Friday, 14 December 2012

Seven Daze

Forced by the hand of  Jackie I've been asked to explain the book / WIP that I have been working on recently. Here goes...

What is the working title of your book? 

Seven Daze

Where did the idea for your book come from? 

I had the idea of writing about a contract killer, but things progressed and a very different book came out.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Crime Fiction

Which actors would you choose to play characters in a movie rendition? 

I haven't thought about that, but Ray Winstone should be involved somewhere.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 

A failed assassin has seven days to repay his former boss ten grand.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It was written in three stages over the course of a year - it probably took 200 hours in total to do the first draft, with at least twice that amount of time editing since.

Who or what inspired you to write this book (story)? 

I wanted to write a crime novel from the side of the villain and not the police. As I say, a slightly different book emerged but it's still from the other side. What I wanted to capture was the effect of a life of crime on someone. The despair and hopelessness as opposed to the glamour that is sometimes seen (especially from programmes like The Hustle)

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Some of the crimes in the book involve the Banking community getting their long deserved comeuppance.

That's all for now on Seven Daze. Hopefully, early next year, they'll be more news about it. Have a good Christmas if I don't find anything to moan about before then.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


So, as expected, the Nanowrimo experiment was an abject failure for me. About three thousand words was all I managed, and it wasn't even on one story. It doesn't really matter though, as instead of Nanowrimo I did a bit of Nanoedimo or editing as it's usually known. Seven Daze is in the process of having what I hope is its final edit. Obviously I've given it many final edits before, but this one's it. To find out why I'm editing it again, keep tuned after christmas...

Also, having done a bit of thinking about writing, and it being close to new year's resolutions and all that, I've made the following decisions for the coming year...

1. First of all, next year I'm rewriting the novella Inspector Cliche as a full length novel.

2. I'm going to stop making lists.

3. This blog will continue to gather tumbleweed as I'll spend less time on it. However, I'm going to set up a proper writing site with proper writing and not just random old man moans.

4. Give up smoking.

5. After Inspector Cliche, I'm going to re-write the book formerly known as Spies, Lies and Pies (now called The Spy With Ezcema)

6. Restart smoking.

Haven't had any pictures for a while, so here's a pic of our cat looking like it's hogging the remote control. Happy xmas all.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nano part 4

So NaNoWriMo became InNoStarMo, however it's now changed to InNoMiMo or International November Middle (of book) Month. I got fed up of writing starts so I've written a middle chapter that would probably link in with Nano 2.

Britwell had only been there ten minutes and she’d already banged on about chakras and energies. The tea was shit too, some infusion of tree bark and herbs or whatever. He sighed and looked back at the hanging charms and symbols. The place stank. Petuli oil and joss sticks. He knew what she was hiding, what those smells were hiding. If she pissed him off too much, he’d search her.

“Here we are.” She walked back into the room. White, ghost like dress, almost a sheet with three holes cut in it. Hair tied back with some hemp bangle thing and sustainable sandals on her blackened feet.

“I could feel the energies last night in this crystal.” She held up the purpley-blue stone, her eyes piercing his.

“And what did the stone tell you, miss?” He’d tried not to be flippant, but she just wasn’t helping.

“The crystal points to tonight. A farmhouse on a hill. A troubled mind continues by doing all he knows how.” She paused, he reckoned for effect. “The next one’s tonight.”

Britwell rolled his eyes. The killer had drawn out every nut job, crystal snitcher and long haired psychic this side of Taplow. Always the same, always had been. Murderers drew these lot out like a ad in Exchange and Mart.

“Does your stone have any idea which farmhouse it’s going to happen in?”

“Inspector, I sense your bitterness again. Not only is it not good for your energies, but my aura can’t take scepticism. I fear I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

Britwell stood up. “It’s okay, I’m gone. You and your stone’s aura can be at peace now.”

He let himself out. Lighting up a cigarette, he lent against his car before opening the door. Three of them now. Roughly the same age, but otherwise no connection. The random killer the papers were calling him. A bit of fear was always good for paper sales, but they had a point. Without picking some form of pattern or victim, no one was safe.

Inside, the starter motor took three turns before the engine kicked in. He’d have to get that fixed. With his luck, a dodgy starter would come back to haunt him at the wrong time.

Driving off, he pulled out his mobile, rung Walters.


“Another fruitcake. What about yours?”

“Well, he is a very charming man, sir. I can understand why so many go to his séances and shows. It’s quite hard to not believe him when he gets going.”

“It’s all bollocks though, isn’t it?” Britwell held his phone between ear and cheek while he tried to change gear and flick fag ash out of the window at the same time.

“God yeah. He says his spirit guide made contact with the last victim yesterday.”

