Ernest Bywater: Blog

Bathrooms in my stories

July 3, 2017
Posted at 6:52 am

Due to a question from a reader I'm now aware that many people in the USA have a different idea of what is or isn't in a bathroom. Here in Australia we have a number of arrangements for a bathroom.

A bathroom may contain a bath, a shower, a basin sink in a bench, a toilet, and space to dress - or any combination of them. Also, a bath may or may not have a shower over it. The simple rule is if any one of the above is shown as having its own room, then it's not in the bathroom. Thus the bathroom in Survivor: Moving On has a bath (in this case with a shower over it), a basin sink area, and space to dress. We also have a thing called a four way bathroom where there's a sort of central basin sink area with three doors off it to have the bath, toilet, and shower each in their own little area to allow privacy and multiple users. A three way bathroom is the same but no separate shower.

An en-suite is a cut down version with a sink, toilet, and shower or bath with a shower over it.

I hope this helps you to understand the plans I include as a memory aid.

Survivor: Moving On - update

July 2, 2017
Posted at 8:20 pm

Survivor: Moving On - 51,500 words in six parts to go up every other day, all uploaded to the Wizard. It covers Pat going to college and the life events there. As usual, it's also available on my Lulu page as both an e-pub and a print book:

Apartment Phone System
had a few messages about it. It's simple to do using a mini-PABX and normal phone handsets. A unit like this should do it.

Ed's New Life - old story posted warts and all

March 26, 2017
Posted at 2:24 am
Updated: March 26, 2017 - 2:53 am

I asked about posting the original story for Ed's New Life because I'm not up to revising and editing it right now - it needs way too much work for what I can give it until I'm finished with some other matters. I asked, and the readers want to see it, so it starts posting on the usual schedule of a part every other day. 114,000 words in 15 parts. It is available at Lulu on:

This story is 10 year old text, despite some cosmetic fixing a couple of years ago when I finally posted an e-pub version. Sometime in the next year or so I hope to bring it up to my current standard of writing. I'm posting this as it's the only story I've written that isn't posted here, that won't be true after it's all posted.

Edit to add: This is the first story I was able to get posted anywhere, way back when. I must have done something right, since the publisher changed their policies to accept it. The story has message to tell people, but lacks a little in the delivery.

Repost Rivers Region Series Story Notes

March 19, 2017
Posted at 12:56 pm
Updated: March 19, 2017 - 12:59 pm

This is very loosely based on the Riverina Region of New South Wales, Australia and extended into the mountains to cover towns like Tumut and Batlow. Rivers is based on Wagga Wagga, Bowen's Creek is based on Junee, Wood Valley is based on Batlow, and Ryan's Ridge is based on Tumbarumba - - all are very loosely based on the real places. Please, no more emails asking me about where it is.

Time-line: I've been asked for a time-line for these stories. However, because some of them cover decades or lifetimes of those in them it's very hard to set an exact time-line for them that neatly weaves them all together, that was never intended. The best I can say is the majority of the current activities has the main characters as contemporaries and the most significant parts of their lives as being in the current decade. To that extent you can picture A Farmer's Life starting in the late 1990s, Mack also starts in the late 1990s, Michaels Mansion starts in the early 2010s, Flames of Life starts in the early 1990s, and Interesting Times starts in the early 2010s.

Michaels Mansion

Sidewinder vs Stinger Missile - Yes, technically the Sidewinder is an air to air missile only (although I have heard there is a ground fire kit for firing them - a reader told me there is one for some models but it's not a shoulder mount kit), and it's likely in real life a Stinger or a Strela would have been used. However, the people involved in the story are all retired Air Force and much more familiar with a Sidewinder than a Stinger and are calling it what they know. Due to the comments I considered doing an update to cover this point while leaving it as what they said, but I looked at it and it would cause major issues with the print book version so I'm not making any changes for this.

Pat's Age - He's in his third year at university, that puts him in the 22 to 23 year old bracket when the story starts. I didn't state this as I figured most people would work it out for themselves. In Australia most people finish high school at 18 or 19 and then go onto university (what some call college in the US) where most courses are 4 years plus post graduate studies after that (some are 3 year courses).


