As another year draws to a close, here are my top ten favourite films and tv shows from the past 12 month. If you feel that there are any obvious omissions, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for example, it means that I probably haven't got round to seeing it yet.
I just watched this week's instalment of BBC's 'Imagine' hosted by Alan Yentob. It was called 'Books - The Last Chapter?' It was about the rise of eBooks and what it meant for the traditionally physical book. He spoke with writers Alan Bennett, Douglas Coupland, Ewan Morrison and Gary Shteyngart. It was reasonably balanced in presenting the debate about what the future holds, but what I took away from it is that it is the content that will endure whatever is the vessel for conveying it. However, it did make me wonder whether just writing the book is going to be enough. It seemed to suggest that all books are destined to require extras, like a DVD or BluRay. I see how this would be very valuable for reference books or learning resources. But don't we just want to leave a good story as it is, leaving it up to the reader to make of it what they will rather than dictating what they should be taking away from it? Does the writer really need to pull back the curtain and reveal the magic? As I'm writing, thoughts are flooding into my head against my own argument. All of the classics have reference books dedicated to them - where would literature students be without the notes? Yes, I know, thinking for themselves, you might say.
I think it's inevitable. Okay, so it will not be immediate, but the demise of the book in printed form will arrive. It's already started. I don't need to tell you what you see when you look around you if you catch the train to work. It doesn't even seem to have restricted itself to a particular age of person any more - the infection is spreading and there's nothing wrong with it. It got me thinking - could our reading habits change? Maybe some already read the way I'm about to propose, but I was thinking of trying to read several books at a time. It works for television, could it work for literature? We don't watch a whole series of one thing without watching another - we get our weekly fix of each. I was just thinking that, if you've got a kindle, or any other e-reader device, what's the point of having hundreds of books stored on it if you're only going to read one at a time. Apart from the kindle app on my Android phone, I haven't yet been pulled away from the book in its physical form. So, if you find my commentary a bit naive, I apologise for my inexperience.
Like I say - I don't think it's in the immediate future- they haven't finished building The New Birmingham Library yet. But the time they are a changin'.
Here is the first chapter of my new novel, 'Barren Endeavour.'
Jack Gray wiped his brow with the dirty palm of his hand and gazed ahead at the horizon, his eyes squinting against the glare of the hot Indiana sun. Having pressed on through the Iowa plains and struggling through the bustle in Illinois, weariness was beginning to set in. With each day he felt more tired than he did on the one before and he had to dig deep to convince himself that he had not made a mistake in embarking upon this demanding journey. He studied the landscape ahead of him, barren and unwelcoming.
Drifters that he had crossed paths with along the way had questioned his judgement for travelling east, telling him that California was the place that he should aspire to reach. However, Jack’s motivation was not the pursuit of prosperity but the ensured safety of the family that he had regretfully left behind in Nebraska. He had a reason that was compelling enough to keep him going, but he had reservedly declined to justify himself to the concerned strangers that he had encountered. Besides, Jack had his doubts that the west held the Promised Land that the desperate many optimistically believed. It was 1934 and there was no way that Jack was going to believe that a place existed on this earth, and in this day and age, where everything that was so sparse everywhere else, such as food and employment, was practically handed to you. From his forty-six years of experience, he knew that nothing was given to you on a plate, even in a country known as the land of the free.
For hours, the only thing he saw was his own feet trudging over the dry earth beneath him, the only variation being the pattern of the cracks that ran through it. Whenever he dared to look up and ahead, the menacing orb hanging in the sky above punished him for doing so. He endured the momentary suffering in order to gauge the distance that he faced, which he had ceased to measure in miles and now chose to denominate in time. By his reckoning, the vast terrain that he caught occasional glimpses of amounted to what he preferred to consider as a very long time rather than being too precise. He stopped to study his map, folded to focus on the area that he was covering. He had such a long way to go.
The canteen full of water in his duffle bag was a constant temptation that his strong resolve had enabled him to resist thus far. He maintained that it was a limited or even a potentially last resort in light of the unknown scope for being able to replenish his supply. He consoled himself with the faith that he had enough to keep him going until that time arrived. So, he swallowed hard and pressed onward, head down, one foot in front of the other.
