Welcome to the blog

Greetings, I am Tom…of the North.

What?  My name is Tom and I live in the north, I had to call it something.

If someone had have asked me a couple of years ago what a blog was, I’d have been able to give only a general wide ranging response.  Whilst I hadn’t actively avoided them, I certainly hadn’t made any serious effort to read one either.  So, to get from there, to the point of having created one with a serious intent to maintain it is quite the turnaround.

So why have I now created one?

Well there are all sorts of answers to that question.  To start with it’s a good way to practice my writing and (hopefully) get good feedback on it.  It’s also a good way to connect with other writers or indeed anyone interested in the writing process, whether you’re published or not I’m interested to hear what you have to say.  Hopefully I can also help unpublished authors avoid many of the traps and pitfalls I have encountered on my writing journey.

In that vein, I shall be posting about the things that inspire me to write what I write, experiences in publishing my book and the dreaded (for me at least) process of promoting it.  I’ll cover the things that help me when writing, from the relaxed conditions in which I write, to the music I listen to while I write (anyone else have a writing playlist?).

You will no doubt be unsurprised to hear I have plenty of other interests besides writing.  From movies, to video/board/table-top games, football (soccer), the emotive subject of politics and all sorts of other things besides.  Overall, I think we’re going to have plenty to discuss.

Finally, I welcome any comments you may have; however, I do ask that you be nice and respect other people’s opinions.  So basically, just be cool to one another.

Peace out and have a great day.

Self-Publishing Woes

Self-publishing is expensive.

Having attempted to self-publish on the cheap and finding out that it doesn’t work, I decided to remove my book from sale pending some extra content, a new cover, and other bits.  So, I thought I may as well consider a proper professional edit, beta readers and all the jazz that comes with properly releasing a book.  All this with a view to republishing it sometime in the first quarter of next year looking all spangly*.

The problem?

It’s all so expensive.  For a proper edit, I was quoted a little over three hundred pounds and while that’s actually pretty good value when you consider there are some out there asking for over a grand**, it’s still a lot of money on my budget and that’s not even considering that the word count has increased since that quote.  Throw in beta readers and the art for the book and my costs are approaching the one thousand pounds mark before I’ve even set a release date.

Now sure, with suitable preparation I can save the money I need to get all this done.  But it’s going to be tight and I might have to survive on a diet of bread and water for the next six months or so, I jest of course, but you get my point.

So, I got to thinking whether there were other ways I could make money from my writing.  If I’m being honest, saying such things seem a little vulgar, I don’t know about the rest of you, but the thought of hawking my stories feels wrong somehow.  It’s daft of course, what else am I going to do if I want to become a full-time writer?

Anyway, after some thought I have come up with a potential solution to my problem that I’m hoping will enable me to make the required money, whilst also offering something of worth on a regular basis.  The solution; Patreon.

For those of you unaware of what Patreon is, let me direct you to what they (Patreon) call the magic line:

“Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid.”

I have a lot of things I need to do to enable me to my book out in a professional manner that will enable me to get it noticed.  It’s not just all the things I’ve mentioned above, but the necessary funds to promote my book to help get it noticed.  I would also prefer if possible to sell it via a webstore of my own if possible, thus avoiding the middle man, this will obviously incur further costs.  Then there’s the novellas I’ve written to follow the first book and of course the second book I would like to release no more than twelve months after the first and so, on it goes.

The work of any author is never finished, self-published authors just have a tad more to do.

I’ve not come up with a precise model for what I’m going to offer, but short stories at the very least are a given, along with a few extra rewards here and there, I’ll decide firmly in the future.  However, I feel now is the time to offer a word of reassurance, this blog shall forever remain free and I shall still be publishing Vernon stories through it.  My good friend Zog would never forgive me if I tried to charge for those.

Why am I telling you this?

Well it’s like I said sometime, to someone somewhere, or maybe in this blog…let’s just assume I said all right?

“Join me on my journey to becoming a full-time writer.”

To my mind it’s just the next step on the path to becoming a full-time writer and I’m quite excited to see how it goes.  It’s going to be a learning curve for sure and to be truthful a little nerve wracking, but I think it’s just the next logical step.  I shall keep you updated with my progress of course.  If it goes well, then who knows, maybe my experiences might inspire someone reading this blog in the future to try something similar.

