Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Unbearable Being of Lightness

Just checked the scales. Lost two pounds since Christmas. Boy, I'm virtually floating.

Anyone can write a novel

You just keep writing the words down. Eventually you'll have a novel. But it takes real genius to be a good reader. That's why I've created The Blookreader Awards.

After all, without readers there would be no writers.

The Power of Dreams

I was in Naples a couple of years ago with my wife when I forgot the Pin number on my debit card. For some reason my wife's card wasn't working either.

Our cash pile dwindled rapidly and I was starting to get worried. When we went to bed that night I had a strange dream. I was standing at a cash machine and there was somebody behind me peering over my shoulder. That somebody was also me. I watched as I punched in my Pin number and the money tumbled out of the machine.

I woke up and nudged my wife awake.

"Quick, write this number down," I gasped.

In the morning straight after breakfast we hurried round to the nearest cash machine on the Via Partenope. My hand shook as I punched in the number from my dream. I could feel the hair rising on the back of my neckas the machine whirred and clattered noisily.

And then silence.

It was the wrong number.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sure, yeah, okay, e-books too

Okay, okay, e-books too are eligble for the Blookreader awards.

What's a blook? I dunno. Anything really. A book that's published on the web. Mine's a novel. Go check it out at A Half Life Of One. Then review it.

Tomorrow I'll list a load of other blooks you can take a look at if you feel like it.

The International Blookreader Awards

Welcome to the International Blookreader Award, the web's most prestigious reader's competition.

These are the carefully-drafted rules. If you follow them you'll have a better chance of winning.

1. There will be three prizes for the three best reviews of any blook/book/e-book currently in existence on the Web

2. All entries MUST contain a link to the blook/book/e-book being reviewed

3. Closing date for entries is 31st March 2006

4. Maximum length of review is 200 words

5. Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • First Prize: £100 book token/or equivalent
  • Second Prize: £50 book token/or equivalent
  • Third Prize: £25 book token/or equivalent
6. In this, the inaugural year of the International Blookreader Awards, I will be the sole judge of all entries so your entry needs to be in English

7. Entries should be posted to this blog as a Comment

8 As a pre-qualifying condition you must solemnly swear to tell all your friends (if you have any) about this competion

That's it. Get reading. And writing. Prizewinners will be announced with great fanfare here and in the media on the 1st April.

Literary Prize

So here's a question. I want to launch a literary prize for blooks. I need to publicise it but I don't want to spam anybody. No spoof e-mails. No false publicity.

How can I achieve my aim? I'm stumped.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Everyone has a blook in them...

... as Oscar Wilde might have said if he was alive today. If you have actually published one on the Web I'd like to know about it.

I'm going to announce a major new literary prize in the next couple of days centered on blooks and e-books so this could be your opportunity to get some free publicity.

Watch this space.

Ineffable toploftiness

Or the way Scott Fitzgerald felt when he published his first novel.

Exactly the way I'm feeling today.

Dear Reader

Overnight someone read the whole of A Half Life of One over on my other blog.

Which makes this a very special day indeed.

Dear reader, thank you.

Friday, January 27, 2006

See Naples and live

Naples is my favourite city. Alive, a little down at heel, edgy, teeming with real people. The food's not bad either. I look out of the window at the mist and gloom, the hills shrouded in grey and I wish I was there now.

Walking along the Via Partenope, joing the passeggiata, enjoying life.

Caught short

Still haven't started this bloody short story. Themed around work. I don't want it to be a thinly veiled portrait of me. I'm fed up writing about me. Maybe I could make it funny. Is work funny? Sometimes. Not often.

I need to write about someone else. Two people. Two wildly different people. Something alon those lines.

I'll give myself until Monday to think this over. Then I'll start. Honest.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I need to get out less...

If I'm ever going to make it as a writer I need to get out less.

And read more.

Drowning not waving

Okay, I admit it. Writing that short story for the Scotsman competition isn't that easy.

The theme is work. I've been working all my life and I'm fifty-bloody-seven. So I know a lot about work. And they say you should write about what you know. Trouble is, if you do that it's hard to make the thing sing. You kind of get bogged down in dull factuality.

