Blog on the Bus pt 55 (it really is a global world, right?)

Good morning tube-trekkers, bus-bloggers and patient-pedestrians.

I started a new job last week. I can’t tell you what it is (just pretend I’m Jason Bourne or something, will you?) but it is part of a global organisation (how many of you are picturing me stroking a white cat at this point?). I have always known I was part of a global group but I don’t think I ever truly understood what that meant until Wednesday when I attended a team meeting via video phone. I was in London, there were 3 in Mexico, 2 in the USofA, 2 in Hong Kong and 1 in Brazil. We were all talking about the same thing but in our own interpretation of the English language. Being a global organisation, this was not as difficult as you might assume (SPECTRE never had a problem, did they?). But it was the very fact that several corners of the world had come together to communicate that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that technology brings to us (did someone at the back just utter “D’uh”?).

I appreciate I might be a bit slow in reaching this obvious insight, but there’s no time like the present to learn new concepts (unless you’re my mother who still can’t remember how to make a call from her brick-like mobile phone). Wednesday’s meeting reminded me just how important technology, particularly the kind used for communication, is. We are blessed with Twitter, Facebook, SKYPE, LinkedIn and the rest but how many of us truly embrace it? The clue is in the title: World Wide Web. Why are not more of us using it to reach out to others across the globe?

Many authors (for that is what I pretend to be when I’m out of the office) will blog about the means they use to build their social network and this usually revolves around a kind of paying it forward strategy where you scratch someone’s back in the hope that they’ll return the favour. More often than not this seems to work relatively successfully. I take my hat off to anyone who can find the time to scratch all the backs out there to indirectly promote their work. I’ve been fortunate to have my spinal itches caressed by others and have endeavoured to return the favour but have struggled to join this group of successful indie authors who reach out and use their fingernails for more than just chewing.

Ultimately, it’s easy to be a writer but it’s bloody difficult to be a successful one. The writing community is warm, kind, gentle and supportive (certainly in my experience), however, the publishing industry is competitive, harsh and not something I would wish upon my worst enemy (even those bastards who called me names in school!). To be a successful writer requires 50% good story and 150% brawn, effort, back-scratching and sheer damn luck (maths skills not so essential thank goodness!). So where does that leave indie author Stephen Edger (that’s me in case you’d forgotten)?

In a dog-eat-dog world I fear that I will only wind up in someone else’s toothpick but despite my reservations about what the future holds I can rest safe in the knowledge that I’ve published 5 of my stories and in doing so I’ve left my digital footprint on the world.

So let’s all raise a toast (orange juice or Champagne – you choose) to those embracing the World Wide Web and hope that we don’t get left too far behind.

Until the next time, happy reading,

Stephen

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)

Blog on the Bus pt 54 (should I rename the blog to “talk on the train”?)

Bonsoir dear bus bloggers,

Today’s blog finds yours truly aboard a train on my way back from the Big Smoke (a.k.a. the City a.k.a. Landaan town) for today was my first day in a new job. I can’t tell you what I’m now doing as it’s top secret (very hush-hush, wink-wink-nudge-nudge) but it does require the treacherous train trail to our nation’s capital.

Said journey is approximately 3hrs door-to-door and starts with a 5 a.m. alarm call. Hopefully you can begin to appreciate just how knackered I feel as the trundling train traverses the tracks to the terrace (I live in a terraced house and couldn’t think of another word for home beginning with a “t”). For those of you who’ve never made it to London, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned today:

1. Train stations are lonely places at 06.30 in the morning.
It’s true, nobody talks to one another. I tried to initiate a couple of conversations but got the strangest looks (it seems no-one wanted to know about my published works – hard to believe I know!). Eventually the Guard asked me to either be quiet or to leave.

2. An hour and a half in the ‘Quiet Zone’ is time well spent.
I recently purchased one of those Windows tablets so that I would be able to continue my early-morning-pre-work-typing sessions that have served me so well for so long. Today I managed to type 1800 words of the current work in progress. Not much left to write for draft-1 which makes me very happy.

3. There are TOO many people in London
This isn’t so much a complaint as an observation. In the building I’ve been in all day (remember, I can’t reveal its location without taking a contract out on you) there were so many people who didn’t know me but didn’t seem to even flutter an eyelid in my direction. It was quite a change from what I’m used to.

4. Tubes are hot places when they’re full of people and stopped in a tunnel
Alas this is true and something I’m going to have to get used to. Despite growing up in London I still anticipate the tube to be crawling with Fagin’s Artful Dodger(s) and so I spent the journey covering every orifice from prying hands. I survived (I think!)

5. It’s not as bad as some people make out
New York, without doubt, is my absolute favourite city and I would happily move my mini-family there if the opportunity arose. That said, I think London gets an unwarranted bad reputation and needs to be given a chance. Of course my view may change as the weeks progress but right now it seems pretty good.

So, what have I learned from my first day in London? It’s not so bad but it takes some getting used to.

This journey is going to become more regular so I am proposing (NOT marriage) to change the name of this blog to the “talk of the train” but am putting the proposal out to YOU (my followers and digital-friends) to make the decision for me (“delegation is the key to great management” according to my new boss). Let me know if the name should change and I’ll oblige.

Anyway, that’s enough from me (he said, stifling a yawn), I’m off to bed in a minute to do it all again tomorrow!

Until the next time, happy reading!

Stephen

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)

Blog on the Bus pt 53 (what’s the story, morning glory?)

