Thursday, 29 March 2012

Its done!!!

You know, I love me. I think I am awesome...

...that being said, even I am getting sick of the sight of that picture on the right hand side! I will need to remedy this, anyone with suggestions on a suitable background let me know :P

You know those weird thoughts you have in the morning when your body is still half asleep and your brain cant remember if you boil the kettle first or fill it? The sort of thoughts that flitter through your brain for no apparent reason and then in the same instant dissapear to be forgotten (disregarded) for another ten years until it comes back into your head. Usually this happens with music, ill hear a word or a bar of music and it will remind me of a song which I tell myself I must listen to, only to forget about it ten minutes later (this usually leads to about two hours spent trawling the internet trying to remember!)

But this morning, the fleeting thought was a person.

Now I dont know why, because I never really knew this person particularly well, but I got thinking about Marsielle and that got me thinking about a girl I went to school with who the last I heard had moved there. Twenty minutes later im standing at the station and she walks onto the mind bogglingly random is that?!

Of all the days for that fleeting thought to pop into my head, of all the fleeting thoughts that could have popped in there instead and I think about someone (who I havent met in almost ten years) then meet them on the platform...

Almost gives weight to the idea that theres something bigger out there. That we possess a sixth sense. An innate ability, through the interpretation of our thoughts, to predict and effect what lies ahead...

...almost, but not really. After all I wake up most mornings thinking about winning the lottery but thats not happened yet! Probably just coincidence.

For those of you wondering, NO. I didnt speak to her. What do you say?

"Hey! Not seen you in years though I was thinking about you this morning!" the comedy value would be great but I really dont want to add to the *cringe* moments

But no, like I said I barely knew her then and definitely dont know her now, after the third train change of the morning I felt it was just getting ridiculous so gave the standard "Hey *name* hows things?" to which she replied "gdnu" (which I think was meant to be 'good and you?' but cant be entirely sure as she always was very softly spoken) followed by "this is pandemonium" (presumably regarding the state of the train service that morning). I then spent the next ten minutes thinking about how good a word 'pandemonium' was and wondering why I have not used it in my book.

Anyways lol! Strange thing coincidence isnt it?

...just in case I am going to make a conscious effort to think about a duffel bag filled with unmarked bills before I click the kettle on tomorrow morning, better to be wealthy than right :P

As all of you astute people noticed, ITS DONE!!!!

I actually got to write those fantastic words, "The End...............of Part Two" today! And although there is still Part Three to come, the first book is officially its first form. Now begins the reading and re-reading the editing and tantrum throwing and re-reading and crying and quitting and starting again and rejection letter after rejection letter then the re-reading and editing followed by the backyard burning of the whole thing...then the printing off of the same thing then get the point. :P

For those of you who have been paying attention (if not why not?) I gave myself the target of the 16th of April so I am going strong, it is just going to mean a couple of quiet weekends spent proofing rather than partying (how Will I survive!)

Anyways with that being said I shall get back to it!

Good Night All,

Dare to Dream,


Thursday, 22 March 2012

"Like a rolling stone!"

A few people have asked me where and how I come up with the ideas (as mental as some of them are) for my books, songs and more recently, the weekly(ish) blog updates. The latter is easy. It happens. No joke, there are NO kid on stories on my blog, this stuff actually happens to me. Yay me! *cough*

But for the books and songs I tell people I dream them, I dont think them, I dream them. To which people usually A) Laugh or B) give that nod that kind of suggests they dont believe you but they are just too polite to call you a liar to your face.

I swear to god it's true! Both books have been dreamt about and notes hastily scribbled in a tattered notebook by me in a half woken daze. Yet when I re-read them, it all makes sense!

Most men my age (I'm assuming here of course...*cough*) dream about celebrities they'll never date (doing things with said celebrities that they'll never do), about cars they will never drive and money that they will never have to spend. Not me...not even the first one! Instead I dreamt this, last night:

---Rock and Roll Revival the Musical!---
Is a musical of the future where the world has become brainwashed by electro-pop-atonal music produced by the totalitarien media and production companies and has only one pop-star, Eviva (Editors Note: She looks like Lady Gaga for some reason?). She is loved by the masses and idolised by all, except one. 'Clunk'

'Clunk' is a bit of a loner and a rebel, he secretely loves Eviva but hates the music and has big dreams of changing it to something different, something that means something. He finds an old jukebox and discovers 'Rock 'n' Roll' and sets out on a path to change the world of music forever...again.

