My Third Book: The Shape in the Sky

The Shape in the Sky Book Cover

Two books published with some decent feedback, onto the third. Horror with a Scottish twist as you all know is my thing so it should come as little surprise it is another horror story. If you are interested as to why, have a read through my blog, almost every second article is praising the horror genre.

I’m still writing my third book, first few chapters ready but not completed the full thing yet- still, I wanted to give you the synopsis.

They do not come in peace

They do not want to be our friends

Rock and roll band Iron Claymore have just launched a massive music festival in the Scottish Highlands. Booze, babes, drugs and colossal egos are part of the package when dealing with them and it doesn’t take long for the band to get up to their usual antics.

The event organisers know that people have been going missing in the Highlands recently but aren’t too concerned.

They should be.

Coming soon!

***

My other two books are:

North Sea Nightmare

https://www.amazon.co.uk/North-Sea-Nightmare-Lee-Johnston/dp/1520418302/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492960230&sr=8-1&keywords=north+sea+nightmare

 

Bad Credit

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Credit-Lee-Johnston/dp/152097258X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492960300&sr=8-1&keywords=bad+credit

 

Author page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lee-Johnston/e/B01NAOYYKW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

 

 

Lee Library #9 Dilbert

I have a bit of a confession to tell you.

Despite being known as a bit of a geek…I don’t like comics. They leave no impression on me, I find the vast majority little more than poorly written scrap books. Needless complicated, inbred storylines where clones, alternate realities, evil twins and god knows what else rub shoulders and expect the reader to keep up. When they try to be serious and gritty it is even worse. I have never clicked with them at all.

When I first saw Dilbert, my gut reaction was, I won’t like this. It is going to be a juvenile waste of time, yet another reason to dislike comics.

But I’ve read four books in a row, downloaded the tv series and the fifth book. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My gut doesn’t know everything clearly.

Dilbert is a white collar worker suffering through idiot managers, dementated HR staff and demotivated co-workers. Dilbert himself is well meaning enough, generally he wants to be left alone to work, but frequently suffers at the hands of the company he works for.

What I love is how well it captures the absurdity of a large corporation, the insane bureaucracy and barely controlled chaos. In my career, I have worked for two of the largest corporations in the world and it really captures the worst aspects of it. Don’t get me wrong, I think a large corporation can work well but it is so easy for it to slip into incompetence, where the organisation is so massive, it becomes an average of the thousands of people working for it, gravitating to a bland centre.

When I am having a rough day, when that cynical part of my heart wants attention, Dilbert is all the more appealing. I guarantee if you have worked at a large corporation, you will recognise the characters in it.

The writer of the comic strip, Scott Adams, has worked in this sort of environment and you can tell because it feels so authentic. This isn’t some Hollywood director writing about an evil company full of cigar chomping villains because that is how he thinks they are (having never actually worked for one). Instead, Dilbert is an accurate depiction of cubicle life.

What to learn from Dilbert about your own art?

The first few issues of Dilbert focused on his home life, like a typical sitcom, and weren’t well received. As the stories shifted more to the workplace, it really took off. Sometimes it can take a bit of time but find that unique view point only you have and bring it to life.

Lee Library#7 The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

I have been making my way through a list of twenty books to read in your twenties which overall has been fun. There have been a few misses but I am still glad I tried them, new authors, new topics, new ways of telling stories.

About as far removed as you can get from what I would normally read is The Dirt, a book in which the members of Motley Crue recount their insane exploits. I do mean insane, these guys were animals. The reason it was on the list of twenty books was to give perspective that a life of endless partying isn’t a way to live even though the idea of it might be tempting.

The book was like watching a train wreck, I couldn’t tear myself away no matter how bad it got. I was shaking my head, revolted by their antics but I couldn’t stop reading.

At the end of it you feel as strung out and exhausted as the rock stars themselves. They are very matter of fact when discussing drugs, sex, violence, you can really feel how jaded and numb they have become to it all.

I don’t have much interest in music, even less so in rock, and even the music I do like I am generally uninterested in the biographies of the people behind it. I would not be the target audience at all but I did enjoy the book which goes to show it is always good to try something out of your familiar genres or writers.

As for your own writing, even if you think you know the kind of people who will read your work, you could be very wrong.

I will leave you with one of their less extreme tales (read below if you have a strong stomach). Think about that, this is one of the lesser examples.

***

The band were pretty much constantly having sex with women, loyalty in a relationship wasn’t something they really went for. They would see one girl, do it, then go see another right away, doing this for days at a time.

However, some of the girls they were seeing were just as bonkers, they would attack the band members and the other women regularly.

So, after they were done with a girl, they would need to ensure they didn’t smell (or taste…) like another women they would buy a burrito and put their genitals in it. That way they would smell and taste like fast food when they went to meet their next liaison straight after the last one.

Gack, felt like I was throwing up a little writing that!

Blog #34 How I would do Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life

My better half and I have recently been marathoning various tv shows. Next on the hit list is season 1-7 of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (now that will be a nostalgia tour).

The most recent show we completed was Gilmore Girls and like a good chunk of the people who have watched the show, the newest season wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

I recently made a post on what I thought the next season of AHS should be, American Horror Story: Campus, I can’t help but thinking about what shows should have done differently. So in a parallel world where I was asked to do A Year in the Life, this is what I would have done instead of what we got.