Good day to you bus blog beneficiaries. You’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of spare seats on the bus this morning so we shouldn’t be disturbed. I’m also pleased to say that the bus was on time this morning, which I always see as a positive portent of a wonderful week to come (try saying that after a couple of pints!)

I’m guessing you’re wondering the meaning of today’s blog title? I know I’m not in the habit of quoting from the brothers-Gallagher when I undertake my bus-blathering, but there’s a good reason today.

Most writer-wannabes will reach a point in the prose-preparing-process (my tongue is starting to ache; it’s twisted so much) where they have to choose a title for their project. Some will have a title from the outset and stand by it even as the plot develops. Others will refuse to even think of a title until they have typed the final full stop. Some will even be struck by a flash bolt of inspiration midway through a project. When the inspiration comes doesn’t really matter so long as it comes. Alas, for some the inspiration doesn’t come…

This brings me back to Noel and Liam’s effort. What’s the story, morning glory? is a great song and I will confess to being a bit of an Oasis-officianado. I’m a big fan of their music and listening to their albums brings back good memories. That said, I don’t like a number of the titles to their songs as they are nonsensical!

It’s a pet hate of mine when those creative types come up with utter tosh and claim that those who don’t like them ‘just don’t get it!’

I’m sorry, but what’s a wonderwall anyway?

It’s the same in books and movies. Why spend so long developing a project title if you end up alienating potential consumers because we ‘just don’t get it!’ I mean, Stephen King’s IT had absolutely nothing to do with computers! As for Snakes on a Plane, don’t even get me started!!!

What is the answer, then? It’s easy really: choose a title that people will understand, which links to the plot of the book whilst maintaining an air of mystery.

Easy, right?

Okay, well maybe not but that should be the aim.

I had a working title when I commenced the current project but I knew from the outset it wouldn’t remain. I then came up with a second title that I hoped would grow on me but it just wasn’t right. This week that imaginary flash bolt struck and the perfect title dawned. I won’t tell you what it is until nearer publication but I can assure you it meets the required criteria listed above.

I can confirm that the project will not be called ‘Vichyssoise: the Temptation of Remembering the Green Cross Code‘ which would be ridiculous!

Until next time, happy reading!

Stephen

P.S. feel free to plagiarise the ‘Vichyssoise…’ title.

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here or via stephenedger.com)

… so which is it, punk?… ye can’t read?… or ye can’t count?… #TBSU…

Hands up if my friend Seumas’ view has never entered your mind.

Seumas Gallacher

… I’ve seen Al Pacino in the Godfather trilogy, arguably the Mother of All Mafia-style movies, EVER… admired De Niro in his various hard-man roles… been dazzled with a five-decade string of Jimmy Bond, Dubble-Oh-Slur films… and it occurs to me, that I’ve NEVERseen any of them in scenes that most of we mere mortals have to endure… case in point, triggered by a Facebook item I read earlier (I’m still in the ostracizing jail of these nice people by the way) …it instantly brought back a deluge of mem’ries… the blood-pressue-upward inducing episodes that play out daily at yer nearest supermarket checkout lines… ye’re in a hurry and pop yer three, maybe four items at most into the wee plastic hand-basket, the one with the awkward carrying handles… and make a beeline for the till checkout lady at the end exit row… ye can’t miss it… above…

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Blog on the Bus pt 52 (If I ruled the World)

In life, there are those who have the power to make life-changing decisions: doctors, bank managers, hit men (you see my point). What about authors?

Or singers?

Or actors?

Do they possess such power?

Of course not. I mean, I’ve written five novels but what I think, say and do has no bearing on anybody else’s life, does it?

Well?

Have you ever been sat in a room / car / kitchen / restaurant (delete as appropriate) and heard a song that just grabbed you? It captured your mood perfectly or the lyrics summed up the way you were feeling? Or have you watched a film (Dead Poets Society springs to mind) that has made you think about changing your life?

You have?

Me too.

I have enjoyed reading crime thrillers since before I know when and it was reading the works of authors like Simon Kernick, Stephen Leather and Mark Billingham that inspired me to begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, I could give this word-typing-book-writing lark a go. I figured my imagination is twisted enough, what have I got to lose? Five books later I can’t say I’ve lost anything. If anything I’d argue I’ve gained.

I’ve met some wonderful people as a result of the literary leap I took three years ago: great undiscovered authors, fans who think I’m wonderful (I do appreciate you both!) and people who just love talking about books. My life would be less sweet if I hadn’t given it a go.

So, maybe one day my own writing might inspire others to follow suit. After all, someone must have inspired Bill Shakespeare to put quill to parchment, right?

Of course, if I did rule the world, things would be pretty different:
1. Cider would be on tap in every household (you’d have hot and cold running water and the third tap would pump cider).
2. Stephen Edger’s Mark Baines Trilogy would form the basis of the National Curriculum.
3. Arsenal would win every game (you’ve got to have a dream, right?)
4. Man Utd and Spurs would be relegated (don’t ask!)
5. And Heinz Tomato Ketchup would be the only condiment on sale (there is no other!)

Of course, these things probably say more about me than the current state of the world but I don’t care, for, in this blog I am King and what I say goes.

Now, if you’re sat reading this thinking there’s something you ought to be doing (curing cancer, killing terrorists or maybe decorating that spare room) then my order to you is: just go and bloody do it! Sadly neither you or me will ever rule the world or have the power to make life-changing decisions.

But…

If we can change the life of just one person…it’ll be all worth while.

Until the next time, happy reading!

Stephen

Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here or via stephenedger.com)