Peace out folks, and happy writing!

*Super excellent
**One thousand pound

World Building

World building is hard.

I’ve often looked on enviously at fiction authors who write in a real-world setting, I’ve always thought they had it easier when it came to their worlds.  I mean sure, no -one forced me to write a fantasy series, thereby rendering it necessary for me build a whole new world from the ground up.  It was just the natural way for me to go, having long been a fan of fantasy fiction.

I digress however, the subject of my writing envy.

I think I’ve been a little unfair to my fellow fiction writing contemporaries.  In truth, we all have to build worlds when we write fiction, it is important you see to set the rules of your world in advance and then stick to them.  There’s little more annoying than going through three quarters of a book being told one thing by the story, only for it to do an about face and do something entirely contrary to the pre-existing rules of the story.  It’s jarring and few things will break immersion faster.

In any genre, whether it be fantasy, sci-fi or something a little more grounded like romance or drama, the world the story takes place in needs to be built.  If built in advance, with the author noting the ‘rules’ of the world and keeping in mind it’s lore, then as long as the author sticks to them everything should be consistent and non-jarring.

The same is true no matter what type of fiction you’re writing.  I can well imagine the fact that the Harry Potter series of books were couched in a real-world setting didn’t make it any easier for J.K. Rowling to write them.  Indeed, Lee Child will have had in mind when writing the Jack Reacher books what the eponymous character was capable of when writing them.  All worlds, no matter their location need to be built to a point.

When writing Brogan and the Bandit King and further stories set in the same world I needed to do the same.  Elves and dwarfs are a no-no, but wizards and demons are fine.  There will be fantastical creatures of all varieties for the hero and his companions to battle, but no orcs or goblins.  These are the things I need to remember as I go on.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, I need to decide where to put a city.

The Promised Land

I talk to the books I’m reading, or more specifically the characters in them.

If you put ten writers in a room and asked them what the key was to any story, you would probably get ten different answers.  I personally think there is no definitive answer to this question, there a great number of things that make a good story.  Whether it be a coherent narrative, likeable characters or any other of the dozens of things that make great stories when put together.

Any good story must be able to catch the writer’s imagination however, it must be able to make them laugh, cry or cringe.  We’ve all read books that have had this effect on us, we’ve cringed at a gory scene or laughed when our favourite character has done something only to then be driven to tears when they’re killed off in the next chapter.  We then sit there cursing the writer because they have cruelly murdered our favourite character, despite knowing that in a narrative sense it was the correct thing to do.

It never ceases to amaze me how the written word can fire our imagination in a way that no other medium can.  I personally think it’s because we feel a sense of ownership, we imprint our own idea of how things look onto these imaginary worlds and people.  How many of us have sat there decrying casting director’s choices of people to play certain roles in screen adaptations of stories; this guy right here for one.

This is not a bad thing.

Being passionate about fiction is a good thing, no, a great thing.  I talk to the characters like they’re real and that’s when I know a story has really got me.  If you need to remind yourself that it’s a work of fiction, well, you’ve reached the promised land of reading in my opinion.

Forgotten History

On November 6th 1865, a warship flying the flag of a foreign power sailed up the River Mersey and brought itself up alongside the British man-of-war, HMS Donegal.

Usually back in those days that was the sign that a great deal of violence and death was about to ensue as the two ships started attempting to pummel each other into submission.  But on this occasion, nothing of the kind occurred.  The ship was the CSS Shenandoah, a warship of the now defunct Confederate States of America and her captain had no greater intention than to surrender his ship to the British authorities.  It was the last act of a continent spanning civil war, fought thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the deaths of over 620,000 American servicemen.

I’m not going to go into the strange quirk of fate that led to this nation defining war ending mid river of the River Mersey, that’s not the point of my post today.  The point of my post is this, until the other day I wasn’t aware of this.  Maybe everyone reading this knew the last combatants in the American Civil War surrendered ten miles upriver from where I live, but I didn’t.  It got me to wondering how many moments of historical significance have occurred right on our doorstep, things that have been forgotten to slow march of time.

So, keep an eye out when you’re out and about, who knows what little quirks of history you’ll spot.

Looking Up

I really should lift my head up more and take in my surroundings.

