If two men knock on your door and tell you that you’ve won £2 million pounds in a postcode lottery and all you have to do to get it, is to dance naked in the doorway, don’t be taken in. There is no prize. They just want to see you naked.
I can remember a fair bit about my early childhood. I remember the house we lived in, I remember the schools I went to and I can remember playing with my mates from dawn to dusk during the school holidays. I remember the empty, car-less streets and I remember the choking filth that the coke ovens spewed over our back yard, twenty-four hours a day. I vividly remember the day the street flooded and we had to be rescued by the fire brigade. I can remember Christmas’s birthdays and visits from my Grandparents when we actually got to use the front room. I also remember that I was terrified of clowns.
There was a series on TV back in 1961 called ‘The Mask of the Clown.’ It was on at tea time which meant that it was made for family viewing.
I can’t remember anything of the plot, who the characters were, who starred in it or which channel it was on, (there were only two in those days.) I do know it was filmed in glorious black and white and during the opening credits a grinning clown’s face flashed onto the screen. I have no idea what happened after that because I was behind the sofa, in bits for the next thirty minutes.
Ever since then I’ve studiously avoided clowns. I avoided their puny attempts to bribe me with a free balloon; I steadfastly refused to fall into the trap of laughing along with the unwary as they slapped custard pies into the faces of their stooges.
Even when I reached adulthood and worked out that these foul creations were made of nylon hair and makeup, I still refused to drop my guard; I knew there was something evil about them. Even the cartoon Krusty the Clown of The Simpsons freaked me out and I deliberately steered clear of MacDonald’s restaurants.
I was an adult when I read Stephen King’s most terrifying work; IT, and it scared the shit out of me. It was a tremendously scary book, but the ending was a huge disappointment. How could this malevolent, evil being have morphed into a giant spider? Surely it should have remained as a clown. I was seriously hoping to see the evil bastard get burned alive or sprayed with Agent Orange. It deserved a bad end.
Clowns are a creation of the Devil. From Grimaldi in the 17th century to Charlie Cairoli in the 1960s, these evil men have been allowed to terrify our children. There was a serial killer clown in the states called Pogo (John Wayne Gacy) who killed 33 boys and young men. Also in the states, father and son clowns were both divorced by their wives after the clown characters had taken over their personalities.
My daughter inherited my clown allergy though I think my son is fine with them. My wife doesn’t particularly like them but she isn’t a fan either. For years I thought I was the only one that had a problem with clowns, but apparently there is a recognised phobia called Coulrophobia and people have suffered from it since the days of the court jester.
I’m not really sure what causes my unease. Maybe it’s that mad, painted grin or the sad teardrop. Maybe it’s just that you can’t work out what they’re about because of that unchanging expression. Maybe it’s just the makeup itself.
To be honest, I can’t see it being as simple as that. I’m not scared of human street statues and I actually wear a red nose for charity every other year. I’m not even put out by Great Aunt Mabel when her inch-thick foundation cracks under the strain at a family wedding.
I have a friend on Facebook called Kathy Weaver-Gore and she’s a fellow Coulrophobic. She’s a runner and covers hundreds of miles a year. I have a feeling she might even win a marathon if she discovered a fellow runner, dressed in a clown’s outfit, running behind her.
I was delighted to discover that Coulrophobia existed. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my loathing of clowns and that there are millions of people who feel exactly the same. I only have one question. Where you were all when I was hiding behind that bloody sofa all those years ago?
To celebrate Children’s Book Week I am offering TEN eBook copies of the first in the Magic Molly series, Magic Molly and the Mirror Maze. Winners will have a choice of format to download.To be in with a chance of winning just leave a comment on this blog.
I sat down this morning to write a blog post detailing my thoughts on the publishing industry, particularly my place in it. As I began to write I had a strange feeling that I had read many of the points I was trying to make somewhere before. Worried about being accused of plagiarism, I sat back and thought hard. (Not an easy process for me these days.) I eventually realised that a very similar post had been written before… by me.
A quick trawl through my blog led me to a post titled ‘On a Whinge and a Prayer’ that was written on Aug 4th 2011. I read it with the growing realisation that, 21 months and five children’s book further on, eye problem aside, very little has changed.
Things have moved on in one area since the article was written. Children do now have access to Kindles, I pads and smartphones and that should mean more readers for self-published children’s authors. Should being the operative word. The real problem was always the fact that a male children’s author is always going to find it difficult, if not impossible to contact his target audience. I did have a bit of a boost in readership the year following the article because of increased tablet sales but things began to tail off again towards the end of 2012.I found this more than a little odd as I have always been told that the more books an author has on his list, the more readers the author will accrue. I have five more books on my Amazon list now, than I had when the article was written, but it hasn’t led to a increase in the number of readers I am able to attract.
For the record I didn’t write the book mentioned in the original article in 2011. I didn’t write anything at all that year because I was so disillusioned. That disillusionment has returned with a vengeance.
As for the rest of the article, the vast majority of the argument still stands. Publishers and agents still only want to sign celebs, but now they are trying to move into the self-publishing area themselves. Once respected agencies are getting into bed with companies offering dodgy deals to desperate authors who cannot find a home for their books in the traditional publishing world. Publishers are offering ‘self-publishing services’ that offer little more than the much maligned vanity publishers have on offer. The industry is broken and no one seems to have any idea how to fix it.
Self-publishing is the only option for the vast majority of writers and it is a good option if the sole aim is to get a book published. The problem still lies with exposure. The new author will soon find themselves lost in a sea of promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter, desperately trying to find the single sale that will push their book below the 100.00 rank for a day or two. Nowadays, the new breed of digital publishers and even the (so called) traditional publishers leave all of the marketing to the author. It makes you wonder whether a book deal has any real value at all.
I am delighted to announce the publication on Kindle of my latest book, Designer Shorts.
The book is a collection of short stories with a couple of humorous articles, excerpts from ongoing projects and a bonus poetry section at the back of the book which readers can ignore or indulge in, it isn’t compulsory.
The collection includes: The Zombie Poets, The Psychic, The Bath O Matic, Blind Date, Dinner for Two and The Job Club.
Many thanks to author David W Robinson for the loan of his knees for the front cover.
The book is priced at £1.53p a bargain by any standards.
When Faylinn Frost is woken up in the middle of the night by a fairy tapping on her bedroom window she thinks she is dreaming. The fairy turns out to be very real however, and she begs Faylinn for help. The fairy kingdom of Coldhaven is under attack from the evil Nathaniel and his creature, Sniffle. Nathaniel is capturing fairies and harvesting their magic dust to sell to the greedy people of the south lands. He has taken so much golden dust that the fairies can’t make enough magic to control the weather and Coldhaven is warming up.
The Fairy Queen has already moved north to find colder weather and if winter doesn’t return soon, the Ice Elves and Snow Fairies will have to follow her. The remaining fairies are convinced that Faylinn Frost can find a way to defeat Nathaniel and return Coldhaven to winter. Faylinn isn’t sure, but she is determined to do all she can to help.
Here’s an old poem I forgot I’d written. It was originally intended for a funny verse competition on the Writelink website. I think the theme was ’caught out.’ Needless to say it didn’t trouble the scorers. I don’t think I ever got as much an ’also entered,’ mention back then. This one didn’t even make the top ten although there were only twelve entries LOL.
A Grain of Truth
Under the boardwalk was playing and it did seem very apt
So I invited you under the pier with me and for once I didn’t get slapped.
The sky was filled with starlight; our passion flared then soared,
and though we heard our friends call out, their warnings were ignored.
A flashlight beam ripped through the night, a gruff voice yelled, ‘hey you.’
We leapt to our feet grabbing clothes as we ran, the policeman began to pursue.
We hid behind a beach hut, giggling as we dressed.
Then we wandered out onto the beach, hoping to avoid arrest.
We passed the same policeman; he gave us one long glare,
he can’t have helped but notice, you had seaweed in your hair.
