Your readers will love the rich taste of good eating

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Eating starts and ends all the events in Generation, from the tarmac table of the opening scene to the al fresco irony of the final twist. But to describe these bracketing meals as cosy dinners for two would be to misunderstand the relationship between the food and the eater.

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I’d not given it a whole lot of thought before, but when Shelly Workinger asked me to write a guest blog that focused on the eating habits of my characters I discovered that food and eating cut a path right through Generation as if I’d thought about it.

Because that’s the funny thing about writing. You never know what you put in, and it’s up to the reader to pull it out for you and tell you what you really wrote about.

So when I discovered that Hendrix Harrison often stopped for a hamburgers and lettuce drowning in mayonnaise or that Sarah Wallace (the rather too smart entomologist) controlled her students by bringing them, “…something to eat to stop you leaving the chair…” I realised the characters really did have a life of their own that was not planned on a spreadsheet or even intended. It’s as if they made their own choices. This is the sort of thing they talk about in writing books.

Actually, I feel quite proud now.

So please take a peek at Shelly’s blog, and leave a comment. It means a lot to us writers if you get involved.

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What you ate made your children sick

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Even as the Luftwaffe pounded London to rubble and the Japanese fleet prepared its devastating attack on Pearl Harbour, Dr Francis Pottenger dared not believe the horror his experiments predicted. Wars would end, civilisation would continue, but the analysis spread out across his desk suggested a more insidious enemy than the Axis, and this one burrowed deep into human behaviour.

What the cat ate, made its kittens sick

What the cat ate, made its kittens sick

He picked up the bakelite phone and dialled, straightening the front of his waistcoat as he did so.

“Morning, George. Yes, it’s Frank. The civil defense board met last night and we’ve agreed to go forward with plans for the mobile hospitals. But I have a favour to ask.”

“They’re all infertile, George. It shakes me to the bones. In just four generations. I want to repeat the experiments with a control group. The implications are unfathomable.”

For the next several years Pottenger worked  to falsify his initial results. He set up two groups of cats. One group was fed a diet of raw meat, milk, and cod-liver oil while the second group was fed a diet of cooked meat, milk, and cod-liver oil.

Within one generation, cats on the cooked-meat diet began suffering from degenerative diseases and became quite lazy. Their offspring developed diseases by mid-life and lost coordination, but by third generation, some were born blind with disease evident early in life and with a reduced life span.

Many were infertile and were tormented by an abundance of parasites. Skin diseases and allergies increased from an incidence of five percent in the raw-meat cats to over 90 percent. Those kittens that were born to the did not survive six months.

The cats suffered from many of the degenerative diseases encountered in humans, and died out totally by the fourth generation. The doctor believed results could be explained by an unknown protein denatured in the cooking process, and later research confirmed his suspicions. Cats fed cooked meat lacked the essential amino-acid taurine.

This settled the argument for many years: cats are not humans, and it might have been the end of the matter if Pottenger’s fears had not been so prescient. Across the globe, diseases that set your body against itself are rampant, asthma, diabetes, multiple-sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Autism are all rapidly becoming ‘normal’. Infertility treatment is a boom industry.

Infertile

In the United Kingdom, the number of women treated for infertility more than doubled between 1992 and 2007. Some 35% of men are sub-fertile and at least 2% of men are totally infertile.

Among pre-school children, sudden admissions for asthma went up from four per 10,000 in 1962 to almost 80 per 10,000 by 1985.

Until ten years ago, medical schools taught that coeliac disease was rare and affected only one in 2,500 people. It was thought to affect mainly children and young people. Recent studies show one in 133 people now have coeliac disease.

Coeliac sufferers are more susceptible to a range of auto-immune diseases and cancers, and yet their risk factors can be bought almost down to normal with a controlled diet.

It need hardly be said that the globalised diet of the twenty-first century is sub-optimal, and while Pottenger’s work with cats seemed utterly frivolous as Europe burned, the doctor understood the consequences of poor nutrition.