Archery and Shotgun loads: Mack taught himself how to use a bow from watching it on TV and Internet research, he was NOT trained by a professional

The use of rock chips in a shotgun. Shotgun barrels are essential unchanged for centuries and are simply smooth-bore metal tubes of quality steel. Mack uses chips about the same size, or smaller, than that of No 4 bird-shot - a typical shot used for rabbit hunting here in Australia. They are not likely to do any worse damage to the inside of the barrel than steel shot. And if they did it'd take an awful long time to do so. They feel and fire the same as a normal load and the effect at close to medium range is the same. Firing rock loads does have a less compact and wider spread at longer ranges than steel or lead shot. I know people who save money by self-loading with local granite rock chips. For the ranges normally used when rabbit hunting with a shotgun you see no difference, but the longer ranges for duck and bird shooting can see the spread a bit too wide for a good hit.

Football Field, in rural NSW most local football fields are big enough to play all four codes of soccer, rugby league, rugby unions, and Australian Rules - with Aussie Rules being more common the closer you get to the Victorian border. A typical full-sized Aussie Rules field can run out to 250 m x 200 m to give plenty of room around it and the actual playing area can is 185 m x 155 m. Check out wikipedia on it.

Flames of Life

Leg injury: The front muscles that are used to straighten the leg. But from discussions with a physiotherapist and other medical specialist the use of the front muscles are what allows him to mimic walking because he can use the muscle to provide some leg movement. However, with the back muscle totally useless he hasn't enough muscle power in what's left in the front only to hold the leg straight and put weight on it. That's why the mention of the frame at one point, to overcome that issue - but would be very cumbersome. He can and does move about with a cane on level ground by balancing his hip on the hand on the top of the cane and pivoting on it.

Building Owners - criminal conspiracy. I've had a few people mention they should be arrested and charged etc. One problem there is there is no legal evidence to do so.

Interesting Times

1. Waste - Maybe it's just Australian usage, but waste is anything I have and don't want, while garbage is what gets thrown in the landfill. Thus the recyclable containers are waste in the room and go into waste bins, they'll be recycled later. Remember, he made arrangements to have the recycling done.

2. The quotation is listed as an apocryphal Chinese saying, which means it's of doubtful heritage. Urban legend has it as being Chinese but it can't be tracked down as such.

3. Figures given in dialogue are not always given as exacts, thus when the bikes are sold one person is using only the figures before the thousands.

4. DVDs and tech levels - blu-ray is only just starting to get some market penetration here in Australia, and it was almost non-existent 4 years ago when I wrote that part of the story. Also, those who do have blu-ray here still call them DVDs.

5. Mortgage release - I've had a couple of people say it takes the banks several days to release documents on payment of the mortgage. When I worked in the banks (many, many moons ago) all the mortgage documents were kept at the local branch the mortgage was lodged with, and immediately the sum was paid up the documents had to be handed over. If the payment was being organised via another mortgage and the documents sent to another lender, then it took days to organise the payout, but a cash payout requires an immediate hand over. I asked a local bank manager about this and was told some banks still keep the documents in the local branch safe, while others store them in the state headquarters. From a legal point of view once the mortgage is paid out the bank has to hand the papers over a.s.a.p. and once the person offers to make an immediate payout the bank has to accept it, if they refuse to do so for internal administrative reasons they can't charge interest from then on and can't take the money until they're ready to process it - neither suits the banks.

Reposted Story Notes - Al Adams / Torao stories & Shiloh

March 19, 2017
Posted at 12:51 pm

Finding Home: Is in the first person diary style and covers over a year in the life of the main character. There are some heavy sex scenes in the early quarter or so of the story as they relate to certain plot aspects, but they taper off later - so, no complaints please. Codes are based on the main aspects of the WHOLE story, all 273,000 words - 37 parts. There are a few switches of point of view, shown with a ruled line on the page.

The story is told in the first person by an Aussie, so he's using terms he's more familiar with, even to the extent of putting them into the mouths of others - anyway, that's my excuse why swimmers will stay as swimmers and not become trunks, and similar minor points.

