Sunday, 23 March 2014

Forensic Scientists are really nice people!!

As I've been writing 'Fractured Time', there have been certain parts of it about which I have been a little nervous. These are the parts which relate to the forensic investigation and pathology of the murder that the lead character, DCI Sam McCall, is involved in.
Whilst I'd read up as much as I could on the subjects, there was still a part of me that read through what I'd written and thought "Hmmm, have I really got this right?'
Eventually, I decided that the only people who could really answer that question were forensic experts and pathologists and so, with a big gulp, I joined the Forensic Science group on LinkedIn and posted a discussion, asking if anyone would be interested in reading through those chapters of my book which dealt with the forensic-side of things. By the way, I made it clear that there wasn't going to be any cash swapping hands for this, and the best any takers could hope for was a big thank you on the dedication page of the book when it finally makes it onto the shelves of Waterstones.

Well, I'm happy to report that, when I get Fractured Time published in hard copy (and I'm utterly determined to use the word 'when' rather than 'if'), I'll be including on the dedication page a special mention of Laura Reaney, Matthew Perryman and Angela Williamson.
All three of them have provided invaluable support and insight into the world of forensics and pathology, setting me straight on the language that should be used, pointing out the potential flaws in my storyline and giving me the sort of detail gems it is simply impossible to get from studying books on the subject.
As anyone who has read 'The Book That THEY…' will testify, I place great store in making the details of what I write as believable as possible by getting them as close to reality as I can. I think it adds a certain level of authenticity to the worlds I'm trying to create and the tales I'm trying to tell. The input that these guys have provided has gone a long way to helping me achieve that aim.

And one other thing to point out - Laura, Matt and Angela were not the only ones to offer their time and support for free, and to all of the others who also offered to help I say Thank You!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hmmm..are we the hypocrites?

Hypocrisy can be defined as:

The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

An example of hypocrisy, I guess, would be to argue that it is unacceptable for a democratically elected leader to be ousted from office by violent protests…and then to actively encourage and support it when that happens, as it has in the Ukraine.
Now I'm not for one minute defending Viktor Yanukovych who evidently ordered lethal force to be used against his own people. Such action is totally inexcusable, whatever the provocation.
What I am saying, though, is that what we saw in Kiev was little more than a coup, but because those who carried out the coup are biased towards the ethos of the democratic, capitalist West rather than either the 'East', or some political doctrine such as Communism of Fascism, or some unpleasant religious dogma such as Islamic Fundamentalism, then their actions are, apparently, acceptable.
But are they?
What sort of precedent does our support of this 'new government' in Ukraine (which is, let's remember, unelected) now set?
Does it mean that if a government makes a decision that is unpopular, there isn't a need anymore to wait for the next election (whereupon, if the decision was indeed unpopular, the incumbent administration would be well and truly kicked in the proverbial teeth and tossed out into the political wilderness); instead, it is now apparently acceptable to occupy an area of the capital, set fire to some vehicles and tyres, throw bricks and pieces of paving stone at the police and try to take over some government buildings. And, if your viewpoint is 'pro-West', you can do this safe in the knowledge that your 'cause' will be backed to the hilt by the western powers.
If anything, the West's support for the new administration in Kiev actually undermines the concept of democracy, rather than strengthens it..and it perhaps shows the West to be worryingly hypocritical in deciding when a regime change is 'legitimate' or not.

By the way, I recognise that there were some doubts over the manner of Yanukovych's election victory in 2010. However, it would be a slippery slope to start to argue against the legitimacy of a government based on perceived flows in that country's electoral process; if you applied that logic, you could probably put question marks over the legitimacy of nearly all the world's elected leaders…perhaps with the exception of North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Remember, he got 100%!

By the way again, Yanukovych's term of office was due to run out in 2015, which means those who opposed his decision to have closer ties with Russia than the EU would only have had to wait a year to vote him out of office and save us all from worrying about a new cold war!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

And So It Begins...

As Ambassador Kosh used to say in Babylon 5:
'And so it begins..'
Well, as I start the final re-reading and re-tweaking of the 56 chapters and 155,000 words of my latest literary masterpiece, 'Fractured Time', so I take my seat on the great emotional roller-coaster that is the search for a literary agent.
I'm currently at that initial stage where I'm full of hope and enthusiasm - and why shouldn't I be? After all, I think I've got a really good plot that's carefully wrapped around a unique backstory. I've got what I think are interesting and engaging characters and I'm sure my style of writing is pretty readable.
I'm also feeling pretty damn good from all the positive feedback I got from those who read 'The Book That THEY..' (once again, thanks to all of you!).
The challenge will, of course, be to maintain that same positivity in the weeks and months ahead.
You see, when it comes to trying to get someone interested even just in taking a look at my work, I'm very much a realist. I'm prepared for the disappointment of rejection.
But I'm also determined because I have a belief that Fractured Time is good enough to catch the eye of an agent who is looking for something just a little bit different, something that stands out from the crowd; and because of that, I'm still hopeful that one day I'll get to stand in Waterstones in Bolton, ease a copy of my book off the shelf, then turn to everyone in the shop and shout 'I wrote this!!'