Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Yuletide Blog Greetings

Merry Christmas from the Screenscribbblers house. I am sharing a picture of our cat George, who as you can see is full of festive cheer.
Have a great holiday, and I'll see you in the new year
John x

Saturday, 30 November 2013

November Summary

My NaNoWriMo awareness month is over and congratulations to all my friends who have completed this epic journey, especially Deborah.
Unfortunately, as a non-participant, a demanding day job would never allow me the time and energy to go for glory with my story. However, watch this space in about four years time.
Until then, November, for me, will remain a period of literary self-discovery.
I was born in November, So it's natural for me to reflect around this time ot the year. Blog writing is as good as anything  for helping me do this.
That's why this will be my fourth post this month.
So if 50,000 words in a month was not an option for me, what has November meant to me?
I have a short story and a TV script currently being judged in separate competitions with another short story underway. I have been inspired by a great comedy show in London and I have taken to using an iPad & pen with handwriting recognition software for my first drafts. My laptop is needed for subsequent edits.
On the negative side, work has been absolutely dire, so I have been lacking in time and energy and stress has sucked some of my creative juices from my bone marrow. My short story has suffered because of this and although I know where the story is going the pace is very slow. It may have to go on the back burner whilst I work afresh on something new.
Cosolidating the positives and the negatives, I think the overall picture is I have done enough this November to keep me motivated to continue writing through the festive season and into the new year.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Mid-November update

I can now declare myself as a Screenscribbler in every sense of the word, now that I am making good use of handwriting recognition software on my new iPad ( thank you Karen x).

My handwriting is not fit for human consumption and should carry a Government Health Warning. Indeed it is a serious challenge for myself as the writer to decipher. .

As a youngster I had a pen-pal (long before email was even considered to be science fiction), my great-aunt. 

Aunty Gertie, amongst other things, had once been an English teacher so my letters would not only have an interesting reply she would also correct any grammatical errors and send me handwriting exercises, both of which were lost on me. 

To find software that can make sense of my senseless scrawl is beyond science, it's witchcraft. If nobody has started a list 'Seven wonders of the technological world,' can I please reserve the number one slot for Handwriting Recognition Software? Okay it isn't perfect, but the amount of correction that I have to do. after my scrawl has been converted to text is minimal. 

Has anyone any ideas for the other six wonders can be?

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Deathship 666

Today we went to the West End Premier of Deathship 666. It was a truly mad mad mad lovable comedy parody show experience. Not a second of stage time of this fast paced production was wasted leaving the audience totally captivated. Well done to Box Step Productions, Gemma Hurley, Michael & Paul Clarkson and their amazing cast. They are names to watch out for. Here's the link to book tickets before they all sell out. Deathship 666


Thursday, 7 November 2013

November Diary (Off to a good start)

Good as my word, I am going to make November count in terms of writing, as best I can, considering I am unable to commit to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).st.
I suppose for me my own personal NaNoWriMo alternative got underway about mid-October because I have been working hard on a script which had a deadline for submission on November 1
Since then, in between working 12 hour shifts and some fairly long distance travelling to catch up with family on days off, I haven’t given much time to my favourite pastime. So today on November 5th I am starting off by a long overdue blog post.
I have another competition entry to be getting on with during this month and of course Ephesus to complete and publish.
For me reading is part and parcel of the deal, and I must say I am very excited to have discovered Linwood Barclay.Trust Your Eyes has been my best read of the year so far, and it has been an excellent year for me. It has been a long time since I have read a book so full of....STORY. It's a great read and I highly recommend it.
It’s a great feeling when you find a new author that can press all your buttons.
Long journey’s visiting family also is valuable reading time, and I have just finished my second Colin Bateman audiobook, Prisoner of Brenda…Curses, Nurses and a Ticket to Bedlam. 
Reading or writing, either way, I think I am keeping my literary juices flowing, and in my own way am going to make November count for me in a small way.
Good luck to all my writer friends on FB, Twitter and those who follow this blog (especially Deborah), who are entering NaNoWriMo. I don’t expect to hear from you until December.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey NaNoWriMo

