Thursday, 30 July 2015

Lionheart

I have never understood the mentality of anyone who enjoys to kill for sport. This practice is an archaic form of entertainment the rich used to partake of centuries ago and it's worth bearing in mind that they were also keen on burning people at the stake, slavery, oppressing women, beating children... the point is there wasn't a lot to do back then and the devil makes work for idle hands.

But hey now we have the internet, we have accessible literature, we have MTV. If anything there is too much to do. There is no excuse to enjoy blood sports. It is cruel, senseless, and sick.

This is especially the case when you are killing endangered animals - animals that are on the brink of extinction because of us in the first place. The world's wildlife hangs in a delicate balance at the best of times and yet there are some of us who blatantly disregard and disrespect this for their own enjoyment. And I think that is what makes what has happened to Cecil the lion more outrageous. This was done by someone who just enjoys killing things. There's no reason to it, no excuse. "...an activity I love..." is how Walter Palmer describes his passion for murder.

The ivory trade is decimating elephant and rhino populations to a devastating extent but there's a logic behind these atrocities - money. And at the end of the day some of the people helping poachers are just poor natives, turning a blind eye for a payout that will provide for their families. It's not right, but it's at least understandable.

Walter Palmer though paid somewhere near $50,000 to actually go out and kill Cecil. $50,000. That's around £32,000 - more than the average annual salary for most Brits. When I heard about this I couldn't stop thinking about such a huge quantity of money being spent for such an act. Walter Palmer - a self-professed family man - used his enormous wealth to destroy something magnificent because that's the activity he loves.

It got me thinking about his profession too. As a dentist he will be aware of how expensive dental care is and how many in his country can't even afford to get care. I'm currently putting off a dental appointment myself until pay day - so how many more are unable to get serious treatment because they are in poverty? How much dental treatment would $50,000 buy? How much of a local hero would Walter Palmer have been if he'd decided to spend his "kill fund" on something that actually benefited the world?

Another news story this week was about 12 year old Matthew Flores from Utah who was so passionate about reading that he asked his mailman for junk mail because he couldn't afford books. Mailman Ron Lynch of course then went on to start a campaign for books for Matthew and now Matthew has been given more than 350 books probably the greatest gift any 12 year old could get. Just a little maths for you for $50,000 you could probably by a kid like Matthew more than 5,000 books.

Oh and unlike a dead lion a book can be enjoyed by an entire community over and over again because it's still here - for everyone, forever. Just a thought.

Monday, 20 July 2015

No Rest for the Wicked.

I'm not saying I'm crazy but... I came into work on my day off today to get a difficult job done before I settle into a week of holiday time. Now holiday time for me is going to be spent juggling a petulant 6 year old only interested in sharking me at cards, a needy dog who wants to stand wherever I'm standing, and a whole load of writing based chaos with a yesterday deadline.

Now my rush job at the office is delayed and I'm sat here, cradling a cup of coffee, watching the precious hours slip away. These precious minutes of waste time are like gold dust in my life at the moment and I can't afford to give them up. I guess that's why I'm blogging. Although if I'm blogging about wasting my time but using said time to post a blog then technically it's not wasted...

I said I'm not crazy right? Maybe I lied.

Anyway I have a right to be on edge. My editor is getting my manuscript back to me this week and I am desperately trying to finish a short story for an anthology coming up before all attention turns to The Running Game. Not to mention a whole heap of proofreading jobs that have suddenly come in. Sorry son, I think you'll be playing solitaire for a couple of weeks.

Oh well, mustn't complain. It's better to be busy, idle hands and all that. And there is no rest for the wicked. And wicked I most certainly am.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Letter to MP

I was going to post something else today, but before I started writing my blog I had to quickly draft a letter to my MP in support of voting "no" against the proposal to lift the ban on fox hunting. As I wrote the letter I realised that this is probably a bit more important than what I intended to write today so I thought I would share it and if anyone wants to copy and paste it to their own MP then please feel free.

It is so important if you are against this that you write to your MP now and even if you aren't based in Britain you can still encourage your British friends and families to write to their MP's now!



Dear Mark Williams,

I am writing to you regarding the potential lifting of the fox hunting ban proposed by the Tory government.

I strongly urge you to vote no. This archaic sport has no place in modern Britain and it will be an absolute travesty to bring it back under the guise of pest control.

Living in the beautiful Welsh countryside I understand that there is a balance to nature as well as a need to protect farming and livestock, however since the ban was put in place I have not heard of any incidents in my local community that would call for any retraction of the ban. In fact people in my community delight at seeing foxes, especially children.

This vote serves only to appease a faction of rich elite who enjoy massacring wildlife for fun, a practice which as well as being mercilessly cruel does not serve the Welsh people or our community whatsoever. It is a waste of tax payers time and money to even propose a vote especially when our government should be concentrating on greater issues such as child poverty and welfare cuts. It seems more than hypocritical for our government to harm so many struggling families with their latest budget and then try to lift a popular ban to improve their leisure time.

