Monday, July 29, 2013

Extract from Cosmogonic Marbles

Interlude II

Extract from: Pentangle Scillia’s Book of Magical Beasts:
‘Ten things you should have learned about the dragon
That is currently eating you’

1.  Dragons never eat out of hunger, in fact Dragons rarely eat at all, it is a commonly held misconception that a land plagued by the presence of a Dragon will be void of cattle and other livestock because they’ve all been consumed by the monster.  More likely the Dragon has killed the livestock, burned the crops and stepped on small furry things (and everything to a large Dragon is a small furry thing) for fun.
If a Dragon was to choose it’s cuisine it would be pyrite rocks rather than human flesh. If truth be told a Dragon will often find the after effects of eating humans a little gassy, you may want to remind him of this before he pops you in his mouth, and certainly before he begins to chew.

2. All Dragons are hermaphrodites.  All Dragons are male, that is until they enter their reproductive phase and begin to produce eggs, then they are briefly female.   A Dragon who is in her reproductive stage should never be approached and if you do accidently approach a dragon with eggs in her nest don’t worry about apologising as you will be dead before you can utter a word.

3. Dragons can’t fly like birds or even like bats, their enormous leathery wings are largely used to make the Dragon appear more massive than he is.  How a Dragon moves through the air effortlessly is a mystery but many believe that they use deep wild magic to move the universe around them rather than be bothered moving through it.   This also means Dragons can turn up anywhere they’ve been before at a moment’s notice; if you’re going to run from a Dragon run somewhere he’s not familiar with. 

4. A Sleeping Dragon is a good thing. Dragons can sleep for decades and even centuries at a time, they particularly like to sleep in deep caves and inactive volcanos but have also been known to catch forty winks (which to a Dragon is about five years) after destroying a large village or castle.
It’s hard and inadvisable to wake a Dragon.

5. Dragons are thought to be obsessed with treasure; gold, silver and jewels are said to line their lairs deep under mountains and fairly-tale castles; but this is not always true.  Many an unfortunate adventurer has risked life and limb (and lost both, not necessarily in that order) only to find said Dragon roosting on top of a pile of fool’s gold or polished tin cups or in one sad case (where the Dragon had wandered into a dimension similar to our own Earth’s) an enormous pile of Playboy magazines.
Dragons are like magpies, they like shiny things, and as they are for all intents and purposes immortal one shiny thing is much like another when you don’t need monetary support.

6. If you find yourself standing alone in front of a large angry Dragon because all the sensible adventurers have fled and the less sensible have been incinerated (the most sensible having not set-off on the quest in the first place) then whatever you do - don’t think of a plan to save yourself.  Dragons can read minds, which is not to be mistaken for reading thoughts, A Dragon can see through you to what your real desires, fears and characteristics are, he/she will know if you’re capable of formulating a plan to escape before you have the chance to do so.

7. Not all Dragons breathe fire; they have many forms of breath attack, steam, ice, plasma and acid spit. 
What to do if a Fire-breathing Dragon lets loose a cone of flame in your direction?  If you have time you could regret having stood there in the first place or that the sun block lotion you bought isn’t going to be quite strong enough.  If you don’t have time to think such thoughts at the moment of your death then it is likely you didn’t see that Dragon creeping up behind you.

8. If you’re lucky enough not to be instantly trampled to death, eaten to death, incinerated to death or generally made to cease to be in some other gruesome way by the Dragon you have encountered and find yourself in the unenviable position of engaging him in conversation, then remember that Dragon have a very low boredom threshold.
Dragons have lived a long time and in that long time they’ve heard just about every plea, excuse and bargaining ploy that any human could possible come up with; so if you are going to have a chat with the Dragon that’s about to swallow you or worse, try to say something original.

9.  Dragons are half-magical, that means they are half-non-magical, which brings us to the subject of poo.  Dragon poo has many uses, it is one of the finest fertilisers in the world, farmers who have used it claim it can give ten crops a season of corn or wheat.  Dragon poo has magical qualities for potions, it can make one of the strongest aphrodisiacs known to man or it can be sublimated into a poison that will kill its victim merely by them reading the label.  But do remember this about using Dragon poo for it beneficial properties; if you’re not carefully you could end up in the next batch.

10. Dragons are vain creatures, they see themselves as the most beautiful things in all the universe, and each Dragon thinks it is the most perfect example of Dragonhood.  If you want to complement a Dragon just give him a mirror.

