We Shall Not Be Stapled

Shout it in the streets. Get down to the Orange band and tell them too. Tell your friends carrying messages over the border.

The Comic Book Guys have been immensely supportive of Axel America. I’m delighted to be featuring in this cosy spot lunchtime launch. There’s a raft of old and new material (see here) including pieces by myself, and an unseen Sir Reginald piece from 2006.

I’ve been working on the launch of my exciting Patreon project and my new book, Ignacz the Watch Thief. The campaign starts on Tuesday 9th at http://patreon.com/andyluke – there’s little there, but you can bookmark it.

Before that, I’ll be appearing at the Enniskillen Comic Fest this weekend. On Saturday morning, hosting a ‘Breaking Into Comics’ panel featuring Colin Mathieson (Accent UK), Jenika Ioffreda (Midnight Tea), Ciaran Marcantonio (Neon Skies) and Grainne McEntee (Bubbles O’Seven: Simian Agent) From there, I can mostly be found at the Sector House 13 table. They’ll be selling a zine edited by Laurence McKenna and Peter Duncan…well, it’s a glossy zine, with a strip beautifully painted by Ryan Brown, and marvellously written by Laurence, a feel much like The Shield, which is a perfect tone for a Mega City One Judges story. I’ve a prose-poem in there. I’m Likin’ It. Actually, that’s the name of the story. It’s good.

 

25/05/2016: Joyful deadlines: Blogging Axel America

Axel America is set around the November 8th U.S. elections, so I’ve plenty of reason for getting it out there soon.

Some authors disparage deadlines and writing for the market. Underneath those there’s structure, definition. In the emotional storm times, those can be something to cling to, a way forward. Late April, early May, the time between drafts, took a lot out of me; demanded time to recover. Time I’d set aside for scratching my arse and watching Babylon 5 repeats was replaced with great mourning and celebrating. When I was ready to go back to work, there was plenty, but thankfully I had lots of plans.

Richard wasn’t keen on a show-down in Chapter 4, between Axel and his foe Morgan Rump. “It comes out of nowhere,” he said, and he was right. I printed out the chapter list and decided a re-shuffle was in order. My solution was to bring forward Chapter 5 re-establishing Rump as a threat, but as Chapter 3, thus better establishing him in the rising action. Chapter 1 is an ensemble piece, but doesn’t focus on Axel. (A surprise, as Axel dominates every scene he’s in.) I was loathe to create a new Chapter 2 and alter the opening act structure, being as how I’m at third re-draft but starting out from the vaguest scenario, Axel in studio, I got building, centralising his own world of chaos, and complimenting the new arrangement. The new Chapter 4 also benefited from an extra few pages settling the reader into a more casual read. The original chapter 3 was also set-up, but got pushed back, which is alright as its non-essential, except for being a real peach.

Above: Sean Duffield’s thumbnails for the characters on the cover

My redraft.txt detailed three vital sub-plots I’d identified as not getting their due. Re-reading the MS, I made notes on the chapter listing where they’d been mentioned, and where they could be grown and expanded on. Then, I wrote those in, and noted that I had. Then I discovered spelling mistakes. And more spelling mistakes. The whole document, infected with them! A look under the hood revealed my version of Open Office was not playing ball. Everything got exported to Word. Spells and grimoire re-working took much less time than expected; two days. I think this must be the easiest re-write I’ve done for the reason detailed notes were kept, the sort a scrutinising editor or proofer might hand me. It always seemed another job had to be done, but I knew what the job was. I ran across new tasks on the way there. In one chapter I’d scrupulously pinned down location details. When I put the address in, I realised the text could be made so much better by capitalising on why I’d chosen that location above others, and so strengthened the atmosphere. Spell and grammar checks on new lines and paragraphs, the document by now edging towards 43k.