As frequent readers of my blog will know, I recently changed jobs, resulting in me now working a completely different town (Runcorn) from the one I had been working in (Warrington) for the last twelve years.  I recently went to Warrington to meet a friend to catch up, before and after our meet up I spent some time sat in the shopping centre watching the world go by.  It struck me while I was this just how little I noticed in my previous twelve years of pottering around the centre of Warrington.

Every day I had been in work over the last twelve years, I had walked different routes around Warrington to the various shops, pubs and whatnot in town.  But having long since gotten used to the town centre I would cruise around town, head down, on auto-pilot, taking in nothing of my surroundings.  So, there I was last Tuesday, sat on a bench in the middle of the mall just watching people go about their business and it struck me how little I noticed around me.  I’ve always considered myself to be a perceptive individual, very aware of my surroundings and what have you, but sat there I noticed shops I didn’t even know where there for starters.

A friend of mine often says that people don’t look up often enough, and she’s right.

There are all sorts of things going on around us, above us as well.  There are all sorts of things out there to provide us with inspiration, whether it be books or movies, the behaviour of people or random unexplained occurrences that boggle the mind.  Perhaps you’re like me and on those dark starry nights you spend time looking up into the sky wondering what’s out there or staring at distant streetlights, wondering what’s happening there.

All sorts of things drive me to write and though I don’t usually lack for ways to inspire myself, I think these past twelve years I have been depriving myself of a valuable source of inspiration.  Whatever inspires you, perhaps you might consider just sitting, looking up and around, see where it takes you.

Who knows, perhaps you’ll be like me and discover an untapped resource.

Short Story – Vernon and the Arch-Mage of Terkinott

Good morning everyone.  It had been a little while since I wrote a short story of any variety and so I decided to have a pop at writing one.  Lo and behold our intrepid adventurer Vernon came to the rescue.


He was almost there.  Vernon had spent the last three days climbing to the top of the spire, truly it had been an arduous climb, full of perils and magical traps galore.  He had met a man called Basil the Fantastic a couple of weeks ago, he had told him of a wizard’s tower nearby, the wizard he said, was known to grant magical artefacts to adventurers with great skill and cunning if they could prove their worth.

Now, after a considerable journey and no small amount of hazard he was almost at the top, all that stood in between him and his goal was a magical barrier and steely resolve of the Arch-Mage of Terkinott.  Should Vernon’s considerable verbal skills prove up to the task, he would leave here with the Golden Glaive of Nemaltos and the Grand Hat of Tomalbus; worthy prizes indeed.

‘Now,’ he said as he withdrew the Key of Grumbold from his satchel, ‘it is time to claim my prize.’

Vernon inserted the key into the Keyhole of Fates and turned it as the Grand Book of Keys had said, first counter clockwise, then clockwise and then all the way around counter clockwise once more.  With that he retrieved his journal from his pocket and proceeded to read the passphrase aloud.

‘The Arch-Mage of Terkinott has the grandest tower of them all!’ he shouted.

After a moment, the great double doors before him shook as the hidden workings of it shuddered to life and a moment later the doors began to slowly swing open.  He took a tentative step forward through the great portal and prepared himself for anything that he might find inside.  Once he entered the room he looked around at its contents and had to admit, he was very impressed with what he saw.  There were all sorts of alchemy equipment, flames heating vials of mysterious fluids of all sorts of different colours, great bookcases lining the walls, teeming with books containing who knows what and great telescope pointing up into the night sky.

‘It’s magnificent,’ he said.

‘What do you want?’ he heard a high-pitched voice say from behind him.

Spinning around with his glaive at the ready he prepared himself to have to fight some great beast, conjured from nowhere by the mighty arch-mage or a spectral apparition formed by magical power.  Instead the sight of a young man met him, at twenty years old if he was being generous, he was stood next to the telescope in baggy mage robes that clearly were not meant for him.

‘Who are you?’ Vernon asked.

‘I am the Arch-Mage of Terkinott, obviously,’ the boy replied tetchily.

Of course, this must have been a test to see if Vernon were worthy of the items he had come here for.  Determined to prove his worth, Vernon smoothed his clothes and straightened his posture before delivering his carefully constructed request.

‘Of course,’ he started, pausing for a moment to order his thoughts before continuing, ‘oh wise Arch-Mage, I come before you today to request a might boon.’

