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Topics - geoffnelder

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Writing Games & Challenges / FicFun International Fiction Comp
« on: November 27, 2017, 06:22:51 AM »
If you are hard at work with NaNoWriMoor even if just finished a novella and want to know what to do with your novel or part novel, why not enter it for

 Free to enter, huge prizes - we're talking $10,000 first prize for Romance and again for Suspense then sliding lower scales; other winning possibilities; possibilities for having your work picked on for publication; already open and staying open until June 4th 2018.

Cards on the table: I am one of the judges. I wouldn't know which is your submission and I'd rather you didn't message me to say 'look out for my story about a flying submarine, etc.' I've judged many international competitions and I have an eclectic taste of many genres. No competitor must feel their suspense story must be set on Titon or three billion years in the future - please don't!

The organisers are based in Asia, have pots of investment money from sponsors, and run a showcasing online writers and readers club site. Their first competition was very successful and winners genuinely collected nice prizes and have rightly boasted about them on their social media. The judging was by readers poll followed by the organisers editing team. This second contest is different in that the prizes are bigger, offers greater and experienced judges are being used to settle winners from the poll resultant shortlist.

Remember that this competition is being organised by an administration with English not their first language. They make occasional language errors, and I correct them when I spot them, but do not make the error of thinking it demerits the competition in any way. 

Contestants can enter from any country as long as they write in English - no matter what dialect, accent and regional spelling. See the website for details

There is a kind of FAQ, but if you are puzzled feel free to ask me in a reply here, a PM or email - via the contact link on my
  (McAfee sometimes wobbles at my website - no other virus checker does - no one knows why - just ignore it and carry on)

The Gallery / Wow review please tick helpful
« on: November 20, 2017, 10:50:18 AM »
Blimey, a nice 5* review of ARIA: Left Luggage from someone I don't even know! Haha. And they mention points I hadn't thought about - isn't it cool when reviewers do that? I'd appreciate it muchly if any of you could like / find helpful moon struck's review

The Coffee Shop / Move over, Bob
« on: November 08, 2017, 10:14:31 AM »
Visiting pa-in-law Bob at his dementia care home. Asked him how he was and he pulled a long face and said it time they let him return to America. He's never been out of England except with us on holidays in Spain so maybe he meant that. I asked if he'd like to go on holiday to Spain with us again?
"Not flipping likely," he said, "not with you wearing shoes like that."
I looked down. Sure enough both shoes, though black, were odd.
"Move over Bob, time I joined you."
At last he wore a big smile. "You can have my room," he says, "I'm going to Scotland to see my houses."
Um, he's never been to Scotland either...
All that was a few days ago. Yesterday we went back. One of the care workers came over. "Are you the man who wore odd shoes on Sunday?"
S'truth, do they have a newsletter?

A science fiction short story of mine, ANGULAR SIZE & possibly the only story using that concept is in the new SFerics anthology.

Angular size relates to the apparent size of a celestial body. Eg the sun seems bigger sometimes but it is still bigger (angular size) than a tiny coin held at arm's length. A new moon or planet appears behind then peeping out alongside our moon. It is odd, and has scary effects. Something has to be done before the Earth becomes uninhabitable.

Dead cheap on Kindle and paperback

Self-Publishing Central / Hotel helping writers!
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:19:51 AM »
A fancy pants hotel on Malta, The Preluna, publishes a newsletter going out to hundreds if not thousands of potential guests worldwide. As an audacious chap I wrote to the editor saying that since I stayed at their hotel and wrote some of Xaghra's Revenge while there, could they include a bit about the story as it is set on the Maltese islands. Their copy is here

Hopefully it will generate a sale. I need them. Since it's launch in August even the Kindle sales have been in single figures in spite of people saying: pirates abducting 5,000! Wow! I have to read that. 

Anyhow if your interest is piqued the amazon link is

If anyone knows of how else to promote it without angering Mrs N, who's learnt to keep an eye on our bank balance, please let me know.

Review My Work / View From
« on: August 21, 2017, 08:24:45 AM »
A surreal piece. I've tried it in third, past but this works with more immediacy. Not all the indents came across - ignore.

View From...

I refuse to open my eyes.