By now, its May 16th and Sean had sent through the finished rough cover which looks incredible. I’m talking with Enniskillen author Andrew Gallagher about the route to publication on his own books. I met Andrew at the Enniskillen Comic Fest selling his fictions, ‘Escape from Fermanagh’ and ‘Fermanagh Exorcism.’ Both are published out of his own house, AG Publishings. The books are well formatted and clean, the stories are easy-read riveters, horror hoots. We talk about my visiting him for a chat to see if he can’t talk me through the process, which frankly I’ve not had a handle on since carting ten supermarket trolleys of Absence to the post office. There should have been a photo of that. Self-publishing is all fun and games until somebody loses control of a cart on a kerb. Thankfully Andrew has an iron grip and a peer talk will help steer me right. Enough puns. I’ll leave it there for now and update again in a few days.

Flesh Mob – Update

I made the tough decision to put novella, Axel America, to one side for a while. The notion was to have it out for Belfast Book Week, but in a nutshell, the ratio of I’d-be-a-wreck to post-production-readiness is too wobbly. I feel sure the tale will resurface somewhere. I’ve been thinking over my working habits and how it might be time to go back to shorts.

In other news, my short story ‘Flesh Mob’, is in the running for a Titania (best of anthology) prize. Here’s a pitch I found behind a box,

Corpses move and feast on the innards, and city folk cram into the Occupy Belfast building! Now 99% are assembled, will they hold their safe-haven against the rotters as the summer brings another threat from outside? Andrew Luke, author of  Absence,  Twelve  and  To End All Wars,  draws on his knowledge of the Occupy movement, abuse survivor therapy and neuro-philosophy to create an all-inclusive edutainment of chomping rotters and ways to hit them.

IMG_20160321_173524 (1)

Oh look, got paperback! That’s Art reading the anthology at Farset. We were both so excited by the story, this is the only photo where he sat still.

‘Flesh Mob’ is in Tense Situations, which you can get through lots of different book-stores around the world. A good percentage of the sale price goes to Action Cancer. For a short while you can vote for the 2016 Titania Award for best story in collection at http://orb-store.com/tense.htm so please do. More info at that link.

 Right, I’m off to see Mark Thomas at the Black Box. Have a good evening you.

The Updates

I was interviewed by Owen Quinn at TheTimeWarriors.co.uk last week about my involvement in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary celebrations. There’s also some stuff in there about my observations of the the Irish comics industry and as a writer in Belfast. Here’s the link.

I’m on holiday so it’s to you to promote if you like. Here’s today’s prose.

The Updates

There wasn’t time to mourn. Emails were stacking up, not read, without answer. One future timeline Christine made a list of names. Each blog would be combed for tastes of art, developmental detail (Jim remarried), traves unraveled, new jobs. The claimed Judas was Facebook cloaking love in popularity. The sulk came in the lettle embroiled, a decaffinated hold stirred a three year resolution.
The first person she followed was far out and clicked again to a vault of changes, towards when she knew Ed. On the way she saw a scar. He was without a beard and he was talking about the day Michael Gove was executed. Wait. Michael Gove was executed? How the hell could she have missed that? She scrolled on – recipe for tira masu, oh he’s building an extension, writing an album, his beard is back. And with each update their friends commented and some were not there, and new ones were added. It soothed. Christina still lusted for the bridges, wanted to be there now. Tiredness set in and for the final two hours of reading, little absorption. Unprepared for the reunion, it drove her and the rest came inbetween.

 

Huge Spoilers for Walking Dead Spin-Off

Daryl

Daryl

Daryl is the spin-off from AMC’s The Walking Dead, greenlit by A. C. Coffay November 2013. Norman Reedus stars in the title role, with Melissa McBride and Michael Rooter, reprising their roles as Carol and Merle respectively. Logan rounds out the cast as Daryl Junior. The series runs simeoultaneously with the Series 5 of Walking Dead.

Story

The series follows Daryl’s departure at the end of the The Walking Dead (Season 4), reuniting with Carol Peletier. With his son and zombie brother, they live in a caravan on the edge of a bear forest: well furnished, and outside covered in wee. The steps of the home are made of brick which he uses to chop things on. There would be a lot of chopping – wood, metal, bacon, plastics. The group remain in the caravan until the mid-season break, “Underneath the Bridge”.

