Sunday, 31 January 2010

A little more of the fourth book...

Another segment from the on-going fourth book "The Vanavara Protocol" for your delectation...
(Plus; I am putting a few old photos of the places mentioned into the posts to give a feel to the text. Most of these places no longer exist in Berlin as they were destroyed during the war... or have been radically changed during the partitioned East/West Berlin period.)
(Example: many Berlin street names have been changed, or have disappeared. A fascinating trip into old Berlin street maps may be found at:

At the junction of Siegesallee and Charlottenburger Chaussee, the Horch scarcely slowed as it cut across the four lanes of traffic, then executed a similar manoeuvre across Zeltenallee into the Königsplatz, with the siren still wailing and echoing back from the trees in the eastern end of the Tiergarten. The Great Siegessäule column, topped with the Goddess of Victory... "Die Vergoldete Sieggöttin," that the Berliners called "Goldelse," gazing down from her high perch, and the crouching, shadowy Reichstag building towered to their right, as the car sped past the Kroll-Oper and swung right into the short Strasse am Königsplatz, to stop outside the huge and gloomy, Neo-Gothic, four-storey Ministry of Internal Affairs building bedecked with long, blood-red Hakenkreuz banners that stirred ominously in the thin breeze rustling through the thickly wooded Tiergarten.

Königsplatz, Berlin.
[Reichstag in foreground,  Siegessäule in centre; Kroll-Oper in background.]

Ministry of Internal Affairs building on Königsplatz, Berlin.

The SS-Sturmscharführer jumped out of the Horch and opened the rear door for the young woman. He escorted her across the pavement to the high, three-arched, pillared portico that protected the entrance to the Ministry. Two black uniformed SS-Scharführers, wearing white belts and gloves... as they always did on this guard duty; snapped to attention, presenting arms with their highly polished rifles. The SS-Sturmscharführer gave the full Hitlergruss as he strode into the building. They crossed the marble floor to a vast desk, where a portly and somewhat unsavoury looking SS-Untersturmführer sat. After a suitable pause, he looked up.
The SS-Sturmscharführer cracked off another perfect Hitlergruss and crashed his heels together. In an unnecessarily loud voice, he shouted...

          'Heil Hitler! SS-Untersturmführer; I wish to report that I have collected Fräulein Doktor von Seringen, of Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt -am-Main, for audience with the Reichsführer-SS, at his request.'

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bits and Pieces.

Just a general bumble about, this time. Firstly; I've found a couple of useful sites for budding authors.
You know how all the literary pundits bang on about overuse of clichés?
Problem is, the reason they are clichés in the first place is that they describe things so well!... or, as Salvador Dali so succinctly put it...

"The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot."

OK, so if you don't want to alienate your potential publisher and find your cherished manuscript ends up in the shredder... help is at hand! Go to:

Paste a section of your writing into the box,  this tool will highlight the clichés for you...

(In the screen-shot below the clichés found in this passage are highlighted...

The next little tool  gives you a list of alternative words (synonyms) for all those well-used words that appear in any passage..."good," "bad," "went," and "said" are typical; as are "nice," "walked," and "then."
These types of words tend to make a reader glaze over if used too many times. This little tool gives you more interesting alternatives...

For "Good"... excellent, fine, superior, wonderful, marvellous, qualified, suited, suitable, apt, proper, capable, generous, kindly, friendly, gracious, obliging, pleasant, agreeable, pleasurable, satisfactory, well-behaved, obedient, honourable, reliable, trustworthy, safe, favourable, profitable, advantageous, righteous, expedient, helpful, valid, genuine, ample, salubrious, estimable, beneficial, splendid, great, noble, worthy, first-rate, top-notch, grand, sterling, superb, respectable, edifying.

 For "Bad"... evil, immoral, wicked, corrupt, sinful, depraved, rotten, contaminated, spoiled, tainted, harmful, injurious, unfavourable, defective, inferior, imperfect, substandard, faulty, improper, inappropriate, unsuitable, disagreeable, unpleasant, cross, nasty, unfriendly, irascible, horrible, atrocious, outrageous, scandalous, infamous, wrong, noxious, sinister, putrid, snide, deplorable, dismal, gross, heinous, nefarious, base, obnoxious, detestable, despicable, contemptible, foul, rank, ghastly, execrable.

Get the idea? It's very much a case of "WYSIWYM"... "What You See Is What You Mean."

Just to finish; did you notice the little row of flags below the header? They are translation buttons.
Click one, and the page automatically translates into that language. Possibly a tad smart-ass, but if any non-English-speaking visitors hit the page, it might prove helpful. It's powered by Google Translate. From my researching, it seems to be reasonably accurate; although, it does tend to mangle grammar in some languages (eg: German.)

