The Haps II
Phew! Work, work, work. Then unemployment, unemployment, unemployment. Then work, work, work again.

So much so that I have not had time to keep this site up to date (not that anyone's reading it, apart from me :))

The contract with the semantic analysis software company fizzled out. They ran out of work for me, and then I waited and waited...

Finally my agency suggested that I should look elsewhere for another contract.

So I did, and ended up working on one of the most satisfying gigs I've had in years.

The original contract called for 90 days at no more than 8 hours a day (with national holidays off - unpaid, of course).

It has been extended for another 42 days and I'm hoping for more (but nothing is certain).

The gig is 40 miles away from home but luckily I'm able to rideshare with a friend - someone I used to rideshare with on a previous contract.

I'm working for a biopharmaceutical company, writing scientific papers for researchers. The work is fascinating, not least because it's been 30 years since I last looked at Chemistry and a lot has happened in that time.

It's also great because I get to do tons of online research into things like fractal geometry and draw pretty pictures of Sierpinski's Gasket and similar esoteric objects.

It's great fun, the people are extremely nice to work with, and my boss is the best I've known in a long time (and 30 years before that). [To give them all names: Alastair M, Angela C, Don G, Steve W and now Ed M.]

The downside is getting up at 4:30 am every day and not getting home until after 7pm, which means about 90 minutes to eat, chat to Casey, check email, and crawl into bed ready for the next day. The weekends are reserved for sleeping, doing chores and sleeping...

So no time or energy for creative writing just now - but lots of ideas, which are being committed to my organizer ready for the time I manage to sit down for a few days and write for myself!

So, check back every couple of weeks or so and see if anything's changed (the home page update date will always reveal if anything has).

Oh, and did I mention that I just had my 50th birthday? I wonder how I managed to forget about that...:)

The Haps
So what's the haps?

Or to put it more sensibly, what's been happening?

It's been a while since I had time to keep StoryLines up to date (not since July, in fact). I've been working on a fairly intensive contract that involves semantic analysis software and XML-based documentation, to which I have devoted all my time and energy.

'Nuff said.

Now I'm benched for an uncertain period (i.e., I'm not working and not being paid but the contract is still in existence) so I'm taking the chance to get some more writing done as I keep my eyes open for the next opportunity.

Call Me Silvie (aka Îsle de Trésor) has been registered with WriteSafe but that's about all the writing I've done in the last few months. I have a good half dozen stories that are partially complete and I hope to be working on those over the next few days, and a few more concepts to play with and see what I can develop.

A New Home!
StoryLines now has a mirror in Europe!

In London, to be exact, - and a new domain name - - registered by and hosted by ASSOCIATED NETWORKS LTD.

ANL have a very fast point of presence in Europe - so fast, in fact, that you may find that this site loads faster than the original Tripod site does...

Both sites will continue to present the content of StoryLines, but one will be without certain very, very annoying and intrusive banners.

Site Map
StoryLines is quickly becoming so complex I decided it needed a site map.

The basic structure is borrowed from ideas I got after running a demo version of SiteXpert from Xtreeme.

I hope it makes navigating a little easier - in any event it's a different approach.

I will devise a way to automate the map shortly; for now it's a (manual) labor of love (so if you find a broken link please be gentle :)).

Fellow Writers
I know a number of other writers and I'd like to feature them in these pages.  Look out for the Fellow Writers section, coming shortly.
WriteSafe Progress: #3
WriteSafe's second quarterly competition saw two of my pieces make it to the semi-finals, and the Malcolm in the Middle script - an earlier incarnation of which made it to the semi-finals in the previous quarter - made it to the finals.

I have some more edits to make to it when I can find the time to complete them, and then maybe it will go a little further.

So not quite all the way there, but progress, definitely progress.

The current candidate is the premise for Call Me Silvie (see The Haps), and we'll see how that does over the next few weeks.

Well, it didn't go anywhere - them's the breaks. But it's still a workable idea, I think, so I won't be dropping it any time soon!

The TooWrite Short Story Competition
The Sixth TooWrite Short Story Competition closed on May 10, with five of my non-fiction short stories entered.

The organizers report that they have over 900 entries to sift through, so it will be weeks before they can announce a winner.  I'll just have to be patient...

No luck at TooWrite - my stories didn't make the grade.  This time.  The next competition has started and I'm working on another five shorties to go into it!

Silly Therapy For Beginners
The idea for Silly Therapy came to me after having spent over an hour on the phone to the Internal Revenue Service, trying to persuade them that executing a federal tax lien on my assets would only have a purpose if I had any assets to begin with (it's a long story).  When you have financial hardship, being hit with a lien doesn't do anything to lessen the hardship, as we all know.

Well, those of us not working for the IRS do, anyway.

Silly Therapy For Beginners isn't a competition piece (yet) but it might turn into an electronic book if I wave a magic truss over it.

The Do It Yourself You Lazy Bastard self help guide to coping with life's obstacles is designed to be read tongue in cheek.

This makes the reader sound demented if they're daft enough to read aloud, and is all part of the fun.

The Silly therapy regime has been known to help with clinical depression, male pattern baldness, corporate financial instability and cheese making.

What other lies can I tell you?

Oh, yes, it makes you attractive to women or men (especially those with a dog and a white cane) depending on which side of the street you read it, on alternate Thursdays.

Enjoy and don't sue me.

Dodger Bogbrush Saves A Bit Of The Universe
This concept arose out of the rediscovery of some characters I created back in 1973 during a holiday in Barmouth, Wales.  I even have photos of most of them.  You can read more of the story behind Dodger and his somewhat suspect looking relatives here.
The Shire Reeve of
Notting Ham
It occurred to me that there are a number of stories around that are based on misconceptions (sometimes even on deliberate distortions of the truth).

I've never seen the legendary story of Robin Hood told from the perspective of the supposed villain of the piece: the Shire Reeve (or Sheriff) of Nottingham.

So far this is just a pitch - I don't have enough research done to even begin a treatment - with a rough working title.

One thing I found: Nottingham was originally closer to being called Snottingham (spelled a little differently: Snotengaham).  Luckily for us, the Normans apparently dropped the leading "S".

Otherwise the people of Snot might have given us a different version of Robin Hood...

I can see the story going forward either as a comedy or a drama - both are feasible (especially with a name like Snot).

Well, the premise did better than I thought it would during the WriteSafe Competition - it got to the semi-finals!

Archived News
Links to Archived News are given below, in alphabetical order (by title).  Click on the relevant link and you will be taken to the relevant news item.

Please note: the original date stamp is no longer present.  Only the date of archive (or last update) is given.


The Business

Call Me Silvie I and II

The Classical

Competition Winner!

Death In The Family

The Divide II

Layout With IE

The Haven

Maurice, Dancing

Punting As A Water Sport


Say "Aaargh!"


TooWrite Short Story Competition

Under Cover Job

Web Trek

Wednesday's Child: WriteSafe Progress

WriteSafe Progress #2

Last updated: March 8, 2003

Peter Brooks

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