I have just read an article in this month’s issue of Writing Magazine warning us that the time of year is nigh upon us again. No not Christmas, nor Halloween or Guy Fawkes Night. It’s NaNoWriMo time again. Many of us will recognise in less than a NaNo-second that the National Novel Writing Month the phenomenal annual writerathon is here to take the aspiring, inspiring and uninspiring amongst us beyond the limits of normal human output.
To achieve the necessary 50,000 words and output of 1667 words per day (around 5½ pages per day). Sounds like extreme shock therapy for the chronic procrastinator. November’s nasty medicine month, or perhaps NovNaMedMo. Two of my writing buddies have been past entrants, and they have, and deserve my respect and admiration for the sheer stamina it must have taken to achieve their goal. Myself? I’m not ready yet for the challenge. Work demands leave me little or no room for the daily challenge. Yes I think, in the short term, a more realistic 500 words after a 12 hour working day plus travelling time might be just about doable, but even this would be a severe interruption to my work-bed-work-bed routine which may have irreparable damage on the narrative structure of my story, albeit a rough first draft.

The article was written for people like me who would like to participate but for whatever particular reason is unable to commit entitled Ten inspiring ideas to try instead of NaNoWriMo, with ideas ranging from dusting off old manuscripts through to watching telly, reading books (I do that anyway), planning your next book and don’t write. xx Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, NoMoWriMo (No More Write More)xx.

I think it would be a great idea to make November a personal writing event, and set your own goal, even if it is merely writing a line a two before bed after a hard day at work.

I haven’t yet set any specific goals for November, other than the goals I already have in place, and having thought about it I don’t think I will. However, I think I will keep a diary for thirty days during that month just recording each day, what I have read, researched, written, planned and thought about. November is going to be my writing (enhanced) awareness month. During December, I will evaluate the sum total of the 30 entries in my diary which hopefully will give me a clearer idea of my commitment and productivity and maybe will drive me to manage my time a little better.

Back to NaNoWriMo. Long may this competition reign. I want NaNoWriMo to hang on less than a handful of years more and wait for my retirement, and then I’ll show you what I can do.

Well that’s my 500 words for today… (no wait up… one, two, three…) perhaps not it’s four hundred and seventy seven, (note how I spelt out the numbers so 477 would count as four words instead of one, just to get my word count up.

Having explained all that my word count is now well in excess of 500 so I’ll say ta ra and if you’re entering this year good luck with NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Confessions Of A Writer

One of my earliest memories of writing was returning to primary school after the summer holidays and writing in our brand new exercise books, which had been issued for the new school year, a story entitled "What I did on my holiday." I took the word holiday to mean going away on holiday and not holiday as in a break away from school for a few weeks. The problem for me was that I hadn't been away on holiday. It was likely that my mother and father couldn't afford it. There was no shame in that during the 50's as I there wasn't a lot of money around in those days and it was likely that most of my class didn't go away on holiday. Day trips on coaches were most people's experience of the seaside. So I made up a holiday.
I remembered a trip to Llandudno, the previous year when we went to the Happy Valley open air theatre and my sister Jean got up on stage and sang with the ventriloquist Peter Brough and his dummy Archie Andrews from the radio show Educating Archie. (Yes a ventriloquist did have his own radio show. There was no danger of anyone seeing his lips move.) Jean's hand had been the first to go up when Archie asked for a volunteer. I would never have had the nerve, and 60 years later my bravery in that department has not improved one iota, whilst my sister continues to enjoy a good warble in her amateur operatic society. Her Llandudno stage debut did not go unrewarded and she was given some sweets. I based my "What I did in my holiday" story on this only in my story it is me that goes on stage and my sister doesn't get a mention. In my story, I was the winner of a talent show and was given the Grand Prize of £100, enough money to buy a decent used car.
I shouldn't have flinched at each of the three question marks my teacher added to her comment in red ink ''Did you really ???" Even at my young tender age her sarcasm was not lost on me.
Today, I like to think that she didn't think badly of me for writing that story. A piece of fiction disguised as non-fiction, but a piece of imagination from someone with very little life experience. I hope she secretly liked it. I know I enjoyed writing it.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

