Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tandem novel - Oppenheimer Book Trailer

Dear G3 or Global Gambling Game,

Thank you Classic FM for priming my mind so that I'd see the three drained cores of the spinning sun, inspirational music.
For those who already haven't, you can pick up a paperback or Kindle or ebook copy of TANDEM by Mike Philbin at all good online retailers, including Amazon... Barnes & Noble... Apple etc... etc....

Friday, 27 September 2013

Tandem novel available in paperback, ebook and Kindle.

you can now get your greasy military mitts on the greasy military War World novel TANDEM full of MK Ultra goodness and Warring Factions aplenty.

You want Tandem ebook?
You want Tandem Kindle?
You want Tandem paperback?

Remember, this book took (not five years (not five months) but) two months from start to finish, from a two-page treatment I took on holiday to long-hand notebooks to type in and final document copy, twice edited. So, what's this G3 whistleblower story all about, Miko?

Oxford-based lawyer Lorien Howell finds herself being drawn into the insane world of her client 'Actor Arrenay', as she calls him. But his War World research and his whistleblower files expose her to the Global Gambling Game that threatens to cripple mankind once and for all. 

It's 69,000 words, so don't expect it to take you too long to read. Just enjoy the surrealist adventure ride. I certainly enjoyed writing it.

Update: there's a newer edit of this novel available now, just general tidying and correction to accompany the new covers, no great structural changes. I'll work on Watcher (war world #2) soon, and they'll both be suitably War World'd up.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Second draft in the can - final editorial pass to follow

68,500 words or so. Second draft done. I'd resolved the front end with the back end, retitled some chapters, added a few more layers of non-specific love interest, burned a hero or three and then completed the penultimate science-fictional horror-show chapter. Titled the last chapter Epilogue.

Typed THE END.

There's a surprising amount of sex in this second draft. Not that the sex is very 'sexy', in fact it's quite disgusting and insanely twisted thanks to MK Ultra overtones of compliance via sexual annihilation, thank you Police State. Thank you WAR WORLD. My multi-bonered mutants are way sleazier than Hollywood's Extremis agents. So, no love lost. Flame on, JDawn!

Hey, Mike, where can I get hold of this novel?

I'll tell you in a few days.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

the future of the TANDEM novel... second draft strategy for the WAR WORLD.

now that I know how the TANDEM novel ends (I wasn't sure I was going to 'enjoy' writing that bit, until I did) and with the content coming out at about three single-spaced document pages or so per chapter, what I intend to do is


go back in and extend certain specific aspects and meanings of each chapter so that the whole book has a more unified feel and appeal. I might even introduce some rude dead ends for the reader, because I detest him/her so. I want to get to the point where each chapter is five (or at least four) single-spaced document pages. This means writing around the content and/or exploring an aspect of that chapter not fully explored, or skimmed past, in the first-draft version. Should be quite fun.

Fear not, oh fans of the angsty/jumpy/spontaneous Hertzan Chimera 'get on with it you sick bastard, show everything now, don't piss around with filler' material you all know and love. What's going to happen is ... you know when you stub your toe on that door edge? Well, that, only more vivid, more excruciating, more tortuous. I intend to INJURE the reader with every unified chapter and get his/her head in a place where he/she will DREAD the next chapter and not want to turn the page. I'm going to blind him with side-events and confuse the hell out of him, until the wondrous climax.

Blindly led to blindness. Lambed to slaughter.

SEVERAL DAYS LATER UPDATE: based on my expansion of the first fourteen chapters (already) the word count for each second-draft chapter comes to about 3,000 words or more. I had a bit of a cheeky combine of some part-chapters and reduced what was 26 chapters to 24 @ 3,000 words each still gives me a projected 72,000 words total. That'll do for a decent novel length.

"War World!" say it like you mean it.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Tandem novel - 50,000 words - first draft complete

I had a bit of a crazy-mad type in over the weekend, finished typing in notebook #2 and then notebook #3 turned out to be little more than a couple notes about what had gone before; a re-summary to help restructure some of what had already been written in #1 and #2. There was 'the battle scene' and that was delightful, and a 'the Virago scene' and that was proper horrific to write, but that was it really.