We reached the pub and sat outside, increasingly aware,
of private parts becoming sore, that sand gets everywhere.
‘What an interesting device, Sir Oswald. What does it do exactly?’ Albert Parkin straightened his cravat, leant back in the stiff leather chair and took a sip from his brandy glass.
‘This,’ said Sir Oswald, ‘is my latest invention. I call it the IM machine. It is capable of sending short messages to recipients anywhere in the world. Providing they have one of these devices of course.’
‘Doesn’t the Telegraph system already do that?’ asked Albert.
Sir Oswald nodded. ‘Yes, but this little beauty can be set up in a person’s own home or office.’ A huge grin spread over his face. ‘No waiting for the delivery boy.’ Read more ›
Sir Oswald Hennessey chose a cigar from the cedar box, snipped the end and held it under his nose for a few seconds to enjoy its exotic fragrance. He lit it, took a series of quick puffs to get it going, then strolled across the sitting room to his favourite armchair. A few moments later the door opened and Hobson, Sir Oswald’s butler, showed Albert and Henrietta Parkin into the room. Henrietta rushed forward to greet Sir Oswald.
‘This is so exciting,’ she trilled. ’Thank you so much for inviting us.’
‘You are most welcome, Madam,’ beamed Sir Oswald. ‘I am humbled by such enthusiasm.’ Read more ›
All my children’s books are now available to buy either as an ebook or a paperback.
The ebooks are on the Amazon Kindle site. The paperbacks are available from Lulu. You can find my Trevor Forest Website, here. TREVOR FOREST WEBSITE and my LULU STOREFRONT
Peggy Larkin’s War AMAZON KINDLE Peggy Larkin’s War PAPERBACK
Woke up to a wonderful article by Gill James, of Bridge House publishing and The Cafe Lit project fame. Gill’s article uses my attempts to promote Peggy Larkin’s War via Twitter as an example in self promotion for self published writers. It’s a very good article regardless of the fact that I am mentioned and it’s well worth a read. You can find it here.http://bit.ly/maDafr
It’s been a while since I put fingers to keyboard to grace these pages with a few choice words so I thought today would be a good day to do it as not only have I had two bits of good news, I’ve actually achieved something I haven’t managed in weeks. I’ve written a few meaningful words down on a word processor page.
My mood brightened considerably today after being informed that I have won two books. The first was a signed copy of Gill James book, Babel, published by Red Telephone, (http://amzn.to/oT4EAS) which I won in a re-tweeting competition on Twitter. I did have to work a little bit harder to win the other prize. A few weeks ago I entered the Words with Jam, Last Words competition in which the entrants had 40 words to describe a death scene. My entry was one of five winners and we all receive a copy of Amanda Hodgkinson’s brilliant first novel, 22 Britannia Road, published by Fig Tree (http://amzn.to/qHDRng) You can read my winning entryin the latest Words with Jam magazine, here. http://bit.ly/qGIP0I It’s just inside the back cover.
I have to say I’m absolutely delighted to be receiving the two prizes and I’ll be watching for the postman with anticipation instead of the usual trepidation in the coming days.
In other news I’ve actually managed to write the first 1000 words of the new Magic Molly book. It will be called Magic Molly and the Bloodstone. It is effectively book three of the Magic Molly series. This one sees Molly getting her first cauldron which will enable her to make her own spells. She is given another task by the Magic Council and will have to get the better of goblins, a grey witch and a sulking dragon if she is to complete it.
I’m finding writing very difficult at the moment as I’m suffering from something called 6th nerve palsy. It seems that a vital nerve behind my eye has collapsed leaving me with double vision on the left side of my left eye. That in itself would have been bad enough but my right eye has been useless since I was a kid, it’s only there for depth of field really. This condition is stopping me working as I can’t drive. The benefits office has failed spectacularly to give a damn and has refused to reward me with a single penny. It’s something to do with me not buying enough Self Employed NI stamps over the last couple of years. So it’s all my own fault then, sob.
As things are, I’m struggling to read a computer screen, but if I put the text size right up and take very frequent breaks, I can manage to read the screen well enough to type out a few lines. I’m really pleased about this as I need to finish my book, The Duck Pond Lane Detectives this summer.
Maybe this bloody ailment was meant. I don’t think I would have mustered the time or enthusiasm otherwise. I’m writing Magic Molly before I finish The Duck Pond Lane Detectives because I was asked for more material by someone important who cannot be named. No, I’m afraid there isn’t a publishing deal in sight, sniff.
I woke up this morning feeling an urgent need to whinge. So I thought I’d better get on with it.
What follows comes with a government notice. Reading this may damage your mood. It may come across as defeatist and you may be left with the impression that I’m making excuses for my own failure. You have been warned.
I had a decent day yesterday on the writing front. I managed another 2.5k words over the day giving me a healthy running total of 4k. I’m going to try for another 1k today and see where it takes me. With my eye problem, I suppose anything I manage is a bonus.
I’m still wondering whether it’s all worth it. I’ve written four children’s books now, five really, because Magic Molly is two books that I glued together for a particular reason. I might actually get round to splitting it up again one day. Five books on the CV looks much more impressive than four.
The sad thing is, none of my books managed to attract a publisher, although I did work with an agent on Magic Molly for a while before being unceremoniously dumped via a curt email. Magic Molly also attracted interest from a small publisher, but I ended up being jilted at the altar when the company decided they weren’t going to set up a children’s imprint after all.
The vast majority of publishers and agents treated me to a form letter explaining that although they enjoyed my story very much, it didn’t fit their lists. One or two went further and said that the books were well written, but they had too many like it on their lists already.
I did my research and tried to work out exactly what it was that these publishers really wanted. I trawled advice sites and wasted hours of my life reading article after useless article on the topic. The vast majority of these, ‘experts,’ claimed that they knew the secret of how to land a publisher or agent. Although worded slightly differently, the advice boiled down to just two valid points. Make sure your MS is as good as it can be and research what a publisher/agent wants. NO SHIT! How long did it take these, ‘experts’ to think up those little gems?
Some sites advised that a writer needed to be different. If you think outside of the box then the industry will notice you. I don’t know how that approach fits in with the fabled publisher and agent ‘lists.’ It seems to me that anything out of the ordinary has very little chance of finding a place on one.
My time spent on this research wasn’t entirely wasted. The most important thing that came out of it was the gradual realization that most agents and publishers don’t really want new authors. Most publishing house budgets are blown on already published authors or advances paid to celebrity writers. No one seems willing to take a chance on a new writer any more. I can see the logic. Why bother trying to promote someone no one has heard of when you can ride on the slipstream of an untalented celeb who comes complete with a ghost writer?
The publishers and agents that deal with children’s writers seem to be the worst in this respect. I’m convinced that if I was a former member of a 1990s pop group or a failed reality TV star I could virtually write my own cheque, even if I that cheque was the only thing I’d written in my life. Sadly, because I never did manage to build up a screaming prepubescent following and as I never bared my breasts in a national newspaper, I had to accept the fact that I wasn’t likely to be in print any time soon.
In the end, I decided to self-publish.
Over the years I’ve made a lot of friends in the various writer’s groups and social network sites I belong to. A couple of people in particular gave me a lot of help and advice. One of them did a brilliant job in editing my books and I found a wonderful artist who didn’t charge me anywhere near enough for the fabulous cover art she created.
I threw everything at it to begin with. I pushed the books on all the social networks sites; I gave away copies to the schools and libraries in my area and drove a lot of bookstore owners crazy with my never ending phone calls. I published the MS’s as eBooks on Kindle and Smashwords and even handed out free copies to some of my online author friends in return for a review on Amazon.
Nothing worked though. Not really. I’ve sold a few ebooks and a few more paperbacks via Lulu but I haven’t yet recouped the cost of all the freebies I handed out. I think I may have gone a bit overboard in that respect.
