The Parapet Of Obscurity

I mentioned on Maggie’s blog that writing or blogging online might well be an effort to let others know we exist.

I likened it to ‘putting our head up above the parapet of obscurity’.

Maggie liked that line, which made me think more about it.

Before the advent of the Internet, it was all too easy to get lost in the crowd. Unless you were a sporting hero, an eminent politician, a popular film star or musician, perhaps a famous published writer, you could easily spend your entire life unknown other than to your family, friends, and work colleagues.

Most people lived and died without notice or mention, and any legacy they left of their ordinary lives was in some faded photos, and the memories of those who had encountered them.

Then Blogging arrived.

We no longer had to send pages of manuscripts to publishers, in the hope of getting our thoughts and ideas converted into articles or books. Class distinctions no longer applied, with usernames and graphics becoming the norm. Nobody had to know where you were from, whether or not you were well-educated, or what accent you had when you spoke. Unless you decided to tell the world, it was unclear whether you were male or female, old or young. Perhaps the only clue to your origins might be the language you were writing in. But with so many people speaking English, even that was no guarantee of where you might originate from.

Anyone who so desired could tell the world what they thought. They could have opinions that were widely shared, or be outrageously outspoken. The anonymity of your username ensured that you could do what you liked with no repercussions, other than some comment debate with those who didn’t agree with you. But even that could be skipped, as you could just refuse to approve their comments. If you wanted to publish your book, you could serialise it on your blog, cutting out the need to submit it to a company for approval. You could post photos of places you liked, or had visited, and tell anyone who was reading just what you thought of them.

An explosion of opinion arrived online. Opinions about everything from American presidents, to the quality of some blogger’s poetry. You could find yourself very popular, or perhaps reviled, depending on who was actually bothering to read your stuff. Those bloggers could be meek and needy, or rude and arrogant. Nothing mattered, because you were unknown, and anonymous.

Ironically, this very thing still made those bloggers as obscure and unknown as they would have been without the benefit of the online platforms they were using.

So some people, myself included, decided to stick our heads up above that parapet of obscurity, and actually tell everyone who we really were. Where we lived too, and how old we were. What we had done with our lives so far, and what we hoped to do with the rest. Whether we were married, single, gay or straight, depressed or happy. What we liked to eat, and what we didn’t like. We carried on with our ‘like them or not’ opinions, and cast our thoughts out online as if using small fishing nets in an huge, unfamiliar ocean.

We made some friends, and possibly some enemies too. Risking the disapproval of anyone who had access to the Internet, and potentially causing a great deal of embarrassment to those we knew and loved. And many of us laid our lives open to scrutiny, our pasts, and our presents. For all those of us who have chosen to throw off that cloak of anonymity, we should bear something in mind.

It will be ‘out there’ forever, and can never be taken back. Even if you delete your blog, every comment you made elsewhere will still exist. Your photos will be somewhere on a ‘cloud’, and as long as the Internet exists in its present form, whatever you have written about will never disappear. It doesn’t concern me, as I am closer to the end of my life than the beginning. But take heed, before you follow my example.

Once your head appears over that parapet, it cannot go back to obscurity.

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Winter: Christmas Under the Magnolia Tree by Sally Cronin

Here is your chance to read the serialisation of Sally’s lovely book!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Winter: Christmas Under the Magnolia Tree

By December, high in the mountains, the rain fell as snow and lay deep on the ground in the magic garden. Christmas was just two days away and beneath the roots of the old magnolia tree preparations were well in hand. The bees, that had been forced to hibernate in the special honey-chamber when the Winter Fairy brought early snow; hummed festively in the background.

Queen Filigree was very excited, not just because she adored Christmas, but because her favourite son, Prince Zachary, was coming home for the holidays. He had married a princess who lived in the gardens of a Royal Palace many miles to the north and she had not seen him for many years. They were due to arrive tomorrow and the ladies of the chamber were bustling around in the guest apartments, preparing the beds for the visiting royalty and…

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Recommended Blogs: Real Lives

Every so often, I like to recommend other blogs, in the hope of expanding our community. Many of the blogs I follow are about niche subjects like films, literature, photography, or politics. But I also follow some blogs where nice people just write about their everyday lives. Their hopes and dreams, their families, and what surrounds them. They sometimes express their fears, share their worries, or just post a photo of something nice, maybe a place they have visited.

So I am going to recommend a few like that. A different look on life from another part of the world, or a few hours up the road from Beetley.
We can all learn from each other, and make genuine contact using something as simple as a blog post.

But the biggest lesson we can learn is that although we may live oceans apart, and lead very different lives, we are all essentially the same inside.
Maggie is American, and lives in one of those hot and humid Southern states. She is writing a 365/one post a day blog. Family, life experiences, nature, and recollections.
Real stuff, from a genuine lady. Please encourage her to keep going after that year is up.
Wilma is originally from the Philippines, and has settled near Chicago, USA.
Her blog is about her work, her daily life, and her cherished family. Some travel, a love of the nature surrounding her, and the peaceful Mallard Lake.
Sometimes, such pleasant things are all you need to make a great blog.
Trips out with his kids, life in central England, poetry, musings, and short stories.
Policeman Rich Lakin has it all going on, and the nostalgia is great too.
Retired teacher Elizabeth lives in the US. Her blog is packed with fascinating recollections, interesting memories, and some great writing too.
She also tells us about her life now, her trips to places, and her take on the modern world.
From a picturesque part of Scotland, Mary documents her trips with photos, writes about her family, and shares interesting memories of her working life in far-flung foreign lands.