I often skip minor repetitive detail that does not have a direct involvement, I point out how frequent this is done at the start and then drop it; except where I wish to use it to show Al moving between scenes etc., so please assume he does routine matters a few times per day, even when I don't say so. The football team doesn't always practice every day at the start of the season - they's lazy, just like me.

Cast List: Be warned I do say a little about everyone listed, just enough to tag memories about them. I've been told it can also be seen as a spoiler as you can see a bit about people who haven't turned up yet. Sorry, but I can't please everyone. Try just looking up the name you want to learn about.

Responses to emails:

1. Al develops as a person as the story goes on, he doesn't really care about much at the start. Al's a teenage boy and I'm using the early sex scenes to display certain aspects of his character, and how they change. He has little real interest in life then, as all he loved have died and he's left alone. He is existing and doing anything he can to get his mind off his loss - and that is the whole point of the start of the affairs with the wives. In the story he does point out they're casual affairs and solely to help keep his mind on the present and off the past. It's not spelled out in capitals, but read what he has to say about the events etc., and it shows. As time goes on you'll see his character change, and that's an important aspect of one of the sub-plots. So please stay with it and watch him change.

2. The school football team has a pre-season warm up game at 4 pm on the Friday. The game does not run into overtime and Paul Williams the Fifth ends up at dinner with his family at 7 pm. I've been assured by some who follow US high school football that this timing is common for such games, which is why I did not have them having a later dinner.

3. Al is very fit, raised in the traditions of martial arts, and used to having money due to his mother's background. The result is he's very self confident and adult in all but law. So please accept he does not behave like an ordinary high school teenager, because he isn't one.

4. Some people are submissive, they like to be controlled and not have to make major decisions; while some people are dominant and like to be in charge of others. Al is a dominant personality, and he attracts submissive people who wish to be controlled by him. He also uses his dominating ability to control some much weaker willed others who would cause him trouble. Some people would call him an Alpha male, even if that is not a recognised type of person.

5. Some characters pop in and out without prior mention, most will be security guards hired by Rob that I haven't talked you through the full hire of. Please accept they've been fully processed, but I didn't see the need to list the dozens of people Rob is hiring. The context should make it clear if they're guards.

6. The fancy mobile phones bought in Japan. The rate of exchange at the time of writing and mentioned in the story is 100 yen = $1.00, so the phones are bought outright for $1,000 each. New ultra small wrist watch size with a lot of extra features and mega prepaid hours. This is not a plan purchase over time, but an outright purchase and the price of $1,000 is in line with what a top of the range is bought for in Australia. Some range as high as $1,500 down here, and some of the Internet research shows similar prices elsewhere, too.

Future stories won't have so much sex in them as the sex was part of the demonstration of Al's character and how it changed. Al is feeling very invincible right now, but that'll change. In Finding Home he was forced to recognise and accept some personal problems then deal with them, in future stories he'll be forced to recognise and accept he's not superman, and I have other similar character development life events on his horizon.

The SOL system allows me to link a story with one series, I've chosen to link the Damsels in Distress stories with that universe and not the Al Adams / Lord Torao universe, sorry, but I think this is better overall. There will be a little crossover between the two series as there are things Al will do on Earth that are required for Chaos. I don't intend to mention his Chaos activities in the Earth stream, but some activities will be covered - for example, a trip to New Mexico to buy dogs, the aim is to get some for both Chaos and Earth, so this visit will be in both stories just in case someone is NOT following both lines. This will give some of you a case of deja vu.

Chaos Calls: Learning Visit - The opening does give away a bit of what's to happen in Finding Home as it's the end of Finding Home. That's there to set Al's character up in Chaos without having to make a new one.

Release of Prisoners: In the section where the main camp is attacked, after the attack Al and Joe are speaking to Colonel Bond, the next paragraph mentions the teens get down from their positions and release the prisoners. They help clean up the site.

Return Home: I mention the travel home is faster than the travel through the forest. I say that as when they bypassed Bridgetown and worked their slow way to the enemy camp they traveled in the forest amongst the scrub and trees, making their way with great care and working hard not to leave a trail while scouting ahead before moving. On the return trip they travel on the road that goes through the forest, that's open and no scrub in the way, making for a faster trip. The return trip has a lot less in the way of natural obstructions and makes for easier movement.

