Saturday, 10 November 2012

MOVEMBER AT THE MOVIES


During November each year, Movember is responsible for moustaches appearing on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world.


The aim of the event is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

I shall be participating in Movember along with my colleagues at RBS, Brindley Place, Birmingham (click here for more info). To commemorate the occasion, here I’m highlighting some of the most memorable and prominent moustaches from the history of cinema. If you think of any obvious omissions from the list, please leave a comment below.

1. WILFRED BRIMLEY: Probably most famous for his role as Ben Luckett in Cocoon, Wilfred Brimley’s facial hair has graced the screen many times in films such as The FirmThe Natural and Hard Target.





2. TOM SELLECK: Brimley appeared in the Kevin Kline comedy In and Out, which could have resulted in mustachio-overload if Tom Selleck had not gone for his out-of-the-ordinary clean-shaven look. Otherwise, the moustache is what Selleck was famous for on the small-screen asMagnum P.I., and it also featured in his big-screen outings like Three Men and a Baby.



3. BURT REYNOLDS: After stamping his name on the 1970s and 1980s with roles in the classic Deliverance and crowd-pleaser Smokey and The Bandit, Reynolds gained critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his role as Jack Horner in 1997’s Boogie Nights.



4. SAM ELLIOTT: Another man you rarely see without a moustache is the classic vision of the American cowboy that is Sam Elliott. With his commanding deep voice, he observed The Dude’s misadventures in The Big Lebowski, assisted Patrick Swayze as a nightclub bouncer in Road House, played a renegade cop in Blue Jean Cop and was Wyatt Earp’s brother, Virgil, in Tombstone.



5. MANDY PATINKIN: Currently appearing as Saul Berenson in the consistently brilliant Homeland, Mandy Patinkin’s mustachio mention is courtesy of what he says is his most favourite of all the characters he’s played; the Spaniard in The Princess Bride, where he utters the ever-quotable line, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


6. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: The moustache has been a prominent accompaniment to Day-Lewis’ dramatically emotional performances as the intimidating and domineering characters Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting inGangs of New York and oilman Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood.


7. BEN STILLER: Sporting a handlebar to behold in Dodgeball as White Goodman, Stiller previously had a mustachioed cameo in Anchorman as Arturo Mendes in the fight between local news teams that escalated quickly. I mean, it really got out of hand fast!


8. PAUL RUDD: Another character from Anchorman is one of Ron Burgundy’s colleagues on the Channel Four news team, Bryan Fantana. Of course, Burgundy’s moustache merits a mention, but Fantana is listed due to his link to Movember. He names his parts; specifically The Octagon, flanked by James Westfall and Kenneth Noisewater.



Once again, if you want to make a donation or learn more about Movember, click here.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Literary Evolution


I noticed over the weekend that one of my novels, 'The Ellroy Deflection,' had received a review on Amazon.com. It was a detailed, fair and honest review courtesy of Leapin' Literary Lurkers from Oregon, who gave the novel a rating of 3 out of a possible 5 stars. It was exactly the kind of feedback that I had been looking for and, whilst criticism can sometimes sting, the constructive comments were gratefully received. Glancing at the reviewer's other reviews, it is clear that this assessment originated from someone who does not exercise a great deal of restraint in expressing their opinion. The brutally forthright analysis was appreciated and will certainly enable me to address what I would agree are atrocious errors in my work. I had re-read the novel several times with a view to eradicate any mistakes before feeling what I thought was a feeling of satisfaction, however slightly deluded. It seems that I was always going to suffer literary blindness when it came to certain verb tenses and embarrassing spelling errors (Santa Clause and Spinal Chord are highlighted as examples by the reviewer). When I've got the money to spare, maybe I could employ the services of an editor or proof-reader to give my work the professional standard that it is currently falling short of. I am also still pursuing an agent, one company at a time.

I am proud of The Ellroy Deflection as my first literary effort. Whilst being pleased with the story and the recognition that its 'twists and turns' has received, I am aware that it has its flaws. I may have been over-zealous with regard to the amount of characters and peripheral storylines, something I was able to address in my second novel, Barren Endeavour, which readers have told me they prefer. So, I'm glad that my writing is improving with age and experience. My third novel should redress the balance with regard to the reviewer's comments highlighting the thread of chauvenism in The Ellroy Deflection, labelling it as disturbing. It was not my intention for the tone of the novel to become the literary equivalent of an early Guy Ritchie movie, but I have since noted the prominence of male characters in The Ellroy Deflection and have focussed on taking remedial action in the process of writing my current novel. The streak of chauvinism was intentionally inserted with the attitudes leading to the downfall of many of the characters. Ultimately, the moderating role is given to a woman. My latest novel is now under the working title 'The Disposition of Adults,' and is an altogether more balanced affair, both gender and theme-wise.

