House Plant and other stuff

This week I finished reading Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson; keep an eye out for my review on Thursday. That will be book review number 2 and the second book of my 24 book reading challenge for 2019. I have started reading The Name of the Wind  by Patrick Rothfuss, which I will review too. 😀
Don’t forget to read my first book review of American Gods 

On the Writing Front:
I have been reading up on world building and had a lengthy discussion with a fellow writer about it. In the end I decided to just get my head around the basics of the world and how that effects society and technology then I will do a rough plot that has plenty of wiggle room thus allowing me to some what discovery write the book but with a little bit of guidance…which will hopefully not lead me into a pit of doom.

Speaking of my writer friend, I have been having a bunch of fun writing a medieval comedy web series with him. Plenty of laughs in coming up with ideas. Hopefully one day it will find its way onto the web for people to watch, if not it has been a blast to write anyway.

Other Stuff:
Started playing a Dark Root campaign of the Dark Souls board game with friends last week and will hopefully be playing again this week. Still loving this board game.

Wim Hof Method….well, I stopped doing this after 3 days. The breathing exercises were unpleasant and I didn’t like how they left me feeling light headed and dizzy, and…just wrong. It didn’t seem like a healthy thing to be doing.
I am still cold showering though, I actually liked that bit, just not the breathing exercises.

New House Plant!!!!
I got a new house plant from my friends Phil and Shannon. And it is in a sick d20 mug pot!

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Book Review: American Gods

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
⭐⭐★★★

I would have preferred for my first book review to be 5 stars, unfortunately I just didn’t enjoy majority of this book. To be honest, if it hadn’t been eating into my reading challenge for this year, then I would have put it down midway through and not finished it.

Now…don’t get me wrong, there were things in this book I liked and there were amazing ideas in it. I had plenty of “Wow, that’s cool.” moments. It got off to a captivating start that had me hooked, then I hit about a quarter of the way through and it slowed to a grind. Every now and then something interesting came into the book and I’d be excited again for a chapter, maybe two, then I’d be bored for five or so chapters waiting for the next interesting thing to happen.

I found the main character, Shadow, to be very uninteresting and I also found a hefty dislike of Wednesday, to the point that whenever he left Shadow to go do something I was happy then disappointed whenever he came back. I’m not sure if you were meant to feel that way, but every time he returned my interest in the book dropped.

I really enjoyed all the chapters that told stories from the past of how people brought their gods with them to America, but at the same time I also felt that they dragged away from the main story and were kind of filler, just padding the book out. On top of this there was just a lot of scenes that felt like they were not pushing the plot forward and I felt there was a lot of over explaining in parts, I got bored of his explaining how cold it was at one point. For majority of the book I was just begging for it to move forward.

I don’t think it helped that I couldn’t care about the Gods, old or new, and their war was of no interest to me. I was interested in the side stories of characters such as Laura, Girl Sam, Alison McGovern and Hinzelmann. In fact I think Samantha Black Crow was the most interesting character in the book, probably the only one I will remember a few years from now.

The dream sequences Shadow has were something I really enjoyed. I found quite an interest in the American god culture with Whiskey Jack and the Thunderbirds (Sounds like a band).

In the end I just don’t think it was a book for me. If asked my opinion on whether someone should read it, I cannot say yay or nay, I think it is good enough that many can (and do) enjoy it, but I also feel it has an equal chance of being not enjoyed.

 

Monday Blogging & Novel Updates

I can’t believe it has only been 14 days since 2019 started. I’ve been very productive this year so far and it feels like a greater amount of time should have passed, which is wonderful since I have no idea how 2018 went so fast.

News on the blogging front:
I have decided that Mondays will be a general update and updates on the novel journey. Thursdays blogs I will aim to publish book reviews or short writing pieces.

Novel Journey:
I believe I left it last year saying I was 3 or 4 chapters in…Well, that is no longer true. I scrapped what I was writing. Still running with the same idea but what I had written was not worth keeping.

Two things held me back; plotting and world building.

I am a pantser by nature and enjoy discovery writing much more than planning things out. (I kind of approach a lot of life this way) However, I had decided it was best to plot my novel but did a very shit! job of it. So, now I am unsure of whether I should try plotting again or just fly by the seat of my pants.
Having said that, the world building is something I will be working on before jumping back into plotting or writing. I seemed to have just created the tip of the iceberg and need to flesh out more of the world. A main thing I needed to think over is how things would effect society and technology. I didn’t do that enough first time round.

