Friday, 15 February 2008


I've been a bit of a fairweather blogger of late. I think I've lost faith in the potential of the blog to attract interested parties to my novel. I'm therefore using a completely unrelated post title in the hope that I pick up a little interest this way. In relevance the photo here is one I took on holiday in Athens last year and one of the potential choices for the cover of Martha's Vineyard let me know if you think the one I've chosen is better.

Monday, 19 November 2007

I'm a hard worker but I ain't workin' on a Monday.

Monday is generally my day off from the day job and today was no exception. I had occassion to be close to the home of my friend and blogging confederate Mscatcalls and so I took the opportunity to have a ride up the coast to visit St Mary's island, of which there are some wonderful photos (and other parts of England's rugged North East coast) on her blog, check it out.
There is something wonderful about being off work on a Monday. Everyone else is back in the office or getting used to the daily grind of the new week's challenges and while they are adjusting to this I usually get the chance to indulge some whim. Today's whim was a visit to the coast on a wild, wintery, wet, wonderful November morning. The waves pummelled the shore and the driving wind almost pinned the doors of the car shut. I forced my way out into the magnificent, howling majesty of it and swayed and staggerred my way to the sea's edge.

It was beyond "bracing" the icy pinpricks of rain nipping into my face and blurring my specs and as I stood at the water's edge I spotted in the distance, maybe a mile offshore, a large cargo ship slowly venturing out into the wilds of the North Sea. I thought about how the crew of that ship were facing the start of their new week. I felt worried for them and their loved ones and at the same time priviledged that I was in the enviable position of being an observer rather than a participant in that particular drama. I hoped whatever they had brought here was really important and whatever they were taking back was just as valuable. It would be a sadness to think they were risking the perils of the deep to bring Nintendo WII's or playstations. It made me think of the Masefield poem

" Cargoes"

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir

Rowing home to haven in sunny Palastine,

With a Cargo of ivory,

And apes and peacocks,

Sandalwood, cedarwood and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,

Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,

With a cargo of diamonds,

Emeralds, amethysts,

Topazes, and cinnamon and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack

Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,

With a cargo of Tyne coal,

Road-rail, pig-lead,

Firewood, iron-ware and cheap tin trays.

I hope they get home safely and I am full of empathy and admiration for them but in the words of another great British wordsmith, Billy Bragg,

"I'm a hard worker but I ain't workin' on a Monday....

Monday's still the week-end to me."

Sunday, 18 November 2007

To the Blogoshere and beyond!

Hiya, I'm back. I've been giving blogging a bit of a rest lately. I've been so busy doing other stuff that I haven't been giving it my full attention. I like to spend a lot of time on my posts and I haven't had the time to devote to be honest. Hopefully I can get back into the swing.
I've been to busy spending more time surfing and looking at writer and marketers sites and forums ( I think it should be fora but maybe I'm old-fashioned) as I'm beginning to think that getting an agent for my book is going to take a lot longer than I have the patience for. I'm starting to wonder if just following the self-publishing route might be the best way. There are a lot of writers out here in the blogosphere though and the great part is that there seems to be an overwhelming ethos of support rather than competition among us. People are perfectly willing share marketing ideas, give one another a "leg-up" and constantly wish each other luck in "getting the break" into wider publishing that we all seek. After all, we all want our cherished works to be read and enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible and though the process is slow and laborious it does keep us all driven, I guess. At the moment I am building up the courage to start taking a more active part in the aforementioned forums (fora) I have, until now been content to simply read other people's posts concerned that once I start I'll end up spending even more of my life glued to the screen reading rather than writing which is why I started the bloody blog in the first place. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

