Archive for » February, 2012 «

Sherdan’s Prophecy: Chapter 8 + 9

Chapter 8

When Anya woke up she was surprised to find she had company. It took her a moment to remember what had happened the night before. Sherdan was fast asleep beside her and she didn’t want to wake him. She grinned as she thought of what people might say if they saw the two of them in that moment. It looked like they had done more than sleep beside each other.

Her body still hurt in a lot of different places but she was also thankful. The worst two and a half days of her life so far were over. She was a little angry at Sherdan but God wanted her here until she had seen the prophecy.

The first few days she had been in Sherdan’s house were a little blurry. She remembered the doctor and how nice he was, and seeing Sherdan at meal times but the rest was a sleepy haze. There was no way of knowing how long she was going to be here but she felt calm and peaceful. She’d had a few nightmares in the last few days but they were soon stopped by praying. At the moment she felt strangely safe.

She didn’t like being alone so much, however and very quietly settled back down beside Sherdan. While she waited she studied his peaceful features. It had been a pleasant change to talk to him rather than argue.

Anya prayed for him. He had told her about the drug he’d made and that he planned to follow his science experiment wherever it led. She knew he disapproved of her faith, but liked how peaceful she was. At this particular moment in time he appeared the most peaceful.

About half an hour after Anya had awoken Sherdan finally stirred. He opened his eyes to see her laying beside him. She smiled.

“Good morning,” she said. He didn’t move back or get up but stared at her until she blushed and looked away.

“I’m sorry. I guess I fell asleep.”

“It’s okay. I did too. I think it’s the first time I’ve shared my bed with someone since I was five.”

“I’m honoured to be the first.” Sherdan grinned. Anya blushed again. “I’ve got to go, do you want breakfast?” She looked away. She was starving but couldn’t give in at the last minute. Sherdan got up and went to the door.

“When are you going to visit me next?”

“I can come back at lunch if you’d like?” Anya nodded, “Very well.”

He left her and she sighed. All his barriers had come back up this morning. For a little while he had let her beneath his cool calculated exterior and told her about himself. Sherdan was a very intelligent man and extremely logical. He connected two different things very quickly and had a great deal of intuition. It was a shame he had such loose morales.

Anya wandered slowly around the room. Her toes were the only part of her still bandaged but every other wound was healing well. She thought it was pretty impressive considering how little she had eaten, although she had rested plenty to try and make up for it.

For the rest of the morning she prayed. She missed her family and friends and was sure they’d have missed her over the Christmas period.

When it came time for lunch she curled up on the bed again. She didn’t want Sherdan to see how much better she was just yet. He brought her a tray of food as usual. She sighed and opened her mouth to tell him she wouldn’t eat but as he put the tray on the bed beside her she noticed there were also two books. She gasped.

“I thought both of these would make you happy.”

“What made you change your mind?” she asked.

“You are right. You’re going to be here a while. As long as I want you here in fact. I figured there wouldn’t ever be anyone else you can tell.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now I have a lot of preparations to make, this evening is a big evening. I will leave you to your reading.”

Anya grabbed both books as she beamed. She tucked the Bible under her pillow and flicked open the second. There, in Sherdan’s handwriting, was the prophecy. She glanced over it, checking it was authentic and then tucked into the plate of food.

He had brought her leftovers from the Christmas dinner the day before. Turkey had never tasted so good.

She then sat back and let her food digest for a bit. It had been so long since her last meal that her stomach hurt. She sighed; her mission for God was almost complete.

Chapter 9

Sherdan had a little bounce to his walk as he made his way down the steps. It had made sense to let her see the prophecy and start eating. He wanted her to stick around for a long time and she really wouldn’t be telling anyone else. In less than twelve hours any chance of her ever escaping would be drastically reduced.

He went straight to his security guards. They confirmed that all the preparations for the evening were complete and Sherdan went over to his command bunker. All the changes would need to be coordinated from one place and all the residents informed.

Today was the first step for his organisation to act as a separate entity and was a day Sherdan had been looking forward to for many years. Hitchin had predicted it and now it was coming to pass. Their plans would pick up pace from this moment and there would be no stopping them.

Everyone waited for Sherdan in the command bunker and greeted him when he joined them. There was a tense silence before he gave his first few orders. The visible changes would need to be deployed in a quick and orderly manner. As progress was made a buzz of excitement grew and continued to grow until Sherdan picked up the microphone and addressed everyone within the organisation.

“Hello everyone, may I have your attention for a moment? I have promised all of you a better future where you are all valued. This evening we take the next step in that future. Tonight we will be putting up barriers on every road and path into our land. No one will be allowed in unless invited by us. For the next while we would ask that all residents also stay within those barriers to minimise the workload of the guards and security. Congratulations everyone!”

As soon as Sherdan had finished this speech he nodded at the person standing next to him.

“All teams move into position. In a few minutes we’ll be going into action,” the commander, Graham, said into his radio. The security teams were all heading up the changes and policing the barriers. To start with there would just be simple road blocks and signs but they had all the resources needed for much more secure blocks if necessary.

Sherdan smiled and sat listening as everything he had planned was executed. The teams all placed their barriers and signs with quick efficiency. The only hiccup was a car that had driven onto their land as a cut through before any barriers had been placed and needed to be let out at the other end. Thankfully it was late on boxing day and not many people were out on the roads.

The following day would be a different story. It was a working day and he had closed off a lot of roads. This day had been in planning a long time, however, and Sherdan had made sure no major roads were closed off. He wanted to make a point, not start a disagreement.

Sherdan stayed in his command room for the next hour in case any problems arose. There was the odd issue but as usual the smoothness of change was a testament to the planning and organisation he inspired from the people.

Of course, the many extra abilities helped. Each one was unique and fitted in well. There was one woman who could turn plants, fruits and vegetables that were decaying back into perfectly healthy food again. One initiate could control the weather within a small range although he still needed a little more practice. Sometimes it hailed when he tried to make it rain.