Jack hiked over clear fields, trying to find a target destination on the landscape. There was an austere lack of promise. Daytime became dusk. As he tramped on, night soon arrived. At the end of the day, he was soon forced to concede to the setting of the sun. It became cold, so he lit a fire for warmth. Deprived of the energy to persevere through the darkness and becoming dispirited as the likelihood of success was absconding, Jack sat in the dirt with his hands raised to the flames. Exhaustion sometimes helped him sleep through the night, but not always. He looked at the fire and knew it would not last long. He hoped that by the time it was extinguished, he would be too asleep to care.
At night, Jack usually found some rare foliage to rest beside and used his duffle as a pillow. He tried his utmost to conceal himself from the view of anyone that could possibly pass-by because he had yet to master the skill of sleeping with one eye open. When he was asleep, he undauntedly threw caution to the wind and accepted whatever fate the night held for him. He was confident that his journey’s purpose would compel his soul to fearlessly fend off anything that could dare to threaten his progress.
The air did not seem as thin as it did during the sweltering daytime because the wind picked up when the sun went down, sometimes ferociously. When it woke him, he worried that a tornado was going to sweep him up. Even the embers of his campfire had blown away. There was no light. Eventually, the minacious whistle would fade into the stark blackness that surrounded him and he would return to his slumber once again.
“Wake up, Donnie. You’ve been dossing long enough.”
Jack tried to open his eyes but the stinging flashes made his headache unbearable. He blinked gently until he was just about able to tolerate his eyes being open and he saw double. There were two men; the first was distinct, whilst the other was translucent and spectral, pacing around the barn.
“Wakey wakey,” the stranger persisted. He was clapping his hands, much to Jack’s annoyance. “I’d throw a bucket of dog soup in your face if it wasn’t such a waste. My, you must take so much for granted still.”
Jack was lying on the floor in the middle of his barn, his hands tied behind his back with a thick rope. He shuffled his wrists and realised immediately that he would not be able to free himself. He closed his eyes again in an attempt to ease his pain.
“Donnie,” the man shouted, angered at Jack’s inability to pay attention.
“You’ve got me mixed up with somebody else,” Jack managed to say, desperately trying not to throw up. “My name’s not Donnie.”
Just about the last thing that Jack could remember was his intention to chop firewood in the barn, a decision he reached whilst finishing up supper at the kitchen table. The last time he remembered seeing his assailant had been earlier that day when he had arrived at the farm looking for work. Jack had become accustomed to drifters showing up at his door begging for work, so, like the other hoboes before him, this stranger had been turned away. The past few years had not been kind to his family. The drought had practically ruined them and they were struggling to make ends meet as it was.
“I wasn’t sure whether it was you when I first saw you this morning,” the stranger said. “But now I’m sure. You just got fat, some would say pretty rugged compared to the old days.”
Jack looked at him and saw that he was a menacingly large man with a bald head, craggy face and an unkempt red beard.
“I swear,” Jack interjected, “whoever you think I am, I’m not.”
“It must be four, no, five years since you made tracks and left me to take the rap. Patsy or not, you know you can’t reason with the family when it comes to being a chisel. I had no choice but to split because of you.”
Jack clenched his teeth with frustration and screwed up his eyes before unleashing an effort to clarify the misunderstanding. “My name is Jack Gray and I’ve been a farmer all my life. I don’t know who you are and I don’t care to know. If you untie me now and go, we’ll leave it at that.”
The stranger kicked Jack hard in the face, enraged by his persistent insolence.
“I’m Henry Dobbs, and don’t pretend to know otherwise, Donnie Mcnulty,” he yelled. “Is that what you did with the money? You bought a farm?”
Dobbs kicked Jack again.
“Please,” Jack squealed.