The biggest problem when trying to sell eBooks, especially for children’s writers, is the simple fact that kids don’t own Kindles, Ipads, or Sony readers. A few may have smart phones but the age group I write for don’t have the resources to buy books from places like Apple. Until schools give out free Kindles to every child, children’s writers are effectively barred from this source of revenue.
On the plus side, the publishing world is changing. Established authors are finding that they can make much more by way of royalty payments if they manage their digital output themselves. Publishers will eventually be dragged, kicking and screaming into paying decent royalties to their authors for both new titles and back lists. But where does this leave the agent? I won’t use the obvious line (although I don’t really have much in the way of sympathy for them). There will almost certainly be a smaller piece of the cake for them in the future, which is why a few of them are now attempting to move into publishing themselves. It seems to me that there is a massive conflict of interest here. An agent‘s raison d’etre is to grab the best deal they can for their client, albeit for a cut of 15-20%. For them to now offer to publish the MS themselves, raises at least one important question. Can a writer’s representative really have an author’s best interests at heart when they act as both their agent and publisher?
A few weeks before I suffered the collapsed nerve behind my eye, I took the decision to give up writing for good. I had become totally disillusioned with the industry. I’m not one of those people who can write just for enjoyment, I write to be read and if I can’t get the readers then there seems little point turning out the books and articles. I began to lose confidence in myself, not just in my writing ability, and that came as a bit of a shock.
Over the last couple of years, I have, on occasion, allowed the inner critic take over and I convinced myself that the work I was producing wasn’t quite up to the mark, even though the feedback I received from both children and adults said the opposite. It was a conundrum and it made me seriously think about whether publishers and agents really do know what the public, especially children, actually want to read. It seems to me that they are seldom given the chance to decide for themselves. In the main, they get what they are given by an industry more interested in profit than quality or variety.
Over the next few months, because my ailment limits my ability to perform certain activities, I will have a lot of time to think about these issues. I will be able to write, albeit with difficulty, so it would be silly not to take the opportunity. Whether the work I turn out will be any better than the books I’ve already produced, remains to be seen. I may have already peaked, time will tell, I suppose.
Regarding my previous work, I do have one iron left in the fire with Magic Molly, but I won’t know how hot that iron is until November. It’s not a publishing deal unfortunately but there is a chance that it may lead to one in the future. I can’t say more for now as I don’t want to jinx it and there’s only a very remote chance of happening anyway.
Phew! I got it off my chest at last. If anyone got these far, congratulations, you have staying power. For all those who buggered off before the final whistle, you missed an injury time goal. Ha! Sticks out tongue and blows a huge raspberry.
I am not, as some people think, anti Nanowrimo. For the record I think it’s a great idea and I wish everyone taking part in this year’s event, every success. I’ve already managed to get myself into trouble with someone I have the utmost respect and admiration for, by posting a couple of what were meant to be, humorous posts on the topic. On reflection they might appear to be a bit harsh and not quite as funny as I intended, but I did take time to state that anyone taking part in the annual, November, self-flagellation contest; (joke alert,) has my utmost respect. That message seems to have been lost amongst the recriminations, and I seriously regret that.
So, what is my problem with Nanowrimo? I don’t really have one. The only thing I complained about was the amount of Facebook and Twitter time the event will consume. I moaned about the fact that my timelines would be inundated with daily/hourly/half-hourly progress updates from writers taking part. As my followers and friends lists are mainly made up of writers, I assume that I’ll be seeing more of these updates than most. I fully understand that participating writers will need support from their fellow literary masochists (joke alert) and I can see how writing about these problems could help others in the same predicament. My question was simply, why couldn’t the majority of those posts be made inside a specialist Nanowrimo environment, like an FB group or a forum? In that way they would have direct contact with fellow sufferers (joke alert) and they would, no doubt, get the advice (and or) sympathy, their situation undoubtedly deserved.
As points go, it’s a small one and I have no doubt that as I wade through the deluge of Nanowrimo posts (hash-tagged or not,) made on Twitter and Facebook over the next 30 days I may even offer up a sympathetic prayer for the poor unfortunate who has a stinking cold, (and or) has children off school, a hangover, a sprained wrist/broken arm, writer’s block, Measles, Mumps, Diphtheria, or memory loss. Anything in fact which denies them the chance to make their daily word count.
I do have to say that I will be glad when it’s all over and life in social media returns to normal Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but I’m used to being that.
As in life, for every thing that has a downside there will be something with an upside. I will almost certainly spend less time on Twitter and Facebook, (upside,) but because I’ll be skipping and skimming over my favourite people’s messages, I might miss something I’d rather have read, which is a very much a downer.
I wasn’t part of this excellent anthology but I do know many of the people behind the project and I’m delighted to help publicise it.
Foreign Flavours: A New Anthology from Writers Abroad
Online writing group Writers Abroad are proud to announce the publication of a new anthology of short stories and non-fiction articles, entitled Foreign Flavours.
The anthology takes as its theme food, drink and recipes from around the world. It is a tantalizing collection of fiction and non-fiction, full of spice and flavour and sprinkled with mouth-watering recipes. The wide-ranging, sometimes bittersweet contributions show how adaptable an ex-pat has to be to leave familiar dishes behind and venture into the culinary unknown.
This is the second anthology published by Writers Abroad. All the contributors are, or have been, ex-pats living in places around the globe. Alexander McCall Smith, acclaimed author of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series who himself was born abroad, has written the foreword. Read more ›
I have been given two, new fabulous reviews for my short adult fiction book, Tracy’s Hot Mail.
Tracy’s Hot Mail is available in paperback
A very enjoyable read. As a reader of this genre, I generally opt for female authours; so I was pleasantly surprised to find that a male authour could ‘pull off’ a convincing female character to such great effect. The e-mail format makes the reading experience, almost a guilty pleasure. If you like funny diaries and close up detailed internal narratives with a fresh contemporary feel, you’ll love this too.
Laugh Out Loud Funny
Tracy has a new office job, but she’s not about to allow that minor annoyance to interfere with important stuff like emailing her best friend, Emma. And there’s plenty to gossip about. For a start there’re her three bosses: Mr Tugger – who’s forever playing with something in his pocket, Mr Winkle – a happy soul with a lisp and a funny walk, and the serial backside-slapper, Mr Blunt.
Others at the sharp end of Tracy’s keyboard are Olivia – the office tart, Ms Broadbeam, Spotty Irene and Tommy Tightpecs the IT man. People outside the work environment aren’t safe from the Tracy treatment either as she keeps Emma up-to-date on the scandal involving Petrol Pauline from the garage and Mike the Mechanic.
And Tracy’s personal life fairs no better. Through her emails we hear all about the boyfriend – more preoccupied with girls online than with her, her benefit-cheat father, and the extremely creepy driving instructor, Mr Pranger.
The author has found the perfect voice for this character, there was something to make me laugh out loud in every chapter. This is a recommended read for any time you need cheering up or for when you’re in the mood for a right good goss.
I was on Facebook chatting to my good friends Maureen and David, yesterday, when the topic of men and ladies underwear came up. (Don’t ask). Anyway, the conversation reminded me of an article I wrote a couple of years ago. Just in case one or two of you might find it interesting I’m posting it here. Thanks for reading.
Buying Lingerie for Women. A Guide for Men.
Okay, it’s a birthday or anniversary coming up, and you want to get her something nice.
You’ve decided that you would love to see her in something sexy, slinky, or see through. She’s lost weight and you want to let her know you’ve noticed, or maybe, (more likely,) you’re just out of ideas and you have followed the siren’s call that has lured men to their doom for generations and decided to buy her lingerie.
This is where the female readers of this article clap their hand to their brow, shake their heads in disbelief and yell, ‘don’t do it,’ at the screen.
Well ladies, settle back, breathe easy and panic no more, because I’m about to give the guys a little advice on the do’s, (and more importantly,) don’ts, of lingerie purchasing.