‘A boon?’ the Arch-Mage said, as if confused by Vernon’s statement.

‘Yes, I request the Golden Glaive of Nemaltos and the Grand Hat of Tomalbus,’ he said humbly.

The Arch-Mage stood for a moment looking him up and down, he reached up and started to scratch his chin as if considering his request.  A strained look spread across the mage’s seemingly young features, he seemed to be giving Vernon’s request serious consideration, though he was expecting to have to argue his case before the Arch-Mage gave up the items.  After a minute the Arch-Mage nodded and turned, walking to the rear of the chamber.  A moment later Vernon heard thumps and bangs, followed by the sound of something clattering to the floor, followed by no small amount of cursing from the mage.

After a couple of minutes of this there was suddenly silence and then the mage came walking back with a glaive and floppy brimmed leather hat.  ‘There you go, I uhm…bestow?  Yes, I bestow upon you the Blade of Tobasco and Hat of Numpties, now go forth and use them wisely.’

No sooner had he finished than he was ushering Vernon towards the door and out of the chamber, but realising something wasn’t quite right, he resisted and turned around to face the mage.

‘Now wait a moment,’ he said forcefully.  As he did so the boy seemed to shrink backwards as if scared Vernon might try to attack him.  ‘This is not a golden glaive, it is made from iron and the hat is a simple leather hat with no magical power whatsoever.’

‘Well who died and made you the magic expert?’ the mage said.  ‘I’m the Arch-Mage here and if I say they’re magical item, thingies, then that’s what they are.’

Vernon held his ground as the mage tried to push him towards the door, nevertheless he continued to push against him, resulting in the boy walking on the spot as he struggled against him in vain.  Eventually exhausted and panting heavily, the boy stopped and looked up at Vernon a look of fear on his face.

‘You’re not the Arch-Mage of Terkinott, are you?’

‘Uhm…no,’ the boy answered.

Vernon dropped the hat and the glaive that the boy had given him, raising his arms he gave an exasperated sigh at his misfortune before fixing the boy with an intense stare.

‘Well, where is he?’

‘He’s dead,’ the boy said, unable to meet Vernon’s gaze as he shuffled from one foot to the other.

‘How?’

‘He fell,’ the boy replied dejectedly pointing to a balcony on the northern face of the spire.  ‘He liked to have a big stretch on the balcony every morning, one day he got dizzy and fell off.’

Damn and bother, Vernon thought.  This adventuring lark just wasn’t paying off, first the golem, then the Chalice of Destiny and now this, it was as if the universe was playing some elaborate prank on him.

‘Well what about the glaive and the hat?’ he asked.  At the very least he could claim his prizes before he left the tower, that way the whole escapade wouldn’t be a total loss.

‘They’re gone,’ the boy replied.

‘Gone?’

‘I gave them to a man called Basil last week.’

‘Basil?’ he said, the look of anger on his face inviting no answer from the boy.

He had been duped, Basil the Fantastic was a cad, a bounder of the highest order.  He had spun a tale to Vernon that he knew he could not resist, despite knowing that there was nothing here to claim, because he had already claimed them.  Unable to contain his temper he kicked a nearby candlestick holder, sending it toppling into a nearby mirror, which in turn fell into a picture and so on.  This led to a cascade effect, whereby one object knocked another and another until the whole room’s contents were spilling to the floor.  Finally, a large globe was knocked from its stand onto the alchemy workbench and rolling across it, proceeded to knock all the vials over before finally the flame beneath one of them was knocked over into the mix of fluid.

‘Is that flamma-’

The tower exploded before he could finish.

Too much of a good thing…

Politics isn’t exactly everyone’s favourite subject, but much as I have avoided it as much as possible up to now I feel compelled to comment.

Be warned:  I busted out the swears.

As you may know the UK government has called a snap general election for the 8th June.  This has caused no amount of groaning from people in this country who are feeling the effect of election fatigue, one sympathizes.  I must admit to being a bit of a geek, I find elections to be rather interesting, the run up can be entertaining as you see politicians jockeying for position to get their messages heard.  Cue politicians attempting to appear hip and cool as they attempt to get the votes of people that couldn’t relate to even if given the benefit of a body swap for a day.

Frankly it’s embarrassing.