Britwell shook his head, the phone falling to his lap. Picking it up, he nearly mounted the kerb. “Sorry, missed some of that.”

“I hope you’re not driving, sir? I said he’s made contact with the last victim from beyond the grave.”

“Nah, just stuck in traffic. So I take it he’s given us a full description of the killer and place then.”

“Apparently, it doesn’t quite work like that.”

Britwell grunted. He'd hoped for more, but hadn’t expected less.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Nano part 3

I should actually rename what I'm doing as, instead of writing a book like you're suppsoed to, I instead appear to be writing several starts to different books. NaNoStarMo? Actually as the Na stands for National, it really needs changing to In (International). InNoStarMo.

This one doesn't have a name, I half thought of the idea a few months back. Suppose it should be called Banging or Sorted or something.

She’d worn a lot of make up before.

It wasn’t as if she needed too. Clear complexion, what people called a caring, friendly face. Beautiful without make up.

Still, what did he know. He was still off his head. Everyone was fucking beautiful at seven in the morning after a heavy night.

“Coffee okay?” she asked.

“Fine, it’s great,” Rick replied. He nodded his head. The beat from the radio kicked in. Just some rubbish on the local station but his mind picked out the bpm. His head kept nodding, then from side to side. The club had been good last night. Really good. The adrenalin from five hundred people watching you and dancing was still there. Better than any drug that feeling was. Except caffeine of course. He felt his head moving again as the song’s bpm increased. If he wasn’t careful he’d be back up there again.

She’d walked to the counter. It looked like she was on her own today. Only one other customer, so not busy. Then again, who else wanted a coffee at seven on a Sunday morning? Very limited customer base, that’s what he reckoned a marketing man would say. He smiled as she looked over, then he turned away, realised he was probably staring at her.

He wondered where the chef was this morning. A lie in maybe? They were an item, married possibly. That’s what everyone said. Some weeks he’d be in, all smiles and big chef’s hat. Other times he wouldn’t be there. The make up: did it correspond with those days? Did she only wear it when he wasn’t in? He couldn’t remember.

He looked at his coffee. Filter, but as good as something  from an expensive machine with chrome and steam. First pot of the day and freshly crushed beans, that was why.  Always the perfect cuppa, every week. The perfect way to kill the hour wait between train and bus. That was the problem with Sunday mornings. They threw everything at getting you to London on a Saturday night, but no thought of getting you back the next day. Council was probably to blame. They usually are.

“Thanks, love.” The other customer placed his mug on the counter and left. Dog walker. Rick had seen him before once. A month or so ago maybe? Could be six months. He looked at her again, caught her eye. She turned, back to the pile of muffins and flapjacks. The make up was heavier than he’d seen before, especially around the cheeks. He thought of telling her she didn’t need it, but it would come out wrong. He’d mean it as a brother to his sister but it would sound corny. It always did.

“On your own today?”
He turned, checked she was talking to him and not someone else or her phone.  He cleared his throat. “Yeah.  I don’t always get free tickets, so you know, they don’t always come.” He looked at his coffee. That had come out wrong. Sounded like his mates were only his mates for the free entry. That wasn’t the case, he knew it. They actually paid their own entry sometimes. Well, they had once.
“Must be tiring, all night I mean.” She polished the counter with a cloth, her eyes on the muffins.

“You get used to it,” he said. He didn’t mention the caffeine or adrenalin, nor the pills that most of the dancers used.

He saw her look at the clock, the hour was ticking by. A quarter of it left. He knew he ought to get going, the bus didn’t hang around. With the next one at ten, he didn’t dare miss it.

Drowning the last of his coffee, he stood. “Better, you know.” She looked at him, nodded. The makeup was heavier on her left side. Much heavier.

“See you next week.”

He smiled as he picked up his bag of records. “Bye.”

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Nano part 2

So, 6 days in and I should have racked up 10,000 words by now.

I've done possibly nearly a thousand. Not all on the same book which is a bit of a problem and not very nanoish. I've written a bit of Off The Rails, but don't like it, written a small extra piece of Inspector Cliche and dabbled with a few starts. Ideas are still thinner on the ground than my hair. The only real idea I've had that I like is below...

Working title 'Ears'

His ears were too fucking big.

Jeff knew that was the problem. Everyone else’s were different: they started level with their eyes, the bottom level with the upper lip, even the nose for some people. But no, he just had to be born with two fucking big question marks either side of his skull.

