Just a quick update about what’s happening with my new book.
A good friend of mine, Brian Simpson, sent me this story not so long ago and I thought it would be a good idea to put it up here.
Have a read and tell me what you think please. it took too long typing it so I decided to just upload the documents he sent. Just click on the individual pictures to read
Jesus was hung on a tree?
Anyone, (who has read “Division”), wondered why I suggested a tree could be used as a Christian symbol? In fact, why a tree at all? How did I get to a tree being the anchor of their faith to fight the Dracyl? Why not a fish, a spear, a mummified head, a turnip, a sock? And, perhaps more importantly, was it right for me to make up a Christian symbol, or am I going to be cast to the fires as a heretic??
Ever since I read Sepulchre by James Herbert as a young soldier, I’ve been interested in the interweaving of ancient legend and religion. I devoured that book and was fascinated when he introduced the fact that a whole rook of Old Testament legends, stories I’d always accepted as Christian history, were in fact Sumerian. This shocking revelation opened up a whole new aspect of religion to me.
I’d never given the church any thought up to this point. Church to me was a duty I performed when my name was up on orders to turn up. Sunday morning parade, inspection, bit of a mumbled sing song, snooze during the sermon then back to barracks, job done. I simply accepted it as a part of life. Then along came Mr. Herbert and in one smart passage he managed to rattle me out of my spiritual coma.
The Creation, Adam and Eve, The Flood, The Tower of Babel were originally put down in texts that stretched far back to the dawn of true civilisation. Not direct copies but stupendously close. Christianity, the creed I’d so blithely accepted with nigh on bovine indifference, had simply robbed ‘em!
Now, at that time my thinking processes were very much different to now. Yes, I was interested in the idea that Christianity held ancestry in other religions, just as I was interested in the Third Reich, learning the drums and Warsaw Pact arms and equipment. However, those enthusiasms wilted like lettuce in a microwave under the glaring intensity of the NAAFI pub sign. I simply couldn’t find it in my self to leave my great social life and pursue these interests.
So nothing more happened in that direction, especially as none of my mates would have been interested anyway. Imagine the scene:
Kev, (Drinking buddy): Beer Reg?
Me: Yeah, Guinness, did you know that a lot of the Old Testament stories were based on other even older religious texts?
Kev: Go to bed mate, you’ve had enough.
Get the picture?
Then, fifteen years later, I discovered the internet and a whole world of information, both good and bad suddenly opened up to me. Old interests were sparked, ideas took flame and I unexpectedly learned that you could type with two fingers just as well as with one, if you practised.
Apart from the Third Reich and vampires, I also knew that I wanted to somehow include the whole Sumerian/Biblical mish-mash thing in my weighty tome, but how? The Nazis and the vampires I’ve already explained, but what about the Bible?
Whilst bumbling through Wikipedia I came across the demon Lilith. Lilith is mentioned in so many cross-religious threads that I had to use her, so I did. She was, apparently, the first wife of Adam but was banished from Paradise for being too assertive as she refused to lie under Adam, (as in, nudge nudge wink wink). Intriguingly, Lilith was supposed to have been the first Biblical vampire who drank the blood of Abel after Cane had slain him. In the Sumerian texts she was a sort of demonic hand-maiden to the Sumerian Goddess of love, Inanna, and bizarrely she also lived in a tree.
Now I knew I needed an artefact to focus the fight against the Dracyl and the tree idea attracted me right from the start. Right there, with a tree as the focal point, I had a link to Lilith and Sumeria. However, the only Christian bark-wrapped greenery I knew of was a Christmas tree, and that was hardly the dark, brooding force of all-conquering power I was looking for.
So I started to dig for something else. There was of course the Tree of Knowledge, the shrub that Eve took the fruit off for Adam’s dinner, (the naughty minx), but that seemed so… lame, somehow. So I dug some more and I’d almost given up when that Eureka moment struck again! I found some passages relating to Christ being hung on a tree.