There you have five blogs to check out, and hopefully find someone new to read or follow.

If you would like to suggest any blogs you admire, please leave a link in the comments.

Unfit Magazine Vol 3: Update

Following my recent post about the latest edition of Unfit magazine, there have been issues with Public Domain/Copyright.
As a result, the featured story from Philip K. Dick cannot be included, and the cover has been changed to show that.

An alternative story has been secured, from the talented Robert J. Sawyer. Here is some information about that writer.

Robert J. Sawyer has won fifty national and international awards for his fiction, most prominently the 1995 Nebula Award for his novel The Terminal Experiment; the 2003 Hugo Award for his novel Hominids, the first volume of his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy; and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for his novel Mindscan. He has had two additional Nebula nominations, ten additional Hugo nominations, and four additional Campbell Memorial Award nominations.

He has published 21 novels, and his short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Amazing Stories, On Spec, Nature, and numerous anthologies. According to the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, Robert J. Sawyer is the #1 all-time worldwide leader in number of award wins as a science-fiction or fantasy novelist (second place goes to China Miéville; Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Connie Willis are tied for third place).

His books have appeared on the major top-ten national mainstream bestsellers’ lists in Canada, as published by The Globe and Mail newspaper and Maclean’s magazine, and they have reached number one on the bestsellers’ list published by Locus, the trade-journal of the SF field. Translated editions have appeared in Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish, and he has won major SF awards in Canada, China, France, Japan, Spain, and the United States.

In 2002, Sawyer received Ryerson University’s Alumni Award of Distinction in honor of his international success as a science fiction writer (Sawyer graduated from Ryerson in 1982 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television Arts). On June 2, 2007, Sawyer received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa) from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

As you can see, he is a worthy replacement indeed.

Here are some links to the revised magazine. They currently still show the previous cover.

My Comments, and Spam. Again

Since I started replying to some comments and leaving my own on other blogs this morning, a few have failed to appear. This leads me to think that I may have cast into ‘Spam Jail’ by WordPress, for the umpteenth time.

If I would usually comment on one of your posts, but have not appeared to do so, please check your Spam folders, and ‘Un-Spam’ me.

Best wishes, Pete.

MYTHAXIS: A new concept online magazine

From Daniel Scott White, publisher of Longshot Island, Unreal, and Unfit, comes a new Fantasy Magazine project, Mythaxis.

This offers an exciting opportunity to bloggers and writers (including published authors) in the Fantasy genre. Daniel is looking for submissions to be included, and this explains how it works.

We want stories that are well written, intelligent, and enjoyable to read. We are looking for stories with metaphors and emotional ambiance and imaginative descriptive writing.

Getting Published Online

Submit your story using the form below. Just copy and paste it from your file into the content box in the form, where it says “Post Content”.

For your story to be published online, you must have a book that you’re selling. Include the link to your book in the form, where it says “Your URL”.

In exchange for your story, we’ll promote your book on this site (and elsewhere: newsletter, social media, etc.).

Sign up for the newsletter while you’re here.

Getting Published in Digital Format

In exchange for your story in the digital publication of the magazine, we’ll buy you any book you want from the catalog of books submitted by authors on the site. You pick a book being promoted and we’ll do the rest, including paying for shipping.

After you finish the submission form, we will contact you if we’re interested in publishing your material. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond unless a story is accepted for publication. If you have not heard from us in thirty days, assume your work didn’t fit with what we needed at the time. We don’t promise that all stories put online will make it into the digital publication.

For best results, send your story to as many publications as possible. Just remember, “Simultaneous submissions are your friend.”

We wish you the best in your endeavors as an author.


The Boss (and a few other clowns)

Submission Guidelines
Fiction: 500 to 15,000 words.

Genre: Primarily magic, myth and chaos.

Pay: For online publication, we’ll promote your book. For digital publication, we’ll buy you a book.

Terms: We don’t charge for submissions. Reprints are welcome. Simultaneous submissions are most certainly welcome. Multiple submissions are not welcome. (If you don’t hear anything, wait 30 days before trying again. Thanks!)

Rights: We are looking for one time non-exclusive rights.

Here are some direct links.


Home Page.


About Mythaxis.


Sample Stories.

Follow Mythaxis on Twitter.

Check out mythaxis (@mythaxis):

This is a real opportunity to get your work published online, from a reputable company that works hard to support new writers and bloggers.

My Freelance Writing Portfolio

Published author, marketing and publishing guru, and committed blogger, Nicholas Rossis is the real deal, and a very nice man too. He is now offering a service that may be of interest to some of you, and it is my pleasure to reblog his post today. Check out his site for hundreds of helpful tips too, and some great offers on his own books.

Nicholas C. Rossis

As part of my efforts to make writing my full-time job, I’ve taken on some freelance writing–mostly blog posts and web content. I am sharing below a kind testimonial and some samples of my work. Future jobs will be shared on my new Freelance Writing Portfolio page.

So, if you’re looking for someone to help with your blog or website, I hope you’ll consider me!

InSync Media

I have worked on a number of projects for InSync Media. These include blog posts and web content for:

Nicholas has worked on several copywriting projects for my company, InSync Media, over the last several months. I keep coming back to Nicholas because of his professionalism, quick turnaround times, over delivering on the required word count, and seamlessly including keywords to our specific requirements. Plus, his writing is enjoyable to read, even on technical subjects!…

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