Firstly, get some idea of what you want. In the old days, men had to sneak furtive glances at the women’s section in the Freeman’s catalogue or head for the ads near the back of the Sunday papers to get an inkling of what was available. Thankfully the Internet has changed all that and firing up Google could have you waist deep in knickers within five seconds. Read more ›
Overwhelemed by the response to my last post I’ve been into the archives and dug up this old, doddering article. Written in early 2009.
The First Date
Remember your first date? Were you nervous? I was bloody terrified. I remember it like it happened yesterday.
I turned up, shiny as a new pin having been washed and brushed until I glowed like the kids in the Ready Brek advert on TV. I wore my best Wrangler jeans, hipster style, complete with leather belt and gleaming buckle. My ‘look,’ was topped off with a pair of highly polished Chelsea boots and a ‘flower power’ shirt that wouldn’t have looked out of place hanging in my Gran’s bay window.
My hair was long, and parted in the middle as the fashion of the day dictated. I had made sure I was wearing clean underpants, although there was absolutely no chance that the object of my affections would be interested in them, let alone their contents.
My mum’s much delivered advice, about going out in clean pants in case you were run over had obviously managed to worm its way into a subconscious area of my brain which the maths teacher’s strictures on algebraic equations had spectacularly failed to find. Read more ›
At the end of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy found herself out of work but determined to make a new career for herself in the promo/modelling business. Since then Tracy has landed herself a dodgy looking agent called Shane Slider. Shane says she’s perfect for modern-day promotional work and he’s promised to take her to the top. Dad thinks he’s a chancer (it takes one to know one) and he’s after more than just her fabulous personality. Follow Tracy’s new adventures as she reveals her innermost thoughts via a series of emails, to her friend Emma at the bank.
21st June 2010. 21:03
Subject: Job Seeker
I’m officially a job seeker now, so can you put a word in for me with your boss at the bank? If he seems interested, tell him I’m good with money and I can do sums in my head. If you get the chance, tell him that I used to do the scoring for the darts team in the Dog and Duck when dad played. I’ll even consider part time if that’s all they have. I’ll take anything really, except cleaning, I don’t want to get hands like mum’s. I’ll never get any promotional work with hands that look like they’ve been attacked with a cheese grater.
Kiwi is still here. I warned her that I might have to leave next month if I can’t find any work and she’ll have to find the rent herself after that. She didn’t seem too concerned, she said with my qualifications I should easily be able to get a job at Asda; it’s nice to know she has confidence in me. Read more ›
I’m absolutely delighted to announce that today I signed a publication contract with Crooked Cat Books for Tracy’s Hot Mail. The book should be released in early January 2012.
I am proud to be associated with Laurence and Steph of Crooked Cat publishing and I am really excited to be working with them on this project. Many thanks to Emma Newman for the fantastic audio reading in the upcoming trailer.
In other news, I’m going to be bringing out a short, You Tube promo video for Tracy’s Hot Mail. The audio will be provided by the lovely, multi-talented, Emma Newman who will read a passage from the book. Emma voices Tracy perfectly and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Sending out a big hug for my brand new granddaughter, Minnie May Belshaw who should really have been born today, but got impatient to see grandad and arrived 6 weeks early. Love you lots Minnie
Lots of hugs for my kids book editor Maureen Vincent-Northam and her daughter Claire who have been though the mill a bit recently. Wishing you all the luck in the world this year.
I would also like to wish my prolific writer friend, David Robinson a happy and healthy new year. I hope 2012 sees your writing getting the exposure it deserves.
New year’s greetings to my artist friend Marie Fullerton who produced all the fabulous covers and illustrations for my Trevor Forest children’s books.
While I’m at it I’d like to thank Steph and Laurence at Crooked Cat Publishing for taking on Tracy’s Hot Mail and I wish you every success in your new venture.
Happy New Year greetings to my Twitter and Facebook friends, including Mandy, Suzy (Libby and Mia) Rachel, Rebecca, Anne, Liz, Abi, Marit, Pete, Kath, Pam, Tom, Jan, Colette, Marie, Laurie, Gill, and everyone else who helps make my daily online life such a pleasure. Special thanks to June Gundlack for all her support.
Happy new year to all the Belshaws out there. Have a brilliant 2012.
Finally, may I wish you, dear reader, a very happy and prosperous 2012. I will try to be a little more productive in the coming months. (Not promising though, I know me.)
For those who don’t know, Tracy’s Hot Mail has her own Facebook page we’d love to see you there, feel free to leave a comment, even if it’s only ‘bugger off Tracy, you stood me up you cow’
David Robinson my very good author friend has featured Tracy’s Hot Mail on his blog today. Again, feel free to comment, but please remember it’s not Tracy’s blog and any mucky comments may be removed or used in a blackmail threat. Read more ›
Just in case you live in the Andromeda galaxy, Murmansk or Rickmansworth and haven’t yet heard. Tracy’s Hot Mail was published by Crooked Cat Publishing today.
The book was launched amid much fanfare, gaiety and joy. Professor Brian Cox made a speech before setting off a mini rocket containing a copy of Tracy’s Hot Mail that will go beyond the far reaches of our solar system to hopefully be picked up by an alien race sometime in the future. ‘Tracy is fabulous ambassador for humankind,’ he said.
The space capsule also contains a pair of fake Stella McCartney jeans, a Primark top and some cloned Lavin sandals. Read more ›
Firstly I’d like to say thanks to everyone who supported the Tracy’s Hot Mail book launch on Friday. We managed to reach the dizzy heights of 29 in one Amazon chart and showed up in two others. We managed to get stacks of likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter so all in all it was a huge success. Big thanks to Crooked Cat Publishing for setting up the launch page and blog.
Since then we’ve been receiving some fabulous reviews and I’d like to share some of them with you.
Today sees the publication of the CafeLit 2011 anthology on the Kindle. Two of my short stories, The Quest and The 2nd Valentine’s Day Massacre are included. It’s available from AMAZON
The Creative Cafe scheme is a great idea. Read all about it here. CAFELIT They are taking submissions now, so if you’d like to see your work published on their website and stand a chance of getting into the 2012 anthology, take a look at their submission guidelines.
For those of you who don’t know I also write for children under the name of Trevor Forest.
For the next 3 days I am giving my book Abigail Pink’s Angel, away for FREE
Here’s the blurb
Abigail Pink is lying in bed with the flu when a Guardian Angel, meant for someone else, crash lands on her bedroom carpet. Abigail is at first delighted with her new friend, who shrinks her wings, discards her gown and dresses up like grungy pop star, Madam Meow. Abigail and Arella become firm friends but the relationship turns sour as Arella’s tricks and petty jealousies ruin Abigail’s home and school life. Abigail needs to be rid of her Arella, but the angel doesn’t want to go.
And if any of you are remotely interested here’s the link to the FREE book
I submitted three poems for this TMA. One 16 lines one 4 lines and one 18 lines. Here they be.
I Held You
We danced beside the river as the sun broke through the mist
In the warming of the morning I held you and we kissed
And later that same afternoon I held you as you slept
Then you had to leave me and I held you as you wept
I held you when we met again back home in winter rain
I held you in your ecstasy and in your guilty pain
I held you when you broke away to end the secrecy
I held you as, when giving birth, you screamed and cursed at me
I held you when the verdict came, that devastating call,
when fate tore away our happiness that morning in the hall
I held you through the anger, through the fear and misery
I held you on our final night, as you slipped away from me
I dream we dance an endless waltz, your head upon my cheek
I hold you close, you comfort me when everything seems bleak
I bless you for our daughter, there’s so much of you in her
We hold you in our memories, you never leave us there
I did something stupid. Then lied, but you knew.
I opened a window and love went on through.
I tried to revive it; I tried, how I tried,
but love froze to death in the cold dark outside.
