Halloween – The Ghost Called Bob #4

After three years of my little Halloween stories – I thought Bob’s story should carry on! r Bob got up to more tricks in year two and yet more frolics last year.

 

It’s at this time of year when the nights draw in, the swirling mist leaks around the village and when the children go to the front door of anyone with decorations or a pumpkin that the story of Bob is remembered. No one will speak his name in a voice louder than a whisper for fear of awaking him. The children trick or treating in their skeleton and ghost costumes watch in the dark corners, not daring to mention his name and hoping not to find him. It’s said Bob wears a pointed hat with a rope around his neck. Some have said he leaves a trail of blood where he walks and that he preys on the stray or lonely children.

halloween2

 

The night was only young and yet the children were out big and small, clown and ghoul they were dressed. Scouring the streets for somewhere to add to their unhealthy haul. Dimly lit pumpkins lined the steps of houses with the cheerful cries of trick or treat echoing around the village.

It was that time again.

Bob and Mary waited at the edge of the village, watching and listening for the merriment to start. Once the last traces of light vanished from the sky and and lightly swirling mists had taken over the night the first cries of “Trick or Treat” ringing clear through the gloom.

Then there was a shape in the shadow, backlit by a floodlight, a witch of some kind this could be. As the shape got closer, Bob and Mary looked at each other, little lucy, not so little greeted them with a smile. She beckoned them to come, holding Bob by his rope, he led them both to the growing throng of children in monster disguise.

Leading them right to the middle of the village everyone saw Lucy and thought it was others in dress, playing the part of pesky Bob and mischievous Mary. To a group of children Lucy did stop their fun poking soon stopped when bod lifted his head and from under his arm his eyes glowed red and he cackled with glee. Mary vanished into a bag of sweets and poked her tongue out to the horrified child. In quick fashion the children did flee, terrified with the realisation that Bob was out for his yearly mischief and once more Mary was with him giving them double the trouble.

In a joyful glee Lucy skips along, having fun with her friends at last, all year she has waited to see them again. Knocking on a door to shout trick or treat, Bob scares the occupant out of their wits. Hanging from the roof, the host is greeting with a haunting sight that few would enjoy. Taking some sweet rewards Lucy skips along some more while the two ghouls play their merry game.

Only when the children have gone in do the games and screams quiet, Lucy bids them farewell once again and leave Bob and Mary to their night free from their graves. Before the night ends Bob and Mary stand and watch as the Sun starts to brighten the eastern sky, before the first beams of light they settle back into their tombs. For another year they will have to wait, until once again Halloween beckons again.

Copyright 2018 Simon Farnell

No ownership claimed to image – Image courtesy of google.

 

Planet Simon

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Digital Art with GIMP – Creating Planet Rings

Gimp – Gnu Image Manipulation Program, an open source program that like Photoshop is able to do amazing things with graphics and photo’s. Unlike Photoshop it costs nothing and it’s feature set is still comparable. This is a series of posts I’ve created on how Gimp can be used to help create worlds and give life to your imagination.


 

Giving a Planet Rings

Having some great looking ring on a planet can really bring it to life, thanks to useful online folk willing to share I worked out how this was done and now I’m passing it on.

For this I created I nice blue gas planet and wanted to give it some rings. To see how to create a planet in Gimp see this post: Creating Planets in Gimp

 

Blue_Gas_Planet1.png

 

For now keep your planet to one side, and start a new design double the size of your planet. Add some solid noise by going to Filter >>  Render >> Clouds >> Solid Noise.

I used these settings:

 

GIMP_Planet_Rings_2

Then to to Filter >> Render >> Clouds >> Difference Clouds. The settings should be the same as above.

GIMP_Planet_Rings_3

Reperat this a few times until what you’ve got looks something like this:

GIMP_Planet_Rings_5

Now we distort things in a circular way, Filter >> Distort >> Polar Coordinates and then click OK.

 

GIMP_Planet_Rings_6

Now we need to blur it up, Filters >. Blur >> Motion Blur

GIMP_Planet_Rings_7GIMP_Planet_Rings_8

I used these settings for a first pass then used lower settings of about 120 or 50 for the second and third passes. Now it looks like this, use the ellipse tool and draw a circle in the middle, making the rings as large or thin as needed. Use the ellipse tool settings on the left hand side to get it central and then hit delete to make a hole in the rings.

GIMP_Planet_Rings_9

At this point I saved my rings and also exported them into a .png file

I then add this .png to a layer above the planet using File >> Add as Layer does this nicely.