*   *   *

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Frank McGuinness launches Free Wee Library

 Looks like a worthwhile project, check out this report

Saturday, July 27, 2013

posted a poem on this site

is there anyone else out there using it, drop me a line on twitter


Friday, July 26, 2013

writers who go on about the 'process' make me laugh, it's like actors and 'the craft', give it a rest - Write, keep writing 'til it's done, and then, and this is vital .... STOP

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 Nice plug in local press, on to the nationals ..all is going well

first press interview for Comogonic Marbles today
why have I got disco 2000 by plup stuck in my head? 
Spending today Promoting but would rather be writing (also looking for a book launch venue in Dublin city this space for details on that)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Excerpt from Cosmogonic Marbles

Chapter 2

            Botolf College almost Oxford stands as a grand pile of stone, wood and stained glass in the English countryside between Witney and Burford.  Its tall Tudor-laced windows look out over a landscape which hasn’t changed in eight hundred years; patchworks of arable fields followed by rolling meadows edged up against low downs. 

            The College has, unlike most other seats of learning, remained quarantined within the walls of the great house, no annexes, red brick wings or monstrous concrete departments have sprung around the late medieval mansion.  This is because its sole benefactor, Sir Ingram Benson-Botolf, left such an immense fortune at his death in 1540 that no extra revenue and thus no extra space, was needed to maintain the College’s high standards of academic achievement. 
Sir Ingram’s stifling conditions of educational philosophy and study, which he stated as part of his legacy, are so ‘curious’ that only the most dedicated and wealthy students bother to apply for places.  No more than thirty undergraduates are enrolled at any one time, taught by an aging faculty of just nine Professors (with a combined experience of eight hundred and forty years).  Having to live in the College throughout the three terms of the year, both staff and student bodies observe archaic house edicts that would be more at home in the Schools of Sword set up for the Hundred Years War (from where it has to be said most of the Botolf’s academic rules had derived). 

            A walk down the long gallery of Botolf College today is almost indistinguishable from the same meander taken by Sir Ingram almost five hundred years before.  The bright cold afternoon light shows the stern faces of the Benson and Botolf families staring down with increasing disapproval as you reach the entranceway to the line of great rooms leading through the centre of the house. 
The first of these ornately designed rooms is the Great Hall, reserved now for the dining of the college hierarchy and postgraduate students. Those who have dined here include several Prime Ministers, members of the Royal Family, archbishops of the Protestant and Catholic Faith and many successful academics now resident in one of the two great Universities, near-by Oxford and further-a-field Cambridge.

            Many a new undergraduate has questioned his professor on the College’s seemingly peculiar appellation ‘Botolf College almost Oxford’.  Usually to be told to mind their own business.  The more determined and foolhardy student will discover deep in the chronicles of the College’s history a shameful secret of attempting to hedge bets between Royalists and Parliamentarians during the English Civil War.  The College simultaneously committed itself to both sides with the return promise of entry into the books of Oxford University, but on the victory of Parliament over the King this sham was uncovered and the mocking adage ‘almost’ was given as a punishment.
“Why then”, asks the confused student from beyond cane swinging distance of his master, “advertise it in the College title, crest and motto?”
This was the brainchild of one of Botolf’s Deans, Sir Bucksome- ‘Shot’-Reilly.  Shot was a lifelong Blue of the Botolf, enrolled in 1812, graduated in 1829, postgraduate in 1850, head of the Department of Medieval Thoughts until 1861 and from then until three months after his death, Dean of the College. 
(Sir Bucksome- ‘Shot’-Reilly died in May 1861 seated at his favourite desk in the College Library.  It was not unusual for him to spend several days studying ancient tomes and rolls and so the library staff simply left the old grumpy man to it.  It was only after complaints by students about the decaying whiff that in August 1861 the Chief Librarian finally established that Shot had bored himself to death.)

Shot’s reasoning was this; it was better to be ‘almost’ in Oxford than to be most defiantly not in Oxford at all and if Botolf kept using Oxford in its name perhaps the great University would simply accept the inevitable and just regard Botolf as one of their colleges.  After all that’s how he got the Deanship of the college himself.  He basically hung around long enough for the other candidates to die off. 
“If it wasn’t for the Botolf benefit, the important work of the college body could not continue,” Shot would say, “but the safety net of Oxford University will someday be needed, we’ll out-wait them,” he’d grumble to anyone who’d listen, “at some point the Dons of Oxford will be too young and naive to realise that we’re not officially part of their clique.”

