Thursday, 4 September 2014

A new chapter?

Well, folks, this is the first of my 'infrequent' blogposts and it unfortunately has to start with some sad news. The latest post on one of the blogs that I have been following - 'Who the hell does he think he is' - related the distressing news that Eamonn, the man behind the blog, had lost his long battle with stage III pleural mesothelioma. It puts into perspective, doesn't it, the triviality of some of the things which we all allow ourselves to become upset by and immersed in. I can only applaud and admire Eamonn and those like him who face the shattering knowledge of their own, inevitable demise with such courage, fortitude and positivity.

I didn't know what sort of picture to put up with this blogpost, so I decided to share this photo I took a few months ago of Glenshiel from Loch Duich. Nice, isn't it? Check out other photos of mine at https://www.flickr.com/photos/andyritchie999/
As for myself, what's new in Andy's Universe?
Well, quite a lot, actually.
If I was to use the much-laboured 'Life is a Book' metaphor, then I'd be saying that one particular chapter of my life was drawing slowly to a close but was, in its passing, opening up an exciting (and maybe just a little bit scary) new one.
For those of you out there in the big, bad world who weren't aware, my current employer has decided to dispense with my services after 7 years (though they are paying me quite a tidy sum in the process). But, not one to be down in the dumps for long, I'm using this as an opportunity to spend more time writing - hopefully up to 2 days a week more than I was able to commit when I was working full-time (the other three days will still have to be used to put sufficient bread on the proverbial table!)
That means I can hopefully increase my writing output from one book a year to maybe two or three books a year, depending on how favourably the winds of creativity blow.
Yippee!!

So where am I now?
Well, firstly, I've developed chronic pain in the index and middle fingers of my right hand from having them permanently crossed in the hope of positive news from the agents who are currently casting their critical eyes over Fractured Time. I am, on an almost daily basis, sacrificing small animals to the writing gods in the hope that this will convince them to pass favourable judgement on my efforts.
Secondly, I'm hoping to be able to move the children's rhyming book, 'Callum's Quest', forward in the next month or so (if the illustrator has recovered from his shoulder operation - hope you're feeling better, John!!).
And thirdly, I'm steadily immersing myself in my latest piece of work - The Curious Case of God vs Pratt - which is really starting (I think, anyway) to develop into something good.
Of course, if those same writing gods should suddenly decide to look favourably on 'The Book That THEY…' and push sales upwards into double-figures per month, then there's always the sequel, 'The Book That IT…', waiting in the wings; and I already have the outline story for another 'Fractured Time' novel sitting on my desk (working title - The Silent Child). And then there's another, half-written rhyming story - Minstrel Yan and the Mist from the Well - to finish!
So, folks, all in all there's a lot to throw myself into. Hopefully, (and yes, those fingers are still crossed) that long-held dream of walking around Waterstones in Bolton (or Preston, I'm not fussy) and waving a copy of a book I've written will be realised in the very near future :)

As for the rest of the world in general, what are my thoughts on that?
Well…

  • In the Ukraine, President Putin needs to stop being such a tit.
  • In Syria and Iraq, the beheading of another US citizen just underlines how important it is to make sure that the brutal madness of ISIS (or whatever they're calling themselves today) needs to be dealt with.
  • In Scotland, I'm feeling more and more sorry for the people up there whose heads must be close to exploding from the never-ending bombardment of claim and counter-claim on the economy, the NHS, EU membership, cross-border control with England, whether midges can be exported, etc, etc, etc. - whatever their decision on the 18th September, we'll still be holidaying there (though what the exchange rate between Sterling and 'The Poond' will be, I have no idea.).
  • And finally - ebola. Now I don't want to sound harsh here, but am I the only one who was just a bit concerned about the idea of transporting someone infected with a virus that kills 60% of its victims from West Africa into the heart of one of the most crowded cities in the world? Yeah, it's great that William Pooley has managed to make a full recovery (thanks to a new and very expensive treatment), but I've seen way too many apocalyptic sci-fi movies about deadly viruses to not think to myself 'Wait a minute, what if someone who's treating him gets infected, then goes home on a bus and pops into the local Spar, then someone else who they've brushed up against in a queue goes to a rave where they rub up against a dozen more people…' Of course, the key thing must be to try to contain and eradicate this terrible disease at source, but I guess the general view is that 'It's only Africa' and there's much bigger things to deal with…like a Russian President who seems to think it's time for another Cold War (or a hot one, for that matter), or caliphate-demanding Islamic fanatics who work on the principle that the only good non-believer is a dead non-believer.

Oh joy!