Iron Way

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Location: Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Friday, September 21, 2007


BLACK SHEEP INDEX Over 400,000 names taken from the media for The Black Sheep Index, Police Index, Great War Index, World War II Index, Railway Index, Mining Index, Shipping Index,

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month - News and Radio: "just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that we'll be temporarily disabling sign-ins (and therefore forums posting) from this Monday until the site re-launches on October 1. So start wrapping up those conversations, and prepare for the Great Archiving ahead! A long, newsy email should be hitting your inbox in the next day or so."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

National Novel Writing Month is November

National Novel Writing Month - Forums - Reaching 50,000! - What is the absolute dirtiest trick you can think of for reaching 50K?
and this thread keeps running andrunning and running in the forums

Thursday, August 16, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month - News and Radio: "The summer sale is over this Sunday! So if you’re the type who likes to wait until the last minute, your time has come to buy yourself a 2006 poster and a discounted No Plot? No Problem! The Kit. For those of you who don’t know about our summer sale yet, the kits are 50% off, and the sleek and stylish, limited edition 2006 Typewriter Posters are selling—for a short time only—for thirty-five dollars. After Sunday, the poster will only be available to teachers through our Young Writers Program, so get them while they’re still available for sale."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

232 words so far

232 words so far

I am going to try and post from directly from Google Docs & Spreadsheets

this using MS IE 7 >> WinXP sp2 >> Parallels >> MacOS 10.4.8

AHA ! I have just found the spelling checker in the bottom right hand corner Check Spelling afterwards Recheck

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chapter 1

I heard my cell phone ring and then I woke up feeling scared. When I reached out and picked it up it was off. Was it a dream? My heart was pounding in my chest. Cold sweat beaded my brow.
I sat bolt upright and very very still in the dark bedroom. I could hear breathing.

In the very faint blue light I saw a shadowy figure move towards me.
“Sorry dear, it's only me! I felt lonely at home.” whispered my girl friend Sarah as she came and give me a big hug,
“I let myself in with your spare key from under the stone.”
“Sarah you really scared me, but I need to sleep,” I replied,
“I have to finish my report on my latest research work at the archives”
“OK dear, lets just snuggle up” and we did like two spoons, and I love her smell, and graduallyI relaxed.
I was worried about what I had found out today at the archives and was slow to fall back asleep.
Suddenly I heard another instant message ring tone,
I shook Sarah awake to share my misery,
“Why didn't you switch off your mobile phone dear?”
“It must be yours because my battery is flat and I left it on the charger at home.”

We have twin Sony Ericsson tri-band cell phones on the 3g network, so we can talk endlessly if we feel like it, and we both grab for our phone when the other one rings, and then laugh together.

We have known each other for twenty nine months since we met in an AOL genealogy chat room, Sarah was adopted and I helped her search for her birth mother.

Sarah screamed.
A ninja-masked man stood in the bedroom doorway and had switched the lights on.
He had his right hand in his pocket in a menacing way
“Be cool guys” he said, “Bad idea to leave a key under a stone, I saw where to get it when Sarah put it back.”

“Sorry about the dramatics, Frederick, I have a secret mission for you to research. I found you on the web and you have a good reputation, and in this envelope are the details, a contact address and cash in advance, please don't try and follow me out or call the police”
He dropped my spare doorkey, and the envelope thudded as it hit the floor, he turned and ran down the stairs two at a time, the back door slammed and as I carefully peeked out between the curtains, I saw him turn left out of the back garden down the alley. Seconds later I heard the roar of a high powered motorcycle fading away.

Sarah walked over and picked up the envelope and key,
“I think I better keep this key in a safe palce for you,”
she smiled as she handed me the envelope,
“He must be an amateur not to have switched off his mobile before he came in”
Cool girl I thought, as she took me one step more on the dreaded path towards a second marriage.
I squinted into the brown A3 envelope, yes there was money and a thick wad of photocopies.

Sarah took it gently from me.
“Time for all that tomorrow, now shall I make you coffee, or shall we make love” she said and afterwards we fell happily asleep.
In the morning we woke up at about 11:00 am and went down to my scruffy kitchen and made ourselves a big brunch.
Over the second coup of coffee I emptied the envelope and when we cointed the money there was £900 and $3500.
“Wow” said Sarah and gathered it up.

There were about a dozen pages of A4 and two folded A2 copies of maps.
About time I told you a little more about the pair of us, I thirty four years old and am a military history researcher and two years ago I began to get enough paid jobs to let me give up my day job as a secondary school teacher.

I have a degree in history, but however dedicated you are it gets pretty exhausting teaching in the inner city, where so many boys and girls come from broken homes and really need a shrink more than they need GCSEs. I often wonder how is it the Nazis can still win the hearts and the minds of so many of the world's teenage losers, which makes for troubled teens in ethnically mixed classes.

Sarah is thirty five and studied drama and english literature at Edinburgh Uni., but turned out to be a brilliant infant teacher, the only trouble is she treats me too like a five year old sometimes. She is a tall delicate boned scot and I love her dearly.
I took another mouthful of my gourmet coffee, this week Tarrazu Highland Arabica beans from Costa Rica via Lidl, ground up in a old Moulinex grinder from the seventies and filter brewed in my big red Krupps machine, we tend to conveniently forget the slave labourers in their history.

The papers were about another silly treasure hunt (just imagine all those people who believed that the Da Vinci Code was histoically true). The pile was mostly copies of newpaper cuttings, some in foreign languages and scrawled hand written letters.

The maps looked more interesting. They were hand drawn, but by a professional draftsman with the neat stencilled lettering typical of about 60 years ago done before letraset.made that skill obsolete.
The covering note was short and to the point
I am an intermediary.
email me if you need more money
(it was a address)
these are from our client's family papers
if you need to employ a translator make certain of our confidentiallity.
Please email us weekly with a report of work done and monies spent
John S
“Monies spent.”
I liked that phrase, it has a smell of the civil service about it, or an old fashioned gentleman solicitor..
Back to reality, and I had a report to write, Sarah and I love computers, we grew up with Sinclair ZX81s and then Macintoshes, but I have graduated to a Sony Vaio laptop, but for my business in the archives I use pencil and note book because I remember what I write better that way and when a hard disk dies, as they always do, I have the notebooks as a fall back if I have been too dumb to back up my data.

The research is fun but the writing up is hard work.

I opened my mail at and in my gmail was a copy of the cover note with the additon:-
Each time you write to me you must only use that address once. My reply will come from new post box.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Viking Novel: November 2004

Viking Novel: November 2004

the stub from last year

Getting to know AOL: November 2004 yes I had forgotten about the ISP problems

getting started on my second National Novel Writing Month

this is still on the count down to National Novel Writing Month,

a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

This year I am busking - not planning too much and going to concentrate on dialogue.

last year Viking Novel was well plotted but never finished.

Now I am a more knowledgeable blogger and I am going to top post each days efforts, and then edit the dates, or times, of older posts to create a chapter order top to bottom.