Friday, 20 June 2014

Four weeks away

His large, muscular fist–almost the size of a ham joint–grabbed the mug of tea I’d just poured for myself. He took a large gulp and turned to look down at me. I guess he must have stood about six-foot-four, with shoulders like an ox and a body-builder’s body. He wore shorts, a t-shirt, and big leather boots that finished just above his ankles. ‘Thanks for the tea, sir. You ready then?’ he asked, looking at me after he’d drained the mug. He was the first in the house of the four men who’d come to move us from where we’d lived for twenty-three years to a house eighty miles away. The next man to appear was short, wiry, and bald-headed with three-to-four day stubble, strong-looking limbs, and a smile that showed up his missing three front teeth. He drunk coffee all day and kept nipping out for a fag–as he’d say. The third and forth guys came into the house at the same time. One was only a couple of inches shorter than the large, ham-fisted muscular guy, and had an earing and skull and crossbones tattooed down both his upper arms. He was the chattiest of them all, and had a phone in his pocket, belting out rap music that he danced to while carrying crates of our belonging or pieces of furniture to the large removal van. The last of the four was younger, smaller, and quieter than the other three, and was a little overweight compared to his colleagues, but worked as hard as them.      
We knew the house we were moving had been neglected, and we’d planned and budgeted to do whatever was necessary to turn it into a home we’d be proud of. But we hadn’t expected the disaster we found!
Day one the hot water and central heating system breaks down, door handles fall off doors, the automatic rear gates to the drive stop working, and our delightful, young, French daughter-in-law–staying with us to lend a hand–said, ‘Why is it raining in the kitchen?’ Water was pouring through the ceiling from the bathroom above the kitchen, where her husband, our son, was taking a shower! Well, after many more similar disasters that day, we all flopped on the floor, drank beer and wine, ate crisps, and decided to walk off to find the nearest restaurant that’d allow four indescribably dirty, scruffy individuals to go in to have a meal.
And that was when the delights of the Chichester, the town we’ve moved to, started to unravel. Many good, varied restaurants and bars are within five minutes walk. The city, dating back to Roman times, is pretty, has been well preserved and maintained, and there are a large variety of shops, both national brands and independents. We’re a short drive from stunning countryside and one of the best beaches in Great Britain. It’s the sunniest spot in the UK and seems to have a friendly atmosphere and pleasant feel about it.
So, after four weeks of non-stop work, having most of the problems fixed or planned to be fixed, spending bucket loads of money, and feeling positive about our new location, I’m able to write this first blog after a while away.
Sorry about the delay. Been fixing a shelf, unpacking a box, hunting for lost possessions, pulling up thick, tall weeds, moving furniture, and more!        
~~~
Join my mailing list and get a signed, printed copy of Playing Harry for free. Include your postal address and zip/post code. Available to first three who sign up.
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series. A further book will be added each week.

And two unedited chapters of work in progress.
Fire (working title)
~~~
The Harry Fingle Collection–a trilogy that makes Watergate look like a kids’ tea party.
Harry Fingle is an investigative journalist who takes no prisoners, does no favours, and digs until he exposes the truth. He’s honest, popular, but a danger to some people. When his brother and sister-in-law are murdered and he’s fired for no reason, it’s time to bring those who want him dead to account.
Working on and off with his ex-lover, he realises he’s unearthed a conspiracy so shocking it implicates governments. Harry does what he does best. He charges on, regardless of whom he might upset. But then a ruthless Russian assassin is hired…
Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer
How it all began, an interview with Harry, the guys in his life, and some excerpts from the three books.
Available at: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
~~~
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
Available at: amazon.com, amazon.co.uk.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
Available at: amazon.co.uk, amazon.com  




Friday, 2 May 2014

Just write

Amidst the chaos of moving, I came across a leaflet on writing called Just Write. It’s packed with useful advice to writers. It’s not digital, and I haven’t time to copy all of it, but I’ve jotted down, in note form, the main points. It’s not for sale, but has been published by an organisation called the Just Write Group. Here’s some links:
Twitter: @JustWriteGroup
   




Notebook or digital note taker at the ready.
  • Always write about anything, just to keep writing. Describe the clutter on your desk and see if it makes sense–it’s just for you.
  • Keep a note of all ideas, think of them as opportunities. They might go away. It’s tempting to wait for the idea, instead remember real writers write, and they make ideas happen.
  • ‘The prerequisite for me is to keep my well of ideas full. This means living as full and varied a life as possible, to have my antennae out all the time.’ Michael Morpugo.
  • People-watching. People are everywhere. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll soon start to gather material. Learn to sit quietly in public places and watch what is going on.
  • Collect newspaper stories; even try rewriting them to suit your book.

Read, read, read.
Write what you like to read.
Plan or not to plan. There are different methods of planning a novel. Some writers plan in great detail, others not at all. Here’s what Stephen King has to say.
‘The situation comes first. The characters–always flat and unfeatured, to begin with–come next.
‘Once these things are fixed in my mind, I begin to narrate. I often have an idea of what the outcome may be, but I never demanded a set of characters that do things my way. On the contrary, I want them to do things their way. In some instances, the outcome is what I visualized.
‘In most, however, it’s something I never expected.’ Stephen King, On Writing.
Characters.
Sometimes people talk about characters and plot as if they are totally separate things. They aren’t. Plot is what happens to the characters. Characters are the heart of writing fiction. It’s their story, it’s their conflict, and it’s their narrative that drives everything.
‘When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situation they suggest to him.’ Luigi Pirandello.
Your character’s things–an exercise.
  • Write down a list of twenty-five things that one of your characters might own. Don’t spend too long thinking about it. Let your unconscious do at least some of the work here.
  • Now choose five of those items and write down how your character came by them.
  • Now choose one object that your character might prize above all the others and write a short scene describing what happens when that object goes missing.

Other tips and quotations.
Creating a story. Remember:–
  • The quest.
  • Love.
  • Hate.
  • Fish out of water or role reversal.
  • Moral or ethical issues.
  • Who wants what and how they can get it.

‘The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict, conflict.’ James Frey.
‘The only kind of writing is rewriting.’ Hemingway.
Cutting, reshaping, and reworking may very well be the most creative stage of the whole writing process.
‘Editing is everything. Cut until you can cut no more. What is left often springs into life.’ Ester Freud.

Good writing.

~~~

Join my mailing list and get a signed, printed copy of Playing Harry for free. Include your postal address and zip/post code. Available to first three who sign up.
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series. A further book will be added each week.

And two unedited chapters of work in progress.
Fire (working title)
~~~
The Harry Fingle Collection–a trilogy that makes Watergate look like a kids’ tea party.
Harry Fingle is an investigative journalist who takes no prisoners, does no favours, and digs until he exposes the truth. He’s honest, popular, but a danger to some people. When his brother and sister-in-law are murdered and he’s fired for no reason, it’s time to bring those who want him dead to account.
Working on and off with his ex-lover, he realises he’s unearthed a conspiracy so shocking it implicates governments. Harry does what he does best. He charges on, regardless of whom he might upset. But then a ruthless Russian assassin is hired…
Available at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer
How it all began, an interview with Harry, the guys in his life, and some excerpts from the three books.
Available at: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
~~~
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
Available at: amazon.com, amazon.co.uk.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
Available at: amazon.co.uk, amazon.com