Ernest Bywater: Blog

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My health and writings - 26 May 2020

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I'm still around. However, the years of stress and strain with the Gestapo made me severely depressed to the point I've been on medication and psych help about it for the last few years. While I am getting better in both mind and body I've not fully recovered from the accumulated stress overload. I am writing when I feel creative, but I am not yet able to keep with a story for long. Thus I'm greatly slowed in my writing. Things are improving in this area, but too slowly to suit me.

I do have over 30 stories part written which total over 700,000 words. I also have plans for several sequels and other stories I wish to get written. But difficulties in concentrating to do that work are making this hard.

Please bear with me while I work on getting something finished and published as soon as I can, but don't hold your breath too much as it's slow going right now.

Please do not send me any messages right now as the time taken to reply to them takes time away from my writing.

Thank you,

Ernest

Reposted Comments on DiD Stories

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Chaos Calls: Learning Visit - The opening does give away a bit of what's to happen in Finding Home as it's the end of Finding Home. That's there to set Al's character up in Chaos without having to make a new one.

Release of Prisoners: In the section where the main camp is attacked, after the attack Al and Joe are speaking to Colonel Bond, the next paragraph mentions the teens get down from their positions and release the prisoners. They help clean up the site.

Return Home: I mention the travel home is faster than the travel through the forest. I say that as when they bypassed Bridgetown and worked their slow way to the enemy camp they traveled in the forest amongst the scrub and trees, making their way with great care and working hard not to leave a trail while scouting ahead before moving. On the return trip they travel on the road that goes through the forest, that's open and no scrub in the way, making for a faster trip. The return trip has a lot less in the way of natural obstructions and makes for easier movement.

Chaos Calls: First Rescue - Up North, I've had a few people say that US citizens would use the term Back East when talking about going from New Mexico to Frederick. One editor raised this, so I do have the US CITIZENS use that term; but Al is an Aussie and would never say it that way, to him it would be 'up north' as a purely descriptive term, and the same for Eduardo as he's a Mexican. So, please, no more emails about Al saying up north.

Chaos Calls: Dragon Dilemma - Bearings, the bearings I use are steel roller or needle bearings in a steel race - not ball bearings. These can be cast metal. Bearings will never be common on Chaos, it's metal poor, as the metal bearings of the wagons are worth a lot. A rich person like Al can afford them for a special project.

A troop is a basic military unit and has varied a lot between countries, forces, and time periods. The earliest use of the term was for an organised group of warriors on foot. Today, more people are used to a cavalry troop. In more modern usage it varies between being the equivalent of a platoon or a company and has varied in size from around 30 to 70 members. On Chaos Al is setting up a troop to be the equal of a platoon, but with 65 members as that's what he sees as a reasonable sized force to safely act on its own. In older times military units had larger numbers than they do today - think pre-gunpowder period, please.

The carts I mention are something like a dog cart modified for use by a horse, they are only as wide as an average horse. Here's an image of roughly what they look like in real life:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dogcart3.jpg

.........................................

Shiloh:

In chapter 36 Kyle suffers some light cracked ribs. This slows him down, but doesn't incapacitate him. I didn't send him to Chaos via Crossroads to be healed first because he has a direct portal to Shiloh so he can bypass Crossroads and none of the rules have been changed. One rule is a Hero going to Crossroads from Earth MUST effect a Damsel rescue before he can return to Earth, by using the Shiloh portal Kyle doesn't have to do this, if he'd gone to Crossroads he would have to conduct a rescue and delay his Shiloh work. Also, Kyle's role at the moment is to be a commander, so he's not that active in most combats. Please note the direction for a mandated rescue, stated in a few stories by Lazlo, Earth to Crossroads to Chaos MUST pick and make a rescue to be able to return to Crossroads then to Earth and the Damsel listed for him has to be with him for the portal to activate - the only exception is if the Damsel dies on him. Also, he isn't yet a Hero on his first visit to Crossroads to select a Caretaker. Due to this a Hero returning from Chaos to Crossroads doesn't have to make a rescue as it's in the other direction, which is what Kyle does as he has no Damsels listed as being required to activate the portal.