Three pairs of lungs discharge vapour into the cold morning air,
parked cars display a gallery of ice art.
The village streets lie silent. Shadows our only companions, we pass by unnoticed.
Two tails synchronise with metronomic timing, wet noses uncover the night’s secrets.
The air is pure, unspoiled by traffic; we breathe deep and expel clean exhaust.
A lace-draped hedge shows off designer bling, a naked elm tree sulks nearby.
An unseen car door slams, engine whines twice, and dies.
Two heads tilt. Sounds are acknowledged, then forgotten.
A scent excites, leads are tight, a secret is discovered, a fox’s run?
In skeletal trees the dawn chorus awaits the conductors signal while
a warming sky bleeds red and gold. Street lamps cede to its majesty.
Curtains are drawn in upstairs rooms, cats call, demanding entry.
Stan’s corner shop awakes with blazing light.
Two bolts are drawn, the blind is raised. A small bell rings welcome.
Dogs wait impatiently. Stan appears armed with smiles and treats.
Warm engine ticks, stringed bundles drop, delivering news.
With folded headlines tucked away and wagging tails
we turn for home. The streets still quiet, we pass by unnoticed.
We need to be rid of the people who rule, they’ve no self respect left to sell,
And as celebrity now rules the media, let’s let it govern as well.
The worm’s turned at last, let’s select a new cast, it’s time to get rid of the vultures.
We’ll kick out the peers, with catcalls and jeers and adopt the celebrity culture
Though payment for services would be the norm, we’ll already know that they charge to perform.
Already expensive, when they say that they need, expenses, we’ll know it isn’t just greed.
We’ll all be excited at seeing the glamour, for PMQ’s thousands would queue up and clamour,
to hear what they thought of the day’s major issues, we’ll listen intently and cry into tissues,
as they warn that we need more MP’s apartments, since Madonna adopted the children’s department.
For armed forces minister, choose Captain Sharpe, he’s tall, brave, handsome and steady,
and for foreign sec, I’d have both Ant and Dec, cos they talk a strange language already.
Chris Tarrant would make a great chancellor, he’s tall and blond, clean cut and funny
He can easily handle a domestic scandal and he knows when to hand out the money.
For culture there’s nice Richard Madeley, he could job-share with Judy, his wife
Esther could help get the message across, when we moaned she could tell us; That’s Life.
The Home Secretary’s job goes to Forsythe; he’d clean up the place and the onus,
would be on quick feet, for the plod on the street or they’d forfeit their big Brucie bonus.
So who would we choose for the top job? Who’d put an end to the sleaze?
Who could take on the mantle of change? There’s just one contender, John Cleese.
With JC running the country, we’d no longer need a Guy Fawkes,
With Python in power; we’d get happy hours and a ministry of silly walks.
Sorry I haven’t written for a day or two, but my computer has had worms.
They got the IT man in to fix it. WOW! What a hunk. You know the Diet Coke advert where all those women have an 11.30 appointment so they watch that guy without the shirt drink his Coke? Well he looked like that. He had a t-shirt on, a tight one, and very tight jeans…MMMM.
Where was I? Oh yeah, he had a look at my PC and he said it would take a while to sort out. There isn’t a spare, so I just had to sit and watch him work. When he bent over to plug in his hard drive every woman in the office bent over their desks in a synchronised bum watch.
Spotty Irene let out a huge sigh and said that she needed to go for a lie down.
Olivia was trying to make out that her PC needed fixing too. She kept saying things like, ‘Oh dear, why did my mouse do that?’ and, ‘That can’t be right, I’m sure it didn’t do that yesterday.’
Tommy Tightpecs ignored her. He kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye, so I let my skirt ride up a bit. That got his attention because he wrote his number on my pad. All the girls saw him do it. If looks could kill I’d have been stabbed, poisoned, garrotted and shot, all in the space of 30 seconds.
I had him to myself for about an hour, although Ms Broadbeam kept coming over to offer him coffee every five minutes. She had a very strange look on her face as she put her hand on his bicep to get his attention. I think it’s been a while since she saw any kind of muscle.
Eventually he sorted my PC and said he had to do a quick check on everyone else’s. It seems that they all had worms too. But he knew how to get rid of them though and it only took a couple of minutes on each computer, much to the annoyance of the rest of the girls.
When he got to Olivia’s he frowned and said that she had major problems. Olivia said, ‘Oh goody,’ but then quickly changed it to, ‘Oh dear.’
Tommy Tightpecs told her that she was infected and she had given the rest of us worms.
That figures. I bet worms aren’t all she’s infected with, the tart.
That’s all for now Emma, I’ll let you know how I get on with Tommy in minute detail.
Part two of the Magic Molly series is avaiable now on the Kindle.
Molly Miggins has been given a task by the Magic Council. The task? To rescue her parents from the mysterious void where they were sent after a disappearing trick went terribly wrong. In book one Magic Molly The Mirror Maze, Molly managed to outwit a crafty wizard and rescue her father. Now the race is on to find her mother who has been captured and taken to another part of the void by the green, slimy, jellified ghost, Gloop.
Molly is assisted in her quest by the wacky Granny Whitewand, the old witch who can’t even remember Molly’s name. Aunt Matilda, who loves boy bands and keeps a secret pet in her handbag and Wonky, the ancient, damaged wand that she finds so difficult to control. Then of course, there’s Henrietta Havelots, the richest girl in town who is determined to thwart Molly at every turn.
Follow Molly’s adventures as she tries to find a way back into the void and rescue her mother from the clutches of Gloop, the jelly ghost who loves to tell his captives scary ghost stories before bedtime.
Hope you’re feeling better after your cousin’s wedding. It can’t be much fun being maid of honour when you’ve got a really bad hangover. I’m sure she’ll forgive you for throwing up on the wedding cake, I mean, It’s not like you did it on purpose is it? It’s probably her fault anyway. She’s the one who insisted on ordering a triple round of shots to wind up her hen night. I wasn’t too bad myself until then. It’s all right for her; she left with that sailor just after you fell off your stool, we had to find our own way home. Who was he anyway? The bugger had been hanging around us all night. I told him to piss off when he asked if I’d like him to show me the golden rivet. I’ve never heard of it but he said all boats have them and because the pub was called The Ship, they must have one somewhere. He said it was most likely kept in the empty function room at the back. I didn’t fancy crawling about on my hands and knees looking for it. I had that new Grattan’s mini dress on and I was down to my last pair of hold ups.
Dad swears he saw her coming out of that B and B in Shaw Street on Saturday morning when he went to get his paper. I suppose it was nice of the bloke to look after her like that. Anything could have happened to her in the state she was in.
How did the rest of your Jubilee weekend go? I had a lousy hangover on the Sunday. Mum had the TV on all day watching a load of boats float down the Thames. Her and Gran wore little plastic union jack bowler hats and waved flags every time they spotted the queen. There were a thousand boats altogether. I wonder how much a thousand golden rivets would weigh in at. I bet that sailor would know; he’s probably seen loads.
Dad refused to watch it. He said the queen would be first up against the wall come the revolution. Gran said the queen wouldn’t do it up against a wall even if she was drunk and anyway, she wouldn’t look twice at Dad.
Dad shook his head and made a gun with his fingers. Gran said her and the queen had a lot in common. Dad agreed and said she was freeloading off him just like Gran was. Mum said Dad should show some respect because the queen had been sitting on the throne for sixty years. Dad said he bet it stank of wee, just like Gran’s chair.
Dad went down to the Dog and Duck but came back complaining that it had been hijacked by royalists. It hadn’t really. Roy the landlord had just put a bit of bunting up to bring in the punters. Dad said if Roy made his beer taste a bit less like rat’s piss he wouldn’t need the bunting. Dad took twenty quid from Mum’s purse and said he was going to the labour club once he’d given Roy a piece of his mind.