Go to Tools >. Transform and use the perspective and rotate tools to put the rings where you would like them.

GIMP_Planet_Rings_10

There other ways to do this, but to erase the bit of the rings you want to go use the eraser tool on the rings layer.

To add colour add a new layer over the rings, use a gradient or colour in the layer, set the layer mode to overlay, play about with the transparency of the overlay and the rings to make a really authentic rings effect that’s translucent.

GIMP_Planet_Rings_11

Finally for extra special effect add a ring shadow, in a new layer over the rings, add a circle and fill it in black  and use the gaussian blur Filters >. Blur >> Gaussian Blur to make it the kind of shadow you’re after

GIMP_Planet_Rings_12

Once you’ve done this ave it and export the planet as a .png, add it into a new design over a starfield (see link to post at the top for how to make this) and maybe give it a moon like I did…

Planet_with_rings_4_starfield&nova&moon1

I’ll show you how to add the sun another time, it’s not hard, but there you go! Rings on a planet!

I hope this has given you a little more insight into how Gimp works, each set of features can be used to draw other object , not just what I’ve done here. If there are any suggestions let me know – I’m always learning too and I’m keen to try out new stuff!

 

Planet Simon

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WHY OTHER WRITERS ARE YOUR FRIENDS…AND NOT YOUR COMPETITION

A while ago I had  been trying to get some great blogging writers to guest post here on Planet Simon and last week I got a great surprise Ari Meglen sent me a surprise guest post. I was dead chuffed! Ari runs the #MerryWriters tag game on Twitter which is really useful to meet other like minded writers. Anyway, Ari has some great words about how writers see other writers and… read the post, it’s great stuff! Go and look at her site and see what she’s up to, thanks again Ari!


 

Firstly, I want to say thank you to Simon for inviting me to guest post on his blog.  I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you.

A damaging mindset

I connect with a lot more writers than I did a few years back, which is great, but I am still saddened by just how often I see and hear some writers treat others as if we are all in competition.

This is not the case and we damn well shouldn’t react as if it is.  When writers see each other as competition, it is damaging.

They end up focusing on the wrong things, focusing on what their “competition” is up to, how they can “steal” the other writers’ readers and even to some extremes, create sock puppet accounts to leave nasty and negative reviews.

We’re in this together

The good thing about being a writer, is that even if we are writing the same genre, the same sub-genre as others, there is truly a space for all.

How many dystopian novels are there?  How many horror stories featuring malevolent spirits?  How many re-telling of fairy tales?

The answer is loads!  Loads and loads of these and of each genre, of each sub-genre.

We are not really in direct competition.  After all, if someone enjoys reading, say, werewolf novels, then they will look for other books in that category, not stay reading only one writers work on the genre.

So, if you write werewolf novels, you won’t “lose” customers to a rival werewolf writer, because the likelihood is that the readers will want to read more and thus end up reading yours too.

Jealousy is a bitter poison

It can be hard not to look at other writers’ work and not feel a stab of jealousy.  Jealousy is very human but it’s not healthy.  In times like that we need to step back, take a breath and appreciate the writer’s work.

If we are overwhelmed by how well they write their prose, we should study it, not sneer at it.  We learn from each other.  There is a reason the best writers are big readers.  From each book we read we glean more, and it subtly affects our own writing.

So, let go of the jealousy as it does nothing to serve you, only causes a hindrance.

Why writers are your friends

Writers are some of the friendliest, most supportive people I’ve ever met.  There are some genuine people who want nothing more than to cheer you on in your writing journey.

There are writers who have done the journey already and want to reach back to help you.  There are writers who are still working on their story and want to push you up.  There are new writers who feel inspired by your work and want to learn from you.

We aren’t in competition, we are in a community and should treat it as such.  If you are treating other writers as your competition you are losing out on an incredible resource as well as some epic friendships.

Good writers support each other.  We are Critique Partners, where a writer’s eye is needed to look over the manuscript to catch things before a reader sees it.  Writers are fountains of knowledge on different techniques, whether that is for outlining, for structures, for grammar etc.

Writers aren’t jumper cables… don’t use them only when you need help

I’ve sadly known a few writers who very much had the “writers are my competition” mindset, up until they needed a Critique Partner or an ARC reader and starting sniffing around other writers trying to get assistance.

Please don’t do that.  Treating your fellow writers as if they are to be beaten in the arena of book sales and then suddenly being nice when you need a favour is pretty bad etiquette.

Foster goodwill with other writers because we are a collective (not because you will want their assistance down the line).  We are a collective because we understand each other.

