Monday, 17 November 2014

100th Post

It's great to be back into my blogging again after a couple of months or more of absence without leave. For my 100th post I thought it was time for a makeover, so I've trimmed off a lot of the the side column, and got rid of the pages, to simplify everything and hopefully make the Screenscribbler blog quicker to load. I haven't got it just how I want it right now, and it may look more like a building site with all the holes left from the stuff I have removed. The background picture, I took in Ephesus on my camera and Photoshopped it to get the desired effect to promote my book of the same name. That will remain in place until I have a picture that will promote my current work in progress entitled Midnight At The Alhambra. 
It is my current work in progress that has kept me from blogging, because I really have the bit between my teeth on that one at the minute. It is set in Texas, and involves ranches, rodeo, a small town movie theater and murder!
I am well into my fourth chapter, of around 3000 words a chapter, and it is coming along nicely. 
I am going for a darker plot this time and it is my debut into crimewriting.
However, I have not abandoned comedy, which to quote the late great Irish comedian Frank Carson, "it's the way I tell 'em." In other words my comedy is in the narrative and the larger than life characters I tend to go for. I'm hoping this project won't take longer than a year, but it's not easy with a demanding full time job. 
I will continue to add my current reads, and review on Amazon and Goodreads, I just won't keep them on so long and clutter up the blog any longer. 
By the way, my five day promotion when I offered all three books for free resulted in 555 downloads from which I had four lovely reviews in Britain and two in the US. So if you would like to add to that total, I will be eternally grateful.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Free Comedy Adventure Bonanza (for 5 days only)

From today for five days only I am giving away all three of my comedy adventures. I want to get my work out to a bigger audience. This is more important to me than any financial return. All I ask is if you have enjoyed any of them, please jot down a couple of sentences in the form of a review, either on Amazon or or both. Enjoy.

Please click on the widgets on the right column to take advantage of this offer.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Humbled By A Tree

Monumental Olive Tree Of Palea Rumata
I've had a wonderful break in Crete, having spent time exploring the island, enjoying the beach, meeting new people and in between all of that, lots of lovely reading and lots of lovely writing.
Midnight At The Alhambra is well underway and I'm writing around 3000 words a chapter. I needed the holiday to kick-start the novel. My plan is in place and I am motoring along quite nicely, now that I am back home. 
Crete has motivated me, there is no doubt about that. Visiting towns and villages that were occupied during WW2 and suffered atrocities affected me deeply. Also the olive tree (pictured above) which is 3000 years old and still producing olives. 
I wanted to spend some time alone with this tree, I mean a lot of time. Time enough to get to know one another. I wanted the tree to whisper it's secrets, all what it has seen over the centuries from Minoan times. I felt something with this tree, I felt that wherever I am, whatever I see, there is always a story to be told. Am I being odd, or is this normal behaviour for a writer?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

At Last: Ephesus

Inspired by my visit to Ephesus, the project started as a screenplay with a working title of "Fairfax Goes To Ephesus." It ended, after a second visit to Ephesus, as the third of my series of comedy novellas.

Like many men, Fairfax Freeman has endeavored to please the woman in his life. Only in Fairfax's case the 'woman' is his vitriolic mother, Myrtle, for whom there is no pleasing.
Redundancy from his long term job has put him even lower in his mother's esteem, so in a bid to restore some faith in him, he has sacrificed some of his redundancy money on an all-inclusive package. Sipping cocktails by the pool all day was having the desired effect. But there was one thing Fairfax wanted to do for himself. After spending many hours reading books on the ancient region of Anatonia, he wanted to see Ephesus. His mother was determined to ruin his trip to the ruins. One old man, Demetrius, was resolved to ensure Fairfax saw the old Byzantium trading port in all its glory.

Please support me as a writer by clicking this link Ephesus  to download from Amazon.

Thank you.