I went to bed to sleep off my hangover in the afternoon. When I came down at teatime Mum and Gran were nowhere to be seen. I looked outside and they had set up a trestle table in the middle of the road. It was covered with a huge union jack tablecloth and paper plates with a picture of the queen on them.
There was queue of traffic all the way down the street. People had to drive up the kerb to get by. A bus driver told Mum that if she didn’t move her fat arse he was going to ring the police. Mum called him a miserable old sod and said Granddad had been in the war and had fought for their right to party. This was true. Granddad had been in the Home Guard but was thrown out for hitting his commanding officer when he was ordered to come out of the pub before closing time.
Not long after, a copper arrived. Mum and Gran refused to move so he had to ring for back up. Gran was a bit drunk by this time and tried to nick the copper’s helmet. The bus driver called Gran an old chav and said she ought to be on an ASBO. Gran said he should piss off back to his own country which didn’t really make sense because he lives on the street at the back of us and he went to school with Dad. Still, she was drunk and wasn’t to know that.
When the backup arrived a stroppy police sergeant told Mum that if she didn’t clear the road in five minutes flat she’d be forcibly removed. Mum took off her belt, tied herself to the chair leg and started to sing, ‘We Shall Overcome.’ Gran called the sergeant a fascist and said she’d never vote for the BNP again.
The policemen carted Mum and Gran into our front garden and chucked the table and its contents over the fence after them. Mum said she was going to complain to David Cameron because he had said anyone can have a street party. The cop said they probably could, but not without letting the council know about it and even then he doubted they’d give permission to have it in the middle of the A2422. He gave her a warning about future conduct and said she ought to give her neighbours a little consideration. Mum said her neighbours were a bunch of stuck up prats and she hadn’t considered inviting them anyway.
By the time Dad got back at midnight Mum and Gran were sleeping it off on the sofa. Dad made a cup of tea, scraped all the red, white and blue icing off a slab of sponge cake and took it to bed. I went up just after.
We’re off to the Queen’s Head pub tonight. They’re having a jubilee pageant. Dad says it’s all right because beer is half price until 9.o0 and anyway, he’s barred from the Dog and Duck until he apologises for calling Roy a forelock-tugging lickspittle. He won’t though. That’s the thing about Dad, he does have convictions.
I dunno, you look away for a few months and come back to find that I’ve written two blog posts in the space of a week.
‘What’s going on?’ I hear you ask.
Well, if you shut up for a minute I’ll tell you.
This week has (so far) been so full of good news that I felt I had to share. Firstly one of my Springer Spaniels, Molly, who was suffering quite a lot of pain with an abscess in a really awful place has responded to antibiotics and is now running around like a puppy. My granddaughter, Minnie, who had developed a nasty looking rash at the weekend has been given the all clear and has just been suffering from a viral infection. She’s only 6 months old so I was a bit concerned for her.Writing wise I responded to a suggestion by my mate David Robinson and wrote a new Tracy’s Hot Mail, email covering the topic of the Jubilee weekend. You can see it below this post if you’d like to read it.
The best writery type news came in the form of a brace of fantastic reviews for two of my children’s books, (for the uninitiated I write under the name of Trevor Forest for 7-11 year olds) Peggy Larkin’s War and Magic Molly the Mirror Maze. In one I was compared to Enid Blyton and in the other both Blyton and Dahl. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?The reviews, by Evie Glass and Rachel Dove, can be found here. Peggy Larkin’s War IndieE-BookReview and here. Magic Molly the Mirror Maze The Kindle Book Review
All I need now is the news that my football club, Nottingham Forest, have finally got new owners.
You wait for ages, then two come along at once. That’s how the old saying goes and in this case, it’s true.
After a bit of a time out, writing wise, I’m back with a vengeance. Writing with my children’s author hat on, I have somehow managed to write two new books, (insert shock emoticon here) They are, in no order of importance, Magic Molly, book 3 The Yellow Eye, and The Wishnotist. A sample chapter of each is available on the Trevor Forest website. www.trevorforest.com
In The Yellow Eye, Molly is given a new task by the Magic Council. To fulfil it, she must recover a stolen jewel that has been missing for over two hundred years and return it to its rightful owner; A sulking dragon called Fireshower. As if this task wasn’t hard enough, Molly won’t be able to use her trusty wand as all magic has been removed from the land she is sent to. There are lots of new characters in the book including, the dragon, (Fireshower is not his real name) Sniffing Sharon, a witch who constantly sniffs for any hint of magic, and a couple of Goblin kidnappers, who aren’t as tough as they think they are.
The Wishnotist tells the story of Jack and Luke. Jack is followed everywhere by a weird, creepy, woman who can grant any child, one wish. Luke has been confined to a wheelchair after a quick illness and Jack is a bit fed up of being ordered to spend all his free time with him. Jack is allowed to postpone his wish as long as his school friends keep making theirs. The Wishnotist looks into hearts and minds and always grants the wish, it’s just that they don’t turn out quite like they were meant to.
Molly Miggins is a junior witch who is given a place at the Witches Academy a year early. Molly is being fast tracked through the witch grades by the Magic Council who send her on a series of tricky tasks.
In The Yellow Eye, Molly is given a new task by the Magic Council. Molly is sent to the land of Splat to find a long lost jewel called the Bloodstone and return it to its owner, a sulking dragon called Fireshower. She must then persuade the dragon to hand over another jewel called The Yellow Eye which the Magic Council desperately wants to get back.
All magic has been removed from the land of Splat so Molly must find a way to complete the task and outwit a sniffing witch and a pair of crafty goblins, without the assistance of her trusty wand, Wonky
I discovered this in an old folder on my computer this morning. It was written a couple of years ago. As my sentiments haven’t changed since then I thought I’d give it an airing. It’s all about my dogs.
That Welcome Wag
It’s great having dogs. I know some people see them as a bit of a bind, I mean, they drop hair everywhere and they find and eat the most disgusting things. They sniff those embarrassing areas of our and each other’s bodies that we wouldn’t consider sniffing with a gun at our heads. They have to be farmed out while we take holidays abroad and they can cost a small fortune in food and vets fees.
But they are faithful, fun and affectionate. No matter how badly you treat them, they will always give you their unqualified love. They trust you implicitly, they are good company, they make you laugh and they keep you fit. Best of all, they are always pleased to see you when you get home after a long, lousy day at work. You don’t have to look your best for them and they won’t complain if you don’t clean up the bathroom after taking a shower.
Those readers unfortunate enough to be dog-less may not understand the point of this article. For those who own cats, (and I’m one of them,) you may get just a teensy bit jealous as you read on.
Think about the greeting you get from your beloved, pampered feline, as you walk in the front door. You call its name and after failing to get a response, you search the house from top to bottom before finding it sprawled over a pillow in your guest bedroom. The room your (cat hating, allergic,) mother in law, is going to be sleeping in over the weekend.
Suppressing any anger you may be feeling, you pick it up, carry it lovingly downstairs to its own warm, cosy basket and place a dish of fresh salmon or crab meat under its turned up nose. Tiddles doesn’t even bother to sniff at it, but glares at you as though you were feeding it poison.
So, you coo and make encouraging, ‘come and get din dins,’ noises. You talk to it like you are addressing a two year old child, but all you get as a reward is a view of its backside as it walks disgustedly away. Why should they suck up to you? Where were you when they wanted a cuddle and a fish lunch, hours ago? You think you can just come into their lives any time you want. Well you can’t, so there.
I remember coming home, pre dogs; to an empty house with nothing more than the kettle and TV to welcome me. I used to rattle about in the emptiness until my wife came home from work. The kids left years ago, not that they were much company after they turned teenager. A quick grunt and a moan about the contents of the fridge, was all I’d get before they stomped off upstairs to the solitude of their respective rooms.
