Saturday, May 14, 2011


Y'all may or may not have noticed a serious glitch in the matrix yesterday - first I noticed was I couldn't log on to Blogger - the Google-based service that I use to do STORMBRINGER. Worse still, Wednesday's post about the last combat veteran of World War I was GONE - which disturbed me because Claude Choules and the generation he came to represent are worthy of much honor and respect. It's a rare moment you'll catch me waxing poetic, and I wondered if I'd ever be able to re-capture that haiku about the Ghost Fleet?

"The wind blows over a page in the open Book of History, and the final veteran of an ancient war passes . . .

A quiet drumbeat, a distant bugle call,

a final gun salute from the Ghost Fleet

to honor him."

When I thought about it a little later on, it occurred to me that I should have ended that haiku with the pronoun, third person plural not singular:

. . . to honor THEM."

. . . but that would be cheating and not in the spirit of haiku . . . a haiku must be like the downward sword thrust - executed once; a fleeting human thought, a moment of time, captured on paper verbatim - never edited.

WOW! I think I just wrote the world's first haiku about . . . HAIKU:

a fleeting human thought

a moment of time

captured on paper, verbatim

never edited.

Perhaps there's an English major out there who'd care to advise a lowly professional knuckle-dragging snakeater on whether it's allowable to alter that last, the Ghost Fleet number?


It was time to hit the road, but before I did I checked the Twitter-verse and sure enough, Theo - my mentor in Blog-dom - was moaning about Blogger. So I added my two cents worth before climbing into the old Fahrfenugen TDI for another day of fighting Evil and keeping the world safe for Democracy.

I don't do any of the so-called 'social media' - Spacebook, My Face, FaceButt, WHATEVER - I say 'so-called' because I believe they are generally the antithesis of anything social; to the contrary they are destructive to our society, social intercourse and the art of conversation - however I do the Twitter thing because it's a useful communications tool; an abbreviated interface between the Internet, what's going on out there in the real world and the smartphone.

Twitter is a fascinating phenomenon; I posted about it during the Bangkok street battles. Twitter was instrumental during the recent uprising in Cairo, and now it seems the Taliban have infested Twitter to propagandize their cause - that's evil, of course, and I hope the people that own and operate the Twitter thingie get a handle on this - I don't normally do boycotts but this is beyond the pale; Twitter changes their act or I do.


Yesterday's break in blogdom was a refreshing refer and re-alignment of the aiming stakes. Beyond honoring those who serve, those who have served, and those who gave all; the original purpose of Blog STORMBRINGER has been to provide a little outlet for my creative juices. Somewhere along the line this thing has morphed into a life of its own, and creativity has suffered accordingly.

What's happening is the Blog is interfering with my time; family life, workout time (precious little of), the business of work itself, and more significantly my creative writing time. Bottom line is I'd rather do one or two well-written posts per week, and pick up where I left off posting on Theo's Last of the Few than cranking out half a dozen poorly drafted blurbs a week, just to make some kind of daily hit counter that quite honestly has paid less in two years than what I make in two days at my day job.

A couple of weeks back I floated the question of serializing a couple of novels I've crafted over the years, and I'm still keen on developing this.

Suggestions range from integrating my work into the blog and charging per chapter (which would be great if I could figure how to do it); self-publishing - which would be fine if my objective was simply to be published; or getting accepted onto one of the 'reader' devices - which is the way I want to go. Barnes and Noble have a reader thingie, and of course there's Kindle - either way would work for me.


I've gone on about the novel long enough - I guess it's time to share a little of what I write. My inspiration has always been the action/adventure novels of Scottish author Alistair MacLean, with perhaps a touch of Conrad thrown in for good measure.

Alistair MacLean wrote what became possibly the best war film of all time: 
Dirty Harry meets Agatha Christie.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; inspiration for Coppola's Apocalypse Now, before its 1902 publication, it was serialized in three parts.

In 2000 I spent the better part of a year mostly by myself in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. I lived alone in a large house of cement, stone and marble, on the edge of the great Sahara. That lonely outpost was where I started the novel I am about to present.

A year rolled by. I'd been in and out of West Africa a couple of times and as fate would have it I was in Washington DC on official business; good friends David & Danielle had me over to their place for dinner. Recently Danielle reminded me of something I said over the dinner table that evening: "Something big is coming . . . we see it coming, there's all kinds of activity on the intell sources . . . I don't know what's going down, but something big is going to happen . . ."

The date of that dinner party was September 10th, 2001, and the next morning I had an appointment at the Pentagon.

This was as close as I got to keeping my appointment that fateful September morning.

The point of my anecdote is this: the novel I crafted featured the world's most wanted terrorist ol' Mister Fish Food himself. Well 9/11 changed the whole premise of THAT work of fiction, and I spent a VERY busy next couple of years chasing ghosts all over Eastern Europe and North Africa, and writing fell by the wayside.

I may or may not have to change the premise of my story; I'd hate to intersect fiction on top of what is promising to be a terrific tale of action and adventure all by itself. Most likely I'll re-write it, craft it in my own terms, and drive on with it.

