A Space Danger! short story.
Here’s the narrated version of Space Marines’ Graveyard for your wondrous ears.
While writing Space Danger! I’m often surprised when background characters get fed up with me not giving them much time in the spotlight and they seem to find a way to smack me in the chops and demand better.
One bunch of lads in particular have made me laugh more than any of the other characters and I hardly use them in the main story, although they are crow-barring their way into scenes more and more as I progress and that’s probably because they’re tougher than me and could kill me with a swift slap to the face. The Space Marines! Bless their camouflage socks.
So while I’m working on Part 3 of the main story they decided I should tell the tale of how they got to actually be Space Marines and I therefore had to oblige. They also told me that if I actually released the story then they would have to kill me. I don’t know if they were joking or not but to hell with it, I published it anyway.
Is that someone outside? I’ll go look in a second.
One other thing I want to add about this story is the driving force behind every battle-hardened, grizzled old Space Marine, and that’s their mother.
This story isn’t just about the Space Marines’ last days of training, it’s about the mothers that made it possible for them to be there.
In my own little way it’s a little message to my mum.
Mum! I’ll always be your brave little soldier.
Loads of love.
I’m not afraid to admit I like a bit of heroic fantasy now and then, why should I be? I’m not a coward! I’ve lived near Aldershot. Yeah. Never went there, mind. Not slowly at least, not stopping. Heard it’s not bad actually but that’s not the point.
The point is I like heroic fantasy. I’m not all about spaceships and ray guns. The other side of my genre coin has caused me to find a new favourite who I believe I can safely put on the ‘Heroic Fantasy’ section of my bookshelves. I’ll let him introduce himself in this guest post from that very same fellow:
Hello! My name is D. E. M. Emrys, but you can call me D. I’m the author of the upcoming fantasy series ‘Wroge Elements’.
Why do we read fantasy? Heck, why do we write fantasy? For me it’s down to the ‘human’ factor. When the chips are down, what’re you going to do. Ask yourself this: ‘would you rather die on your feet, or live on your knees’?
I’ve posed that question to myself many a time. I might be an author, but I still have a day job. I’m a full time serving soldier. From desert sands to icy wastes, rolling hills to as-far-as-the-eye-can-see flatlands, I’ve not only ‘been there’ (and likely bought the t-shirt) but I’ve likely fought there in some capacity, too. Or at least trained. I know men and women who have overcome mortal wounds to rescue comrades under fire. I’ve made friends with those who should see me as an enemy, but instead they want to help. I’ve met soldiers who believe in what they’re doing, even when everyone back home is questioning the outcome of an operation. I’ve seen the respect, the love, and the admiration, of the friends and families back home as they send off their loved ones to war. You, reader, have almost definitely seen the wooden box on the TV when a soldier doesn’t make it home alive.
That’s the human factor.
Standing up and doing something – anything – because someone has to.
The world is not the nightmarish place it seems to be. In amongst all the bad, there’s a hell of a lot of good. Fantasy as a genre allows me to escape the norm, and realise what makes the world such a good and bad place to be.
This has become a far more serious segment than I meant it to be, but it’s something I truly believe in. Characters in fantasy have lives of their own, hopes and dreams, fears and flaws. But, it’s not the narrator’s description of the characters that make them who they are. It’s the way they react to the plot-sized life changing cataclysm landing on their lap.
What if Mr Frodo never delivered the ring to Mordor? What if Harry’s parents didn’t sacrifice themselves to save him? What if Arlen Bales had left his mother out in the night with the demons hunting her? What if Druss the Legend had ignored the called to war in his old age, and abandoned the fortress of Dros Delnoch to its fate?
When the chips are down…
And this is why I love fantasy. I aspire to my heroes – given life blood by ink, and destiny upon paper. I learn something about myself and the world around me with each novel. So let me ask you this:
‘Live with a sword, or die without?’
