Juxtaposition - the ebook - has been made permanently FREE on all retail sites. And there is now a paperback version of the story, priced at $3.99 (Amazon would not let me price it any lower).
The film that was inspired by the story - Juxtaposition an abstraction - has now begun to be submitted to film festivals worldwide for possible screenings in 2017 - holy crap!! The film can be watched for free on both YouTube and Vimeo.
The editing of The Great Dane Saga, which was a feat of endurance, I have to say, culminated in the publication of both We Do And We Do Not (part 6) and All The World (the complete saga), in time for Christmas 2016 (as promised). There will be a paperback version of All The World at some point very soon.
A Grand Affaire - the very first gay romance I ever wrote, which was first published back at the start of 2013, will soon re-appear on the shelves.
Work has begun to prepare The Dog And The Eagle for serialisation, to appear on my website for free in weekly (or maybe bi-weekly) instalments. The Dog And The Eagle is the first thing I ever wrote - it's part one of a crime thriller called The Virtue of Dishonesty. It was published at one time but has been absent from the shelves for a very long time. The first instalment will appear very soon.
I have two indie musicians already booked for interviews in January, forming part of a revamped Cafe Arte, which will roll out in 2017. That will also include a new Recommended Read feature. There will be more author spotlight features too. For now, I have done a round up of my recommended reads of 2016 - click here to find my top picks - CLICK
I am still planning to publish two Soundcloud playlists each week in 2017. Here is the roundup of my fabourite songs from 2016 in one playlist.
I plan to write more poetry in 2017 - and I am hopeful of getting more of the poems read and recorded - the next recording project is probably Oswald's Lament.
Yes, there will be more Inspector Fenchurch titles in 2017. Chambers and I are getting ourselves organised to produce the second series debut. I am also ploughing on with the translation of the Johnny Sante 2nd series debut for Chambers - no dates as yet.
Seeing as Dane and Grand Affaire have taken much longer to re-edit than planned, the second part of The Centum Path sci-fi series has taken a bit of a back seat - that will be rectified. Part 2 - The Time Weavers - is still pencilled in for publication by the end of the Winter 2017.
Here is my first attempt at a haiku poem -
Writings in silence
Fallen foe is free to go
Years pass to the West
I am planning to study the form and produce more - they are fiendishly difficult.
What's Christmas without a gift? Enjoy the story.
Happy and Safe Holidays
The wind steadily picked up on Tuesday, from about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. It had been sultry for days, endless, leaden days. The air was thick and clogging, the sky heavy and the colour of old newspapers beginning to darken to the colour of the nicotine-stained fingers of the tramp who said to anyone who passed, “We’re done for!”
The weather, usually the subject of a hundred conversations a day in this little town, had become no longer noteworthy; everyone just looked up and signalled with raised eyebrows and a cheerless smile, ‘it’s the same as yesterday’. Breathing was difficult, like breathing through an old, grubby blanket - an effort with little reward. You just seemed never to be fresh or clean, always sweaty, greasy, dirty and hot; and tempers were even hotter.
Towards 5 p.m., the wind was picking up stray bits of litter and creating mini tornadoes of dust, brushing out every little, forgotten corner. A window slammed and a gate could be heard banging to a bizarre rhythm. At 6 p.m., when the office and the factory chucked out, the wind was flapping at skirts and lifting ties, and generally making a nuisance of itself. No one seemed to care, and the comparative freshness was lifting spirits like only a Royal Wedding can.
On the news at 9 p.m. that night, the weatherman said that the wind was freshening and would get much stronger. He pointed to a mass of swirling clouds out in the ocean - a cyclone he said. Everyone was just relieved to get a decent night’s sleep after weeks of tossing and turning.
Almost everyone did sleep soundly that night, except the tramp, who watched as the wind picked up and tugged at his filthy blanket and whipped his collection of newspapers away to somewhere off down Main Street and then into the black night, which was starless and moonless; the cloud was still heavy but evidently moving from east to west.
The first thing everyone noticed that morning was how neat and tidy everything was: no litter, no plastic bottles, and no dust - the streets were swept clean. Calls to the Council congratulating them on their efficiency were met with bemused congeniality since Boris, the Sweeper, was still off sick.
There is often a moment, just before the panic sets in when everyone is happy, content, somewhat more confident about the future, feeling good about themselves and warm towards their fellow man - even behaving generously and kindly. This moment took place at about 10:30 a.m., around coffee time for most, and the whole town seemed to be breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to clean, fresh air and a return to normal weather. Everyone was buoyant, almost jubilant, smiling, cheerful and completely unaware of the earth-shattering events that were about to unfold. The calm before the storm was signified by friendly meetings over lattes and planned enthusiasm for dealing with emails and phone calls. Like a huge whale, the whole town had surfaced for air, sucked in a lungful of crisp freshness and was about to dive when the noise of a large, old picture window swinging open was heard above Jones’ shop. The window may have been carelessly left open or perhaps the catch was very old, but those in Main Street watched as the huge plate-glass window swung majestically open and reached the limit of its hinges, paused for 1/3rd of a second and then shattered as if it had been hit by a cricket ball.