Also, the standard Crossroads rule is everyone returning from Chaos has a time in the healing chamber to be safe from microscopic issues. I don't cover that at all as it's a routine issue like meals etc., none of which do I cover every single item of - just a few that have a relevance to the other matters. So please assume every return via Crossroads sees every one put through the chamber and minor injuries etc. healed; and don't ask me if his healed cracked ribs would look perfect or like a natural heal because I don't know and Lazlo never said, so I'm not going to.

In chapter 35 I mention War Bonnet is looking younger as the portals return the people who go to Chaos via Crossroads back to Crossroads and Earth as if only 15 minutes in time and biological aging has occurred. Thus, War Bonnet is now only 15 minutes older than when he first went to Chaos. KK wants War Bonnet as her horse when she needs one, so she takes him back and forth now he's decided he's hers. This is all within the DiD canon established by Lazlo. Note: in one story Lazlo does have the Hero find a companion who was stranded on Chaos for some years and take him back to Earth - the person did claim to be a stranded Hero, but the truth came out when the got back to Earth.

Larry had his spine healed by the aliens, but didn't have his muscles conditioned. Because it's not a health injury or sickness issue, and it's a condition from before his trip to Chaos, the health system does nothing about his muscle condition. Again, all as per the canon by Lazlo.

Updated Repost of my Writing Style and General Story Comments

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I've been having a major issue with the Gestapo since mid 2015, the extreme limitations on my movements and the stress of the delays they cause resulted in me becoming very depressed in late 2017 and I've been under treatment and medication about it since mid 2018. I started coming out of the depression in May 2019. I'm still climbing the ladder back to better health. All this severely affected my creativity and writing with me having only short periods of useful activity. I've 650,000 words in over 30 stories I'm working on and trying to get finished and posted, so keep an eye out for new ones coming out.

Watch my blog as I only say things here about the stories here, and give alerts on new stories as well.

Oh, to me email, phone, snail mail, and face to face calls are social media, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other such stuff are data mining SPAM sites that I don't use; so please don't send me any invites to such places.

Thank you for reading my stories. I do many things to put food on the table and deal with life, this interferes with my writing, so please bear with me when there are delays in stories appearing. I do NOT post a story until it's complete. Once posting has started I'll make changes to deal with typographical, spelling, continuity, or other important errors like copyright infringement when someone points one out to me. If you see an error, and not just a UK / USA spelling difference error, please let me know.

Writing: I write as if I'm telling the story while sitting around a fire. I find the use of present tense adds to the feeling of being involved, but don't do this with all my stories. Most authors write in the past tense, as it's easier that way to use only one tense throughout. In the present tense you sometimes have to refer to prior events in the past tense, and use both tenses as is appropriate for the situation. I often write in the first person, as this adds to the sense of being involved too. These are both valid, if not common, ways to write. Please, Anonymous, no more emails about it being the wrong way to write.

Aussie narrators use Aussie terms, so please keep that in mind, despite where the story is set. I use Aussie narrators for most of my stories, so, please, no emails about that.

Headings: I use colour codes to indicate headings for Chapters (red), Sub-chapters (blue), and Sections (bold black). They're centred, look more colourful, and are easier to locate. My chapters do NOT match what FS calls a chapter, and I list the FS chapter numbers in green in my Table of Contents. The submission wizard gets temperamental if the files are too big and makes them into multiple pages. So I try to match my chapter / sub-chapter ends with the number of characters the wizard is happy with - but not always as sometimes I just have to go past the magic number. Once the first part is showing the rest will be appearing every other day. If you can't wait to finish it you can always get it from my Lulu web site (listed below) while contributing to my welfare fund.

