Two Martial Arts Movies

This may not be about writing, but it is about entertainment.

Disclaimer – I do not claim to know martial arts. However, I do claim to have watched a LOT of martial arts movies, from Shaw Brothers, Golden Harvest, the lowest budget Hong Kong kung fu movies through to Hollywood blockbusters. I therefore feel it’s ok for me to comment on the fight scenes in the following two recently watched films.

Kill ‘Em All

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/asKEqfuK8mE

My problem is this. The film goes to some lengths at the beginning to show these killers from different places, with different backgrounds and, in theory, different styles of fighting. However, when they actually fight, apart from the most superficial of differences, they all fight in exactly the same way. The choreography is not unique for these people with styles that are meant to be so different from each other. Mind you, at least the fight scenes are shot in a  way that allow you to see, and enjoy, the moves. Unlike my next film.

Extraction

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/ZcN7hUKFgYU

This is one of those movies that, in order to try and generate excitement in the fight scenes, insists on shaky camera work and very fast cutting. The end result is that you don’t get to see much of the actual fighting, which I find very frustrating. Especially as they have Gina Carano in the cast. What’s the point of having someone who is more than capable of performing the fight choreography, and then cut it in such a way that it could have been any actor, physically capable or not? Total waste of talent.

Both of the above were films I had some hopes for, and both ended up being disappointing (and not just because of the fight scene issues described above). It was especially disappointing to watch Bruce Willis sleepwalk and mumble his way through his scenes in Extraction. And the criminal underuse of Gina Carano.

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Celebrate Spring With The Village Witch

Omnium Gatherum, publishers of Hard Winter:The Novel, The Village Witch and The Last Harpy, have launched a contest to win some goodies for The Village Witch – including ebook and paperback copies. Entering is as simple as sharing the good news.

Take a look at it here… and good luck!
Celebrate Spring with The Village Witch

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Still writing… slowly

Long time since my last blog post I think.

Despite the lack of contact, I am still writing, albeit very slowly. My main WIP is fighting me every step of the way, and my complete mastery of procrastination isn’t helping. But I know if I keep working at it, and accept that a lot of what I’ve written might need to be thrown away and the plot rethought, I will reach the breakthrough it needs.

It’s not the first time a book has proved difficult. In fact, most of my books hit that wall at some point – The Village Witch (published last year by Omnium Gatherum) hit the wall numerous times during its creation. Plot lines changed, characters came and went, thousands of words were written, dumped and then rewritten. It’s all par for the course. The one exception was Hard Winter: The Novel (also from Omnium Gatherum) – that one just flowed. But it’s unusual for it to be that easy.

I still write the occasional short story, because it’s nice to see something completed in a relatively short time. I’ve about 10 or 11 out at the moment, waiting for acceptance or rejection (mostly rejection based on experience) and I keep an eye on upcoming themed anthologies in case one just catches my interest. But I can’t deny that my main focus is on the longer pieces of fiction – novellas and novels. That’s where I get the chance to develop characters and more complex storylines. It’s the type of writing I enjoy the most.

In a potentially soul destroying decision, I’ve engaged the services of my son and his English Literature degree to rip my writing apart – which is something he takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in doing. The hope is it will improve my overall writing, if my ego allows me to survive it! Through working with the excellent editing skills of Omnium Gatherum’s Kate Jonez, I have become completely convinced in the usefulness of having someone who knows what they’re talking about look at my writing. A good editor, and I’ve been mostly fortunate, can really help improve the writing and the flow of a story (I’ll ignore the bad ones who think editing means rewriting – they can crawl away and die). Both my wife and my son are very good at improving the readability of a story, finding those lines that are clumsy or just suck! But my son currently has the time, and can bring the skills he picked up doing his degree to the task. If nothing else, it should be interesting.

If you’ve liked some of the books I’ve written so far, stick with me. More are on the way. It just takes time…

Late for the release party

Well, that didn’t work out right did it? So much for promising to let you know when The Last Harpy was released. Posted everywhere but here, on my own blog!

In case you didn’t know, my short story The Last Harpy was released a short time ago by the wonderful people at Omnium Gatherum. It’s historical, it’s horrific, it was fun to write and, I hope, fun to read.

Sorry to arrive so late for the release party… typical!

The Last Harpy at Amazon

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The Last Harpy is on her way

Last HarpyWS

Coming very soon now from Omnium Gatherum, The Last Harpy: my short 16th century prequel to the novel The Village Witch (also available from Omnium Gatherum).

I had great fun writing it (only my second historical story) and I hope you have as much fun reading it.

I’ll be posting here as soon as it’s released!

How The Village Witch and The Evil Incantation (do not) link

Anyone who reads both my latest novel, The Village Witch, and my earlier novelette, The Evil Incantation, may notice some similarities and some differences in two of the principal characters.