Production

The show is produced by Robert Kirkman and Frank Darabont and showrunner Ed Wrankler. A communications oversight caused the show to lose it’s original title, Daryl on Arrival. The name instead was given to the pilot episode and after the hiatus, the live talk show hosted by Chris Hardwick.

The four year old Logan’s hair was perfectly combed to match Reedus, and his chin. Michael Rooter’s phrase, “Bruggh Fckprk Arsss”, became a breakout meme of 2014.

It is the first show to use a consumible product consultant Sonya Weenikiller. [citation needed]

“Ambition” in which Reedus sings “Welcome To The Jungle” surpassed The Walking Dead episode [citation needed] with viewing figures of 89 million. [citation needed] The show met criticism from it’s lessening focus on zombies [citation needed] but was generally praised [citation needed], although several guests from the pilot show made brief appearances including Danai Gurira and David Morrissey [citation needed]

Episode No. Title Synopsis
01 Daryl On Arrival Daryl is on the road with his friend, Jean (Michelle Pfeiffer), who reveals her son is theirs. They unite with Carol at her caravan, but Daryl is sad Merle can’t be there to see young Junior. The woman help him dig up Merle’s body. Carol teaches Daryl to sow using his special bacon thread, and Merle is reanimated. However, a zombie attacks and eats Jean before Merle bites it through the bum. Merle then attacks Carol and Daryl cries. He doesn’t attack blood family and Carol arranges to visits him in The Paddock. As time passes, the family get a brown labrador called Hound who links his chin. Daryl insists that the family live in his treetop biouvac house. Carol is sad. He builds a smaller biouvac for Merle and she is sadder so he sees she is right. They relocate to the caravan.
02 Digital Fortress Daryl brings home bacon but is sad so he sets out to fix television. He gets back Cult Movies (screening Clint Eastwood and Scoresese films), and Fox Kids, which are having an X-Men cartoon marathon. Eventually television falls off again, but before that Daryl decides he will fix the internet. Daryl, Carol and Merle fall out over whether Twitter should be switched back on. Merle has to be put on a choke chain, although is still allowed to run free sometimes.
03 Thanksgiving Daryl decides he will break the Guinness record and goes looking for the longest strip of bacon ever. While he is stuck in a particularly dense forest, the group plays football. When it is kicked into a zombie bowl, they combine their efforts to get it back out. Daryl brings back deer for dinner with honeyed berries wrapped in bacon.
04 Submarine Daryl and Hound find a submarine and using torchlight, they get it started and find a healthy pig in there. Carol becomes abusive with Junior at the sight of a helicopter in the sky. Junior and Merle conspire to put her in her own pit!
05 Merle’s Babies Hound alerts Daryl to Merle chasing a random baby through the grass, that he wants to eat. He and Daryl stop speaking. Carol teaches Junior about pirahnas and toothache. Daryl has a machete she calls the bacon peeler. Hound is left to reunite the brothers. They both bring Carol flowers. Daryl’s are the nicest.
06 Ambition Daryl and Carol get sad and Daryl leaves and finds a juggernaut big-rig. Carol leaves Merle to push Junior in his stroller, and steals a fire-truck. Daryl sings and there is almost a crash with Merle and Junior in the middle. Merle’s zombie brain crashes Junior into a ditch, saving his life.
07 Christmas The family decorate Daryl’s tree with zombie bits shaped which they hacksaw into the shape of baubles, novelty trees and boxes and bacon strips. Carving, they explain to Daryl Junior the meaning of Xmas with tales of their lives before the zombie outbreak. Carol tells of the time she and Sofia got covered in cake mix but used it to trap and humiliate a burglar. Daryl tells of the time he was drinking beer and woke up in a rabies babies animal sanctuary and how it broke his heart to kill that giraffe. Merle’s story makes less sense, but Daryl translates to explain that Merle set fire to a department store.
08 Underneath The Bridge Carol is alarmed when she learns Merle and Junior are missing. Hound tracks their scents to a lakeside cabin were smokers Tog (Charles Baker) and Toe (David Costabile) have Merle in a trap. Daryl learns the men are living without bacon and flips out.  However, they tell him Junior is in the lake and he calms down and wrestles an alligator. Carol suggests he use his submarine and they locate Junior under a waterfall at the gates of Atlantis. The Atlanteans tell them that people are like bacon to zombies and invites them in to share cheesecake and a selection of wines. However Hound (who has a fear of water), will have to remain outside and Daryl cannot do that to his son. Tog and Toe depart with Daryl’s group.
09 Enter The Dragon Months have passed between new episodes. Daryl climbs inside a mountain volcano and ends up in a cave where a dragon keeps a pack of bacon smokes under it’s wings. The Family must pitch a tent at the base to retrieve and defeat it. Tog dies in the attempt and Toe is injured, but Daryl comes back with the smokes.
10 Bacon Sandwich of Doom The crew find a log cabin. Daryl paints it. Toe dies from a urinary infection. Hound tries to help but dies of doggy death. Auntie Michonne (Danai Gurira) arrives from the prison.
11 Mandatory Maintenance The Governor (David Morrissey) becomes Akela to some boy scouts. No regular cast members are featured in this episode.
12 The Vendetta of The Governor The Governor kills the scouts. Return of regular cast in last five minutes. The Governor hides explosives on the backs of their clothes. Then he gets to a brilliant hill view and gets Daryl, Carol, Merle and Michonne in crosshairs of a laser rifle. We see him perfect the focus. It’s definitely going to happen. He’s going to kill one or two people minimum.
13 Happy Birthday Junior Carol must subject Junior to neglect to cover up birthday love surprise while the boys shop but it is at odds with what she wants. The infant is put at risk from a reanimated Hound. Auntie Michonne brings Junior a gift of shruiken stars. Merle steals a car. However, the Governor shows up and tries to sabotage the traps. Then he steals hares. Nobody gives a fuck much because Daryl has made his son a bacon cake. They have a nice party. Michonne and Daryl do pinatas before she goes home.
14 Close Quarters The Governor moves in to a log cabin across the street. It’s mostly soggy cardboard boxes with old paint tins. He spits on the floor. He is outside painting his cabin. Daryl is forced to give his a second coat.
15 Paint Your Cabin! Wars of staring and sneering increase as both groups paint. The Governor growls against teak but Daryl has a darker stain.
16 Candles and Smoke Daryl reveals that his paint mix contains bacon. The Governor cries and yells that he will leave and get his own beans. Then he does that. Everyone goes to sleep for the final thirty minutes.