Acts 5:30 “Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree”
Acts 10:39 “whom they slew and hanged on a tree”
Acts 13:29 “they took him down from the tree”
1 Peter 2:24 “who his own self bare our sins in his
own body on the tree”
Paul: Galatians 3:13 “Christ… being made a curse upon us…
Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”
The inspiration was saved, now I just had to sell it.
So, is it alright to do it then or am I in the doodoo?
It would be wrong on so many levels for me to claim that Jesus wasn’t crucified. Just as it would be wrong for me to say that he was hung on a tree and cite these tracks from the Bible as proof. For me, there is no proof to be had from a book that was written two thousand years ago; a book born out of the strife, egos and schisms of an upstart cult.
In my humble opinion, the modern Bible is not the word of God as the fundamentalists would have us believe.
There, I’ve said it now and I can’t take it back.
Why do I say that? Well here are my reasons and believe me, this is an extremely superficial glossing over of what is an exceedingly deep topic.
The oldest known Bible to date is the “Sinai Bible” in the British Museum. There are, unbelievably, 14,800 differences from the modern Bible in its ancient bindings. Think about it, 14,800 divergences from what is written in the contemporary text. Imagine being asked to copy a book and you make that many changes? You’d be fired, or sued even! So what does that say about the claim that the Bible is “The word of God”?
Let’s dig deeper.
If we look back, the basis for the Christian doctrine as we know it today was set down by Constantine the Great, at the Council of Nicea in AD 325. However, the decisions on which stories or gospels should actually make it into the New Testament weren’t made until AD 367, forty two years after!
Uhu, I hear you asking yourself, so why was it necessary to edit the Bible?
Well, before that time, the Hebrew bible wasn’t essentially seen as the word of God, it was more of a guide as to how to be Christian. In an effort to hone their course, Saint Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, in his Easter letter of 367, listed the books that were to be included in the New Testament. His main reason was to exclude his favourite hate, an offshoot of the faith called Arianism, (named after its founder Arius and not some discredited, laughable racial theory), nevertheless, his suggestions stuck.
So even here, not 500 years after Christ’s martyrdom, we have discrepancies and arguments as to what he truly did in life and more importantly, what should actually go into his biography. So would it really be wrong of me to suggest that Christ was hung from a tree and not on a cross? Would everyone be up in arms about it, bearing in mind the slip shod way his life was recorded?
Then we have the saga of the translation.
The King James Bible is often toted as the original Bible (or word of God?) and all subsequent English versions as cheap impostors. So how was this paragon of translating purity actually reworked into the English language?
In 1607 King James 1st commissioned a gaggle of translators to render the Bible into English. Two years and nine months later, the work was ready for the printing press but James was still not happy. Himself a minor scholar of limited ability, it was clear that he did not have the talent, skill, time nor inclination to read and prepare it for publication. So he gave the manuscript to the most celebrated whiz kid of that timet; enter Sir Francis Bacon.
Bacon took a year to pound the differing styles of the translators into some kind of uniformed pattern, employing the rhythms, syntax and mannerisms that were so popular in Shakespearian England at the time.
Mmmmm…. wait a minute, so he changed it then?
Over fifty translators had slaved over the wording for nigh on three years to perfect the conversion of its ancient passages into the English language, and Bacon changes it, using the “Dictionary of Slang” of that time to make it more, “Popular”?
Yes, but wait, it gets better.
The Bible used by those fine English scholars to translate into English, (before it was so horribly molested by that pervert of the written word, Bacon), was in Greek. The Greek copy was originally translated from the Aramaic … which was translated from the Hebrew; do you see where this is leading? See a pattern here?
So basically, who knows what the original word of God was?
Nobody, that’s who.
The original scrolls that held the words that have conquered the world have long been lost to the annals of time and nobody, this side mortality, will ever know what they truly said.
However, I digress. The Tree.
So where did the Christian connection for the tree come from? Well, the Greek word for the object used by the Romans to kill Jesus is Staurus, which Mr. Bacon changed to cross. However, the actual translation is not Cross, it’s Pole, or… (ta da!) TREE!!
