Monday, 7 July 2014

Re-kindled Determination

With a Pokémon gaming project running through planning stages and testing for the Table Top Revolution blog site, I thought it'd be great to try and do something to help revitalise this blog. I go through bouts of reading, as projects such as gaming, photography, writing, come up. I have also not been writing any short stories here for a while now as well, though I shall start doing that again soon.

My plan is to try and do a comic. I've attempted doing a comic before. Just one chapter of one though. It was tough going, but I was extremely pleased with what I produced when I put my mind to it. This was back during college, and after reading many mangas (Japanese comics) I just had to try do one myself.

Today, I'll let you view the outcome of this try by posting that one chapter I did. I hope you enjoy, and feel free to comment.

(Reads left to right)

If I had continued, I'm sure the next chapter would have been longer and bring a true story to life. The name for this comic was going to be Savage Blood. An action, possibly martial arts genre.

Well, with this new found determination, I'll once again undertake doing a manga, but this time, try and make at least 10 chapters.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cinnabar Moth

I've been working out in the garden lately, as I'm adding in a flowerbed border, as well as sorting out some really terrible paving. This is all mainly due to the place having been mostly left to its own devices whilst the property awaited someone to rent it.

Though we've been living here for what will be a year in September, I haven't really gotten round to adding my own touch to it. It's been hard going, but I've got about half the work done on the flowerbeds themselves, but still have weeding, gravel moving, out skirting, and more paving to do. Due to not wanting to spend too much on this, especially after ordering 52 cement side skirting's, I've basically been using slabs I've been finding under the dirt whilst digging.

It's actually coming along nicely, despite the fact that because I'm not using cement, the paving is a bit easy to unsettle. Prior, you couldn't tell that there was just broken paving and a whole load of dirt. I don't want my young son to hurt himself, so I used the dug up slabs to refit this area, and have put in a muddy slush to fill the gaps. I'm hoping that over time it will manage to keep itself together. Weeds and so on were holding the minute bits together prior to this.

Anyway, I'm drifting off on a different topic. What I wanted to talk about is the beautiful moth that keeps visiting the garden. I love its colouring, it's absolutely wonderful. I searched it up, and its a Cinnabar Moth. Lovely.

I feel quite honoured to have it in my garden. I was a bit shocked when it brushed passed by face though. As anyone would be I believe.

Anyway, back to preparations for Pokémon.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Maggie's Leg

Maggie ambled along toward the wooden chair in the half packed waiting room at her local GP. She favoured her right leg heavily as she moved along with a slight limp, balancing herself as best she could on a beautifully carved oak walking stick. As she took a vacant seat, she let out an audible sigh, her two hands resting on the lacquered crow head that served as the grasping section of the staff. Her body was slumped forward, though her heavy frame almost disguised the slouch in posture.

"Doctors running late again," tisked an elderly lady next to her. Her face was graced with the lines of age and experience. She wore her fading blak hai down in a short crop, hidng the sides of her neck, but leaving the front open for all to see the double bulge that drooped from the upper section. The lady was slight of frame, so Maggie had no illusions of it being extra fat. It was simply that her skin had become more elasticated with age, and certain areas were were affected more drastically than others.

"Aren't they always," replied Maggie, swivelling her foot as if it pained her. There were some who voiced their agreement.

"Not alwas, my dear," said the old lady. "It's been more recently that they've started running late. When I first joined up..." Maggie stopped her with the clearing of her throat and a raised hand.

"I'm sorry," she said, physically showing the effort it took to stand back up. "I've just come from my appointment. I have muscle problems with my leg." She indicated her left leg with her eyes. "Was just having a quick rest before the journey home."

"Oh... oh, yes deary. Sorry," replied the old lady, seeing Maggie already moving through the door before she'd even finished.