When Sherdan had satisfied himself that everything was going according to plan he decide to take a walk back to his home with a few detours around the land. No sooner had he left the compound than he was approached by a resident. The man shook Sherdan’s hand and had a large grin on his face.

“Congratulations. This is a marvellous step,” the man enthused.

“Thank you. This couldn’t have come about without the help of everyone here and it is just the first step in a full plan for independence and rights.”

“I’m very glad to hear it. If there’s anything else I can do just let me know.”

“What’s your new ability?”

“I can create heat in anything just by making the atoms vibrate.”

“That’s a wonderful ability. I’m sure it will be very useful over the next few weeks and months. Only three days ago I think, in an email I was given, I was informed that there were concerns over keeping the winter greenhouse hot enough. I will reply and inform the lady of your ability.”

Sherdan found his hand being shaken again with even more enthusiasm than the first time. He then said goodbye and allowed Sherdan to continue his walk.

Everywhere he went he was stopped by people wanting to congratulate him or offer their support. The general air of excitement buzzed around the entire area. To add to the fun, just as he began to head back to his own house the first few flakes of snow fell. He smiled and radioed for his car so he could return to Anya and a late supper together.

Despite the car arriving very swiftly and bearing him home it was gone eleven by the time he informed Anne he was back and not far off midnight when he took a tray with food for two to Anya.

The Informant: A Review

This is another Matt Damon film I watched recently. I kinda like the actor and figured this  one might be worth watching, especially after finding out the makers also made the ocean’s films. I really liked those.

I was slightly missled by the trailor for this film. The trailor played on all the comedic aspects of the film while the film itself was a little more serious. It was still funny, don’t get me wrong but there was a serious underlying tone that took away from the full comedy.

Over a lot of the film there was the main character’s thoughts. These were often quite random and bizarre. I wasn’t sure it would be something that worked through the whole film but actually I found them to be a great insight into the chracter. It was a bit like the advantage of reading a book in knowing what the character thinks but in film form.

The plot itself was based on a true story though the makers had evidently embelished some points and took great delight in telling us so. This film is definitely a case for the statement that the truth is stranger than fiction. It was really a very strange story but also very compelling.

In terms of Matt Damon I think this was possibly one of his best roles yet. It was brilliant to see him doing something other than bourne-alikes. It was getting a little old to keep seeing him cast in this stereotype. I know he did bourne well but this was a very different role and he also did a good job. The actor has gone up in my estimation thanks to this. If he keeps it up he just might hit my favourite list.

How to get females reading my blog

Ok so todays how to is more of an observation/plea for help then me actually being serious.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed an increased amount of comments both here and on places like facebook when I link to my blogs and I’m really not complaining. It’s nice that you’re all reading and saying stuff back. I have noticed though that you’re all male. I’ve only ever had two comments from a female over the lifetime of my blogging that I might be able to consider from a regular reader.

On top of that I’ve noticed that the people who come up to me in the daytime at whatever I’m going to socially and comment on my latest blogs are also always male.

I have to admit I’m completely baffled by this. I at first thought that maybe the females were just lurking and not commenting so asked a few females of my acquaintance whether they were reading the blog so far they have all said no, admittedly I don’t have many females in my general friendship group. I’m not particularly feminine at the best of times and grew up with three brothers so didn’t spend much time as a child playing with dolls or make up.

I do wonder if it’s maybe a more male thing to go reading other peoples blogs, however. More of the males I know have blogs. In fact until recently I didn’t know any females at all with one. Maybe men just prefer the not so in your face way to express themselves and get to know other people where as women prefer face to face interaction.

So what do my readers think? Is it me and my style that isn’t engaging the females or is it blogs in general? Either way any suggestions to get more female readers?

Author Interview: Katie Mettner

Katie Mettner kindly agreed to do my interview today:

Tell us about your latest project.

Sugar’s Dance is my newly released novel set in the Twin Ports of Lake Superior. It’s a journey of grief, forgiveness and love in a romance suspense genre. The protagonist, Sugar, is at a point in her life where she can no longer keep pretending that she isn’t hurting from an accident that took her family and left her with deep physical and emotional loss. She knows that she has to figure out a way to move forward with her life emotionally before she is lost to the overwhelming sadness. The story opens as she sits on her front porch swing sipping coffee trying to put her jumbled thoughts in order. She had just spent the summer with a couple that had come to stay at her lodge for their wedding and she was missing them. Her brother arrives and in the blink of an eye she is thrown into a protected witness type situation with her new bodyguard, which is not something that she is comfortable with. She is being hunted by a drug lord who kidnapped his daughter and son-in-law (the couple who stayed with her for the summer) who were actually protected witnesses of the state. She must find the information that he wants and get through the anniversary of her parent’s deaths without falling apart. Her bodygaurd, Agent Walsh, holds her on the dance floor he quickly sees that this case is going to be anything but simple. As he works with her to track down the information he also breaks down her emotional walls and finds out what she’s really hiding. When her brother is kidnapped and her life is in danger will she find the strength to save them both?

Do you have any quirks to how you write?

I’m not really sure if it’s a quirk, but I don’t write in order of chapters. I write scenes and then form the book around the scenes. In Sugar’s Dance I wrote the bridge scene first and that was the inspiration for the rest of the book. As I write the second book, Sugar’s Song, I am finding myself doing the same. The big scenes are telling the story, but the smaller scenes are developing because of the bigger scenes.

Is the first scene you have often the initial spark for your ideas or does something else provide the spark normally?

The character provides the initial spark and the scene provides the flame. When I wrote the first scene of Sugar’s Dance I was already friends with Sugar, but I needed that one thing that fueled her and made her into the flame. When I drove across the Blatnik Bridge that spans Lake Superior for the first time I heard the match strike. It was that “a ha!” moment for me. It was the first scene I wrote in Sugar’s Dance, even though the reader doesn’t come across it for a few chapters. I just finished that “a ha!” scene in the next book of the series, Sugar’s Song, and I can tell you that again the reader isn’t going to come across it for a good way into the book, but it sparked off the whole adventure.