This out-waiting policy hadn’t worked in the last four hundred years, but Deans of Botolf were not known to change policies at a whim, or indeed doing anything at a whim.

Through the Great Hall of Botolf the visitor will come to the rooms of the Armoury where, displayed without glass cases, are the armours and arms of many of Botolf’s finest students and seated upon horseback, the first Botolf to be made a Knight of the Kingdom, receiving the Order of the Knickerbocker in 1388.  Resplendent in his silver armour upon his polished black stead sits Sir Kallon Botolf, who, at the Battle of Otterburn was reputed to have changed sides eleven times during the fighting, finally getting it right and ending up in the victorious English camp.  Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy recommended him personally to the King for his knighthood on the grounds that it was better to have a weasel in your pocket than up your trouser leg.

Beyond the dusty Armoury you come to the even more dusty Library, where allergy sufferers have been known to have been carted out in fits of sneezing and younger students play dust-ball in the mild winters when no snow reaches the downs.  Botolf’s library is old and extensive; its strained bookshelves are bent low in the middle from many tomes gathered from the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, donations by former students and, less laudable, collections liberated from nearby estate houses which had fallen on hard times, (A few shillings and moonless nights were a necessity for the acquisition of many of these valuable books.  Botolf Deans were, in the past, not beyond such lateral thinking when it came to the Law). 

Like all the great libraries of the world this one is a mix of strict organisation and total chaos.  Yes you may travel the well-worn paths through the dust and find the text you have been assigned by your master, but this is most likely only achievable because said master had made the journey the day before you (it’s very important in Botolf to know the shoe size of your thesis supervisor).  The more adventurous students, and even tutors, may find themselves lost in African Architecture, hemmed in by Unorthodox Scripture or even, in one sad case, trapped in a cave-in of Early Persian Deity Rituals for four days without food or water.
Indeed parts of the Library at Botolf have become so dangerously unstable that they are permanently cordoned off to prevent loss of life or the learning of ancient erotic practices which many of the modern Deans have felt were just a little ‘tawdry’.

            If one keeps one’s head down and stays to the time honoured passageways through the Library you come to the west wing of the College which serves as the offices of each of Botolf’s many functioning and non-functioning departments.  None would be surprised to find a Department of Classical Military History, or indeed the Department of Ancient Philosophy.  But others are maintained here that have long since disappeared from other colleges or never were in existence at all: The Department of Witch Finding hasn’t really had any students since 1512 but nevertheless its Professor has a regular consultation hour every Wednesday, three until four a.m.  Some students, out of curiosity or as a drunken bet, have gone in for a consultation only to find themselves doing essays on the subject for months afterward.  The Department of Far Eastern studies still has ‘there be dragons’ on their wall map where China should be, and the department of Persian Tongues actually studies Eastern tongues rather than dead languages, so be aware before you sign up.     

read more ... below                                             writing a Sonnett, I've never done one before, but I think I'll challenge myself

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

No rest for the wicked, working in the sequel to Cosmogonic Marbles, keeping the title to myself for the minute (watch this space for more new)

Monday, July 22, 2013  previously unpublished poem now on Poemhunter ...enjoy
The wonderful cover of my new novel by Linda Cunningham (many thanks for her long sleepless night) and yes she is available to do one for you (fellow writers)

Sunday, July 21, 2013  new book Cosmogonic Marble now available on Amazon
Cosmogonic Marbles (Novel) will be published and available on Kindle/Amazon tomorrow .... it's been a long time coming but it's finally here
We're almost there folks, some FB Acknowledgements For Cosmogonic Marbles

Former students of Botolf College (almost Oxford) reluctantly involved
in this Tome are hereby and herein Acknowledged:

Trevor Cunningham reading Nonsense and Non-entities of the Ninth Century

Emeritus Reader Lady Niamh Downes PhD.

Pro-vice-chancellor of Ethereal Archaeologies Ian Russelll

Professor of Dark Arts and Light Cheese Linda Cunningham
Cover Art

Senior Fellow of Finite Histories Sir Roger Hudson
Re-active ...I'm back people, writing and blogging, it was easier to re-activate this than to work out a new one, watch this space for news on new Novel (Cosmogonic Marbles) and new poems, as well as news and links about writing

steve D.