We know the feeling of staring helplessly at a blank page.  We know the feeling of riding that rollercoaster of “this is my best work yet” then “this is just awful”.  We know the crushing sensation of someone who says something horrid about our work.

So, support your fellow writers, be their cheerleaders, buy their books, tell people about them and support their journey.  For we are all in this together.

 

 

Planet Simon

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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 44-2018

Hi there bloggies!

Another week begins and another blog obit comes around again. I awake today to find frost outside – that’s right, frost! I know we get hung up that it’s ‘only’ October but you know, it catches you by surprise. In any case, this really is now the slippery slope to Christmas with Halloween this week and Guy Fawkes night only a few days after.

Interesting how times change, we celebrate (allegedly) Guy Fawkes night becasue it was an attempt to blow up the houses of parliament that was thwarted, but these days I think we would celebrate if it actually was blown up with all the idiots running the show these days.

I digress… with all that’s been going on I haven’t spent much time creating stuff for Planet Simon and this is kind of disheartening. I don’t see how this will change much too soon but I have a few things that could be finished off to give you an idea of some of what I’ve been up to. so I really must get onto that. Last week saw only one post out and that was my blog battle entry for October and was called the Celestial Temple.

22c931697fdee3eeeb51452480ec57597511816823632698481.jpg

If you missed it have a look.

 


 

I threw in the idea of doing something with the Planet Simon brand and threw away the idea of t-shirts and to my surprise some of you took it out of the bin. I have no idea why but now you’ve given me the challenge of seeing what could be done on this. I have no illusions, this won’t pay the bills but it could be a bit of fun! So I’ll have to see what other fun could be had too…

Stick around and keep popping in. I’ll be about as much as I can. Still trying to work things out. See you about.

Keep writing and blogging…

 

Planet Simon

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*No ownership claimed on Dr Who image

The Celestial Temple

This short piece has been written for the October 2018 Blog Battle. If you need to find out more please click: Blog Battle – October 2018

The word for this month is CAVE. 

 


 

22c931697fdee3eeeb51452480ec57597511816823632698481.jpg

 

Like a dream I could see the cave, carved into the side of a mountain, looking into it I saw the incredible. The universe within it,  layed out for me to see. That was the dream anyway, now somehow as I looked up I could see that this was the mountain and this was not a dream.

Except… where was the cave?

***

That was the last thing I remembered. before I found myself looking into the long darkness of the cave. Somehow I was inside, I wasn’t sure how. I had no idea why but this place was familiar, not like a dream within a dream. I stood looking into a vast darkness, dimly lit by a light I couldn’t see the origin of. Coming from nowhere the illumination showed the end of the cave, at the end was a sheer drop, a vast shaft. I wasn’t close enough yet to see down the shaft. In the middle was a platform, impossibly it seemed to be suspended, weightless and floating in the void. Connected only by a small walkway.

Slowly, carefully I stepped onto the walkway. In the dull silence there was a dull metallic thud as my foot met the metal surface. Slowly, carefully I took another step, then another. With each step this place seemed more and more familiar, as if it this was a place I should know. I was over, now standing on the platform, the strange console in front of me. It wasn’t lifeless, readouts displayed and indicators flashed on and off.

“I thought you would never come Galiea.”

Spinning around in total shock to face the voice from behind me, heart racing, body shaking in total fear I faced a man, in the shadow and his black outfit I couldn’t see him well. But he somehow was there. “W-what did you call me?” I stammered.

“Galiea. I was starting to wonder if you would ever come. Welcome back.”

“What do you mean? Where is this? Why are you calling me this… Galiea? My name is Steve Curran!”

“Relax, I’m not going to harm you. You are Galiea, the star master for this!” The man spread his arms out at the darkness as if proud of this place. “You don’t remember do you? Over five hundred years ago this great vessel was hidden here, hidden in space and time from the Anderran race. Five of us were dispersed into humankind, to live out human lives until the time came.”

“The time for what?” I asked, afraid of the answer even as the question escaped my lips.

“The time that the Anderran’s caught up with us. They must never have this vessel and they will tear this planet apart to get it. They know we’re here!”

“What?!?” I couldn’t get me head round this “What are you talking about?”

“This will help!”

He put his hand to my head, a flash of light, an electric pain and I fell to my knees. The pain gave way to clarity, realisation… remembrance.

“How are you now Galiea?”

