Good to see you all again, I have returned from my vacation in turkey and it was awesome.
A quick summery is this:
Too much food
Plenty of drink
And everyone’s favourite: books, I burned through three (literally and figuratively)
Let’s start off with some quick book reviews and then move on to diving.
I was able to read three different books, one of which I started previously. These were two of Robin Hobbs Farseer trilogy. I was shown these books by Periodically Demented, a writer I greatly appreciate as PD has given me a good few tips to my first novel. One of them included reading Robin’s work.
I have now read both the assassins apprentice and Royal Assassin. This series follows a boy called Fitz. A bastard son of prince Chivalry, however due to his very existence he has changed the course of history, shaming his father who must now must abandon his place as heir to the throne and leaves Fitz’s upbringing to his stable master.
However a bastard can’t be left be, just because his father cannot be king doesn’t mean he can’t do damage to the royal procession. So Chivalry’s father, King Shrewd (his name does match the personality perfectly) makes a deal with him, since “a useless bastard is a dangerous bastard” and so he makes Fitz loyal to him by supplying everything he needs including a place in the keep and an education in return Fitz becomes a Kings man, and the role Shrewd has for him is as an assassin.
From the age of seven Fitz trained for diplomacy with a knife, learning poisons and stealth. Meanwhile he has to hide his own secret as no fantasy is complete without magic; Fitz is born with use of the Wit. The ability to communicate and in some cases control animals.
This kind of magic is shunned, should a wit user be caught he/she would be hung over a river and then burned.
I have found both books highly entertaining. It deals with loneliness, fear of being who you are, depression and abuse, in more ways than one. It is highly viewed by George R Martin and I can see why. I often feel sorry for Fitz as he gets dragged through hell and bears responsibility for changing his kingdom.
Brace for pain when reading.
What I have learned so far from these books is a better way of showing the past. In my book I want to show recent events in a characters life without being boring. I follow a king whose greatest strength is diplomacy and politics is incredibly boring, I have a brother who may as well be Prince Regal in this regard. In the Farseer trilogy each chapter starts with a bit of history or with recent events. In the first book it’s the history to give you an understanding of the world. In the second its recent events to keep you updated.
I can use the same method in mine.
The third book I read was called “The Winner” by David Baldacci. It is about LuAnn a poverty stricken mother with a drunken “partner”, a poor job and no hope. Until someone others her the chance to win the lottery.
It’s a great book; I had trouble at the start as the first part is about the morality of such a choice: to cheat the lottery while millions pour hard earned money into it. The second is about surviving with a new found wealth.
However this is where I become weird; see I didn’t care much for LuAnn. She became rich but she was a foolish idiot for going against the antagonist Jackson.
In this book I have learned that there is nothing better than a good villain and Jackson is that. He is a master of disguise, being able to impersonate anyone, including protagonists, when LuAnn is ever talking to someone I was sure he was going to jump out and scream “Surprise! You tried to foil my plans” followed by a bloody stabbing.
But Jackson wasn’t completely evil. Or rather he is ruthlessly evil but his master plan will get people out of poverty and stinking rich. Oh LuAnn it would have been a shorter and boring books if you listened to him but at least everyone would win.
I mentioned earlier that I burned through three books both figuratively and literally. I was two chapters away from finishing ‘The Winner’ before some component in my kindle melted. It was 40 degree and glorious.
Now diving we did five dives. Three surrounding a reef at 17 meters, one in a beginners dive site at 9 meters and my final being the deepest dive yet of 23 meters on a sunken Spanish torpedo boat which sunk over 300 years ago.
Ok I will start shallow and sink deeper. The beginners dive site was good fun. You don’t need a licence to dive their just book a day and follow the dive masters. They take you around the site, mainly sand creating nice blue water. Plenty of small fish and even an octopus swim here.
However the site is next to a cliff face with a road above so expect to see litter, rubbish, bottles and the odd tyre. If it weren’t for these things it would be a perfect dive site. CURSE YOU SURFACE DWELLERS!!!
The reef at 17 meters is a lot better. Again clear blue waters, but due to it being deeper you get the proper experience; unfortunately you need an open water licence, which I have. Down here you see the plant life, schools of millions of colourful fish, some as big as your hand and bigger. It the distance at the edge of your vision you can see the big fish, they seem timid and capable of feeding a family of five with more left over for soup.
There are also black sponges and volcanic vents you can warm your hands in.
In one dive we found a large fossilised shell, this size (me holding my hands as if carrying a large ball). In another we found ancient pottery. And in another we had to turn back early because the people we are with chewed up a lot more air than we thought.
Now for the Biggy. 24 meters. My deepest dive.
Now due to the lovely waters the dive masters complained about the cold weather while it was as warm as a swimming pool (Scottish Water is an ice bucket challenge) but down here it is colder. It a nice Scottish Breeze to me and freezing to the masters.
Even still it was scary. Have you read my diving blog? Here it is. so now reading that you know you use more air than the surface. And as you go deeper the denser air gets. Including air inside you. my ears popped multiple times and I used up more air than I was comfortable with. I started breathing faster with the new conditions and had to calm down. Visibility was poor and I don’t want to get lost down here, especially since swimming straight up means death unless you had a safety stop.
So me and Jerry (my dive buddy and step dad) held arms with the dive master as he took us around the old wreck. It’s my first wreck and the old torpedo boat was one large vessel, not it’s in different parts at different depths. The deepest is at 34 meters (no fucking way thank you, at least not yet). What we saw was an old metal husk buried in sand and silt. An old mast sticking up and covered in plant life. Port holes filled up and the hull now bearing sea life. An old cask of wine, ancient now. And the anker, or what’s left of it.
It was scary, eerie, dark and awesome. I look forward to doing another wreck in the future.
The journey up was terrifying, nothing but dive watches told us we were going up to quick and even though I equalised and pooped my ears I still heard the air screaming out of my left ear as I surfaced. Also the after effects to this dive was new to me. It takes 12 hours for all the air to escape and the nitrogen to dissolve. If we flew that day we would have died as the nitrogen poisoned our bodies and the air expanded.
Turns out however we were flying that night. We just didn’t realise it until our taxi phoned us asking when we want picked up did we realise that we had one hour to get to the plane. So we had an extra day in turkey. A very expensive mistake but hey all inclusive beer!
So in conclusion I have done the deepest scariest dive yet (only encouraging me to do more) burned through books and am into a new book series. Ate way too much. Also bought an awesome leather jacket, and so tanned people thought I was Turkish (seriously I nearly turn black; I don’t burn like most Scottish people).
anyway i hope i have made you all jealous enough. Thanks for reading. I hope you all got away to someplace nice as well! 😀
There goes the neighbourhood! 🙂 Welcome back, and glad it was a good holiday. I’ve been keeping the world economy going in your absence.
Last week I wrote a short novella (22,000 words) that’s sort of a take on the Farseer world. It’s over on the CogWorld blog but I think I’m going to serialise it on PD.
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Thanks P.D. it sounds pretty inreresting. I look forward to reading it
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Hi Addy, Welcome back.
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