Archive | January 2015

Ninth January Blog


Short Stories. 30-1-15 Explorer.

Ninth January Blog.


Bar’Barr’a stared at the wealth of stars. They glittered and glinted through the thin atmosphere that surrounded Pirac Three. He could see the Serpent just above the western horizon and to its right, in the north eastern quadrant, he could just distinguish the vague outlines of The Ring Bearer. The Ring itself was not visible from Pirac Three. You had to be closer in towards the Firene Nebula for The Ring to show itself in all its iridescent and glowing glory.

Had Bar’Barr’a more time, he might have stayed there all the dark shift trying to name the various less discernible constellations. Nothing like the view, it was said, from old Earth on the Outer Rim of the Galaxy, or where what was left of old Earth remained since its dramatic collision with the Gormga Meteor.

A reminiscent tug of long past chronicles about where men began, glimmered in his mind. Thinking about his species beginnings was a touch of antiquity for him and any other captain that managed to get that far out. All history now. How many centuries had man finally beat a path across the flat disc of the Galaxy to hop from one viable planet to the next, gaining knowledge, ship power. Changing! Evolving.

Historians, and there were few, told of the variations that would have happened if you saw the stars from old Earth now. They said the stars would have moved so much that those old stories would be invalid today. Hermes, Virgo, Leo. Just names to Bar’Barr’a, but names that conjured up a wealth of imaginative shapes, designs. They had lost most of the pictorial views, so guessing became a game to those few captains whose interest was piqued, was occupied in such a manner. They did have a record of the diagram, find and name the giant. One deep sigh then Bar’Barr’a turned his massive bulk, an easier task in the low gravity atmosphere of Pirac Three, left the viewport and made for his cabin.

Sleep was next, then as the light shift began, he would set up for his needs. Bar’Barr’a wanted to find a new engineer and that would not be an easy task. Few spare crewmen waited for work on Pirac Three and he needed a good engineer. His cargo vessel was ageing fast but it had to last a while longer before he would have enough credits to upgrade. The new crewman would also have to fit in with current members of his company. His men were skilled but they were also very individual and seldom took to new members easily.

He sighed as that thought flitted across his mind. The sigh did not last for whatever happened, a clever engineer was imperative and he would not leave without one. At any cost!

The walkway gleamed dull and metallic as the captain opened for business. He had put himself on display behind a purple-coated mach’da, a sure sign Bar’Barr’a was open to offers. Discreet advertising was allowed on the walkways.

After some time and a few stoppers, Bar’Barr’a was getting worried that he would never find an engineer. Those that had slapped were not qualified, mostly ruggers or hefters and he had those aplenty.

Hunger punched him in the gut and he was about to ‘turn’ the mach’da when a likely looking man sauntered up and slapped his toopla down with style. He was a Rimto Engineer, First Class. Why was he for hire? Personal business was the answer. That could mean he was a trouble maker.

Bar’Barr’a looked over the man’s invent., it was impressive. When quizzed, the Engineer (Derro-to by name) stated that the last vessel that held his toopla had been run by a madman who was finally apprehended in the Deep Triagarold Field. He had hitched ships, posing as a rugger until he had reached Pirac Three. He was good. He was available.

Bar’Barr’a wasted no more time. Snatching the Engineer’s toopla was tantamount to a short term contract, but Bar’Barr’a laid down a wad which meant the Engineer was contracted for the duration. Both men clasped mitts, grins lighting up their countenances. This next lift promised to be an interesting voyage.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. January, 2015.

Excerpt From: Evelyn J. Steward. “Explorer.” iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.


Eighth January Blog



Eighth January Blog

A brand new year, time passing.

We can all remember back to our childhood days. Carefree, hopefully. Just school work to make us think about the future.

But did we really think about the years ahead. Not in any kind of depth, I doubt. Oh yes, we dreamt of what we wanted to be, how our lives would turn out with happiness, riches, fullfilled in every way. A schoolchild’s dream. But did this really have any meaning for most of us? Again, I seriously doubt it. Unless you lived in a wartorn area, or were extremely poor, and there are many like that these days still.

