High Jinks Ensue

Type 3 web

This is a very long post and I feel it says very little. I’m telling you this now so you don’t feel diminished later on. Really, I’ve read two books that left me feeling I’d lost something by reading them. This is only a blog post, but still…

There’s definitely something to be said for taking a long time to finish a book – ok, it depends on the book, taking years to write an Agatha Christie would be a bit much, not least because she’s already written them so there’s really no point.

Anyway, I’ve been writing the book I’m currently working on for what, until today, I felt was far too long. I actually don’t remember when I started! That exclamation mark is for dear Agatha, I think she got a job lot and wanted to get her money’s worth!

I remember when I first wrote the story. It began as a movie. Through a friend I made my first Hollywood connection with an agent. Said agent would be happy to look at my work. That I had never written a screenplay didn’t matter to me. I bought a copy of some movie, I don’t remember, it was twenty years ago. 

Copying the format, I wrote the greatest movie anyone had ever written. It was the story of a has-been movie star who, attempting to revive his career, put himself up as a prize in a competition. High jinks ensue.

It was turned down as not being high concept enough to take to a studio. A few years later I nearly threw up when Win a Date with Tad Hamilton was released. That does not mean my script was ripped off, I got the idea from Tony Curtis’ autobiography in which he wrote about the time he was a prize in a competition, and, if memory serves, had to go and live with a family for two weeks.

Well, that Hollywood dream fell apart when the agent fell out with the person who had put me in touch, and I was released back into the wild.

But what I wanted to tell you about is the value of taking your time when writing. I wrote many different versions of that movie script, and even published one through Createspace. I think it even sold a copy, although many more people downloaded it for free. Sometime ago I started to turn it into a standard novel and I’m currently on the third draft.

Working on it tonight, I found myself analyzing each sentence as if it were poetry, while at the same time searching for the truth of the character. That’s not to say I didn’t do the best job I could with the books I have already out, but there’s something very satisfying about simply sitting there and looking at a sentence  that zings! (Dear Agatha) 

I don’t know how many more drafts before it’s finished, but I’m looking forward to writing them. Who knows, by the time it’s finished, I might even be able to play the violin I currently can’t even get to stay in tune.

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Style Tips for Psychos

style tips for psychosI thought I’d try marketing this book and see what happens. At the moment I don’t really know what I’m doing, which might yet turn out to be a good thing.

 

Share your style tips in the comments.

Some Kind of Bohemia

Some Kind of Bohemia cover pic web

I’ve put this sampler together while I work on the new one. As I don’t write by the yard I have no idea when it will be ready. That’s the trouble and the joy of not knowing where a story is taking you until you get there.

I called this Some Kind of Bohemia because I like the sound of it. It contains samples from Drinking in the Park, The Company of Thieves, and Online Cupid, as well as links to the freebies, Teach Yourself to Live and Examine Your Zip.

Please feel free to share this with whomever you choose.

The photograph was taken by Jelena Demchenkova and is used with permission. You can find more of her work here.

Some day I might even write a real book with this title, but for now here is Some Kind of Bohemia.

Another 40 Shades

Here’s another snippet from the book I’m currently working on. I’m still putting it on the computer, which makes this part of the second draft.

….

He took another hit from the bottle and jumped, startled by the sound of his father’s voice. Frank watched the old man sit at the table of his Hollywood home.

‘That’s a grand girl you have there,’ his father said. ‘That was a grand ceremony.’ He opened a lite beer. ‘Your mother would have been proud.’ He lifted the beer bottle in toast and bowed his head. ‘Hail Mary, full of Grace, fell on the floor and broke her face.’ He put the beer bottle to his lips and tilted his head back, and then spat it out almost a quickly. ‘Jesus,’ he said, ‘that’s awful watery beer.’ He turned to Frank’s wife, Carrie, sat beside him, ‘Is this what they’re drinking in Hollywood these days?’

Carrie answered without taking her eyes off Frank. He would pay for putting her in this situation. ‘We don’t keep alcohol in the house,’ she said.

‘Apparently I have a drinking problem,’ Frank said.

‘We’re not getting into this now,’ Carrie said, ‘My daughter is asleep in the next room.

The old man laughed, ‘Shure isn’t she Francie’s daughter as well.’

Frank turned smiling in triumph to his wife, but she wasn’t there. He was back in his childhood kitchen; empty beer bottles on the table around him and a locket in his hands. He opened the locket and found the teenage Francie and Mary inside. His eyes moved from picture to picture, surfing a wave of nostalgia. Again he felt the regret that he now realized had been with him most of his life. He pushed the chair back as he struggled to his feet. He took a few steps and tripped, falling to the couch. He lay there looking at the room. Maybe he wouldn’t bother getting up. No. He had to get up. His future depended on it. Mary needed him. As he stood he dropped the locket. He tried to steady himself in order to pick up the locket. He felt, more than heard, the sound of glass breaking, and looking down as he moved his foot, he saw their faces, each in its oval and covered in a network of cracks. In his drunken melancholy he imposed a deeper meaning on this and began to cry. He looked around, not recognizing the room, but with a feeling that he was playing a role. He saw the telephone and his brows knitted together because he didn’t remember it, and for a moment he wasn’t sure what it was for.

Forty Shades of Green

 

Here’s a snippet from the book I’m currently working on.

In 1972 Paul Lavin had been a hippy in a tweed suit, just out of teacher training school; his first job was in Frank’s school. He introduced his students to pomegranates, Georges Braque and the beauty of silent movies. He challenged them to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem, reminding the class that they had probably greater knowledge of mathematics than Fermat. He showed them films of the great museums, and sometimes fell asleep during them, (he wasn’t a fan of museums, but thought it would be good for the kids to see something of the world beyond their small Irish town.) This changed one day when panic in the classroom woke him up. For a moment he looked in confusion at the flames in the projector before realising what had happened. He picked up a magazine and walked quickly to the projector, issuing orders as he went. ‘Martin, lights. Francie, windows.’ As the room filled with light and air, Mr. Lavin took his jacket off and threw it over the burning projector. He closed the jacket around the flames to kill them.

The classroom door flew open and the principal, a grumpy-looking old man whom everybody hated, (he was one of those people who become teachers because of the authority it gives them), stood there taking everything in. He stepped into the room, barking, ‘What’s going on here?’

Martin looked up at him, ‘Sir, the projector went on fire, sir.’

‘Did I ask you?’

‘It just overheated. It’s ok,’ Mr. Lavin said.

The principal looked at Mr. Lavin, wondering if this would be a good way to get rid of him.

‘It’s ok,’ Mr. Lavin said again. ‘No harm done.’

Damn!

 

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later; my books The Company of Thieves and Online Cupid were doing well in the Genre Busting category on Amazon until the March of Porn! Online Cupid is still there, The Company of Thieves is gone.

So begins the quest for a new category and visibility.

In the interest of visibility, here’s a free download of Day 1 of Online Cupid,

ONLINE CUPID: DAY 1

Rose Healy kissed her daughter goodbye and left for work, she thought it was a day like any other. She was missing for almost a week.

Online Cupid tells the story of one woman’s harrowing kidnapping nightmare at the hands of a man who claims to have met her on a sex-dating website. Not for the faint-hearted. Just be thankful it didn’t happen to you.

Download and share a  free PDF of Day 1 here.