The horror that billions of caring parents might be gifting their children a future of disease, infirmity and perhaps infertility, not because of what they fed their kids, but because of what they ate themselves, is not one that many cared to entertain.

Yet that seems to be exactly what is now happening.

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Awesome Indies Magical Mystery Tour

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Today I’m participating in the The Awesome Indies Magical Mystery Tour, hosted by the Awesome Indies. From the 27th to the 30th September you’ll have the chance to pick up some special offers or win awesome prizes at participating blogs.

This tour highlights the magical and mysterious qualities of a selection of books listed on the Awesome Indies. Each blog hosts a scene of a mystery story, and the links for you to read the full story and find the key you need to enter the Giveaway for an Amazon gift card. (First prize is a $25 card, second prize is $15 and third prizes is a $10 card.)

All you have to do is start at the Awesome Indies, follow the links from blog to blog, read the story and pick up the clue to the mystery key to enter the draw when you get back to the Awesome Indies. While you’re at each blog, read about the authors book and enter their giveaway or pick up their special offer.

If you haven’t started the tour, pop over to the Awesome Indies and start now.

If you’re on the Magical Mystery Tour already, then read on …

What is MySteRIouS about my book GeNeRation?

Generation CoverFor a start, it’s got one of those flawed heros. Journalist Hendrix Harrison is afraid of his own mobile phone but can’t admit it. Secondly, he hooks ups with a beautiful entomologist who is trying to work out why her research into the insect life on dead bodies is going so badly. But thirdly Hendrix has to discover the link between the insects, sightings of decayed old people wandering around the countryside and a chemical giant known as Mendel Pharmaceuticals. As he gets closer to solving the mystery, he must face escalating terrors and his own fear of technology to discover the macabre fate of the lost souls donated to scientific research.

Here’s the special prize

Apart from the offer price for Generation being only 99c, for the best comment on this blog over the duration of this Magical Mystery Tour, I will give one e-copy of Wayne Teresly’s almost-best-selling science poetry Galactic Surf. It’s really worth commenting!

Ghost Town — The one where Kevin reveals his demons…

“I ain’t been doing nothing strange nor dark. No Sir, Drill Serg’n’ Major, Sir.” Kevin mumbled while sliding his boots across the rocky ground and making his way up the old track behind the gas station. “I ain’t been doing those things, Drill Serg’n’ Major.”

Kevin was well aware how his constant mumbling and talking to the walls appeared to the outside world, yet he didn’t care. The names, the looks, the gestures and the avoidance were part of a diversion that other people used to keep themselves sane. If they really understood what was going on, they’d turn immediately and irrevocably bonkers. At least he wasn’t insane,; not yet anyway.

He didn’t care neither that he smelled of a mouldy mattress, or that the only jobs he’d ever kept for more than a month were while fracking Charlie in Vietnam and his recent part-time diversion at the mini-mart. Walter had given him that job and Kevin didn’t know if he should thank Walter or strangle the life out of him with a length of cheese wire. Reluctantly, and on most days, he remained thankful.

Until today and the direct accusation of evil doing.

Kevin kept his head bowed low and his back arched downwards rather like a ferret standing on its hind legs, as he trudged towards the cabins and through the sagebrush that had overgrown a once neat front yard. He mumbled to the door of number one.

[Click heres for the next part of the story and another special offer or give away. And click here, to enter the Magical Mystery Tour Giveaway. Use the name of the missing card as the password to enter the draw.]
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Generation — Crime with an injection of horror

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gen cov 2 with aia THUMBA body goes missing from a forensic research enclosure operated by Newcastle University, and the sick pranksters use it to scare elderly residents of a rural Northumberland town. At least that’s what the police think. But when a partially decayed corpse washes up on the river bank, journalist Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison links the investigation to an international drug company that specialises in Genetic Modification.

It’s not the normal thing for Aitch, psychologically discharged from the services and unable to get on with the technological innovation beloved of the rest of the hacks, he’s more used to big-beast stories and lunar-landing conspiracies. Yet the company’s vindictive actions get him blacklisted by all the national publications and sacked from his job.