Look, it’s vague but if Dan Brown can change places, people and facts for his books, then I’ll gladly use someone else’s inaccuracies to help me, because that’s how we role in fiction-land
I have merely dipped the tip of the toenail of my little toe into the subject and anyone who knows the field of study will probably point out a rook of mistakes in “Division, (not 14,800 though, I hasten to add).
“Division of the Damned” is a story, a work of fiction and I just wanted to highlight the reasons and the facts (coughs) behind the legend of the book.
Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoy the book, (if you buy it).
Richard Rhys Jones
Please, please, please read this and put it on your status or Twitter this link to your local MP.
1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Cavalry) by former Sergeant Steve Scott from Chepstow.
Don’t do this to Wales even though times are hard,
Don’t abolish our future and past,
For i was once a Queens Dragoon Guard,
I wasn’t the first or the last.
I came from the Valleys, from a dark colliery,
I toiled amidst danger and dust,
but I chose to enlist in the Welsh Cavalry,
with comrades I could serve with and trust.
I came from the seaports of Haverford West,
from Fishguard, Swansea and Rhyl.
I came to join “the first and the best”,
from the Steelworks, the factory, the mill.
I came from the towns and cities of Wales,
From the Borders I answered the call,
I came from the mountains, the forests and vales,
from Barry, Tenby, Porthcawl.
My name was Edwards, Williams or just Taff,
Davies or Jones 198,
but to those who I drank with or shared a good laugh,
i was known as just “Butty” or mate.
I bled in Ulster, I suffered in Iraq,
I died in Afghanistan.
Wherever the conflict I never stepped back,
I faced it and stood like a man.
I’m a father a son, a gran’ pappy now,
and perhaps not the greatest of bards,
but to those in power, give Wales your vow,
not to disband The Queens Dragoon Guards.
RCA German Branch – Waterloo Dinner – 23.06.2012
PRO REGE ET PATRIA
RCA 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards
Battle of Waterloo – 18th June 1815
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by combined armies of the Seventh Coalition, an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher. It was the culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Napoleon’s last. The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon’s rule as Emperor of the French and marked the end of his Hundred Days’ return from exile.
Upon Napoleon’s return to power in 1815, many states that had opposed him formed the Seventh Coalition and began to mobilize armies. Two large forces under Wellington and von Blücher assembled close to the north-eastern border of France. Napoleon chose to attack in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other members of the Coalition. The decisive engagement of this three-day Waterloo Campaign (16–19 June 1815) occurred at the Battle of Waterloo. According to Wellington, the battle was “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life.”
Napoleon delayed giving battle until noon on 18 June to allow the ground to dry. Wellington’s army, positioned across the Brussels road on the Mont-Saint-Jean escarpment, withstood repeated attacks by the French, until, in the evening, the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon’s right flank. At that moment, Wellington’s Anglo-allied army counter-attacked and drove the French army in disorder from the field. Pursuing Coalition forces entered France and restored Louis XVIII to the French throne. Napoleon abdicated, surrendered to the British, and was exiled to Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.
After the battle Wellington said,
“Our officers of cavalry have acquired a trick of galloping at everything. They never consider the situation, never think of manoeuvring before an enemy, and never keep back or provide a reserve.”
The battlefield is in present-day Belgium, about eight miles (12 km) south-southeast of Brussels, and about a mile (1.6 km) from the town of Waterloo. The site of the battlefield is today dominated by a large monument, the Lion Mound. As this mound used earth from the battlefield itself, the original topography of the part of the battlefield around the mound has not been preserved.
At the end of the Day only 15 of the 530 men who paraded that morning were left.
The officers and men of the King’s Dragoon Guards shared out what little food they had and sat down to eat it. In memory of that evening on the field of Waterloo, the officers and sergeants of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards still dine together on Waterloo night in the sergeant’s mess.