Then there’s election day itself when the results start rolling in and you begin to get a picture of how the election might be unfolding.  I think it can all be rather dramatic as you start to see heads rolling.  I know it’s a little sad, but I don’t care, I enjoy it.

Even with all that, even with the entertainment factor, the sense of comedy and drama; I’m beginning to grow tired of elections.  We had a general election in May 2015, the EU referendum in June 2016 and now this in June.  If you live in Scotland you also had to contend with the independence referendum in 2014 and the elections to the Scottish parliament in May 2016.  Northern Ireland held elections to the assembly in May 2016 and March 2017.  Wales held elections to the Welsh Assembly in May 2016 also.  Throw in various local council elections, elections to the European and probably some other election that I’ve forgotten about and that’s a hell of a lot of voting.

It’s exhausting.

I watched a news report just after the election had been announced, the reporter was speaking to a lovely old lady called Brenda and he was asking her what she thought of the announcement.  To say Brenda was dismayed at the prospect of having to go to the polls again would be an understatement, she summed up the situation perfectly in one sentence.

“There’s just too much politics going on at the moment!”

Well said Brenda, well said.

I never thought I’d say this, but there is way too much politics going on right now.  If things continue as they are then I do feel we could end up in double digits in terms of the number of elections before the end of next year.  I do wonder what effect this might have on voter turnout at the election, it’s easy to understand how people might be turned off at the prospect of another election.  It’s not even like things will change really, we’ll get the same sorts of people, telling the same lies and using the same meaningless soundbites in attempt to win our votes.

However, I would urge people to exercise their vote nonetheless.  Vote for the party you’ve always voted for, vote for someone new, vote for an independent candidate or if none of the above appeals then spoil your ballot in a way that clearly states you are voting for none of the candidates.  Whilst I get people might be tired of voting with absolutely no change whatsoever, not voting isn’t going to solve anything.

Nothing emboldens politicians and the powerful like the silence of the people, voting sends a message to our political class, whatever we choose that message to be.  That’s not all there is to political engagement of course as voting is only part of being politically engaged, but this has been my longest blog post yet, so I’ll cover the rest some other time.

Whatever the case, once this election is done can our politicians please get their shit together and just fuck off for at least the next twelve months?

A Good End?

This blog has gotten a little of track of late, I think I’ve been letting my sentimental side run away with itself; time to correct that.

So, a post about writing, yay!

I was thinking recently about endings, specifically endings to stories.  In short, they’re hard to do.  I think the hardest thing any writer has to do is bring the curtain down on a story, especially if that story is part of a long running series that they have invested no small an amount of time into.  I’m only just embarking upon writing my own writing adventure with the Brogan books and so I don’t need to think about ending it any time soon, but the thought of doing it fills me with a deep feeling of dread whenever it enters my mind.

I think a writer has two main problems when coming to ending a story, ending at the right time and ending in the right way.

I’ll start with ending at the right time.  One of the worst things a writer can do in my opinion is to draw out a story, all stories and characters for that matter have a shelf life.  The time comes when consideration must be given to whether the best thing for them is to end it, there a few things worse than seeing a much-loved character being flogged like a dead horse to put off their eventual execution.  I get why they do it, we love them, they’re like part of the family and ending their story is akin to taking a family pet to the vet knowing it’ll be last time you do.

Overstating the issue?  Maybe, but I love my characters, even the bastards; I put too much into creating them not to get attached to them.

Whilst timing is important, equally as important is execution.  How many times have we been following a story in whatever medium we’re experiencing it, only to get to the end and be left feeling distinctly underwhelmed.  Take for example the ending to the first trilogy in the Mass Effect series of games.  Now sure it’s purely a matter of opinion on whether the ending to Mass Effect 3 was any good, indeed it is a very polarizing topic.  Much like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.  But it doesn’t alter the fact that it left many people feeling like they had been sold a lemon.

For those of who haven’t played the games, the series was sold on the basis that the choices you made through the series would affect the ending.  I can only speak for my own experience, but I was personally feeling good running into the last half an hour of gameplay.  The story had been good, the musical score was outstanding and the characters were all behaving in characteristic fashion.  Sadly, everything north of this point was, in my opinion at least, complete and utter bollocks.