Monday waking up is never welcome; it presages the need to face another teaching workday. Wild animal management wasn’t my career ambition when I trained as a teacher but that’s what it feels like.
The six-thirty alarm bleats. My arm flails in the air, but misses. My eyes refuse to open so I close my ears to the alarm.
The sound comes from the wrong direction. Perhaps it isn’t my wake-up, but Alan’s in the apartment above.
   As long as I don’t open my eyes I won’t worry. I shuffle in preparation to roll onto my right side. Whoa, I can’t. My back muscles won’t cooperate.
At last I open my eyes... and I discover that I am on the ceiling.
I laugh. Nerves. Then my stomach knots. I am on the ceiling, looking down. Aren’t I? Has Alan re-arranged my room during sleeptime in order to make it appear inverted? The only thing worse than a science teacher is one with a warped sense of humour. I squeeze shut my eyelids then slowly re-open them. Below, covered with an untidy red quilt, is my bed. The bedside cabinet is next to it, supporting the alarm clock, which periodically bursts into indignation at being ignored.
   I send my impending terror into an unused lump of brain. A trick learnt when teaching difficult classes.
    How can I verify if either the room has turned upside down or it’s me? Has a trickster screwed and glued my furniture down? My right arm that had swung into action is now on the ceiling. Turning my head, I see the white plaster ceiling rose. I’ve not seen my Georgian ceiling this close up. Cracks in the paintwork and plaster missing near the rose reminds the few normal functioning brain cells that I should get workmen in. BBlockedity subjugates fear.
I seek evidence of gravity. Before my mind boils in terror I allow a drop of spittle to go where it will. It accelerates away to the quilt below. A dark red splodge grows like a bloodstain.
   Forcing my mind into more experiments, denying the inevitable panic, I turn my head to the left. As I thought from its soft undulations, the pillow remains under, or rather above - all right, behind - my head. Good loyal pillow.
   This is absurd. I must be in a nightmare. Nevertheless, perhaps I should exercise caution in any effort to break free from the ceiling’s suction force. What if normality returns? I’d fall at an acceleration of ten metres per second each second. Well, it’s no more than three metres so a quick calculation tells me I’d land at sixteen miles an hour. Is that fast enough to hurt? My blob of spit must have landed at that speed too. The fall was languorous to me; yet look at what happened to it.
   Hopefully, the bed will be kind to my eventual return. The mattress is one of those with memory. It’s probably wondering where I am.
I wriggle again. Has Alan velcroed my pyjamas to the ceiling? Even if he had, how did he get a stepladder and manhandle a sleeping adult up to a tall ceiling?
It couldn’t be Velcro holding me up. My arms are free but kind of floating. It’s like when I go snorkelling: face down looking at the seabed. It’s a strange but pleasant experience in the water, but weird and worrying now. Perhaps my room is full of water.
I look for contrary evidence. On the green carpet, there’s a bedtime book, Orbital Geometry. It isn’t floating: too heavy. If I’m in water my spittle shouldn’t have fallen – unless it isn’t normal water.
A worry headache is brewing.
I scan for objects that should float. What is there in a bedroom that should float, besides a person?  I assume I’m breathing, aren’t I? And the usual air. Now I’m holding my breath wondering if somehow I’m immersed in a highly oxygenated liquid, or perhaps I’ve not been breathing.
“Am I dead?” I yell realizing instantly that I’d breathed to make the shout.
“No!” A female voice far down the corridor. It sounded like Suzette.
“In here, Suzy, but keep hold of the door frame.” I want to tell her to rush around to the garden, fetch the washing line, tie it to her waist and then to the radiator before opening the door, but it would sound too bizarre.
“What did you say?” Her voice becomes louder as she walks down the corridor to the door of my bedroom. As I watch the mock-crystal handle rotate, I wouldn’t be surprised to find her walking on the ceiling. But no, there’s her mass of hazelnut brown hair, far below. She hasn’t removed her beige raincoat. Her naked foot steps into the room.
“John, where are you?”
Why hadn't she seen this ceiling person immediately and scream. My panic turns from defiantly off to simmer. How to mention my predicament without freaking her out? I absently cough.
 “What the heck are you doing up there?”
I struggle to answer, but remain silent.
Suzy wags a finger at me. “Get down, you goon.”
“Nothing I’d like better. Any suggestions?”
She stands hands on hips, her raincoat unbuttoned at the neck with no visible clothing beneath, the thought wheedles into my head that she may have planned an interesting morning. Damn.
“Why did you go up there?”
Not how? “I woke up like this.” It sounds stupid but then it only confirms the perception she possesses of my propensity for finding myself in odd situations.
“Maybe I can lure you down.” She undoes a couple of buttons revealing her cleavage and my inkling, which translates to part of my anatomy that finally points towards the floor.
“I am lured but... hey, Suzy, don’t climb on the bed. This isn’t like the leaping-off-the-wardrobe scenario.”
“Idiot, I was seeing if I could reach you.”
“You know these old buildings have really high ceilings. And what if you could reach? You could have been seriously injured.”
“John, stop all this now.”
“It’s not much fun for me. Go tell Alan to turn off whatever he’s done upstairs.”
“What, you think Einstein has invented a man magnet in his apartment and it’s sucked you up? How do you know it’s not Freya?”
I’d forgotten about Alan’s latest oddball woman. “Be careful if you go upstairs and see her, she’s quite unpredictable.”
“We’ve met. Freya gave me a bangle at Alan’s birthday party last week. It turned my veins green, from my wrist up my arm and down the other one – remember? I’ll give Alan a call.”
Only when she leaves the room does my nose detect the heady aroma of Freesia. She only wore it for our romantic interludes. In spite of my increasing concern I smile ruefully then frown. It is Monday mid-morning. I should, by now, be edutaining the masses, so why is Suzette here and dressed for action? Who was she expecting, and in my room. Alan? Freya? Both?
I wriggle but it is as if my lungs are made of iron and a powerful electro-magnet is above the ceiling. Even with both hands pushing, trying to make fists, my back firmly presses upwards. In frustration I bang the ceiling. Mistake. White flakes of plaster wander down messing up my bed. My nose pinches with the musty aroma.
I hear dragging noises. Someone must be moving furniture, a large machine, or is intent on driving me insane. I try to think if I’ve annoyed Alan recently, or at all. Perhaps someone else. Plenty of parents would be aggrieved at my honest grading of their kid’s work. The Wagners from when I wrote ‘the dawn of legibility in Kevin’s handwriting revealed his utter incapacity to spell’? Surely not enough. It must be that mad bitch, Freya.
Then there’s Suzy. The teasing raincoat and perfume must be for someone else.