The hallway was cramp, and a young man had to backpeddle out of the way as Maggie entered. She didn't offer any thanks, but turned to head through the second door. Eyes rolling in admonishment of the unjistification of sectioning off the reception area, she pushed the door to, and limped through, budging the door back open with her rear as it closed in on her before she'd even managed to get halfway through.

An oak door, thicker in frame than the previous two, signalled the extrance and exit. Six rectangle glass panels, neatly aligned in rows of two, were slotted into its design, filtering light into the room alongside the windows. A bucket, pale green, and empty, rested below a waist height table. 'Umbrellas' was cellotaped onto its side on surprsingly untarnished paper. Maggie didn't pay any of it any note however as she moved with as much haste as she could manage, and walked out into the cold afternoon air.

"It's nice being able to push you around sometimes," smiled a a young woman pushing a man in a wheelchair. She had auburn hair and from the distance, Maggie couldn't tell if the things she suspected to be freckles, really were.

"That's what you always say, Hilary," replied the man, receiving a light hearted chuckle in response.

They moved out of view as Maggie turned the corner, but snippets of conversation still reached her ears until she'd walked several more steps. Her house was coming up now, which was just as well. Her limp really exhausted her, and both legs, as well as her arm, were becoming sore. As she reached the unusual lilac painted door, she reached into her jacket pocket for some keys. A second later, they were jangling around as she fiddled with the doorlock.

With a squeak on unoiled hinges, the door opened in, and she pushed it further so she could walk through the space provided. She breathed a sigh of relief as she crossed the threshhold into her house and shut the door behind her. The sigh was much like the one she'd released in the GP surgery, but longer and louder. Letters about disability benefits went unopened, laying where they fell as they came through the letterbox. The beautifully carved walking stick fell into its usual lean against the cream painted hallway wall, as Maggie strode quickly to the front room, limp forgotten.

As she sighted the tv, her eyes alighted with intent. Lining herself up with her favourite sofa, she plopped down heavily into it. Untying her laces, she kicked both sandels off her feet. She pulled a cushioned stool over, and threw her legs up onto it. A can of Pepsi rested on a metal square coffee table to her left, and she picked it up. Her other hand had already sought out the television remote on the armrest of the chair, pressing the standby button that would flare the screen into life. Jeremy Kyle was on, and she smiled, popping the can open and taking a swig.

Maggie was a careful woman. Outside the house, she was slow, saddened with pain and easily exhausted from her days trials. Inside, she was full of life. She often closed the curtains, incase any prying eyes should happen to see her. Still, she'd managed to fool the doctors and the benefit system for this long, and had no doubt she'd be able to continue.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

His Nails - Short Story

I almost gagged when I saw the grimy muck that lay vaguely concealed underneath his fingernails. Yellowy brown in colour, I paused in breath as a putrid odour wafted into my noise, his fingers drawing close then retracting as he spoke about some sort of comic book character he was designing. The topic was lost on me as all I could think of was 'What in the hell was beneath those nails'?.

Smiling, hiding my ill-ease at the state of his unkempt nails, we both took our seats at the coffee table. It wasn't just the two of us, and soon Andrew and Pradeep took their seats too; finished ordering their own drinks at the counter. My disgust is hard to disguise as he brings one of the filthy objects of my distaste towards his mouth. Cringing, I turn my head as he bites down, chewing on their overly long length.

A Scandinavian woman, friendly faced and with a bubbly character, brings a tray with three hot chocolates and a cappuccino. When she returns with four milk chocolate rocky road cakes, we are reminded that we also purchased ourselves a snack. Andrew and Pradeep can't help but dig into the marshmallow topped piece of cake. He, however, goes for his hot chocolate. Though I agree with the drink taking priority, I find myself taking a sidelong glance at his fingers to see if any of the dirt has been shifted by a teeth straying too far under the surface of the nail.