“I couldn’t stay around after you fled. You know what would have happened to me, Donnie. So, I had to move to Jersey of all places, and I had to look for work. I had to move out of the city, for Pete’s sake. There’s not much going on, eventually I come home one night after a day looking for a job and I find my wife and kids sitting outside on the street. The bank had cleared the house and padlocked the door, Donnie. You son of a bitch, I lost everything because of you. And now I find you here, living it up on your own plot in the middle of nowhere. Donnie Goddamn Mcnulty.”
When Jack woke suddenly from his dream it was morning. It was already unbearably hot, even in the shade of the tree that he had slept under. The inside of his mouth was parched with a bitter taste that he washed away with a couple of sparely sips from his canteen. He rose to his feet and shielded his eyes to gaze at the horizon in the direction that he intended to follow that day. With a sigh, he wondered how long it would take him to pick up Henry Dobbs’ trail.
After a few hours walking into the day, Jack happened upon a fenced-off area of land, which bore many of the familiar signs of a farm that had suffered greatly from the recently disastrous climate. He reached down and passed his palm over the soil. The dusty powder fell through his fingers as he lifted a handful to inspect. Scanning his surroundings from his squatted position, Jack determined that the farm was deserted. He saw an empty pen that would have once contained the farm’s animals in the foreground of a timber-built house, within which he hoped he would find water and food to replenish his supply.
Exhaustion hit him suddenly as he forced open the gate to get past the fence. He was spurred on by the prospect of finding something useful in the house. His footsteps kicked up dust as he stumbled forward, barely able to stay upright. When he stopped to catch his breath, he heard a clicking sound that made him freeze.
The sound was unmistakable and he was immediately too frightened to turn and face its source. Someone nearby had cocked their rifle and it was probably aimed in his direction. The only sound that he could hear as he froze was his own shallow breathing until the gunman spoke.
“Slowly, turn around,” a gruff voice ordered.
Jack obliged, shuffling his weary feet around to face the threat. He could not understand why he had not seen him coming. The man holding the rifle was lean, tall and looked like he was in his late sixties, maybe seventies, with a grisly beard and thick eyebrows above his piercing stare. It was a sight that made Jack shudder.
“You don’t need the gun,” said Jack. “I thought this place was abandoned. I don’t mean to make any trouble for you.”
“If it’s all the same to you, I still need convincing.”
“I’m a farmer, just like you. I’m just passing through.”
“Oh, you’re passing through alright. There ain’t nothing here for you, boy.”
“I appreciate that you’re just being vigilant, and it’s exactly what I would do in your position. But I’m not the kind of man that you’re worried I could be.”
“You’re a drifter, ain’t you?”
“I’m from Nebraska and I’m on my way to New York. If I could just fill up my canteen with some water, I’ll be on my way.”
A tentatively cautious atmosphere lingered in the air between them as they both pondered whether they could relent to trusting that the other would be capable of fulfilling their faith in human nature. They both wanted to believe that common decency could prevail even during such disconsolate times.
“You hungry, pilgrim?” The bearded man lowered his rifle.
“I could always eat,” Jack replied.
I hope you enjoyed a taste of 'Barren Endeavour' and continue to follow Jack's journey by buying the novel on kindle from Amazon or paperback or hardback from lulu.com
Haven't posted for a while and I've been quite inactive on twitter recently as well, so thought I'd make an effort today. Think I'm just taking it easy for a couple of weeks after finishing my second novel before I really knuckle down on the third, of which I've already written a killer first chapter and started the second. Barren Endeavour hasn't sold yet, but I must admit I haven't gone all out on the marketing and promotion push yet. I'm starting to wonder whether I should start querying agents or publishing houses to see if I can get anywhere with the two novels I've written. I've already got a title for my third novel: 'Natural Disposition.' As with my previous projects, I've got a basic set-up and I'm looking forward to finding out where my imagination takes it. I'll update my 'Upcoming Projects' page in due course.
Anyway, I chose today to put fingers to keyboard because it's 11/11/11 and six years ago today, Beki and I got married in Mauritius. We've had a leap year in that time, of course, so this anniversary falls on the same day of the week that we got married.
