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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Happy Birthday Bill

400 years, Four whole centuries since the greatest writer in English passed this way, April 23rd, the day he was born in 1564 and the day he died in 1616. William Shakespeare. A playwright, poet and actor from Stratford on Avon about whom we know very little but who left his mark on our language and culture like no other before or since.

A genius who scratched out the trials and tribulations of life, wrapped up in comedy tragedy and history. The aspirations of commoners, Kings and Emperors for our delectation and delight.

Love, lust, jealousy as well as honour and nobility;  all found in the pages of his plays and the words we've often sought for that moment then borrowed, adapted or plagiarised to make a point!

He was 52 when he died, not a bad innings for his day, and yet that vital spark never died, nor will it. Whenever an actor treads the boards, a movie director calls "Action!" or someone looking for the right words for that extraordinary moment where the whole of life hangs by a delicate thread, to draw the hushed "yes!" to a fateful question and Romeo wins his Juliet: that spark will glow brightly.

My uncle Bill called him Billy Wobbledagger and as a child it took me a while to work out who he was talking about, Scholars have spent years doing the same, compiling theories about who he really was, where he came from. The name behind the alias or whatever flights of fancy took them to unpack the history of the lad from Stratford, Blue-ing his blood to explain the extraordinary talent, convinced his real identity lay in grander circumstances, convinced no commoner could create such works.

Perhaps Shakespeare's greatest creation is himself, The puzzle that surrounds the genius. The imagination, wit and wisdom of his plays., the playfulness and passion of his sonnets. The chronicles of hard won lessons of life, of victory and defeat!

The blank pages of his life about which we know so little may tell us what is important; the source of the gift is a mystery but his gift to us is well known, loved, imitated and respected. He walked this way once, as we all do.Then left his words, his dreams and stories for us to hold, cherish and pass on.

So many times, the whispered homage, "I wish I'd written that!"

For every one of them... Thanks,.

Happy Birthday Will!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

World Book Night

 Eleven days to go

23 April, a portentious date in English literature, the birthdate, and the day he died, of William Shakespeare, shared with the festival of George, England's patron.

Shakespeare used the saint as a rally; Cry Harry, for England and St George.
It's time to rally the forces again on World Book Night, originally celebrated with World Book Day in March but recently as a stand alone, volunteers across the globe will be handing out books; as a gift, genuinely something for nothing.

Statistically, 36% of adults in England are said never to read, and along with World Book Day in March, World Book Night aims to put books into the hands of people who might not usually read
There is the official selection of titles, but what can we do as individuals, as authors and readers?

Share what we love, spread the words. The official selection may not be to everyone's taste, but there is something out there for everyone; a novella, an epic, a cracking good read. Put the imagination in gear and share a book with someone you know, a book you have read and loved, your choice, see if you can work out what they might like...

...and let the adventure rattle onwards!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Deceptive Appearances

March 2015, a little over a year ago I posted "A Cautionary Tale from Becca Mills" which linked to Becca's own post at The Active Voice and recounts how her book Nolander was blocked by a DMCA notice,

Now via the Passive Voice, comes another tale of the perils of publishing; plagiarism

Eilis O'Hanlon recalls how her novels were swiped by a stranger in the Irish Independent newspaper. She unpacks a story worth telling and like most real-life stories the outcome for O'Hanlon and her co-author, Ian McConnell, writing as Ingrid Black is not tidy.

The discovery came through a tweet from @donnapatel asking the simple question; "Are you Ingrid Black?"

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Don't be a fool!

Time on your hands, space on your device? Are you still enjoying that break from the day job?
Visit The Grange and check out the action.
Discount codes available until the 31st March, Don't hang about and get caught on April the 1st, the clock is ticking!

Iceline -free as usual.
Control Escape - enter TP79Y at the checkout
What You Ask For - enter NT97R
The Obedience of Fools - enter JD95K

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Dropped the ball...

One way of putting it, more like dropped a ball, in a manner of speaking. Had a phone call this morning from a friend and reader about What You Ask For. I had the manufacturer's name wrong for a car, the Mitsubishi Pajero, and half the story was missing.

Once the slight panic and feeling of "Oh bollocks" had dissipated I dragged the tech across the desk and went to Smashwords to check.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Offline - Gone to Earth

Gone to Earth comes off line tonight, I shall unpublish the work in progress at Smashwords. Not ready for the premium catalog the uncompleted text has noly been available as a download at Smashwords.

Gone to Earth is, effecively going to earth, like the fox pursued by the hunt, heading for cover only this time, not to hide. but to be completed, so when it appears again the whole story weill be revealed.

April is the month for getting stuck into the job, so I should find myself in various corners of the house, depending on the time of day or evening, or if the weather is kind enough, outside ejoying the spring sunshine and the steadily lengthening evenings.

The rest of the Gramge Thrillers remain available through all channels and for the rest of the month at Smashwords, discount codes are available

Iceline -free as usual.
Control Escape - enter TP79Y at the checkout
What You Ask For - enter NT97R
The Obedience of Fools - enter JD95K

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Reaching the line

"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to hang in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully," was Dr  Samuel Johnson's take on a deadline. Not something we are likely to face, even if we consider writing in the same vein as Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of Liverpool Football Club, who considered the game to be more important than life and death.

Chris Baty, founder and chief instigator of NaNoWriMo considers the dead line to be the writer's secret weapon. Douglas Adams  always enjoyed the sound of them whooshing along as they sped past.

Deadlines, not facing the hangman, or speeding by, but a limit. Self set, and policed, by the independent. There's the rub, self control makes them potentially flexible. Ideally they should give enough time for the job to be completed with a smidgeon of leeway, and not come up like you're running at a brick wall, even if it can move ahead of you.

The next deadline comes up tonight as Read an eBook week closes its doors and the discount code (RAE25)  at smashwords expires. The alternative codes remain valid,  on this blog and  at cheekyseagull.co.uk for the individual Grange Thrillers.
Which brings me to the plan, it's a bit formal calling it a plan at this stage, more a what am I going to do next arrangement.

Two projects,  both of them Grange Thrillers, Gone to Earth and  ClearWater, both unfinished and frankly, Gone to Earth needs a kick start, so, in need of a dead line, I've given myself a prompt. April, twenty five thousand words and hopefully a first draft put to rest by the end of the month. The protagonists are mustering for the final denouement and the scene will shortly be set, once Josie Burke has figured out the necessary deployment.

The plan is to unpublish Gone to Earth, to pull it offline until the work is finished. Once that's dealt with Clear Water takes the head and will be the focus.

When the time comes I'll keep you posted as to how things are progressing.