The front door slams. Suzy must have gone outside to make that call to Alan, but she has a mobile. She must have left it in her car in spite of all my warnings.
Footsteps in the corridor.
“Is that you, Suzette? ... Suzy? ... Freya?”
The door handle moves, and the door cracks open, but then a scuffling noise followed by Suzy’s scream.
“What’s happened, Suzy?”
I strain harder, trying to arch my back even though it’s agony now.

A feeble voice reaches me from the corridor. “John, whatever it is holding you up on the ceiling?”
“It’s spreading.”

The Coffee Shop / Books by family
« on: August 15, 2017, 06:39:26 PM »
Just read a short anthology of surreal stories written by one of my nephews. He has all sorts of mental issues and often says he will die, like others like him, at his own hand. I support him whenever, such as by secretly buying all of his books and writing reviews. Trouble is while he let me edit his early stuff, he's began to self-publish without an editor. Oh dear. The best of us are blind to our own blunders. I can't award 5* to a small volume with at least one typo on each page. Shame because some of the stories are interesting and worthy of promoting. Others are twee. Nearly all had been subbed to Bridport. Such is his now disdain for that body that he published some under the 'Bridport Reject Collective' haha. Besides the typos, which shouldn't be a reason for rejection, I imagine the element of dreams in some of the stories have led to disapproval, though in this case they are relevant to the plot. "Book of Tricks: Six Cruel and Unusual Short Stories" by BC Bamber are yours on Amazon if you're curious. Now to somehow write that review-- tomorrow.

Self-Publishing Central / Blogs, good or indifferent
« on: August 11, 2017, 08:44:30 AM »
Someone asked about the hit rate for my blog.  I don't know my blog hit rate, because I don't want to. I used to be astonished when say 20 people hit on my website and blog on a day and even weeks after no posts. My stats would show up to 500 and one day 800 hits, but that was because I was out cycling and saw a car parked into a hedge at right angles to it. A couple of lads were in the road scratching their heads. I asked if I could photograph them with the car, and they agreed, looking like chumps. Just after the photo they spotted their mum coming and I've never seen such panic. I cycled like fury. Well, I blogged that photo and the story and it went as viral as any of mine - as I say 800 ish. Someone in Australia saw and asked for it to be used on a poster Canberra uni was doing to celebrate worldwide funny things in normal life - haha. It sold for charity. They sent me a pdf of it but I lost it. So the moral of this story is... Do you drive and have you a handy hedge?

Self-Publishing Central / Xaghra's Revenge is sweet
« on: July 25, 2017, 04:19:50 AM »
After years of research, which as you'd know is tough going on a sun-drenched Mediterranean island ;) my historical fantasy, XAGHRA'S REVENGE is unleashed on the world. Ebook on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited at first then paperback to follow.
The historical basis
•   One of the world’s most ancient buildings is on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. Ggantija at Xaghra, c. 3600-2500 BC predates Stonehenge and the pyramids.
•   In 1551 the Turkish buccaneer and Barbary corsair, Rais Dragut, sailed an Ottoman pirate fleet to Gozo and abducted the entire population of 5000, except a few elderly people, and sailed them to North Africa.
•   The abducted were kept on the ships while Dragut won a siege against the Knights of St John at Tripoli. The surviving abducted were taken and sold into slavery at Constantinople, Turkey, others at Tripoli and Tarhuna, Libya.
•   Some of the abducted had relatives on Malta sufficiently rich to buy them back, but most lost contact with their families.
•   In Tarhuna, Libya, are people living now, whose ancestors came from Gozo.