I think it would be better to write about something completely different, where I could bring no experience to bear. Stretch my imagination. And boy, does it need stretching.

So at the moment I'm teetering on the edge, not quite ready to dive in. Actually, I don't want to be ready anyway. I want to overbalance and plunge in at the deep end and have to swim for my life, risking drowning.

Third degree Burns

This Saturday we're taking a few friends to the local Burns' Night in the village.

So I'll do my bit for literature by having a few glasses of claret beforehand, walk down to the hall in the dark, eat haggis, drink more wine, listen to the tales of the bard, drink whisky, dance, drink more whisky, drink beer, go back to whisky, try some more wine, switch back to whisky.

Then I'll stagger out into the darkness, absolutely blazing drunk.

This is what we call a literary soiree in Scotland. I expect Burns would approve.

The nights are getting shorter

Even up here in the North of Scotland the days are getting noticeably longer. The light is different too. Softer. Won't be too long before you will start to smell Spring in the air.

It's a time for optimism, re-birth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Being rich hurts

I went into the bank today and borrowed half a million pounds for investment in one of my businesses.

Everyone thinks I'm a rich bastard but actually I'm just a guy who's borrowed a lot of money.

And the richer I get the more debt I seem to accumulate.

The question is: where's it all going to end?

Moral Hazard

I hope it's the fear of moral hazard that deters me from giving my unemployed younger son any more money.

Any not just the fact that I'm a mean, miserable old bastard.


This is a true story which deveoped over Christmas.

I have subscribed to Friends' Reunited for several years and have re-established contact with a number of old school friends, including my erstwhile best friend.

A few weeks back I got an e-mail from the woman who was my first ever date. At the time the assignation was a disaster. I thought she didn't like me, I was tongue-tied and acted like a prat. We never went out together, or even spoke to each other, again. The subsequent bout of unrequited love on my part lasted several years and I never really got over her until after I went up to university.

I have to confess that when I heard from her again, after an absence of over thirty years, my pulse started racing. I was overcome by all the old emotions. For a while I felt young again.

As we exchanged e-mails - and it turned out she has had a particularly hard life where men are concerned - it gradually dawned on us that she had felt the same dismay on that first date. She was convinced that I hadn't liked her. Subsequently she avoided me out of embarrassment.

This discovery of our mutual misunderstanding was pretty unsettling as you can imagine and precipitated a roller-coaster of emotions.

Emotions which I felt were rapidly getting out of hand. So much so that I was quite frightened by what was happening. Just before Christmas I stopped responding to the woman's e-mails. By then it was apparent to me that she was communicating with someone who no longer existed, the young me, which despite my protestations remained a figment of her imagination. Which is in fact what I always was to her.

They say the past is another country. It is. It's also a pretty dangerous place, full of ghosts, not to be entered lightly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Scotsman Orange Short Story 2006

So what's next?

In the real world - work.

In the world that really matters - a short story. The Scotsman Orange Short Story Award is up for grabs again. 3000 words. Deadline for submissions Friday 10th March. First prize £7,500.

Oh, and the theme this year is "Work". Something I do know a bit about (see my novel).

So, there's not much time left. Two days to think about it. Then get that first draft down as quickly as possible. Leave to simmer for a couple of days. Then polish like mad in the time remaining.

Should be a doddle now I've overcome my recent bout of writer's block.

Plain Vanilla

I have to say there's something very satisfying about my revamped site A Half Life Of One.

There's no advertising. No hype. No celeb endorsement. No puff. Virtually no blurb. Just the novel.

Even if nobody ever visits it that site is an honest piece of work. And if somebody ever does read the whole book I'll die happy.

Isn't that what writing's all about?


Thank goodness!!! I've finally finished. That's Chapter 19 up over on A Half Life Of One. I hope you enjoy it and of course I'd welcome any feedback, good or bad.

Chapter 18

That's Chapter 18 - the penultimate Chapter - up on A Half Life Of One

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006