Come to think of it, when I was young, none of us had much of anything during the second world war. Food was very short, clothing was hard to get too and if it was available, you had to have money first of all, but also, you had to have coupons. Coupons for clothing, coupons for many foodstuffs. So most people were in rhe same boat.

Days were long, or appreared to be. Strange how when one grows older, time becomes shorter. We do not always notice this at other times. It is only in the latter part of our lives ( should we live long enough ) that we really notice how fast time is running out. We say to each other ‘that week went quick’! And it does appear to race away. Is there an explanation for this? Perhaps Einstein had a theory? I am sure someone has done a survey that would enlighten us all as to the reason why this happens. All in the mind? Possibly! I for one, am not trying to race ahead with what is left of my lifespan. Far from it. There are thngs I still wish to complete and there is nowhere near enough time.

So right now, I seem to be standing still whilst running headlong, at breakneck speed, into the future. I do not consider that I am the only person, in this hemisphere, feeling this way. That would be silly, when friends feel the same way.

So is there any way we can dispel this headlong thrust. Racing to catch the wind, when all we want is to turn back the tide of time? No answer, comes the reply. I have heard it said we should fill our time to the hilt with meaningful projects of one kind or another. To me, all that seems to do is make time pass even faster than it already does.

So I think back on all the wasted time that has littered my life. Time when running fast/standing still was at a premium. We cannot revisit the past though. But if we could….would we really want to? We all think we would like to change the past. But it ain’t gonna happen, not any time soon!

I guess this trip into the miasma of the past comes from currently reading books set back in the 1500s and watching a new drama called “TURN” about the American war of Independence. Influences that can take the mind backwards to relive past times.

Today, the sun is shining, it is slighly warmer, spring flowers must feel like poking their heads through the soil, and another year begins again. The Circle of Life!

Be happy.


Seventh January Blog


Seventh January Blog

Past Holidays, how good were they?

I have to to go back a long way here. Not for the first time either. It was in the early days of European Tours, I am thinking!

Not sure why I chose Spain, somewhere totally different from my normal life, but I had been to Canada the year before, and there was a time constraint on going there again. I loved Spanish guitar music, still do. Not so much electic guitars and sunshine. The reason is so far back in time, I have forgotten. Suffice it to say, I booked my holiday to Lloret de Mar. This was way before this destination became very popular, so was, at that time, relatively unspoilt.

The aircraft was not large, not like most of todays aeroplanes. On the ground, the floor had an incline up towards the cockpit. Once in the air, the plan levelled out and all was flat.

About three hours and we arrived at Toulouse, Southern France. From there, a coach took us to the walled city of Carcasonne. The hotel was bordered on one side by a drop into the lower valley. Quite a view from my room.

Next day, the coach took us into the Pyrenees, a little town, whose name I forget. The rooms, I remember, were all named after cars. Coach again into the Hotel in Lloret de Mar. Again, its name escapes me but it was right at the hill, ovelooking the town of Lloret and the bay. The Mediterranen is so blue. As I said it was unspoilt, so the lady I shared a room with and I, had a clear view right down to the town. No tall hotels or buildings inbetween. At the outskirts of the town was a church, its Moorish round tower roofs were covered in highly coloured, very bright in the sunshine, tiles. (Wsh I had some of those photographs now -but they are mislaid nd being transparencies, would need special treatment now).

The room I shared was semi-ground/lower ground level. We had ( for want of a better word, a small terrance), lots of sunshine, but early afternoon, some shade as well as the sun moved around to the back of the hotel. Little lizards invited themselves onto our terrace from time to time.

You have to realise that all this was totally alien to me at the time, 1961.

The hotel had its own pool. We often cooled down early afternoon when others were enjoying a siesta. We were English, ‘ out in the mid day sun’, and all that.

The beach was not real sand, not as we here know it, but silica. This is a bit sharp on the feet, so sandals at all times. Mind you, I did not venture onto the sand, other than to board a boat that would sail north around the bay to the more well known town of Tossa de Mar. Just for the boat trip on the Mediterranen to cool down with ocean breezes.

