Unsympathetic characterization?

Homed_book_cover_v2
WHO IS GUILTY: THE CHILD OR ONE OF THE ADULTS?

Settling in at ‘home’ again? Is a crime imminent, or has one already happened?

In HOMED, the second in my Crime Shorts series, a boy is being ‘helped’ to settle in a civilised manner.

One of the issues I had in mind when I wrote this was the Australian disgust when they built standard homes for aborigines and then found that understanding and use of sanitation and housekeeping did not come automatically with the facilities provided.

We have to be inside the head of our characters when writing fiction. Even more so, perhaps, by ‘the helping professions.’

There are crimes motivated by negative emotions: jealousy, anger, need to control/overpower. There are also crimes perpetrated by ignorance. The crimes we may feel most are those that penetrate our individuality. Blind kindness, adherence to established process, bureaucracy – these can lead to damage also.

Read this story and decide where the crime lies.

Homed. (Crime Shorts Book 2)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/B00VAVQ1DS

Awesome Indies

aia_webadgeI was very pleased yesterday to receive this badge of Approval for my collection of ironic short stories, Me-Time Tales, from Awesome Indies.

I can officially say that Me-Time Tales, tea breaks for mature women and curious men is ‘Awesome Indies Approved’ or ‘has been awarded a place on the Awesome Indies list of quality independent fiction.’ 3D-PB_opt

 Male/female – perfect to pocket for a holiday, or in the long wait in traffic to get there!

The book gets a badge and my website gets this one. In the spirit of cross-fertilization, I have to admire the design. The watch works suggest that time is not to be wasted (in getting the writing done) and the gold reminds of the gift a worthy worker was given when he retired after a long period of contributing his skills to the firm/organization, or perhaps won a prestigious contract for the firm. I’m all for badges of approval.

In Awesome Indies case, they have a mission.  Two of these aims are to:

Identify and honor independently published books that meet, or improve on, the standard of books published by major mainstream publishers and their imprints.
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Raise the standard of independent publishing,

‘Self-published’ is gradually becoming less of a blight on a writer’s mojo, and with

initiatives such as Awesome Indies, the momentum towards quality increases. We all know that anyone can publish a book, that marketers will promote them as long as there is money in it. This is true of mainstream publishers too. If there is a huge market for an author, publishers will take him/her on, agents will gladly represent him/her.

The organization I am glad, in fact, grateful to belong to is author-member

The Alliance of Independent Authors. This has a wealth of skilled professionals all aiming for a high quality in the writing of fiction and non-fiction, and helping authors in different ways to achieve this. Quality is not just in the writing, but in the presentation of the book. Many writers will bemoan that this aspect takes as long or longer than the writer. More to be said about this in another post . . .

Old title, new questions – Darwin’s ultimate belief

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SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

This the latest novel of Robin Hawdon.  Different in nature from the very popular plays performed frequently and internationally, this novel tackles a serious question. The concept of Survival of the Fittest is immediately seductive: the idea that a central thesis about our universe exists, but the document has yet to be found and published. All the more compelling if only a select, secret few hold a copy.

Of all theorists, Charles Darwin has shaken our world the most. Suppose he had formed a logical conclusion, based on his lifetime’s research, about the origin of Man and hidden it for posterity? He would have wanted to protect his family, even after his death, from the furore which would follow: strong scientific argument, evidence based, versus centuries of religious belief. Writing it, Darwin would have guessed that a future time might find it easier to consider. Until then, such an addendum had to be hidden. Suppose his wife, Emma, was the only person to know where the writing was hidden? Suppose she herself secretly wrote about Darwin’s beliefs?

This novel has two scenarios intertwined. The deep-thinking, conscientious wife of Charles Darwin confides her anxieties to a secret diary that she does not wish the world to see. Therefore it is hidden by the following generations so well that its existence is only whispered about by the few whose life revolves around priceless antique books.

One of these is antiquarian book-seller, Maurice, a widower whose daily round is made manageable with the bottle of scotch he always carries with him. Unexpectedly, Maurice is contacted by a rich American dealer who sets Maurice off on a quest to find Emma Darwin’s secret diary, and more significantly still, the last section of Charles’ Darwin’s treatise. The two men discuss the financial worth of an addendum which reveals Darwin’s logical conclusion about the existence of God.

Too contentious to publish in his lifetime, and a source of great anxiety to his wife, who feared his chance of Heaven would be compromised by his beliefs, Emma felt she could only confide the existence of these in her secret diary. In life, there was no-one she could trust with such ideas.

The plot consists of Maurice’s adventures in tracking down any scent of either volume. This involves him with various members of the extended Darwin family, both exalted and the reverse. He suffers refusals, embarrassments, upset and downright danger in the process. Ultimately, he faces more than one ethical dilemma before a satisfying conclusion is reached, at least for the reader.

There is a third strain to the novel, when Maurice comes across the writings of another outstanding scientist, Klaus Fuchs, who recorded his beliefs, actions and philosophy during a period of forced inactivity. Fuch’s communism was as dear to him as religion was to Emma. Fuch’s rationale for his actions related to the atomic bomb forms an interesting parallel to Darwin’s ultimate theory. It also raises the question of ownership of discoveries.

I liked the structure of the novel, alternating between the nineteenth and the twenty-first century. This made for an easy read, allowing a switch from the  thoughts of Emma to the increase of tension while Maurice makes his forays into detective work. Both main characters are appealing in their own way, inviting affection. Their niceness is well offset by some less wholesome minor characters.

The voice of Emma is convincing – her sad losses but strength of purpose, upheld by the fervent religious beliefs so important to her. A sweet-natured, loving woman emerges from the diary, one whose main grief is the one difference between herself and her husband, the central tenet of his life’s work.

Maurice is also a character who comes alive on the page. He is modest and unassuming, never expecting to be liked or respected nearly as much as he is. We all have a dark side, and Maurice is no exception. What is revealed of this side is both shocking and understandable, so that the reader forgives him and remains identified with him and his search. This proves to be a search of a professional and personal nature.

Underlying the plot is the theme of discoverability and responsibility. How long does an individual hold the right of private communication? What are the rights of ownership? And how far should the concept of God Moving in Mysterious Ways be upheld? For Emma, and the Victorian world, the Addendum was far too dangerous. For Fuchs, by comparison, restricted ownership of new technology presents too great a threat. His beliefs strongly resonate with current concerns.

The imagined Charles Darwin’s own words form a satisfying end to the novel.

The novel is available in paperback from Amazon

  • Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing (7 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625166176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625166173                                           or on Kindle.