It wasn't the first time I'd seen his nails in such a state. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing them in any other state. Sometimes I'd ask myself if he'd even washed those hands, then I dissuaded such unhygienic thoughts and disillusioned myself saying he probably just tended to handle things that were dirty. There were times, minute though they were, that I would even look at my own nails, smiling subconsciously at their short and clean state, whilst at others I'd worry unnecessarily over the long talons they'd become and whether I'd get back home in time to cut them before they, perhaps, turned out like his.

I queried again as I sat at the table 'What exactly was beneath those nails'? Could it be just dirt? Dead skin mixed with sweat? Feaces? Possibly paint, deceiving me? It was doubtful it was paint, as the smell just didn't fit. You don't get that sort of stench from paint. I looked at him as he filled his mouth with a gulp of hot chocolate, before popping a bite sized chunk of his cake in after. In ways I was glad that this was our last day together. We would part ways here and probably never meet again. I certainly didn't want to ever see those disgusting nails ever again.

Monday, 26 May 2014

It's Monday! What are you Reading? #3

Is it Monday already? Cor, time does fly when you're enjoying yourself, doesn't it? Well, since it's Monday, then you all must have been expecting this post. I'm quite proud that I'm on the 3rd one already, and still going strong with my reading. So, let's get down to it.

Last Week

This series was brilliant. I couldn't help but buy the next and the next and the next! I'm so disappointed that the fifth book isn't out yet! Cor, it made me not read my one physical book that I had wanted to read.
This Week's Read
Dawn of Retribution by Aya Knight (Chronicles of Kale 2nd Book)
A new rival emerges from the heart of evil . . . Kale's enthusiasm for their recent victory falls short as he soon discovers that things are not as he had assumed. Someone lurks near, following Kale's every move. As Kale and his friends move forward on their journey, they are oblivious to a terrible threat that watches-waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Extract from Goodreads
Amulet of Aria by Jeffrey M. Poole (Bakkian Chronicles 3rd Book)
In Mikal's home world, dragon raids are on the rise. The dwarves are preparing to go to war, and the evil sorcereress has managed to reach across time and space to attack Mikal on his protector's home world. Their only hope to save Mikal from Celestia and her minions lies with the recovery of a piece of an ancient talisman believed lost centuries ago. Having the ability to enhance the holder's jhorun, namely their magical talent, to unheard of levels, the amulet pieces must be found before they fall into the wrong hands.
Extract from Goodreads
Well, this is what I'm planning to read this week. I'm hoping to throw in that physical book I was suppose to read last week, but we'll see. What about you?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sunday Wind Down #1

It's Sunday and guess what that means? Yes, the first ever Sunday Wind Down from me. So what is a Sunday Wind Down? Quite simply, it is a wind down from the rest of the week, where I talk about various things I've posted, including my thoughts and feelings, as well as maybe plans for the next week. I did hope to start this the week before, but didn't get round to it. So without further rambling...

This week I published a short story called The First Day for all you lovely readers to have a nosey at. So let me dive straight into talking about this particular short story.

Why did I write The First Day?
The First Day was sort of a testing phase really to see what writing a biography, story format, would be like. I'd yet to actually try seriously writing this way apart from dabbling with a few extremely short stories during primary school. As you can imagine, my writing skills are completely different all these years later.

How did I choose the title?
It chose itself really. The story was about the first day of my course, and so it naturally became the title. Simple, yet straight to the point. Sort of like how The Judged formed from the fact that it was written about how people, or oneself, judged someone.

I think for short stories, in my opinion, these are the best sort of titles. Short and sweet.

Do I like the completed piece?
Yes. If I share work, it's generally because I like that work enough to allow people to view and give their opinion on it. I don't mind having constructive criticism, even if it turned out my work was nowhere near as good as I'd thought. Every opinion can only help to give me different view points and improve my writing skills.

I think if someone was not happy with their work, they generally wouldn't share it.

What's my favourite part?
I think the ending, though annoying in real life, was quite good for the story. All that worrying, and then... Well, don't want to give it away, do I?

