To crowdfund or not to crowdfund?

Anybody who came to my home town launch of my second novel Out of Such Darkness will remember it as a fun event. In fact, it made such a splash that I wrote up 10 Rules for a Successful Book Launch.

Now it’s time to start planning for the launch of my second book in The Movie Series called Once Upon a Time in Chinatown and my publisher and I are wondering how we can do it again in both London and Bewdley when we have such a small budget.

That’s when the idea of crowdfunding came up. If we could offer tangible Rewards in return for pledges would we be able to generate enough money to subsidise events inn both London and Bewdley? We’re hoping we can.

We have taken the plunge inasmuch as we have booked venues that show movies (the first link to the book’s theme) and we’re hoping to organise entertainment linked to the book’s content. We’ll follow the 10 Rules as far as we can so that they will be unforgettable evenings. But the nagging doubt remains, can we pull off a crowdfunding project to pay for it all? Especially bearing in mind that we’ll also be asking for support from people who live to far away to attend.

So the question hangs over us. Is it worth the effort?


11 2019

Next novel publication

Cover image

My publisher Patrician Press has announced the publication of my third novel, Once Upon a Time in Chinatown. It’s my second novel to be inspired by a film, this time the 1974 classic Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski.
The book will be available in both paperback and Kindle formats from April 2020.
Click here for more information.


07 2019

Mood and intent but not much action

It is a brave writer who gives the title of his book to a scandal that affects its central characters but never actually gives us the nuts and bolts of what happened in The Sparsholt Affair.
But then this allusion to rather than description of events is a thread that runs all the way through the book.
It’s as if Alan Hollinghurst was more interested in the way he wrote it rather than the characters and the plot. Perhaps this why I lost track of the people in his story during the middle section and it felt that I was trudging through the waist-high snow of a Russian classic like War and Peace or Dr Zhivago.
Click on this link to read my (short) Goodreads review.


05 2019

When parallels converge

My reading follows parallel paths. On one side is my normal reading for pleasure that I keep track of through posting reviews on Goodreads. Thanks to a clever gizmo these reviews appear over there ––––> on the right.

The other reading path is the one where I read the first 53 pages of ‘classic’ literature and make a decision as to whether life is too short or not to add the book to my reading pile. This occasional project has stuttered because I have found it crowded out by my other enthusiasms for family, narrow boating and writing film fiction. Nevertheless, I intend picking it up when I can.

The paths converged recently when I read Sebastian Barry’s 2016 Costa Book of the Year Days Without End. Here is my review:

If I didn’t finish this book – and I didn’t – how could I give it any stars, let alone the two that signify “it was ok”? Well, I enjoyed the start. The introduction of Thomas McNulty and John Cole in their pubescent guises as saloon dancers baited the hook well and I had taken the bait by the time the boys joined up and had their first taste of ‘injun fighting’.
But something about the next episode and the flood that followed combined with the discrepancy between Thomas’s lack of education and the language of his narration made my enthusiasm flag. ‘Life’s too short’ to carry on reading when the pleasure has drained away.
Even without reading the reviews here I know I’m going to be in a very small minority who feel negative about this highly-acclaimed book. I can see that the writing is of a very high standard. I even have the feeling that if I could have pushed on for a few more pages I would care more about what is going to happen to the protagonists.
But (and this is coincidence, I assure you) I reached page 53, put the book down and just couldn’t be bothered enough to pick it up again.

Days Without End is a highly acclaimed novel. Time will tell whether it is ever regarded as a ‘classic’. In the meantime, and by happy coincidence, it can serve as one in order to keep the ’53 pages’ pot boiling. You can tell from the review that I won’t return to the 248 pages as yet unread.


04 2019

Boating break

The theme of Nudging 70 is ‘Life’s Too Short’. In practice, as I’ve discovered this week, this can apply to reading. Towards the end of last week we saw that the weather forecasters were predicting an unseasonably warm few days. We own a narrowboat* and as we are both retired we are able to drop everything and set off for a cruise.

When you are on a narrowboat life goes along at four miles an hour. Even at this speed, and slower when you’re approaching obstacles like bridges and locks, the controls* need the crew’s total attention so there is no time to bury one’s head in a book.

After two full days cruising we reached Wightwick* where we turned round and enjoyed two days of uninterrupted sunshine on the way home.

Life’s never too short to spend a few days having fun. Even books, reading and writing, can wait.

  • She’s a modest craft 34 feet long, called Moonflower.
  • Calling them ‘controls’ is over complicating things. They consist of a tiller to steer and a throttle lever to make the boat go faster or slower in forward or reverse.
  • Wightwick (pronounced ‘Wittick’) is two days away from our Stourport base by boat but only three-quarters of an hour by car.


02 2019