As I say, as long as I can continue to come up with the storylines and plot to keep people interested, I'm not too concerned about the problems identified in The Ellroy Deflection. My style and skills have naturally improved in the years since completing The Ellroy Deflection. We're living in the age of the ebook and print-on-demand, so thankfully the errors are not permanent and can be altered. I welcome further reviews...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

From Page To Screen - Movies adapted from novels

It 's probably the same for most but, when I read a book, I see the movie play out in my mind.  Books are a major source for some of the best movies that get made.  Adapted successfully, the transition from page to screen has given us some of the most iconic of movie characters.  Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, Harry Potter,  Lisbeth Salander, Bridget Jones, James Bond, Michael Corleone, Jack Ryan - they all began their journeys into our consciousness on the page.  However, as we know, the passage from hit bestseller to blockbuster is not always a smooth one.  One of my favourite books is Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife, the middle of his fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.  It was the most emotional and epic of the three novels and would have made an excellent movie.  Unfortunately, the failure to adapt its predecessor into a good movie destroyed any chances of a sequel following.  Hopefully, one day long in the future, someone will decide to take it forward and do justice to the trilogy.

There are some authors whose work always seems to be suitable for film.  Stephen King certainly stands out as probably the most prolific storytellers to have his novels and short stories take to the screen.  I'd be leaving out so much to list The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Misery, Stand By Me and The Green Mile amongst the movies adapted from the results of his typing.  For all of the great adaptations of King's, it should also be pointed out that there are plenty of awful movies to have emerged from his work as well. 

John Grisham is another regular on the shelves as well as the multiplexes, his stories generally revolving around the justice system.  Since his novel The Firm headed for the big screen with Tom Cruise as it's star in 1993, his novels have continued to make the journey, with his 1997 novel The Partner currently being adapted by a screenwriter.

One of my favourite authors is Michael Crichton, whose passing in 2008 meant we lost one of the most imaginative writers of modern times.  His high-concept visions leapt from the page, beginning with The Andromeda Strain in 1971 and leading to such diverse experiences as Jurassic Park, Rising Sun amd Sphere

Another great writer whose work the movie studios took inspiration from was Philip K Dick, who died in 1982 aged 53.  It's because of him that we ended up with Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall and even The Adjustment Bureau as recent as 2011.

But what about the future?  Which authors are writing the stories that will sell to the studios?  Which established novels are crying out for an adaptation?  Which classics are just unfilmable?

I've read a coupe of Jo Nesbø novels recently, The Redbreast and Nemesis.  Martin Scorsese has signed on to direct an adaptation of the seventh in the series of his novels featuring hardboiled Oslo detective Harry Hole.  There has been a wave of Scandinavian crime on the page as well as on the screen recently with Henning Maskell's Wallander series and Steig Larsson's Millenium Trilogy amongst them,  The second of Larsson's trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, will follow on from the success of David Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara reprising their roles.

It's a dream that a novel of mine one day becomes successful enough that it is adapted into a movie.
For now, if you want to visualise the movies of tomorrow today, check out the following novels:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Passage, The Uglies, Fallen, Maximum Ride, Blood Meridian, The Great Gatsby, The Perks of being a Wallflower, Heist Society, The Maze Runner, The Host, Forgotten, The Giver, The Hypnotist, Beautiful Creatures, Ender's Game, Odd Thomas, The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society, The Devil in the White City, World War Z, The Dogs of Babel, Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho, Back Roads, The Alchemist, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, The Big Biazarro, The Boston Stranglers, Cell, The Creed of Violence, The Dark Tower, Beautiful Disaster, The Wolf of Wall Street, City of Bones