Waterloo Dinner 23.06.2012
RCA 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards Germany Branch
Order of Events
19:00 – Meet at ESV Football Club for Drinks
20:00 – Meet at theWolfenbüttler Brauhaus im Ratskeller
20:30 Dinner – Drinks
23:00 – Return to ESV Football Club for Drinks
PRO REGE ET PATRIA
Wolfenbütteler Brauhaus im Ratskeller
Menu 1; – Price Per Person €25,80
Starter: Tomato Soup with Basilica
Main course: “Brauhaus” Steak 250G Rump steak with fried Onions and French Fries
Desert: Warm Apfelstrudel with Vanilla Ice and Cream
Menu 2; – Price Per Person €18,20
Starter: Potato Soup with Wiener Sausages
Main course: Half a duck in its own sauce with Dumplings and red cabbage. cabbage.
Desert: Small Ice Cream with Fruits
PRO REGE ET PATRIA
My good friend Teresa Geering, (of Shasta’s Summer fame) had a suggestion a couple of years ago that has sort of grown on me recently.
Her brainwave was for me to put all my short stories in one book and publish it.
To be honest, I hadn’t given them much thought. They were written in a mad rush when I realised that it helps to have a history of published works when trying to sell your book to a publisher or agent. Disposable pieces that would fill a specific role and then politely shrivel away into history once their job was done.
I was happy with all of them but two of them stood out from the crowd. The Ides of March about Caesar being a vampire and The Hot Gates which is the story of the 300 Spartans with a vampire twist to it.
Make no mistake, I researched them thoroughly and used real characters and timelines to fill in the background, but when they were published they stopped being essential and were promptly banished to the darker regions of my hard drive.
I wrote a third, “good one” set in a German penal battalion in the Second World War, very much along the same lines as “Division”. Vampires changing Wehrmacht convicts into vampires as one of Himmler’s ghastly plans to win the war. The novelette is with my mate Andi Renson, who’s contemplating knocking up a set of drawings to make it into an illustrated story… when he has time, (Why oh why is time in such great demand nowadays? It’s all very unfair.)
Anyway, I digress, The Idea:
Teresa’s concept has now been given an injection of vigour since Johannah Frappier mentioned how easy it is to publish on Amazon Kindle. Apparently one can publish on Kindle from home, all you need is a computer and Amazon account. The money goes to you and you alone, (and Amazon and the taxman of course) and it’s free!!
Well, that’s how I read it the first time around anyway.
So how about this then, I write maybe two more stories about vampires, perhaps one with Alexandra the Great, (nah, too gay) or Hannibal? Now I like that idea!! Maybe have vampire elephants?? No, even better, carnivorous elephants; now that rules!!
And how about one about Troy?? Another good one there, maybe Hector is a vampire and Achilles knows his secret?? Well, something along those lines anyway. Or maybe Carthage?!?! Yes, I like that idea, Carthage is the home of another vampire plague? Whatever, scribble them down, edit them, (or ask George to for me) and then whap ‘em up on Amazon for fifty pence a download?
An anthology of vampires through the Classics!!
Any thoughts on this peeps?
During the summer between my leaving school and going to the Junior Army, I worked for a guy called Pete Boris.
It was 1983, I’d finished my exams and I needed money for the summer. I had naively asked at the job centre for a place in the Youth Opportunity Programme (the forerunner of the YTS) but was turned down as I already had a contract with the army and wasn’t eligible.
So, as a favour to my dad, Pete took me on.
An easy going guy, Pete Palczykiewicz, (hence the nickname, “Boris”) was a painter and decorator who lived at the end of our road. I babysitted their two little girls now and then and our two families were friendly but didn’t live in each other’s pockets.
Every weekday morning of that glorious summer, I’d walk down to Pete’s, get in his Ford Transit, (I think it was, memory’s fading here) and we’d scoot off to the jobs he’d lined up.