There is one final chapter to fully write-up. I don't have a detailed notebook entry for this but I know what the scene should be. It's basically one entire book written from scratch to first draft in six weeks. The total up to this point is 45,000 with the final chapter still to pen. Additional rewrite elements and that final chapter or two would take the final total of this first real draft to about:


It's just the way it is, I guess. And it has happened before. I should start to rename my 'novels' LONG STORIES. Because that's what they are, they're a longer version of a kinky idea. However big your written world is, there's only so much 'story' you can squeeze out of a number of characters without having to use chapters of  filler content or flash back to pad a book out to a contractual word count. This final chapter is a BIG LEAP and let's say I'm not totally sold on the climax but it's probably going to stick, the book is probably going to end this way.

I like the pace of the book the way it is; it's stripped to the bone, it gets on with it and doesn't let up. In fact, it has the feel of an old Hertzan Chimera long story; bedded in the real but surreal as fuck, and scary, and nasty.

And on the subject of NEW WORLD ORDER:

There is no ruling elite. That's what 'normal folk' always forget. The term New World Order was invented back in the 1940s to keep you and I under wraps, as a thinking species. In all reality, the thousands of millions of dreamers who do what they do naturally every single night are the ones who 'rule this world'. In fact, without them there'd be no commercial world, there'd be no profit/loss accounting careers, there'd be no wars for profit.

AFTERNOON UPDATE: now that I have the foundation of the last chapter on file, I can see how this may affect a second draft quite considerably. A final layer to what became an already complicated (and implicated) cake.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Tandem novel - thirty five thousand words - power of dreams

it's ironic, isn't it? Ironic that in a book about 'dreams', or at least the financial exploitation of said, the solution to why one of the characters would have in their possession a 'dream diary' would come from a dream ... a dream the writer had this morning.

Chapter eighteen of Tandem is titled: A WET WEEKEND IN WALES

I passed the 35,000 words mark in the 'type in' last night and I was left with a quandary, "Why did 'this character' have a dream diary on their person?" I mean, I understood that such a diary could be used as a cynical plotting tool to help the story along and show what might need to be done to finalise the narrative. I could see how it would be USEFUL, I just couldn't see why it would EXIST at all.

This morning I had my answer: in a dream. I had 'wondered' about this 'dream diary' last night, though I hadn't 'formulated' any 'dream question' or anticipated any Kekule (the discoverer of benzene's structure) Moment. But there it was, "The 'dream diary' is needed to show that 'this character' has STARTED dreaming."

It's the starting dreaming that is HIGHLY IMPORTANT in a novel like Tandem; you'll see why when it's done and you can read it.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Tandem novel - thirty thousand words - first notebook 'typed in'.

that's it then: the first notebook of three has been fully typed in, edited, reworked, it's like Draft 1.5, somewhere in the middle of a series of detailed notes taken in long-hand and a final submission in document format.

The first notebook then was thirty thousand words.

I've done this before, over-estimated how long one of my novels is, or might turn out to be. Usually they come out at about 45-50,000 words. And even though there are two (slimmer, French) notepads to go, I might be closer to 50,000 than 60-70,000 I guesstimated in an earlier post.

I'm really happy where the novel's going, even if I've hacked and rewrote quite a different flavour or 'romance' into the book thus far, compared to what I brought back from my hols. I like the pace of it, when I thought the start of the novel was a little too pedestrian, a little too relaxed. I alter'd that, so that we're off and running basically at page one. I appreciate 'build up' but I don't wanna be associated with a 'slow burner'. I'm like a FAST BURN sorta guy, I like spectacle, and suspense. Drama and revelation.

Here's a special EXCERPT from the Tandem novel, just so you remember it's all a game:

Think back. Way back. To 1938. Oppenheimer and Tatlock. The first Tandem in recorded history. You're looking at the page going 'Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb?' Yes, that T Robert Oppenheimer, controller of Jean Tatlock who was by this time so close to destroying the earth that a special 'smother' operation took place in the Nevada desert we know today as Trinity. In fact, so disruptive was the Trinity event that it nudged itself forward in time some seven years. And all the history books have remained untouched, until now. Nuclear weapons didn't exist until the latter part of the 20th century. Nukes started out as a cover story for the Tandem operatives, it was up to The Atomic Energy Commission to research and eventually find a way to 'split the atom' and Operation Tulin took place. That was as late as 1991. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Tandem novel - original cover idea - 20,000 words typed-in mark

original cover idea
I've just passed the 20,000 words typed in mark and I'm still only 2/3 of the way through notebook #1. I suspect that notebooks #2 and #3 are no longer than 20,000 words, so the typed-in version'll probably be about 60-70,000 words max.