Now. That on it's own was pretty impressive to find neatly scribbled in my notepad but that wasnt all. There are actually lyrics! Real 'musical' lyrics! Theres also songs picked out for different scenes and cast and crew! I mean come on! Forgot about Kylie Minogue in a corset on the back of my Kawasaki Ninja with two duffel bags full of money as we drive into the sunset...give me my dreams ANY day of the week!

So to those of you who think my ideas are well planned out and subtley clever...they're not...well not initially anyway. My sub-conscious imagination is just a bit mental :P ! And I LOVE IT!

Ive put a bit more thought into the concept of writing a musical and it is something I am going to seriously dedicate a bit of time to BUT! Not until after April the 16th, its all about 'Empire' until then! So enough about music...

Actually finished my second notebook of handwritten, double sided, notes/chapter plans/random doodles quite pleased :P. Chapter 12 is completely hand written and its going to be a biggie! There is a lot of dialogue and expanation involved so I'll need to be careful not to over do it, I know that if I come across huge sections of description in other peoples books I tend to skip until someone says something (Dont judge me lol but some of it bores the arse off me!)

The challenge will be writing it in a way thats engaging and captivating without being overly complicated. The first six chapters of part 2 were printed off last night and given to a literary colleague of my mother's to have a look at so I am looking forward to hearing what she has to say!

So thats just about you all upto date, OH! I tell a lie your not!

*Clears throat loudly*

"Introducing to the blogging community for the first time, a young man with exceptional writing promise and enough sarcastic wit to leave Jonathan Ross speechless (or stutterless). The one and only CHRIS DUFFY!"

Really enjoyed his first two blog posts, If youve got a spare minute check him out!

Anyways, thanks for reading folks!

Its all happening so stay tuned!


Monday, 19 March 2012

Conversation with a stranger...

You know when you lose your bank card and they send out a new card and PIN with the letter proclaiming in thick black ink:

"Do not write your PIN number down."

You read it, memorize it and discard it (usually in a hundred different pieces after you've taken great pleasure in ripping it up).

Then when you set up a new email address it asks you for your security question which is usually something like:

"What was the name of your first pet?"

To which you duly type the answer knowing you could not possibly ever forget such an important pup...

Well the whole thing is getting to be just a little bit of a joke....

I have three e-mail addresses: one for writing, one for social and one I use to sign upto things which I suspect will at somepoint send me junkmail (no, not those kind of things! Honestly some people just jump to the worst possible conclusions...)

Each email address has a different password and subsequently a different security question. I use one of them to log on to Facebook, a different one for Twitter and the third one for logging onto Blogspot. Each of these sites also has a unique username and password totally different from the email accounts. Combined with my password for YouTube, the three different pieces of information required to do Internet Banking (Username, Pin, and security word) aswell as all the PIN's I have for different cards in my pocket...well its all just getting a bit much to be honest.

I spent the best part of forty five minutes today trying to log onto blogspot because A) I couldnt get the right E-Mail address. B) Couldn't supply the right password and C) For the life of me could not recall if I had remembered to capitalize the first letter's of my secondary school when I first entered the security question's answer.

NIGHTMARE! (*shakes fist angrily at technology once again*)

Anyway I digress, rant over, promise.

Started on my 7-3 week this week and although I loathe the early mornings (honestly why did god rest on the seventh day? Couldnt he just have had a long lie every morning? We all have to work Sundays anyway!) I do have to admit that I secretely love this shift.

Its not that the work is any different, infact its all the same regardless of what time of day or what day of the week it is. It's the fact that I have those blissful two hours between 3-5 to indulge in writing. Chapter twelve is hand-written and to be honest I struggled abit. Writing about emotion and making it feel genuine is incredilbly hard, but i persisted and hopefully it translates well when I type it up (which may or may not be tonight...I can hear my bed calling me!) I tend to find I get more writing done in this one week than I do over every weekend I have in a month! But today something different happened...

I refer to the title 'Conversation with a stranger' although it wasn't really a stranger, but then it kind of was. A person I know sat down beside me today and told me an incredible, really quite fascinating story about their life that I had no idea about. It was fascinating, and sad.

The story was sad in that it caused massive upheavel, to the point which is difficult to comprehend-unless you've experienced it-in this persons life.It was also sad that I had worked beside this person for almost a year and had never taken the time to get to know them.

It got me thinking about how well we really know people...the reality is we don't, save a rare few. A handful of close friends, our families, if your lucky then you'll know the person you love as well as you know yourself. But all the others, they are strangers really. We may pass them in the hallway everyday, sit and discuss politics over lunch (incindentally recently discovered this is NOT an effective topic of conversation when trying to woo prospective partners, go figure?) but we never really know them.

Is it because we're all so self obsessed?