Nowadays I am greeted with the brightest of welcomes from two animals who are genuinely pleased to see me. It doesn’t matter to them whether I’ve been out on a job for 4 hours, or just nipped down to the corner shop for milk. The greeting is exactly the same. They wag themselves into a frenzy of welcome and then greet each other, although they haven’t been anywhere themselves. It’s the best group hug you can get.
If I’m a bit down I could simply stand outside for five minutes, knowing that on my return I’ll get the sort of welcome normally reserved for homecoming heroes, or the bride at a Royal wedding.
I talk to them constantly through the day; they understand me, and my moods. They are happy if I get good news, their ears will droop if they pick up on the fact that something is wrong. If I offer a titbit or treat, I know it will be accepted gratefully and despatched with relish.
When I talk to my cats, no matter what the subject is; they’ll jump on to the nearest work surface, (although they are banned,) and demand food. If I give them food you can guarantee it’s not up to the required gourmet rating. Treats they loved yesterday are shunned today and you can almost hear them saying, ‘you expect me to eat that, again!‘
My girls sleep in their dog crates while I’m out, they are seldom locked. They could lie in the kitchen if they wanted to but they seem to prefer their cages. The crates are metal, mesh, and stand side by side under the workbench in my workshop, (an extension to the side of the house,) so they are together whether awake or asleep. Molly loves her cage. It’s her own personal space, somewhere to go if she needs a quiet moment and somewhere to be sent if she catches frogs.
Maisie is a little different. She likes her own space, but only when she decides she wants it. When we do need to lock them in, (when dog resistant visitors arrive for instance,) Molly will go straight to her crate without fuss. Maisie has to be led by the collar, back feet dragging on the floor as if she’s being taken away to be shot; or worse still, to the vet.
Once she has been shoved into the cage and the door bolted shut, she’ll throw herself onto her blanket and let out the biggest sigh you ever heard. Then she’ll go into a sulk that could give one of my cats a run for its money.
Once the visitors have gone and we walk through to the workshop to let them out. Molly will wag her un-cropped tail from the moment she hears the kitchen door open. Maisie stares out through the bars, like a lifer who has just learned their leave to appeal has been refused.
Once free she goes mad. We get leaped upon, licked and fussed over like she hasn’t seen us for a month. Molly knows not to jump up, (though she’d love to really). She wags like mad, sniffs us to see if we have been anywhere interesting, then rolls over for her favourite part of the welcoming ceremony; the tummy scratch.
Procuring a tummy tickle is Molly’s chief objective when walking on the country park. My girls are quite good. They don’t bound up to people enjoying a walk, with or without a pet of their own. They waggle up to them, tails swishing madly as if greeting a long lost friend. If they have a dog of their own, Maisie almost drags herself along the floor in submission. I’ve never seen a dog get as close to the floor as she does. It’s all an act though, once she realises that she’s not going to be eaten alive, she’s up and away into the fields. Should the other dog fancy a game of chase, so much the better; they can never catch her.
With people, acknowledgement is enough for Maisie. A quick hello from the stranger is all she requires from them before she heads off in search of something with a more interesting smell.
Molly is a people dog. She wags her way up to her new found friend and no matter what the weather, throws herself onto her back to encourage her admirer tickle her tummy. She succeeds in her quest 95% of the time. People think she is, ‘so cute’.
After thirty seconds of exquisite tummy tickling, Molly is up and off, wagging her way to her next victim while Maisie scours the hedgerows looking for whatever it was that pooped there last night.
I will never tire of the welcome I get from my dogs. Our relationship is built on an uncomplicated but binding contract. I feed them, groom them, walk them and love them. They give me everything they have in return.
I’ve been interviewed on Kim Walker’s excellent writers blog today. You can find it here if you’re interested. The topic is writing humour for both children and adults.
You may also notice a sponsored link on the right hand side of the page. It’s something I was offered this week and I was happy to try it out. For those of you who can’t spot it, it’s the Marks and Spencer’s wine link in the side panel. It’s up to you if you click on it or not. I’ll be honest and tell you I don’t get paid per click.
See you soon. I feel a blog post coming on and as it doesn’t happen often, I don’t really want to ignore the tug at my blogger sleeve.
Here’s your chance to win the proof copy of Magic Molly book 3 The Yellow Eye. The book will be signed and posted to the lucky winner after a free prize draw on 31st August 2012.
To be in with a chance of winning. Simply ‘like’ the Trevor Forest author page on Facebook and leave a message with the name of the entrant. You can find the page here. TREVOR FOREST FACEBOOK PAGE If you have already liked the page just leave a message.
The lucky winner will be announced on Facebook. on the evening of the 31st August 2012.
The proof copy is a full copy of the book, sent from the printers, so that the author can check for typos and other errors. It has the word proof stamped inside the back cover. The bottom cut of the book is not quite even, other than that, it’s the same as the retail book on Amazon. So, in reality, the winner will have the first ever paperback copy of Magic Molly book 3 The Yellow Eye. Cool, hey?
To celebrate this week’s paperback launch of Tracy’s Hot Mail (Crooked Cat Publishing) I’ve penned a brand new, Olympic sized episode.
Hope you like it.
GOING FOR GOLD
17:45 pm 15th August 2012
I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed the Olympics. I didn’t really think I’d bother with it to start with but I ended up getting really caught up in it all. I watched so much of it that I started getting muscle cramps when I stood up to go to the loo. Dad loved the Olympics, especially the women’s beach volleyball. I haven’t seen him so excited since he found a winning betting slip on the floor of the Dog and Duck.
When that Mo Farrah bloke won his second race, dad leapt into the air and ran around the kitchen doing the Mobot. Gran just squinted at the TV and said, ‘doesn’t he drive the bus on the 23 route.’
Dad called gran a racist old bag but mum said it was an easy mistake to make. She said that she knew who gran meant, but it couldn’t be Mo Farrah because she saw him in Asda last week and he walked with a really bad limp. Gran said he probably did that to fool the Social Security. Read more ›
I’ve been asked many times where Tracy comes from, who she is and do I know her personally. The easy answer to these questions are, as follows;
She’s a 19 year old office worker
I know that won’t be enough information for some of the nosier readers of this blog, so I’ve decided to answer some of the more frequently asked questions.
1 Where does Tracy come from?
Tracy is a girl from a big town, not a city, although she might like the idea of living in a big city I don’t think she would last five minutes there. She’s too naive for her own good at times.
2 Who is Tracy?
I’ve been asked this many times and the best answer I’ve come up with is this:
Tracy the character was born after I listened in on the conversations of six or seven, late teen/early-twenties females on the bus to town over a period of three days. My car was in for repair and for once in my life I was able to thank public transport for a few pleasurable journeys.
Tracy is every girl on the bus, every girl who has a boss, every girl who works in an office. She’s the girl on the end of every lousy chat-up line. She’s the girl that older men fancy, the girl that has opinions on everything and everyone; even if those opinions are based solely on second or third hand information.
3 Do I know Tracy personally?
No, Edward, now please get back to your homework.
4 Why can’t we read Emma’s replies in Tracy’s Hot Mail?
There is a perfectly good reason for that and I thought long and hard about it during the writing process. It would have been good to hear Emma’s replies and learn a little about her life through her own words, but had I allowed this to happen, the book would have become Tracy and Emma’s Hot Mail and that was not the book I had planned to write. Tracy is this fabulous gossip machine, an amalgamation of seven of her peers. She has a unique personality I didn’t want to detract from the power of Tracy’s words. To keep Tracy’s pre-eminent position intact, Emma’s emails would have to have been made so bland and uninteresting, that they wouldn’t really have been worth reading. Because of that, I couldn’t see the point in allowing her to have her own voice. We do get to know a fair bit about her through Tracy’s replies anyway.
5 Do you know Tracy’s phone number?
No Edward, I don’t. Now, get your homework done. I won’t tell you again.
If you have a question for, or about, Tracy, just leave it as a comment on this blog and I’ll try to answer it.
6 Can I…?
Edward, if you don’t stop this right now you won’t be going to the BMX track on Saturday. Do I make myself clear?
