Monthly Archives: January 2015

Post 101: Thoughts on the future

I’ve been pondering the future over the Christmas and New Year, mostly spurred by reading that as we go into a new year we can look forward to seeing some more wildlife in some places in Europe, but others are disappearing. In light of the recent Greek election and the rise of a new political party here in Spain which seems likely to take away power from the current entrenched and corrupt parties, I wonder what the future will look like. Since I just hit 100 posts on the blog, too, I thought today a good day to splatter you with my not-very-logical array of thoughts!

 

We are a very strange species, us humans: we have the ability to ponder and understand the past and future, which is, as currently demonstrable, pretty uncommon in the animal world. We think about the future and our past so much that we often seem incapable of enjoying, or even appreciating, the present. Yet at the same time, we consider the future only in the context of our current situation, and seem incapable of avoiding the oncoming train of change.

 

This Christmas, people in Europe looked back at a moment 100 years ago when men showed their common humanity. Right now after the attacks in France, politicians are falling over themselves to declare our unity against a common enemy. Yet we are stuck in the same paradigm – our politicians can’t get past the supposedly separate destinies of each different European country. They’re kicking out emigrants now, if they don’t have a job, sending them back to their home countries despite our purported freedom of travel and working. When they wanted to create the common market, they sold us citizens a stream of shit that we’d all be equal. When I moved from Ireland to Spain I was able to collect unemployment benefit until I found a job a few weeks after arriving. That’s suddenly something they want to stop doing now, though. Imagine New York kicking out Iowans because they lost their job? Ironically, if it were a real union, then there would only be migration for cultural or personal reasons, because policies would be applied across the union and people would have equal opportunity in their own land. The citizens who upped sticks and went to a land with a different language are the ones who invested in this union, and to treat them so badly now shows that it is all a facade.

 

Looking at the past seems easier than looking forward, or even around us. We follow constitutions people wrote thirty or eighty or two hundred years ago (depending if you’re in Spain, Ireland or the US) without considering their authors wouldn’t have a clue about our modern world – and would have a thing or two to say to us on that score, into the bargain, because I’m sure our world doesn’t conform to their expectations of the future.

 

Many of us follow the teachings of a man who was alive two thousand years ago – but do we look two thousand years ahead? Or two hundred? Or eighty? Or thirty?

No; we seem locked into the idea that all will be well. 350 years after that man died, everyone presumed that the Roman Empire would continue forever, and all was well, but the dark ages came.

Are we prepared for our dark ages? We know it’s entirely possible, but seem to be incapable of getting out of the way of it – blinking at the light like deer and about to be run over by it.

 

We would like our lives to be the same in the future (more or less: not all of us live in luxury of course). We like the way we live, we like our houses. After storms we reconstruct. But we have to realize that reconstruction is not going to be an option for too much longer if we don’t change other things. We won’t be driving cars in eighty years unless we stop using all the oil.

 

Staying somewhat the same will require an effort – and in some cases a change in how we do things.

Horseshoe falls

I always remember my trip to Niagara Falls when I lived in America. I learned that during the day only half the water from the river goes over the falls: the rest is diverted. At night, just a third goes over. Not only does this produce electricity when the water is sent through the turbines rather than over the cliff, but it ensures that Niagara Falls stays in one place – right there, where they’ve built the town around it. If all the water went over the falls, it would erode it back towards the lake, and then the nice viewing platforms and lighting arrangements would have to be moved, too. People want to keep the cascade where it is, and they make sure it stays there.

Yet we want (or at least should) the temperature of the planet to stay the same, so we can remain living in the same places we are accustomed to, where the climate is just right for us. Moving would be a much greater effort than changing the way we do things so we can stay.

 

Unfortunately, not all of us can probably stay in the same houses because of the change that already faces us. But we have to find them somewhere else to stay, and that might mean allowing them into our areas where we think there are already too man people. Like the European immigration problem, though, the only way to confront the situation is from a stance of equality – and for some that will mean a lowering of our standards of living. If we don’t decide that we must band together to fight towards a common destiny, though, we’re all going to face a much bigger fight.

 

Author Interview – JD Martins

My fellow Tirgearr Author is being interviewed today by Jeff Gardiner about his new book out tomorrow and available now on Pre-Order for the sale price of 99cents. Thought I’d reblog it as a kind of follow-up to my own interview last week.

Jeff Gardiner's Blog

It’s wonderful to introduce a new author to my blog – JD Martins. He has written a new adult romance in Tirgearr’s City Nights series, which my good friend, Jaz Hartfield also contributed to with his own One Night in Amsterdam. Please click on the links at the end to buy JD’s book, One Night in Madrid, or on the  logo below for more information on the entire series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.