It's been quiet for a bit

I haven't posted much lately for a variety of reasons. I was going to post last Saturday when I got a further rejection from the latest literary agent on my list but I didn't as I find I sometimes struggle to make the time. I promise to myself I will try harder. I have spent most of the last three months scheming and dreaming about new ways to identify readers for my novel and generate interest in it, the blog being initially the main thrust of the campaign. Of late I must confess that I've lost a little faith. I entered the blogoshere with enthusiasm and abandon but the drive to generate traffice to my blog/blogs and eventually to my novel has proved to be a slow process with little real progress. Despite the daily effort I have put into earning credits from surfing to "drive traffic to my site" little progress has been made.
I don't want to sound despondent but let me put something into perspective;
I spent two years devoting every spare moment to my story, revising it, teasing out the narrative and crafting it into what I thought was the best I could make it, I then ordered proof copies and passed them around my exceptional friends for their comment and constructive suggestions, I started an email campaign to try to direct people to my lulu page and then I set up two blogs, this one and also where you can find the first chapter and for the last three months I've spent as much time as I could; joining traffic exchange schemes, surfing for traffic and promoting my book in the ways outlined in earlier posts. It is fair to say I have not yet made a significant impact on the literary world and this in no way reflects any diminishing confidence in my novel, everyone who has read it has loved it but today I awoke to a story on the radio that has given me cause to rethink.
Wedginald, a piece of cheese that is maturing somewhere in Somerset is featured on, a site that has attracted over one and a half million visitors, you're right I did say 1.5 million people. They have all visited a website depicting a wedge of cheese maturing. A lifeless lump of mouldy milk has, over the last year, attracted visitors far in excess of my aspirations let alone my actual pathetic numbers. Today was an exciting day for "Wedginald watchers" a disembodied hand was going to enter the picture to take a sample for testing, I must confess I took a sneaky peek.
It was an inspiration and so I intend to set up a new site, "Drying paint" I'll paint the front of my novel and invite the 1.5 million "Wedginald watchers" to watch the paint dry, maybe between the excitement they could read my f**king book.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007


As the blog doesn't seem to be attracting visitors and joining several traffic-exchanges and surfing till I'm blue in the face hasn't helped I've devised a new method of underground advertising for my novel "Martha's Vineyard" visit the link at

I'm calling it "littering". I've produced a small leaflet called "A bookmark for you" with a life affirming message on one side and an advert for the book on the back and anytime I'm in a book shop I simply slide one into the pages of novels I think might appeal to the people I think my novel will appeal to. It is going to take me a long time and it's hard trying not to look suspicious but don't be surprised if you are ever in Waterstones or Borders or W.H.Smiths and a 1/4 size piece of A4, like this falls out of a book you've picked up.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Back from the Fringe

Back from Edinburgh where despite, sometimes, atrocious weather we had a splendid time. Enjoyed it so much we'll be going back up there this week. 17 shows in five days, Some amazing comedy, the intelligent, political, Steve Hughes, the provocative Reginal D. Hunter, the hilarious Jason Byrne, the comic genius of Stewart Lee, the dynamic and educational Bruce Fummey as well as some great plays and events. Spent a lot of time there pondering my strategy for promoting the novel and decided that the blog, while enjoyable, isn't attracting an audience who are interested in the book. New strategies are clearly required. I have had some ideas though so watch this space!

Thursday, 2 August 2007


Off to the Edinburgh fringe festival for a few nights tomorrow and so Blog will go quiet unless I can find an Internet cafe, which I suppose is a possibility. The fringe isn't really a holiday it's more like being swirled around in a giant, cultural washing machine. Edinburgh, during the fringe is the most exciting place I've ever been. It's full to the brim of crazy, creative and energetic people all desperate for you to see their show or watch their act. It doesn't really start until Sunday but we are going up early this year to catch some of the pre-shows.
A little competition we enjoy, while there is "Spotting the famous people", I had a spectacular win last year with a sighting of Ronnie Corbett but it's great to be in the queue for tickets behind "someone off the telly" or overhearing a well-known, familiar BBC Radio Four voice talking on their mobile at the table next door to you in a bar. It's really strange seeing people who are so famous in the street. You almost feel obliged to speak to them because they are so familiar to you having been in your living-room so often but of course they have no idea who you are 'cause they can't see you from inside the telly.
Looking forward to lots of shows but also having Cappucino and a brie and red-onion marmalade bagel in Elephants and Bagels, the coffee shop where now famous J.K. Rowling allegedly wrote "Harry Potter" . Of course this year I'm entitled to call myself a novelist having finished my own novel, Martha's Vineyard, ( buy or download it from ) a couple of months after returning from the Edinburgh fringe last year. That was the easy bit, marketing it and getting an agent and publisher is proving to be the hard bit, I guess. Back next week, bye for now.