Thinking about art

Thinking about art
It’s funny
I like to just let it happen
Consciousness
The group energy zaps a crayon whiz
Thinking about art
It’s meant to
Make me laugh or go
“Cool Hat!”
Because if I can control
Paycheque!
Is it pithy signals?
Book of the Month
£49.95
(That’s a reference to the Book of the Month club which cost £49.95 for a yearly subscription but for a starter offer you could pay £19.95 and get three books absolutely freeeee-ish-cept Asterix, You agree to two further years at full digital price . Dan Brown Digital Fortress with the crazy eyepatch chief. I can seee the motorbike chase’s end eighteen chapters in the future, same is Demons and Angels. Oh, there’s David Copperfield, I like a bit of Dickens)
Oh – Soci-ology
The deep end of the pool
So many species, a real
Cross sampool
Ever house in many street
All the fields in university
Criminal’s papers in our wee shops
Piano keys and fucking telly
It’s funny I like to
Just let it
When I could move in
Take the propaganda out to a recycling bin
De-weed the bus stop
Put up timetables
Hey, let’s paint over that wall
As well, the one, you know,
‘Tout is a Tout and A Drug Dealer’
Or ’18 Died For What’
(block caps off)
The message on from there
If there’s a message there
It’s on my wall, looking ugly, badly phrased, not like Banksy or Jim Stewart or Dan Eggs
Consciousness
The group energy zaps a crayon whiz
Consistent lettering
On Twitter future

Five hundred unseen
Gallery flyers
Equal my comic costs or this poem
Thinking about art
They might even be
Cut and folded to
Mean make me laugh
“Cool Hat!”