The Venus Transit.

No, I’m not talking about a sordid enterprise in a van. The planet Venus passed in front of the Sun this morning.

I was all ready for it and as usual, the sky was a uniform slate grey from horizon to horizon. All I saw was cloud getting brighter. This happens every time there’s something to see in the sky and I’m beginning to take it personally.

Oh well. Only about 105 years to the next one.

 

Sometimes, silence is the best option.

Stage psychic Derek Acorah has claimed that he has heard from the spirit world concerning the long-missing child Madeleine McCann.

Maybe he has and maybe he hasn’t. My own views on the likelihood of any stage psychics being genuine are well known to anyone who has read much of my writing. In this instance, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he has.

He claims the child is dead. Naturally, this has greatly upset the child’s parents who (obviously) hope she is alive. That outcome could have been predicted with no recourse to any form of psychic ability.

Acorah can provide no proof. No medium, genuine or otherwise, ever could. It’s just not possible.

In which case, making such a claim with no possibility of proof, knowing that it would certainly cause distress, is not the action of a sensible man.

Even if he is right, in this instance he would have been better to remain silent.

There are many things that people simply don’t want to know and unless you can prove that what you say is true, speaking out will only invite ridicule and derision.

Why invite that?

 

Samuel’s Girl.

Samuel’s Girl has been accepted for publication by Damnation Books, the same publisher currently selling Jessica’s Trap.

This one is bigger. Jessica’s Trap weighed in at around 60,000 words. Samuel’s Girl is 97,000 and that’s after I cut the original story in half. It was my first full-length novel and I filled it with astounding levels of unneccesary detail. Writing Norman’s House and then Jessica’s Trap taught me to be more concise. Then I went back over the first two and ripped the nonsense out. It’s worked with Samuel’s Girl and I have since been doing the same with Norman’s House. That gets submitted next. It tells of what happens in Jessica’s house when the demons return to finish what they started, three centuries later.

I’ve checked Samuel’s Girl and made sure the words are all in the right order. I spent the weekend applying the publisher’s format requirements to the book and now I have some details to deal with. Hints for the cover artist, the back-cover blurb and so on.

Having produced a 97,000-word novel, you would think it would be a trivial task to write the back cover text, wouldn’t you? It’s not. It’s murderously difficult. It has to intrigue a reader but not give away too much. It has to tell you what the story is about without telling you what the story is about. I have around 500 characters to achieve this.

I’d rather write another novel than work on the back cover blurb. It’s easier. Still, it must be done and it must be done right, so I have to stick at it.

I won’t get the cover art until I’ve done my part, so best get to it. I hope this one will be out in time for Halloween.

Ideally, I’d like to see it out in September. Jessica’s Trap opened on April 30th, 1647 and was released, with marvellous timing, in April 2011. Samuel’s Girl takes place in late September so if it could come out with the same miraculous timing, that would be quite something. If I can do it again with Norman’s House then I’m going to suspect the intervention of some supernatural agency. It wouldn’t be the first time. Many things started happening on and around this Beltane Eve, all entirely coincidental, of course.

This has inspired me to return to the blog, which has been lying fallow for some time now. I have been learning how to be a book-marketer and that’s not easy at all. I intend to document my learning curve and experiences and put them here. When it’s complete it’ll be edited into a little eBook which will, perhaps, allow others to skip the early, wasteful stages and move straight to the low-cost and effective strategies.

Meanwhile, I still have to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. It can do some amazing things…

 

Update: Samuel’s Girl is scheduled for release on November 1st 2012. I have seen the cover art but can’t post it here until it’s finalised by the publisher. It’s extremely good.

 

New blog and broken Email.

Well, here we are. Still fiddling with the layout and finding my way around but this place is absolutely full of features. It even allows nested pages and I think (if I can work out how) I can have a different image at the top of each page. The Blogger blog ported in perfectly, I think, so everything is here now.

Commenting here requires me to approve your first comment and then you can comment freely. I don’t need full moderation, and the spam filter looks pretty efficient. Spammers won’t get through the approval system anyway,.

I have a lot to learn here, bear with me while I find out how this all works and inevitably make an occasional blunder.

Email is currently broken on both my romuluscrowe domains so I have a Gmail account for the time being.

Well, better get back to blogging, I suppose…

 

Email problems.

My Email is currently broken. I didn’t break it this time, it’s broken at source so I have no idea how long it will take to fix.

If you’ve sent me Email in the last few days, it’s lost in Email limbo until I get it sorted out.

Hopefully it won’t take too long.

UPDATE – Fixed, sort of. The .co.uk is still broken but the same Email using .com now works.  Either I get the .co.uk fixed or I have to hunt down all those places I’ve used that Email and change them!

Lake Vostok.

I’ve been very interested in Lake Vostok for a long time. It’s not in Russia as the name suggests. It is, in fact, about as far from Russia as it’s possible to get because Lake Vostok is in Antarctica, in Russian territory there, and it’s under roughly two miles of ice.

It’s not frozen. There are two miles of ice above it but the lake itself is liquid because of geothermal heat from below. Needless to say, it’s under enormous pressure.

Russian scientists have been trying to drill into it. A very risky operation considering the area it’s in has recorded the lowest temperature anywhere on Earth – minus 89 Celsius. It’s literally cold enough to freeze your eyeballs solid.

I won’t ever visit the site. It can reach minus 20 here (although this year it’s been quite mild and stayed mostly above minus 10) and that is plenty cold enough for me. Drilling through two miles of ice into a reservoir of pressurised water that could come shooting up that hole -and if it did, it would probably freeze everything it touched instantly – is a job for other people. Not for me.

It’s estimated that the ice formed over that lake two million years ago, when Antarctica had just finished being a green and pleasant land and developed an ambition to be the least green and most unpleasant place on Earth. An ambition it has almost fulfilled. It just needs to get rid of the penguins and it’s done.

So, could there be anything alive down there? Well, extreme cold and high pressure are not friendly conditions for life, but there are forms of life in the deep oceans where the only real difference is that they aren’t isolated. It is possible.

It does depend on how the lake formed. Did it freeze entirely at first, before the mounting ice increased the pressure and forced the land down far enough to re-melt the lake? That initial freezing could have killed everything, leaving a big pool of sterile water. Not ‘pure water’ as the eco-folk insist, because that lake would have had mud in the bottom of it and decaying creatures before it froze. It might be sterile but it’s unlikely to be pure. Humans are not the only creatures to crap in the water supply.

Then again, some bacteria survive freezing. They could have multiplied again after the lake thawed, and many species can live on very basic materials, without oxygen and without light. I’d guess anything bigger than a bacterium would have frozen to death when the lake was first covered but you never know. There’s really no way to know what’s down there until they get their first samples, which they are due to get any time now. Maybe they already have.

Unfortunately the scientists, who were close to reaching the lake last time they were heard from, have been silent for a week now. Did they penetrate the ice and release a fountain of supercooled water, to be locked forever in ice? Maybe their radio is simply broken. Or maybe they’re just too busy to chat. I hope they’re okay and are simply excited by finding something extraordinary.

Even so, it’s at times like this I wish I hadn’t watched a film called ‘The Thing’.

——–Update 6th Feb

They’re okay and they have samples. Oh, and apparently there’s another of those secret Nazi bases nearby but nobody has actually seen it. Just like the ones on the moon. At the rate these invisible bases are turning up, they’ll probably find one on each of those planets we have only just discovered.