That would have been astonishing enough but the wind caught hold of those deadly shards and speedily whisked them off, allowing not one to fall to the ground. Fortunately, the window was on the second floor; had it been lower, the glass would have cut the power lines and telephone lines, and if it had been lower still, it would probably have cut Gladys, the Lollipop Lady, in half.
The glass sped away and was soon out of view, and it would have been forgotten if it had not been for the fact that the entire contents of the office were being sucked out of the open window and were following the glass.
The furniture, computers, paper, filing cabinets, bins, and photocopier made a very weird ensemble as they flew out and headed west. Within minutes, the interior of the office, that fortunately was absent of people, looked like a cleaned bone. Within a further minute, the contents of rooms along the street, where windows had blown open or had been left ajar, also materialised - a ribbon-like assemblage of stuff, riding a current of air, cutting through anything that happened to be in its path, all heading west. Unfortunately, a number of people, mostly very old or very young, were also in this hideous stream; their shouts and cries could not be heard over the increasingly deafening roar of the wind.
Shock. Everyone was in shock, but this was no time to stand still with mouth open because stuff, riding on the lethal current of air, was coming like a wave; a tsunami of stuff, human stuff, at every height from every point east.
Main Town was not alone in the Universe, of course, and there were plenty of villages and towns east of it as well as large cities where the wind was also ripping everything apart and carrying it west, adding to the current and, with increasing speed and force, the wind was ripping roofs off of houses, picking up cars, demolishing buildings and carrying everything west; a deadly river, within which everything was tumbling and being smashed, and all the time, the wind gathered speed and force, and the wave of stuff, which you would think would slow the wind down, was fuelling its speed with intermittent explosions of gas canisters and fuel tanks.
The wave turned into a sea, as stuff from countries further east joined, and those lucky enough, at this point, to have found shelter could see street signs written in foreign languages, gable ends of Swiss cottages, rickshaws and neon lights advertising exotic pleasures for the weary traveller, all being carried together and being smashed to tiny pieces, carried at alarming speed - all travelling west.
“Where is it all going?” the people asked, who for now had darted into cellars or bunkers underground. They were safe for a time but the wind was slowly dismantling the very stone and wood, and occasionally a cellar would be exposed and the contents, usually a person or two and a quantity of apples laid up for winter, would join the unhappy throng, the air sucked from their lungs so that no cries were heard. As soon as someone was sucked up into the river, they were instantly pulverised - death was quick.
Well, it was all heading out west. The centre of that vortex of the storm shown on the TV the night before was where it was all heading. The funnel of that storm was getting bigger and bigger as more material was added, and it turned faster and faster. The stuff inside was being reduced to the very atoms of which it was made, and soon, clear bands of colour emerged as atoms of like elements found each other and fused together, the heavier, darker ones sank down to the bottom of the funnel and the lighter ones rose to the top; a rainbow funnel stretching from just above the ocean’s surface to the outer reaches of the atmosphere.
At the lowest point of the funnel, just above the surface of the water where it reduced in width to that of a pencil lead, there was a steady stream of material being carried away by the current - magical rivers of colour, stretching out from the base of the funnel to all points of the compass.
It took about a month all told for the whole of humanity, the evidence of its existence, its possessions and its creations to be removed this way. Not a single non-human living thing, not a blade of grass or the petal of a flower had been damaged or moved by this grotesque washing machine that had effectively laundered the dirt out of the Earth on a very ecologically friendly cycle!
In the end, there was just the Earth, humanity removed like a stain, and all of the other living things just got on with life, just as they always had before the human had appeared.
Looking through the lens of a very powerful telescope, a young boy, probably 12 solar cycles old, was watching the incredible swirling shapes and clouds on the tiny satellite they called Zen.
“Hey, Dad, come and see this, it’s incredible; the cloud is changing colour and getting much bigger. I’m sure I can see explosions too ...”
His father walked casually over to the scope and peered through the lens.
“You’re right; that’s amazing! I wonder what they’re making of that at Bureau?”
Quite a lot actually, and the alarms were sounding all over the facility.
“What’s up and why have the alarms gone off?”
“Zen has gone native and the Winds of Change have just scoured the surface; we’ve lost it all and millions of years of work have just gone down the plughole, literally!”
“Yep; just gonna have to find another one and plant our seeds all over again.”