Teaming up with the delicious and intelligent forensic entomologist at the university, and fighting the company’s escalating measures to keep its activities hidden, Hendrix peels back layers of lies and violence to reveal the grisly fate of the drugged bodies donated to scientific research.

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GeNeRation Deleted Scenes

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I’m putting together a collection of deleted scenes from Generation. This is for both die-hard fans of Hendrix Harrison and to illuminate the writing/editing process.

As an author, it’s instructive to read about the experiences of others and particularly instructive to realise that, no matter at which stage of the novel production process you find yourself, you are not alone. Generation went through a long development stage, and more drafts than I care to think about. Over its eight year gestation, I think the book was entirely replaced — regenerated if you like — at least three times.

The collection comprises of a range of scenes that were cut from early drafts, and also a few that so nearly made it. Each scene is preceded by my own comments on why it was cut and any other observations that seem relevant.

I’ll be putting a new one up from time to time, so check back. I hope you enjoy them.

Deleted Scenes On Facebook

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Awesome Indies Opening Party

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You’re invited to the Awesome Indies Grand Opening Party—a sale of 26 top reads at just 99 cents each, plus 5 days of fun. See the new website, meet the authors, join them for games, giveaways and giggles and be in the draw to win the latest generation Kindle.

The Awesome Indies have found a way to take the risk out of buying indie. If it’s Awesome Indies Approved (AIA), a qualified publishing industry professional has determined that it’s as good as anything produced by the mainstream. Readers need no longer wonder if that book is really worth downloading. If a book is listed on the Awesome Indies, then it’s worth your time.

Click on  this link to visit the Awesome Indies to browse the huge 99c sale and learn what you have to do to be in the draw for a Kindle Paperwhite.

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“A stain that won’t wash”

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Could I view my own decay?

What price eternal life? A dead prison harbouring a living mind.
This is the premise of Generation, a completely original take on the living dead.
I’m a great fan of horror and for me the best, like this, offer a stage to play out more troubling implications.

With a world of zombie novels clamouring for attention William Knight has provided a view, through flyblown eyes, of what life as the dead could be like.

Poetic and poignant, I found myself asking, would I go there? Is my drive for life so strong I could view my own decay?

Generation is a multi-levelled horror that does not shirk from the gorier details whilst building on a truly horrific theme.

Well researched, William Knight provides a putrid taste of things to come.
Following the strong central character, Hendrix, the horrible possibilities of genetic engineering are revealed.

The story escalates rapidly into a conspiracy cocktail turned real. The efforts of the powerful to hide their actions pushing Hendrix into revealing deeper secrets.

On one level it shows the collapse of morality when tempted by limitless profit. On another it shows the extremes people will go to when pursued and defamed.  Then there are the motivations of those offered an apparent escape from death.

Trapped between them are the stars of the show, the dead. Beautifully written, these tragic characters elicit real sympathy as they exude Struldbrugian sadness.

Each of the dead is trapped in a recurring nightmare from which the only escape is torment and fire, consigned to hell.

These are my favourite parts of Generation, where indeed the real mind games begin and the implications start to work on the subconscious.

It is rare for me to experience physical and spiritual horror within the pages of a novel. Generation leaves a lasting impression, a stain that won’t wash out.

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“Le Carre and Grisham”

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I’ve now read this, at a sitting. Brilliant: the science is convincing enough in detail, as is other technical stuff; the premise is almost believable, good enough anyway for us to be happy to suspend disbelief; the plotting is complicated and full of twists and suspense; the ending is satisfying (baddies get their deserts etc.); and we are left with …?
To say he has read Le Carre and Grisham is not an insult.
Thoroughly recommended.

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Fracked

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CoverFrackedConceptBigBenThumbComing next year, Hendrix Harrison returns in a corporate conspiracy thriller. Imagining he is investigating an ancient body found in a Yorkshire coal mine, Aitch is embroiled in struggle between an international fossil-fuel giant and the rising ambitions of the new solar power states of North Africa. As he drills into murky motivations, Aitch is confronted with his own military past and a government bursting with dangerous contradictions.

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