I haven't posted for a while, but that's because I've been finishing my second novel, 'Barren Endeavour,' I can't remember when I started writing it, but I think it's taken me somewhere just over two years. After a proofread and a re-write, I've updated the blog pages with the appropriate links and it is now available for sale on kindle, paperback and hardback. I'm looking forwards to finding out what people think and I'll write more about it in due course.
Now, what's next?
"When you can't run away from your secrets, sometimes the only other choice is to run after them"
In the midst of the Great Depression, a man travels east whilst the desperate many travel west in search of the elusive employment that the Promised Land could bring. It is 1934 and Jack Gray, family man and farmer from Nebraska, has embarked upon a compelling trek across the states with New York City being his destination.
A drifter looking for work on Jack's farm has mistakenly identified Jack as a gangster from the Big Apple that had mysteriously disappeared years earlier, leaving furious enemies baying for blood. However, the transient flees before being convinced that his perception was the wrong one. In the wake of the encounter, Jack's father is forced to reveal the startling family secret that means Jack has to depart in an attempt to intercept the stranger intent on leading a pack of vengeance-craving mobsters back to Jack's home.
Reluctantly leaving his family during the most desperate of times, Jack must rely on his own resilience and the kindness of strangers along his journey, where the horizon is often as remote as his chances of catching the desperate drifter hungry for redemption salvaged from a life in exile.
The paranormal flash fiction piece entitled, 'Unfinished Business,' has been replaced by kind of a science-fiction piece called 'QPRS.' It was inspired by a reaction I had to a frustrating drive to the supermarket one Saturday morning last month. I hate driving, but it's not the actual practice of driving that gets to me - it's the other drivers that I have to share the road with. You could only be offended by this if you're a bad driver. So many obnoxious imbeciles go unpunished, leaving sensible drivers forced to yield to their arrogant and belligerent manoeuvres in order to prevent an accident. Careless driving is rife, but what's the deterrent when there's nothing that other road users can do about it? I'd be completely fine if I was the only car on the road, like Will Smith in I am Legend. But, on the crowded city roads, I generally find it a stressful experience. Don't get me started on the motorway, where to avoid lingering behind the middle-lane sitter, when there isn't a car in the inside lane for miles, the choice is either to perform an illegal undertake or get tail-gated in the outside lane by a large, expensive car (usually black) when you're already going far too fast as it is. Those conceited cretins travelling over 100MPH never seem to get pulled over. Anyway, rant over. That's how my latest idea was incepted. To read it, CLICK HERE.
A couple of months ago, I was interviewed by Morgen Bailey on her Writing Blog. A few things have changed since then, such as THE ELLROY DEFLECTION not being limited to ebook format and the price of it coming down on Amazon.
Here is a transcript of that interview:
Morgen: Hi Kevin. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Kevin: I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I remember having aspirations of writing a novel as a kid and being frustrated at my inability to achieve the length and detail required (I was only eleven).
Morgen: I remember reading the Hobbit when I was about that age and getting about ten pages in. I’m not sure what I turned to instead then but not long after I started with Stephen King (who I became so hooked on that it was torch under the duvet every night, which (I reckon) is why I wear glasses ).
Kevin: It wasn’t until I was in my mid-to-late twenties that I became focussed on what I wanted to do. Being a big film fanatic, I wrote a couple of screenplays after learning the format. Maybe one day I’ll revisit them, but for now they’re on the backburner. If they are any good, they should stand the test of time. If not, they’re what gave me the writing bug and set me on my way. It’s taken a few years to write my first novel, ‘The Ellroy Deflection.’ It is a gritty crime thriller, set in a fictional British city, inspired by the many crime thrillers that I’ve read and watched over the years.
Morgen: (The link to it, because Kevin’s too modest to add it, ishttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058DOCC6 – just $1.59). I met three agents recently and two of them said they’re short of crime (and one added historical fiction) so you’re doing the right thing. Have you considered other genres?
Kevin: I just write in the crime thriller genre so far, but am open to writing for other genres. I would say that my upcoming second novel is written in a different style, because it is set in 1930’s USA rather than present-day Britain, but it is still a crime thriller at heart.