At that moment as I looked down at the floor I realised why I knew this place. Like waking from a bad dream it all came flooding back to me. This – the celestial temple, created by the alliance of the seven races of Pleiades. Fleeing to hide it from the Anderran’s. I heard his words, slowly I answered. “Foggy, it’s been a long time but… Oh God, they’ve found us?” I got back to my feet, looking the man clearly in the eyes, recognising him immediately. He nodded grimly. “Where are they? Are they close?”

“Close enough, but I’m not sure. That’s why I need my star master.”

I stepped forward, waved my hand across a panel, the solar system lit up in front of me, the sun, the planets in their perfect unending orbits. Between Jupiter and Mars a red cross hair zoomed, highlighting the danger. I spread my arms and instantly zoomed in closer to the searching marauders.

“There’s all twelve of them!”

“Yes, we didn’t lose a single one did we?”

I just turned and looked at my commander, despite the passing of time he hadn’t aged… But then, neither had I.

“What can we do? Even if the other arrive, there’s only five of us and – well all of them! They will be here in days and I don’t know how we can stop them. If they capture the celestial temple they will hold the key to reaching any star system almost instantly. They will seek to conquer the entire galaxy and they will start with Earth.”

“That my friend is where we will have to find our help, right here.”

“Earth? They’re not ready for this?”

“Perhaps not, but they will need to be!”

Nodding in grim agreement, I thought about the impending doom facing us all, human or not. “How will we explain this to their leaders? We can’t just walk up to them and tell them this. We don’t have time or time to convince them.

“They will come here Galiea, they will come becasue it’s in their nature.”

Moving my hands over one of the panels, a graphic shone inf front of me. Familiar and yet hidden for so long this ship, was going to reveal itself to the world. This insignificant cave was about to be flooded with the light hidden from it so long ago.

I swiped the display, turning green a noise so subtle and yet so powerful wound down like a stalling jet, slowly this expanse filled with light from the sun. The mask that had enveloped this might vessel for so long vanished. Even out here in these mountains the sight would be so vast that we knew others would see this and would right now be alerting the authorities.

“Now what?” I asked.

“Now we wait.”

At this time we had to have faith and hope that the right people would come, before the marauders did. But whatever happened next, one thing we knew for sure. They were coming.

*Image found on Pinterest. Ownership remains with the creator.

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

Planet Simon

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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 43-2018

Hi there bloggies!

Another week begins and another blog obit comes around again. For myself in the UK I can’t help but notice the leaves falling for the trees, the moisture on the windscreen in the mornings and that chill in the air. Autumn is definitely here and it looks like winter could be damn chilly. Who knows, all I do know is the slippery slope down to Christmas is now on us and if I’m honest this isn’t something that I relish.

Anyway, Planet Simon is moving forward a bit, slowly but surely more stuff is coming on here and there more exciting stuff to come.

So last week I got a lovely tag from Preety for the Sunshine Blogger Award. There were a few interesting questions in there and I got this back out to 11 of you great bloggies.

 

Scarred_Planet+starfield

I also finally fulfilled on my promise, to start my series of posts on using Gimp. I think the big issue I had with getting it up was how to approach it, what I’ve decided is to do something with each post rather than show you this button does that becasue there’s a huge amount to it. Anyways, this week I showed you how to create a starscape and Planet in Gimp.

 

If you missed these, click on the links to catch up.

 


 

As I said last wee I’ve been thinking about the branding of this blog. I’ve not made much headway on this but one thing I have asked myself is what I can do with this as a blog – if I was to try and use this blog to try and make a living from it – how could I do that?

The,ed T-Shirts are all very well but you guys don’t want my name all over you. I guess the thing is and this is where I can help – what am I good at? What do you know me for and can this pay the bills?

Thoughts always welcome here.

Anyways, stick around and keep popping in. I’ll be about as much as I can. Still trying to work things out. See you about.

Keep writing and blogging…

What about you guys? What are you up to?

 

Planet Simon

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Also find Planet Simon on Twitter

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*No ownership claimed on Dr Who image

Digital Art with GIMP – Creating Planets

Gimp – Gnu Image Manipulation Program, an open source program that like Photoshop is able to do amazing things with graphics and photo’s. Unlike Photoshop it costs nothing and it’s feature set is still comparable. This is a series of posts I’ve created on how Gimp can be used to help create worlds and give life to your imagination.


 

Creating Planets

Rather than go through the little details how this and that works I’m diving straight in, giving you the details of how I’ve used Gimp and for what… giving you all the magic. This kind of thing is accessible to all, I’m not expert and everything I’ve done I’ve learned myself.

 

Starfield&planet

 

Creating the kind of image used here is not as hard as you might think. First let’s create a star field.