Looking into the mirror he sighed. He wasn’t that pig ugly. He didn’t have an extra fucking nose or three eyes or anything. But the ears. Every time he met someone, even if he’d met them before, eye contact only lasted a second. Their eyes would move, away from his across his left temple to his ear. Then back over his eyes to the other. Always the left first. Their face would drop too. A look of disgust or sympathy as they noticed and really took in the ears that stretched from the top of his head to his chin. Poor bastard, they’d be thinking. Can’t he get surgery for them? Some would even smile the evil fuckers. They were the worst.

They’d also be the first.

Trying to stretch that into a 90,000 word book might be a problem. Though I reckon Inspector Britwell could be forced from retirement to help investigate.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


After last year's pathetic attempt (see here) to write 50,000 words in a month, I've decided to try again.

This time, for the following reasons, it's probably going to be even harder.

1. I've only written 2,000 words in the past six months.

2. My wrist has some sort of strain that I should probably see the doctor about.

3. I've got no idea what to write about.

4. Surely those three were enough?

Yeah, I reckon a few days of 1,000 words and I'll give up again. But, you never know until you try, do you?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Mid Life Crisis - Part IV

So, part one was rediscovering vinyl and spending hours listening to my old records. Part two was getting back into dance music and trying my hand at mixing, which despite being twenty years too late, I reckon I'm not too bad at. Part three seems to have involved growing tomatoes and chilies in the greenhouse.

Part IV?

1980's computers.

It started with a car boot sale, a grumpy other half and haggling over a £6 price tag, but I am now the proud owner of a second hand Atari ST. I wanted one twenty odd years ago, you see, and I guess that's the essence of the crisis that is mid life. Reliving your youth. I got into home computing in the early 80's when it kind of started. A gang of us used to write small games on a friends Dragon 32 instead of scaring old ladies or wearing trousers in an incorrect vertical position. That was our youth, well a year or so of it until we discovered the local off licence would sell us beer and fags at 14.

What these youngsters of today don't understand is, back then, computers in the home were a major change to our lives. Most homes had one telly, and only three or four channels. So to go from that to being able to move poor quality, chunky graphics around a screen felt like we were launching rockets.

Shops were different as well, you could walk into WHSmiths and they'd have a row of computers set up for you to mess around with. Some had games for you to test, others you could type your own programs in (although I'm sure it was spelt programmes back then.)

Anyway, the Atari works fine, which I don't imagine any of today's PC's doing after being in a loft for the next 20 years. However, without a mouse or joystick, I can only really watch the intro's the four games that came with it, and dream.

Anyway, it'll be in the loft next week (or sooner if my other half has her way) along with all the other crud I seem to accumulate as the years go by.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Things that annoy me (part 23)

A couple of things have bugged me lately, truly annoyed me in fact. I'm hoping, through the power of bloggery, to calm my disturbed mind.

1. Shops with odd numbers of aisles.

Yeah, might seem like a small problem, but it bugs the pants off me. You go up an aisle, down an aisle, then up and hey presto, you're stuck at the far end of the store and the only way to get to the tills is past an already looked at aisle. I don't want to go down it twice, I've already been there and shoe leather ain't free, you know. It's not just the walking though, occasionally you'll see whole families of confused people at the top of the last aisle. They stand there, wondering which way to turn, stuck in some nightmareish, odd-numbered hell. And, what about those poor souls whose OCD is far worse than mine? Imagine having to visit each aisle in multiples of 2,3 or 4 if one round trip won't do? It'll be like being stuck in some bizarre Professor Laytonesque style puzzle. So come on shops of the world, keep it even for all our sakes.

2. Good Food

You see it in pubs up and down the land. Good Food Served Here. Really? Does that mean you can expect well behaved food or food served to an acceptable standard? Ever seen a sign that said Mediocre Food Served Here? Naughty Food Served Here? Chef Can't Be Arsed Today Food? What about Chef had dreams of world domination but three kids, two dogs and a mortgage means he's now working in some back street pub at the age of 40 food? Seems to me, signwriters are being paid by the word and have gone for the word Good to bump their wages up.

3. Inappropriate music used in adverts.

There's been a whole swathe of this recently. Most seem to be songs from my youth so I guess some ad exec with a fairly decent taste in music is either playing jokes, or today's music is so bad that we've reverted to some time warp. The Skids - Into The Valley was recently used as a Halford's ad for what seemed like some kid's journeys through life. Well, that song's actually about the recruitment of youths into the army and premature death in Northern Ireland. What about British Airways as well? Using London Calling with some plane driving down a street in a pre-olympic glorious festival of London. Considering the song is about nuclear accidents, the Thames flooding and police brutality in the 70's it is really an excellent choice to advertise London, isn't it.

5. Numbered lists that miss out numbers.

Enough said.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Greenhouse Watch - Second Attempt

The gremlins appeared to infect the last greenhouse watch update, so it had to be deleted. Don't worry, you didn't miss any earth shattering news, twas just an update on me tomatoes and chilies.