And there I will leave my memoire for today, continuing the trip another time. Suffice it to say that all experiences, however long ago, are worthy of remembering. They can always find a place in your writing somewhere, sometime, somehow, if they fit the scenario.

Have fun people.


Sixth January Blog.


Sixth January Blog. 25-1-15

“”A sharp cold wind blew around the corner of the village street. Mary’s voluminous dress billowed around her knees showing worn shoes that had seen much better days. Hurriedly, she tackled her skirt, pushing it back down around her ankles before a neighbour spied her distress. It was against the Law to show flesh outside the home. Mary had no wish to be taken to the Judiciery and made to pay a fine she could not afford.

Many of the wifery were already against her, indicating it was high time she accepted John Tovery’s marriage proposal. She had been a widiow far too long.
Pulling her cloak tighter around her shoulders, Mary Broadmalt stepped faster along the street. She had spotted faces at several tiny windows, watching her closely. She needed to be back in her small home at tne end of the road.

Rain began to fall, lightly at first, her feet sped faster, stepping into newly formed puddles; dirt and detritus marring her shoes. Where would the money come from? Her husband’s coinage was almost gone.

A feeling of menace followed her every step: watched as she fumbled with her key. The lock needed greasing. With no man around now, she often forgot little details like putting a few drops of fat into the lock to keep it from sticking. Before closing the door behind her, she peeped back the way she had come. One or two heads quickly dipped back into their own doorways. ‘I knew it,’ she thought, ‘busybodies!’

Dorsel, her cook come maid was singing in the back room. ‘Happy enough,’ Mary thought, ‘but not for much longer, when there is no food in the house!’

Divesting herself of her outer raiments, Mary went inside to the food preparation area to help Dorsel. Not that there was much food left. Hanging over a meagre fire was a small cauldren of pottage. There was still some wood outside the back door, for this winter, at least. If they were still there before next winter began, they would have to foray in the woods, just outside the village. Lay in stores, she hoped. Though, they may have her married before then.

She had nothing much against John Tovery, it would just mean that she would once again, have to bow to a man’s will. Her deceased husband had been very strict. Chosen by her father, it was not a love match.””

Just an idea, needing something to hook onto. It may be nothing, go into nothing. Does anyone else, when not settled into a current project, start milling aound with ideas, not knowing quite what to do with them?

I often start things, when my regular muse has gone bye byes, temporarily. It has to be partly the cold weather settling into my bones,p. Or a wanderlust in my head that sends me on wild goose chases, hoping that something immortal will blossom through, take me to a new heights. Who knows?

If you are reading this and getting some inspiration, then I am not alone.

Be careful out there.


Fifth January Blog


Fifth January Blog. 22-1-15

How difficult or easy is it to paint a picture in words?

For some, quite easy. They have a definite way of piecing words or sentences together, making the reader feel that they are in that world of the piece of writing ( either book, blog, statement etc), inhabits, and can understand exactly what the writer meant to impart when they wrote the piece.
Others have to stretch, look up in dictionaries, words that sound better than the humdum, ordinary, vernacular words they would normally write in.

Of course, readers too have differnt ideas as to how they like their books to come over. Also, some schools of thought, prefer to have little description. I have read all kinds and none conform completely. I think, in the end, it all depends on the reader preferences, and there are so many of those out in the world. Some ideas are ‘old hat’ and simply may not apply to modern readership, generally speaking. I suppose that is the reason for all the different types of books out in the marketplace today.

Personally, I have mostly preferred lots of descriptive prose, less dialogue. However, in recent years, I have tried to use more dialogue where necessary. Sometimes that works, and sometimes. .. not so much. Then there are pieces that are, of necessity, descriptive prose.

The above is just one of those questions one asks oneself on occasion, without necessarily having an answer.

Now to the above picture.