Firstly download and install Gimp from https://www.gimp.org/

 


 

First thing to do is to create a new image to do this got to File >> New

Set the image size to whatever you want, but as an example make it 1024 x 768 and make it landscape.

Set it to fill with foreground colour which is black.

 

Create the stars by going to Filters >> Noise >> Hurl

Click on Randomise and then OK.

Te colour needs to be removed from the stars, to do this Click on Colours >> Desaturate >> OK

There’s far too many stars to make this sensible, so we need to reduce them.  Click on Colours >> Levels start at about 200, but have a play undo (CNTRL Z) and redo it with different values until you’re happy with the result.

If you like some sparkle can be added to the stars, this is done by clicking on Filers >> Light and Shadow >> Sparkle. Set to about 0.15 to start but then play to make it how you want.

Save the starfield, we’ll come back to it later.

 


 

To create a planet is also pretty easy, first you need a firstly high definition texture file. It’s basically a picture and it can be anything. I got mine from Google but just remember copyright and all that for your work if going public.

Open this texture file in Gimp, if you want to crop it then go to Tool >> Transform Tools >> Crop

 

GIMP_Planet1

 

After making it the right shape go to Filters >> Distorts >> Distorts >> Apply Lens

GIMP_Planet2

 

In the lens there are a few settings to mess about with to make it look how you want and whether or not to cut away the excess area, which you need to do.

GIMP_Planet7

 

Now we need to give some shading to our little planet. On the right toolbar at the top add a new layer on top of the planet and call it shadow or something… anything.  On the side toolbar pick the Ellipse tool.

GIMP_Planet8

 

Then draw a circle (best you can it won’t be perfect) around the planet but make it twice the size or thereabouts, make sure it’s been drawn on the shadow layer.

GIMP_Planet9

 

Go back to the toolbar, click on the bucket fill tool, on the colours below it click on it and select black.

GIMP_Planet10

 

Then fill the circle.

GIMP_Planet11

 

Staying on this layer go to Filters >> Blur >> Gaussian Blur. I used 600 and 600 but pick any figure you think is best.

GIMP_Planet12

 

Press M and click / drag to move the shadow to give the desired effect of partial shadow.

GIMP_Planet13

 

There is a better way, to remove the excess shadow, but the easiest for now is to go to the left hand toolbar and pick the eraser tool and rub it out. If you look down you can all kinds of brush shapes and sizes.

GIMP_Planet14

One this is done go to File >> Export As and export your planet as a .PNG file. It’s important to do this as PNG files support transparency better. Don’t forget to save your planet in Gimp format as you can work on it another time.

Scarred_Planet

This will be how the PNG comes out, taking the background away means we can over lay it on another image, like our starfield.

Go back to the starfield image.

Click on File >> Open as Layers

Find your planet PNG and click ok.

scarred planet + starfield1.PNG

Your planet will be plopped onto your starfield kind of like this depending on the sized you made both of them. To scale your planet go to Tools >> Transform >> Scale.

Move the grid about to make it how you want it, click Sale. Press M and click / drag to move the planet about and there it is!

Scarred_Planet+starfield

Your first space scene.

The GIMP tool is really powerful, there are so many features and these tutorials will hopefully broaden your knowledge each time you use the tool. This ‘playing around’ I think is the best way to learn how to use it for the different things that as an artist you want to do them.

If there are any suggestions let me know – I’m always learning too and I’m keen to try out new stuff!

 

Planet Simon

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Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to  Preety of the Get Your Own Style blog for nominating me for the Sunshine blogger award. I’ve only been following Preety’s blog a short time but it’s got a great style of it’s own and there’s some great work in there so make sure you have a look.

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging sites.

Answer the questions.

Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo on your site or on your  post.

 


 

Q & A

1. Which country you belong from ?

I’m from the Uk, it’s generally known for being rainy here, which it is except we’ve just had a summer with three or four month of 100% sunshine. It’s pretty expensive to live here too.

 

2. Whom you are closer to in your life i.e. either mom or dad?

Just my dad is around now but when she was alive my mum.

 

3. What is your dream destination?

I would love to go to Iceland and see the northern lights and the mountains and volcanoes and glaciers and all of the wild stuff that’s there. Oh and the Elves.

 

4. What is your favorite movie?

Had to pick out just one, I have a few:

Hot Fuzz

2001: A Space Odyssey

Interstellar

Spy

 

5. What is your hobby?

Blogging and maybe writing and drawing too. Oh and reading. and being outdoors and all sorts but I don’t get to do much of it really.

