Antiheroes and Coffee

This is how I start my day, apart from the obvious shower and the rest; with a nice Pink Lady apple and a big cup of Coffee. I used to start my days when I wasn’t at my day job with a fry up (something including any of the following: Sausages, Bacon, Scrambled Egg & Hash Browns). Now that’s a lot for the body to take on in the morning and as soon as I’d eaten it, I was already feeling tired again. Now as part of my ‘trying to be healthy’ (yeah, right!) I’m trying to eat an apple a day. To keep the doctors away and all that. Though I’m pretty sure this apple elixir doesn’t work on those doctors that like to dish out straitjackets. Anyway, the only way I can guarantee myself doing this is by eating it first thing in the morning. To be honest with you it works pretty well, it’s just enough to fill the stomach while you’re working up to speed and has just enough sugar to perk you up.

Then I’ll whack on a film soundtrack (currently: Inception) and sit here and attempt to write something vaguely interesting. I don’t mean the blog, we all know this ain’t that special! But the stories which you will find in any blog that doesn’t come with the ‘musings’ title. Once I’ve done that, I’ll probably get on with the myriad of other jobs I need to do! Today, as it’s Friday, I will probably go grab a coffee from my favourite coffee place (more coffee? Yeah I know! Well I’m going mad anyway!) and make it last as long as possible while I read a book. You can’t beat reading while watching the world go by.

Anyway, as fascinating as you undoubtedly find all of that, on to the actual musings…

I was pretty dumbfounded this morning while conducting my usual ‘reading twitter before getting my arse out of this lovely warm bed’ ritual when I came across a competition by a certain store, ‘Forbidden Planet’. Now as most of you guys will know, they are purveyors of graphic novels, science fiction and general tv and film memorabilia. The competition was one of these ‘retweet while finishing the sentence’ things. And the sentence was ‘I WANT TO BE AN ANTIHERO BECAUSE…’.

The thing that dumbfounded me was that all the replies, as well as the general talk from the Forbidden Planet webmaster? tweetmaster? Twit? was that an antihero was the opposite to a hero, i.e. a villain. Most of them were saying things such as ‘because I can do what I want and get away with it’ <insert picard.jpg>. I can’t help but feel they have somehow missed the point of an antihero. An antihero isn’t simply a villain, they are not even the bad guy in most cases. An antihero is someone who is the protagonist in a story, the guy everyone follows and empathises with, but they have traits that set them apart from the usual hero. In that they aren’t squeaky clean and perfect.  Think ‘The Punisher’ he’s the good guy right? But he goes around killing his enemies and getting his vengeance, BAM! Antihero! You could even class Boromir in the Fellowship as a kind of antihero. Lets think about this, he’s definitely a good guy, I mean he’s human, he’s from Gondor, he fights on the side of good against the evil forces of Mordooooor. So, he’s a hero? Yes. But, he also wants to take the ring and return it to Gondor so he can use it’s power, all be it for good, to destroy Mordor. He wants this so much that it consumes him to the point that he almost steals it. Okay, you could argue that this is the rings power to corrupt driving him, but yes, you guessed it, he’s still a kind of antihero.

Right, I think I’ve made my point there. I could go on about various other antiheroes and I’m sure you have far better examples. I was just, to be kind of honest, shocked at what I was reading earlier.

I was last night also thinking about having a rant about not letting stuff dictate your life. I was in a pretty dark place, as of most nights these days. Something which this writing seems to help or alleviate at least, a distraction I guess. I wanted to say that people shouldn’t let the crap that life throws at you determine who you are. If things are bad, don’t become the bad guy. Nice guys finish last and all that. It’s often tempting to think, well, I’ll become horrible, then I might get somewhere. But you should always stay true to yourself. The only way you should let things affect you is in a way of positive improvement. If you get a lesson out of something bad happening and it helps you to do something better or encourages you to respect and appreciate things more, then good. But don’t let it destroy you.