My next project is underway entitled "Midnight At The Alhambra," a full length novel in the crime thriller genre.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Back from Harrogate

'The Festival has now been running for twelve years, my third visit and there certainly appears to be no letup in its popularity evidenced by full houses at every event.I arrived on Thursday in plenty of time before the award ceremony and opening party. The Crime Novel Of the Year went to Belinda Bauer for 'Rubbernecker,'   which I bought but haven't read yet, but the story sounds interesting with a young lad with Asperger's who sets out to solve a murder.

The Outstanding Contribution Award went to a very special lady, Lynda La Plante.
For the following two and a half days I had a hectic schedule of one gig after another with a celebrated list of authors in conversation or being interviewed including the BBC's Mark Lawson who estimated he has interviewed some 3000 authors in his time, was now being interviewed as a crime novellist himself with his book 'The Deaths.' 
On Friday evening, I was lucky enough to have a complimentary ticket to the sellout session of 'Robert Gailbraith in Conversation with Val McDermid' at the Royal Hall Harrogate. I was in the second row. 
Denise Mina as ever was sheer joy to listen to and very inspirational. John Harvey announced he had just written his last crime novel and we were given insights into the world of publishing, screenwriting and film and TV production. The 'Special TV Panel: Broadchurch,' consisted of the creator, writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall, actors Olivia Colman and Jodie Whittaker, and the writer who turned the screenplay into the official novel, Erin Kelly.
my personal favourite just had to be Lynda La Plante. On a wet Sunday morning she brought the sunshine to Harrogate. She was inspiring, hugely entertaining and loved by all. A most worthy winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award to Crimewriting.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Return to Ephesus

My return to Ephesus paid off. I am happy to say the story I started in Turkey, after a trip to Ephesus around 5 years ago was finally completed after a return to Ephesus. So watch this space, available to an e-reader near you anytime now. Writing the book then revisiting was strange to me because I remembered details of the place in the same way I would have, if I had actually lived there. The statue of Artemis is not easy to find, unless you are told. I found her without any difficulty. Her temple one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is not on the main Ephesus site, and I had to request my guide to take me there, which she gladly obliged. Only two people got off the coach to photograph it, and I have to say the single reassembled column does appear to be fairly uninspiring. But if you know the history, it is very meaningful to be there. The Greek poet Antipater who is accredited with compiling the list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World said 'I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, 'Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.' Antipater, Greek Anthology IX.58.
Here is what I photographed. I think the eagle flying overhead as I took my photograph was significant and symbolic of the Greco-Roman era that I was trying to imagine at the time.
Here is an artists impression of what Antipater must have seen.

Watch this space and I will be announcing the release day of 'Ephesus' soon x

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Thank goodness for small mercies. I'm jetting off to warmer climes tomorrow. I've always said travelling is my best motivator and I'm hoping this holiday will be a productive and I come back with a bag full of words embedded on my hard drive.
I have been really busy this past month, and when I've not been busy I've been asleep, so all writing including my blog has been on the back burner,
Today I got another 5* review! this time on Goodreads: thanks Stuart 👍
My other reviews are on Amazon: and
When I have genuinely enjoyed a book I like to write a review. I know the impact a review can have on a writer. 
Tomorrow I'm going off on my holiday pumped and I can't wait to get writing. I will be revisiting the real Ephesus, so perhaps that will give me the inspiration I need to finish that project and get it out there.
Until then, if you want some light entertaining reading for the summer, try Henley's Ricotta and Ushabti. Links are on the right hand column of this blog.

I'm So Pumped.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

April In Paris

April In Paris was released the year I was born. Sixty years on I have made my first visit to Paris, in April :-) I don't think a lot will have changed over the last six decades, for that matter maybe not in the last couple of centuries. Fashion, technology and demographics, may have caused some superficial alterations, but the heart of the city lives and breathes history as if it happened yesterday, whether it be the Hundred Years War, The French Revolution, The First French Empire under the rule of Napoléon Bonaparte, or the Liberation of Paris in 1944.
History evokes emotions which evokes culture, where there is evidence of on what seems to be on every street corner, in their architecture, paintings, sculpture, the opera, fashion, cuisine, philosophy and literature, to name but a few of the many facets of this amazing city.
What I was totally unprepared for, was the Parisians who were warm, friendly, welcoming and helpful, not what you would expect from a capital city. I can't wait to return. Here are some of my photos I'll share. There is no need for further comment from me, the pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Back from Get Writing 2014

My day at VWC's, (Verulam Writer's Circle), Get Writing did not disappoint me at all. 

