Dec 22, 2008

it's almost upon us ...

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright in the forest of the night.

I like to paint tigers. This one was my favourite.

Can I wish everyone one of you a brilliant Christmas and a bright New Year. Who knows what 2009 will bring - hopefully it'll be peace and understanding - and maybe a book deal.

Dec 19, 2008

Artist at large?

Really good to meet up with Sarah at the book signing at Waterstones last evening. I found out Sarah is an artist, too. Reminded me to put a photograph of one of my paintings on here. This one was auctioned by the Born Free Foundation in 2000 to raise money for endangered species. It became a #450 Limited edition print run. This painting The Waterhole is one of my yellow skies series. I wanted to get away from the general blue sky image to create a more prehistoric atmosphere for the subjects - lions, tigers and zebra. Strangely, it was my abstract work which sold the fastest at galleries. I'll post one of those sometime.
One last polish of The Messenger and then it's off to Camilla Bolton of Darley Anderson. New Year, I reckon. I'll post the first page on here soon guys - see what you think.

Dec 16, 2008

four told smart breakfast up a lemon tree

Excellent meeting with Jenny, Silja and Ed '' on Sunday. Lots of good ideas and motivation - bags of motivation - well done chaps. Each of us seems to be moving on with sequels and prequels. The advice Danny King passed on was incredibly useful to each of us in different ways. In my case linking my writing style to that of Simon Kernick and Gerald Seymour was a real bonus. Ed lent a copy of SK's 'Relentless' to me. I'm reading it currently - there's definitely a connection. I'll pick up a book by GS and check that out, too. It's good to have an established writer compare your work to other established authors - thanks Danny.

Meeting at SMART Southway (Portal writers et al) yesterday - it was nice to catch up with old friends. Robert is off to Germany in a couple of days to carry out some more research on his story. His son has arranged for him to interview a couple of survivors of the trek. It will be an emotional tale. Silvia has spent two years producing a 'simplified learning' version of the bible. An amazing piece of work which I am sure anyone would find intriguing. Presents for children? Are children allowed to study the bible in this Politically Correct world? Gloria's romance stories, Pete's civil war sequel, and everyone else's work is coming on in leaps and bounds. Everton's stories are fascinating - I believe he should be looking at radio scripting with his work.

Breakfast meeting with Rita tomorrow morning at the Tavern to discuss the seeds of The Messenger sequel and get a sounding board on the chapters to go to Camilla.

Will also try to drop in on Sarah Turton's book signing at Waterstones tomorrow evening. Good Luck Sarah hope it goes really well - here's the detail:

Dec 12, 2008

The times they are a changing ...

I received a very charming email from Hannah Ferguson, telling me that The Messenger 'despite its qualities' was not something she could deal with. Almost didn't feel like rejection. Onward and upward. I met Danny King the author and sit com writer (Thieves Like Us BBC3) here in cyberspace - great guy, really interesting background. He sent lots of really good personal advice. His site is here: I found his site whilst I was researching Camilla Bolton (Darely Anderson). I saw an interview she did with Byker Books, here: - I liked both her comments and style - I believe she is the person to whom I should have sent The Messenger. I like Darley Anderson's bio, too, here:

Dec 5, 2008

virgin on the apologetic

Contacted this morning by a young man from Viginmobile. He apologised for the problem, was 'unable to comment' on the call centre being in South Africa and said my complaint had been passed on for further investigation. Offered £10 top up on my phone as a goodwill gesture. I am still rather disgruntled - not at the good will gesture, but at the fact that Virgin sees it necessary to site its call centre out of Britain.

Family photograph tomorrow. Smile please ...

Dec 3, 2008

Virgin on the ridiculous?

This is a copy of an email I sent to Virginmobile which I hope is self explanatory. If anybody else has had this problem let me know.

I wished to top up my mobile phone this evening. When I rang to do this I couldn't use the normal automated service. Instead I was connected to a call centre in South Africa. A gentleman there told me that my visa card had expired two years ago. I was rather upset at this and told him my card was in date. He reiterated that it had expired and I would need to re-register it before I could top up. I asked him how I managed to use that same card for a top up in October of this year if it had expired and he told me I couldn't have. Whilst he was on the phone I checked my credit card statement and quoted the transaction to him and said I was more than a little upset that someone had changed the date on my records at Virgin. He said there had been and upgrade recently and all card users had to re-register their cards before the automated service would be available to them. He also told me that this upgrade was to benefit customers. There are several things about my experience with your South African call centre that concern me. The first is that it is in South Africa when this country needs all the support it can have in these difficult times. Secondly, I don't like being told that my credit card has expired when it hasn't. Thirdly the upgrade that your gentleman told me was for the benefit of customers is certainly not benefiting me when I have to spend time discussing the validity of my credit card. And, if this is the way that your company deals with financial matters, I am wondering how reliable my wife's investments are with your company. I would like you to tell me why I should continue to be a Virgin customer.

Watch this space readers!

Dec 2, 2008

Is brainwashing dead?

Well, it's almost a month since the last post. I have been completing a 'final' edit (is there ever a final edit?) on The Messenger and it, rather like Topsy, grew and grew. Final word count 144,600. It's no wonder it's taken so long, it's almost like writing two books. Anyway, I've submitted to Marsh Agency, Piers Russell-Cobb in particular. When I was researching, his agent profile told me he wanted 'quirky' fiction and that's what I write (amongst political / military / conspiratorial and psychological). So, watch this space.

The eyes are OK and the glasses useful. The white lights have disappeared and the black dots are now shadows of their former selves.

I'm looking forward to weekend of 13th / 14th December as Fourtoldfiction will be meeting up in Cornwall. It'll be excellent to see Silja, Jenny and Ed again. It'll be good, too, to see how much their current novels have progressed. Ed sent around a brilliant piece on writers and how they construct their craft. What was surprising, and somewhat gratifying, was that things I thought were peculiar to the way I operate as a writer actually others suffer from - drinking too much coffee, working odd hours, having down times, having up times etc. Thanks Ed, for restoring my faith in the way I write. Here's the link for those of you interested

Well, the dancing is having a watershed moment. We are trying to decide if we can learn (and remember) more steps to the Ballroom dances, and more of the Sequence dances (we have eleven under our belt - or should that be shoes?). It would be nice to continue both, but there is a fine line between learning more and becoming more proficient at what we have already learned. I think the new year will be the crunch time. Saturday night dances may help - so, we'll investigate those, too.

For those of you interested there's some intriguing background on Doomsday Vaults and the Tavistock Institute, out there. Maybe that's the next book! ha ha!