Inspiration


Hi there,

I was asked the other day, “What inspired me to write?”

Inspiration, as defined by the Collins English Dictionary is “stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity,” so I had to think if there was one definitive act that inspired me, not only to write but to write the Col Sec series.

Ever since I could read and write I always had either a book nearby or some writing or drawing materials near at hand. Throughout school my hobby was drawing comics, I was a huge fan of Marvel and DC and I used to create my own comics. As I got older I became frustrated with the time it took to tell a story with pictures. During the time it took to draw, ink and colour one page in a comic you could write the whole story, or almost anyway.

When I left school I wanted to be a journalist but didn’t have the qualifications and because of other commitments found myself in a job I still do today. Writing took a holiday for a while as real life invaded my dreams and took over but was always in the back of my mind. I was dabbling with a few ideas when my father passed away which hit me harder than I thought the death of a loved one ever could. To get through it I got lost in my writing for a while, used it as a sort of therapy.

This may come across as just rambling thoughts but the point I’m trying to make, probably not very well, is that there may not be one definitive act that inspired me to write unless you consider life in general a definitive act in that regard. Writing, or story telling is something that I have always done in some form or other, whether it be in the form of art or the act of writing down my thoughts, it has always been there. I can not think of one day when I haven’t had an idea running around in my head that made me think, “I must get that down on paper,”

My present series is the culmination of years of odd stories, that never seemed to go anywhere, that would start but have no middle or end all coming into focus, mixed with my love of science fiction and action movies. The description is the inspiration in itself.

I don’t know if that has answered the question simply because for me, I’m not sure there is a right answer to the question.  Inspiration is a wonderful thing, it can move us to do extraordinary things, to become more than we thought we were capable of and personally whatever inspired me to write, I am truly thankful. Without writing my life would be extremely dull and unfulfilled and through it I hope I can enrich others.

See you soon

Jan.

Sci fi becoming Sci Fact


Hi there,

in Ronin Kurt Stryder is a volunteer in a programme to manufacture a super soldier for the military, a programme that has spectacular results and changes Kurt’s life for ever.

The goal of producing the super soldier is quite real and not just specifically dedicated for fiction. It has been an ongoing goal for decades utilizing various techniques. Today DARPA is in the process of developing an exo suit to give the wearer increased strength and stamina. The suit is being developed by SARCOS a robotics company. Early designs have produced results that allow the wearer to lift up to 200lbs with minimum effort and can do so repeatedly. It is DARPA’s hope that this can be increased to be able to lift double that weight and be adapted to be able to carry heavy weapons so that it could be used for a combat application.

Real world applications that most of us probably thought was just a figment of someone’s wild imagination. Science fiction though has a habit of becoming science fact. There have been many instances where the two have over layed, take for example the mobile phone. Had it not been for the Star Trek communicator would we have the modern smart phone and is it any wonder that the first few designs of the mobile phone were the clamb shell or flip phone, just like Kirk’s communicator, I think not. So is it any wonder the super soldier in whatever form, is being developed, I also think not.

In Ronin, the members of Col Sec are fitted with Neural Interface’s. A simple device that allows the user to access computers and other tech such as comm channels wirelessly. Data can be downloaded directly to the brain where the NI stores and delivers it to the brain in a form it can understand. How soon before we see something like this more frequently? We already have cochlear implants for people with severe hearing difficulty or who are profoundly deaf so this could be just a few more steps from that.

Whatever the future brings, you can bet that someone thought of it, in some form in the here and now and is probably writing about it.

Until then, see you soon,

Jan.

Ronin


Hi there,

Ronin have been portrayed throughout literature and cinema for years as wandering warriors. The word  ronin actually means ‘wave man’ which is an idiomatic term that means ‘wandering man’ or ‘vagrant’ a person without a home and it originally meant a serf who had either left or deserted his masters land. Later though it came to mean a samurai who had no master. This is illustrated in the term ‘wave man’ as one who was socially adrift.

According to the warriors code of the samurai (Bushido Shoshinshu) a samurai who lost his master was supposed to commit seppuku, the ritual suicide also known as hara kiri. Those that chose not to were supposed to suffer great shame and were social outcasts. Many became mercenaries or outlaws. That is a brief description of them, for a more detailed work on ronin I can suggest Wikipedia which has some excellent reference material pertaining to this subject with several links to other sources both on and off that particular site.