If you want to try this widget, it's here:

Just delete the countries you don't want from the downloadable HTML/JAVA code.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A handy little tool for authors

If, like me, you are writing a novel that requires a great deal of research; there is a rather nice Firefox add-on available which you will find very useful.
(If you're using Firefox... and with all the holes in IE6, IE7, and IE8; you really should be!)

It's called Zotero, and is a little like EndNote: but, much easier to use. It helps you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work... in the web browser itself, and appears as a button at the bottom right of the web browser page. With this little application you can say goodbye to "copy & paste."

Not only can it be used to bookmark information, but it also permits its user to highlight or add sticky notes to pages. Furthermore, it sports an impressive search capability, and also allows users to drag and drop highlighted information directly into a note, eliminating the need to press a "clip" or "paste" button.

To get started with a new notebook, you will only need to press an icon titled "New Standalone Note" and begin to type into a blank page in the 3rd column of the Zotero pane. Next, highlight any information from the internet that is of particular interest to you, just as you would do if you were preparing to copy and paste it into a document. However, instead of needing to worry about opening up a Word document, you can simply drag the info directly into the notebook. Here, it can be modified, and can later be exported by being dragged outside of the notebook to a desired spot.

In addition to this convenient drag and drop feature, Zotero also permits users to simply record a page's URL, as well as record a screen-shot of the page.

Here's a screen-shot of the Zotero work space:

Whilst I was researching the fourth book, I ended up with folders full of text files which were really time-consuming to check out. I just wish I had discovered Zotero earlier!

Check it out here:

Amazon Associates for Blogger

Amazon Associates for Blogger is a direct integration between Amazon Associates and Blogger. This new collaboration enables Bloggers to monetize their content by adding relevant Amazon products to their blog posts without interrupting the blog editing process.

Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program that allows website owners and bloggers to create links and earn referral fees when customers click through and buy products from It’s completely free to join and easy to use.

This provides consumers the convenience of referring them to a trusted site where they can immediately purchase products you advertise. And when they do, you can earn up to 10% in referral fees.

The first thing you need to do is to click the "Monetize" button on your Blogger dashboard; choose where you want the ads to be displayed and follow on through the next pages.
With Amazon, you find an additional box on your "New posts" page that you can use to generate and insert links, (Which appear as Blue Text in your post, and when clicked, direct you to the relevant Amazon page... very useful for a blog like mine which is used for promoting my books.)

You will also note the three Amazon Links: Books, Music, and Computers in my side-bar. These are the ones that generate revenue. When someone clicks on one; it takes them to the relevant Amazon page, and if they subsequently make a purchase... that's when you get paid.
It's free, and if you don't mind a few eye-catching elements on your blog, then it's got to be worth a try.

Also worth thinking about is Google's Adsense. Go to their site at:

and sign up for an Adsense account. Make sure you use the same username and password for Adsense as you did for your free blog.
Go back to your blog and select the "Layout" Tab. This will show you a skeleton view of your blog with the different modules. At the top of the sidebar, click the "Add a Gadget". A window will popup. In that window select, "Adsense" and choose the type of ad you want. If you used the same username for your blog as you did with Adsense, it should put your unique ID in so you can be credited.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Artwork for Book Four.

OK; so I've given you a couple of tasters for book four, so here's the proposed cover artwork...

The back cover blurb goes like this:

 It is 1937. Two archaeologists; one... German; the other... Russian, are researching three ancient volumes unearthed in the area of the huge 1908 explosion in Central Siberia... "The Tunguska Event." They both have hidden agendas.
They have been instructed by their Governments to secretly establish if there could conceivably be any indication of Military significance to the advantage of their respective Regimes.

Two of history's most evil men; Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, and Nikolai Yezhov... head of the Soviet NKVD are engaged in a sinister game Double-cross.
Each archaeologist has been instructed to secure any such discovered information... and then, to liquidate their opposite number.

Himmler has code-named his involvement in this deceit as...

"The Vanavara Protocol."
At present, the fourth book is standing at 135,000 words, in sixteen chapters; and is about two-thirds complete. It is a stand-alone, but alludes to the Trilogy in several places. (The Three Ancient Volumes.)
It revolves around a malignant artifact which appeared in the third book of the Trilogy, and is probably best read as a continuation of "The Eternal Watchtower."

Friday, 1 January 2010

Complete Trilogy now available!

The third part of "The Eternal Watchtower Trilogy" has finally arrived on Amazon UK, complete with price, and cover illustration.

Details for Part Three..."The Hand of Baelar" are as follows:

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Lightning Source UK Ltd (20 Dec 2009)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1907461744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907461743
  • Price: £7.99 (GBP.) $13.99 (USD.)