More Rambling

I’m sure most of us have experienced social situations, when after superficial greetings, pleasantries and platitudes have been exchanged, there follows deep sighs and uncomfortable silences. It can happen to both new and long acquaintances between loved ones and not so loved ones. A situation when you may simply have nothing new to say, or want to say something but don’t quite know how or even if it is appropriate to say it, plain boredom, or one or the other has said something to cause offence.

A writer may experience similar discomfort when afflicted by writer’s block. Indeed, when I reflect on my ramblings on this blog, I wonder how I have managed to keep this going on what is now my 78th blog post. But, I am a rambler at heart, which is often how I get my short stories going. I think of a simple premise, and ramble on about it my note book or on my computer until a story develops. When the story becomes boring or dries up then I will make something completely distracting happen.

I have found both in life and in my writing, during such moments, to say or write something distracting often helps. It is often the unexpected that makes what you have to say interesting. After all who wants predictability?

Naturally, when the first draft is completed there will be a lot of pruning to do, but I find my more unstructured approach particularly useful for short stories. For anything longer and my script writing I prefer to storyboard, and have a good plan.

My current project is: a man discovers he has been issued a parking ticket. It’s happened to me, as indeed to most of us. I wanted to examine this situation and turn it something that gets completely out of hand.

My previous project was about a shoplifter. What was his thoughts to drive him to do something completely out of character?

Simple everyday situations which we either experience or hear about. How to make it different.

I am sorry I haven’t published any of these on my blog. If I did I wouldn’t be able to enter them into competitions. Eventually I would like to publish them as an anthology.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ramble On

Okay, so I here I go. I haven’t got a clue what I am going to write about, but I am long overdue to make another blog post, so I am just going to ramble. What I will give you will be unplanned, uncut and unedited, just a pure unadulterated ramble.

But before I get going I have looked up in my Concise Oxford English Dictionary the definition of the verb ramble:  1. Walk for pleasure in the countryside, 2.  (often ramble on) talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way.

Let’s take a look at both of those definitions from a writer’s perspective. I don’t walk as often as I used to. I have been a dog owner, but the responsibility of caring for man’s best friend does not fit in with my work schedule. But when I did have dogs I was out walking in the countryside every day. I have also been a member of a local rambling club, and learned that the countryside is there to be enjoyed all of the year round.


Getting out and about on hills and dales, forests, riverbanks, lakesides and coastal paths is just the nutrition that converts to creative juice that is enriched with experiences, discovery that will fuel a burning motivation to write, paint, or even compose a symphony. For some the solitude of a remote hillside walk at the crack of dawn, alone with one’s thoughts (or alone with the dog as the case may be) can be liberating for the mind, with no human interference between the walker and what is natural around us. The walker/writer could be in the Lake District thinking and making notes about the next chapter of a novel set on the streets of Liverpool, it doesn’t matter, he will have been taken into the warm embrace of mother nature, for a few moments that is needed to clear the mind in order write. Elgar walking his dog over the top of the Malvern Hills composing the Enigma Variations or The Dream of Gerontius and Agatha Christie articulating her sentences out loud in the remoteness of Dartmoor come to mind.  Whilst I, during the act of writing this, have been interrupted by the phone twice, emails coming in, the washing machine needing attention, to name but a few domestic disturbances.


