Pasty tax

on Friday, 30 March 2012
In Britain, the government's new budget plan includes charging 20% VAT on all hot takeout food from October, and it's been dubbed as the "Pasty Tax". Honestly, I'm devastated by this news, if it means even the possibility that I wont be able to afford to get my pasty lunch that I so enjoy. In a budget that included tax breaks to supposedly benefit lower and middle class people, slapping a massive tax hike on pasties just spits in the face of those very same people. Any British person will tell you that pasties (and other takeaway foods like good old fish 'n' chips) are an important part of our culture and diet, and this tax could seriously put a lot of businesses at risk. This news report contains some thoughts from the CEO of Greggs, a popular bakery chain:
"My concern is that many small bakers – independent bakers – have (already) gone to the wall. The bakery industry has always been a key part of the high street."
Greggs will be starting their own campaign to block this tax increase, and there is already a petition on the government's epetitions website here:

I urge any Brits out there to sign this petition if you value your delicious pastry snacks.

My amazing cartography skills.

on Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Just thought I'd share this map I drew as a reference for my novel. It shows the main continent of Aftraer on Gaia and the location of the main city and such. It took over 9000 hours in MSpaint and I'm very proud of it:

It was just a quick doodle to visualise the landscape of the alien world, and something I can add to as more places are involved in the story. Maybe I'll even have it drawn up properly as an accompaniment to the book: if there's one thing I know about sci-fi nerds is that they fucking love maps. Or at least, I do.

Spring has sprung.

on Monday, 26 March 2012
Spring is definitely my favourite time of year. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, so when Spring comes around it's like a huge lift to my spirits.

The sun shines, but it's not too hot. The rain falls, but it's not too cold. Everything springs to life, but you don't get swarmed by bugs. It's truly a just-right time of year, like baby bear's porridge, and not having to funnel every spare penny into the gas meter so I don't freeze to death is a definite plus.

I always feel more productive at this time of year, I'll be spending today sat by the sunny window writing and pondering the plants in the garden.

A landmark, of sorts.

on Sunday, 25 March 2012
It would seem that I have reached over 10,000 words for my novel.

I was worried before I started, this being my first novel, that I wouldn't be able to write enough, that it would end up being too short. Now perhaps I'm thinking I might need to be more concise. It is tough sometimes to know when to go into more detail and when to shut up and get on with the story. I often look like this when I writing:

In any case, it means I'm a good chunk into a project I wasn't sure I could finish to start with, so to speak, and an end product is in sight. Feels pretty good.

I have a problem

on Friday, 23 March 2012
Hello, my name is Tegan and I'm addicted to Football Manager. As you can see, I have been playing my current save game since November, and have literally spent 23 days, 2 hours and 45 minutes of my life playing it.

I swear it's more addictive than cigarettes. Just one more cup tie...

Excerpt from "Homo Aethereus"

on Tuesday, 20 March 2012
An excerpt from the novel I am writing, a bit of the back story for the main setting of the book - a planet named Gaia in the Tau Ceti system.

There was incredible excitement on Earth when Gaia was discovered, akin to the discovery of the Americas in the 17th century: people thought of the possibilities, the opportunities, the wonder of a new world. They thought of a virgin world, untouched by man, a blank canvas crying out for the touch of a brush. A new sky.

A routine unmanned investigation of the Tau Ceti system, always thought to be devoid of life, had discovered the planet against all odds. The system had been observed before, and it was concluded that due to the level of debris in the system it would be highly unlikely that life on any Earth-like planet could survive the constant bombardments from asteroids. The system had never been studied this closely, however. An unmanned probe was sent to explore the system in 2187, planetary geologists at most hoping to collect some samples of the debris field, certainly not hoping to find planetary bodies. When the probe started sending back images of the system, what they revealed rocked the scientific community, and indeed the world at large. In the debris field that orbited the Sun-like star, there orbited a gas giant planet. The idea of a gas giant planet orbiting Tau Ceti had been postulated before, but now you could see it with your own eyes. The real discovery, however, had come when the probe had carefully navigated its way through the debris field into the “habitable zone” of the star. Suspended in orbit around the glowing yellow dwarf, was a brilliant, unscathed, shining blue globe surrounded by the unmistakable haze of atmosphere. The observatory that first received these images was frozen in stunned awe, quite unable to believe what they were seeing. Of course, Earth-like planets were always deemed possible, and indeed probable, but this planet was within spitting distance on a galactic scale. The search began for answers as to how this planet’s existence was even possible.


on Saturday, 17 March 2012
Did some writing today, but it's all been about Rollercoaster Tycoon 3.