 

6. What is your greatest strength?

I’m not sure, I think it’s to solve problems.

 

7. What is the meaning of love to you ?

Love is when you care for someone’s happiness or wellbeing more than your own.

 

8. Who is your best friend?

I don’t have one.

 

9. Do you believe in God ?

I depends what you mean, I think everyone’s perception of God is different depending on their own perspective but ultimately it’s one entity or thing that we kind of know about but don’t understand.

 

10. Can you live without your smartphone for one day?

I could live without it forever if I wanted to or had to.

 

11. Are you happy with your current life?

That depends on your definition of happiness.

 


 

My Nominees Are:

Holistic Life by Kate

outanabout

A crack in the Pavement

planetpailly

heroicallybadwriters

amwenceslas

sarainlalaland

educationalmentorship

thedarkestfairytale

iainkellywriting

hotshotheadlines

 


 

My questions to my nominated bloggies are:

1. Which country do you come from ?

2. Who was the family member you remember most from your childhood and why?

3. What is your dream destination?

4. What is your favorite movie?

5. What is your hobby?

6. What is your greatest strength?

7. What is the meaning of love to you ?

8. Who is your best friend?

9. Do you believe in God?

10. Can you live without your smartphone for one day?

11. If you could change anything in the world – what would it be?

 

Thanks again to Preety for nominating me, I hope all of you that I nominated will join in if not no worries.

 

Planet Simon

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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 42-2018

Hi there bloggies!

How are you guys all doing? I’m hopefully managing to get a bit more blog time in, meaning this week you get my weekly orbit. Last week was a bit of a bumper week, I got a number of posts out, the most important to note was the concluding part of the Great Galactic Service Station, it was kind of sad to say farewell to Ralph, Miranda and the rest of the mob. If you have missed out then look here for the GGSS page, I do need to update this and I hope to in the next few days and I will also put the rest of the story up on my Wattpad page.

The Great Galactic Service Station

The other post to note this week was a big thinking post on my thoughts on how we are connected (or unified depending on your thinking) to the universe and why I think that many of our philosophies are far too incomplete to answer the questions of creation.

As for this week – who knows. I keep threatening posts on digital art and keep letting you down, I need to get my finger out on this, but you know it’s time and all that.

 


 

In other news I’m going through some thoughts on the branding of this blog. I’ve not made any decisions yet and some of this conversation could take place off this blog on my Facebook page. I’m not sure yet but any views welcome. I’m just thinking that as a brand… Is it right?


 

Anyways, stick around and keep popping in. I’ll be about as much as I can. Still trying to work things out. See you about.

Keep writing and blogging…

What about you guys? What are you up to?

 

Planet Simon

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*No ownership claimed on Dr Who image

The Great Galactic Service Station – The Conclusion

After a few weeks of aliens coming in and out of the station it was like the Great Galactic Service Station had always been there. Ralph had become acquainted with a vast number of alien life forms and he had also managed to keep the ketchup off his uniform. The galactic emperor had drafted in more staff to asis Flartislap, who had it seemed also decided that it was time for him to retire from service station duties. It seems that a career spanning several million years is not unheard of in the galaxy. Anyway, he wanted to find new pastures, he had briefly gone to Earth to see what England’s green pastures were like but it seemed that sheep hated him and wanted to try and trample him, that and the fact that they brought him out in a rash put him off the whole idea.

Boris had decided that maniacal leaders of warlike races don’t serve cream cakes so after picking up a few Mars bars and sausage rolls had gone back to his ship to find a new star system to try and conquer. All the makers of pork scratchings had decided to go with him too so pubs in England generally had to find alternative snacks.

Along with the the nations of Earth had worked out that trade with the races of the galaxy was a good thing and nuking was going to really irritate a lot of them. Britain couldn’t come up with a deal, the EU thought they could dictate terms and the president of the US couldn’t get the right style of blonde mullet wigs, so there was lots to learn and discuss.

Miranda and the crew of starship Frank were gathering and making preparations to leave.

“What do I do now?” Ralph asked somewhat despondent.

“You can go back home, that’s what you wanted right?” Ralph thought he caught a small tear in her eye but dismissed the idea.

“What? Go back to selling tape measures at Homebase?”

“That might be hard human” Harry cut in. “Homebase were bought out so you probably don’t have a job. Also you house was flattened, I checked up on it, apparently the cooker was left on and there was an explosion. Everyone thinks you’re dead becasue they couldn’t find you.” Miranda scolded Harry with her eyes. “What?” was all he could reply with.

