to Patreon itself the money goes to the Patronised. To go towards whatever the Patronised wish to use the money for. Usually art of some form, or possibly food, shelter, cheesecake, and to keep from having to do three part time jobs just to have hot water in the winter…

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(Patronised is not the right word BTW, but it is amusing me to use it and we are past the witching hour so its the one I am going to use, because sometimes I think a joke needs stretching to extremes and I never know when to drop one (another flaw of mine)).

Patronage of the arts is actually a fine old tradition, dating back centuries. Though the Patrons were normally the nobility or rich merchant types back in the late middle ages… Neither of which is a description of me… (unlike Patronising, Arrogant, Obnoxious, Arsehole…   you get the gist.)

In these more halcyon days, patronage of the arts is not the reserve of the rich. The sort of comfortable, to mildly well off in low lighting, can afford to patronise an artist or two. Amanda Palmer has built the latter half of her career on the back of Patron, as have a fair number of other musician’s, artist and writers. But as much as I love Amanda Palmer’s music, as I am a writer, if I am going to become a Patron it will be of writers. So in the grand tradition of new years resolutions being kept in January I signed up to Patron and set myself a small budget of what I was both comfortable and happy to give. Which is to be fair, in case anyone is considering me for sainthood right now, only a small percentage of my disposable income (just $10 frankly in case your wondering). But having set that aside I split it fairly evenly between my chosen patronised. Two writers who’s writing I love, both of whom are also wonderful people.

https://www.patreon.com/craighallam/

https://www.patreon.com/NimueB/

Of course, sponsoring them in this way through Patreon is just my way of making sure I get to read more of their work, so it’s an entirely selfish act, but what do you expect from a Patronising, Arrogant, Obnoxious, Arsehole… I believe by some medieval law or other they have to perform at my next wedding as well, dressed as jesters, on ukulele’s … I suspect that is unenforceable however, and if it was I would defiantly have patronised Amanda Palmer instead…

If however you are luck enough to have a little more money than you need, like me, you could do worse than finding a writer/artist/performer to patronise yourself. Because life is hard, sometimes harder than it needs to be, and art, well art is what makes it worth living …  https://www.patreon.com/

 

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