As a family we are extremely against this action by David Cameron and we note that he was unable to put this proposal through under the coalition government, we therefore hope that you will vote no and help prevent this ban being lifted.


Yours sincerely,

L E Fitzpatrick

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fantastic Mr Fox

Your feet pound against the grass and dirt. A blinding sun blocks off the horizon in a haze of white. You're running, you can't stop running. The barking behind you is getting louder. And your body aches, your legs burn with the effort. You're not going to make it. But you have to. There's a family to consider. Four lives reliant on your return. A horn sounds in the distance. The barking echoing in every direction. They're ahead of you now. There's no where to run. No where to go. It's over.

You don't notice the first bite, the adrenaline is too strong, but as jaws clamp on your neck you realise the darkness is slow approaching. Tossed from jaw to jaw, teeth tearing, skin ripping. All you hear is your own heartbeat. All you feel is the searing pain as they shred your stomach open. Then all you see is darkness. 

It took an hour and fifteen minutes to kill you. But it will take days for your children to starve to death.

Vote to keep the ban on fox hunting and prevent unnecessary cruelty to British wildlife.


Monday, 6 July 2015

Using Pinterest

I've been feeling a bit like a Luddite as I embark on the many things I have to get through in readiness for the relaunch of The Running Game. My Book Manager gave me a list of social network bits and pieces to conquer and well, I'm fighting a valiant fight but I'm not totally sure I'm winning.

I did at least get a bit of success with Pinterest though.

Getting ideas for my cover artist was proving to be a bit of a challenge. I knew what I didn't want, but knowing what type of visuals suited my book and suited me was making my head spin (and my cover artist's too I'm sure). I offered helpful comments like - I like black and white, but also bold colour. Then - I like it simple, but not too simple. Not particularly useful to anyone.

Finally I was talking with a DIY enthusiast who had an entire pinboard dedicated to ideas for her new bathroom and I realised that I could do one for my Reacher series.

I wanted to cover a whole range of things, landscapes, atmosphere, some actual ideas for covers, some ideas for characters and just some pictures that really called out to me as fitting with the general theme of the series.

It took about three hours for things to start taking shape and for me to gather something useful for my cover artist to work with, but also doing this was a massive help for me creatively. I began to draw inspiration from what I was seeing and even cemented a few of my fly away ideas into the future series.

It was a brilliant exercise that really worked at putting myself into the atmosphere of my work without actually combating difficult characters. So if you're writing, or making music, or whatever give Pinterest a try and see if it can help inspire you.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

All About Me?

I should be writing my bio. Emphasis on the should. I'm not. But I should. And the reason I'm not - well have you ever tried to write a bio? Have you ever sat at a computer screen and battled with the all important question - Who Am I?

Maybe you can answer that question. Maybe you are grounded enough to know already and can confidently hold your head up and announce exactly who you are. But would that be right? Would it be interesting? Would it be honest? Should it be honest?

That's the trouble with any kind of personal statement - it's not a personal statement. It's not a paragraph written by you without censorship or purpose that conveys in several lines exactly who you are at the time of writing. If it was mine would just say - too hot, too hot, fetch water. Your personal statement as an author, or artist, or just person of hopeful interest has to be laced with an agenda and meaning and most importantly has to be fun to read.

So first off who am I? The age old question and really unless I'm on my hands and knees on top of a cliff I'm probably not asking it right. To be honest I haven't got a clue who I am. One minute I'll be a writer, the next I'll be a mum, when I'm in the car I'm a high speed getaway driver... how can you condense an entire person into one paragraph?

The other question - the one you don't need to be on your hands and knees for - is what do I want people to think I am? Obviously it goes without saying I want people to think I'm the greatest thriller writer of the 21st Century, but they'll figure that out when they read my books - come on afford me a little arrogance this is a rare self-indulgent post.

So I came up with several ideas all of them horrifically boring and then my book manager slapped me about the head about until I realised the point I was missing. Tell readers about you in your voice. After all as a writer your authorial voice is the only thing that really matters, and certainly is your best shot at conveying who you are in just a small piece of text.

Some hours later this is what I came up with. This is me.

L E Fitzpatrick is a writer of dark adventure stories and thrillers. Under the watchful eye of her beloved rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier, she leaps from trains and climbs down buildings, all from the front room of a tiny cottage in the middle of the Welsh countryside. The Running Game, her latest book and the first instalment of her Reacher series, is due for re-release in October 2015 under the Booktrope label and L E Fitzpatrick is currently working hard on expanding this series.

Not quite a finished article I'll grant you, but then I guess that sums me up even more about now.

And just in case the imagery isn't graphic enough for you I have included a picture of said Staffy "helping" me work. TBC.