Blog Archives

Small surges forth from huge setbacks

2017 didn’t start with very much good news. There were more attacks on innocent people just like last year. The rich and powerful are continuing to play their chess game with the planet, and have moved their rook into position to fuck things up in a big way. We, the pawns, stand ready to do what we can to oppose, but expect the worst they can impose upon us.

And 2016 slips right into its place in the graph as the hottest year ever recorded, right in front of 2015 and 2014.

Just like we see with all species, the numbers of predators, especially large ones like lions and wolves, have collapsed in the last number of decades.

A large part of the problem are the conflicts these large predators come into in areas where livestock are farmed. There are many different ways to prevent kills (such as guard dogs and electric fences) but in many cases farmers whose livestock are preyed upon take action and kill the predators (one supposes it is the same animal(s)). Thus, one dead cow or goat means one dead tiger or leopard. The former can be replaced a lot faster than the latter, unfortunately.

Just yesterday, a bear was poisoned in Italy.

But there are signs of some steps back from the brink. In Spain, where the population of wolves is actually increasing, the government of the Community of Madrid have increased the compensation fund to help farmers whose livestock are attacked (though it seems at 500 Euro per sheep, there’s a large temptation to fudge the death of an animal to look like a wolf-kill – which was widespread in some areas of Spain and caused a scandal last year).

This will help reduce such retaliatory killings, since farmers don’t see their livelihoods under threat from the predators. There are also movements to protect livestock using mastiff dogs and restoring pens – this helping much more in the long term as farmers readjust to the new reality of a rewilded landscape.

The world needs more of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

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Dumb Animals and Unnecessary Death

Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age. But I don’t think so.

This kind of thing has always pissed me off – see the poem at the bottom of this post, written in 2000…

So, I’m pretty much okay with killing animals when that’s what has to be done. Sometimes it’s for food (though individuals might not agree with that) and sometimes it’s for human safety. As I said in a recent post, there are always priorities, and human safety is paramount.

But I don’t agree with the killing of two animals recently (a park deer and a pet dog) – though they were done in the name of “human safety.”

They were actually done through 10% laziness and 90% sheer fucking stupidity.

When an animal has to suffer the consequence of some human’s stupidity it really fucking gets my goat. Really.

I must admit that have a real problem with stupidity.

Okay, we all do something stupid now and then.

It was pretty stupid – in hindsight, perhaps – to walk into an enclosure with a testosterone-crazy animal that weighs more than you, has more muscles – and legs- than you, and is armed with 14 spikes coming out of its head, alone, unarmed. But the dude didn’t know much about deer – the deer are normally very standoffish, and the rut is a different thing altogether.

That’s not the stupidity I’m talking about.

I’m talking about shooting the deer, afterward, as if the deer has turned into a man-eater, or a nuisance bear liable to break into someone’s home and attack their sleeping children.

It’s a fucking deer. Put it back with the rest of the herd and let it fight the other stags, and there will be no further problems. Though, of course, make sure the workers know not to make the same mistake again.

No, the deer made the mistake of being a dumb animal. And a tasty one at that – so what if it’s not in the wild and we’re not hunting it? We have an excuse, and a stupid excuse is better than none. So the deer died for doing what it does, which is why it was brought to the park in the first place, and we’ll make the same fucking mistake with the next deer that knows no different (they’ve already allowed a younger male to be in the same situation, alone in one part of the park with only humans to take its interest – there’s not even a bush to spar against). And then we’ll lament and shoot that deer.

Right now there is a lone deer in the same place which could attack a lone keeper.

That’s what I’m talking about.

This is institutional stupidity – the kind of stupidity that happens again and again because it’s ingrained in the system and you can’t seem to find anyone who has responsibility for something that actually understands a fucking iota of what they are supposed to know about.

That shit really pisses me off.

I mean the kind of errors that lead to the killing of a dog called Excalibur – yeah, pretty fucking over-the-top name for the runt it was, but that’s beside the point – are the same fucking dose of idiocy that might lead to the death of a shit load of people, not just in Alcorcón, Madrid (a place I taught English in for 2 years and got to know a lot of folk) but all around Spain, if not corrected pretty fucking quickly, and by that I mean last week already.

For those who don’t know, Excalibur was the pet dog of the Spanish nurse who was the first person to contract Ebola outside Africa during the current outbreak. She went hospital, her husband went in beside her, and her dog went to the biohazard fire.

The people who might be infected from this nurse will hopefully not get infected, and will hopefully not have pets.

The big mistake the government made – and it’s the minister of health, the one who refuses to resign even now, who made Mistake Number One – was to bring infected people out of Africa to let them die at home (they died) in the first place: creating the possibility of spreading the virus to a whole new population. All the eminent virologists in Spain are rightly up in arms about not being even asked their opinion. But that’s the point – those in power could give a fuck about the scientific and medical opinion, because they don’t want to follow advice: they want to do what they want and will do it. And they won’t apologise for it, and they sure as fuck won’t resign.

Even after international experts said it would be better to keep the dog alive to at least test whether human dog transmission is possible – information we might fucking need soon enough as we are embroiled in a breakout if these clowns don’t get their shit together – they went ahead and killed it.

Said they’d nowhere to keep it.

Like a dog can’t sit in a cage in a hospital ward – it’s not like your average appendicitis patient is going to be sleeping next door to the Ebola sufferer. Okay, maybe it’s not easy, but it can be done.

AAAnd they didn’t bother taking any samples. Why would they do anything clever like that? The dog has to die because it might be infected, but lets not find out, in case someone says we didn’t need to kill it. Whether or not it was infected, you didn’t need to kill it: it was scientific information on four legs, fuckwits!

There was a huge backlash against the idea of putting down the dog – the animal rights folks turned out in flocks and blocked the road, etc. It was nice to see – it would be nice to see the same reaction next time they think of bringing infected folk back home to die, or letting the president (the embodiment of stupidity having no glass ceiling in politics) return from wherever he has fled to avoid questions on the crisis.

Maybe the deaths of these animals – guilty only of being made dangerous by human stupidity (though the same can be said of bears and lions and many others) – will serve as an impetus to make us join together and get rid of the idiots? After all, it’s not just us they are endangering, but a whole planet full of other animals too.

Meanwhile, here’s that poem…..

 

Accidents will happen

 

A kid sliced his ear off the other day;

Down by me in the field, on a swing from a tree.

We used to have a swing there when I was young.

Anyway, he lost it somehow when swinging;

Cut clean off apparently.

 

So who was to blame for this minor tragedy?

The authorities, for not having a playground;

Or at least not preventing kids from making their own?

Probably the parents, for not taking proper care.

His peers, for forcing the obviously incompetent kid

Up the tree to launch off leaving his ear?

 

It was no one’s fault of course –

It was just a freak accident.

 

No. Sorry. Actually; it was the tree’s –

They cut it down next day.