That’s the question posed by my debut novel, ‘It Began With Ashes’. It’s not about knights in shining armour who ride in to save the day, or damsels in distress held captive by wicked warlocks and witches. It’s a story about real life every day heroes – the boy who looks out for his friends, the father who hides his past to protect his son, the mother who will do anything for her family. More importantly, there’s a man with a very big axe and he knows how to use it.
And that’s why I read and write fantasy. What’s your excuse?
D. E. M. Emrys. Author. Soldier by day, Soldier by night – Writer in between. Knows war to write war.
I had many, many long soul crushing hours on my hands as I waited, bored to tears, for the next customer. This was back when I worked in an off license. This was back when I started writing.
There was one old fella that came in regularly for his bottle of whiskey. Kind of a big ol’ walrus of a man. He always spoke quite slowly and brusquely.
“Give me some of that Scottish shit.”
I’d grab his usual brand, wrap it and bag it. Take the payment and he’d shuffle out with a heartfelt, “Fuck you.”
“And fuck you too, sir!” I’d cheerily reply.
Another regular was the sweetest, kindest old well-to-do type lady you could ever hope to meet. She’d come in for her sherry, which you’d have to turn away from the counter and go over to the shelf for. By the time I’d turn back she’d have nestled various different chocolate bars in her coat pockets.
When I first noticed this I was stunned. When I told the boss he flat out refused to believe me, another one of my stupid moments probably. But when he witnessed it himself he was stunned too.
We never told her we knew, we’d just charge her for a couple of Mars Bars here and there.
There were many more characters that killed a few minutes in the hours of hanging around doing nothing but in-between them all was the mindless doodling on the paper we wrapped the bottles in. This turned into words, this turned into a love for writing and twenty years later I’m back at it again and remembering why I did it in the first place.
I’m quite enjoying myself!
As far as Space Danger! is going, things are moving very well indeed. Still early days for Part 1 yet but so far the response has been very encouraging. Have really appreciated everyone’s help, comments and reviews. I feel like I owe many people many drinks.
Part 2 is now approaching the editing stage, I’ve let it simmer long enough now so can go back to it all fresh-eyed. I thought it might be a difficult second album type affair when I started it but I actually think I love it more than Part 1. The working title for it is Nemesis Mine but that’s subject to my brain’s ridiculous whims. Part 3 is still being written but am happy with it so far!
Other stuff that’s happening involves audio work mostly. Things are coming together for the next edition of Dark Fiction Magazine, we’re still on target for end of March for that. Soldiers of Tangent (now hosted at Geek Planet Online) is still going strong, intermittently! An episode has not long been released and we recorded another recently too that I think Danny and I were blimmin’ happy with. And there’s the Bearcast too! Currently in it’s 4th series, few more episodes of that to go and then some slightly different things are afoot.
Got some narration to do for a couple of things, one of which is Space Danger! Which I will release an episode at a time on my blog. Looking forward to that!
I’ve also now dived into the world of Goodreads after a period of dipping my toes in and running away. I can really see the benefit of that place now and have enjoyed raiding my patchy memory to try and remember what books I’ve read (and what I’d admit to reading!). It’s also exposing me to new readers and authors like D.E.M.Emrys (who has kindly written a very positive review of Space Danger!) Am currently reading his book It Began With Ashes which I will review in a future post but for now am thoroughly enjoying.
That’s about it for now other than to mention how uncontrollably proud I still am of Jen and am excited at her progress in the writerly field. Glory awaits, Jen! Flip loads of glorious glory!
It’s just a matter of time now. At the point of posting this the first part of Space Danger! has been submitted to Amazon ready for Kindle enjoyment.
Once that is up then it’s another session of frowning at formatting, swearing, re-adjusting and general what-the-fuckery to make it available for other devices.
It’s been an intriguing experience! I’ve been vastly inspired by Jen Williams who did this sort of thing with The Copper Promise. I’ve been vastly inspired by others too. I have been a keen observer of Jen’s progress, networking, writing, editing, whatnotting… and now it has finally led to the point where my scribblings I did here and there have reached a point of completion.