Here's the teaser:


The map the continent of Africa resembles a skull; the fossilized skull of some primitive sub-human ancestor from deep within the dust and debris of Uldabi Gorge. If one starts at the straits of Gibraltar, where Africa comes closest to Europe, and traces a finger southerly, the western coastline of North Africa curves around to the base of the skull. On a human this is the medulla oblongata, where the spinal column joins into the most primordial part of the brain, the part of our being that governs instinct and involuntary muscle movement. On the map this is West Africa, an irregular, variegated coastline. Its solid green represents the low altitudes, dense vegetation, mosquito infested jungle, primordial scum.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast
- Cote d’Ivoire - is a modern city on the edge of the West African coastline. Built on islands in an inland system of hyacinth-covered, crocodile- and hippo-infested lagoons and surrounded by emerald forest-covered hills, her modern skyline rises like a fantastic set from some science fiction epic.

The press had been harping about the “riots in the streets of Abidjan” for weeks, but the few clashes I saw out there didn’t come anywhere near what I would classify as a fully-fledged riot. More like spirited demonstrations, almost staged events for what is was worth.

There is no discernable beginning or end to the souk in Abidjan. There is no parking lot, no clearly marked entrance. The roadside stands simply increase in number as one approaches the area of the souk; merchants selling clothing, fruit, shoes, handbags, magazines, masks and African animals of carved wood or semi-precious stone, everything and anything imaginable.

Every hundred meters or so one encounters a woman standing by a large enamel or plastic basin perched on a barrel or a drum, full of antibiotics and other miscellaneous pharmaceuticals acquired from black market sources or the careful gleaning of westerner’s rubbish. Customers sift through the medications, lift up containers of pills in bubble packaging or plastic pill bottles with typed prescription labels to carefully inspect the mysterious drugs until they find something they feel will remedy whatever it is that ails them. Along a street that sells wooden artifacts one may find stall after stall selling hundreds of small statuettes featuring white men dressed as doctors, policemen, soldiers. Hopeful patients can place such statuary in their home, burn candles and offer liqueur, tobacco to the image. This is gri-gri; juu-juu or voodoo. If the pills don’t work, a gri-gri doll will.

The center of the souk is in a crumbling shell of concrete that goes up at least three stories; I never determined how far the complex goes in laterally. The roof in some places is made of the same steel-reinforced cement as the walls, mostly however the merchants stretch swathes of cloth between the walls to provide shade from the sun. The floor beneath one’s feet is sand, the interior is maze-like. A narrow set of stairs goes up the side of the building; merchants are tucked into every nook and cranny, poking out to offer their wares as one passes by.

It is hot and humid, airless within the depths of the souk. The senses are assaulted by a barrage of sights, sounds and smells. Bolts of vividly colored printed cloth, stalls featuring thousands and thousands of colored glass beads, more wooden statues and carved animals; hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, rhinos, gazelle, elephants, lions, zebras. Animals made of the printed cloth. Suitcases and shipping trunks. Hand tools, made in Taiwan. Korean mink blankets featuring Oriental geometric patterns or the old favorite, the white Siberian snow tiger, stacked to the ceiling in their vinyl packaging. West African music, the ancient ancestor of rock and the blues, blares it’s hypnotic rhythms out of cheap boom boxes and ancient transistor radios; the air reeks of spices, fruits, perfumes, the smell of dusty wood, and always, everywhere, the smell of thousands of sweating bodies.

A niche in the wall features shelf after shelf of ivory; tusks, statues, bracelets, bangles, necklaces, earrings, rings. More ivory lays beneath glass display cases. The owner is an ancient black in purple robes. He wears a fez, his eyes have a wisdom that is a thousand years old. He puts his hand on mine, draws me close. His dark skin looks almost blue against my arm.
“Monsieur,” he says quietly, displays a mouthful of stained and rotting teeth. “Today is not a good day for you in the streets of Africa.”

© 2011 by Sean Linnane

Well, there it is. If you like my work, go over to the right there and click on email STORMBRINGER - and let me know if you'd be willing to click on it for a dollar a chapter.

Cheers - S.L.

Yesterday's Bird HERE



  1. "Recently Danielle reminded me of something I said over the dinner table that Sunday evening: "Something big is coming . . . we see it coming, there's all kinds of activity on the intell sources . . . I don't know what's going down, but something big is going to happen . . ."

    The date of that dinner party was September 10th, 2001, and the next morning I had an appointment at the Pentagon.

    This was as close as I got to keeping my appointment that fateful September morning."

    Sir, September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday.

  2. Why so it was!

    Odd - I seem to recall it as a Monday - quite possibly because I was traveling the day before, and therefor my appointment that morning was my first work-related business of that week.

    I corrected the post - and thanks!

  3. Naw, the first haiku written about haikus goes like this:

    Haiku, you ku; he,
    She, or it kus; we ku, you
    Ku, they ku. Thang ku.

  4. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!! Good job my favourite American Warrior. - Hell