It’s time to come clean and explain it all!

As anyone who follows this blog (or reads either the introduction in The Evil Incantation or the dedication in The Village Witch) will know, the characters of The Professor and Tim are based on characters originally created by my brother, Colin P Davies, in an unpublished short story called The Evil Incantation written back in 1975.

As might be obvious from the title, my 2014 novelette, The Evil Incantation, is a reworking and extension of that original short story. Among the adaptations and additions I put into this reworking was a development of the two main characters, bringing them up-to-date and adding a few nuances of my own.

Now, around the time I started reworking the above, I also came up with the idea of doing an origin story for the two characters – how did they first meet and team up and so on. This origin story would eventually develop into my 2015 novel, The Village Witch, and along the way (after the novelette had been completed) the characters developed more and more and more, taking them some way distant from those in The Evil Incantation.

So, now we have the following situation. These two characters, The Professor and Tim, appear both in The Evil Incantation and The Village Witch, but they are NOT the same characters (or not exactly). They are, perhaps, the same people but in parallel universes. They began the same but have taken subtly different routes since then.

In a somewhat confusing conclusion, therefore, I would be very happy if you read both The Evil Incantation and The Village Witch, but, despite the names and some basic similarities, you have to approach the two main characters as separate from each other. They are not the same people – they just had the same father (Colin P Davies). I suspect, by now, he wishes he’d never said “yes” to my request to rework his original short story 🙂

If any of the above muddle inspires you to ask a question, please do. I will do my best to answer.

If you do read either or both I hope you enjoy them.

Keep on reading!

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The Evil Incantation

The Evil Incantation

The Silence Of The Long Distance Writer

So, had many blog posts from me lately? No, didn’t think so. See, the thing is, I find it hard to create blog posts when I’ve basically got nothing to tell you about my writing. I suppose I could come up with some vaguely connected subject but, well, it’s just not me. If you met me in person we’d spend a lot of time sitting there saying nothing, unless you were willing to carry the conversation. I don’t do small talk very well. On the other hand, get me on the right subject at the right time and I’ll never shut up!

The problem is simple – I’m not the quickest writer, and when I do actually finish something I then go back over it again and again, changing things, crossing out whole sections and basically, you know, editing. Nothing escapes from this house until I’m as happy with it as I can be (unless I look at it again tomorrow in which case I’ll spot even more things I could change – it never ends unless I make it end). This means I’m never going to be one of those writers who seem to have something new out every other week. Consequently, I don’t have much to tell you about my writing most of the time, except “I wrote x number of words today” or “another story rejection” and that kind of update is more suited to Facebook or Twitter than a full blog post.

So, you ask me, given that I claim not to want to post about nothing and have basically just being doing that for the previous couple of paragraphs… what am I trying to tell you?

Simply this – there will be times when you hear very little from me. That’s because, although I’m busy writing away, I don’t actually have anything new about to come out, or been accepted or, well anything. I’m in a long distance race, not a series of short sprints. My writing takes time and lots of anxiety-ridden hours going over the same words again and again until I’m sick of them and push them out into the real world to take their chance. As soon as I have something definite to tell you I will post it and hope you find it, in some small degree, interesting. There might even be posts that aren’t about a particular piece of writing. Sometimes things just interest me, or catch me at the right time and I feel the urge to write a post about it. But most of the time I’m the one sitting in the corner, not talking to anyone, smiling at those who try and talk to me but putting them off with a quick answer in 140 characters or less. Chances are I’ll be writing, or editing something I’d hoped I’d finished but suddenly realised just how much more work needed doing on it. I will be friendly (I hope) but not talkative (unless you ask me about censorship or racism or homophobic religions or one of several subjects that jump start my verbosity). As you can probably guess, I don’t get invited to many parties, and if I was invited, the chances are I wouldn’t go. People scare me.

Now, after all that, if you do want some idea of where I’m up to on things, here’s quick summary:

Main News

The Village Witch, a horror novel, has been accepted for publication in 2015 by Omnium Gatherum

Other News

Liberation of Worlds – science fiction novel, book 2 of The Szuiltan Trilogy, currently writing, about 40,000 words plus into first draft.

Other work in progress – two science fiction shorts (either novelette or novella, depending on how the stories develop) both based on very early writing of mine (1975 and before) and currently untitled.

Several short stories out in the world looking for publications but so far not finding anyone interested. They’re on the story trampoline at present – come back with a rejection and bounce right back out there again.

And Finally…

Stick with me if you can. You might not hear from me on a regular basis but when you do it will be something important or that I feel is interesting. I can only hope you agree.

Thank you for reading my work and I hope you continue to do so, however infrequent it may be.