Chaos Calls: First Rescue - Up North, I've had a few people say that US citizens would use the term Back East when talking about going from New Mexico to Frederick. One editor raised this, so I do have the US CITIZENS use that term; but Al is an Aussie and would never say it that way, to him it would be 'up north' as a purely descriptive term, and the same for Eduardo as he's a Mexican. So, please, no more emails about Al saying up north.

Chaos Calls: Dragon Dilemma - Bearings, the bearings I use are steel roller or needle bearings in a steel race - not ball bearings. These can be cast metal. Bearings will never be common on Chaos, it's metal poor, as the metal bearings of the wagons are worth a lot. A rich person like Al can afford them for a special project.

A troop is a basic military unit and has varied a lot between countries, forces, and time periods. The earliest use of the term was for an organised group of warriors on foot. Today, more people are used to a cavalry troop. In more modern usage it varies between being the equivalent of a platoon or a company and has varied in size from around 30 to 70 members. On Chaos Al is setting up a troop to be the equal of a platoon, but with 65 members as that's what he sees as a reasonable sized force to safely act on its own. In older times military units had larger numbers than they do today - think pre gunpowder period, please.

The carts I mention are something like a dog cart modified for use by a horse, they are only as wide as an average horse. Here's an image of roughly what they look like in real life:

SHILOH: With The Scot's permission I've rewritten the story in present tense and completed it. I worked hard to keep his flavor to the story while I rewrote the first 25 chapters to be in the present tense. The Scot edited and approved up to chapter 33 before the story was posted.

In chapter 36 Kyle suffers some light cracked ribs. This slows him down, but doesn't incapacitate him. I didn't send him to Chaos via Crossroads to be healed first because he has a direct portal to Shiloh so he can bypass Crossroads and none of the rules have been changed. One rule is a Hero going to Crossroads from Earth MUST effect a Damsel rescue before he can return to Earth, by using the Shiloh portal Kyle doesn't have to do this, if he'd gone to Crossroads he would have to conduct a rescue and delay his Shiloh work. Also, Kyle's role at the moment is to be a commander, so he's not that active in most combats. Please note the direction for a mandated rescue, stated in a few stories by Lazlo, Earth to Crossroads to Chaos must pick and make a rescue to be able to return to Crossroads then to Earth and the Damsel listed for him has to be with him for the portal to activate - the only exception is if the Damsel dies on him. Also, he isn't yet a Hero on his first visit to Crossroads to select a Caretaker. Due to this a Hero returning from Chaos to Crossroads doesn't have to make a rescue as it's in the other direction, which is what Kyle does as he has no Damsels listed as being required to activate the portal.

Also, the standard Crossroads rule is everyone returning from Chaos has a time in the healing chamber to be safe from microscopic issues. I don't cover that at all as it's a routine issue like meals etc., none of which do I cover every single item of - just a few that have a relevance to the other matters. So please assume every return via Crossroads sees every one put through the chamber and minor injuries etc. healed; and don't ask me if his healed cracked ribs would look perfect or like a natural heal because I don't know and Lazlo never said, so I'm not going to.

In chapter 35 I mention War Bonnet is looking younger as the portals return the people who go to Chaos via Crossroads back to Crossroads and Earth as if only 15 minutes in time and biological aging has occurred. Thus, War Bonnet is now only 15 minutes older than when he first went to Chaos. KK wants War Bonnet as her horse when she needs one, so she takes him back and forth now he's decided he's hers. This is all within the DiD canon established by Lazlo. Note: in one story Lazlo does have the Hero find a companion who was stranded on Chaos for some years and take him back to Earth - the person did claim to be a stranded Hero, but the truth came out when the got back to Earth.

Larry had his spine healed by the aliens, but didn't have his muscles conditioned. Because it's not a health injury or sickness issue, and it's a condition from before his trip to Chaos, the health system does nothing about his muscle condition. Again, all as per the canon by Lazlo