This year there seemed to be a very noticeable drop in attendance. I don’t understand why this should be, because the panels, workshops, pitching sessions were up to the usual high standard, and well worth every penny. All I can say is I hope writers will continue to support this 5* event and the organisers should feel very proud. 
Publisher Ian Skillicorn gave a heartening talk to writers of short stories stating there is a demand for short stories in magazines, ebooks and audio format.
My first workshop was  called "Men Do It Too," meaning they submit short stories to women's magazines. We got plenty of inside information from long established magazine writer Lesley Eames.  
Lesley packed a lot into that workshop and kept us busy, feverishly writing, developing characters, setting and plot being as economical as we could with our words. 
Next was back into the main auditorium for a panel discussion, "Writing For Screen, Radio and TV," with David Roden, script editor for 'Coronation Street,' Peter Wild, freelance producer for Radio 4 and Max Kinnings, screenwriter.
It was established that currently the best British writing is for the cinema and radio. 'Philomena' being a prime example, (I'm so pleased I saw it at the cinema, I don't go very often.'
It's interesting to note that British TV drama comes from a history of stage and radio productions, whilst US TV comes from a history of filmmaking. When you look at the end result I think it becomes fairly obvious.
Our last workshop before lunch was "How Studying Screenwriting Can Make You A Better Novellist," with Max Kinnings. We studied the various stages of the process, 
Pitch/logline/tagline (sell line)
Statement of Intent
Character biographies
Scene by scene outline
First draft script.
I could relate to so much of this from having read Blake Snyder's "Save The Cat," (
It was at lunch that I enjoyed the company of two writers, Keith Large, award winning playwright and radio dramatist, and Maria Smith
We've been in touch and I hope our paths will cross again in the not too distant future.
Back in the main auditorium and this time it was 'The Crime Panel,' Max Kinnings, MR Hall a barrister who wrote "Kavanagh QC," William Ryan who wrote detective novels from the 1930's era and Emlyn Rees who writes both crime fiction and in partnership with his wife writes comedy fiction.
My final workshop was "Writing On Air," with Peter Wild. We learned that audio drama is the newest form of drama. Just go to and see how high the standard of production is. I've subscribed to them already, and hope to send some submissions when they start accepting them again in September.
The day ended on a high for me. I delivered my pitch for "Henley's Ricotta" to Emlyn Rees. He reassured me that there is a demand for comedy fiction, and he has my details. Who knows, the pitch was fun and he restored my confidence. By the way, he's a very good writer, he had me laughing embarrassingly loud when I read "Seven Year Itch" which he wrote with his wife Josie Lloyd.
That's my report for this year's Get Writing event. God bless VWC, (Verulam Writer's Circle), and all who sail in her and let's hope that more people will turn up for Get Writing 2015 to make it bigger and better than ever.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Get Writing 2014

It's time to take my annual trip down to Hatfield for Get Writing 2014 on Saturday 29th March.
It's just great to meet up with writers again, and for that reason, I just love a conference. It's not as writers all go to work in a writing factory everyday and go down to the canteen exchanging amusing anecdotes over their alphabet soup.
Besides a long list of speakers at various times during the day, there will be four workshops to attend. My choice for this year is:Studying Screenwriting/ Men do it too/ So you think you're funny eh?/ Starting out.
So you think you are funny, may come in useful for the vision of a comedy renaissance that myself (Previous blogpost  Nowhere To Go For New Comedy Writers ) and my good blogfriend Deborah Barker (What’s so funny?)
'Men do it too' will be a good follow up to the workshop I attended in January when I was encouraged to try submitting stories to women's magazines.
I am going to try a five minute pitch again. Wish me luck with that. I made a complete mess of it last time. This time I will be prepared, and I have researched the agent I am pitching to.
I'll let you know how I get on, and if you would like to come along, at the time of writing there are just a few bronze tickets left. Get Writing 2014