I recently read the graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke’ and it’s an excellently crafted story about how one simple bad day brought about the character of ‘The Joker’, the great tragedy that crafted his insanity. The scary thing is that I could empathise with the story. Whether that was the genius of the craft or where my mind is at the moment I couldn’t tell you for sure. While reading, at times I just thought, stuff this world…It’s hard not to be too candid on a public space, sufficed to say you don’t want to hear about all my crap, and I don’t want to bear my heart on a plate for you. But I often feel like I’m hanging on to my sanity by a thread…

Right, enough of that. I am going to finish writing some stories. Then I plan to go and look at all the things I want for my new flat and that I can’t afford.

Once again, thanks for reading and I hope you found at least some of in interesting.

Existence is Futile?

Two blogs in as many days?! I know, I was just saying the same thing to myself. I don’t quite believe it either.

This is all part of my plan to, on my days off, get up as early as my body will allow, make a big cup of coffee (white, one sugar please) and spend at least an hour writing. So once again today I have been leafing through my notebook and typing stuff up. I like to do it this way as to me it gets at least one edit before it has even been typed up. From what I write in the notepad which can often be rushed, illegible and sometimes a bit basic, I can take that and refine it in to something better via a keyboard. Although there is some stuff in that notepad that I ain’t lettin’ no one see! Nuhuh!

So as of now, I almost have 2000 words for the ‘Project Xenos’ story, some of which I posted on here a short while ago (you can search for it under that title). And that is before I have even begun to flesh out the story. I aim for that to be my first proper short story rather than just a 1000 word short. I know for a fact I still have some parts for it later in my notepad, so you will see more from that story soon I hope.

Today’s story allows me to get a little arty-farty and philosophical, which is something I don’t tend to do. That is unless I have been plied with alcohol (make mine a red wine, scotch or cider please, ta!). This is where the title comes from. You can work so hard to achieve, get so absorbed in that work that you can forget the little things in life, then one day, one small act or one mistake can destroy it all. I don’t know where I am going to use this little scene but I really like what it portrayed. I’m sure it will come in handy somewhere.

Also, for those of you getting your A Level results today (though you are probably to busy to read this crap!); don’t worry if you don’t get what you expected. Sure it’s a great feeling to achieve and get brilliant results and it can open doors. But A levels are not the be all and end all of your life. I only managed to achieve one A level in Physics (thanks to having ME and my Chemistry teacher thinking it was better for me to dedicate my time to Biology that I was failing miserably rather than Chemistry where I was ahead of the rest of the class – see, I’m still making excuses!), I still got a degree, now I am a college/university lecturer, teaching sound engineering to degree students. So in short, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve if you put your mind to it, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t. You have the power to shape your own destiny, even if the fates can be exceptionally cruel at times.

Anyway, I digress, enough of that. Here is today’s story (Once again thanks for reading and I truly value any feedback):

Hector Lumus was a scribe, he was an exceptional scribe, the most efficient and well respected in the sector. Many other adepts came to him for the quality of his work. So much so that he was always busy with one thing or another. Many scrolls and slates were stacked in ordered piles on his workstation waiting to be started.

So busy that he did not notice the creeping, dark shape behind him.

The kill stroke was so quick that he did not even register his own death until he lay on the ground, his own blood pooling around him, the once neat ordered piles of dataslates now strewn about.

He stared up at the face of his killer, wondering briefly what he had done to deserve this pain, he had always worked hard. That grizzled evil face was the last thing he would ever see as the light faded from his eyes.

The Power of Music

No story today I’m afraid. But I was sitting here just now musing. Contemplating the power of music.


Music has to power to heal, a particular song or even feel of a song can make you feel better or help you get over hurt. I personally love certain guitar tones (being a guitarist) or a certain vibe. I can’t tell you what songs specifically make me feel better because they’re always changing or recycling. Strangely though, I find songs with sad lyrics are actually uplifting, in the way that it helps you realise other people have been through things too and are often far worse off than yourself.