Do you plan on making any artwork for these stories?
Actually, yes! It's certainly on my to do list to get done. I feel that good 'cover' art always helps a story. It can definitely ruin the image of one as well if not done right, so I'm not going to rush it. I do hope to have something done by the end of next month though.

Short Stories

Another post this week was my Possible Characters one. Once again, the title suggests exactly what it is. Possible Characters for me to maybe use in another story, or expand on using those paragraphs as a basis, or starting point.

The reason I did this post, which was part of my #FLfiction14 course (don't know if hash tags work on here, but hey) wasn't just to do a part of the course, but to jot some potential stories down. I really want to start improving my writing, and one of the ways to do that is to write as much as possible. Generally I'm a fantasy kind of person, and I'm even currently working on a series I'd like to get published, but within Short Stories, I find myself moving along the lines of realism and life experiences, things that I have an opinion on and so forth.

I want to write a crime, romance, and horror short story at some point, and may use these three possible characters as the starting points for each.

The first post of this week was my It's Monday! What are you Reading? #2 post. This is a weekly post hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey

I love reading! This may be one of the reasons I love writing too, and this week my goals were pretty simple. Read two books. This was based on the week prior where I read three in total, though two had actually already been started. I wanted to read a printed book and an eBook, but if I confess, I've read three eBooks and am looking to finish the forth.

Unfortunately for the printed book, I had started a series, and if a series is great, I can't possibly help but get the next. Good job I had to return that suit jacket that didn't fit (need more exercise), as I had personal allowance left over to get the follow up three.

What I love about the It's Monday! posts, is that it's a great way to interact with the reading community. Linking your post onto Sheila's site allows you not only to get viewers to your post, but also to check out a host of other peoples posts. I recommend trying it yourself if you're an avid reader.

With that said, that's the end of this Sunday Wind Down, and I thank you for reading. Feel free to leave comments with your thoughts, or just to talk. Maybe you'll pop back tomorrow when another It's Monday! post is due to be up.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The First Day - Short Story