Lol, I can see what your thinking. "Nope, thats not it Phoenix, I'm not self-obsessed" ...if your not, then its a shame.

Its important to care about your own life, your the one thats living it, youve got to give it direction and purpose and if your not living to make yourself happy then why are you bothering? But that doesnt mean we have to be solely wrapped up in our own little worlds.

The world is full of incredible people, and every single one of them has a story. You probably sit next to them on the train, or say 'Hi' to them in the supermarket and for the most part you'll never give their stories a second thought...but I dare you to.

Ask a question, and listen to the answer. Say hello to a stranger and give them a smile. Phone up an old friend you havent seen in years and genuinely ask "How are things?" I dare you to make a difference to that persons day.

I learned an important lesson today. The person told me of a hard time they went through in their life, a time when they fell hard and things must have seemed so bleak. But they never failed.

As hard as it must have been they picked themselves back up and started again. I have a new found respect for this person because they had the strength to keep going even when they were hardest hit.

People really are incredible.

Go out and make some new friends, hug a stranger, get to know someone...

I dare you.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

'Breath-taking' Magic!

I am a firm believer that we should not measure life by the number of breaths we take, but instead measure it by the number of moments in which life takes our breath away.

Reading 'Warbreaker' by Brandon Sanderson was just like that. Now I'm not going to harp on and on about it, this isn't a review page, but this book more than any other truly inspired me.

Its fantasy fiction, which is the genre in which I write but it has a scope and a detail to it that I haven't found since reading Feist's 'Magician' years ago. Magic in general, has to have restrictions. Otherwise everyone and their gran would be using it and the world would have no problems (or maybe it would only have problems...but I'm a glass half full kind of guy so lets go with the world having no problems!) So there are rules that have to apply to kind of 'curb' the infiniteness of it. This guy explains a unique concept of magic clearly and concisely in less than 200 words and it just blows me away!

I felt it was about time I started reading again as I haven't properly read a book since the game of thrones series (the novels not the TV series.) which was the middle of January and I genuinely believe that my writing was suffering because of it. Picked up the Warbreaker book from my "books I must read" pile (which is now teetering at a staggering 4 foot!) and finished it in about three hours. The only authors who can make me do that are Feist and Rowling (though only the last two HP books were proper page turners).

It got me thinking about my own concept of magic and how it is used in the world of Tjingaria, and a light bulb has come on! I am really loving the idea of incorporating it into my book because of the possibility it entails but also the restrictions it applies and the challenges the individuals have to overcome because of that!

Chapter 11 was typed up today, I must say my ability to turn a handful of handwritten words into a 1200 word POV scene baffles me but im not complaining! Im nearing the end now which is exciting and somewhat sad because I know I've got weeks of editing (and no doubt rejection) ahead of me before I can start to progress the story further. So far I am sitting on 78k words with about 3ish chapters to go, I may expand into an epilogue which would make 4 and put me over the 100k words (which was my goal at the start)

My bike died today...or is at the very least in a coma. The engine will just not turnover (I reckon the battery is needing charged but im no mechanic). It really is a shame because since I bought her in November I've ridden her maybe...ten times? With the combination of the bad weather and the surgery she just sat there. Que Sera, will visit the bike doctor at the weekend for some CPR or defibleration and get her going away.

I think I am really going to have to structure my time spent at the computer. I turn it on with the intention of writing, so naturally I have to open up Itunes and create a playlist. Which leads to either YouTube or Itunes Store to fill in the songs that I dont have. If it leads to YouTube I will inevitably get click happy and find myself watching re-runs of Johnathan Ross or Jerry Springer...or if its a bad day then ill find myself watching the one where the baby bites the boys finger...Then once the music is sorted I check my e-mails, hoping to find that golden ticket that is a letter of acceptance. Check the blog, the twitter, the Facebook (which results in at least an hour of catching up on all the status's that ive missed...half of which I dont care about and half again from people Im not actually sure that I know :S)

Before I know it the computer has been on for three hours and Word isn't even loaded yet! Lol, funny how the little things can way lay us!

Anyways, today has been grand, managed to get lots of writing done during the day and hopefully get another 2000ish words tonight!

Good Night all!


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Little update...

I really despise technology...sometimes.

It thinks it's so clever. And sometimes it is. But in general, I wish it would just stop trying to be so damned smart!

I text my mother the other night to tell her I was 'ordering a chippy' and ask if she wanted anything. About an hour passed before she replied "Yeah sure...but whats a choppy?" Predictive text my ass. The best thing about it is you can't it off! I have gotten in to the habit of reading, and re-reading every text message before I send it. Which is just as well because it confused 'shower' for 'orgasm' the other day which, had the message been sent, would have had led to some VERY embarassing *cringe* moments.