Sequels: I do plan to do a sequel to Rough Diamond, Star Performance, the Al Adams stories (on Earth and Chaos), Shiloh, Kim:Power Play, Odd Man in College, and others. I also have many works in progress to finish, so don't hold your breath. Just watch out for the new stories and enjoy them as they appear. They are planned out, but I need to do some research before writing them, watch here for the announcement of when they go up.

EMAILS: I reply to all emails from valid reply to addresses. However, some block emails from my ISP on an irregular basis - clients of those ISPs who don't get a reply, talk to your ISP about it. To get around this I'm using gmail to reply, but this takes more work by me, so I'm now doing email replies every six to eight weeks.

Thanks to the anonymous feedback email senders who send a smiley or a thanks for each chapter. You more than make up for the anonymous abusive ones. Please don't get offended if I don't respond to a basic 'thanks' email immediately.

I'm an Aussie and have never been to the USA in real life, all the knowledge comes from Internet research. So anyone who wishes to give me advice on such things is welcome to send me some information and ideas so I can incorporate them into stories. Please note that in doing so you give me the legal right to use that idea free of charge.

I write as both Ernest Bywater and Ernest Edwards (the Clan Amir series) and I also have my stories at Lulu - page link below.

All my stories are available as e-pub downloads or print books via Lulu. The stories are written in a 6 x 9 inch paperback format page using Libre Office and saved as .odt files then converted to HTML files for here. Note: I've been revising my works to make them smoother flowing and easier to read. If you've bought a past copy and the Lulu page shows a copy with an edition date before July 2018 and you'd like an updated e-copy, email me with some sort evidence you have a purchased copy and the format you want (epub or pdf), and I'll send you a copy of the latest version. The latest versions are being posted here as well.

www.lulu.com/spotlight/ernestbywater

I now have my own website set up with all of my stories summaries listed in natural divisions that may help you to sort out how they go together. But you will have to come back here or go to Lulu to actually read the stories.

www.bywater.net.au

If you think a story of mine is worth publishing in your local newspaper or magazine, talk to them and have them email me. I'll gladly give them approval to reprint it free, especially for Always a Marine and Coming Home.

When I started on the Breeder World Universe I planned for it to be a very large group of stories. However, that was over a decade ago and I was working with Cazna on the stories with him. Since then many things have happened and I don't see myself getting back to the universe very soon. Thus I've now opened the universe up for any author to write in if they wish to use the world background I've established. I just ask they leave my characters in Breeder Ships for me to develop, or seek my approval to use them.

Reposted special Notes on some stories

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Due to questions from readers I'm aware many people in the USA and UK have a different idea of what is or isn't in a bathroom, and bed sizes. Here in Australia we have a number of arrangements for a bathroom, and different sized beds.

Beds

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_size

The link above has a good list of the various bed sizes. What's important is here in Australia we have King single which is 42 inches by 80 inches which I often mention.

Bathrooms

A bathroom may contain a bath, a shower, a basin sink in a bench, a toilet, and space to dress - or any combination of them. Also, a bath may or may not have a shower over it. The simple rule is if any one of the above is shown as having its own room, then it's not in the bathroom. Thus the bathroom in Survivor: Moving On has a bath (in this case with a shower over it), a basin sink area, and space to dress. We also have a thing called a four way bathroom where there's a sort of central basin sink area with three doors off it to have the bath, toilet, and shower each in their own little area to allow privacy and multiple users. A three way bathroom is the same but no separate shower.

An en-suite is a cut down version with a sink, toilet, and shower or bath with a shower over it.

I hope this helps you to understand the plans I include as a memory aid.

Chips!

Here in Australia chips are bits of hot fried potato. Due to certain US fast food stores doing business here we sometimes call the very thin cut ones French Fries (some people call them shoe strings fries). We also have potato crisps, these are cold, precooked, and in packets from companies like Smiths; sometimes they are called a packet of chips. Chips are hot and eaten with meals or as a snack or meal of their own, crisps are a small snack and never eaten with a meal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_fries

Figures in conversation - especially money.

