My Writing Pet Peeve – Other People

I am posting this as part of the Larysia Writes Bloghop, and I would like thank talented science fiction author and short story wizard Richard Gibney for inviting me on the train.



My Writing Pet Peeve is: Other People

Yes, you know you who you are. You who wait until the exact moment Windows has stopped installing unwanted updates to call me with your words and expect me to say words in return. And I might as well answer at that point because in the unlikely event that I had a flow of ideas, it has already been interrupted by the shrill squeak of Angus & the Elevator Magnets, which seemed so amusing when I chose it as my ringtone.

Then just as the inciting event is leading my protagonist into a unique personal crisis that might finally explain what this heap of words I have been gluing together for seven years is actually about, you ring the doorbell.

Why would you ring the doorbell? Why would anyone ring a doorbell nowadays? Unless you’re delivering food. And you never are delivering food, are you? No, you want me to switch to your electricity or broadband or religion or whatever you’re offering that’s exactly the same as what I already have. A pizza would have been nice. Just a small one. A margarita. And none of those stuffed crusts. They’re just weird.

And when the book is finally mauled into shape, it’s not enough, is it? One might think you would just buy the damn thing and read it and maybe leave a stellar little review somewhere. But no, you expect me to talk to you about it. Not just one of you, in a quick text message maybe or even a tweet. No, that’s not enough is it. I’m supposed to travel hundreds of miles to bookshops and oil rigs and nuclear bunkers and talk to you and all your friends and some people you once met at a tai chi demonstration.

I’m supposed to tell you what’s in the book even though you COULD just read it and find out that way. And face it, the reason I became a writer is because I am no good at talking. At all. Especially in front of a room full of people. I clam up.  My brain stops working, and my mouth starts firing out meaningless disassociated words, like Donald Trump during a presidential debate (although hopefully without the misogyny, racism, or megalomania). I drool. Eventually, I just collapse in a jellylike heap on the floor.

Would you buy a book written by a heap of jelly? I don’t think so. So take my advice, send me a text message instead.


The bloghop continues with Lynn Lamb, the bestselling author of the post-apocalyptic Survivor Diaries Series, Opus of the Dead Series, Mechaniclism, and The Oxymoron of Still Life. She is also an independent filmmaker, graphic designer, and scriptwriter. The explosive Survivor Diaries, the chilling Mechaniclism, and the terrifying Lullaby of the Dead, have made a big bang and a scream on the literary scene. Grab these titles, and don’t miss out on this chart-topping author!

Amazon Author Page:




More than 30 Sherpa lives have been lost in the last two years on Mt Everest, victims of avalanche and earthquake, yet more names to add to an ever growing list of Everest fatalities which is now nudging up towards 300 climbers.

The Sherpa high altitude workers (mostly men from local villages) take on the lions share of the workload on the mountain, hauling up tents, oxygen cylinders and food for the wealthy western clients.

Ok. You could argue they know the risk. Everyone who goes to the highest mountain in the world realises that it is a potentially deadly place. But there is another side to the Sherpa deaths which is leading to fast rising tension between Western climbers and the local population who live in the shadow of the mountain.

Many of the Sherpa high altitude porters and guides are working without adequate insurance. In the event of their death their families may receive as little as ten thousand dollars, or even nothing at all. This isn’t the case with the reputable expedition operators; they train, equip and insure their Sherpa support teams in the right way. But there is an ever-increasing number of ‘independent’ operators who (in their eagerness to offer cut rate Everest experiences to low budget climbers) will cut corners, hire inexperienced Sherpa teams because they are cheap and then fail to insure them properly.

The government of Nepal does little to help.

What price a summit? A Sherpa climber losing his life will often leave a family destitute in a country that has no social welfare, no financial safety net, and where the standard of living is just a hairs breadth away from poverty even at the best of times.

Not surprisingly, given that they take high levels of risk for low rewards, the Sherpa workers of Everest are now calling for better support. Some also question the whole Everest business, (which is mostly run by western team leaders) asking for more Sherpa leaders to be in charge. After the recent disasters tempers have become very frayed. Some westerners have angered local religious leaders by insisting that their climbs continue even after Sherpa lives have been lost.

The mountain is sacred to the local people. The home of the gods. Some westerners have little empathy for this spiritual dimension of the mountain.

Can the mountain be made safer?

No. Climate change is actually increasing the risks, making the ice unstable with rising temperatures and ever greater chance of avalanche. The mountain is likely to become even more dangerous in the next decades.

It’s a crunch time for Everest (which was closed last year) as new rules are put in place. How many more lives will be lost is impossible to guess. The gods, it seems, are angry and no-one is quite sure how to put the situation right.

Meanwhile, teams are gathering in Nepal for the new season. The Everest circus rolls on.


Read a review of Matt Dickinson’s latest novel, North Face, here.