There are still some not-yet-typed-in paragraphs from early in notebook #1. Couldn't work out whether they fit or not. But I'll eventually end up folding them into the back-engineered mix. There's also a large chunk of 'narrative speculation' that took place 2/3 of the way into notebook #1: not something that can be typed in, just a guide to where 'this writer' thinks his novel might benefit from going.

Yes, rewriting one's own books from long-hand notes is a bit like taking an alien space ship apart and hoping you can put all the important pieces back together again later.

I've been thinking about combining some of the shorter chapters into a longer chapter structure. I mean, I might end up doing this throughout the book - who knows how this book's going to turn out? Two shorter notebooks to go after this. I'll post the final type-in figure once we get there.

Didn't like this cover, when I first did it, but it's growing on me.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tandem novel - fifteen thousand words - this was supposed to be a romance novel

a G3 whistleblower novel 

so, my intention with this novel, at least when I was thinking about it, and then writing it, travelling around France, for a month, away with family, was to go for a more stripped down i.e. twisted romance novel in the vein of my first novel Red Hedz.

In that 1998 short novel from Creation Press, a psycho-figurative artist dates a very strange girl and all hell breaks loose while the relationship resolves itself. I brought back three notebooks of material from my holiday abroad and at the fifteen thousand words (typed in) stage, I'd say I'm two thirds of the way through notebook #1. Now, this may be deceptive as the first notebook is an English notebook I took over there (and filled very quickly) the other two notebooks are French ones and may be slightly smaller. I'd say they were two thirds the size, so we're looking at 45,000 raw words, that's before any amendments/additions/rewrites or other ideas cram their way into the story.

I wanted this new novel Tandem to be like that 1998 novel; at least in intimacy, in flavour. And it's almost there, save that the writer of Red Hedz has had a whole lot more life under his belt, is a little more jaded. The narrator, this time, is a female lawyer Lorien Howell who is managing the property empire of a man known only as Actor Arrenay (for reasons of client confidentiality). He's created this Market, it's his back-up plan for when World War Three finally kicks off.

"Who are we kidding, World War Three is ON as of the 1950's," says Actor Arrenay. And he goes into great detail why. He justifies his claim with whistleblower evidence and an industrial facility out in the hills in Rio that's just plain insane, can't exist.

And why Lorien? What's her role in AA's plan? Will she survive the G3 endgame?

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Tandem novel - first ten thousand words - typed in.

a G3 whistleblower novel 

it's motoring along, now. Ten thousand words input so far from scrawly biro'd notebooks, and still on notebook one.

It had stalled, initially, once I realised that the book I took to France to write wasn't actually the book I came back with. Once I understood that, it went a whole lot more smoothly. Got a better idea of how to start the novel, the extra couple chapters at the front that built both the female and male actors of the Tandem.

And I remembered a promise I'd made to myself to have the giant Actor Arrenay as one of the prime characters in the book. A quick name change, a slight make-up change, and a personality overhaul and my male central character is now Actor Arrenay from that series of posts on my blog about the Republik of New Afrika.

Dangerous activity, maybe, but inspirational content for a G3 Whistleblower novel.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Type in begins - and it's like tidying up after random teenagers

a G3 whistleblower novel 

I've typed in from long-hand before, but they were mostly short stories, two to five thousand words.

This is a multi-layered espionage thriller of (more than (I hope)) 27,000 words with all sorts of boxes to tick and research items to find and additional homework still to do. I did my best to annotate and record what comes from where and what needs to go where and what might be missing from, and redundant in, the original two-pager, as the story morphed and shape-changed under my leaking biro nibs. But looking back on it, it's gonna be an almighty slog just reading the scribbled words. I've always had (what they call) doctor's script, and this has been amplified (in frequency, I guess) by sometimes having written while a passenger in a moving car or on a long walk or in a state of excitement about the particular section of the book, or scene, or revelation.

What I initially started doing was 'typing in' at around about the middle of the book as I thought that would be just about where the 'feel of the book proper' might live. I typed in one chapter about Rio but I'm not totally convinced it's the right place to start - we still don't really know about the female character yet, so she needs fleshing out more. I've got the format all laid out ready to accept data in any way I want to do it. I have my green-highlighter system in the top-left corner for a started page, and a green-highlighter in the bottom-right corner for a completed page.

