What Separates Us

Today was a slow day and it wasn’t until this evening that I got to the last of my email reminders for blogs I follow. It was for Derrick Knight, a retired lad in England, who delightfully chronicles his adventures in the garden the Head Gardener (Jackie, Mrs Knight) kindly lets him meander through whilst doing a few gardening-ish chores. Derrick is a lover of books, and the New Forest, and the seaside, and his comestibles.

In his latest post he talks about Dirk Bogarde, a British actor, and his writing.

I always liked him as an actor, (Dirk, not Derrick) so I tootled off to read up about him via that wonderful resource portal, Wikipedia.

Turns out that Dirk was among the Allied officers who went into Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April of 1945. Please read what he wrote. It’s important. (just click on the green link)

. . .

. . .


Did you read it through? Did you look at the photographs? Were you horrified, sickened? Did you think to yourself, that could never happen now, here?

Truth is, humans have been doing this to other humans for thousands of years.

Do you know what the difference is between you and I, and them?



They were, and are, (because humans have never really stopped brutally torturing and murdering each other somewhere on the planet)  just like you and I. Assorted limbs, a functioning brain, carrying all sorts of wounds, physical and metaphysical, each with our own little bubbles of concerns that can make a day shine or feel like a milestone around our necks … and yet, some of us commit horrendous acts of brutality, and some of us do not.

Do you know what separates us?

Choice. That’s all.

When you strip away the dogma, political, religious, whatever,  all we’re left with is, Choice.

Whether it’s a choice about a moral ambiguity or to become another a butcher of humans, it’s exactly the same choice. A step this way, a step that way. Some choices involve major amounts of suckitude, but they’re still choices. 

As I pondered on the choices I’ve made in my life, the good, the bad, the ugly … the really bad … and the beautiful, I heard in my head a phrase from a song by Bette Midler, about ‘hollow, ancient eyes’, I dug out my collection of Bette albums and listened to the song in question … and it seemed to me that it’s a song about how we can find hope in our choices.

(sorry I couldn’t find a better quality video)


The Missing Symbol

Scrivener has had me all hot and bothered all afternoon, which, given that it’s currently 34°C (93°F) in the shade today, is a very dangerous thing for all beings within a hundred meter radius of my Self.

No cranky feelings here!

I’m doing the ‘front bits’ for ‘Prelude’ and I wanted to insert a copyright symbol into the text. I couldn’t find it so I went on-line and asked pertinent questions … and found answers that were all for the Apple version of the Scrivener software.

I get that Scrivener was first developed in Apple-ese, and PC’s were the poor cousins who had to wait at the kiddies table until the grown-ups were sated, but  I thought we were all growed-up now.

Eventually, buried in the furthest depths of page ninety-eleven of my google search I found what I was looking for.

So, here it is, if you’re using Scrivener on a PC … first make sure your cursor is where you want the character to be on your document … and go to … Edit  > Character Map (no idea why it’s called that) then ‘select’ which character you want to use, then ‘copy’, at which point you’ll have to manually (using your keyboard) insert or paste (CTRL/V) the character where it needs to be.


Scrivener is wonderful, but perfect it ain’t.

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

‘Prelude’ is complete, and well on its way to its next incarnation.

I’ve already taken the individual episodes out of the ‘topics’ section over there on the right but I’m going to leave it up on its page ‘Prelude’ up there in the Header for a couple more days and then sometime on … hmm … Thursday (26th) I’ll remove it from there too. So if you haven’t caught up with the entire story, now is your moment.

I’m going to do a bit of an edit, typos, etc, then I will publish it as a complete entity all of its own. 


As I read through my old notes whilst preparing each episode of ‘Prelude’, I came across quite a few scenes that had appeared, fully-formed, in Mortal Instinct. I chuckled to myself. There I was thinking I’d pulled all that imagery out of the aethers by myself!

For those new to my corner of the interwebz, Mortal Instinct was my firstborn that suffered from ‘Premature Publication Syndrome’, by a traditional publishing house, that, to make a very long and painful story short, screwed the entire publication process from beginning to end.

Lesson learned. Not going to use a trad publisher again.

My initial plan was to do a complete rewrite of the whole manuscript and self publish, but, as I was editing and publishing each episode of ‘Prelude’ I came to the slow realization that Mortal Instinct’s time had passed.

