Creating Counties - Terraforming Planets
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
We've just been cycling along the windswept Dykes of the Netherlands. It’s a place where you become increasingly aware of the extraordinary change that humans can make to our planet.
Centuries ago with development of the windmill, the Dutch created a new country from a reluctant sea. Dipping down the winding cycle paths below the level of the lakes and canals, you…
President Trump does not exist! He is fake news!
Thursday, 11 October 2018
At least in 'The Other things' he doesn't. Its president is called Luther Garvey and is a kinder, more diverse person altogether and an old fasioned liberal.
In this heroic story you can escape the uncertainies of Brexit; ageing, white, male biggots and swap them, if you dare, for the existential threat of an asteriod strike and a return to the spirit of the sixties with a belief in progress…
News from Mars and Earth
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
You may have seen a bright red planet in the night sky this summer. That's Mars, it's been as close to Earth as it has been for many years and it would be perfect time to go there. When it was at it's very closest we got the telescope out and we saw a big red disk with a little lighter area towards to pole, but couldn't make much other detail out otherwise, probably because there's been a massive…
"This is a very good book"
Friday, 15 June 2018
I would like to give thanks to Kate the editor of 'The Other Things' for her help and encouragement on the manucript. She been very encouraging and diligent in her work. I've worked on her comments and it's back with her and the team now. Thankfully she really enjoyed reading it!!!
On the illustrations here's one of the latest showing the chapter when they take the rocket from the museum.
Manuscript Delivered and Drawing Rockets
Sunday, 29 April 2018
Since reaching our pledge target the next step has been to prepare the manuscript for the editorial team.
No small matter, as the script needed reducing by 30,000 words to 115,000. I shall no doubt be re-cycling them in book two!
Broken computer aside, The final version was presented last Monday and I'm looking forward to working with my editor.
Ready for Take Off Thanks to You!
Monday, 9 April 2018
Thanks to all your pledges we have reached our target! The last three months have been very busy accumulating the funding to publish the novel, now the next stage will begin. However it's not been all just fundraising, I have also been editing the script to 115,000 words and working on the final illustrations.
The early illustrations are drawn with…
A Proton and The Universe
Friday, 30 March 2018
IT WAS MY DAD THAT DID IT!
My Dad was an eighteen year old country boy when he went to war and within the year he was docking in Nagasaki Harbour amidst the destruction of the second atomic bomb.
He never saw the world the same again.
He brought back a small refracting telescope and years later would show me the stars from our back garden. It wasn't very powerful so when I was…
Is it a good read?
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
One may write a novel for many reasons, but at the centre of it all, it must be a good read!
I've asked a select group of early readers for their help and comments. Here are some of them.
EARLY READERS REACTIONS
'Yours is a fresh original voice and I’m always wanting to know what’s coming next."
"Thanks for the book. It looks excellent and I like the science descriptions along…
Meet Mo - one of the six children in 'The Other Things'
Sunday, 18 March 2018
I spent 6 months developing the characters. To give them an authentic voice they need to have their own history and personality. Much of this might not enter the script, but it's in your mind when writing it.
Each of the children has a significant family member who has taught them the skills needed on an expedition to Mars.
Mo has always been fascinated by his Father's palaentology. Both…
Bulawayo Orphanage - Thanks for your pledges to The Other Things!
Thursday, 15 March 2018
A couple of weeks ago I made a commitment to send the new orphanage £5 for every future pledge.
Thanks to your support today the first $100 was wired to Thando and Zulu.
They are spending it on food.
Well done and Thanks!
History is Written in the Stars - Time is Relative
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
The night sky is a time machine.
When we gaze at the heavens we look back in time. There is no such thing as the present, even the sun is nine minutes older than we see it and the closest star four years.
Nothing can go faster than the speed of light, yet at mind boggling rate of 671million miles an hour it still appears to crawl through the vast cosmos.
Every pinprick of light is…
Iceland and Mars
Friday, 9 March 2018
"Iceland a unique analogue of Mars" says NASA scientist
NASA has chosen Iceland to train its astronauts for years.
Trekking in the interior is exhilarating. Crossing the barren grandeur of the volcanic terrain, with hot steam emanating from the ground and sliding across the permanent ice fields rewards you with the sense of travelling through an alien landscape.
Two of the main characters…
Sunsets and a Spinning Planet
Sunday, 4 March 2018
While I was writing the novel, I delibrately included descriptions of sunsets to remind us that we live on a spinning planet. For the past few weeks I have been editing the draft down to 115,000 words.
This allowed me the oportunity to tweak the text. I had set a scene in Victoria falls, but when I thought of one of the most sublime moments I've witnessed, I relocated it to Lake Kariba. I particularly…
Is it really that cold?
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Spare a thought for our future visitors to Mars where the average temperature is - 60C. It can reach highs of 20C in the summer.
Freezing Peckham would feel like a balmy day on the planet.
It's been as low as - 55C in Yellowstone Park where we were this summer. Still life survives and flourishes.
Why not somewhere on The Red Planet? Underground perhaps.
The Main Characters
Saturday, 24 February 2018
The main characters of the novel are children. It's a challenge to develop them and and imagine their worlds. When I was looking for examples of talented children, Kirsty told me about an amazing African kid who made things from scrap. We've visited an orphanage near Bulawayo with Zulu and been touched by the children there. In honour of Zulu and his nephew Bheki I created two brothers from Zimbabwe…
Eclipse 2017 and Earnest Shackleton - Work in progress
Sunday, 18 February 2018
I'm working on the last few images. I needed an eclipse illustration and this from our summer road trip. The diamond ring effect is just starting, as is the drawing!!.
I had an web image of Shakleton's advert for his Antarctic Expedition in the manuscript. I've have now finshed the full illustration.
We've reached 49% of the pledges after one month - Brilliant!. Special thanks to Jen, Will…
The Great American Eclipse
Monday, 12 February 2018
This was the beautiful sight we saw last summer. The Great American Eclipse. We wouldn't have chosen to go to Wyoming normally, but was so glad we did! It was brilliant, the 'Big Country' and especially Yellowstone.
Yellowstone is one big shield volcano like the big ones on Mars! It was also great to see more of America first hand.
So much of the novel is set there and I've had to imagine it…
Super Blue Moon
Thursday, 1 February 2018
Two weeks since the launch and 16 very kind subscribers. THANK YOU !!!
The kids pointed out the blue moon rising over Peckham Rye last night and then i caught the serious moonlight flooding the kitchen before dawn. Just beautiful and reminds me why I love to write about the planets and space.