Tag Archives: review

The Devil made me do it

How often do you encounter – or read – something completely fresh?

Rarely, I’d say.

This is fresh. Or to be more accurate – it’s sulphurously original. Continue reading

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We have lift off…

Watch out for flying motorbikes, Bermondsey Street, London.

I’m taking off – not actually on a flying motorbike Evil Knievel style – but on a plane to Scotland.

(Yes, yes, I know, I’m personally responsible for killing the planet. At least I’m getting the train back.)

So I’ll be even less responsive than the poor performance lately.

But it’ll give me the opportunity to – read my kindle. Assuming it works. The first one didn’t. I’ll be taking the replacement.

It’s about time I had one, given that I’ve been urging you to download the ebook I’ve written – but could only read myself on my computer. Cheeky, huh? But I’ve now rectified the situation.

The “gripping” ebook is called The Obituarist by the way. You can download it for pc, mac. kobo, nook, device, tablet, etc here from Smashwords, or for kindle here from Amazon.co.uk or here from Amazon.com.

As for me, having read The Point in print, I’ll be catching up with Wee Rockets and other work by Gerard Brennan and Dickens.

The trip will also give me the opportunity to distribute some of the NEW and exciting business cards for The Obituarist that arrived today. I also ordered a few postcards too. So if you know anyone who might be swayed by a postcard entreating them to download an ebook, let me know. You can email me their address if you don’t want to put it in a comment – paulwaters99 AT hotmail.com

Just think of their delighted surprise and happy faces when Continue reading

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The Obituarist goes international

Since that bust up in Australia, The Obituarist has now been reviewed in the USA by the writer Maxi Malone. Woohoo – it’s going international!

I can’t link directly to the review page, but here’s what she said:

When First We Deceive – The Obituarist by Paul A. Waters

Writing obituaries does not weave a trail to fame and fortune. Only this obit writer has found someone who will pave the road to front-page success.

His name is Bunty and he knows all the members of the TripleX mission; a small group noted for the infamous raid on occupied France. The brazen men trampled the Nazi long-range rocket schedule right in the face of Hitler.

Bunty knows all the back-stories—the secrets of Joker, Ginger, Radish and the others. And the obit writer knows how to get him to open up.

When Bunty and the writer decide to join forces, they head down the path to the pot at the end of the rainbow. Only which one will get the gold?

The Obituarist is a sizzling tale filled with humor, mystery and suspense. Bunty and the obit writer connect on every level until … human nature steps in and crashes the party.

The men become friendly enemies, intent to serve their own best interest. In the end “turn-about is fair play” wins the day.

Find out for yourself:https://blackwatertown.wordpress.com/the-obituarist/

“Sizzling” – thanks Maxi.

A childhood memory comes to mind. Anybody else remember the scent of the Cookstown sizzle?

So, there you have it from Maxi. The Obituarist is officially worth downloading. Or even reviewing yourself perhaps? Huh?

You can find The Obituarist on Smashwords at http://tinyurl.com/bud4ffu or Amazon.co.uk at http://tinyurl.com/8xwrfpb  or even Amazon.com at  http://tinyurl.com/87g2nzc

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The Obituarist: Early days for the ebook

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…

  1. The Obituarist is now available on various platforms, including here on Smashwords.
  2. And here at Amazon.co.uk
  3. And here at Amazon.com
  4. And for kobo devices here.
  5. So far only one typo – a very small one – seems to have sneaked through. Thank you to the spotter for letting me know.
  6. The Obituarist has been awarded “premium status” on the Smashwords site.
  7. People like the cover.
  8. Some people – who I love – have actually downloaded Continue reading

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Three crime writers spill the beans

Deep inside the perfect secondhand bookshop, the sign above an enticing locked door says Mysteries. Above that again are crime novels and a Thompson sub machine gun. You cant beat Westsider Books on Manhattans Upper West Side for atmosphere.

I shouldn’t really be telling you this, because I’m about to flit the country again and I’m unprepared. But SamHenry from On My Watch insisted. So here goes.

The other night I sat down with three award-winning or nominated crime writers who opened up (in a non-machine gun way) about their trade. Among the secrets they laid bare were:

1. What’s the point of crime writing?
2. The difference between crime writing and literary fiction?
3. Crime writing v. noir?
4. Does crime writing change anything?
5. Does it work in colonial or post-colonial societies?
6. Can you have a whodunnit in a developing economy?
7. Should put your friends and neighbours into the story?
8. Is there too much graphic violence against women?
9. Is Nordic Noir for wimps?
10. And – What they think you should read next (apart from themselves)?

The three writers were Continue reading

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Blood and Gifts or Why America is in Afghanistan

“Great men are almost always bad men.” That’s the tagline to the wonderful play, Blood and Gifts, about US involvement in Afghanistan from 1981-1991. I’ve just seen it.

That depressing opening sentence is also the missing third line from the famous and much cited quotation from Lord Acton (aka John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton):

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Continue reading

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I had no dreams before I went to prison

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu

This week the Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu spoke out on prison conditions in the UK. The part that made headlines was when he criticised how some offenders are rewarded in jail by being provided with computer games or cable TV. Continue reading

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Is God still an Englishman?