For others, the countryside is a more shared experience, with loved ones, friends or indeed as I did many years ago as a member of the Rambler’s Association, which I found to be educational in sharing knowledge and experience of the countryside, inspirational inasmuch as the diversity of human behaviour that one finds in any bunch of people put together who share a common interest. I suppose the rambling club could take on both definitions of the verb ramble as they do tend to ramble on as they ramble the countryside.


Which brings me on to the second definition. Isn’t talking at length in a confused and often inconsequential way what most of us do most of the time? It’s how we communication. Sequential interchange of information where an appropriate response is elicited every time only ever happened when a back story was required to be written in, as an afterthought to complement the more athletic goings-on of a 1980’s porn movie, (so I’m told). To ramble is to converse. What is a conversation but verbal and non-verbal ping pong between two or more individuals who each have their own unique voice. As a writer it is good to capture some of the ramblings of others to make convincing but engaging dialogue.


Anyway, that’s enough rambling from me for today. If you want to join in the ramble, please feel free to ramble away in the comments box below. I'm going out for a walk.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Weekend Has Been Murder

The Swan Hotel Harrogate
The Swan Hotel had been swarming with some of the most ghastly brutal sadistic minds in the world when it comes to thinking up new and interesting ideas to murder someone. But I am happy to report that these ideas remain on paper, and are (hopefully) quite separate to reality.

Denise Mina in conversation with Martyn Waites

The 10th Theakston's Old Peculier (in this case, peculiar is meant to be spelt peculier) Crimewriter's Festival, has been an incredible success. This year organised by Val McDermid, it kicked off for me Thursday evening with the awards ceremony. Denise Mina, was described as the Hilary Mantel of crime after winning the Crime Novel of the Year award for the second year running with her book Gods and Beasts.
Ruth Rendell won the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award or lifetime achievement award. She really shone the next day during her interview with Jeanette Winterson.

Val McDermid
Other highlights for me was Val McDermid's musical introduction to Peter James with her rendition of  Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For A Hero.
 Peter was well deserving of such an introduction, as he was a replacement for Susan Hill, who sadly had to cancel due to illness. When Peter heard about this, he flew straight over from New York, had a six hour drive to do the gig, then straight back to the airport as he had a charity event in New York to attend the very next day.

Brenda Blethyn, John R Cowton, Ann Cleeves
Saturday, for me was a real treat with William McIlvanney in conversation with Ian Rankin, discussing the origin of the 'tartan noire' genre.
 Ann Cleeves, the writer behind the Vera Stanhope series together with some of the ITV Vera team, Elaine Collins executive producer, Paul Rutman  screenwriter, and Vera herself, Brenda Blethyn.
Lee Child was a good match to Sarah Millican's sharp wit during the afternoon. The evening ended for me with Mark Lawson and Kate Atkinson.
The weekend ended on a high note on Sunday, with Charlaine Harris whose tales of Sookie Stackhouse was developed into the True Blood series.

Leigh Russell, John R Cowton
However, the weekend was not all about sitting in events in the ballroom. It was about the energy generated by a gathering of likeminded readers and writers that inspired, enthralled, motivated and captured the hearts of one and all. My own personal thanks go to the organisers, the festival staff and volunteers, the hotel staff, Theakstons for their lovely beer and of course the writers.
Special thanks to author Leigh Russell and her husband  for their companionship, and introducing me to some of her associates, author Ricki Thomas for her continued support and inspiration. There are many more, far too many to mention.
Back to reality, but at least I've returned home pumped with Harrogate energy and Theakston's beer, ready for 12 months of writing before the next festival.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Harrogate Crime Festival 2013

Less than a week to go, and I'm looking forward to spending a few days in a place where I know it will be okay to speak to anyone I meet about writing. It charges my batteries, and sends me home with just about the right level of inspiration and motivation. There are still a few tickets left, but unless you have a tent or a caravan,  you may be out of luck for a hotel room.
Having left the car at home and taken the train last year, I have made the train a part of the Festival experience, for comfort and a good opportunity to read.
I will post a full report on my return.
Finally, congratulations to my sister for her comedy debut on BBC Four's 'Some Vicars With Jokes' Part One, which went out last night. If you missed it, I'm sure it's repeated and you can get it on iPlayer. Amazing  performance Jean, and I would be more than happy to write for you, if you wish to develop a second career. I'm looking forward to part two next week.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Eye problems, Mosquitoes and Hives, but apart from that it was a good holiday.

