Saturday, 23 September 2017

JK 'Strikes' gold again

I have to admit that I am loving 'Strike' currently showing on the BBC and I have read both The Cuckoo's Calling and Silkworm and enjoyed them for what they were; reasonably well written private detective novels.

I didn't question Rowling's motive for writing under a pseudonym or the convenient leaking of the authors real name when the book had only sold a few thousand copies (granted still more sales that a lot of us will ever manage). There have been many articles about reading between the lines and hearing what she has to say about the world of celebrity and the publishing industry but would those questions even have been asked if Robert Galbraith really had written these novels?

However do we really think that had Robert Galbraith been real that he would have got a TV deal after just three 'not bad' books? I doubt it, but change the name of the author to JK Rowling and suddenly a TV deal is a forgone conclusion assuming Hollywood doesn't get there first.
How many novels did Ian Ranking write before Rebus hit the small screen? or Val McDermid, Colin Dexter and the thousands of great authors whose written words never gets anywhere near a TV deal.

The thing I liked about Strike was that it was relatively close to the book with the obvious need for abbreviation to get everything to fit into three episodes. Again I think this is the power of Rowling. If you are a fan of Hamish Macbeth on the TV don't read the books by M.C.Beaton as the only thing that remained the same was the name.

I enjoy Rowling and I believe she is a great writer with a gift to write the best children's books of our generation but I am sure that Strike would not have been made into a TV series with the DVD box set that will obviously follow if the author really had been a debutant by the name of Robert Galbraith.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The difficult second

How often do we hear 'oh well that was the difficult second album?' It seems if you have the talent and the perseverance to make an album or write a book the second one is never quite as easy.

It seems that the first time we do something that is good enough to be shown to the public at large we have been working on it for the whole of our lives up until that point.
Then either through personal or peer pressure the second album or book is required before the furore of the first has died down. So often the second is a disappointment and the star wains until five years later they reappear with a third that is reminiscent of the first.

I looked today and I published my first novel a little over three years ago. I had written it as part of the 2012 NANOWRIMO and had then taken two years to tidy it up and eventually get it to a state that I was happy with and able to publish it.
As part of NANO 2013 I wrote my second novel. Then I got ill. Once I was better and ready to write again I turned my pen to writing about my illness and produced what I consider to be a passable non fiction book about my health struggles and the British NHS.
Then I started to go back to my second novel. It lacked something but it was okay I had an idea. I have sat down twice in the last six months to write that idea and started with all good intentions to  find the following day that I need to go to work and I am too busy to carry on.

Yesterday I saw an article about a fellow writer who has just won an award with Amazon. In it he talks about how he would write at night after the kids had gone to bed and how he discovered self publishing through KDP. Eventually he 'discovers' he has earned enough money to give up his job and write full time.
I read that article and was immediately overcome with jealousy. Wouldn't it be amazing to just discover that the account where your royalties are paid into suddenly has enough money for you to give up work. Why does that never happen to me? Why do I not have an army of fans buying my books? Why can't I write full time?

The reason I can't is because I have published one novel in the last five years. How are people supposed to become fans if I can't give them more things to read? I'm not Harper Lee.

So now is the time to start writing. Time to put aside that 30 minutes each day and get out that old manuscript and turn it into something that will generate fans.
James Patterson has millions of fans but then he has written and co-written hundreds of books.

Time to stop waiting to be discovered.

And so to my difficult second book. Is it worth finishing? Of course it is. Will it take hard work and perseverance? Of course it will. But I've done it once and I sure as hell can do it again.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Teenage Dream

Twitter challenge

This story was written based upon a prompt I was given by Twitter which was:

'It wasn't that he didn't want to be with her, but rather he didn't want her to be with him'.


Teenage Dream

Chantel was the prom queen, the one they all wanted and for the last two years she had been on the arm of the star quarterback.

That was until she had caught him making out with her best friend.

Chantel had cried off going to the gathering at Shannon's house, but feeling better later in the evening she had snook out and arrived as the party was in full swing.

As she walked in people turned and stared. The room had fallen silent of the general roar of a teenage party and only the banging base continued to beat out from the stereo.

The glances towards the garden sent her running through the crowd. Teenagers easily parting. No one even attempting to stop her. No one wanting to get involved.

As she emerged into the garden she was ignored by the couples making out. She looked around unable to see what she already knew she was looking for. Then she heard it. Shannon's giggle and she knew what she would see even before she pushed through the bushes into the back corner of the garden. There snuggled under the arbour with his hand up Shannon's top and slobbering into her left ear was Brad.

Before Chantel knew what was happening and before the two lovers could realise they were being watched she grabbed the hose conveniently lying on the ground and she blasted them with ice cold water.

Shannon lunged towards her soaker, almost halfway there before her brain registered what her eyes where seeing.