It’s taken a while, certainly, but it finally came together in a form I ended up happy with.
This is completely possible due to the beta readers, the cover artist, the goddess beta/proof reader and of course the aforementioned Jen, who has galaxies named in her honour.
Space Danger! wasn’t solely a figment of my imagination though. The incredible Danny Davies had his nefarious, but comely, hand in this. If it wasn’t for our chats, plans and faffing around type things then none of this would have surfaced. Space Danger! was originally intended as an audio comedy\drama affair. But when I expressed an interest with my brain to take up writing again, my brain suggested I get cracking on with Space Danger! which, thankfully, Danny agreed would be good to go for.
I owe a fair few people a fair few pints now and it’s totally worth it.
I have finally reached a point where I can get the first part of Space Danger! released into the world and I’m quite happy about that!
I certainly hope that your wonderful eyes will fall upon it and that they, and the rest of you, will enjoy it thoroughly.
To celebrate the imminent, weekenderly, arrival of the good ship HMSS Monstro and crew, I’ve updated the Smashwords account with a copy of First Sweep, a mini prequel short story type affair. Although I’m afraid that it will cost you nothing at all so apologies if you like spending money.
I think it was around April last year that I started bothering paper with pen scribbles again, fuelled by inspiration from the resident prolific writer of the household. I had a good stab at writing some donkeys years ago and remember really enjoying it but then life and whatnot managed to shove this side of me into a cupboard and then piled on loads of old rubbish.
The little writerly voice inside me was still whispering ideas now and then though and I would channel some of those nuggets into such things as Lost Bearings, The Bearcast and even Soldiers of Tangent which are all bloody great fun.
But the little writerly voice kept nagging away until I gave in and started working on Space Danger! And he forced me into writing in pubs, like I used to, longhand. I didn’t mind this, what with me loving beer and all that, and what I noticed was that I was in a different frame of mind when I was writing, I wasn’t my usual, distracted, mindless oaf of a bloke. I was that writerly fellow who had been nagging me all those years and what’s more I decided that this fellow had a name which took me a good afternoon, and some good ales, figuring out what it was.
So now, at the dawn of a new
clusterfuck year, my scribbling a few words down when I could has led me to be halfway through the story. I will release this in parts, the first part needs post-beta reading edits. Part 2 needs a thorough smack and Part 3 is a blank notebook waiting to be filled with fantasticals.
And this writerly Doug Strider fellow has got some cracking things in store. It’s all very exciting!
It’s Saturday morning, one of my favourite mornings. Sunday is my next favourite but usually accompanied by a mild hangover or two. The other writer in the house is still asleep so please keep the volume down, thank you. Which means now is the quiet time where I can sip my coffee and reflect upon the week I’ve survived and then plan to negotiate whatever the week ahead may bring.
I always forget to do that.
I should use my time wisely by reading or editing or even writing but…
I always forget to do that.
I tend to stare at the BBC for a bit, wondering if I’ve been anywhere near the location of the pothole in the road that they’re reporting from, or stare at Twitter wringing my brain out trying to locate something witty and so clever to post that I become a national hero.
Right now though I’m testing out a new website setup, blog place, sort of thing. Have imported all the posts (lost the comments alas) and sussed out how WordPress works to a very basic degree. Well done, me.
I might grab another mug of caffeine now and have a scan through my notes for a bit.
Or maybe I’ll watch the cat for a bit, she’s in danger of falling off the windowsill.
Good day to you!
I’ve finished the first draft of Part 1 of Space Danger! Hooray!
It took many days and many beers as I used my local pub The Tiger to write it in. A few hundred words at a time whenever I could. Took bloody ages! But now the slow process has finally succeeded and I am a solid quarter through the whole four part pulp space epic type thing.
Work has started on Part 2 already but Part 1 is going to go and sit in a dark place for a while before I smack it about with the editing sword.
Hopefully before too long it will be edited, proofed, beta read, smacked about a bit more and be out in the world ready for your electronic book reading device.
But for now… Be careful in space. There’s danger in it.