Half an hour later and the game was over.  I won’t tell you how it went, I will however say three words that should explain the situation clearly; deus ex machina.  The writers threw a curveball, and not in a good way.  It was a disappointing end to what had otherwise been an outstanding series of games, the response of the writers to criticism didn’t help matters any either, but that’s a topic for another time.  The moral of the story is this; timing and execution are key.  If you want your stories to be remembered for the right reasons you need make sure you end them at the right time and in the right way, of course having a good story also helps.

For my part, I hope that when the time comes for me to end the Brogan series, I do it right.  It may not have many fans now, but those it does have deserve the best I can do.

Peace out folks, and have a lovely day.

People are awesome…

Well it’s done now.

I left my old job of eleven years on Friday, it did not go as planned.  I had always imagined my last day in that office to go something like this.  I was going to finish my last piece of work and then having managed to negotiate my last day I would leap out of the window, fireworks erupting all over the show as I cartwheeled off across the carpark to the train station and home.  I jest of course, but my last day was going to be something like that.

Not so.

I had asked my good friend Zog to not make a fuss on my last day, not to do a collection as is customary for someone leaving there so I could avoid a last-minute presentation as everyone gathered around to wish me farewell.  If truth be told, the nature of my job didn’t give me the impression that I would be popular enough to pull together much more than £5.  Despite that I suspected shenanigans, so I got in mind what I was going to say if it came to it, I’m manly enough to not get emotional I thought.

Zog had, as it quickly became apparent, pulled a fast one and collected some money together.  People started gathering around my desk, a fair few people it had to be said.  A short presentation from Zog later and it was my turn, I opened the card first, this was a mistake.  In the card, which was plastered with signatures from people wishing me well was a wedge of cash to the tune of £100.  It didn’t take long for my usual stoic façade to start to crumble, though it was nice it wasn’t the amount of money that got me, it was the gesture.

All I had to do was hold it together long enough to give a short speech and that was it, I failed.  To say I fluffed my lines would be an understatement, everything I had planned to say disappeared out of my head the moment I opened the card.  I mumbled a few words about much appreciated what they’d done and that sort of thing.  Frankly, I couldn’t tell you exactly what I said, my focus was to get through it without breaking my cool manly exterior.  I don’t think I succeeded on that front, based on how much my hands were shaking and how little I remembered I can say with certainty I didn’t in fact.

What’s the point of this blog post, if truth be told I’m not sure it has any deeper meaning.  I just thought it was a tremendous act of kindness from my former work colleagues that should be mentioned.  They are a tremendous bunch of people and I will always cherish my time with them.

In short, I love you guys, you’re awesome and your immense generosity never ceases to amaze me.  Stay awesome my friends.

The Arts: All Things To All People

The arts.

I think their importance to people’s lives is often underestimated.  They have the power to inspire, to give people the opportunity to escape or appreciate something beautiful.  For people such as myself who aren’t blessed with an overabundance of money, the arts provide an opportunity to see things and places that we may not otherwise see.  To bear witness to events that have long since passed from living memory, to see great and wondrous things that have long since crumbled to dust.

They allow us to order our thoughts and document our own lives, as well as the lives of others.  They allow us to see into the minds of great figures from history, to see how they viewed themselves compared to how their contemporaries viewed them.  They allow us to delve into the collective psyche of nations, to see how they developed and to follow their eventual decline.  They allow us to see the better side of humanity, whether it be music, literature, or any of the other methods of human expression, the importance of the arts cannot be overstated.

Having said all of that, it also allows us to see the ugly side of humanity.  For as long as the arts have existed, they have been used to inspire people to some of the most heinous acts imaginable.  People have used them to espouse hateful political ideologies, leading to some of the worst atrocities in human history.  They have been used to craft policies leading to the oppression and suffering of entire groups of people, for no greater reason than the colour of their skin, their religious and/or political beliefs, their gender or any number of arbitrary reasons of little, to no relevance in judging the worth of a person.

We can be unbelievable shits to each other sometimes, when inspired by a picture, a film, or a piece of music we can react in some of the worst ways imaginable to one another.  But we can also be beautiful, I have been privileged in my life to have witnessed some of the most touching acts of kindness from people in situations little better than the person they are helping.

People have tremendous capacity.  Whatever we choose to create and whatever effect it has, I’d rather have a world of boundless creative possibilities than the alternative.

My mind has been racing with thoughts such as these lately, so expect more such musings.  In the meantime, stay classy world!