I am giving myself to the end of February to deepen my world building and then I will decide if I will plot again or wing it like there’s no tomorrow.

Other News:
I have decided to trial the Wim Hof Method through the free class on the website. I’m really curious about it. I tried the breathing exercises this morning and tomorrow I start the cold showers…Whoo!
Why would I do this:
a.) I like the idea of cold showers to build discipline (although I just got a cold shiver thinking about it)
b.) It is suppose to be good for inflammation…which I have plenty of that to deal with.
c.) I lost a lot of blubber prior to last winter and almost died in the cold months. I plan on losing more weight this year before winter sets in and I don’t want to become a human popsicle.

I’ll keep you updated as to whether I actually do this for more than 1 day.

Thanks for reading! 😀

2018 A year of many challenges

2018 was a big year for me; possibly the biggest.

I started this blog along with my journey to write a novel, I bought a house, I started renovating that house, I worked hard on overcoming my struggles with anxiety and depression, I travelled with my family to New Zealand, I was honoured to be best man at my mates Wedding in Hawaii, I set out to be a more positive person and most of all I took many steps to be able to enjoy life more.

I know I slacked off on my blogging around the time I got told my nice cosy job was ending along with the TV show I worked on. Hell…I got the news I was being “let go” the same day they approved my house loan (there was a storm of emotions that day). I bought my house and moved in…then I started renovating and lost track of time between working on the house and picking up what ever little jobs came my way.

Now I always claimed I didn’t have enough time to do the things I wanted to do and it has never been true. I have always had the time…I just never allocated it where I should have. I don’t waste hours in front of Netflix anymore, I have cut back on video gaming, I go to bed early so I can get up and complete my morning routine to set myself in a productive mood, but most of all…I just stopped making excuses not to do the things I wanted to be doing.

A big step for me was midway through the year when I decided to take responsibility for my life. I know it sounds ridiculous to put it that way, but so many people don’t do it. It is so easy to blame other people and other factors for your short comings and misfortunes. A major part of this for me was accepting that I was in control of how I felt, that no one else was responsible for that.

It was a bump road…Nay!…a rollercoaster of up and down thrills for that second part of the year, but I made enough changes internally that they began to effect the external world. I still have a long way to go and this year I will be heavily focusing and shaping myself and my life.

As for my novel, well…it is slow going. I will do a dedicated post with novel updates soon. As well as my first book review on “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. I am doing a reading challenges this year and for each book I read I will be posting a book review on here for it as well as a shortened version on Instagram.

So that is my brief 2018 overview. I hope it was a good year for you too and let’s look forward to making this year count for all it can.

Next Year and Christmas Stories

Happy Holidays, a bit late I know. I have let my blogging get away from me. I will take another crack at this next year. A lot happened this year and got in the way of my blogging and my novel. Lots to talk about next year on the Novel front, for now I wanted to post a couple of Christmas themed writing exercise I did for my writing group. One horror themed and one a lot sweeter.