Main Characters/Main Story threads

  • Lorelai has a baby boy with Luke and they are still going strong. He runs the diner, she runs the hotel, a new status quo has been set up. A major hotel chain though approach her and want the inn- they are also very clear that she will not be kept on. She feels torn as that is part of her identity which comes at an especially bad time as Rory blurts out that she would hate the idea of spending her life in Stars Hollow. Her main story involves trying to decide if her identity is her new family, her inn, both, neither. She sells the inn, becoming fairly wealthy in her own right, and decides to spend the next few years discovering herself, what she wants to do. It is a scary prospect but she decides she has never really had to chance to do that. Luke supports it and we see her try a series of hobbies, courses, considering various jobs. She is shocked though that the sleazy hotel chain representative totally goes back on his word and eliminates all the staff, firing Sookie and Michel. They ask her to open a new inn but she says she is past that, causing an initial riff between them but they overcome it. At the end of the series Lorelai knows she will likely have more thinking to do but with Luke, her daughter, her step-daughter and her new son behind her, she is ready for it.
  • Rory has failed essentially. Her career in journalism went nowhere and she still rides off former glories like graduating Yale, being editor of the Yale Daily News etc. Unsure what to do next, she came home to Stars Hollow. Although wallowing at first, she sees a vacancy for a lecturer in a small college in journalism. Hating the idea but having nothing else to do, she applies but continuingly insists this won’t be her profession, she is meant to be a journalist. She starts and has a rocky time at the start, these college students are very different from what she saw at Yale. She has to share her tiny office with Ken, who lecturers in politics and continually clashes with her. Whether it is his paperwork spilling onto her desk or major political differences, they clash over everything. She takes to calling him Ken doll because of his clean cut appearance. The two put aside their differences though when the results for both their classes are dire and they are in serious danger of losing their jobs and letting down their students. As they work together, share tips, helping each other they find out they have a lot in common. He saw this as a stop gap job as well but eventually went on to love it. She is inspired by his passion, especially in comparison with some of the scumbag journalists she has known. Their classes go from the best to the worst and they are both offered permanent positions- and yes, start dating. It gets very serious and Rory realises that she loves teaching, helping people, getting them ready for the world. Logan shows up, saying he has never gotten over her after proposing. He is even more powerful than before, his savvy advice saved his father’s primarily print company form collapse by moving to online websites. She rebuffs him, saying what they had is very special but she loves Ken. Having come to terms with Dean, Jess and Logan, she knows where she stands. At the end of the series, Ken and her go on a romantic trip together, looking forward to the teaching year resuming.
  • Luke is happy in his new relationship and turned into a doting father for his new child, smoothing his rough edges. However, he feels guilty that his relationship with April isn’t as strong. This is all in Luke’s head though, she is a busy woman dedicated to her scientific research, she loves him but has too much going on. Luke’s heavy handed attempts to up their relationship fail spectacularly until she tells him to cool off, she knows how much he cares and he should focus on his new son. Luke accepts this and apologies for all the half assed attempts to make up for lost time. She names a new kind of degenerative neurological disease she discovered after him and he awkwardly thanks her for this.
  • Emily is still devastated after losing Richard, throwing herself in busy body work and becoming even more isolated and snobbish. However when she has a catch up with Michel, who she always got on well with and has had a growing friendship with as he is one of the only people who loves her elitist views, things change. She hears how he was fired, how the Inn is going to be some box standard chain and is incensed. She decides to bankroll a new inn, Michel will run it and it will be the classiest in town considering what has been done to the Dragonfly. Emily is an astute businesswoman and Michel excels in his new role. Emily bonds and becomes closer with her daughter throughout the experience and even relies on her for advice. Not surprisingly, she hires Sookie as a chef.

Minor Characters/ Secondary Story threads

  • “In service of the town”

Taylor has got even more officious and overbearing as the years have went on. His most recent string of unpleasant decrees leads the townsfolk to discover an old, unused law declaring there is a maximum service time for town selectman- and Taylor is well past it. Taylor spends the first half of the series fighting this and conflicted due to his love of the law before eventually yielding to it. He then hosts an apprentice style interview process to find out who should replace him. Eagerly awaiting to see who Taylor’s replacement will be, the townsfolk are shocked when he announces himself. The law stipulates a maximum term of service if it is unbroken, but Taylor’s service has been broken because Jackson temporarily dethroned him before chucking the position and letting Taylor take it back. The angry townsfolk turn on Jackson, because of him Taylor is staying where he is for potentially another decade.

  • “Odd Pod”

Kirk has been running a surprisingly successful podcast for many years now, thousands tuning in for his quirky views and incorrectly assuming he is always “in character” rather than just a town weirdo. In several scenes and throughout the show you can hear him going off on tangents in the background while a group of bemused people listen.

  • “Summer in Paris”

Paris has become one of the most esteemed surgeons in the world and travels the globe. She occasionally chats with Rory, mostly scalding her on a lack of direction. Paris is mainly a secondary character in this season because she would be busy, it would be unrealistic to see her chilling in Stars Hollow.

RED ALERT! PERSONAL BIAS WARNING!

PERSONAL BIAS WARNING #1- okay, so I always despised Kirk as a character. His “oooober” joke upon meeting him reminded me why. This keeps him where he should be, off to the side, an amusing distraction without wearing out the audience’s patience. Of course part of that may be I don’t like him and maybe some of you would be disappointed if he wasn’t in it as much.

PERSONAL BIAS WARNING #2- Rory’s new love interest, Ken is a moderate, small town conservative. There is a reason for this. Whenever people with conservative views are in mainstream television shows it is usually as the butt of a joke or a deranged caricature. There seems to be an omission of moderate conservative people in these stories. Media can bring people together, we can try to show more views and respect these or get up on a soap box and screech at people we don’t like and lump them all together.

PERSONAL BIAS WARNING #3 If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Lane’s story was fine, I don’t see a need to change that. Part of that I admit is because I was only marginally interested in Lane.