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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Odd Man In College was written in early 2013 and been waiting since. The original story was as a variation on the same theme behind Finding Home I wished to explore. However, I ran into issues with the later part of the story, and it got put on hold. In a recent re-read I realised I could cut off the last part of the story and post the first half of the original story plot as a stand alone story and the troublesome bit can be a sequel when I get it finished. That's what I've done. So, yes, there is a sequel in the works - no time frame at the moment.
Will to Survive
The rifle is an AR-7 which was issued to pilots as a survival weapon for many years (it was designed for that purpose). A .22 LR will kill a person if you hit a critical spot like the heart, lungs, or spine.
The nukes are Tactical Nuclear Weapons meant for quick use in the field as artillery shells, or small missiles, or demolition charges, and are constructed with two sub-critical masses brought to critical mass by violently slamming them together with a small explosive charge (some links below). Many TNWs have been retired from deployment with active service units. Some were dismantled, and some are still stored in armories in case higher command feel they need them. I don't know if any new ones are being constructed, but design work for new units was still going on as late as 2008. A TNW of this type can be set off by an explosion close to them setting off the activation explosives by the explosions of the cannon shells and thus detonate the TNWs, it was one of the known risks with them and a strong argument against their deployment with front-line combat units. In this story the explosive rounds from the cannon (like the GAU 22/A in the links below) going off beside them sets them off at the same time, or so close together it doesn't matter. The four nuclear explosions overlap to create interesting explosions and shock waves.
In the radio operations I called upon what I was taught back in the 1970s. At that time the organisation I was with used the word 'zero' specifically to mean something of nil value and was below 'one' - thus there were 'zero casualties' meaning no one was hurt. The numbers sounded like: zero, one, two-o, three, foour, fieve, six, seven, eight, niner, one oh; they used 'oh' to indicate the units value after a value in the tens column. What did become an issue was when they changed compass reading to be all three digits so what was four, five (45) became oh, four, five (045) - this was supposed to reduce the risks of an error with the first digit being misheard for the lower directions. Other organisations and other countries did use different values and sounds for radio phonetic values. Some examples being names for the letters, like Bob instead of Bravo and David instead of the Delta I was taught, and so on. Any long discussion on this will see many variations listed by different people.
Star Performance: Had an unexpected question about poppers of fruit juice see:
Always a Marine and the Three Cartridges: It's short and the title says it all. Please read the third paragraph of the funeral carefully, the only uniform I mention the colour of is that of the Marine Corps League, which is a red coat, and they provide the Honour Guard, not the serving Marines. Thank you to those who found someone to ask about the three cartridges, and for passing the information on to me. Three sources checked with senior NCOs in their local military and they signify - Honour, Country, and Duty.
Rough Diamond: I've had people question the Casinos and the IRS.
The IRS: is concerned about the taxes being paid. Once they find the money is going to the company, they concentrate efforts on the company, to ensure they're paying the right taxes. Once that's resolved, they walk away - their only concern is tax revenue. They're unlikely to be investigating Anian himself, or look at his actual age as he won't have a Social Security Number as he's a legal foreigner and it's not his taxes they're looking at until the end of the tax year and he lodges a return.
The Casinos: my research shows the Indian Casinos, which are what Anian deals with in New Mexico, do NOT operate the same way as the big commercial ones in Las Vegas etc., they're less likely to be quick in banning people and the like behaviour. I make a point of his mentioning being connected with The Spirits and how some of the Indian staff connect with this too. This is another reason why they won't be so quick to kick him out and be prepared to put up with him once he places limits on his activities, that and his big tips. OK, I may be a bit out in the reality of the situation as I didn't have an opportunity to talk to the actual casino staff about this, but it's a very reasonable premise to go with.
I hope you pay close attention to the very last sentence of the story as it applies to all politicians and government employees, domestic and otherwise.
Times of Old: Here in Australia I was taught by a carpenter to call the cut a rebate. In the US most seem to call the same thing a rabbet - the wiki article on a Dado joints calls it both, amongst other things.