A common verbal short-cut is to mention the baseline of figures the first time you speak of the figure and then only talk of what's in front of the baseline. Example: "I got a budget of a hundred million bucks, the first ten is for the new building, thirty for operating costs ..." and so on. This is to save saying the million or thousand or grand several times.

Past Values.

Due to inflation and other economic factors it's hard to relate prices and values of long ago with those of today. Improved manufacturing makes things cheaper while other factors push prices up. For example, the common desktop computer that cost $2,000 today has more computing power than a $5,000 system did 20 years ago or a $5,000,000 computer did 50 years ago. Yet a gallon of fuel 50 years ago was only a few cents.

You can't really compare prices of then to now. Back in 1860 the latest Colt .45 revolver sold for $20, based on inflation between then and now it would cost about $500, while the changes in manufacturing should make it available for much less for the same gun today, but other factors like increased labor means they sell for $1,500 today - which is much higher than the inflation rate. Rural land in Arizona sold for $5 to $10 an acre in 1860 and now sells for thousands an acre.

The best way to get an idea of prices is to look at key factors of the time and place. In 1860 farm land in Maryland sold for $30 an acre while most people were paid $1.00 a day for a full day of work or about $0.10 per hour (or less), and new revolvers cost $20 each.

I hope this helps with looking at comparative values.

What is a Ute?

I've had people asking: what is a ute? It's the short form of utility vehicle, but is a specific type of vehicle here in Australia and has had the meaning expanded a bit. This wikipedia page gives the basics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ute_%28vehicle%29

A close US equivalent (as reported by a US reader).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_El_Camino

The most common form is a sedan type vehicle front with an integrated bed, kind of like a normal sedan version of the US pick-up truck. Today it's been expanded to include most 1 tonne vehicles used on a rural property, like the typical US pick-up truck, and even a flat-bed tray style 1 tonne truck.

Plan Images

I've had people ask about plans of places I design and use in my stories. High quality images of them are on DropBox. Within the folder is a folder for each story, and you can open it to see the images for the story you're reading. Be warned, I'm putting images up as I create them, so there may be some for stories not yet finished, so don't get upset when you don't recognise the folder, you will, when it's finished. Although I tried, some aren't to scale, due my system's limitations. The URL is:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ebk8ve052m0c1rs/AACohN7e_x8OuRFrn0EbQ2L6a?dl=0

The Contagion

Anti-biotics: This term is used in two ways. One is in regards to the commercial products for sale, these are designed to target specific biological infections, and not a virus. In general scientific research anti-biotics is used to refer to any chemical or biological agent used to fight or destroy something biological, and includes more than the commercial formulas just mentioned. This wider use of the term is what I have in the story.

Cheyenne Mountain Complex: The facility entrance is part way up a high mountain and visible from a number of areas where a line of sight is available over a lower ridge and along the roadway. Access is along Norad Road and Google Maps shows Norad Road takes a large hook left up through a valley before it reaches the lower car-park for the facility and then continues along the valley to the upper car-park at the top of a steep slope. The valley where the road takes that major curve is a good spot to set up a barricade, and what I refer to.

Times of Old: Here in Australia I was taught by a carpenter to call the cut a rebate. In the US most seem to call the same thing a rabbet - the wiki article on a Dado joints calls it both, amongst other things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dado_%28joinery%29

I've had a few emails where people say I should credit cmsix.

First, yes, I'm aware of his writing and make an oblique reference to one of his works early on in Times of Old.

Second, cmsix did NOT create this genre and he was far from my first introduction to aliens and time travel. The first story I read along these lines was back in the 1970s and was in an old pulp fiction paperback. At SOL I first read time travel stories by authors like aubie 56, The Scot, Jim War, and Old Guy before I found cmsix's works. Some of those pre-date the stories cmsix has on SOL. His big one, John and Argent seems to have been written in 2005 or 2006, from what I can find on the Internet, well after I had read stories by others. So please stop saying I should credit him for the idea, as it was around before him.