It also took me over ten minutes to open up chapter 11 'The Gaol in The Sand' because ive downladed a trial of Word2010 but written it in Word2007 (Which in itself is strange because I have the 09 version but anyways...) The document refused to open in a format I could manipulate. One version could open but not change, one could change but not save...I mean whats the point in that?! And why couldn't I find it out before I'd typed 2k words?!?

Yes folks I hate technology...then I think how much it would suck to have to type on a typewriter or do my research at the library.

Speaking of research, this new Google policy change has me a bit worried. Not that I have anything to hide but my recent searches would certainly confuse anyone unfortunate enough to be looking through them: Crochet, Horse-Riding, Dress-Making, Swordplay, Archaic Map Design, Victorian Etiquette, Great Balls of Fire, Brother of the Bride Speech, Paris Fashion week, War Tactics and Battle strategies, Chicken Tikka Masala recipe (incidentally, actually not an indian dish! Go Figure.)...the list goes on and on and on!

Its so random, and all of it (well most of it) to the end of sounding legitimate when I'm writing about one thing or another. There is nothing worse (in my opinion) than reading a piece of fiction where the author has not looked into the subject matter. It just sounds fake. So I avoid it where best I can, the downside is my head is full of useless information which unless Im at a particularly obscure pub quiz, will never ever be used again.

This week has been rather uneventful unfortunately. The world turns and I creep gradually closer to my goals and the D-Day which is the 16th of April. I've hand written all of chapter 11 and made a start on chapter 12 and reckon Im going as high as 15 or 16 chapters in this book. Which should put the word count at around about 85k which is about 10k less than what i'm going for but im sure I can expand on some bits on the re-read.

Work (real work) was a drag this weekend, I have never known it to be so quiet, and not a brandy in sight!

Big thanks to all those who helped me design the 'Raja'. I tried to take a bit from everyones suggestions and ended up with something I can honestly say I could not have dreamt up on my own so thank you all!

As the saying goes "another day another dollar"!

Keep on striving towards that goal, it might take time, but i'll get there, Yes.I.Can folks, Yes.I.Can!


Monday, 5 March 2012

You know those moments...

...where your just 'in the zone'?

Anyone with a bit of creativity must know what I mean. When the music is perfect and your playing better than you can, when the canvas starts painting itself before the brush caresses its surface, when the words write themselves even though your holding the pen? Thats what the last hour and a half have been.

For those who dont know how my brain operates (which is everyone including myself) everything is hand-written, in colour co-ordinated note books. If a character appears he has a back story, even if he's mentioned only once. They have a background, a personality and its all documented in my notes.

Then, after its all nice and neat(ish) I type it out....and TOTALLY go off on a tangent! Which isnt always a bad thing, some of the best ideas ive had and indeed the most interesting parts of the story have happened while ive been 'winging' it, but then other times I go back hours later hit 'select all' and the DEL key without a shred of remorse, only regret that I wasted so much time...but that did not happen tonight.

My fingers danced across the keyboard like lightning. Honestly, the space bar was tapping out a drum beat the speed I was going. I looked to my notes every couple of hundred words to make sure I was taking it in the right direction but otherwise disregarded the words id slaved over earlier.

3000 words, I re-read it twice. It had just as much pace the second time as it did the first. I actually found myself reading it and thinking 'Oh my god! What happens next?' Then I remembered I already knew and got a bit less excited BUT! That's not the point, the point is I was in the zone.

That is why I love writing. It is an outlet in which my imagination can run riot, where I can lose myself in stories of myth and magic and places that never existed.

I got to the end of my hand written notes (well almost the the time I got to where I was going I had decided I was changing the end and DAMN all those that said I couldn't! :P) and decided I need a monster, but not an old monster, not the type Ive read about, even though I loved them, they belonged to someone else. I wanted to make my own. Then realised that was selfish, maybe other people want to make a monster to? Who am I to deny them? So I FB'd the idea and the response was great! ...Infact it's still!

...thats weird...I actually started my blog post by talking about my writing...huh, go figure?

In other news, I woke up with that infectious feeling this morning...not the bad kind of 'infectious' feeling where you dont want to get out of bed, the other one. The one that makes you think about how much time you've wasted in bed already and asks why the hell the kettle hasn't boiled yet. The sun was splitting the skies and the Clyde looked gorgeous with the tide in and a clear view of Greenock across the water. The air was Scottish (yes its a type of air...take it from someone who's travelled a lot, there is NOTHING quite like Scottish air!) and I was glad to be alive.