Just look at all those awesome rides, how could I get any work done? Look how much fun Data and Geordie are having playing it on their consoles:

The day the world ended

on Tuesday, 13 March 2012
After a flash of inspiration I typed out this short story, but I swear it feels like I've plagiarised some episode of the Twilight Zone or something because it seems so familiar. Awaiting a lawsuit as soon as I press Publish Post:

The day the world ended

There was a man who knew when the world was going to end. He didn’t question how he knew, or even how it was going to happen. He just knew a date, and time, after which there would be nothing. At first it was disconcerting, as you could imagine. Imagine if you knew when the world was going to end, an absolute certainty in your mind. Like the man, you would first dismiss it as a bad dream or an over-active imagination. Then, as realisation sets in that it was an undeniable fact, panic sets in: you try anything you can to try and prevent it, but knowing that you can’t leaves you wondering what else is there to do. If the world is going to end, what is the point of living? The man had almost given up everything at one point, almost ended his life just to relieve the burden he was carrying. Finally, though, he accepted the fate and saw himself with a responsibility: to warn others.


on Saturday, 10 March 2012
Just posting an excerpt from an old abandoned novel idea I was working on a while ago:

Phillip turned off the stove and extracted the sausages from the frying pan, carefully arranging them on two slices of slightly stale bread. There was more fat left in the pan than he had added to cook the sausages, a sure sign that one should possibly reconsider their choice of breakfast.

“Now this is a breakfast fit for a king,” he said to no one in particular. Phillip lived alone; in fact he spent much of his time alone. Truth be told, he probably couldn’t tell you the last time he met with friends or spoke with his family. He liked it that way; he was his own man; no one to tell him what to do, no compromises to make. He did what he wanted, when he pleased. He was about to get the chance to do something that pleased him greatly, as there was a knock on his front door.


on Thursday, 8 March 2012
Just a celebratory post to say that I have found a name for my novel that I am happy with. I shan't post it just yet, lest someone steal it haha. For now, let's dance.

Organ Trail

on Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Advertising (for free, I might add) another indie game that I have had the pleasure of playing, Organ Trail. Yes I am doing some major procrastinating and playing vidya instead of writing, but oh well.

Anyway, Organ Trail is like Oregon Trail but with zombies; you have to get from one side of the USA to the other without getting killed by zombies and without running out of supplies. It's not epic adventures and the graphics are basic, but it's a fun game to entertain you for an hour or two. It's also free and you can play it in your browser here:

Katawa Shoujo

on Sunday, 4 March 2012

I feel the need to publicise this, although it is already quite popular I want to share it with as many people as I can. Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel about a teenage boy who suffers a heart attack and is sent to a school for children with special needs and disabilities. It centres around his romance with some of the girls there, you make a few choices along the way that decide who he ends up with.

I was a complete newcomer to the visual novel genre when playing this, and its Japanese manga style is not my usual thing, but after playing through a couple of times I am so very glad that I picked this up. Each girls' story has it's own theme, often with heart wrenching emotions on display. I am not too concerned with masculine bravado to admit that I have shed real tears while seeing these stories unfold.

Even if it's not your usual style (it certainly isn't mine), I suggest you give it a go. I found it a very enlightening experience. It's free to download from the official website:

Title, title, my kingdom for a title...

on Saturday, 3 March 2012
I'm aiming to finish my first novel this year and self-publish it, but what stumps me the most is thinking up a title for the damn thing.

It has to be something gripping, that makes the potential reader double take and think "hmm that sounds interesting". Easier said than done.

It also has to be unique, you have to be able to type the title into a search engine and have it pop up as the first result. Everything I think of seems to have already been used.

It's quite frustrating.

The April Reader

on Friday, 2 March 2012

The latest issue of The April Reader is out, in this issue you'll be able to read about a farmer's persistant struggle with a rock, one young girl's upbringing with her mud wrestler mom in England and a story about a lovers kiss between two young girls.

TAR publishes work from amateur authors and always has something different and interesting to read. It's free to download, check it out.

Writer's block

on Thursday, 1 March 2012