See all CITY NIGHTS books

CITY NIGHTS books

Let’s hear now from JD Martins himself…

Which romantic themes are explored in One Night in Madrid?

I wanted to explore the idea of getting second chances at finding someone – or at least to try to woo them – and the notion of how our ignorance as young men and women (but men especially, I suspect!) can create prejudices inside us that influence our opinions of…

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Interview with JD Martins

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing JD Martins, fellow author at Tirgearr Publishing and man after my own heart because he has also pledged to donate 10% of royalties from his first published book to WWW the World Wildlife Fund.

His first book, One Night in Madrid is an erotic novella – part of the City Nights Series and is available for pre-order now, with publication coming on the 30th of this month.

 One Night in Madrid by JD Martins - 200

Thanks for coming by, JD and answering some of my probing questions.

No problem, David. Thanks for having me by – but can you keep the double entendres to a minimum?

Yes, of course, sorry about that. Is it easier to write a novella rather than a novel?

Not so much as you’d expect, to be honest. Everyone has their own favourite size, I suppose, but there’s not really that much difference between a 25k novella and a 70k novel when it comes down to figuring out the characters and their back-story. Every romance has to have at least two main characters, with their motivations and story arc and that’s where most of the work is, for me. I find I need to cut down pretty savagely to fit a story into the shorter format – especially if half the time the characters are having sex, or thinking about it.

So, then, why write erotic romance?

This is my first story, and I did this because I heard about the City Nights Series that Tirgearr were making and I decided to try my hand at it. It was the first time I wrote anything for a specific reason other than just for my own pleasure.

Tell us what inspired the story.

I used to live in Madrid back in the early two thousands – the noughties, they’re sometimes called. I spent my fair share of time in bars there. I had written a short story about looking for people you know when you go to bars and if you were in a place where nobody knew you, meeting someone from your former life, and whether that would be a good thing or not. I decided to turn my story into an erotic romance, taking the story a few paces further along from where it had originally trodden.

So it was pretty much done, then – you just added the steamy parts?

Not quite. It was hard going, actually. I went through about ten or twelve rewrites and drafts before it was accepted, then a few more afterwards with my editor, Lucy Felthouse, who was great.

I couldn’t agree more about that. So it’s not all that easy to write erotica as it would seem?

Not for me at least! I’ve heard some say that it’s easy to distinguish a male and female writer of erotica, because the woman will put in 80-90% emotion and 10-20% physical. So it stands to reason that in general readers of the same gender will want to read that proportion. Since it’s also generally true that women make up 80-90% of erotica readers, my challenge as a male writer is to put that extra 50% in that I wouldn’t normally think necessary. The other major difficulty is avoiding repetition when basically describing something so common and quotidian in such great detail. Everyone already knows what happens during sex. That’s really hard. It’s similar to writing poetry than prose in that sense: always looking for new ways of saying the same thing. And it took me as long to write 25k of prose, as it would have 25k of poetry.

Why do you think readers want to read erotica so much nowadays?

 Several reasons, I suppose, though I must say I’m no authority on the matter – I’m fairly new to writing, if not to sex. In one sense it seems a bit unnecessary. We don’t write about how we eat chocolate croissants in such great detail, or how a person gets dressed or washes the dishes, and yet we stop the story to concentrate on how the characters have sex, or even masturbate.

Because we can, is the first answer. It’s great that finally we can be – more or less – comfortable with our sexuality again. I say again because I believe the two hundred years or so of prudishness that we are vigorously shaking off now are an anomaly in our history. People used to live in much closer quarters and shared experiences of bodily functions. The Marquis de Sade was writing about stuff much stronger than anything we have in 50 Shades of Grey or anything I’d have the guts to write – I can’t see that leap being made from somewhere so prudish as our own time, or definitely not 50 years ago.

The second reason is because we want to know how others are doing it. I know how to drive a car and eat a chocolate croissant perfectly well, thanks very much, but I could always use a new idea for how to pleasure my partner, or myself. Even though it’s an everyday activity, we don’t actually all do it the same way. We aren’t even sure what others to at all, because we don’t usually talk about it. And when we do exchange information, we can be quite surprised by the differences between couples. This divide can be wide: I know some who only have oral sex – specifically fellatio – on rare, and usually special, occasions, while others have a quick oral sex session when they’re not feeling energetic enough to do the “full” thing. Reading about ways others have sex is therefore much more interesting than reading about how someone eats their cornflakes.