I decided to get stuck right in at the start of the book like a proper brave (sleeves rolled up ready for work) adult novelist would.

Writing books is a VERY EXCITING process where things that have never lived suddenly start to impose their will upon the wishes of their creator, and they're doing the same at second draft stage too. It's (for me) a very wild ride to watch characters 'come to life' literally on the page, in the space between ink and paper, and dictate where they should be taken. How they rebel against your hopes and shatter your dreams. Once you have character you have life, it seems. Has any intellectual done a thesis on 'the horrifying creation of character', surely?

TANDEM - document prep'd for content, sir!

a G3 whistleblower novel 

as I've decided to (try to) make the 'typing in' a military-precision operation, today's the day to properly organise the drafting of the notebooks into document format.

FIRST: eight point summary/synopsis of the events of the novel - done.
This is the first real look at how the book will feel. And already it seems like it will benefit from the late-in-the-day ideas I had to expand the opening section of the book so that it's more comprehensive and 'story-telly'. The addition of the 'blackmailer' at the very last minute helped fill a narrative gap, or void from the middle phase of the novel to the latter.

SECOND: write down the chapter headings - done.
Twenty-seven titled chapter headings at this early stage, that's even taking into account a further three chapters that I had always planned to squeeze in before the notebooks began. I basically started writing a tad too late into the meat of the story and don't want a flashback-filled story. This baby has to 'build'.

THIRD: decipher and type all those scribbled words into document format - pending.
Now that I've got an idea what sort of style the book's meant to be written in, I did think about typing the notebooks in backwards i.e. starting with the last chapter. And I might still do so. I did at least put the chapter structure into doc and the synopsis. What's more likely is I'll end up doing something completely different and try to wing it, as always. More in a further report.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

TANDEM - new novel - first post about it...

a G3 whistleblower novel 

 the new novel (and it really is much more than a long short story, I hope) went through about three different changes of direction, and title, during the four frantic weeks it took to write it 'in long-hand' i.e. in notebooks using a pack of leaking biros, while I was away with the family in foreign climes topping up my tan and attempting to keep fit.

It wasn't even the novel I'd expected to work on, this vacation. I say this time, because I remember a time when I took my family to Japan for ten days with the intention of hammering out the guts of a novel. Got a brand new expensive pen. Got a brand new leather notepad to fill.

NOTHING, no dream project spilled forth.

This time, I was see-sawing between writing book two of the Free Planet series, code-named LIBERATOR and writing another novel altogether about a stalker-cum-serial killer who turns into a saviour of the innocents. I had pages and pages of notes for either.

On the spur of the moment and because I really didn't wanna lug loads of documents around in hard copy format on piles of A4, the day before setting out for our family month away in the south of France, I decided to print out a two-page treatment of a real sketchy idea that might have been about a War World where everybody knows but you or might have been about a Rampant Sex Slaughterer, in the end it turned out to be a whole lot weirder, scarier, nastier and inventive than both those ideas slammed together. It just went off on its own, like it was having 'such fun'.

My last three books, since 2008, have been heavily political intrigue-inspired and this new book is a return to why I got writing in the first place. In my 1989 novel Red Hedz, a man and a woman are brought together by bizarre circumstance and have to work their way out of an insane problem. Same thing here, but with less psycho-erotic porn moments. More revelation though, more drama, more of everything I've been practising over the last twenty years as a writer who refuses to go mainstream.

THREE NOTE BOOKS of novelistic content seemed to shit themselves out of their own volition - I even ended up incorporating two short story ideas from like ten years back: one called The Woman Who Dated Suicide Bombers and an unfinished interstellar slaughter story called something like Nuclear Man. Right at the end of the writing session, I realised there was something missing. A kingpin. Just before heading home, I added The Blackmailer - his 11th hour inclusion would finish the project perfectly.

What is a G3 whistleblower? The basic idea is G3 is one of the super secret branches of MI5 that even MI5 don't know about - very surreal stuff happens later on in the novel. If you like your fiction proper hardcore and fucked up, you'll like this one.

I had no contact with the modern world for the entire time I was away: no phones, no internet, no posts or forums - absolutely no distractions, and maybe this is why the creativity just spewed forth in such a frothy manner. I think I might really love this novel.

The hard work of putting this thing back together from pages of cross-referenced and still-to-fill-out ideas that are a-hustling and a-bustling to get put onto disc. More news as it unfolds...