An awful lot happening all at once

Nothing for a while then lots happening all at once. Such is the way of the world whether you are waiting ages for a bus and three come along, or waiting for your book to be published.

A first piece of news – My book now has a title. In truth this is about the fourth it has had as I have vacillated, come up with a new one then vacillated again, but this is the one which will be on the cover – it’s called A Quiet Life.

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A new chapter

I’m delighted to say I recently signed a two-book deal with publisher Dark Edge Press where my next couple of novels will appear.

Click here for a piece on their website about what we are up to

The road is long, with many a winding turn, as either Simon or Garfunkel once said, but I am once more on the road to publication and have handed in the first of my two contracted novels.

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What’s going on?

Not done a blog for a while. No reason really other than that I got out of the habit, other things intervened, life happened, you know how it is.

I thought I’d like to do an update though, just record recent developments in my writing life.

The key one is that I have another book finished. I started it ages ago then it sat untouched as scribbles in a notebook tucked away in a drawer for a while until along came lockdown, that huge pause in everyone’s busy lives, and suddenly I had the time and the head space to finish it.

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At the royal wedding

I was at the royal wedding last week. I mean, I wasn’t actually sat in the church of course – I was around the margins, doing my PR job. Sorting out media interviews, sitting in green rooms, arguing over wrist bands, pushing through crowds.

That’s my role at important events – I’m there but nobody notices. Do you remember Zelig? It was a film by Woody Allen, back in the day, about a character who was always on the fringes of history – popping up anonymously in the back right corner of photographs. That’s me, I’m Zelig. And that’s most writers I think. We like to be where the action is, but we don’t want to be part of the action, we want to observe it.

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Jewish people, the Labour Party, some stories

Friend of ours told us a story about her dad. When he was a little boy his parents put him on a train. He was five, six years old, he didn’t really know what was going on.

When the train pulled into the next station he looked out of the window and his mum and dad were there waving at him from the platform, his mum in a dress with flowers, his dad in a suit and tie.

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Blood Brothers, what’s the secret of its success?

Blood Brothers is something of a phenomenon, one of only three musicals to have more than 10,000 performances in London’s West End, known as the Standing Ovation Musical because it brings audiences to their feet. It’s a huge hit. And it’s current UK tour seems to be heading the same way, it’s a hot ticket. If you are looking for a seat you’d better be quick because they are in short supply.

It’s currently at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham where I am off to see it on Monday and you can find more details about it here.

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Some good reasons to enter writing competitions

Just a quick blog this week to urge writers to enter story competitions. This is partly because I’m currently judging one which is now open so big plug for that:

That’s the Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition. It’s now open for entries and you can find all about the rules and how to enter if you click here.

I was talking to a fellow writer at a recent book signing event, he was telling me he had never once, in all his days, entered a short story competition, though he had written many stories. His main issue with competitions was that you have to pay an entry fee. Well yes, you do, but it isn’t massive and it usually goes back out in prize money and in paying the judges. In some cases, such as the Magic Oxygen competition for which I have regularly been a judge, it goes to charity.

Not everything can be free is the message I suppose, some things have a value. That goes for the books which people have spent time writing and it goes for writing competitions too.

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Quartet – Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Old age is a tricky subject to write about I’ve always thought. Tricky and important. Because it comes to us all in the end, if we’re lucky.

The difficulty with portraying old age in art is that it can become maudlin, without hope: “And age, and then the only end of age’ as Philip Larkin wrote. But Ronald Harwood deals with his tough subject matter beautifully in his play Quartet.

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Farewell Facebook page

I’ve always been a fan of Facebook and always used it as a writer – to meet readers and other writers, to talk about things which interest us.

I’ve never had a Facebook page though, only my profile, and recent changes to the way Facebook works have just underlined why I made that decision.

Pages, it seems to me, are for business users, I use them in my day job in PR. But I am an individual, not a business, not even a small trader. I’m not one of these people who styles themselves an ‘authorpreneur’ what an awful word. I write the books I want to write, find a publisher willing to take them on and they sell to those who are interested in reading them.

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At the book festival

A drive through the bright winter morning to sell my books at a book fair in the lovely Cotswold town of Evesham. Unfortunately when I got there I found no punters – plenty of other authors but nobody actually wanting to buy books.

This isn’t unusual for small press authors, events like this are often hit and miss. It’s in no way the organisers’ fault – they had made sure there was plenty of publicity both in the local media and by word of mouth, but sometimes, people just don’t come. Perhaps because of the location or the timing or whatever. So instead of talking to readers the authors talk to each other.

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