My writing plans have taken a knock back with problems with both my eyes having ulcerated and got infected from day one of my holiday. Fortunately it only slowed me down and not completely stopped me, so I got my first draft of Lifted complete and Ephesus is almost complete. Thank you Kindle for your adjustable font.
 It was a bit like reading Janet and John with my thumb operating the page turner at such a speed, in a way that took me back to my pinball days on the flipper buttons. Thankfully my Kindle didn't 'tilt' and I got through quite a bit of reading. I would have gone out of my mind not being able to read on holiday. I have added my holiday reads on the right hand column. Just scroll down.
Sleep deprivation was also a problem, due to our nightly visits from the local mosquito population. I think they are an essential component of the tourist industry for most countries. The local economy was making an absolute killing on their vast range of mosquito repellent products, all of which I bought and none of which worked. I was kicking myself for not putting my own arsenal together in the UK and bringing it over, but call me paranoid, but I think these were genetically modified designer mozzies resistant to anything short of a nuclear holocaust.
Finally, the flight home. I don't mind long haul flights at all. I think to myself, ten hours of sitting doing nothing at all except sheer indulgence, being wined, dined and in flight entertainment. I had decided in advance that I would shun the in flight movies and make my own entertainment reading a David Baldacci novel. However, I had a sudden attack attack of hives as soon as I got on the plane. My head appeared to be mutating, with large bumps appearing alarmingly fast. Soon my whole body was covered and the cabin crew were concerned whether I would be fit enough to fly. I said I did not feel unwell, but I was very uncomfortable. So much so that I couldn't sit still long enough to read. I gave up on that and tried to watch a movie, gave up on that, and just did lots of getting up and walking. Thankfully I had an aisle seat. No idea what the cause was, but I have had some blood tests since I've returned, and have completely recovered.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Buenos Dias from Mexico

Despite a shaky start to this holiday, including eye problems which needed medical attention, I have got off to a good start with my writing and my short story 'Lifted' is now complete.
It's all systems go to complete 'Ephesus' once and for all, and I'm enjoying the portability of using pen and paper. I carry my notebooks everywhere with me now, and it has become my preferred method of writing, for at least the first draft anyway.
Thank goodness for Kindle, as my reading has not slowed down due to the extra large font I was able to use with my impaired vision.
Thankfully I am on the mend and am now down to normal size reading.
I have a waterproof cover for my Kindle, which is great for reading in the pool.
The locals don't seem too impressed  (see below).

Monday, 20 May 2013

Elementary my dear.... What's On?

 I love reading as much as I love writing. I read more than what I write, but then I think that's how it should be. I've not always read crime and I've not always wrote comedy. My literary tastes are and always will be very eclectic. I remember in my youth, my guilty secret was Thomas Hardy. I read everything he wrote. It was like time travel for me. I've spent my life flitting from one genre to another, Dickens, Neville Shute, Harold Robbins, Denis Wheatley, Agatha Christie, JB Priestley, Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Sharpe, Ben Elton. In recent years I'm fascinated with crime, yet all my life I have avoided Sherlock Holmes, both in print and on screen. I now have The Complete Sherlock Holmes downloaded on my eBook reader.
My What's On Guide embedded in the theatre part of my brain, is telling me that until further notice, my reading list will be a mixture of ancient and modern, i.e., Sherlock Holmes, contemporary fiction. Often I will review contemporary fiction, and often I have met the author whom I am reading.
I have to be honest, and state that I wasn't excited with the prospect of taking on such a huge chunk of life commitment to read Arthur Conan Doyle's most iconic detective in the world. The concept of Holmes and Watson sharing an apartment, in a very unequal partnership; Holmes ego against Dr Watson's subservient admiration for Holmes didn't sit well with me.
How wrong could I be? Switching from ancient to modern is not going to be easy, as I finish one adventure, it will be hard to wrench myself back into the 21st century.
A Study In Scarlet was Sherlock Holmes introduction into the world. The first couple of chapters set the scene how Dr Watson invalided from the Afghan Wars came to be introduced to Holmes who was looking for a room mate to share the cost of his Baker Street apartment.
The writing is timeless, and the incredible detail does not overburden my poor old brain one bit.
Conan Doyle's mastery of the written word and the intricacy of his crime writing based on logic rather than procedure is simply refreshing in this day and age.
Obviously I won't be reviewing someone who is up there with the gods of literature, but every now and again expect me to say WOW.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Diet of Words