Morgen: Perfect; historical thriller – just what the agents want. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Kevin: It’s very early days. Following a couple of years writing to agencies and publishers without any success, I stumbled upon the notion of self-publishing my work as an eBook. I’m open to any avenue available for marketing and promoting my work and it has become a bit of an obsession. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
Morgen: Oh how I know that feeling. I’ve been having 4-5 hour sleeps which really are not me, nor are lie-ins although I managed to get one inadvertently today. You mentioned your unsuccessful struggle getting an agent (most of my interviewees, and I, can relate to that) do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Kevin: I don’t have an agent, no. If I did, I’d imagine have more time available for writing which is what every author surely craves.
Morgen: Absolutely, although you’re getting all the contact with your potential readers which must be an upside. Is your book available as an eBook? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Kevin: It is only available as an eBook at the moment. I have to admit, what seemed like a daunting task was surprisingly easy.
Morgen: Yay! That’s news to my ears as someone about to embark on that process.
Kevin: I‘m by no means an expert at html, formatting and so on, but the tools and resources are all there to smoothly enable you to make your eBook available on the world-wide stage that is the internet. I haven’t read many eBooks myself because I didn’t appreciate their accessibility until recently. Of course, I have now been converted.
Morgen: Many people have (and new readers). I have a generic eBook (fortunately my editor has a Kindle so we cover both bases) but she uses her MUCH more than I mine. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Kevin: I’m probably half-way through writing my second novel. I won’t reveal the title yet but the synopsis goes something like this:
In the midst of the Great Depression, a man travels east whilst the desperate many travel west in search of the elusive employment that the Promised Land could bring. It is 1934 and Jack Gray, family man and farmer from Nebraska, has embarked upon a compelling trek across the states with New York City being his destination. A drifter looking for work on Jack’s farm has mistakenly identified Jack as a gangster from the Big Apple that had mysteriously disappeared years earlier, leaving furious enemies baying for blood. The transient fled before being convinced that his perception was the wrong one. In the wake of the encounter, Jack’s father is forced to reveal the startling family secret that means Jack has to depart in an attempt to intercept the stranger intent on leading a pack of vengeance-craving mobsters back to Jack’s home. Reluctantly leaving his family during the most desperate of times, Jack must rely on his own resilience and the kindness of strangers along his journey, where the horizon is often as remote as his chances of catching the desperate drifter hungry for redemption salvaged from a life in exile.
Morgen: My goodness lots of tension and I’d say relateability even to those who don’t remember that era. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Kevin: I believe that writer’s block happens to anyone who has high standards. It’s the refusal to accept sub-standard ideas and settle for the shortcut to progress. I usually just acknowledge when I’m stuck and go with it. When I’m writing, the story goes with me in my head wherever I go. An idea will come to me out-of-the-blue and it’ll be extremely satisfying. Often the idea is like a spark and sets me off again. Patience is key.
Morgen: I think few people don’t get to finish their stories because of writer’s block (someone may comment disagreeing) if they leave it for a while then come back as if it’s new. I heard a famous female novelist (I think it might have been PD James) say that if she runs out of steam she leaves a sentence unfinished, goes to bed (assuming it’s night ) and picks up again in the morning; works every time she says. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Kevin: When I start a story, I have no idea where it is going. Of course, that is why I’m very familiar with writer’s block. I’ll only run with an idea if it excites me, so I like to think that I know what the reader is going to experience. I start off with a basic premise and then writing it becomes a journey into the unknown.
Morgen: If it doesn’t excite you then it won’t excite the reader (ditto boredom). Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Kevin: A lot of my editing gets done when I’m typing my handwritten work onto the computer.
Morgen: That works for me too.
Kevin: Of course, I then proofread it when it’s completed and edit it again, but I find that I can’t believe how much I’ve missed on previous viewings.
Morgen: It drives me nuts; though/thought/through on my fourth edit of my 105K chick lit! The brain sees what the context it (another good reason for a time gap between edits). What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Kevin: To be honest, I don’t have any kind of ritual, routine or regime. I write when I can, but having a full-time day job doesn’t leave me with an abundance of time.