Working with him was a life changing experience for me as Pete really was the first “grown up” to talk to me like a bloke. Up until that point I had always been considered, (and had considered myself to be) a boy… which I was. However Pete spoke to me like a mate, as did all the other characters he introduced me to over the summer.
Now I realise that this may not sound like a big thing, but to me it really was. My father was very old fashioned in respect to who had the say in the family. His word was law and this shadow of authority cast a dark smudge over our interaction with each other. We get on great now and I understand entirely why he was so strict and short tempered in those days, (Five days of night shift and then Saturday mornings overtime as well. Being a shift worker myself, I know how that drains the soul) but at that time I obviously couldn’t. There was a gulf between us that only time would ever fill and the few times I went out with my Dad, or worked with him alone, it was always a Father/Son relationship where I did what I was told. Our banter was stilted, wary and neither of us knew how far to go and it would stay that way for a long time to come.
Of course, it was different with Pete; we talked about everything and nothing. Unencumbered by the strictures of a shared past, our chitchat spanned the whole spectrum of interests and topics. I could swear in front of him and he didn’t bat an eyelid. He told me about going out with his mates, fighting and getting drunk when he was younger, and all the things that a good dad generally steers clear of but a mate relishes in relating.
We spent a lot of time putting the world to right during our tea breaks and dinner. Ever polite, Pete would listen to my laughably immature take on life and either nod if he agreed or raise his eyebrows and smile if he thought I was talking twaddle, which I generally was. It’s a mark of how at ease I was in his company that I could pontificate on anything out loud; as up to that point in life my opinions had always been met with a Captain Mannering-esque, “Stupid boy!”
For my efforts Pete paid me fifteen pounds a week and bought dinner every day. I’ll never forget my first pay packet. We were at the house of the headmaster of my old school, the one I had left two weeks earlier. I was just finishing off painting a wall outside when he slipped me my wage with a smile and asked, “Same again next week?”
It felt great being asked if I was coming again and not being told to be there.
When we arrived back home my Mam was waiting for me in the garden.
“Just been paid” I announced, feeling like the man I had been treated as all week.
“What are you going to do with it?” My Mam beamed, just as pleased as I was. The pride in that question still makes me smile now.
I’ve always said that the summer of ’83 was the best in my life. There were others of course, but that summer, standing as I was on the cusp of a future gilded by a horizon of untold promise, sticks in my mind as being almost magical. I explored new freedoms, made friendships that were doomed to wither in the first days of autumn but seemed unbreakable at the time and changed my perception of me to an unthinkable degree.
I didn’t grow up but I did grow, and Peter was part of it as much as my mates and girlfriends at the time.
Sadly, Pete passed away last week.
You only ever think of people when they’re gone and even though he was only a major part of my life for a couple of weeks, it’s the timing of those weeks that hold the weight.
I would never have gone to Pete to say, “Hey mate, you know what? You were one of the first people to actually treat me like a man.”
He’d have probably looked doubtfully at me and given me a, “You what?” to boot. He wasn’t the type of bloke to say those sorts of touchy/feely things to.
However, you were Pete and I’ll never forget it mate.
RIP Peter Palczykiewicz
If there’s anything in the world that I like, it’s spouting my crap to a captive audience.
That’s why written interviews are so great.
There’s no booing and hissing, no shouting, “get off you ginger div!” etc etc.
Just me, answering questions without interruption, heckling or tacky background music. The reader can either read it or ignore it and I can pretend that world is interested. Denial of negativity really is the way forward peeps!
So, with that in mind, I’m happy to report that I’ve been interviewed again by the lovely Hannah Warren.
Hannah, an accomplished author of four books, numerous short stories and poems and a life so international she should be awarded frequent flier points on her pension, runs a literary blog under her own name.
Recently she has published a set of interviews from Night authors and yesterday mine went out to the cyber world.
OK OK, I’m not published yet but thanks to you lot I soon will be.
Anyway, as ever, I digress.
Here’s the interview, enjoy, (that’s if you like reading my drivel. Don’t enjoy if you don’t, lol)