Hopefully, ( if it goes though) the picture is one I painted many, many moons ago.
I had visited Canada, for the first ( but not the last) time), in 1960. A veritable lifetime past. More of that another time, maybe. My friend and her family, with whom I was staying, in Toronto, organised a side trip to Niagara Falls, intending to go across The Rainbow Bridge, into the United States of America. A kind of dream destination at that time. However, we discovered, later, too late, I had left my passport back in Toronto. So, no trip across The Rainbow Bridge, but a lovely afternoon was spent watching The Falls. The sun shone, with that kind of hazy, dreamlike quality of a warm early fall day.

I leant on the railings, watching the Niagara River wending its way along the Niagara Gorge. Over on the US side, some distance away, I could hear men at work, hammering something. Any other audios were distant, etherial. Not part of that day.

We went on a boat called, then, The Maid of the Mist, which went very close to both the American, and further along, the Canadian Horseshoe Falls ( called so because of their semi-circular shape worn by the millions of gallons of water pouring over the rock edges). I do not think we stayed until nightfall that time, but I did buy a picture postcard of the Falls at Night, with floodlights playing over the cascading water. I painted the picture from the postcard, enlarged, of course, to show how they would look if I had stayed. It was not until 1997 that, on another visit, we stayed until the lights were turned on, but none of my photographs came out. So thus is the only picture I now own. The postcard disappeared sonewhere.

As you can see, lots of colours. Trying to describe this picture in words would be hard. SO for now, I will leave you all with the painted version.

Take care everyone,


Fourth January Blog


Fourth January Blog. 7-1-15

We think we have it hard. Life, I mean!

The other day I watched a t.v. Programme about young animals and what some go through to survive: climate, danger from without, danger from within, hunger.

It appears to me that, even when it is cold here, we still have it good. A young Arctic fox, searching for something to eat in minus 50 Deg F. Really cold for a young animal. He seeks either a polar bear’s leavings, or lemmings, he can hear them as they run in burrows that they dig below the snow, often up to a metre below, the programme told us. This can be dangerous as the young fox can get stuck as he dives in. Here is his method of gaining a meal that will last him a couple of days.
He leaps in the air, to dive into the snow to catch a lemming he can hear from above. Only, sometimes the snow is a meter deep, sometimes it is an inch or two, in which case the fox gets a headache, not a meal. He is young. Has never experienced this before, so he goes by instinct, one would assume. Survival is critical, based on the food he catches, if he can, or a polar bear leavings, if he can find any; indeed, if the polar bear’s catch has been large enough for him to fill his stomach and leave scraps. What a start in life!

A certain duck flies to the top of a very, very high rocky escarpment. She lays her eggs. The ducklings, (seen in a programme a few months ago) have to follow mother. They are not yet fledged and have to actually ‘take a leap of faith’ off the top of this very high rock. The leap must be as far out as possible so as not to hit too many of the jutting rocks, going down. The camera follows the descent of individual ducklings. ( as I had seen this before, i fastforwarded past this part). It seems so cruel. Some do make it. Some die.
Some jump in the wrong direction and get lost from mother duck. But some make it, even the thump at the bottom of the leap can be a killer. Nature knows some will not make it. In this case, I believe the ratio was about three to two/three that survuved. In Nature, in some places in the world, with some creatures, for the creature to survive and proliferate, two ( 1 male, 1 female) need survive at each birth. The fact that Nature tries to ensure that more than the hecessary two are born, and that enough survive .to replace accidental loss, is Her insurance policy.

Other illustrations were young tigers watching mum catch their dinner. They have skills to learn too.
A young Meercat in the African veldt, comes across a cobra. Knows it is dangerous, does not have the skills to deal with it on its own. It calls to the adults, some distance away, who race back to see what is amiss. They surround the snake, in this case a cobra, making sure they are just out of reach of the cobra’s strike distance. An en masse threat from the whole of the adults of the troup and the snake moves on. Apparently, the young meercat is then left to make sure that the snake does go on its way before he scampers off to join the clan.

Seems that with some creatures, ‘ mother knows best’ works most of the time, but not always.