The fiction
•   The spirits of the abducted cry out for REVENGE.

When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century. 
Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.
The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitement are palpable.
"A gripping tale, full of energy and mystery, keeping you wanting for more with every line you read." John Bonello, First-Prize Winner of the Malta National Book Award

“I liked it. There’s a foreground of interesting characters combined with a skilfully fed-in hint of weirdness.” Jaine Fenn – Hidden Empire series.

Kindle is at

Publication of my historical fantasy with pirates, Ottoman corsairs, infidels - both Christian and Muslim - mayhem and all sorts is to be on July 25 2017. In advance I've had this teaser vid made.

Please view to get my views data up and like to get my likes data up, and maybe you'll like it anyway!

The Coffee Shop / A request from a book reviewer
« on: June 23, 2017, 12:28:24 PM »
I have a historical fantasy book coming out on July 24. Xaghra's Revenge is set in the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo.
A beta reviewer, prominent in the literary society on those islands has suggested that at least on the front cover, I should include the Maltese font. Xagħra's Revenge. Note there is a horizontal bar in the letter h.
Doing this would earn billions of brownie points among the Maltese population. Okay there are only half a million residents - but double that with tourists.

Trouble is that the cover art has been done by one artist and the publisher worked with him to complete the artwork with fonts months ago. It all depends on their combined willingness, but it would look authentic if they can.

Has anyone else received odd font requests for their book covers?

All the Write Questions / Art / graphics software
« on: June 09, 2017, 04:50:20 PM »
I want to dabble in doing my own arty cover and other pictures. I used to be reasonably good at drawing and painting as a kid, continued a bit as a geography teacher and Mrs N said that since my writing pays bu**er all I might as well try painting. I have a new Windows 10 computer and had Paintshop Pro on the old one. It was as user friendly as a cornered tiger. I want something more intuitive and relatively easy to use. Yes to adjust photos digitally with it but also to type on pictures, paint on them etc.

I asked a friend and all he could say is Photoshop CS and then said it was difficult to use!

Any advice please?

Self-Publishing Central / FREE for three days
« on: May 22, 2017, 04:33:35 PM »
Trying to boost awareness and spread the reading of my powerful novel ARIA: Left Luggage (powerful - hah, convince myself go on)

Free for three days with Amazon kindle
Go on, treat yourself to a freebie and make me and my tiny-press publisher happy.

Today, Jack caught a bug at work. He catches a bus home. By the time he disembarks in the desert town of Rosamond, all the other passengers and the driver have fuzzy heads. Jack had caught an amnesia bug, and it’s infectious. Imagine the ramifications: The passengers arrive home infecting family; some shop en route infecting everyone they meet. The bus driver receives more passengers giving them change for last week’s prices and today’s amnesia.  Some passengers just started work at the power plant, the water treatment works, the hospital, fire station.  All to shut in weeks. Ryder, in the UK, realizes what’s going on but can he persuade friends to barricade themselves in a secluded valley, hiding from the amnesia bug?

Self-Publishing Central / Timmy the tornado
« on: May 12, 2017, 04:51:53 AM »
Don't laugh but I've just self-published a book. I was fed up looking in vain for a picture story book about a tornado. My infant grandson is obsessed with them. So I made up some absurdly simple drawings, organised them around a problem-solving story, threw in a few observational questions and tornado facts and bingo! If you have a kid you might like it too. Ebook cheaper than coffee, or a fruit shoot
Timmy the tornado

It's a pdf file so can be read as an ebook on a computer, tablet, phone etc or printed out - 10 pages.

The Coffee Shop / Turning art into books
« on: March 23, 2017, 07:47:44 AM »
I sold two pictures wot I drawed.
To be fair one was a portrait of a pal. I crayoned it, then added a bit of acrylic. I finished it the other day, well, in 1964 ish. For fun I posted it on a facebook page and said school friend said he wanted to buy it. It's tatty around the edges hence it would need a bit of work so I said he could have it for nowt if he bought a couple of my books. So he did. Then in my covering letter with the portrait I put a pic of another of my paintings. He wanted that as well because it is of Armless Walk in Cheltenham He wanted to pay me but it too is tatty so he's bought two more of my books. If I go in the attic and dig out more of my O Level art stuff I might earn myself a book royalty enough to buy a new paintbrush - or crayon.

Here's another one painted when I was at school 54 years ago.

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