I am delighted to announce the release of my ninth children’s book (written under the pen name Trevor Forest) The new book is the follow up to Stanley Stickle Hates Homework and is titled Stanley Stickle Does NOT Have A Girlfriend. The book is suitable for any child aged 7-11 although I know good reader 6 and some 12 year olds like Stanley.
In Stanley Stickle Does NOT Have A Girlfriend, Stanley returns to school after illness to find that Soppy Sonia is telling everyone that she is Stanley’s girlfriend. Worse still everyone believes her. Stanley’s woes are exacerbated when he finds his drama teacher is hoping he will play the lead role in the school production of Oliver. Stanley needs a plan. The best plan a boy ever had, and he need it quick.
The book is available in Kindle and paperback formats and can be purchased HERE
I am delighted to announce the release of the wonderful Deck The Halls Anthology from Emergent publishing. I am even more delighted to announce that one of my stories, Hail The New, is included.
Deck the Halls Unveiled
After a very long wait, we have the pleasure of sharing our latest anthology today. Deck the Halls: tales of festive fear and cheer is a collection of twisted non-tradition, non-Christian stories set in the holiday season.
Remastered and extended, Deck the Halls: tales of festive fear and cheer includes eighteen of the original web-released stories from 2010, fourteen brand new offerings from authors such as Nik Perring, Nicole Murphy and Steve Cameron, and original artwork from Andrew McKiernan.
DECK THE HALLS traverses the joy and jeopardy of the festive season, from Yule to Mōdraniht, Summer Solstice to Years’ End. The stories journey through consternations and celebrations, past, present and future, which might be or never were.
Along the way you’ll meet troll hunters, consumer dissidents, corset-bound adventurers, a joint-toking spirit, big-hearted gangbangers, an outcast hybrid spaceship, petrol-toting politicians, mythical swingers and a boy who unwittingly controls the weather.
Heart-warming and horrifying, the collection is a merry measure of cross-genre, short fiction subverting traditional notions of the holiday season.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Touched Rowena Specht-Whyte
Drench the School Benjamin Solah
Coming Home Rebecca Dobbie
While You Were Out Sam Adamson
Twenty-Five Rebecca Emin
A Jolly Pair Christopher Chartrand
Gays and Commies Graham Storrs
A Better Fit Jen Brubacher
Salvation Nicole R Murphy
A Troll for Christmas Jo Hart
Modraniht Kate Sherrod
Bosch’s Book of Trolls Susan May James
‘Til Death Do Us Part Emma Kerry
High Holidays Dale Challener Roe
The Headless Shadow Jonathan Crossfield
End of a Tradition Paul Servini
Weatherboy Nik Perring
Not a Whisper Lily Mulholland
Lords of the Dance Janette Dalgliesh
Through Frosted Glass Laura Meyer
Midsummer’s Eve Stacey Larner
Yuletide Treasure Rob Diaz II
Broken Angel Jodi Cleghorn
A Golden Treasure Chia Evers
Fast Away Jim Bronyaur
Apprentices to Time Icy Sedgwick
Unfolding Alison Wells
Egg-Ceptional PJ Kaiser
Hail the New Trevor Belshaw
Perfect Light Dan Powell
Softly Sing the Stars Steve Cameron
Through Wind and Weather David McDonald
All paperbacks are bundled with a complimentary eBook.
For more than three copies contact us sale[at]emergent-publishing[dot]com for discounts on shipping.
Today I also received a sack full of letters from the children of class j4b Hamilton College who completed a school project on my book, Stanley Stickle Hates Homework. I’d like to thanks the kids for their amazing letters which I read three times over. Thanks also to their absolutely fantastic teacher Carol Haire for choosing to read Stanley Stickle to the class and for setting up the project. Delighted doesn’t come close to expressing my feelings. I hope the kids enjoy reading the new Stanley Stickle book that should be landing on their teacher’s desk on Monday. The Stanley Stickle books are available in paperback and Kindle editions. Free postage from Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=stanley+stickle
Thanks so much for the Moonpig birthday card and the fab pressie. I love the photo-shopped pic of me groping David Beckham in his boxer shorts. Mum brought my cards and presents up to my room so I could open them in bed. Your card looked so real it made me feel a bit funny. I pulled Jessica Rabbit out of my bedside drawer but the batteries had run out. Read more ›
On the eve of her ninth birthday Molly Miggins visits the funfair where her parents are due to perform a live magic show. Molly’s mum is a High Witch and her father is a stage magician who uses real magic.
During the performance the disappearing trick goes badly wrong and both of Molly’s parents vanish. Molly meets a wizard who tells her that only she can rescue them.
To succeed in her quest Molly must become a junior witch and try to find a way into the mysterious ‘void’ where her parents have been trapped. At the witches academy Molly is given an ancient, damaged wand called, Wonky, but because of a slight twist in the wand Molly finds it almost impossible to aim a spell accurately. Can Molly master the wand and rescue her parents before the wizard’s deadline or will the nasty tricks and traps he has placed in her way prevent her from fulfilling her quest?
Faylinn Frost was fast asleep when the snow fairy tapped on her bedroom window.
She opened one sleepy eye and looked towards the sound of the tapping. The snow that had started to fall just before she went to bed was still falling heavily and a large pile had built up on her window sill. Faylinn was just about to doze off again when she saw a tiny, blue figure darting backwards and forwards between the panes of glass. Fascinated, she slipped out of bed and hurried across the room.
‘There’s a fairy outside my bedroom window,’ she gasped.
Faylinn rubbed her eyes and looked again, convinced that she was still asleep. To her amazement, the fairy was still there, tapping excitedly at the glass. She wore a sparkling blue dress, a silver tiara and had a pair of delicate white wings on her back. In her hand was a silver wand with a snowflake-shaped tip. She tapped at the window again with her wand. She was trying to tell Faylinn something important, that was obvious, but she couldn’t make out the words.
Faylinn opened the window slowly. The fairy hovered just outside.
‘Hurry,’ she said.
‘Pardon?’ said Faylinn.
‘Hurry, you must hurry.’
Faylinn yawned and rubbed her eyes again. ‘Why must I?’ she asked sleepily. ‘You’re only a dream after all.’
The fairy waved her wand impatiently. ‘Hurry, please, you must hurry or the door will be closed.’ Read more ›
I’m happy to say that I have finally managed to get started on my new book, (I’ve written the prologue at least,) and I know just about everything that’s going to happen in the story of Clarissa Crumb, Changeling. Don’t quote me on that however; I have a catalogue of stories that I thought I was writing. Well, you know what thought did.
I get carried away, that’s the problem. I can be three quarters of the way through a book when suddenly, a new idea pops into my head and no matter how many times I tell myself to stick to the plan, the thought just has to be followed up. It can mean a fair bit of rewriting just to fit a silly notion in, but I have to do it. The book may not end up being as good as it could be if I don’t. I’d always be left thinking, what if? I’ll state now that Clarissa Crumb will arrive sometime this year, but she may not be quite the same person she was a couple of short weeks ago.
I’ve more good news to share too. A flash Steampunk story I wrote a while back called The Instant Message Machine, is going to be published by those lovely people on the Cafe Lit web site. Another of my shorts, The Zombie Poets, is going to be published in Awesome Magazine and I’ve just finished an interview for a fab blog that will be published in the not too distant future.
I’ve also just had about 1200 books downloaded in Amazon kindle format when I put three of my books up free for a couple of days. If any of the downloaders find their way here, I’d like to say, hi, and thanks for reading.
I’ve a few bits of news today. I published the frst draft of chapter one of Clarissa Crumb, Changeling on my trevor Forest website. You can read it, here. Marie Fullerton sent me the new cover for the book whic I’m posting on this blog and I’ve been interviewed by that fab writer Richard Hardie, author of The Temporal Detective Agency series, on his blog.