I've had a few emails where people say I should credit cmsix.
First, yes, I'm aware of his writing and make an oblique reference to one of his works early on in Times of Old.
Second, cmsix did NOT create this genre and he was far from my first introduction to aliens and time travel. The first story I read along these lines was back in the 1970s and was in an old pulp fiction paperback. At SOL I first read time travel stories by authors like aubie 56, The Scot, Jim War, and Old Guy before I found cmsix's works. Some of those pre-date the stories cmsix has on SOL. His big one, John and Argent seems to have been written in 2005 or 2006, from what I can find on the Internet, well after I had read stories by others. So please stop saying I should credit him for the idea, as it was around before him.
Early dialogues with the aliens - Ed thought he was going to die and is surprised not to be dead. Then he's hit with the idea about being the star in a survival show. He realises they can just eliminate him if he disagrees, so he takes the job on. No need for a serious discussion at all and he's also still a bit shocked by the situation. I defy anyone to be anything but a little flippant in that situation.
Weapons and the Wagons About them being useless after a few decades and Ed should take books, information, paper and printing presses. I need only say: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - which I've applied to the story. Ed is a guy wanting to stay alive, not an evangelistic scientist on a quest to change the world by taking a hundred tons of gear with him.
He first ensures his survival; designer cave to live in, armoured clothing, guns to survive a major attack, a show and tell manual on medicine and the local herbs, (think of these as insurance) then standard weapons of the era to hunt and survive normal attacks, basic tools and seed to convert from a hunter gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one, salt and cooking gear to get an in with the locals, finally a wagon and horsepower to move it all to his living area. He also gets the knowledge to talk to the locals.
For those who've not studied it, no culture can develop and sustain metalworking and metal based tools or implements until AFTER they've developed a decent agricultural lifestyle that enables them enough people to be free to concentrate on such activities as mining, smelting, and blacksmithing. No one person can do all that themselves, and it takes one hell of an infrastructure behind the society to do it - an infrastructure that would take decades or lifetimes to develop from a hunter gather society, no matter how smart and knowledgeable the leaders are.
Ed has to move the society along at a sane pace they can absorb and change to, one step at a time. Which is why the book on tools he asked for and why the focus on woodworking tools. Yes, he cheats and gets long lasting high quality metal ones to start with, but all are tools that can be duplicated from within the available materials and technology of the era. The only thing he has that can't are the guns, and he doesn't want them to be available to anyone else, anyway.
In short, Ed's approach is to improve the life of the people and advance towards civilisation, but at a rate they can handle and sustain, not huge unsupported leaps of tech that can't be sustained.
Watch my blog as I only say things here about the stories here, and give alerts on new stories as well.
Oh, to me email, phone, snail mail, and face to face calls are social media, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other such stuff are data mining SPAM sites that I don't use; so please don't send me any invites to such places.
Thank you for reading my stories. I do many things to put food on the table and deal with life, this interferes with my writing, so please bear with me when there are delays in stories appearing. I do NOT post a story until it's complete. Once posting has started I'll make changes to deal with typographical, spelling, continuity, or other important errors like copyright infringement when someone points one out to me. If you see an error, and not just a UK / USA spelling difference error, please let me know.
Writing: I write as if I'm telling the story while sitting around a fire. I find the use of present tense adds to the feeling of being involved, but don't do this with all my stories. Most authors write in the past tense, as it's easier that way to use only one tense throughout. In the present tense you sometimes have to refer to prior events in the past tense, and use both tenses as is appropriate for the situation. I often write in the first person, as this adds to the sense of being involved too. These are both valid, if not common, ways to write. Please, Anonymous, no more emails about it being the wrong way to write.
Aussie narrators use Aussie terms, so please keep that in mind, despite where the story is set. I use Aussie narrators for most of my stories, so, please, no emails about that.