Monday, 10 March 2014

Nowhere To Go For New Comedy Writers

New writers of comedy have received another blow with the news that the BBC are about to announce they are taking BBC Three off air and making it available an internet only channel. It has been acknowledged that some of our most recent successful shows were given their break on this platform such as Gavin and Stacey and Little Britain.
Perhaps there is still some money  in the pot from Channel 4's axing of Big Brother, which released around £50,000,000 a year,  some of which has been committed to drama. Then there is Sky TV, who are spreading their wings and producing some wonderful comedy and drama.
Or maybe we just have too much choice. When people speak of the Golden Age Of Television, they look back to the days when there were just two channels, with limited viewing time. It was a remote controless world where people had to get up from the sofa (or settee as it was known in those days) to turn on the television and wait for it to warm up. If the plug was pulled on more channels that would go to more difficult to access and find internet channels, perhaps we could return to that Golden Age of entertainment, variety that could take up a smaller amount of our time. This would leave more time for home entertainment, family life and the great outdoors. No, who am I kidding, internet, mobile phones and Playstations are already filling the gap.
Going back to my point, where are all the new comedy writers going to go. Well maybe publishers should look at a renaissance in regenerating the humour genre back where it belongs in the book market. I'm sure people are looking for it when they browse through the bestsellers shelves at the supermarket, but it's just not there. Generally, comedy is lighter, easier to read and has a feel-good factor because it makes people laugh and cheers them up. There must be a better market for short stories, particularly humorous stories on eBooks.
Does anyone out there still like to read comedy? If so please let me know.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Romance, Sentiment and Magazines

If I was asked to describe my writing style I would say it is light-hearted, somewhat farcical, with an element of sentimentality thrown in for good measure.
I was given feedback from a short story competition last year and was advised that what I thought was a humorous look at the folly of youth turned had been judged as a love story and I was advised to consider submitting it to a woman's magazine. My work often finds itself involving a 'love interest' by natural occurrence as in Henley's Ricotta, Midnight At The Alhambra and Ushabti, but I'm writing about life and isn't that just the way of mankind?
Recently I attended a short story workshop, and whilst women's magazines are not exclusively set in the romance genre, I was again advised to submit to women's magazines as these magazines represent the majority of the short story market.
I argued that I whilst I would be very happy to send my work to women's magazines I would prefer to submit to magazines that I would purchase myself, but there aren't any are there? Perhaps online. In my youth I remember I progressed from comics like Boy's Own to American imports such as True Detective Stories and Amazing Stories.
I'm not entirely sure about the magazine market at all. I would like to self-publish an anthology of short stories or sell them singly for eBooks, but breaking into the magazine market, albeit gender specific to female market is not to be sneezed at.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Olfactory Memories

I have just had to complete a writing exercise for my creative writing course focussing on smells that evoked certain memories from the past. I thought I would like to share it with you and you are welcome to add any of your own.

 Old coats - When I was little, on cold winter nights, my mother used to iron my bed sheets with a flat iron that she had made hot on the gas ring.
This was to warm the bed up before I got in

     There was no central heating in those days, not in normal everyday houses. I think people were acclimatised to lower temperatures. My father would come in to check on me and cover me with old coats. His coats. There was one in particular that I remember. It was very heavy and was made from old worn rough tweed. There was a mustiness about it, a unique smell that I will always remember and one that most people would find rather unpleasant. But not to me. It was my comfort blanket, and the smell combined with the weight and the warmth would ensure I drifted off into a safe and secure slumber. Sometimes as I fidgeted, the coat would slip down off my shoulder and I would have to reach out with my hand to restore it back into position. The roughness of the fabric on my fingertips would play tricks on my mind and set my teeth on edge. I can still feel it now over fifty years late     

Coal – the smell of coal reminds me of my coal cellar during my childhood in Birmingham, a scary place to be. It was the only room in the house that still had a gas lamp. We had another cellar which was for storing wood. My sister and I would scramble over the ‘bomb sites’ left over from WW2, on our way home from school. It was a different age in those days when the nation wasn’t so health and safety conscious as we are now.
We could have been the inspiration for the film Eric Sykes and Tommy Cooper film The Plank, as we walked home with a length of wood that was twice as long as the two of us put together, which we would despatch through the grill opening to the wood cellar.
Our arms would tremble for ages afterwards having been relieved of such a heavy burden.
Coal also reminds me of the golden age of railways with the steam engine. However my pre-Dr. Beeching memories were not so golden. I was fearful of these monsters that seemed to me to have appeared from the gates of hell. 

     It was the sheer size and noise of these beasts that I truly believed sucked up any children who stood too close to the platform into the belly of their ginormous boilers.

       The smell of steam ironing sometimes makes me think about the steam I used to see rising from the wooden clothes horse that stood in front of the fire on most days during my childhood winters, in the days when we didn’t have fabric conditioner full of the smells of ocean breeze or fresh cut fields. Quite the opposite. I’m not so old that my mother had a mangle to deal with the wet washing before she hung it out on the line or in front of the fire.

What she did have was a state of the art Wringer in a ‘modern cabinet.’ You lifted the worktop lid and raised the mangle which hinged from a horizontal storage position to an upright position. Opening the cabinet door where the handle was clipped on there was a slatted shelf where you placed a large bucket to catch all the water. They thought of everything. If you were rich your mother would have a fitted wringer on top of a washing machine. Too state of the art for our family.


Whitworths Rice Creamola – mmm yummy. Sadly you can’t get it anymore but I will never forget the smell of it baking in the oven or the taste.

Old engine oil takes me back to freezing cold days standing watch over my father carrying out his regular maintenance on his BSA 650cc Super Rocket and Busmar sidecar in his garage which he rented about 15 minutes’ walk away from where we lived.  My father used to put a paraffin heater on in this very small confined space but I still could not feel my fingertips because they were so cold.
We used to travel the length and breadth of England in that side car, my mother two sister and I although when my legs reached the footrests I was promoted to riding pillion behind my father.

I have enjoyed this exercise, it made me remember.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

More on the New Year

I have not consciously sat down and wrote myself a bunch of new years resolutions, or even one resolution. I'm too old to change and too old to be influenced by that old chestnut.
However, two weeks into 2014 and I haven't done badly at all.
Ephesus  is underway again. There was one transitionary point in the story that seemed to work okay in script form but I have been stuck on how to make it happen in novel/novella format. I have commenced a Creative Writing correspondence course which has increased my motivation tenfold. As part of this course it wants me to work on a current project so I picked up where I left off on Ephesus and it was as if the problem hadn't been there in the first place. Ephesus is back underway, and watch this space, it should be out soon.
My quest to have a short story winner continues, and I am attending a workshop in Cambridge on 25th of January.
Finally I have got my place at my 5th Get Writing Conference in Hatfield in March, where I will be attending four workshops, seminars and have a 5 minute pitch to a publisher/agent booked. More of that later.
If all of this had have been part of a plan stemming from New Years Resolutions, then how lucky we writers are. Most people resolve to do less of what they enjoy, like smokers giving up, foodies going on a diet etc., whilst writers resolve to do more.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year

Start the year with a blog post, that's what I say. Well my blogs were a bit thin on the ground during December.
Happy New Year to one and all. I looked for a suitable literary quote relating to the new year, and this was my favourite: "The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears."
- W.H. Auden

My favourite resolution was from comedian Sean Lock who said on the 8 out of 10 Cats Christmas Special "My new year's resolution is to be more chivalrous to feminists."
On the subject of resolutions I'm with Brigdet Jones who said "I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second."
However, after saying all of that on the resolution front mine is the same as last year, I'm going to write more and when I'm not writing I'm going to read more.
I'll just add a few hundred words to my current project then that's day one under my belt.
Enjoy the holiday :-)