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Posts by davefreer

Getting back together

The loves I’ve left behind…

I’ve just had a couple of weeks of my cousins from Brittany visiting. Like us, they’re a family quite content to companionably read, but they like having adventures with – as they call me – Robinson (as in Robinson Crusoe – when the boys were teens, visiting us from French urban life, I introduced them to being hunter-gatherers, which made me ‘Robinson Crusoe’ long before I lived on an island) as well as eating the ‘exotic’ (as in shot or caught or collected ourselves) things which are our normal diet (like the picture), not theirs. It’s been a busy time, spearing, netting, diving, shooting, to say nothing of the prep of the gear, and processing and cooking. Read more

The dark side of the man

You love the thunder and you love the rain
What you see revealed within the anger is worth the pain
And before the lightning fades and you surrender
You’ve got a second to look at the dark side of the man.

Jackson Browne: You love the thunder.
Humans are a little like having a lion for a house-pet. Yeah, you raised it, trained it, fed it, cuddled it. It may die one day with its great head on your lap, having lived a happy, contented life with you, as your adored pet.

But there is always that chance… that something, somehow, will take it back to you being prey and it being a very powerful predator. The capacity is there, and, if it remains a lion, always will. Read more

I kill

I kill.

So, for that matter, do you. And you, Ms. Vegan singing songs about respecting animal’s names, never calling anyone a wolf or pig, do too. If you’re alive, human, creatures die to keep you that way. When you die, some of them will eat you. Some of them you will inadvertently kill when you scratch your butt. We are a soup of other creatures walking, eating and sleeping and having sex and farting… a soup in a slightly less dense soup of other creatures doing much the same. Ask any microbiologist.

Humans – just like any other life-form – kill. When you start adding in the ways we alter or arrange or support altering our environment, let alone how most of us feed ourselves, we – including Ms. Vegan in her Prius and city apartment (and possibly especially Ms. Vegan – if you consider the number of higher forms of life her diet kills, as compared to Joe Beefburger) are right up there with a kill rate to make the average lion look like a pussy. Read more

The little cabbages..

Hear about the e-book of a fight between vampires for dominance in the story world? It’s about who gets to be the bit or the byte players. Ow. Stop hitting me. Cease with the carp. I repent (at least for now).

Most of us remember – and work on writing well – the main character/s in stories. It’s the lesser characters that tend to be neglected – both by writers and the memory of readers. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the bit-players have an awful habit of being so cool they morph into having a larger part than you planned, maybe even nudging the main character off-stage, and ruining your well-planned book.

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Built to last

In a time of throw-away fashionable clothing, pre-cooked microwavable meals, and when a new author’s retention time on brick and mortar store’s book-shelf is 6 weeks – if the book store gets it unpacked and on the shelf by day one of its six weeks… I guess I was born in the wrong era.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like modern medicine a lot more than wire-brush-and-Dettol or sacrificing a clay replica of the afflicted body-part, but books that make it onto my shelf tend to have a very long retention time. I don’t sell them, even if I am foolish enough to lend them out. I’ve enjoyed them, and I want others to try them and enjoy them too… Which works, but they don’t always come home. Look, I wear clothes until they are past repairing. What is this fashion thing of which you speak? And I guess I am the same about books –at least some of them – I read and re-read until they fall apart. And, as often as not, I’ve hunted down another copy before that happens. They’re old friends I turn to in tough times. Read more

Can I talk you about our Lord Chthulhu…?

“Excuse me, Sir. Do you have a minute to talk to me about our Lord Cthulhu?” I’ve always been vaguely sorry for missionaries, never more than the couple working in Malawi who got sent a box (at considerable postage expense) of used, dried tea bags – in an apparent genuine gesture of support. Malawi, of course, is a tea producer (good tea, actually). But seriously even if you feel your life’s work is to make all chant “Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” the problem all ‘missionaries’ with a message for the ‘heathen’ is it’s not much good sticking to saying it in your misshapen temple of black porphyry hidden in some miasmous Louisiana swamp.

You have to actually reach the un-converted. As anyone who has ever tried the actual mission bit will tell you, standing in a park yelling it or even going door-knocking are marginally effective. Law (convert or be prosecuted) or conquest (convert or die) both have a history of some success. But neither are voluntary processes – worth keeping in mind as this is a writing blog – and if they don’t work out, there’s a better than average chance of a severe backlash, as Vlad Tepes displayed so well. Read more


You know, being a professional writer is somewhat like being a plumber in that it all centers around an essential premise. For plumbers, it is that water flows downhill… and it ain’t all water that flows downhill. But without that water, nothing flows. For writers it is that money flows TO the professional writer… and it ain’t all money. But without that money, nothing flows.

Writing –unlike plumbing – has an exceptionally low entry bar. You want to write? You can. Writing is the easy part, however. Getting read, and more importantly, getting paid for that writing is the hard part. For that, especially at the level where one can make a full-time living at it, you’re going to, outside of luck and powerful influence, going to have to work very hard. For the same amount of work, as a plumber, frankly, you will almost certainly make more money. The tiny percentage who make more than the average tradesman are exceptions. You may be one. But it’s not a good gamble. Look, that didn’t stop me. Why should it stop you? If it stopped everyone, there’d be no great books for me to read, so I have a vested interest in encouraging you – but I want to be as honest as possible. I succeeded, I managed – as a sole-breadwinner while the kids were at school and college – but I lived in a good exchange rate, and I’m an effective hunter-gatherer, a mediocre farmer, and I was able to choose to live in places where I’m not hunting in dumpsters and growing crops on a balcony. Read more