'Chantel,' Shannon stopped dead. 'I thought you were ill.'

Chantel dropped the hose and turned, pushing her way through the crowd that had gathered to see the inevitable cat fight. 


That was how I ended up with Chantel the prom queen.

I'm Andy. The head of the debate team and used as a punch bag for the football team even since high school began.

I have spent the last five years dreaming over Chantel. Offering to carry her books home and buying her shakes if I ever see her in the diner without the other cheerleaders and football jocks.

Last Sunday she was there alone and I offered to buy her a drink. She accepted and asked me to join her. We talked about the debate team and somehow ended up discussing the role of women in Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Before long I had to go and mow Mrs Petersen's lawn but we agreed to meet to next day.

I walked into the diner the next day and there she was surrounded by the rest of the cheerleader troop.

'Chantel. I'm here,' I said as I walked over.

'Beat it geek. We're busy.' Shannon said from her place next to Chantel.

It looked like the natural order had returned. I dipped my head, turned and headed to a booth the other side of the diner.

I ordered my food and sat with my head bowed.

'Can I sit here?'

I looked up and there was Chantel.

'I thought you were with those guys,' I said nodding towards the cheerleaders sitting in the booth by the door.

'They sat with me while I was waiting for you. Shannon isn't the sort of person I want to hang around with anymore.'

I nodded at the seat opposite and then waved at Mindy, my favourite waitress, to let her know to bring Chantel a milkshake along with the rest of my order.

 I was halfway through my frothy coffee when, as if the gods of tension had decreed it, the jukebox stopped and Brad walked in.

He started heading towards his usual crowd when out of the corner of his eye he saw Chantel sitting with me.

'Chantel why you sitting in Geek corner?'

'I'm sitting with Andy because we're together. You've got Shannon now.'

'Come on Chantel. You're the one who let me down. You weren't expecting me to go to the party alone were you?'

'Seriously Brad, this is my fault?'

'I'm glad you realise that now why don't you get back where you belong?'

'Brad I was being sarcastic. I am not coming back with you. I'm with Andy.'

'You,' Brad said pointing at me. 'Will regret this.'

Brad walked towards the crowd and grabbed Shannon, kissing her full on the lips

'Let's go, this place is getting to geeky for me.'

The rest of the afternoon was me and Chantel. It was the best afternoon of my life. That evening I walked her home and she kissed me. The sweetest strawberry lip-gloss kiss.

I was still floating on air as I walked across the playing field and round the back of the school towards the alley way that cut through towards home. I entered the alleyway not aware of anything. It was only when I was half way along that I noticed the two large shadows at the end. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed a similar two shadows approaching behind me.

'She's mine Geek,' one of the shadows said as all four of them piled into me.

The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital with a young woman sitting by my side.

'Chantel?' I whispered.

The girl blew her nose, wiped her eyes and squeezed my hand.

'It's me,' she said. 'Mindy. I was so worried about you.'


'Yes. Chantel popped in but she left with Brad. It seems they're back together.'

'But Brad did this?'

'Then you need to let the police know. He can't get away with this.'

Just then the door pushed open and Chantel appeared.

'Andy, can I have a word?'

'Mindy do you mind?' I asked.

'No problems. I'll go get a coffee. I'll be back in five minutes.'

Mindy got up, left and Chantel took the seat she had left.

'How are you?' Chantel asked.

'I've been better. What the hell did Brad think he was doing.'

'What do you mean? Brad didn't do this.'

'Chantel, Brad did this. I heard him.'

'You can't prove it. He was at football practice. I saw him there.'

'Chantel how can you say that? I had just left you at home.'

'Brad wouldn't hurt you. He had no reason to. And he's not that kind of guy.'

'Has he threatened you?'

'Don't be so silly. I don't know why you think he would hurt anyone.'

'Chantel I thought you were better than that. Brad has hospitalised me and he cheated on you with your best friend. How can you defend him?'

'If you're going to start slagging my friends off I think its best we don't see each other anymore.'

'Chantel you are a beautiful girl but you really need to choose your friends better.'

Chantel stood and turned tossing her mane of perfectly coiffured hair over her shoulder. She stomped towards the door, pushing it outwards and nearly knocking the cup of coffee from Mindy's hands as she headed back into the room.

'What's wrong with her?' Mindy said as the door closed behind Chantel.

'She feels that her boyfriend isn't the type to beat anyone up.'

'You are joking. She knows he did it.'

'But she and the rest of the cheerleader, football player gang are going to give him an alibi.'

'So what are you going to do?'

'I thought I might keep my head down, get better and then see if the best looking diner waitress in town wants to go out sometime.'

Mindy put her coffee cup down on the nightstand and leaned in towards me for a kiss that beat any strawberry lip-gloss kiss by a mile.

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