It was an infectious feeling, because it re-affirmed that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

If you read the title of this page youll see that I dont proclaim to be an extraordinary musician or writer for that matter. But I am an exceptional dreamer, because its important for everyone to have a dream. An ambition. A goal in life other than to live, grow old and die.

Some peoples dreams are easier to achieve than others. They want to find a partner, fall in love, buy a house, raise a child...indeed some of my friends have already achieved these dreams, and grats to them! It's fantastic that that is what makes them happy! But my dreams are bigger than that.

I dont want fame or fortune (although they would be nice) that is not what encourages me to go on, I want to create something that outlasts me, I want to be someone that makes a difference.

"I dont want to be an idol, I want to be an idea." - Wil Smith

I want to be someone people can look to and think "if he can shoot that high and make it, why cant I?"

But that means taking chances.

"I slept and dreamt a thousand new paths, I woke and walked my old one..." - Chinese Proverb

 Its easy to play it safe. Stick to the tried and tested, plod along and make our way...meandering through our own lifes. But that's not how you accomplish anything, let alone your lifes ambitions. To achieve a dream you have to prepare yourself to fall, because falling is NOT failing. Failure only occurs when we dont pick ourselves back up and try again.

A dream will only ever be a dream if there is no direction behind it, no 'drive' to push it forward over the mountains of doubt and endless hurdless that stand between me and my goal.

That is what the feeling was this morning. It was the 'drive'. It was that incredibly rare feeling that makes everything possible, that makes the falls hurt less and the getting up easier, it pushes us onwards and forwards towards achieving the incredible potential that is in all of us, the potential to do whatever we put our minds to.

I finished the night by watching two of my favourite moments in history on youtube.

Martin Luther King's address to Washington in 1963 and Barack Obama's campaign speech in New Hampshire 2008

Because "I have a dream"

...can I achieve it?

"Yes. I. Can"

Enjoy the week folks,

Dare to Dream...


Saturday, 3 March 2012

It's the weekend folks!!!

And I chose to start mine by pretending to be eighteen, drinking more than is sensible, and discovering I have an innate inability to dance in any way shape or form lol!

My first night out post op and it was fab! Banter, karaoke (needless to say, I rocked!) and girls (incidentally where did  all of these beautfiul people come from? Honestly everwhere I turned last night there were drop dead gorgeous woman!)

Of course  im well past the stage of flirting with strangers on a night out *cough* we chose to sit at a quiet table away from all the noise *cough* and discuss things like the complex nature of our existence and the meaning of life the universe and everything...which turned out to be "42". Then once we had established that, we hit the shots, chased the skirt and generally engaged in a whole host of drunken antics no doubt adding lots of new *cringe* moments to the repressed memory section of my brain. But it was fun!

Met some people I used to work with in McDs who I havent seen in ages. As silly as it sounds, after all the different jobs I have had, McDs was my favourite. The social life, the gossip, the girls...the DRAMA!!! Loved it. It paid almost a third what im being paid now, but I miss it sometimes lol!

There was a bit of "That awkward moment when..." going on but there really shouldnt have been, infact on hindsight I cant believe that there was. For a guy who has no regrets in life and is confident verging on cocky, I suddenly became quite shy and unsure of myself, which I haven't felt in years.

But, it didnt last long, in no time at all I was back to throwing crazy shapes on the dance floor, spilling drinks down my jumper (why do I always spill red stuff when im wearing white? Honestly it must be a Murphy's law or something!) and swapping handshakes for hugs. is the best bit...NO HANGOVER!

I have a birthday party in the bowling club tonight which promises to be a riot and most probably will end up at a Karaoke bar, but that is tonight and I have lots to do before then...

Here is my agenda for today starting immediately:

1) Down two litres of irn-bru.
2) Bin the disgusting concoction of 3am food I ordered last night. (Im scared to look and see what it is...)
3) Find my phone. (Another Murphy's law)
4) Find my bike keys.
5) Check over and look longingly at bike. (Still cant drive for six weeks)
6) Type out chapter 11 draft.
7) Check the bank to see exactly how much I spent last night. (*cringe*)
8) Tidy my room. (which I swear was tidy when I went to sleep...maybe I throw shapes in my dreams?)
9) Practice scales, arpeggios, hands together and 12 bar blues beats then learn the C G and B blues scales.

Then when that is done, Im going to head out on it again. Why? Because I am young, confident articulate funny and of the opinion that life is for living, savour the moments that matter most folks and make the most of the moments that dont!

Have a good weekend!


(NOTE: Reallllllllllllllllly glad I didn't update drunk last night...though the amount of spelling mistakes would have been comedy gold!)