Morgen: Ditto, although I only work part-time.
Kevin: Most of my writing tends to take place late at night, which I appreciate may be unusual, but I works for me.
Morgen: I’m probably being very generalist here, I would say over half of writers write late. I think there are more night owls then early birds (I’m the latter, although I’ve been both recently).
Kevin: Maybe that’s why my work sometimes comes out a bit on the dark side.
Morgen: Ah ha, I love the dark side (one of the aforementioned agents looked me in the face and said “You’re a crime writer, you should write crime” – I’m happy to actually because I do read it). Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Kevin: I write on paper and type it up on the computer every few thousand words.
Morgen: Ah yes, you did say that. Good idea, like an unofficial first edit.
Kevin: I don’t want to be restricted to writing when I’m at the computer. I want to write whenever I’m inspired to do so. I like to write things down when they come to me, wherever I am.
Morgen: I have a notebook and two pens (in case one runs out, that would be more annoying) in every dog walking jacket. Apparently writing comes out from a different part of the brain than typing on a computer so it may well be a better method (although I’ve noticed, when I do my writing workshops, that I’m much slower when handwriting). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Kevin: Marketing and self-promotion seems like it is going to eat away at valuable writing time. But, of course, needs must.
Morgen: Indeed, but see earlier ‘meeting your audience’ comment. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Kevin: Just write. When you start at page one, the end may seem impossibly far away. If you find time every day, even if it seems a ridiculously small amount of time, progress takes care of itself.
Kevin: I enjoy thrillers, the likes of which Dennis Lehane and John Grisham produce. I’ve been told exciting things about Jo Nesbo and I’m looking forward to reading his series of Harry Hole stories. I’m always on the lookout for an originally high-concept novels and must stress that Michael Crichton is missed for that.
Morgen: My German friend is mad on thrillers; Ken Follett’s her favourite and bigger the better (and in English; the parcels I send her are always rectangular ) and I know she enjoys John Grisham. One of my Monday nighters, who I met at the Oundle Lit Fest 2010, was given a goodie bag there (as was I) and one of her freebies was a Jo Nesbo. Her son read it and bought everything else he’s ever done. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Kevin: Like I’ve said, it is early days, but I can certainly see the potential. There is so much choice out there, but I think that registering with genre-specific sites may be the way to go. There’s no point alienating yourself on a site where the regulars aren’t going to be interested.
Morgen: And spending a lot of time doing it, although if you have the time, they may have friends who read your genre. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: And don’t forget the book itself http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058DOCC6 – did I say it was just $1.59? I like your Mauritian picture by the way. Apparently the hammock is the most ergonomic relaxation device (although a book / eBook must come close second ). What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Kevin: I’ve read a lot about how the print-world is in danger because of the upsurge in eBooks, but I’d have to disagree. Most people are always going to prefer a book in their hands and most authors would be more proud to have their work in print than in electronic form.
Morgen: They are, absolutely. I can’t think of any interviewee who’s said otherwise. I read pBooks (as paperbacks are being called now) at home and take my eReader away with me.
Kevin: I think writers are going to face more competition in the future as the world becomes a smaller place. My wife wrote her thesis at University ten years ago on what impact the internet was going to have on the world of publishing. She wrote about how it was going to make literature more accessible to the masses and about how the Guttenberg project was uploading hundreds of books for free because their copyright had expired.
Morgen: I think most readers are starting with the free eBooks and then buying others when they get hooked!
Kevin: Her University Professor rejected it, saying he was outraged at such an idea and he would allow her to rewrite it. He refused to believe that people would ever want to read from a screen rather than from paper.
Morgen: Who’s laughing now?
Kevin: My wife stuck to her guns and refused to rewrite it. He gave her a fail. I wonder what he would make of the matters today, the miserable old- I’ll stop there.
Morgen: Oh go on, I dare ya. We’ll pass her… give her an honorary something or other. Thank you Kevin. I wish you all the best with your blog and of course sales, eBooks are definitely the way to (I’m hoping anyway ).
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know. And/or you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. … and follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/morgenwriteruk) where each new posting is automatically announced.