“Go to the ship and shut up. You’ve done enough damage on this mission!” Miranda looked at Ralphs face and there was pain in his eyes. Even Gaz was hugging his leg.

“Look, I’m sorry that I got it wrong and mistook you for the service station attendant. I’m sorry that I zapped you with my ray and captured you and took you away, but you have a fresh start.” Miranda was trying to sound positive but even she wasn’t convinced.

“How can I go back now after this, after seeing the galaxy and so many of the inhabitants. Look I have ten of these techno-cards with girls names on, I don’t have any girls names at home.”

Miranda looked through them and winced “Watch these three, they like to have a good time with their mates but tend to digest them afterwards.”

Ralph stared in disbelief “Really? Ew yuk! No thanks.”

“Anyway, take care Ralph, I hope you have a good life.” MIranda held out her hand, Ralph took it and tried to smile. Miranda walked off briskly towards the docking bay. Gaz stood there next to Ralph for a moment looking on at Miranda. Then he let out a grating, grizzly grunty sound, Miranda spun round.

“What?” She shouted.

Gaz grunted again, nodding at Ralph.

“Oh, come on then!” She rolled her eyes. In a second Ralph was there, hugging her tightly thanking her over and over. “What are you doing?” Miranda looked confused.

“Sorry.” Ralph let go.

Miranda turned. “Let’s go you two we’ve got another long mission ahead of us, this time there are no sausage rolls involved. Thank the universe!”

“Where are we going?” Ralph asked inquisitively.

“I’ll tell you when we get onto the ship.”

“About the ship.” Ralph started.

“Yes?” Miranda asked.

“I think the name Frank is rubbish, we should name it something better, like a spaceship. Like Enterprise, or Galactica.”

They all walked through the bulkhead and down the access tunnel. “Give me strength!” Miranda mumbled. “How about lasting patience? I’ve had to have loads of that!”

“That’s not really a name.”

“Ok, I think there is a moon in this system named after me?”

“Yea, around the planet Uranus!”

“That’s what we’ll call it then! You can tell IRIS.”

Ralph stopped dead.

“What?” Miranda quizzed. “Don’t fancy talking to IRIS?”

Ralph followed again as they got to the ship’s hatch “Uranus…” He sighed.

 


 

The three of them walked onto the control deck and looked out. “Where to now?” asked Ralph.

“I knew you couldn’t resist.2 Harry muttered to Miranda under his breath.

“Knew what?”

“Shut up!” Miranda shot back. “Both of you! Right, we are going to find a rare object. The galactic Rosetta stone!”

“Where’s that?” Ralph asked.

“I’m told it’s through a big blue wibbly wobbly thing at Betelgeuse, then onto the galactic centre  and perched on top of a tall mountain on a small planetoid called Dave. But that’s probably all wrong!”

“So which way?” Harry asked.

“This way” Miranda pointed. “Oh no hang on this way.” Miranda pointed another way. “Stuff it, that a way!” She waved.

The starship swerved and bucked and finally the engined lit up blue and the starship Uranus was gone in a trail of blue. Leaving behind a drifting warship, stopped with cream cakes with a now despondent Theresa mumbling away on the radio about her favouite pasties and how no one loved her.

 

©Simon Farnell 2018

 

Planet Simon

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Let’s Connect with the fun Writers Tag

My friend and fellow writer Ari and her friend Lorraine have created the fun writers tag as she says: “Being a writer can be a lonely business.  So we thought we’d create the Writers Tag to get the ball rolling and in a fun way, introduce each other to all the wonderful writers who blog.”

Ari was kind enough to tag me into this and so here I am passing on the tag magic.Before we start the Writers Tag, here is a little work to put in:

☆ Post the Tag and Image on your blog (see above).

☆ Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.

☆ Mention the creators of the tag and link back to their blogs.

☆ Nominate 6+ deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their
blogs.

This Writers Tag was created by Lorraine Ambers and Ari Meghlen.  Click on the highlighted names to check out their blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment to tell them that you’ve played the fun Writers Tag so they can connect with you too.

So let’s get started with this fun, quick-fire Writers Tag and get to know each other a little better. 


 

Questions for the Writers Tag (and my answers)

 

  • Name one novel that inspired you to write.

I think many novels have inspired me, and each one I read helps me grow in some way as a writer. 2001 was a big inspiration for me, but since then have been many more. Most notably the Martian.

  • What’s your favourite genre to write and read?

The major genre I read and write is Scifi but I also have a bit of a taste for fantasy too.

 

  • Do you prefer to write stand-alone or series?