But on the other side of the coin, songs also have to ability to hurt. To bring up an unwanted memory or elicit a certain uncomfortable feeling. This can be down to memory or even just from not really understanding what’s going on in the music. From a dischordant nature or abrasive lyrics.

Music can also bring people together or even indeed force people apart. In ever possible genre of music there is a community, sometimes these are welcoming. Often people with similar music tastes bond together in their mutual love of music. Other times, this love of a certain style can mean that people who like others are forced away. If you don’t like a certain type of music this can mean you are deemed ‘inferior’ to those who do. I’m not condoning this, each to their own. But it is definitely a noticeable trend in music circles. But on the plus, music can bring loads and loads of people together. Each year now in the summer here in the UK we are seeing thousands of people descending on music festivals of various genres and there are more each year. Now, some festival goers may go just for the party atmosphere and drinking, but music is very much at the core of any festival whether people realise or not.

There are also songs that can relate certain people to others. I have a couple of songs that remind me of some people. Sometimes they can be hard to hear and sometimes they can make you smile or sing at the top of your voice. One particular song means a hell of a lot to me, to the point I even did a version of it myself once. Every time I hear it now, it will always make me think.

That is exactly what music can do, how powerful it is. It can elicit such a range of emotions and ideas, inspiration and action. It can control some people and help people express things they couldn’t normally express.

It doesn’t even just have to be lyrics. Words of course are very powerful and the expert lyricist can write in a way that can be interpreted differently and mean different things to different people. But the music itself has a power of it’s own. A song doesn’t have to have lyrics to make you feel a certain way.

Take what you will from music. But I guarantee it will affect your life in some way at some point.


Thanks for reading.

*Insert Clever Title*

So it’s time for a new blog as I attempt to keep things ticking over. The whole point of this is to keep me writing. In fact I’m currently sat here helping a student with some research, loudly tapping away while he delves into books that I have suggested. The sound of keys can either be really annoying or strangely soothing can’t they? Perhaps that’s just me…

Today, I’ve updated the ‘About’ section of the blog. Now you can find out who the hell I am and what I actually intend by this. It may come across as a little crazy. Well once you get to know me, if you don’t already you’ll realise that I’m, at the very least, pretty eccentric. So you’re in for an interesting ride.

As with most people who are keen on writing, I tend to keep notepads full of ideas and prose. As of today, about 5 minutes ago to be exact, I finally finished typing up the contents of my first notepad. Cue applause. Yes, that for me is quite an achievement. It means that many of the ideas I have had since I decided to seriously start writing have now taken a new, digital form. In a way this is a process of editing. First I scribble ideas in a completely incomprehensible style of handwriting in my notepad. Then I type them up; this requires a long process of deciphering as I attempt to understand what the hell I was trying to say. Naturally as things go from the notepad, to my brain, to my fingers, the digital world, they evolve, get edited and (hopefully) improved.

I like to think, so far I have some interesting ideas that I am working on. They vary from 40k, to original ideas. I would also like to work on Warhammer Fantasy story, but I haven’t scribbled anything for that yet. I’ll be back soon with a little bit more information on what these ideas are. I’ll also hopefully have another short story for your perusal in the next few days. The clock is ticking for that 30 June submission deadline. So as always any feedback on my previous stories is always welcomed.

Oops, there goes the proverbial school bell. Time for me to head off! Thanks for reading.

Song Lyrics

I never really used to listen too much to song lyrics, being a guitarist/bass player in bands I was always drawn much more to the melodies and tunes of songs. But recently, with my idea to try and get more in to writing I have started to listen to and pay more attention to lyrics of songs and what they mean.