Currently I've got the bug for writing short stories. I've taken a short break from Ephesus, to do this and will pick up where I left off when I fly out to warmer climes. Short stories for me is a bit like snacking between meals. What with that and my reading and my audiobooks, not to mention blogging, I'm shamelessly getting fat on words. I hope it doesn't give me a serious case of verbal diarrhoea or even worse IVS (irritable vowel syndrome).
I've got competition fever again. Nice to have a deadline that's reasonably manageable for someone with a full time job. For me it's an apprentice piece that is going to get judged. The prize may be small but the kudos that comes from winning the prize is invaluable for the CV and getting known by publishers and literary agents.
I've got a great premise, and am about half way through the first draft. So I had better get on with it and finish it or I'll have to eat my words, and that wouldn't be good for the colon.


Friday, 3 May 2013

Double Giveaway

This offer has now expired. However, Henley's Ricotta retails at only £0.79 and Ushabti is £0.77. To purchase, please use the links below.
Click here for Henley's Ricotta

From tomorrow, Saturday, both Henley's and Ushabti are both available for free download.

I think this will be a good promotion to raise interest before the launch of my third book Ephesus.

I'm going on holiday next month, usually for me, a productive time for writing.

Click here for Ushabti
This offer is open for 4 days for Ushabti and 5 days for Henley's Ricotta. (I have no idea why they couldn't be the same, ask Amazon.)

I hope you enjoy either or both books. If you enjoy what you read, please leave me a review. It costs only a minute or two of your time and a sentence or two will do.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Get Writing 2013

Back from Hatfield Uni for the Get Writing 2013 event, organised by Verulam Writer's Circle from St Albans. This year they even got the weather right with no rain or even snow. Smart move changing it from February to April.
After the opening address, Ayisha Malik, the managing editor of Cornerstones spoke about the merits of professional editing. It's something I will consider investing in very soon. Then it was time for the first workshop of the day, from journalist and self professed media whore Kelly Rose Bradford. Her workshop was called Being Your Own PR Machine. 
There is no room anymore for shrinking violets. Her message was to show off and promote the 'work me' than the 'normal me.' Adapt your profile to suit what you have to sell and promote yourself before you promote the product. I liked Kelly's confidence. She is a young woman who knows what she wants and knows how to go out there and get it.
Next was a seminar delivered by David Roden, writer, script editor, producer and director for the BBC. He brought along one of his proteges Frazer Flintham who had scaled the insurmountable slush pile of the BBC Writersroom and  has come through with several BBC radio and telly options taken up. David reads countless scripts and spoke about his frustrations about badly written or presented scripts and the joy of finding scripts with the required amount of dazzle. Lots of advice given which I eagerly copied down in my notebook, including don't blog... that's right he said DON'T BLOG. Why blog? he asked when you could be writing. Excuse me but I like my blog. It helps me flex my creative muscles, bounce ideas and network with some like-minded people.
Frazer Flintham held a workshop and got us writing about what we did yesterday. He succeed in drawing out of us reasonable accounts on what on the surface of things may have seemed fairly mundane and not worth writing about. All a bit soapish, but it works.
My last workshop was with crimewriter Lesley Horton who got us working when we had to plan a murder.
Great fun as you can imagine.
Two people who I was really happy to see was my companion for GW2012 and GW2013, Mike French, editor of a literary magazine and author of The Ascent of Isaac Steward and Blue Friday, recommended reading, and Ann Cleeves of Vera and Shetland fame, both of which have been televised. I cut short my lunch to buy books and sat down at an empty table to sit and read and who should come and join me but Ann. It was great to speak to her about her success, and then she delivered a talk in the main auditorium.