A picture says a thousand words, so here's three.

Left hand side

The rear
Right hand side with added camera wobble

Yeah, there's a problem. You can't get inside. I have to take half the plants out to water the rest which, given the recent heat wave, has taken ages. All the seeds germinated, you see, which considering they were of pound shop origin, wasn't expected. I'm now left with 40 tomato plants (though I've found good homes for 4 of them) 15 chilies, 5 green peppers, 10 lettuces and a tub full of watercress. I'm really reluctant to throw anything away so the only other option is to plant half of it in the garden. So to any slugs / birds in my areas, free food will soon be available.

Finally, had a story put up by the kind folks at The Flash Fiction Offensive recently. If you fancy a look, click the link.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Flash Fiction Friday - Mind Your Head

It's been months since I wrote anything, but I was determined to get back on the horse, so to speak. So here, for this week's Flash Fiction Friday, is a story that includes the words Frenetic, Hobbit and Cummerbund.

Mind Your Head

He didn’t care if Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit had worn one, he wasn’t going to wear the pissing thing. Adds a bit of class, she’d said, makes you look like somebody. Well she could fuck off, he was somebody and if he didn’t want a cravat, he wasn’t going to wear it. And, why the fuck would a fictional character wearing one be an incentive for him to wear the poncing thing?
“You nearly ready, dear?” she called up the stairs.
“No need to snap.”
“I wasn’t snapping.” He paused, looked in the mirror. He was snapping, his face was red. Red mist rising, that’s what he called it. Back again from the depths of nowhere, ready to take him to that place. So dark that place; hellish, frenetic, scary. Scary was the worst part: the ideas it gave him, the things it wanted him to do.
“Your cummerbund’s down here if you’re looking for it.”
He looked at the mirror, saw his burning eyes. Ten deep breaths, that’s what he needed. Calm the heart, lower the blood pressure. Calmness breaking, he shook his head. Surely everyone felt like this at times? The great unspoken state. He knew there was red mist in everyone. Most just hid it better than himself. Everyone had the potential though. Everyone.

Downstairs, cummerbund and cravat didn’t feel too bad. He looked stupid though. Like some nonce or theatre goer, but it was just for one day. Helen looked great. Blue dress, just above the knee, showing off those great knee caps. The large hat obscured her carefully prepared hair. Smiling at him, she lay her head on her right shoulder.
“Doesn’t look so bad. You never know, you might actually enjoy today.”
He turned away. Ten more breaths as he picked up his keys and suit jacket. She really didn’t help sometimes. Maybe she was in on it. They all were. Everyone was in on it. It was wind up Derek week and she was the fucking cheerleader.
Ten more breaths as he walked to the kitchen. Glass of water, a look out at the garden. Neat rows of flowers and veg. Calming that’s what it was, all that effort to raise and grow flowers from tiny seeds. All that effort. Yet that voice, the one in his head. It told him to smash the trellis, rip the heads off the flowers, pour weedkiller on the tomato plants. He clenched his fists. Clenching was the only thing sometimes. The only thing that stopped him.
A few more deep breaths and he walked back to the living room. “We ready then?” he asked.

She said the service had gone well, but he wasn’t so sure. The groom messed up his lines and the page boy cried throughout. If that was well, what would a disaster be like? Onto the reception after ten thousand photos were taken. Sat at a table with her relatives. Polite conversation. Hands under the table, clenched. Small talk, he’d  never been any good at it. How’s work, golf, the garden, they’d always say. Always scout round the big questions. How’s your head? Where’s your mind at today? How many times in the last week have you thought of killing someone? Really, only two? Oh you are improving. Why I thought of killing three myself and I’m not messed up in any way.
“You okay?” she whispered.
He turned, looked at her. Her eyes read concern and hidden tears. She mouthed the words, we can go outside? Get some air?
He shook his head. This was her day. Her cousin’s day to be precise. It wasn’t about him. Two deep breaths as the waiter came over, started laying cutlery.
“You play golf, Derek?” asked someone. Her uncle Rob, that’s who he thought he was. Something big in insurance in the Home Counties.
He shook his head. “Never really tried.”
“We should have a round sometime. All of us. No better way to spend a Sunday morning.”
The pompous laugh at his own unfunny joke. It wasn’t even a joke just small talk. He looked down at the table. Waiter had just place two knives, two forks and a spoon. One was a steak knife. Very sharp. The voice in his head - How many can you take? There’s fifty people in this room? How many can you kill before someone stops you? Bet you can do them all? Go on....
How many could he kill? He clenched his fists and stood up. He hoped he’d make it outside without finding out.