So that brings me to yesterday when I was listening to one of my favourite albums from last year, Anathema’s “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. Anathema are quite well known for their heartfelt, well-written lyrics. But the thing that actually stood out to me is a quote at the very end of the album which goes as follows:

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love cannot heal, No door that enough love will not open, No gulf that enough love will not bridge, and no war that enough love will not throw down. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outcome, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. And if you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.”

The main thing that made this stand out was the fact it’s so eloquently written. I only wish I could write something so meaningful and heartfelt as that, everything I write in comparison seems contrived and forced. Maybe I will learn one day, maybe I don’t need to try so hard. I had a brief look to see who had actually written it and it comes from a gentleman called Emmet Fox who was apparently a very well regarded religious writer at the turn of the previous century.

Now I wasn’t drawn to this quote for any religious connotations, don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-religious in any way, shape or form (even though I play in metal bands). I actually come from a very Christian family, CofE mother and a Catholic father. I have even done first holy communion myself. I also think it’s important for people to have faith or a belief. A belief in yourself and faith that if you want something, that you can achieve it. These two ideas are very important to our lives and also feature very heavily in religion. Some might argue, driving those ideas home is what religion is about. No, what I mean is that I don’t generally like the way religious content is written, I can’t really explain why. Maybe it is because it always seems as if you are being forced to do things rather than encouraged. Who knows.

I seem to have gone off at a tangent. I guess the main point of this blog was to give me something to write. From speaking to authors the one thing that was always very evident was that you should try to write at least something everyday. I’ve managed to write short passages in my notebook every day (except a couple of bad days I must admit!) since March, when I started trying to take this seriously. If you are interesting in writing yourselves, I would recommend reading “The Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey” by Chuck Wendig, this was actually recommended to me by Graham McNeill and it is a brilliant read. It’s hilarious and has some priceless advice.

Also I recommend having a listen to that Anathema album, great listening!

I will hopefully be back in a couple of days with some actual stories. Once again, thanks for reading!

Astrum Xenos

So now for something different, well kinda…

A love story in space you stay? Not quite. My mum was telling me at the weekend of stories about dying soldiers having this really odd feelings of loved ones feeling close. 

I thought it was a cool idea for a story so I wrote the following. It’s quite dark I think so apologies…

Astrum Xenos

The stars were beautiful in the night sky, he had always liked the stars. Gazing in to their glittering depths had helped him to think. Now was a time for thinking. Now was a time for reflection. Wanting to visit them and explore their infinite mysteries was what had ultimately brought him to this place. To see the galaxy he had said, as he left his home.

Though despite all that, these stars looked different. Gone were the signs he remembered, the ever enlightening Throne, the one for the children, The Grox and the bad omen, The Tyranid. This place was not the home of his birth, every sign in the stars here was a bad omen. He had come a long way since he had left that place. No, these were the stars of another sky, another planet, far from home.

The life of an Imperial Guardsman had taken him to many alien planets, to vast plains fighting the barbarous greenskin hordes. Archipelago planets where finding the sneaky xenos Eldar filth proved more difficult than it was worth and finally to the muddy torment of the trenches fighting the hated arch-enemy.

The machinations of the Chaos cults had brought him to this world with the full glory of his regiment. A mighty force spewed forth from the bulbous dropships, larynxes screaming oaths to the Emperor, lasguns blaring in white hot heat. He had run with them all, his own lasgun adding to the crack of fire, almost a veteran now in the few years of service he had completed.

That had been the initial invasion. Soon afterwards the war had turned in to a crushing battle of attrition, each side trying to wear down the other in a constant struggle from trench to trench. Their unit had been ordered in to battle time and time again, eventually being pushed back. The massed firepower of the enemy’s small calibre weapons and stubbers proving overwhelming. That was until the reinforcements were brought forward and the final push had been signalled. He had been one of the first up the trench ladder, the swill of the decking sticking to his feet threatening to drag him back down. An expert with his lasgun he had dutifully fired round after round of searing bolts to keep his enemy’s heads down, while his feet pounded over the ground.