I didn't enter a short story this year, but I did manage to come third in the Twitter competition(no prize). The challenge was to write a story in no more than 140 characters and tweet it. I knew that VWC have a blog entitled  If Shakespeare... So my tweet went #GW13comp If Shakespeare... came back for one day, to attend a book signing at Get Writing: "Shall I compare me to Fifty Shades of Grey?"

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Work commitments have got in the way at the moment, hence Fairfax is on the back burner, and my Bloguctivity output has taken a battering. To safeguard against the last of my creative marrow being sucked out of my bones by too much work, I have been listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase, Special Edition, whilst in the bath or driving to and from work.
As a writer I know when something is inexorably good, when I find myself fighting the urge to recycle some of Douglas Adam's prose for myself. Sadly Douglas Adams died at the very young age of 49 twelve years ago. I was born the same year as Mr Adams, and know that no matter how hard I try I could never catch up with his level of comedy fiction greatness within this lifetime. But perhaps that is for the best. I need someone like him to inspire me to stretch beyond my comfortable limits.

And while I'm on the subject of inspiration, on April 20th I will be making the short trip to Hatfield to make my fourth visit to the Get Writing. This year Ann Cleeves, the writer of ITV's Vera BBC One's Shetland will be there.
I will post a full report of the event including the workshops I will be attending. If you are able to get down there, it's a great day out for around £50.00 with lunch included. There is also some 'Facetime' slots if you feel brave enough to pitch your work. Here's the link, Let me know if you're going and I'll have a coffee with you.

Any day now, I'm going to put both Henley's Ricotta and Ushabti out for free for a few days again. Watch this space and I'll let you know.


Friday, 15 March 2013

Ephesus Update

It has all been a bit quiet on my blog this month. My to-do app on my phone has had a positive effect on my output, although it has to be said mainly on my rest days from work. This particular project is perhaps turning out to be the most enjoyable for me. There are more elements to the plot than what there was in it's original script form. The characters are developing nicely, indeed my principle antagonist is much darker than he was in the original script. Today, I having completed my word target, so I have taken a break and designed my book cover. I took this photo whilst on a visit to Ephesus. See the photo and the original photo of the goddess Artemis below. In fact my main character Fairfax, meets his adversary Demetrius standing before this very statue. 
I have also entered a short story into a competition. It has been shortlisted before, but not published. This competition has a short list of 17, who all get published. If it does get shortlisted and published, then I will publish the story in full on this blog, just as soon as I am allowed.                                                 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

To Do Lists

I am writing a new post for my blog because it is on my 'To Do' list. My phone seems to affect most areas of my life these days, with emails, messages and the occasional Tweet or FB notification, I thought I could channel some of my phone's energy into getting me to sit down and write.
The app has actually emailed me today, to write my blogpost and write 500 words or more of my book.

This app which I downloaded free, will not lie down and sit in the background. It even asked me if I wanted to go 'Premium,' at a cost of £26 per year! What the hell will the paid up version that costs two quid a week do to me, in order to get me to write? Taser me?

Motivation is not the issue. I love writing, I want to write, I will write and I do write. A full time job is not an issue, I haven't done so bad over the past few years.