The Sea of Naughty Children
Written by
Michael William Edwards

It was the eve before Christmas and little Lou knew she had been naughty this year. She knew that it was wrong every time they went to the back of the farm to that patch of soft grass just over the hill where no one could see. It clung to the bottom of her heart like a sickly rot.
The night had grown quiet, uncomfortably so. The only sounds were her heart thumping and her uneven breath as she lay under the bed. A paring knife held close to her chest. She prayed that Santa Claus did not come this year, for she wished not to be taken for coal.
There was a groan from the house, almost a bothered sigh, like the one her father made when her mother asked him to do something…anything. Then a clatter of hooves trampled the roof and a sled grinded across the timbre shingles.
Lou gasped in fear. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped her knife tight. Santa Claus had come for her.
The night went back to silence. Nothing stirred.
Then the door opened. The gentle bump of the door against the wall made her jump.
She watched the black boots step into the room, moving closer. Something was dumped upon the bed. A moment later a piece of coal slipped down between the bed and the wall and rolled in front of her face.
Santa leant down and peered beneath the bed. His face wrinkled, the skin dried out from traveling in the cold winds, the skin so badly damaged it was scattered with scabs. His white beard was matted and stained; as was the hair that poked out from his his hat. Dressed in red stained animal furs with old worn black gloves. His squinted eyes burned with fire beneath a scowled brow.
He reached under the bed, his arm stretching unnaturally to reach Lou. She screamed and slashed at him with her knife. He let out a growl of pain that sounded more animal than man. He reached for her again and this time she stabbed the knife into his forearm all the way to the handle.
It didn’t stop him. His hand grabbed her nightgown and he pulled hard. She lashed out with her arms grabbing a hold of the bed leg. She jerked to a halt. Her gown tore at the shoulder. He gave another yank and Lou lost her grip, sliding out from under the bed.
Santa loomed over Lou, looking down on her in such disgust. He spat on her and grabbed her hair, pulling her to her feet. She screamed in pain as tears ran down her cheeks.
“You have been naughty Louise Dunburg.” He said, his voice unnaturally bestial.
He lifted her off the ground by her hair and looked into her eyes. Lou ceased her screaming. A numbness crept over her. He arms went limp by her side.
“You must be taken to the place where all the naughty children go.” Santa said.
Lou used the last of her free will to plead the word, “Please.”
A sickly grin stretched across Santa’s face. He dropped his sack on the ground and lowered Lou feet first into the sack. She saw her parents down the hall, peeking out of the bedroom door. Her mother in tears, her father holding her back with his own sorrow in his eyes.
“You had all year to be nice, you choose to be naughty.” Santa said in his twisted voice as he dropped Lou into darkness.
Lou landed on something, no…someone. She felt them move beneath her, felt more of them moving beside her. The other naughty children. All of them trapped in darkness.
The numbness began to fade. The other children grabbed at her, trying to crawl on top of her, pulling her under in the process. She started to fight back, but she was still getting control of herself. The weight of several children pressed down on her as they piled on her. Still more beneath wanted to climb past her.
The numbness had left and she tried to claw her way back to the top. Someones nails tore at the flesh on her side as they desperate seeked to climb past her. Lou felt another biting her. Another found its fingers in her mouth and pulled at her cheek. She felt herself sinking deeper in the pile of children. The weight above starting to become crushing, making it hard for her to breath. She tried to pull herself back up but too many had their hands on her, too many pulled at her, too many scratched and bit. One of her arms was pulled back in a way it was never meant to and with a snap it broke. She tried to scream at the pain but she had not the air in her lungs as she was crushed in the Sea of Naughty Children.

Christmas Cracker Crowns
Written by
Michael William Edwards

“The night was still young but the day had been long. We were both tired but still held interest in each others company. She had taken her shoes off and carried them in her hand as we walked in the sand to the edge of the paved path. The waves only just visible in the spill of the hotel lights making a pretty ambience in the background. She still wore her yellow Christmas cracker crown, slightly crooked with a small tear in one side. She looked up to me, the kindest smile upon her face, my heart beat faster.
She gave a playful push to my chest, backing me onto the path. I followed the glance of her eyes up to see a mistletoe hanging from a lamp light above us. She stepped in close, her body pressing up against mine causing an electrifying tingle to run through me. She smelt in a way delicate, but empowered, the perfume and the wine on her breath. I closed my eyes and I leant in.”
The old man sat at the table, his eyes closed as he made a funny kissing face, his three grandchildren laughing. He opened his eyes and smiled at them, the lot wearing their Christmas cracker crowns. He looked over to his wife who sat with the rest of their family and smiled again to himself.

The Valley

I have been away from my blog for too long. I am currently in a writing group with a couple of good friends and we are doing a bunch of exercises together. I quite liked the outcome of this one so I thought I would post it up.

The Valley
A short writing piece by
Michael William Edwards

He felt the weight of his decision like the pack on his back as he looked over the valley he called home for so long. The sweet spring smells rolled up the hill in the wind to his nostrils. The wee nipper tugging at his pants, excited for their journey, did not understand what was happening. He smiled and pushed aside his worry. After all he had promised his late beloved that he would never take up arms again. He turn away from the valley and the conscription to flee into the life of a nomad with his child.

The Rotting Wall

The Rotting Wall
A Short Tale by
Michael William Edwards

The root cellar smelt beyond vile. The food had all rotted and turned black, but something else overpowered the rotted food. The dirt floor had turned to mud. It squashed beneath Beth’s feet, squeezing between her toes. She was cold in just her nightgown. The wet sides of the hole in the wall reflected the small light from the candle she held. The slime that oozed out from the hole was the cause of the rotting food and the smell.

She wanted to upheave her dinner, turn and run, cover her nose and mouth, anything to get away from the smell, but she could not. She had no choice but to continue.

She felt her heart slowing as she approached the hole. The fearful thumping dying, her breathing slowed, her body felt calm. Her mind however, it raced through thoughts. Fear building. She had no control of her body. Slowly she went numb, trapped in a body she could no longer feel. A body that had began crawling into the hole.

She fought with all her might, straining her mind, attempting to regain control. Nothing she tried worked. She screamed in her own head. Cursed her body. Told it not to go further. It wouldn’t listen. It crawled into the hole.

Everything was dark. She could no longer hear or see. It was her alone with her thoughts.

The River

So, I haven’t been here for a while. Life got a little overwhelming. Here is my return with a little writing piece I wrote this evening.

The River
A Short Writing Piece by
Michael William Edwards

Gripping to the rock. My fingers aching. Everything telling me to give up and let the river take me. The water splashing over my face. The force of the river seems violent. Scary.

Sometimes it feels as if it wants to pull me down the river and throw me over a waterfall. Other times it feels like it wants to pull me under and hold me there until I drown.

The bank of the river looks peaceful. I want to stay there, but I can not get back to it. The river has me and it is taking me. I feel my fingers slipping and I fear what will come.

I’m telling myself that I have journeyed the river to this point. Stopping at many banks. There are many banks to go and I should see them all. I must trust in the river. So I must let go.

The raging waters take me. They embrace me and I float.

I float gently down the river.

It’s quiet now. I feel a peace as I travel. I don’t care to look forward for waterfalls, I just embrace the river back and trust it will carry me to another bank.

 

Thanks for reading.

Anniversary Dinner

Here is a little tale I wrote this weekend whilst taking a break from my novel.

Anniversary Dinner
Flash Fiction by
Michael William Edwards

The meat made a delightful sizzle as it hit the frying pan that made her smile. Emma checked her reflection in the window, giving herself a wink. Sporting her best dress, a tightly fitted red number, and of course an apron to protect the dress. She had kicked her heels off an hour ago.
Emma returned to the cooking steak. The butter, oil and its own juices bubbling at its sides. She sprinkled some salt and cracked some pepper onto the raw side of the meat. A fresh sprig of rosemary went into the pan next. She rolled the pan about to infuse the rosemary flavour. A quick flip of the steak; she intended not to over cook the meat. She placed the rosemary sprig on top of the steak then tilted the pan. Using a spoon she collected the liquid from the side of the pan and basted the meat.
She placed the meat on a chopping board and covered with foil. Leaving it to rest she began preparing the plate. Emma wanted this to be the character of her most liked photo, so the presentation had to be right. She laid some grilled asparagus atop roast potatoes. Then she used a spoon to apply a smear of sauce across the plate. She sliced the steak into thin strips and placed it perfectly on top of the sauce.
The table was set in a romantic dinner for two style complete with lit candles. The candles had burned down a bit since she had lit them, but it still looked wonderful to her. Emma placed the plate on the table and pulled out her phone to take the photo.
She uploaded the photo with the tags #Anniversary and #DinnerForOne.
Emma was very pleased with her wittiness in writing the caption “The last thing my asshole of a husband asked was “Cook me a good steak”, I think I did well.”
She was a bit disappointed with the red stains in the white table cloth, but she decided that it would have to do, her dinner would be cold by the time she changed the tablecloth and reset the table. Plus, his blood was all through the house anyway.

Thank you for reading.

A Little Easter Trash Fiction

I was a little bored Easter day so I decided to write a little Easter themed fantasy trash fiction. This is a lot more light hearted than my novel, which I felt was a little to gloomy to work on during a holiday. I hope you enjoy it.

Grot Gang and the Thunder Tank
A short tale by
Michael William Edwards

The tank rumbled down the country road. The metal tracks tore up the ground. The tank was traditionally painted in a military green. Sitting atop it’s turret was a small green goblin. He wore a metal breast plate with a black skull painted on it. On his head he wore a green army helmet and a pair of goggles. His face was pockmarked from bad acne as a teenager; this lead to his nickname “Rot-Face”. He was the Commander of this tank. It was known as the “Thunder Tank”. It was called so as it had two canons that reached out of it’s turret, one a regular canon, the other was a magical cannon that fired an arc of lightning. The Thunder Tank was crewed by the Grot Gang, a group goblins who left the Great Dark Army to seek adventure.
There was Lard, a tubby goblin with a fat nose, always wearing a filthy stained singlet that was white…a long time ago. His job was to load the canon. In the Driver’s seat was Worm-Rider, a lanky, sharp face, grumpy goblin who wore black leather armour. The last member of the crew was Pixie, the tank’s gunner, he was the smallest of the crew with a high pitched voice. The others liked to tell him that he wasn’t really a goblin.

On the road ahead was a wanderer. A hare that walked on his hind legs. He wore a brown robe, carried a long wooden staff in one hand and the other held a golden egg.
“Dragon’s’ egg” Rot-Face said to himself.
“Whatcha ya whingin’ ‘bout?” Lard shouted from inside the tank. His fat head popped out of the top hatch. Rot-Face pointed towards the hare. Lard gasped as he saw the Golden Egg.
“Tell the boys we’re stealing that egg.”
“On it boss” Lard said, his ugly mug dipping back into the tank.

They continued on the road and came to a stop in front of the wandering hare. Rot-Face stood up with one foot of the turret roof and the other on the canon which lower down to aim at the wanderer.
“We shall be relieving you of that egg Rabbit.” Rot-Face said.
“I am a hare, not a rabbit.” said the wanderer with a grin.
“Same, same.”
The wanderer seemed displease with the response and this made Rot-Face smile.
“It is very much not the same. Rabbits tend to live together in burrows, where as us hares only pair up to mate, then continue on our own individual paths. Also we prefer to be above ground and don’t hide like moles. We eat different foods. Also, our fur changes colour with the seasons, you’ll never see that of a burrower.” said the wanderer.
Rot-Face reached his hand over the open top hatch and a moment later Lard threw up a shotgun. Rot-Face caught the gun and quickly aimed it at the wanderer.
“I’m not playing around Rabbit.”
The wanderer pulled out a pocket watch and checked the time, then he looked behind him towards where he had come from, then he looked past the tank.
“Are you sure?” asked the wanderer
“Of course I’m sure.” Rot-Face said, “That’s a golden dragon’s egg. It’s priceless.”
The wanderer thought for a moment, looking back behind him, then he turned to Rot-Face and smiled. “Very well then.” he said before throwing the egg up to Rot-Face.
Rot-Face dropped the shotgun and caught the egg. The shotgun landed on the tank roof with a metal thud. Startled by the noise Lard popped his head out of the Tank.
“What was that?” he asked.
Rot-Face looked down at Lard. A grin from ear to ear. Lard saw the egg in his hand, a smile reaching across his face as well. They were rich!
Rot-Face looked back to the road expecting to find the wanderer there but he was gone. He turned to look behind the tank where he saw the hare making good use of his long hind legs as he ran for his life.
Grinning to himself he looked to Lard, “Well, we definitely scared him.”
A shadow fell over Rot-Face and the tank. Lard’s cheerful face turn to fear. Rot-Face spun around just as a large golden dragon landed on the road. The world shook as it landed. It was easily five times the size of the Thunder Tank. As the ground shook Rot-Face lost balance and fell onto his back, dropping the egg into the tank. The dragon watched in anger as it’s egg disappeared inside.

The dragon reared up, spreading it’s large wings, it’s eyes burned with fire.
“Fire both cannons.” Rot-Face shouted.
“On the way.” Pixie screamed in his pitch tone.
A moment later the two cannon barrels fired. One jerking back as it fired a high explosive armour piercing round right into the dragon’s face. The second barrel, charged with a magical gem, blasted an arch of lighting at the dragon.
The dragon’s head disappeared into an explosion of fire and lightning. Rot-Face waited anxiously as the smoke cleared. The dragon still stood. It’s face grinning as the smoke cleared. It’s golden scales protecting it; even from the armour piercing rounds. Rot-Face’s jaw dropped.

Down in the tank Worm-Rider, sitting in the driver’s seat and watching the dragon through his periscope took action. He grabbed the driving sticks and yanked them both backwards. The tank lurched and began reversing away from the dragon.
Rot-Face looked for the wanderer and saw him further down the road, still running for his life. He look back to the dragon who lifted off the ground and began to give chase. Fire curling out the sides of its mouth. Rot-Face scrambled into the tank and closed the hatch just before the dragon let loose a breath of fire that chased along the road and over the tank.
“Curse that damn Rabbit and his egg!” Rot-Face shouted.

thundertankcrew.jpg

Thank you for reading.