I’m not sure yet, I haven’t written enough.

 

  • Use 3 words to describe yourself

Geeky, thinker, imaginative.

 

  • Reveal your WIP aesthetics or an image that represents your MC or setting.

 

 

  • How long did your first MS take to draft?

The clock is still ticking…

 

  • Who is your author idol?

Arthur C Clarke. His imagination and inspiration was amazing.

 

  • Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.

I can’t actually think of one….

 

  • Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.

I don’t know.. Am I unique?

 

  • Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.

Finding time and headspace to write really is challenging for me.

 

  • What’s your favourite social media and why? Share your link.

Twitter is my favourite social media platform, it’s so easy to find and engage with writers and other creative people of similar interests.

 

  • Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less.

Keep going, don’t stop!

 


 

I nominate the following deserving writers:

Scribes Canvas

Amaris Wenslaslas

Becoming Violet Grey

But I smile Anyway

Damyanti Biswas

Heroically Bad Writers

To my nominees, here are the questions for you to copy should you wish to play this tag. I’ve left them the same as the question I was given… 

  • Name one novel that inspired you to write.
  • What’s your favourite genre to write and read?
  • Do you prefer to write stand-alone or series?
  • Use 3 words to describe yourself
  • Reveal your WIP aesthetics or an image that represents your MC or setting.
  • How long did your first MS take to draft?
  • Who is your author idol?
  • Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.
  • Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.
  • Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.
  • What’s your favourite social media and why? Share your link.
  • Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less.

Planet Simon

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Also find Planet Simon on Twitter

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Connected Universe -The possibilities of existence

This post is another one of my big thinking posts, a lot of it is about how my thinking around creation / religion and God had changed. Don’t get me wrong here, there are no answers to this and it’s likely I never will find the answers but generally I’m talking about observation of the universe and how this affects us.

Now you’re wondering what on Earth I’m on about… so let me explain. I guess it starts with my upbringing, it was kind of complex and let’s leave it at that but basically I had two parents from two different religious points of view telling me how the world was and God / Jesus and it and things like astrology and the belief in our connection with the natural world or the universe is complete trash.

I accepted and defended this view for many years because as a kid that’s what I did. But I still had many questions and even now I have questions and I’m not going to list them all but this was one thing I accepted.

Roll on some years (too many) and I’ve lived a bit and experienced a few things.

One thing that happened was in 2014 I had my year of hell, anything that could go wrong did and in a major way, I lost a lot. In trying to seek an answer for this I found out that in the world of astrology Saturn entering your sign is a destroyer / life changer and guess what – Yup Saturn was in my sign around that time. Coincidence? Maybe but as I have said before about coincidences – the universe is rarely so lazy.

A few years on from this and space exploration and research from the likes of Hubble is showing us an amazing universe full of not just stars but galaxies.

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And guess what, they’re all connected.

Take a look at the picture above – a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at it’s centre with stars and planets and all kinds of other things circling around it.

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Look at this one too – what a jewel, the sweeping arms of this galaxy formed somehow by some process we cannot fathom… maybe. What an amazing creation. Now don’t start thinking that I’ve turned into some kind of atheist here becasue no. My thinking is far beyond the simplicity of deciding whether there is or is not a God and all that stuff. I think that there MUST be a creative force in the universe and we have no possible way of understanding it. We cannot.

Delving into my favourite world of science fiction and look at Star Wars, they called their creative entity the force. A faceless thing which as Yoda said ” surrounds us and bind the universe together.”

yoda

What I thought was really inspiring about this was the force is named simply in the way it is perceived. Even the Jedi never referred to it as a person whether acting for good or evil. There are so many hangups on what ‘God’ is or who he is and our minds constantly think of him as human. This kind of thinking has caused so much grief over time, anyway – I digress.


Looking at a smaller portion of our universe and how our solar system and planets move through space is really fascinating…

Look at how they’re moving… they’re connected, everything in our solar system, our galaxy and our universe is connected. This is a fact, when we look at the world and the life on it, this great machine is connected with one entity affecting the existence of others, making the machine that is planet Earth work. We are part of that, despite what everyone says, we are part of this machine. We are connected.

So, the question I have to ask is this. If the starts, the planets and the living things are all connected to Earth and the universe, if all these things go on regardless of what we can do, is it really so impossible that the universe can affect us, how we feel, how our lives progress, how things pan out?

We know so little about existence that we cannot possibly know how it works. So why are we told so often how it works when in reality nobody knows. But this I have decided, what I was told when I was young was probably incorrect.

Planet Simon

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