He reached for his lasgun now, he had lost it somewhere in the confusion, but it must still lay nearby for he had not moved far. It had come all this way with him, the smoothly carved wooden stock the only physical remnant of his homeworld. Stretching the tendons in his arms, his mind sending impulses to the nerves of his muscles, he resumed the search. But no matter how hard he tried, how hard he concentrated, his limbs would not move. He attempted to cry out in frustration but the words caught in his throat. The thick brown dirty mud of the ground in no-man’s land was sucking at his body, making any slight movement even harder. That was that then, his arms were useless to him. He tried to shuffle at least, using the last strength of his body to move to somewhere else, anywhere else. But the cloying dirt was robbing him of any momentum. He was stuck, suspended, staring at the heavens.

As he lay there dying,  left with only his thoughts, the stars reminded him of home, of her. Producing an unnaturally vivid image in his mind. He couldn’t bring himself to think her name, it would only add to the pain and anguish he was experiencing. The piercing pain when he thought of her made him wish he had never left home. He remembered that day well, standing in the doorway of his hab, his parent’s eyes wet with tears, bodies wracked with sobs. He had had no choice, the Imperial tithe demanded his service.

‘I will return’ He had said.

He had made the same promise to her, but had vowed he would never say ‘goodbye’, those words were too final. At the time he could not bring himself to physically say them, it would have been as if admitting defeat. As long as they had known each other they had felt a connection they could not explain.

Lights filled the dark sky intermittently. The dull thumb of explosions occasionally joining the display of light. The war was still raging somewhere in the distance. The massed Imperial forces would be throwing everything they had at the enemy, forcing them from this planet inch by valuable inch. With lasgun and bayonet, with the huge tracked cannons of the armoured divisions they would hurl the traitors in to the abyss. But for now this war had passed him by.

He felt numb, his body slowly losing control. His extremities growing colder by the second. Though he could no longer move his limbs from the mud, he longed for her comforting touch. All physical sensation was leaving his body and he could no longer feel his arms or legs, the pain taking over. Despite his failing strength he had the uncanny sensation of an embrace, the soft touch of a loved one accompanied by a familiar smell. He glanced around him, his eyes the last part of his body he had any control over. Apart from the corpses smoking in the cold air around him he was definitely alone. Despite the pain his body was experiencing he could feel the presence reminding him of the contours of her body.  It was as if she was there with him now holding him, comforting him in the end. The touch he could always feel when he was lonely.

The last thought his broken mind could manage was the terrible guilt at the pain that he would inflict on her. That unnatural connection broken at long last, he knew she would be thinking of him, and it pained him more than his defeated limbs.

His body had gone, life blood mingling with the mud that lay all around him and caked his damp fatigues. The bright, strange stars still lit up the night sky, the alien sky…

But the last sight he would see, forever burned in the retinas of his eyes, was the mental image of his beloved.


Well it appears that the Black Library submission window is about to slam open again. This time I fully intend to embrace it. When I entered a submission last time, I submitted two stories, neither of which were my best work and both of them on the last day of the window.

I’ve done a lot of just writing since then. Rather than focussing on plots I have tried to drive a story through narrative.

I’m currently travelling on my way to Weymouth for a long weekend. So what I intend to do is spend the free time I have turning the scribbles in my notepads in to fully fledged prose.

When I’ve done that I will post them here for you perusal. Keep your eyes peeled and once again, thanks for reading.


poetry, sometimes.

jeff young's notebooks

outlaws and demons

Galli Books

Socially Conscious Speculative Fiction

Social Science Talks Science Fiction

A podcast in which social scientists, philosophers and researchers discuss themes and works of science fiction

Track of Words

Book reviews, interviews and articles

Black Fem Geekery

Words, words, words.

JoJo's Over The Rainbow Blog

Book reviews, music and recommendations from a book mad mum of three!


Fantasy Author

The Chrishanger

Welcome to my Writing World - please read the 'about' page before proceeding.