Today I woke up drearily. I recalled that today was important. Why? Quite frankly I didn't even know myself. Of course at some point I had known, but right here? Right now? It was lost to me. I checked the time. 7.05am. Interesting. I'm sure I hadn't heard my son yet. His cooing or whining usually greeted us every morning. I generally preferred the prior, but it wasn't everyday you could have what you preferred. 
Oh there he is. Lazily I turned round to face the back of my partner, who was just reaching out to give Alexander his dummy. Last night had been her night to watch him, as such, I had a better sleep than the previous night. Not the best; I still had to wake up at 3:00am to feed him his bottle, and as usual he would prolong the whole thing by guzzling the milk, choking, fidgeting whilst being burped, and deciding that he was bored of drinking until the bottle was about to leave his mouth, but better than those nights I watched him. 
As Jade repositioned herself on the bed, I snuggled into the warmth of her back, thinking how comfortable it was. I looked at the time. 7.22am. I must have dozed back off, because I didn't remember turning round to face the bland beige wall that our bed was pushed up against. Writing course. That was what was happening today. I needed to be ready for 8:00am to leave the house. I didn't rush to get up though. I rolled onto my back. The bed squeaked under my weight. It wasn't that I was too heavy, though I probably would never admit to that anyway, but just that the bed frame was metal. I always find metal beds squeak. There's almost a certain art to moving gently upon them, trying as you might to avoid that screech of annoyance and protest. 
"You woke him up," said Jade. 
"Huh?" I replied. I was still tired. 
"You woke Alexander up" she repeated. 
"Oh, did I?" was all I conjured up in response. 
"Yeah." She leaned over once more to give our child his dummy. He was utterly attached to it, though he'd taken to nudging it out to replace with his fist of late. Maturity? If you can call sucking on a fist more mature than sucking on a dummy. "He's been quite good this morning. He's been in and out of sleep and just lying there without much problems." 
"That's good." I was still tired, and conversation wasn't yet on my to do list. However, I tried anyway and turned toward her again, cuddling her. "It's my writing course today." 
"I know," she smiled. "I'm waiting for you to get up." 
Even after that I didn't move from the bed. Instead, I leant on her side and began playing with the hood of Alexander's moses basket. His little face delighted in the sight of the small stuffed teddies swaying above him. I let it down again and just gazed across at him. He smiled back. Mornings tended to be as good as it got with him. The rest of the day would be a mismatch of crying, whining, wailing, smiling, cooing, and pooing. Well, not the rest of my day. Not this time. I'd be in Caerphilly Library. 
I was nervous, but said nothing as we both finally left the bed. As Jade brought Alexander downstairs I stopped off at the bathroom. Though getting better, I had a poorly stomach. A gift from a course of antibiotic tablets prescribed to me for my ear infection. Wonderful. I got myself ready quickly, not wanting to fuss about after breakfast, but instead be ready the moment my breakfast was eaten. Bran Flakes. The usual for me at the moment. I was trying to eat healthy now. Not that such a thing was truly possible. Even fruit had chemicals all over it. What was so healthy about that? 
Downstairs, I quickly sorted my breakfast and headed into the front room where the loud ticks of our wall clock greeted me. Something everyone who visited managed to comment upon. I yawned before the first spoonful of milk soaked cereal entered my mouth. Still nervous, I let myself forget about the unknown of the course by interacting with Alexander during the small bouts of time between spoonfuls. It wasn't long until I'd finished. Good timing as well.  
"Got to leave soon," I smiled, still looking at Alexander but speaking to Jade. 
"Are you looking forward to the course?" 
"Yeah," I replied. The truth. It was just not knowing what other people would be like, and just what the course would entail that was getting to me. 
"That's good," she smiled. 
I brought my bowl into the kitchen, leaving it there so that I could start to put my shoes and jacket on. I would sort it out when I got home anyway. The mould stains on the porch wall reminded me how the estate agents, possibly the Land Lord too, couldn't be bothered with the house we rented from them. In this economy, there would always be someone willing to rent, after all. I pushed my annoyance aside as I called out my goodbye to Jade and blew my son a kiss. I wondered if he understood I was leaving. Would he notice I wasn't there for a whole nine hours? Maybe. 
Outside, the wind caressed my face. Cool and soothing today, instead of harsh and bitter. Almost the gentle touch of a lover returning back to bed after vacating to go toilet. They'd washed their hands of course! No doubt there. Maybe that was the source of the refreshing coolness of their skin. I walked quickly, yet it was still the usual pace I walked at. I was simply a fast walker. I was soon at the bus stop, unable to rest my legs with the absence of any seats. Didn't matter. The bus was soon there, driver welcoming me on board with a cheerful face despite the day's earliness. 
£7.30 I paid for an Explorer ticket. £7.30. Cor, was that a lot of money to part with. Back in Birmingham a day saver, same as the explorer here in Wales, would have only cost me £4.00. Saying that, I complained that was too expensive as well. But money doesn't grow on trees, despite the inadequately named plant that gave no extra illusion to this. Money was mainly in one hand out the other. Not everything bought was needed. Want. That was many a cause of money loss. But in a world where the very essence of items is to make you want them, was it such a surprise?