Early dialogues with the aliens - Ed thought he was going to die and is surprised not to be dead. Then he's hit with the idea about being the star in a survival show. He realises they can just eliminate him if he disagrees, so he takes the job on. No need for a serious discussion at all and he's also still a bit shocked by the situation. I defy anyone to be anything but a little flippant in that situation.

Weapons and the Wagons About them being useless after a few decades and Ed should take books, information, paper and printing presses. I need only say: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - which I've applied to the story. Ed is a guy wanting to stay alive, not an evangelistic scientist on a quest to change the world by taking a hundred tons of gear with him.

He first ensures his survival; designer cave to live in, armoured clothing, guns to survive a major attack, a show and tell manual on medicine and the local herbs, (think of these as insurance) then standard weapons of the era to hunt and survive normal attacks, basic tools and seed to convert from a hunter gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one, salt and cooking gear to get an in with the locals, finally a wagon and horsepower to move it all to his living area. He also gets the knowledge to talk to the locals.

For those who've not studied it, no culture can develop and sustain metalworking and metal based tools or implements until AFTER they've developed a decent agricultural lifestyle that enables them enough people to be free to concentrate on such activities as mining, smelting, and blacksmithing. No one person can do all that themselves, and it takes one hell of an infrastructure behind the society to do it - an infrastructure that would take decades or lifetimes to develop from a hunter gather society, no matter how smart and knowledgeable the leaders are.

Ed has to move the society along at a sane pace they can absorb and change to, one step at a time. Which is why the book on tools he asked for and why the focus on woodworking tools. Yes, he cheats and gets long lasting high quality metal ones to start with, but all are tools that can be duplicated from within the available materials and technology of the era. The only thing he has that can't are the guns, and he doesn't want them to be available to anyone else, anyway.

In short, Ed's approach is to improve the life of the people and advance towards civilisation, but at a rate they can handle and sustain, not huge unsupported leaps of tech that can't be sustained.

Will to Survive

The rifle is an AR-7 which was issued to pilots as a survival weapon for many years (it was designed for that purpose). A .22 LR will kill a person if you hit a critical spot like the heart, lungs, or spine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-7

The nukes are Tactical Nuclear Weapons meant for quick use in the field as artillery shells, or small missiles, or demolition charges, and are constructed with two sub-critical masses brought to critical mass by violently slamming them together with a small explosive charge (some links below). Many TNWs have been retired from deployment with active service units. Some were dismantled, and some are still stored in armories in case higher command feel they need them. I don't know if any new ones are being constructed, but design work for new units was still going on as late as 2008. A TNW of this type can be set off by an explosion close to them setting off the activation explosives by the explosions of the cannon shells and thus detonate the TNWs, it was one of the known risks with them and a strong argument against their deployment with front-line combat units. In this story the explosive rounds from the cannon (like the GAU 22/A in the links below) going off beside them sets them off at the same time, or so close together it doesn't matter. The four nuclear explosions overlap to create interesting explosions and shock waves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_%28nuclear_device%29

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W48

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W54

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAU-12_Equalizer#GAU-22.2FA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/25_mm_caliber

In the radio operations I called upon what I was taught back in the 1970s. At that time the organisation I was with used the word 'zero' specifically to mean something of nil value and was below 'one' - thus there were 'zero casualties' meaning no one was hurt. The numbers sounded like: zero, one, two-o, three, foour, fieve, six, seven, eight, niner, one oh; they used 'oh' to indicate the units value after a value in the tens column. What did become an issue was when they changed compass reading to be all three digits so what was four, five (45) became oh, four, five (045) - this was supposed to reduce the risks of an error with the first digit being misheard for the lower directions. Other organisations and other countries did use different values and sounds for radio phonetic values. Some examples being names for the letters, like Bob instead of Bravo and David instead of the Delta I was taught, and so on. Any long discussion on this will see many variations listed by different people.