Additionally, we’re a bit like budgerigars in a way (and I’m more an authority of budgies/parakeets than of erotic novellas in a way) – we like to get it on when we see others getting it on! So it’s much more stimulating to read about sex than it would make me want to break out the Cadbury’s milk tray if I read about someone licking the inside out of her chocolate croissant…

The last reason is that it doesn’t matter – if that’s what the readers want, then we give them what they want. After all, if we go with the percentages again, most men won’t read my novella. But they will go watch an action film with a shit-load of blood and guts. In the old days the baddies got shot and they fell off the horse, and we didn’t worry too much about them after that. But now that we can – because we have the special effects and because the powers that be are men and they like that shit, so it’s ok to put it in PG 13 movies – we do indeed look very closely at what the bullet does and how much blood there is and how much damage it does, and then, because we are all now fairly familiar with what damage a bullet does, we have dreamed up lots of different ways to kill someone and put them in books or on the big screen. Well, if women want to read about the ins and outs of the old in and out, then who are we to do anything but satisfy their consumer whims?

True. So, any plans for more satisfaction of whims?

 I have submitted a synopsis of a novella set in Pamplona – another town I’ve lived in, and have been asked to submit the rest of the story, which I am working on. I have a couple of other cities I’ve spent time in that I’d like to write about, though I’m not sure if I have the energy for so much sex all at once. I might have to space them out.

Well, I look forward to hearing about your next book. As you know, I live in Pamplona, so I’ll have to read it to make sure you’ve got the city right. I won’t opine on the saucy parts, though, lest I show my ignorance! Thanks for visiting today, JD!

Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.

You can check out JD’s facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/JDMartinsauthor  and read his bio at 

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/index.htm

And of course get his book for any device at:  http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-madrid.htm

Or straight from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk  at these two links:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RY328RY

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00RY328RY

One Night in Madrid by JD Martins - sm banner

Reducing trash – even though it will all be recycled…

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately about the amount of trash I create, after I read recently about the girl, Lauren Singer, who is one of the guests on this radio show about how to live a greener life – one of her blog posts, about not producing any trash for two years. (the photo below is of her fridge…)

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Having a daughter who likes yogurts, and the both of us being diabetic, we’re always going to generate plenty of plastic – unless I get a keg installed at home, I’m going to keep buying cans of beer. I can’t calculate how much plastic and metal we put in our recycle chute here.
But I have been buying packaged veggies in the supermarket just because it’s quicker than waiting in the lines for the veggie stalls in the old fashioned market downstairs, which is terrible, since I’m sure the veggies are better for me from the market, and I love the fact that here in Spain these old markets still exist and want to support them.mercado1
I have just come back from a trip to said market and went to the stall which sells veggies mostly grown right here in town on a small farm… and they gave my daughter a free strawberry (yeah… they still sell strawberries in December, but they’re from southern Spain, not Chile…) AND they gave me an extra courgette that wasn’t in great shape just to not waste it. I feel great about myself again and will hereafter make the effort – during the week the queue wasn’t even long.

 

market stall

Then again, listening to the show, I can see my carbon footprint is huge because I don’t’ live at home any more. I can only hope all my cycling will one day make up for flying home twice a year!

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/12/11/cop20-united-nations-energy-efficiency

Peace on Earth

Happy new Year everyone!

2014 was a great year for me – started this blog, had two novels published… – and I hope that 2015 will be just as good if not better. Thanks to all who liked and followed this, and read the books.

To start off the year here’s a poem I wrote on Xmas day, looking over the fields of northern Spain during a short walk alone, thinking of my own peace and the peace that is so ephemeral and yet so pursued by the world, and especially remembered on the 100 year anniversary of England and German troops having a spontaneous ceasefire. However, after listening to the new Spanish king talk bollox the previous night in his first xmas address to the nation, the only bit I got was our “competitivity in a global world.” When we have Germany making laws against the Europeans who they asked us to join a union with, as they turn turn the screws on other European countries (and now suggest that Greece should shuffle off and die an economic death rather than hold true to the bullshite they sold us about European Unity) it’s clear that the only way out of this shite is to pay everyone in the world the same wage. Then we won’t bother to immigrate, or buy shite just because it’s cheap… but the kings of this world don’t want us to do that.

 

Peace on Earth

 

This is peace on earth, solitary and silent;

Only the swish of the windmills on sunlit hills.

 

And the war they ceased a century past shows

Each man merely wishes to have his life go on,

To return here. Still our kings tell us today how it’s

Us against them: horse shit best left to fertilise

Their graves. For it’s them against us, and

Together is just them first, till we shed the march

Of history we’re cursed to continue entrenched.

 

For what differs between me and a Mongolian?

Only that I earn more than he knows and can

Buy what he makes while be barely buys clothes

But what makes me happy is the mere chance to

Visit his hillsides in the silence of sunshine or snow.