They also added one very interesting piece of film ( not about young exactly) about a tiny fish who, in order to attract a mate, carries out a 24 hr long design in the sand that a designer would be proud of. Circular, approx. 30 times the body lenth of the fish, made by swimming over a designated area and fanned by the fish’s fins, he makes little humps and bumps in the sand and an intricate pattern is formed. The centre, once a female has shown interest, is then smoothed and a smaller depression made ( again by the use of his fins) and they swim in this depression, secreting both eggs and milt together. A few days later, once the eggs have hatched, the male has served his purpose and moves away.
I found this fscinating as did the people of the programme, that this little creature can make such a grand ‘statement’ in a natural world.

This was a BBC Natural History programme narrated by Sir David Attenborough which I accessed through IPlayer.

Be happy people, thank you for reading.


The Biennial Office Move

What wonderful views, how inspiring. I long to go back to Canada for a visit. Saldly, this is now out of the question. Your picture brought on a sense of that longing.


New office space - Guenette photo

(All moved and loving it!)

At least every two years, I pick up stakes and move my entire office space to another area of our cabin and occasionally, over the years, to other geographical areas. While working away for a couple of years, I lived in two different apartments. Then there was my time at the university – a dorm room and two apartments over a six and a half-year time span.

But the majority of these moves (ten out of fifteen) have been within the confines of this 1400 square foot home. I’ve been upstairs, downstairs, east, west, north and south.

Office space back entry - Guenette photo

(A short-lived try at working in the entryway.)

Why this urge to move around? I haven’t tracked the whole process thoroughly enough to give a definitive answer. All I know is that now and then I have to move.

Since I reinvented myself as a self-published author of…

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2015. 1 Comment

Third January Blog


Third January Blog. 10-1-15

Windy Weather.

With the wind comes urban detritus. Fetched up on the porch comes clear plastic pouches, paper carrier bags (which no doubt, last night held a kebab), all manner ofpop papers, bottles, plastic fruit containers, you name it. Some people around here have waste issues. They just let things drop, throw them to the winds, or stuff them in peoples’ hedges. And you would not think they could be so irresponsible.

The sun shines, the tree branches shift about, bare but brooding. No doubt, they contain spring buds, all ready to burst forth, giving us joy that hopefully, winter is on its way out. The doom and gloom announcements by weathermen in December of snow and ice has been forestalled by a brilliant ball from the cosmos, heralding warmer times, on their way.

For myself, I am happy that we have not had the extremes of weather foretold. I think it might have been a marketing ploy, urging people to buy coats, boots, car scrapers etc. But then again, winter is not over yet, in these climes. It can change on a sixpence (dime, for those of you in the North American continent), and depending on where the wind blows from, and what weather systems it brings with it, ( Arctic ice storms, dragging down or winds and weather atraffing across northern Europe from the Urals – mountains in what used to be the U.S.S.R). Though most of our weather comes across the Antarctic Ocean, which can, in winter, mean snow and ice storms from America/Canada. Having said that, the Antarctic is at least a couple thousand miles across at least, and these systems can fade as they transpose from cold and ice to relative warmth in the Gulf Stream rich waters that bathe our shores.

So, there may be worse to come. We never really know, but as it is so mild, comparatively speaking, right now, it is posible that hard weather systems may skim by us altogether? I would like to think so, I am hoping that this is the worst it will get.

Wherever you live. I hope your weather becomes what you would like it to be.

Take care out there.


This entry was posted on January 10, 2015. 2 Comments

5 self-publishing truths few authors talk about

I found this blog quite inciteful.

Suffolk Scribblings


One of the hardest thing to watch on social media is an author, usually a debut author, getting excited about their upcoming book launch and knowing they are about to get hit around the head with a hard dose of reality.

They’ve done the right things, built up a twitter or Facebook following, blogged about the book, sent copies out for review, told all their friends about the upcoming launch, pulled together a promo video and graphic, maybe taken out some adverts. The first few days after launch are filled with excited tweets, mentions of early positive reviews and chart rankings. Then, after a few days, maybe a few weeks, the positive tweets stop and an air of desperation sets in as the reality of life as an indie author hits home.

Part of the problem is that the authors most vocal on social media are those that have already seen self-publishing…

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