Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Is everyone enjoying Christmas?

Evening folks,

Merry Christmas. We've had a winner so far. The prep I'd done with regard to the wife's presents proved to be perfect. She went utterly berserk when she realised what was going on and spent most of the morning dancing around like an excited puppy. It also took her nearly an hour to open all her gifts. Job done.

In other news this blog has had 4747 views since I began it just over 12 months ago so I must be doing something right.

Finally, since I know so many people who received ereaders today, my festive short story The Storyteller is free on Amazon worldwide as from tomorrow. Dive in and help yourself to a copy.

Right, I've got better things to do today, not least makng a start on my Bond Blu Ray Box Set. Thanks to the wife for that.

Have a good one.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Are you all set for Christmas?

Afternoon gang,

So we're nearly there. I've bought all the presents I'm going to buy. The wife and I did our festive shop at Sainsburys last night and everything is wrapped.

The busiest week of the year at work is now behind me and, with me at the helm, it was a total success. I have just 7 working days left until I start my new job. Can't wait. Gonna be a bit weird being the new kid again and it will be very strange not being the most knowledgable person in terms of what I do. Still, they're paying me plenty so I'll soon grasp what's going on.

Anyway, here's the thing. I've just about finished the second draft of the new book but I'm not going to publish it for Christmas. As I've said previously there's a lot more to this story than I originally thought and I want to take the time to get it right. As such I'm going to hang fire until I'm certain I've done it justice. Don't panic, it'll be worth the wait. And then there's the sequel to the Jazz Cafe to look forward to as well. So 2013 promises to be very positive on the book front.

Right, I'm going to look at a few more pages while I wait for people to arrive. I've got two friends staying tonight. There's a few of us off out for festive ales to kick off the season. Then tea with more friends tomorrow and out on Christmas Eve as well before the big day.

Merry Christmas to you all. Thanks for reading and following my blog, it's much appreciated.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

So I ran into Ian Rankin the other night...

Evening troops,

The wife's watching the Girls Aloud programme on ITV so I thought I'd knock off a quick blog post.

It was our second wedding anniversary on Thursday and we went to Preston where Ian Rankin was doing an appearance to promote his new book Standing in another man's grave.

We hadn't planned it to be our anniversary night out obviously but I'm glad it worked out that way.

We've seen him before in Lancaster and he's a pretty effortless speaker, very laid back as if you're listening to someone in a pub over a pint.

Afterwards we dutifully joined the queue, bought a book and had it signed by the man himself. I've attached a pic. He wrote Happy Anniversary in it too, which the wife liked.

For anyone interested, there's a programme on Boxing Day called Doors Open. It's an Ian Rankin story and Stephen Fry is in it. Probably worth a look.

Right, that's all for now. I've got a few projects on tonight and then, at about 2AM, it's the Rolling Stones pay per view live from New York on Sky. It's gonna be a late one.

By the way, sales are slow this month in America so if you're reading this over there feel free to dive in and make a purchase.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What does Christmas mean to you?

Evening gang,

A regular reader, trusted associate and long time colleague pointed out today I'd been a bit slack on the blogging lately. I pointed out I've been hard at work editing my soon to be published new novel The Trust. Interestingly, said colleague is the inspiration behind one of the central characters. Sadly that character is a murderous lunatic. Still, I'll let him see an advance copy and if he's happy with it then he can have a signed one.

Oh, and just so we're clear. There's no evidence to suggest he is murderous. But of course, the clever ones don't leave a trail.

Anyway, we've got the tree up at the homestead and a big old sod it is too. Have a look...

Which brings me nicely to tonight's topic. I'm not a massive fan of Christmas as a whole. I loved it when I was a kid. Always got lots of presents, loved being off school etc. But now I'm in a position where I can just buy any gift I might fancy so from a purely material point of view Christmas has no benefit. I also have a job which doesn't really enable me to have any time off aside from Christmas Day and Boxing Day so it's not like I'm at home watching lots of festive tele either.
So what is Christmas to me? Well I do like buying stuff for the wife. And I do like having a nice tree. I also quite like going out for festive lunch with the family, especially since my parents always pay. But this year it also marks an occasion. This year marks my transition from my existing job, which I loathe, to my new job, which I pray will be better. It's certainly more cash, which is nice.
I was at Lancaster Cathedral at the weekend. It was the annual Light up a Life service for St John's Hospice and the wife asked me to go and help clear up afterwards. I also wrote two of the readings used in the service which, I'm told, were very well received. To the folk at this service Christmas is all about remembering loved ones, missing folk and rebuildng their lives which seems a lot more important that presents and a smart tree.
I also went to visit the wife's grandmother at the weekend. We had a nice lunch and she gave us a chest of drawers. She also said she no longer puts up a Christmas tree as it's too much like hard work and she goes away for the holiday rather than spend it with any family. That struck me as quite sad that she'd rather be with strangers than family. Mind you, I've met them and I'd be tempted to go away on my own as well!
So all this has got me thinking. What does Christmas mean to everyone? Family, tree, presents, church, being on your own, time off work?
As for me, I'll be hoping to publish the new book in time to tap into all the new ereaders which people will receive at Christmas. Keep watching for updates!

Until next time...

Saturday, 1 December 2012

What did you do today?

Evening folks,

Regular readers will know I often wander off topic so tonight I'm going to start right on topic and see where we end up.

Today I got up at 11:30AM. I ambled downstairs, flicked on the kettle, made a brew and then switched on the laptop. I cracked on with the editing on my book, working title The Trust, and it went really rather well.

Just as an aside (here we go, off topic alert!) I'm almost halfway through the second draft and still hopeful the book will be available before Christmas. You might recall it's a book from my back catalogue (2006 or there abouts). I'd anticipated tidying it up and publishing it before returning to my main project which was editing the newly written follow up to The 24 Hour Jazz Cafe. But The Trust has developed into much more than I'd imagined. The plot is strong and the themes are still very topical, to the extent that I was reading a relevant piece in todays edition of the i newspaper.

So, in short, I'm taking my time on the editing until it's just right. If this means publishing after Christmas then so be it. It's a winner though and I'll start revealing plot details in coming weeks.

Anyway, let's return to the topic. After an hour or so of editing the phone rings. It's the wife. She's out and about doing stuff and wants to know if I want to go out for lunch. Neeldess to say I do. So she picks me up and we mooch into town, have a very pleasant lunch at Sun Street Cafe (where I perused the i newspaper mentioned earlier). After this we picked up her oldest niece and went to watch Silver Linings Playbook at the local cinema.

I was expecting very little, although I like Bradley Cooper a lot. But the film is actually very good, well cast, pretty well written and both Cooper and the female lead Jennifer Lawrence are very good in their portryals of folk with mental issues. Sadly the cost for three of us with one popcorn was £27!!! Madness.

My evening consisted of roast chicken for tea, an episode of The Hour and now I'm blogging about it all.

Now to meander off topic again. The Stones gig on Thurday night was epic! Wildly expensive but they really know how to put on a show. That said, Bruce Springsteen has announced UK dates next year. He is known for playing at least three hours, has a stellar back catalogue. Ticket price £55-68. The Stones? £250. Hmm.

Tomorrow's plan? More editing before the drudgery of the day job on Monday. There was something else I was going to mention but I've lost my thread.

Last of all, I'm not getting any joy reader wise from Wattpad. I might well stick something else on there but to be honest I think I might let it go. We shall see.

Until then...