In the media ronin are often portrayed as mercenaries or bodyguards and it was this portrayal I chose for my central character, Kurt Stryder, in the first of the Col Sec series, Ronin.

“Spoiler Alert”

When we first meet Kurt he is a soldier in the Special Forces known as Recon Delta for Colonial Security(Col Sec) which served to protect the Colonial Confederation against the only other super power in the galaxy, the Elysium Alliance. A soldier doing what he saw was his duty. He had volunteered for a special programme that he had been informed would help revolutionise warfare. They were hoping for the super soldier, something that had been tried through various channels throughout history but never quite accomplished. Kurt, not quite sure what to expect, did his duty anyway and volunteered for the programme, something he thought any good soldier should do.

His reason for enlisting in the military was something his father had told him, and it gives us an idea into the character of the man. His father told him that for evil to triumph all that is required is for good men to do nothing.

In Kurt’s eyes he was doing something, he was hoping that the outcome of the programme would prevent the evil of warfare from triumphing.

He comes to learn quite quickly that the programme is a success but due to the interference of agents of the Alliance he is the only survivor. He is faced with a dilemma. Knowing the truth about what the programme has done to him, how it has changed him and what he is now capable of should he inform his masters at Col Sec or should he keep it a secret? Having served in the Special Forces for some years he knows the outcome of war, has seen the brutality and hardship it bestows on others and how it changes the very nature of those that take part. Does he really want to perpetuate that act or does he, like his father told him, do something to prevent that evil from persisting.

Because he is the only survivor he informs his masters that the programme was a failure and due to the loss of life involved they deem it too dangerous to continue, basically shelving the project. Of course because of the Alliance’s involvement they cannot leave it at that and decide to learn the truth for themselves by kidnapping Kurt and performing their own experiments on him.

What happens next helps him come to the decision that shapes the rest of his life.

That’s all for now,

see you soon,

Jan.

New Book, New Direction.


Hi there,

The Col Sec series is into it’s sixth full length book and I find myself at somewhat of a loss. All the previous books have had a continuous thread running through them. Now though because I have ended that thread I find myself struggling a little with the new storyline. I’m not sure if it’s because of something in the story, having to create new characters and environments for them to play in or if it’s because my mind is elsewhere.

Before when I was writing the other books when I started a fresh one, because they all, more or less featured the same set of characters it was like visiting family but this new book is different. That familiarity is missing, and I know you’ll say that not all the characters are new, surely some of the established characters, your core characters. This is true, my core group remain but the others are a bit of a struggle. I want them to be worthy adversaries to my core group, I want them to come off the page, be vibrant and for the reader to either love them or hate them depending on which side they come down on.

I may be distracted though by the online PR campaign that is running for Ronin, the first in the series which I relaunched recently. This is something that is completely new to me having to market the work. As a writer I love to produce the work but when it comes time to market it, then that’s another story altogether. I hate talking about myself, I hate the limelight and would be quite happy if I could blend into the background to just get on with the writing. To be a success though I have to come out of the shadows and tread carefully into the glare of others. To be able to do this I had to employ someone who knows better than me the strategy behind a successful book launch.

It’s early days yet but so far so good, and that’s all I am prepared to say on this at the moment. I’m just going to sit back and see what happens and in the meantime get back to writing.

See you soon,

Jan.

First steps completed,


Hi there,

most bloggers post quite frequently, in fact daily, whereas I find it difficult to post anything more often than a couple times a month. This something that has to change if I want to be a successful writer. I set myself a target to write more some time ago but as usual other things took presidence and I let it slack. Now though I have entered the marketing arena with the relaunch of the Col Sec series and Ronin in particular I have to stick to my goals.

This might sound like a load of waffle and I suppose I can see that point but in fact it is my way of making sure that I stick to my goals.

The marketing campaign is up and running and I have already seen an upturn in tweets about the relaunch. To say I am excited would, to use another over used phrase, be an understatement of epic proportions.

I can’t wait to see what the future brings so why not come along for the ride.

 

See you soon

Jan.