A few thoughts from writers. “A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.”
– Sidney Sheldon
“I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.”
– Edgar Rice Burroughs
“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.”
– Harlan Ellison
I had thought of writing something literary, something really fancy. After all, I’m supposed to be a writer and I’m supposed to be selling books. So as I went to look sheep this morning I thought I’d mentally map out what I was going to say.
But checking on the fat lambs I heard bleating. Now this is from the far end of the field they’re at and that corner has a lot of rushes in because it’s a bit wet. And a wall of drizzle had started rolling in, and visibility was dropping and I was starting to get wet.
And then, in a tree in the hedge up above where the bleating was probably coming from I noticed two crows sitting.
Now crows sitting in a tree isn’t a problem. If they’re sitting in a tree, then they’re still waiting. So I made my way across the field towards the bleating and eventually, as I picked my way through the rushes, I saw the lamb. Not a big one, perhaps 25kg, with his head caught in the netting.
Getting a lamb out of netting need not be rocket science. Their sole method of extracting themselves is to push forward. This never works. Occasionally a big lamb can break off fence posts holding the netting in place, but it’s a limited sort of victory.
You grasp the lamb firmly and pull it backwards. This is something the lamb never seems to consider but it works every time. You then release the lamb and it runs off to join its mates.
And the crows fly off; annoyed because you got to it before it weakened so they couldn’t take its eyes.
And as I walked back across the field it suddenly struck me. Who was the lamb bleating to, it had been weaned for months, mother was long gone, its mates are as ineffectual at dealing with fences as it is, and anyway they were ignoring it. But it bleated. If it hadn’t I’d probably never have noticed it.
And at this point, walking back, I gave up on doing anything literary. After all I’m a stockman. I suppose I write a bit but before everything else, I’m a stockman.
When my first book was published, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Swords-Dead-Lady-Jim-Webster-ebook/dp/B006C4C8OO a friend of mine who bought it commented that nobody but me would have written it.
The mentioned one section, which I thought I’d quote at this point.
“An hour later Yallou returned with a short stout man with ears that stuck out like jug handles and the reddest nose Benor had ever seen.
“Meet Tilosh, livestock dealer.”
Tilosh added, “- and I am a livestock dealer, not an out-of-work bandit trying to make an honest living.”
“What’s more he can probably get Benor inside the caravanserai.”
“That I can, provided he can dress less like a plump pimp at a society wedding.” He studied Benor, tilting his head to one side.
“Ever worked livestock?”
“I worked half a season as a drover west of Tarsteps as a way of working my passage.”
Tilosh nodded a third time. “What sort of orids will we be buying now?”
“The tail end of last year’s lambs that have been over wintered because they wouldn’t finish off grass last autumn;”
”What’ll they be like.”
“Big, wooden, too tall, and lean, but there’s damn all else on the market and if you can get them away for killing before the new crop of lambs are through, then you’ll make good money.”
At this point Tilosh smiled. “Tomorrow you and I will drop round to that caravanserai. If they’ve nothing to sell, they might be wanting to buy, and either way whilst they’re wasting my time, you can get a look round. But change your clothes first.”
Yep, I’m a stockman
(Oh and ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’ is only £2.49 from Amazon and is available from all reputable ebook dealers, and some of the better disreputable ones)
As a reviewer commented, “I am a keen reader of the fantasy genre and looked forward to reading this book. The story is engaging and there’s lots of action, some humour and a little pathos. The characters all worked well for me, especially Benor, Cartographer (and much else!) The story deals with a land which has its own races of people, its own herds of animals and I found it interesting to imagine this other world which is in many ways an equivalent of our medieval world. There’s plenty of intrigue here and the story has potential for a sequel.
Jim Webster has an engaging story telling style and a good knowledge of this genre. His writing has a gentle humour which comes naturally from the characters and their dialogue. It’s not played for belly-laughs but is very effective. There were some real gems, which I very much enjoyed. ‘He spat on the floor and missed’ really tickled me! I look forward to more of the same.”