Headings: I use colour codes to indicate headings for Chapters (red), Sub-chapters (blue), and Sections (bold black). They're centred, look more colourful, and are easier to locate. My chapters do NOT match what SOL calls a chapter, and I list the SOL chapter numbers as Parts (green) in my Table of Contents. The submission wizard gets temperamental if the files are too big and makes them into multiple pages. So I try to match my chapter / sub-chapter ends with the number of characters the wizard is happy with - but not always as sometimes I just have to go past the magic number. Once the first part is showing the rest will be appearing every other day. If you can't wait to finish it you can always get it from my Lulu web site (listed below) while contributing to my welfare fund.
Sequels: I do plan to do a sequel to Rough Diamond, Star Performance, the Al Adams stories (on Earth and Chaos), Shiloh, Kim:Power Play, Odd Man in College, and others. I also have many works in progress to finish, so don't hold your breath. Just watch out for the new stories and enjoy them as they appear. They are planned out, but I need to do some research before writing them, watch here for the announcement of when they go up.
EMAILS: I reply to all emails from valid reply to addresses. However, some block emails from my ISP on an irregular basis - clients of those ISPs who don't get a reply, talk to your ISP about it. To get around this I'm using gmail to reply, but this takes more work by me, so I'm now doing email replies every six to eight weeks.
Thanks to the anonymous feedback email senders who send a smiley or a thanks for each chapter. You more than make up for the anonymous abusive ones. Please don't get offended if I don't respond to a basic 'thanks' email immediately.
I'm an Aussie and have never been to the USA in real life, all the knowledge comes from Internet research. So anyone who wishes to give me advice on such things is welcome to send me some information and ideas so I can incorporate them into stories. Please note that in doing so you give me the legal right to use that idea free of charge.
I write as both Ernest Bywater and Ernest Edwards (the Clan Amir series) and I also have my stories at Lulu - page link below.
All my stories are available as e-pub downloads or print books via Lulu. The stories are written in a 6 x 9 inch paperback format page using Libre Office and saved as .odt files then converted to HTML files for here. Note: I've been revising my works to make them smoother flowing and easier to read. If you've bought a past copy and the Lulu page shows a copy with an edition date before July 2016 and you'd like an updated copy, email me with some sort evidence you have a purchased copy and the format you want (epub or pdf), and I'll send you a copy of the latest version. The latest versions are being posted here as well.
If you think a story of mine is worth publishing in your local newspaper or magazine, talk to them and have them email me. I'll gladly give them approval to reprint it free, especially for Always a Marine and Coming Home.
What is a Ute?
I've had people asking: what is a ute? It's the short form of utility vehicle, but is a specific type of vehicle here in Australia and has had the meaning expanded a bit. This wikipedia page gives the basics:
A close US equivalent (as reported by a US reader).
The most common form is a sedan type vehicle front with an integrated bed, kind of like a normal sedan version of the US pick-up truck. Today it's been expanded to include most 1 tonne vehicles used on a rural property, like the typical US pick-up truck, and even a flat-bed tray style 1 tonne truck.
Here in Australia chips are bits of hot fried potato. Due to certain US fast food stores doing business here we sometimes call the very thin cut ones French Fries (some people call them shoe strings fries). We also have potato crisps, these are cold, precooked, and in packets from companies like Smiths; sometimes they are called a packet of chips. Chips are hot and eaten with meals or as a snack or meal of their own, crisps are a small snack and never eaten with a meal.
Figures in conversation - especially money.
A common verbal short-cut is to mention the baseline of figures the first time you speak of the figure and then only talk of what's in front of the baseline. Example: "I got a budget of a hundred million bucks, the first ten is for the new building, thirty for operating costs ..." and so on. This is to save saying the million or thousand or grand several times.
Plan Images I've had people ask about plans of places I design and use in my stories. High quality images of them are on DropBox. Within the folder is a folder for each story, and you can open it to see the images for the story you're reading. Be warned, I'm putting images up as I create them, so there may be some for stories not yet finished, so don't get upset when you don't recognise the folder, you will, when it's finished. Although I tried, some aren't to scale, due my system's limitations. The URL is: