Man shovelling. Shhh!
Aah… the weekend. Time to relax. Recharge. Rejuvenate.
Re… reach for a shovel. (Wasn’t that an S Club 7 song?)
Lift the sewer access hatch.
And start digging.
Through packed “sludge”.
There’s nothing like blocked drains to remind you of one of the essentials of civilisation – good plumbing Continue reading
This is what a writer’s room looks like… Post-it notes papering the walls, a map, files, open reference books, photos…
I imagine there are teettering towering piles of books just out of the picture too.
This is the room in which Will Self wrestles with and writes his stories.
He says he tries to break free from traditional constraints.
The man himself – Will Self – wondering has he written enough to justify pausing for a cup of tea.
My ideal writer’s room is full of light, with lots of desk space and a view over fields.
The real one was cramped with books written by other people, shaded and prone to interruption.
These days the kitchen is the place. I perch Continue reading
I’ve written a thriller called Blackwatertown. Some pivotal action, romance and revelation takes place at the local Blackwater Lake. So I was very pleased to receive from my mate Kirsty, some poems her Dad had spotted.
They’re by Mary Oliver and talk about her own Blackwater Pond and the wonder and joy and challenge of living.
My Blackwater is both real and fictional and can be found inside my book and on the Irish border. I’m not sure where Mary Oliver’s Blackwater is. Can anyone enlighten me?
Mary herself is an acclaimed poet from Ohio. Here are two of her poems.
Mornings at Blackwater
For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.
And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.
What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
The third stanza, darling citizen, is wonderful, is it not? I have a quotation from Napoleon at the beginning of my story at the moment: “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” Maybe I should change it – or add to it Continue reading
This could be awkward. In the period between me deciding to publish The Obituarist online and actually giving it the final go-ahead, someone else published a book of exactly the same name. Aargh!
I don’t know which of us thought of the title first – mine’s been lurking around for ages – getting its first mention in 2009. (Oh yes, that’s how fast I work! Speed of light we’re talking here.)
But annoyingly, it is clear who actually published his first. Him.
So what to do about it?
Well, I had already altered my name so as not to – and not appear to – claim credit off the back of another writer‘s success. So I didn’t fancy changing the title too.
But then – the author of The (Other) Obituarist got in touch! Cue dramatic music.
According to German folklore we should both have immediately dropped dead – or at least have our stories disappear. Isn’t that what happens when you encounter your doppelganger?
According to American Western custom, one of us should be growling that “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us. The stage leaves first thing tomorrow. Be under it.”
What actually happened was that I read his email, titled The Other Obituarist. You can read it for yourself: Continue reading
Here’s the latest news for The Obituarist – that stupendously thrilling ebook written by me.
But first – if you’re wavering – how’s this for a review?
Really enjoyable ride! A page turner from the outset!
Beautifully insightful characterisation, delivered with a good helping of dry wit and with just the right amount of information for the book to play like a sumptuous film in your head!
Paul does justice to our wonderful World War II heroes, capturing perfectly the upstanding nature of their morals, together with their playful, youthful comradery. The Obituarist is a delicious juxtaposition of the pinnacle of our war heroes’ lives, perfectly ‘twisted’ with today’s unscrupulous media-crazed society.
There are some fabulous observations of human behaviour and thought processes, which are simply sublime and rather thought-provoking in their description.
This is not just a well written story which kicks along at a hell of a pace but also a clever multilayered observation of human behaviour, with a backdrop from two eras and what happens with the passing of time. The Obituarist certainly leaves you with something to think about.
Thank you to the most lovely and discerning Su Verhoeven who downloaded The Obituarist from Smashwords.
Thank you also to Speccy for her encouraging review at Me, Mine and other Bits.
And to Emma for “devouring” The Obituarist and writing a “small but perfectly formed” review on her Adventures of an Unfit Mother blog.
So this is what’s happening…
- The Obituarist is now available on various platforms, including here on Smashwords.
- And here at Amazon.co.uk
- And here at Amazon.com
- And for kobo devices here.
- So far only one typo – a very small one – seems to have sneaked through. Thank you to the spotter for letting me know.
- The Obituarist has been awarded “premium status” on the Smashwords site.
- People like the cover.
- Some people – who I love – have actually downloaded Continue reading
In a shock development, The Obituarist has now been published as an ebook.
You can download it from Smashwords here or from Amazon here and the cover looks like this…
I fiddled around with various design packages until the incomparable Clem said: “Here, wait a minute. What if I just do this, and then this and then… Ta Dah!” See him? See computers? And guitars. And keyboards. Smashing.
At the moment The Obituarist can be downloaded (from here) for various devices, including kindles, or just your normal computer.
But it’s not on Amazon yet, though I’m working on it. It’s on Amazon here.
What I really want to do is just frolic around smiling away to myself and getting the next one ready.
But your feedback would be welcome Continue reading
This is not the cover image for The Obituarist. It's a bit too fantasy.
Any day/week/soon now I will publish one of my stories for e-readers and to download.
It’s called The Obituarist. It has been described as mordant, funny, dark, teasing and ironic.*
It involves a newspaper obituary writer and the aging members of an elite military unit who became famous for a particular heroic wartime exploit.
Without giving too much away, you can expect to find occasional handlebar moustaches, hyphenated surnames, stiff drinks, greed, treachery and death. Well, the latter is hardly a surprise given the title. But I hope the twists will be.
Before I press publish I need some help Continue reading
Who has been the most influential person in your life outside your family? Probably a teacher. Whether you tend towards the Pink Floyd attitude or the opposite Abba extreme, teachers have been there opening doors, moulding, revealing and empowering – or in some cases, failing to do so and missing opportunities. Luckily for me, mine have mostly been in the first camp.
But I have encountered some dodgy ones. The problem with teachers is – it’s not always immediately clear who is a good ‘un and who who is a bad ‘un – because it’s not about niceness. I’ve been telling tales about what happened inside classroom over at the prestigious (how I love using that word), thought-provoking and entertaining Lessons from Teachers and Twits blog. Ahem, no prizes for guessing which category I belong in. The answer of course is – both, on occasion.
Teachers and Twits is run by RasJ in the picture. I can’t imagine anyone skipping her class. (Hope I don’t pull standards down too far.) Anyway – you’re welcome to have a look and issue me with suspension, expulsion or a gold star over at Teachers and Twits. And you’re also welcome to share your own teaching or being taught stories back here.
Oi! Pay attention at the back there! It’s your own Continue reading