Are there any of your characters you particularly relate to, if there is, who and why?

I have a special love for the protagonist Sugar. Like Sugar, I love coffee and ballroom dancing! She is also passionate about the things that she believes in like organ donation and family. Sugar is her own person, but a lot of my life experiences are entwined in her character. I can relate to her on a very real level because we both have physical disabilities that have shaped our lives. I am a below knee amputee and Sugar is, well, let’s just say you will have to read the book to find out what they are!

Her brother Jesse is someone I can relate to as well. In the story her brother (who is actually not her brother) is someone who would do anything to help her through this time that she is going through. He is deeply protective of her as well as very supportive of her. They have the kind of relationship where they can just be themselves with each other, the good, the bad and the ugly and would do anything for each other. As I developed his character my brother was playing through my mind and my relationship with him. We live far apart but we both know that if one of us needed something we’d be there in a heartbeat. My brother is a lot like Jesse in that he’s tough and all manly on the outside, but when it comes to the women in his life he is tender and understanding.

Characters seem to be important to you. Do they form easily for you or do you have to put a lot of work in to flesh them out?

Characters are very important to me. You can have the best plot line in the world, but if the reader can’t relate to the character, if the character isn’t believable, then it’s useless. The characters in Sugar’s Dance came very easily. They were like old friends, people that I have known my whole life. The fun part is revealing who they are throughout the book and once in a while throwing something in the reader doesn’t expect or showing some side of them that suddenly makes the reader go “a ha!” I love to build my characters and my kids love to help me build my characters. We have a lot of ‘sessions’ talking about the characters and how they are going to progress or for the new characters who they are going to be and what makes them tick. The other day my husband even told me he had a great idea for the villain in my new book! For me character development is the best part of being a writer.

What started you writing if you remember, and why do you write now?

I honestly don’t remember when I started writing. I have always loved books and I loved how words went together and how you could start off with a clean sheet of paper and as you wrote your pencil became duller and duller, but when you finished you had something that could make someone feel happy, sad, lonely or angry. My parents always had us at the library and reading and exploring and so I think my interest came from holding a book in my hand and saying “Someday my name is going to be on one of these.” When my son was born we always called him Spaghedward and I wrote my first official book when he was about two. It’s called Spaghetti Eddie and it’s a children’s book. I haven’t published it because I need to find an illustrator, but that was my first kind of foray into writing as an adult. I write now because I enjoy it. I enjoy sitting down and telling a story that can raise so many emotions throughout the course of the book. I enjoy the character development the most and how with each turn of the page the reader gets deeper and deeper into that character’s life and what makes them tick. I hear from the readers that Sugar’s Dance keeps them up at night with the “one more page” syndrome. When I hear that then I know that I did my job of drawing the reader into her life as they walk along with her on the journey.

Do you think reading so much as a child influenced your likelihood of becoming a writer or that it would have been something you wanted to do either way?

I think reading is the only way to become a good writer. Writing is one of those things where they can teach you the fundamentals in school of how it SHOULD be done, but that doesn’t mean that’s how it HAS to be done. I still needed to read all the different genres and really figure out how the words go together and to use combinations of words and punctuation to imply tone and get across to the reader exactly what those characters are feeling. I had great teachers all through my school career who started us journaling and just let us write free and really encouraged us. Some kids hated it, but for me it was a good way to let my imagination be free. So reading definitely influenced me as a writer and shaped who I am as a writer.

What are you planning on doing next/What else are you up to?

As mentioned I am working on the second book in the series called Sugar’s Song. We are going to get to know one of the minor characters a lot more, but I can’t say much more than that because it will give away a lot from the first book. It will also take place in the Duluth/Cloquet area and there will be some fun tie-ins from the first book. I have a third planned as well, but that one will deviate a little in location.

If you want to find out mroe about Katie and her books check out her webpage here

Sherdan’s Prophecy: Chapter 7

Sherdan slept very well that night. Things had not gone amazingly with Anya but he had all the time he wanted with her. She would remain his prisoner as long as he wanted.

He beamed when he thought of all the new applicants. The lady processing them, Janet, had asked for some more help. He had assigned her another worker who had a very special ability of being able to work out what was and wasn’t true in written words. It wouldn’t make their job go too much quicker but it would help.

Sherdan himself would take weeks to go through every application and Dr Hitchin would be kept busy for months with all the new test subjects. It was time Sherdan focused on growth and taking their organisation to the next level, however, it would get increasingly more difficult to keep all the abilities hidden from the public and keep everyone with an ability from leaving if they wished.

His first task of the new day was planning his next move. He already had an idea of what it would be, as he did for many years to come. There were always new situations and scenarios to be taken into account, however. Planning for the future was a constant mix of preparation and adjustment.

By the time lunch rolled around he was fairly sure of the plan going forward. He would need to talk to the chief of police for Bristol but the man had been in Sherdan’s pocket for years now and he had no doubt that his wishes would be honoured.

He went to see Anya again while he ate lunch but she slept through all the time he could spare to wait. He grew concerned when he noticed that she still hadn’t eaten anything. It was now her fourth day in his compound without food.

For the rest of the afternoon Sherdan visited Hitchin. Hitchin had wonderful news that one of the people in the new test batch could separate compounds by filtering them through his hands.

He thought there might be something in the man’s sweat that separated things. If so they would have their water problem solved. They would be able to recycle all of their waste water. Of course, they would only need to do as much as they required to supplement the supply they already had and at the moment their supply was enough.

They then planned where all the new recruits were going to live and the size and frequency of the test batches. Finally Sherdan ran his plan for controlled expansion past Hitchin.