Chris Bryen & Phil Kane of Wolf's Head

Ye Gods! Who or what are they? They dress only in black. (Johnny Cash afficionados?) They have black faces. (But they’re nothing like the Black & White Minstrels.) They scurry around whacking people with clubs… I’ve given it away now, haven’t I?

You’re still wondering what these gothic and possibly pagan performers have to do with God being an Englishman. Fair enough. Let’s get the Men (and Women) In Black out of the way first.

Danny Graham & Emilia Graham - Wolf's Head & Vixen

Continue reading

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If you must wear a uniform, make it a nurse’s outfit

Not all uniforms are bad news. (Naturally I could have chosen a different sort of nurse outfit picture for here. But as a sign of how mature/boring I've become, I didn't.)

The advance of civilisation and the cultivation of the collective mind would be improved if it were this book rather than the Bible that were placed in the bedside cabinets of hotels throughout the world… Continue reading

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It’s hard to know when to stop

An EducationIt’s hard to know when to stop. Take the film An Education. I loved it till the final 90 seconds. I watched it this week at the National Film and Television School with the writer Nick Hornby, who wrote the screenplay,  and producers Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey. And they admit that the ending was a problem for them.

But first things first. The film is excellent. I recommend you go see it – preferably with your godmother, if you have one, or your exciting aunt.

That’s because it’s set in the swinging London of 1961. Think Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners. The hero is Jenny, convincingly played by Carey Mulligan. She’s a bright attractive 16-year-old, who’s bored with the dull routine of cello lessons, school, Latin homework and the prospect of a boring proper life to follow. The single possible glimmer of light is the possibility of getting in to Oxford to read English. But, as she puts it, this translates into, at best, working hard and being bored at school, then working hard at Oxford, then working hard and being bored as a teacher or civil servant.

Juliette Greco, pic from IonArts.blogspot.com

Juliette Greco, whom Jenny in An Education looks quite like, and wants to be.

Tucked away in her bedroom she reads Camus, listens to Juliette Greco and imagines running away to Paris to wear black, smoke, dance and never return.

Then one rainy day, Jenny and her cello are offered a lift at the bus stop by the attractive and sympathetic older man, David ( Peter Sarsgaard). He charms and amuses schoolgirl Jenny into his car and drives her home to her parents – the protective yet calculating and easily hoodwinked Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour.

From here on, Jenny is introduced to a glittering exciting world of art, sophistication and sharp practice. She sparkles at first, but then…

Well, that’s enough plot. The story is both moving and funny. Very funny.

As an aspiring writer, my favourite line is spoken by Jenny’s father. I can’t recall it verbatim, but it’s something along the lines of: “Knowing a famous writer is far better than being one. Knowing one shows that you’re connected.”

But there are so many good ones, especially from the lips of the glamorous but thick Helen, played by Rosamund Pike. (Ironically she really is an accomplished cellist and French speaker.)

Two main themes run through the film. Whether a traditional education (school, university) trumps the university of life. Or if either are appropriate. And whether or when you should tell the truth to friends, family or yourself – before someone gets hurt, or afterwards.

The real Jenny. Lynn Barber, author of An Education, at the time the film is set.

The film is based on an essay in Granta magazine written by the journalist Lynn Barber about her teenage years. If you’ve read the original piece, or the book, you’ll already know it’s a great story. But don’t presume you know how the film story goes – Jenny’s life does not exactly mirror Lynn’s.

According to the trio answering questions after the film showing – Nick Hornby, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey – Lynn Barber was the ideal inspiration. Which means: She didn’t interfere. She read script drafts and only intervened to ensure the period details were accurate.

Lynn, having finally found a cigarette.

However, what I didn’t realise at the time, is that apparently there is something to which she objected. In her original essay, she called the older man who sweeps her up, Simon. In the film he’s called David. That’s the niggle. Her late husband was also called David. He was seriously ill and then died during the making of the film.  Lynn was not a 16-year-old schoolgirl at a bus stop when she first encountered the real David. They met later in her life. It’s understandable she’d prefer the rogue in the film to have some other name. I wonder why the film makers stuck with the name David.

But, getting back to my own quibble. In the final minute or so, the film switches to a voice over from Jenny to tie up the loose ends. What loose ends? I don’t like it. It falls flat. I found it neither uplifting nor thought-provoking nor even necessary.

It’s still an excellent film, but I was puzzled by the ending. (I’m being a little coy about the details because I don’t want to spoil things before you watch it yourself.) It turns out the film makers also wrestled with how to bring the tory to an end.

Nick Hornby

One alternative which was shown to a test audience, included a reunion/confrontation between Jenny and David. But the audience were not keen.  (Again, I don’t want to reveal why, exactly.) And the screenplay writer Nick Hornby feels that he never quite managed to nail that particular alternative ending to his own satisfaction either. He’s much happier with the voice over option.

He’s probably right. Having heard him describe the alternative, they’ve chosen the better option. The best option however would have been to cut the voice over completely. A shot of Jenny in her new environment, leading into the credits, would have been enough. We don’t need to be spoon fed.

You can see and judge for yourself. I love the film. Even the opening title sequence is clever. It’s just that, like many of us, the film makers found it hard to know when to stop.

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