I suppose this is the logical extreme of ‘kill your darlings’ which advises authors not to hold on to characters, or scenes, which fall short of Vernor’s Law.

What’s Vernors Law, I hear you ask? A SF writer lad by the name of Vernor Vinge coined a wee missive that goes like this …

All scenes need to accomplish at least 2 of 3 things: 1 – provide background information, 2 – develop the characters, and 3 – advance the plot

My faithful old manuscript that had been with me, in various incarnations since 1985, is now no more.

Bon Voyage, old Friend.

Perhaps in another Realm, another version of me will publish it as it’s meant to be. Wouldn’t that be wild!

Smashwords Is Having A Sale

I’m coming to the end (hopefully) of a very nasty joust with some migraine clusters. I’m currently 7-6 in the lead. My last ‘Prelude’ episode is a tad shy of being completed, so I expect to get it up here poste haste.

In the meantime … free books: Smashwords July Sale … and

A little classical piano to chase the blues away … (you might have to ‘rewind’ the video. I don’t know why it’s doing that)

Kilauea Eruption at Fissure #8

If you haven’t been following the volcanic eruption in Hawai’i (or even if you have) this video will give you a sense of the sheer scale of the lava flow.

Watch for the houses near the sides of the flow, and take a moment to be in awe of Mother Nature. Then there’s the USGS (United States Geological Survey) person who ventures out onto the lava field, up close and personal, to do something video-y or measurement-y …

… and this is where all that magma (below ground) and lava (above ground) originates, well, several hundred meters (100 meters=328 feet) underneath this wee hole in the ground …

I doubt I’ll get the opportunity to witness (even if it’s through the camera lenses of others) an event like this ever again in my lifetime.

I’ve stood on the tops of mountains, at the edges of oceans, walked across sand dunes that touched the sky. I’ve breathed smoke from wildfires, and the ionised air of giant thunderstorms. And now through this medium that is sometimes as brutal as it is magnificent, I can also witness a volcanic eruption.

How cool is that.

The Sumer Tree – 2018 Edition

As I contemplate writing this post, the sky is overcast, and the temperature is back down in the low-to-mid-teens after the giddy heights of the last few days. The Mamas and the Papas are singing ‘Monday Monday’ on my favourite interwebs music streaming channel. (AccuRadio)

Not exactly how I thought Summer Solstice was going to look like.

Most of ‘Spring’ was cold and rainy, then we had five (I counted ‘em) halcyon days of glorious balmy SPRING weather … then the gloom returned.

Most of ‘Summer’ (so far) has been gloomy and showery, then we had five (I counted ‘em) days of 30°C over-the-top sunny SUMMER weather … then the gloom returned.

I’m sensing a pattern here.

The pervading overcastness has not been kind to my gardening efforts either.

Hydrangea – gorgeous as usual, but missing at least half of her usual bloomage

Hydrangea – gorgeous as usual, but missing at least half of her usual bloomage

These lasses went from buds to blooms during the ‘5 days of Summer’

These lasses went from buds to blooms during the ‘5 days of Summer’

Putting their best foot forward under the Summer Tree

Putting their best foot forward under the Summer Tree

And as for the veggie patch …

The maters and basil are struggling

The maters and basil are struggling

In the sunniest bed in the garden, even the corn is having a hard time of it

In the sunniest bed in the garden, even the corn is having a hard time of it

Blueberries are few and far between

Blueberries are few and far between

You might think that I’d be disheartened by all of the above, and as I walked around taking these pictures my little Widderheart was indeed sinking, but then …

Rescued from the innards of a nearby compost bin, this wee lass was stuck in a basket and left to her own devices, and she thrived ... looking closer at the bin I think I see a couple of her siblings

Rescued from the innards of a nearby compost bin, this wee lass was stuck in a basket and left to her own devices, and she thrived … looking closer at the bin I think I see a couple of her siblings

So in honour of this particular and peculiar season, I give you, The Summer Tater!



Lucas, The (Adorable) Spider

He’s back, and ready for naps. I can relate. Our Summer heatwave is currently topping out at 35°C, (95°F) and all I want to do is keel over and not move until November.

And this is his very own Youtube channel