The journey to Blackwood wasn't too long, thank god. And almost immediately I was able to hop onto the next bus. I sighed a breath of relief as empty seats greeted me. Plonking my bum down into the one at the emergency exit door, I was blessed with an abundance of space. My mind drifted to thoughts of having to read aloud to other members of the class, and my heart began to rage. The pounding was furious, the feeling made worse by the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. Maybe real ones had managed to get in there some how, because I was certain no bout of anxiety could bring such a strong sensation over a person's body.
As the bus's engine, momentarily turned off whilst the waiting queue boarded, reignited, I worked on quenching the fire within me. The fear of public speaking had always been a problem. My hands would shake, whether clutching at paper or not. Words would almost come forth in a stutter as my eyes became temperamental, jumping between being focused and unfocused. It hadn't helped that I hadn't worn my glasses most of my school years as instructed to do. Children could be mean, and I had enough problems with them as it was. Due to this, I frequently was left fumbling about for an answer to a question I had no idea how to answer. I tried to correct this in secondary, requesting to be seated near the front of the class. I knew I should have just worn my glasses, but impressions stuck, and teenagers, especially these, were worse than children.
Hitting a curve, the bus juddered me from my thoughts, and I tried to distil the worries that plagued me. Why scare myself with the unknown? I wouldn't know until there. Besides, it was only once a week. Doing my best to relax, I took in the beautiful scenes that passed me by through the window pane. You couldn't see sights like these in Birmingham. I missed the clustered city in a way, and in others, I was glad to have left it behind. I laughed inwardly at how different the arrival of my son had made things.
Caerphilly town made itself known with the great castle that stood testimony to the old days passed. Intrigued as I was, knights and castles being a particular interest of mine, I kept my mind focused on heading straight to the library. My stop was soon up, and I said my thanks as I exited the emptying vehicle. I began my ascent of the steep hill toward my goal, knowing by the time I entered the building, I'd be breathing hard and possibly riddled with perspiration. I wasn't the fittest guy around, and how was I to know there was a stop almost directly opposite the library.
Two large glass doors opened up as I approached, ushering me inside to be welcomed by the second set of glass doors. I walked unalarmed through the security system that stood sentinel either side, and took in my surroundings. The clean and sleek design of Caerphilly Library showed there was still a great interest in literature from the community, and I was glad that I would be able to graze amongst the vast quantity of books available.
I scanned the titles with my eyes as I headed toward the stairway, feeling a light workout on the stairs wouldn't do me any harm. As I entered through the wooden door, I found my nose assailed by the scent of sawdust. At least, that's what it smelled like to me. I didn't really understand why this smell lingered here, as I made haste up the flight of stairs. Usually, fresh paint, or at least the remnants of it, was my experience in new structures. Never sawdust.
Pondering this, I exited onto the second floor, finding myself within the world of informative writing. A young lady, dark blonde hair laying just below shoulder length and dressed in, what I'd consider formal attire, sat behind a desk, typing something on the computer before her. Unsure of where to go, I approached her, as she had the air of a staff member. She smiled as I began to address her.
"Hello," I started, "I'm here for the short story course, do you possibly know where I have to go?"
"Good morning. No one has arrived yet, so if you'd like to just take a seat round there, I can inform you once your tutor has arrived." Luckily, I'd been right, and saved myself embarrassment.
I thanked her as I began my way round the side of the room to take my seat at a table. Brilliant. I'd arrived half an hour early, and was stuck within the confines of informative books. I didn't mind them, but I'd have rather been down amongst the fantasy section if I'd had the choice. A white cover impossibly caught the corner of my eye as it sat between many books of a similar shade. I read the read print title. It just so happened to be a book about baby vaccinations and if they were safe or not. Being a newly appointed father, I was of course curious about this, and pulled it uncertainly from its shelf.
Over the course of the remaining twenty five minutes, I found myself fascinated by what was told within the type upon the books numerous pages. Soon I found myself having to replace the book within its original position however, as the course tutor, Jeremy, turned up. A man with confidence, and a humorous personality, I found myself liking this teacher. I also became acquainted with Greg, Mike and the two sisters Avril and Gwenda.
As the introductory lesson wore on, and we filled in our application forms, as well as took part in a small exercise led by Jeremy, I found that I wasn't so frightened of speaking now. Everyone there made me feel comfortable, and as Jeremy had said, they would all be respectful and supportive. We weren't there to be nasty, rude, or pass snide comments. It was for structural criticism, and feedback. To help one another grow and learn. I enjoyed the lesson. In fact, I looked forward to the coming weeks that would allow me to study amongst these friendly people. Two weeks later, the course was cancelled.