Writing at home is the real issue. Home is full of animal, vegetable and mineral distractions. I could do what Roald Dahl did and retreat to my garden shed, but even if I removed the lawnmower, two bicycles and a step ladder out in order to step into the shed, I run the risk of toppling a jar of paintbrush cleaner with brushes that were left to soak about two years ago.

However, I think the free To Do List will be sufficient to maintain a steady output of 500 words per day, for now.

Monday, 4 February 2013

I Don't Care, I Don't Care If He Comes Round Here

You have an idea that develops into a plot. The story may take many twists and turns with a big reveal at the end, but its not going to happen with characters who have no substance.

My central character in Ephesus, Fairfax Freeman, is on a zero to hero journey. The task I have is to make my readers want him to be a hero. He is a mother's boy, and a bit wet behind the ears, so he hasn't got a lot going for him.

He has spent most of his leisure time in the local library, which has put paid to him having any sort of social life. If he has an eye for the opposite sex, he hides it well. Women are like fast cars, he can admire them from a distance but he doesn't necessarily want to try one.

I have tried to imagine Fairfax coming round to my house. What would we talk about? Would we talk? Maybe he wouldn't speak at all, as I hand him a cup of tea with five sugars and two custard creams in the saucer, conveniently placed for ease of dunking. He might clear his throat sufficiently enough to murmur a thank you, but he wouldn't be uncomfortable, it would be me that would be uncomfortable. After all he's happy! I'm not. After coming round to my house once, I think I would be danger of getting into a lifetime friendship with this man. My act of generosity in giving him two custard creams would have been two custard creams too many. I would have bought his loyalty, and Fairfax is very loyal. I would have to move house to get away so that he could take his loyalty elsewhere. The public library, perhaps.

Fear not, dear reader, I am not going to subject you to such an inconsequential being such as Fairfax, without there being dramatic change, and believe me there will be plenty of drama. Fairfax will be challenged and he will pick up the gauntlet. I hope Fairfax will grow on you.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free

  The moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are free.

And for 3 days only, starting from 23/01/2013 Henley's Ricotta is free.
And for 5 days only, starting from 23/01/2013 Ushabti is free.

 The flowers in spring,
The robins that sing,
The sunbeams that shine:
They're yours, they're mine.

Please feel free to help yourself to both. If you feel you would like to give me something back that is also free, a few words is all it will take to write a review on Amazon.
Happy reading. 


Friday, 4 January 2013

Glory In My Story

My current project is Ephesus, which had a former working title of Fairfax Goes To Ephesus. As a comedy writer, Ephesus presents my biggest challenge, as the plot is set around one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The term 'Wonder' should imply that the mere sight of it should evoke feelings that shakes the very of core of our being, whether it be ancient or modern times. Ephesus is set in both. The Temple of Artemis was built during the 6th century BC in marble with 127 sixty foot columns and decorated with bronze statues. The Greek poet Antipater said in a poem in140 BC,  “I have gazed on the walls of impregnable Babylon along which chariots may race, and on the Zeus by the banks of the Alpheus, I have seen the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Helios, the great man made mountains of the lofty pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis, that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself, has never looked upon its equal, outside Olympus.” I don't think anyone could have described the Artemision's magnificence more eloquently than that. Nor could I think of any man made structure from the modern world that would merit such a description.
Today the remains of the Artemis's Temple are limited to one crudely reassembled column. Nevertheless having been there, that one column presents a sense of scale of what was once a monumental edifice. Forearmed with some rudimentary knowledge of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis, there is little doubt that this special place has a presence that will bring about feelings from within that today, it is no less a 'wonder' than it did when it was over two millenniums ago.
A few years ago when I visited Ephesus, I knew then that I had to write about it. I want to give my readers a sense of awe when they read my take on Ephesus. I write comedy, but I have no wish to trivialise or appear to be irreverent about the place or the ancient civilisations that Ephesus represents.
There lies my challenge. Mess it up and it will appear to be a Carry On story, that has no place into today's book market.