His friend helped him with the fine tuning and by dinner time Sherdan was almost skipping back to his house, though no one who saw him would be able to tell he was so happy. It was only his voice that gave it away as he greeted everyone and stopped to chat with as many of the residents as gave him the time of day.

With a smile on his face he took his charge some more food. She wasn’t awake when he arrived but she stirred a few moments later when he sat down in his usual chair.

“Hello,” she said when she saw him. She looked better than she had the day before. Her eye wasn’t so puffy and swollen and she had washed her hair. He smiled at her and came over.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better, thank you.”

“Good, I brought some dinner up for you. It’s shepherd’s pie. I hope…”

“Thank you but can you take it away please,” she interrupted. He raised an eyebrow. “I’m fasting.”

“Fasting? Whatever for?”

“I won’t eat again until I’ve seen that prophecy.” Sherdan sat down again. She didn’t stop looking at him. Nothing this girl said ever seemed to be normal to him. He wasn’t used to being surprised by anyone.

“I’m not showing you the prophecy.”

“Then I’m not eating.”

“Fine,” Sherdan snapped. There was an awkward silence.

“Where am I?” she asked a moment later, oblivious to his anger.

“You’re in my house. My bedroom is across the hall.”

“It must be causing quite the stir in your family to have a girl locked up in the adjacent bedroom.” Sherdan laughed as she smiled.

“I’m alone here. None of my immediate family is alive any more.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It means I can lock young women in bedrooms without the complication of explaining myself to a relative. Only four people know you are here and one of those is your doctor.”

She nodded, taking in the implied meaning. He was surprised how calm she remained. Other than her insistence to see the prophecy she hadn’t shown any sign of objection. He’d half expected her to attempt to break the door down.

Their conversation didn’t go any further as the doctor arrived to do another check up. He changed all Anya’s bandages and checked over her bruises. He was pleased with her progress, although he reiterated to Sherdan that she needed clothes.

Sherdan and James both left when Anya yawned; she still needed plenty of rest.

The following morning when Sherdan took her breakfast she again refused to eat and asked to see the prophecy. He said no. Lunch was the same, and dinner. When Sherdan reminded her she hadn’t eaten in five days she looked thoughtful.

“It’s eight actually,” Sherdan was surprised for the third time by her, “I fasted before I came… I was nervous, so I fasted and prayed to succeed in what I was being asked to do.”

“You need to eat.”

“No. I need to see the prophecy.”

Sherdan sighed. He didn’t want to keep going over the same thing.

First thing the following morning Sherdan went to talk to Hitchin about Anya. He wanted advice on how to persuade her to eat as well as check over the abilities of the new group of subjects.

They had found that the people living here were generally happier if they could get involved with the future of the organisation. A sense of belonging in their new family and life was important. Hitchin and Sherdan spent a long time discussing where abilities could be useful to make sure people could be involved.

Spending time with Hitchin helped Sherdan refocus and by the time he had his meeting with the chief of police Sherdan was confident again.

“Jeremy, so good to see you. How is your daughter? Did she get her degree result reviewed?” Sherdan asked politely. Jeremy, the chief of police shook his hand.

“She did. She got her first after all and has that top notch job I was telling you about.”

“Fantastic. I did hope it would all get resolved.” Sherdan smiled. He had arranged it. The lecturer had managed to find the young woman some extra marks and the employer had gone to school with Sherdan.

“What can I do for you?”

“Well, I need some information regarding policing private land and reclaiming public roads for my compound.”

“That’s a big operation.”

“There’s bound to be complaints, especially when we close the roads off.”

“I understand. I’ll make sure any complaints are dealt with quietly but effectively.”

“Thank you Jeremy, I’ll make sure this one is remembered.”

Sherdan had everything he wanted. He informed the guards to begin the preparations on the piece of paper he gave them when he got back and continued with his duties.

As usual he went to see Anya with her dinner. Her first question was to to see the prophecy. He answered as he usually did.

“What does it matter if I see? I’m locked in this room and you’ve told me that I’ll never leave. What would be the harm in showing me?” Sherdan didn’t reply but walked over to the window.

“We always talk about this one thing. Can we not talk about something else?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Why do you willingly put your life on the line for your God?”

“Because he gave me my life. He can take it away. I was created to do His will.”

“But isn’t death by starvation suicide?”

“No, He won’t let me die. He’ll either keep me alive or tell me I can stop fasting.” Sherdan looked at her again. She was so calm but evidently very tired. He didn’t understand her faith. After a pause she looked away.

“Can I have some clothes please?” Anya asked, her voice trembling a little.

“Anything in particular?”

“Well I’d like the clothes I’ve got at home the most, but at the very least a change of underwear and some jeans and t-shirts It would mean I could get out of this bed when someone else was here.”

“Me you mean?” She nodded. “I’ll get something fetched for you.”

“Thank you.”

As soon as Sherdan had left Anya he went to his security team. Nathan was at the desk. Sherdan passed on Anya’s request for her own clothes and asked him to find out her address and fetch all of the clothes in her house. He wasn’t going to tell her that he’d done as she asked, just show up with them one day.

During breakfast the following morning his maid, Anne lagged after bringing the food through to him. He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Are you going to need me tomorrow Sir? What with it being Christmas I was hoping to spend the day with my husband and daughter.”

“Of course Anne. Take the following day off as well.”

“Thank you sir.”

Sherdan hadn’t noticed the date and had forgotten all about Christmas. He would have to remind Hitchin that they had agreed to spend the day together. He also promptly informed the guards that they could have the day off as well.

By the end of the afternoon Sherdan had approved a total of two hundred more people for the program and added almost another thousand to the waiting list. All the preparations for the next stage of his plan were ready and would go into action before the twenty-seventh. Hitchin had been reminded to come for Christmas dinner and Anya’s clothes had been fetched.

It was Christmas eve and he knew of no where he wanted to spend it more than in Anya’s company. He took her dinner and her clothes. She thanked him for the clothes and he begged her to eat with him. She refused. Sherdan lost his temper.

“You stubborn fool, you’re killing yourself. You had better eat tomorrow!”

“What’s so special about tomorrow?”

“It’s Christmas!”

“I will eat when I see the prophecy and not before, regardless of the occasion.”

Sherdan glared at her but she sat at the top of the four poster bed calmly waiting. He picked up her dinner tray and left the room with it slamming the door as he did. He turned the key with a lot more fervour than was needed.

Anne had already left so he had to take Anya’s tray to the kitchen and clear it away himself. He banged and clattered everything around the kitchen.

Anya was so stubborn and difficult to talk to. He wanted to get to know her and she didn’t want to talk about anything but the stupid prophecy. Sherdan caught himself in the middle of his thought. He had never been so sure he wanted to get closer to somebody and this surprised him. He had no idea what was different about this girl. He didn’t love her. He hardly knew her.

When he had finished tidying up the kitchen he went through to his study to have a nightcap before sleeping. He noticed Anya crying on the TV monitor as soon as he was in the room. He sat and watched her cry herself to sleep while he drank his brandy.

Christmas day dawned bright and sunny. There wasn’t any snow although they had already had some earlier in the winter. Sherdan had been up less than half an hour when Hitchin arrived, giving Sherdan no time to see Anya.

He was soon talking to Hitchin about some of his issues, although he was guarded in what he said. Without being able to explain why, he didn’t want his friend to think Anya meant more than she did. He didn’t tell Hitchin that much about her although he did talk about her dream.

“It is possible she had some purpose in our plans somewhere but I wouldn’t worry yourself about her. She is locked here right where you want her. She won’t be leaving. Don’t fret if she’s uncooperative now. She’ll come around in time,” Hitchin reassured him.

“You really think so?”

“Of course. You have her right where you want her and since when have you had any trouble getting women to do what you want them to?”

Sherdan and Hitchin both smiled and chuckled at this and reminisced of old times together when they were both courting at university themselves.

They spent the rest of the day together amiably chatting and hardly noticed the time go by. Hitchin was the only person he spent large quantities of time with. They talked for so long that it was almost midnight by the time Sherdan was left alone. Anya had been forgotten about and unvisited all day.

He rushed up the stairs to see if she was still awake, forgetting to check the security camera first. He turned the key quietly and opened the door with as little noise as he could manage to not disturb her if she had already fallen asleep. He was pleased to find her wide awake and standing at the window staring at the night outside.

“I was watching for snow,” she said as if that explained everything. Sherdan just nodded. “I haven’t ever had a white Christmas so I pray for one every year. There’s not really anything left of today though.” Sherdan still didn’t say anything. She hadn’t moved from the window and he took the time to admire her. She was wearing some black jeans and a loose fitting smock top. She looked a little hippy with her bare feet.

“Did you have a good Christmas?” she asked, giving him her full attention at last. He nodded and walked further into the room. She sat down on the edge of the bed.

“If I’m going to be kept here a while I would appreciate having a Bible.”

“I think that can be arranged,” Sherdan smiled. She hadn’t asked to see the prophecy and had actually said something conversational. Hitchin was right. Time would achieve everything he wanted and she would live here on his land for the rest of her life if he wanted her to.

“Do you mind if I join you for a bit? I’m not feeling like sleeping yet?” Sherdan asked.

“By all means, I’m wide awake myself.”

She moved over on the bed to make room for him. He smiled and sat down beside her. She soon struck up a conversation with him about past Christmas memories and hopes for the new year.

Over the next couple of hours they talked of everything from politics to money and careers. They were almost polar opposites in everything. He was a scientist, she an artist. She had a large family, he had hardly any.

The only thing they agreed on after many hours searching was that the best form of leadership for any country was a benevolent dictatorship, although she called it a righteous monarch.

By the time they had talked this long they were both getting sleepy and having made themselves comfortable it wasn’t long before their eyelids were drooping.

Anya dropped off first but Sherdan had hardly noticed before he too fell into a deep sleep right beside her on the bed.

As usual if you want to go over any other chapters or find out the backstory here’s the page it’s all being kept on.

The Count Of Monte Cristo: A Review

I’ve been reading the Count of Monte Cristo for over three months now. I finally finished it in a flurry of excitement.

It’s really not a book for the fainthearted. It’s very long and in a very traditional english style (it was written about 200 years ago). I have to admit I struggled through the first third or so of the book wondering how on earth something so wordy and in places a little dull managed to make it out of a publishing house. It’s very different to the standard of books we have now. Most people would be very bored with the overwhelming amounts of description (I skim read a lot of those paragraphs) and a little bored with the slow pace of the plot too.

However, the book painted it’s characters wonderfully and is by far it’s saving grace. Every person was so detailed and well suggested that by the time I’d laboured through the first few chapters I was actually keenly interested in what was going to happen. I’m not sure I’d have been so desirous to find out if Edmond Dantes found his happiness had I seen the film but I hadn’t and it definitely meant I was hooked.

I have to admit I got to the end and my favourite character was rather unexpected. I decided I liked a little greek slave called Haidee the best but I won’t say anymore than that. She was delightful but to say more would give the plot away.

For those people who enjoy Austen and Lord of the Rings, The count of monte cristo is a nice in between sort of book, enough romance but enough adventure that it blended the two superbly.

Entropia Land deeds: A two month evaluation

As I mentioned a while back I play an MMO called Entropia and they’ve recently released a new item which costs players $100 to buy and then returns 25% of the planets entire gross revenue to the 60,000 created. The payments are paid weekly on the monday after the weeks end.

I bought one of these when they were first released back in December. Since then I’ve been logging my payments. Here’s the dates and amounts so far.

5th Dec 2011: $0.350

12th Dec 2011: $0.532

19th Dec 2011: $0.542

26th Dec 2011: $0.194

2nd Jan 2012: $1.041

9th Jan 2012: $0.586

16th Jan 2012: $0.599

23rd Jan 2012: $0.590

30th Jan 2012 $0.610

6th Feb 2012 $0.607

That’s a total return so far of $5.651 and a percentage ROI so far of %29.39 on average

I know there are two anomoly weeks. The really really low one just after christmas day and then the really high one the week after. On average they are still higher than normal. I imagine not many people play in the time running up to christmas and as there is a yearly event in the game during the following week I Imagine it accounts for the high right after (and I’d assume the two weeks affect each other in terms of economics stuff as well).

If this keeps up my projected date to hit $100 back again is: 20th April 2015

I know that seems a long time away but it’s not too bad at all and I’ve noticed that Entropia has more players than it did 3 months ago, something that seems to be increasing steadily as well. On top of that over half the deeds have now sold which fits my initial predictions that they will all be gone by 6 months. As they run out as long as demand holds the deeds will still be worth a $100 or so to pass on to another player and may even go up in value if demand continues after they’ve sold.

Author Interview: Ric Hofing

My interviewee today is Ric Hofing,

Tell us about your latest project

My latest project is the second novel in the First Sniper War series. This time Erik and Michael find themselves being used as pawns between powerful German army officers and fanatic Bolsheviks who are willing to do anything to achieve their goal of assassinating the Russian Tsar.

Historical fiction can mean a great deal of research. Is the research something you find easy?

When researching my first novel I discovered that I really enjoyed research.  I am fortunate that my local library has a wealth of research material.  With the aid of the internet I was able to discover other great sources of research material, particularly book stores that carry out-of-print books and specialty books.

What inspires you?

Initially I was inspired by friends and family who asked me to write stories or poems for them. As I grew older the challenge of writing a novel appealed to me more and more. As the story grew I felt myself wanting to write more and more.  My friends and family still inspire me, but now there is a huge new audience to write for, and share my work with.

Do you intend to publish any of the stories or poems you wrote early on?

I recently published a collection of short stories on Amazon called “The Groovy Red Camera and other stories”.  This is a collection of 9 short stories that I have written over the years.  I continue to write short stories as ideas come to me and plan to publish other collections in the future.

Which do you prefer, paper books or ebooks and why?

I still prefer paper books, though I am reading more and more on the Kindle. When I travel and use a Kindle I can bring many books; the weight and volume of a Kindle is a small fraction of the three or four paper books I would normally travel with and is an undeniable advantage. However, I still enjoy the feel of paper between my fingers, the smell of a paperback novel, and all the wonderful memories that come along with paper books.  It will be some time before I switch completely over to ebooks, but I can see demand for paper books dwindling slowly as time goes on.

Since you prefer paper books do you also intend to put your own ebooks into paper at some point?

I have recently hired an editor to edit my first novel, which I plan to publish through CreateSpace as a paper back. The success of that endeavour will determine if I continue to publish both ebooks and paper books in the future, but I see ebooks (and ereaders) becoming more and more popular every day. I strongly suspect that ebooks will eventually replace paper books, at least for popular fiction, the way that digital cameras replaced film cameras.

What book do you wish you had written?

I would have to answer this with not a book but a series of books; the Brother Cadfael series, by Ellis Peters.  I started reading these books years ago, quite by chance, after seeing a made for TV movie on A&E channel based on one of the books in the series. After reading the first one I madly read through the remainder.  In fact I have read every one of the books at least twice.  These novels captured me from the first page, and instilled in me a love for the historical mystery, and a desire to write historical novels of my own.

What are you planning on doing next/What else are you up to?

At the moment I am doing research for a new series of novels that will be historical mysteries that take place in second century Rome.  Ancient Rome has been an interest of mine for many years, and I have read a great deal of fiction and non-fiction about this fascinating era in world history.

Do you stick to all the historical events you find out about or do you like to write about completely fictional events?

My novels are primarily fact based, tempered, of course, with artistic license.  Readers of historical novels want to be entertained and, to a certain degree, educated or informed.  There is a very real attraction for many readers (myself included) to immerse themselves in that other time and other world for a little while.

My short stories tend to be more fictional.  With my short stories I let my imagination wander a bit, artistically speaking, and explore some of the elements of pure story telling.  My primary goal when writing short stories is entertaining the reader.

Here’s The First Sniper on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Sherdan’s Prophecy: Chapter 6

Sherdan bit his lip as he sat in his car. Despite the driver breaking the speed limit it didn’t seem fast enough. Horrible images of what might be happening to Anya flashed through his head. He had to stop her being tortured. No matter why she was there he just couldn’t let it go on any longer. He had never felt so sure of anything.

As soon as the car had stopped Sherdan rushed into the main compound. He didn’t stop to speak to security but ran straight by them and through the door. Anya’s cell had been deliberately placed near the heart of the building, almost as secure as the command room.

Less than five minutes later he arrived at the right room. Four of his security team were outside. They stopped their heated argument when they saw Sherdan approach. He instantly recognised the guard who had been about to rape her and relief washed over him.

“Let me in to see her,” he snapped before he had even reached them. Only one guard responded and rushed to unlock the door for him. Anya cowered in the far corner. She was reasonably calm but tear tracks could plainly be seen on her grimy face.

“Get me a chair and turn off the camera feed into here,” Sherdan commanded. He was obeyed without question. Anya gulped, obviously expecting more of the same.

The second they were alone together he sat down. He couldn’t look at her. She was so close to him and so helpless. He felt like a monster but his pride wouldn’t let her see his remorse.

“Hello Anya Price,” he said, when he had managed to get his emotions under control. She looked shocked at the mention of his name but she didn’t speak or move from her position in the corner. He couldn’t blame her.

“How do you know about my prophecy?” he asked, admitting it existed for the first time. She didn’t respond at first. After a few minutes she stopped hugging herself quite so tightly. She cleared her throat and winced. Sherdan waited, not wanting to frighten her further.

“I dreamt of you in a big mahogany panelled room; one wall was filled with books. The opposite had a large fireplace built of Bath stone. You got up and went to the bookshelf third from the right. You took what I think was the sixth book from the left, on the fourth shelf from the bottom.” She closed her eyes as she said it.

Sherdan looked amazed. She had described his study and the location of the right book in perfect detail.

“In the book was a prophecy you were given and after that was a list. Your name is first on that list.”

Sherdan nodded but remained silent. She didn’t offer him any more information and to his surprise she was no longer praying.

“You won’t speak of the prophecy or anything related to it to anyone else in my program. Is that clear?” He looked at her properly for the first time since being in the room. She nodded. He got up and went over to her, keeping his eyes fixed on her face.

Anya drew back at his approach but slowed his movements and held out his hands to show her he meant no harm. Despite being reasonably close it still took him some minutes to move closer.

When he reached her he undid all the manacles and helped her put on his coat. She tried to stand but her feet wouldn’t support her.

Without hesitation he lifted her, cradling her body against him. She arranged his coat to keep herself covered and he walked with her to the door.

Neither of them spoke or even looked at each other as Sherdan knocked on the door to the cell. They were both let out to the open mouths of all four guards. Shock soon turned to anger on Jack’s face. Sherdan felt Anya cling tighter to him as he walked past the men who had tortured her for almost three days.

He retraced his entire journey right back to his waiting car where he placed her gently on the back seat and strapped her in. Still, neither of them said anything.

Anya’s eyes were closed before he had walked around to the other side of the car. He knew she would sleep for a while now her ordeal was over. He watched her sleep until they reached his house and then carried her inside. She didn’t stir as he took her to the bedroom beside his and she remained asleep the entire time the doctor examined her. Sherdan then locked her into her room.

Feeling peaceful for the first time since news of Anya had reached him, he went to his study to await breakfast. The monitor that had displayed her cell had been changed to show her new room where he watched her sleep in comfort.

The doctor had hopes that she would recover over time with no serious scarring or permanent injury. There would always be marks around her toes, ankles, and wrists but it would be minimal and fade over time. It would hardly be noticeable after a year or so.

Psychologically there was no way to say for sure how long it would take her to recover, if she would ever completely do so. The doctor hadn’t said the last part but Sherdan didn’t need him to. The only relief to the overwhelming guilt he felt was what he had managed to prevent.

Sherdan still couldn’t decide if she had told him the truth but no one else knew the exact location of the prophecy. Some higher power had to be at work.

Until Hitchin had given him the prophecy he had never believed in anything spiritual. People existed because the planet supported life. Slowly he had seen parts of the prophecy come true but there was no mention of this girl in it. He had no idea where she featured, but he would keep her locked where he wanted her until he could find out.

When Sherdan’s breakfast arrived he informed his maid that the spare room was occupied and locked to only be accessed by himself. He also informed her that there would be two for each meal and he would take his guests meals to them. If the maid was puzzled by any of this she didn’t show it.

As soon as he had eaten he went to see his security guards. Nathan and Matthew had already knocked off, leaving him with the guards on the morning shift; Ed and Julie. They nodded acknowledgement of him.

“I’m going to be spending the rest of the day in the room with Miss Price. I want to continue questioning her when she wakes,” he lied. He really wanted to make sure she didn’t wake alone in a strange place. “Please have any messages passed to me there but don’t let anyone disturb me unless it’s urgent.”

“Yes sir. Very good.”

“I shall have my laptop with me, so emails will be the best way to contact me,” Sherdan added as he walked away.

Wasting no more time, he fetched his laptop from his study along with its power supply and walked up the two flights of stairs to the top floor. There were only two bedrooms on this floor, his and the one now occupied by Anya. Both had en-suite bathrooms and were separated by the hallway.

He quietly turned the key in the lock and went into her room. She was still fast asleep and he watched her peaceful breathing, mesmerised. Only her matted, bloody hair and the purple bruise on one eye gave any indication that her life wasn’t perfect.

Sherdan sat down on the arm chair facing her bed and propped his computer on his knees. Until now he had been distracted from his duties but he needed to return to them. There would be applications to go through and more plans to be made as well as an update on Hitchin’s next test batch. With any luck he would already be seeing some good results.

When Sherdan had finished replying to all the important emails he checked the central database of all the applicants so far. For each person applying Sherdan had people running a family, criminal and government employment check. The information was then uploaded along with their CV and application form for him to look over.

There were already over a hundred people in the database. He smiled. This was much higher than he expected and could potentially mean there were many more people who had sent CV’s. They wouldn’t be uploaded for him to see until the other checks were done. With only two people working on it they must have put every waking hour into the task since his interview.

Sherdan started with the applications from older people with less family. They would be easier to convince to take the drug and would be missed less if things didn’t go according to plan.

Several hours later Sherdan had approved twenty-two of the applicants and authorized them to be invited for a two week trial period at the University. There were another sixty-five possibles that Sherdan stuck on a waiting list in a rough priority order.

The remaining fifteen were being rejected although none of them would be informed of that. They would be told the same as the sixty-five on the waiting list. They would all be asked to wait until a place was available.

Of the fifteen rejected, two were above sixty and probably wouldn’t survive the drug treatment. Three were foreign and hardly spoke English. One had been a political activist for communism during their university years; someone who believed in equality wasn’t what Sherdan wanted.

Five had worked for the government in some capacity and could never be trusted in the next few stages of the organisations development. The final four had too much criminal activity and would look bad if reporters snooped at his accepted lists. Bad press now wouldn’t be useful. If things changed they would be bumped up to the waiting list.

Before Sherdan could start anything else his maid knocked at the door. She had brought lunch up. He thanked her but didn’t let her see inside the room. Anya stirred at the noise but didn’t wake up. She continued to sleep all afternoon missing both lunch and dinner. The only time Sherdan left her side was to visit the bathroom.

Hitchin had no news to report yet so Sherdan continued processing applications while he waited. Not long before the doctor was due to check up on her Anya finally opened her eyes. She immediately focused on Sherdan and tried to sit up.

The movement attracted his attention and he rushed over as she winced in pain. She didn’t try to move again.

“Thank you,” she said slowly. It looked like it hurt to talk. He sat on the edge of the bed but got up again when she pulled away, creasing her face up with pain again.

“Don’t keep moving. You need to lay still,” Sherdan implored, “I’m not going to hurt you.” He put his hands up to show his actions would match up with his words as he sat down again. Her eyes never left him and they were tinted with fear.

For a moment there was only silence. He could hardly look at her. The look of pain in her eyes bothered him.

“Can I see the prophecy now please?” she asked. Sherdan started. Of all the questions he had expected that hadn’t been it.

“No, you cannot and never will be allowed to. You need to rest.”

“I am here for only one reason: to read that prophecy,” Her eyes blazed. She was angry at him. “As soon as I am well enough to move I shall continue searching for it.”

“No you will not. You may have been upgraded to more comfortable accommodation but you are still my prisoner, and, until I have the answers I wish for from you, you will remain that way,” he hissed. Inwardly he protested, this wasn’t how he had wanted their conversation to progress. He’d wanted gratitude and polite conversation. He’d wanted some idea of where she fit into his future, not hostility and threats.

Most importantly he hadn’t expected to be surprised. No one was unpredictable to him, that’s how he had managed to get so far in life and meticulously plan for everything he wanted.

Thankfully the doctor arrived. Either because she remembered her promise or because she was too tired to argue Anya didn’t mention the prophecy. Sherdan sat back down in his chair and allowed the doctor access to her.

James was pleased she was awake and discussed all her differing ailments with her at length. He made her wiggle all her fingers and checked her wrists for permanent damage since she could now tell him what hurt and felt numb. He then did the same with her feet.

Anya expressed concern about her nails growing back but it was too early to tell for sure. She then waved off his attention to her face. Very little damage had been done in that regard.

When the doctor tried to pull back the covers to examine the rest of her body Anya stopped him. Her gaze was on Sherdan who had sat and watched the entire process so far.

“Sir, I think Miss Price would like some privacy. Would you mind stepping outside?” Before James had finished speaking Sherdan had got up and walked over to the window, putting his back to them both. James shrugged at Anya who reluctantly let him pull the covers back.

“She’s going to need a change of clothes,” the doctor called out as he checked over the bruises on Anya’s torso and thighs. Sherdan didn’t respond.

“I think there might be a fractured rib, it’s hard to tell. You’re covered in bruises from the last three days. I should know for sure in a day or two.”

He helped her roll over so he could see her back. It wasn’t as bad as her front. Her bonds had prevented many blows reaching her central back. It was a blessing. Her spine was mostly untouched as were her kidneys. Both would have been badly damaged by the blows that had landed elsewhere.

The doctor rolled her back and covered her back up again. She smiled and thanked him as Sherdan retook his seat at the end of the bed.

“One last thing, I’ve brought some pain killers with me. They should help you rest.” He stretched his hand towards the briefcase he had left by the door. It opened on it’s own and a small packet of pills flew out of it and into his hand. She gasped in shock. He smiled but continued as if nothing had happened.

“Take one of these every four hours or just before you sleep if you can cope without them the rest of the time.”

“Doctor…” Sherdan growled.

Anya didn’t get a chance to say anything else as both men suddenly left the room. Sherdan was furious at James.

“She didn’t know about the drug and it’s abilities,” he snapped at the doctor. James’ face went white. “Leave us and come back tomorrow evening.” Sherdan didn’t wait for a response but went back into Anya’s room and slammed the door behind him. She looked frightened. He stared at her and paused, losing himself in the depths of emotion in her big brown eyes.

“You weren’t meant to see that,” he tried to say casually. She visibly relaxed.

“I suppose there’s no point me asking what exactly that was?”

“Would you like to know?”

“I’d like to see the prophecy but I would like to know what that was too, if it’s something you will share.” Sherdan nodded.

“Nine years ago Dr John Hitchin and I stumbled upon an enzyme which had a marvellous affect on the human brain. It encourages it to map new neurological pathways, resulting in a new completely unique ability in each person who takes it.”

“Why has there not been any news of this?”

“It is the best kept secret of this facility. No one who has taken it is allowed to leave the area and until I disclose it, the world will never know about it,” Anya frowned. “That now includes you. You will not be allowed to leave here.”

“Not ever?”

“No, not ever. Now, I have work to do and you need rest. I shall see you in the morning. All the windows and doors will be locked and even if you did manage to break out in your state, there are patrols and guards enough to bring you back. Goodnight Miss Price.”

 

As usual you can check back story etc here

Adjustment Bureau: A Review

I had no idea of the plot of this film when I started watching. All I knew was that Matt Damon was in it and there was something important about hats.

With Matt Damon being in it I have to admit I expected something very bourne like but really didn’t find much that the two films had in common. Matt Damon did a semi reasonable job of being a different character and I adored the girl he fell in love with. She had a quirky impulsive sense of humour that made her very endearing and for me was about all that saved the film.

Now don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the film. It kept me entertained but I was dissapointed with how little they touched on the idea they presented. The film had a very interesting idea and premise but they explored very little of it by following just how it affected these two people.

They did the typical hollywood thing of staying in new york and seemingly forgetting the rest of the world existed and it’s one of the things that annoys me most about hollywood. It’s hugely egotystical.

Can we please have some films set somewhere other than New York! It’s not the only interesting city in the world and I really doubt some higher establishment would make it their base of operations.