If you know of any more, please let me know...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Jane Was HereJane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a story behind why I ended up reading this book.  I was on my annual holiday down in Constantine Bay, Cornwall, back in May this year.  I was reading an interview with Clark Gregg in Empire Film magazine.  He was featured because his recurring character, S.H.I.E.LD. Agent Phil Coulson, was returning in The Avengers.  The article revealed a couple of surprising things about him.  As well as learning that he is he married to Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), I discovered that he has had quite a successful screenwriting career as well - The Harrision Ford and Michelle Pheiffer movie What Lies Beneath being referred to specifically as something he co-wrote in the article.  Anyway, "what has all of this got to do with anything?" you may ask.  The very next day, I noticed that a lady who had begun to follow me on Twitter that day had a profile which described her as an Oscar winning filmmaker, screenwriter and author of paranormal suspense thriller Jane Was Here. My new follower's name was Sarah Kernochan.   Intrigued, I searched google to find out if she had done anything I had heard of.  Indeed, she had.  Her first screenwriting credit had been for the Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger movie 9 1/2 weeks.  She also co-wrote the 1993 Richard Gere and Jodie Foster movie Sommerbsy, but I was amazed to learn that she was credited with co-writing What Lies Beneath.  It struck me as an astonishing coincidence, and it just goes to show how small a world it is with so many unlikely connections emerging within such a short space of time.  It had only been the day before that I had been surprised at Clark Gregg's involvement in What Lies Beneath and now I had been found by the lady who had passed the draft onto him to take forward (I sent her a message about it at the time and she replied that she had only met him once.  She did the draft and he took over when she left to work on another film.)  So, it just seemed right that I bought her novel.  It was like something from that Kiefer Sutherland TV show, Touch.

It took about a month, but the novel arrived.  After reading it, I felt compelled to share my story and what I thought about the novel.

Jane Was Here is a multi-layered story about the arrival of a young woman in a small town affecting the lives of many of its residents.  Whilst it has the potential to seem like the author has chosen to fill sections of the novel with pointless plot strands shooting away from the main plot, nothing is unnecessary and everything is ultimately significant.  The young woman brings a mystery with her, which imaginatively fuses the past with the present whilst addressing reincarnation, religion and fate.   It may be Sarah Kernochan's screenwriting talent that contributes to the vivid way in which this suspenseful tale is told.  The reader is compelled by the twists thrown along the puzzling path towards the far-reaching climax.  As Past and Present powerfully collide, the author masterfully takes the reader on a breathtaking ride. With a mixture of well-formed characters, this is one recommended read that fate thankfully brought to my door.


View all my reviews

Monday, 16 July 2012

2012 in The Movies - A Truly Great Year So Far


2012 could be the best year we’ve had for movies in a long time.  My initial opinion was formed by a glance at the blockbuster highlights, but the supporting offerings are certainly doing their bit to back my conjecture.  Coinciding with Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures celebrating their 100th anniversaries, it seems to me that the bar has been raised.

Recent years gone-by had seen the frequency of my trips to the cinema diminish, but 2012 has brought an abundance of ‘event’ movies demanding to be seen on the big screen.  It is rare this year to come across a month where you cannot find a crowd-pleaser.  Maybe it’s because of how relatively dire last year’s selection was, but this year’s revival provides probably the most interesting selection since 1999.  I’ll remind you, that was the year of American Beauty, Fight Club, The Matrix, Magnolia, The Sixth Sense, American Pie, The Blair Witch Project and Toy Story 2, amongst others.

So far, this year has given us Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, in January for instance, with Liam Neeson on stunning form leading a group of stranded oil workers in a struggle for survival when they are hunted by a pack of wolves in Alaska.  When it was released, Carnahan suggested it be re-released in cinemas later in the year so that Neeson would be eligible for Best Actor at next year’s Oscars. He was last nominated for playing a completely different kind of role as Oskar Schindler in 1993. Since then he’s been a Jedi Knight, Scottish Highlander Rob Roy, Revolutionary Irish Leader Michael Collins, The voice of Aslan in Narnia, One-Man-Army in Taken, Batman’s nemesis Ra’s Al Ghul and a God in Clash of The Titans, in which he played Zeus, brother to Ralph Fiennes’ Hades

           
With Voldermort behind him, Ralph Fiennes, in his directorial debut, brought political relevance in a vivid and intelligent adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.  Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe left his spectacles behind and played the grieving widow in the spine-chilling Woman in Black, showing there’s a promising career still ahead.

Then there’s been The Hunger Games, which turned out to be an essential modern science-fiction action-adventure blockbuster satirising modern principles in a dystopian-future setting.  It was as accessible to the teen audience, which the novel upon which it was adapted from was aimed, as much as the mature.

2012 has not been without its glitches however.  Disney lost around $200million with John Carter.  It was not the big-screen E.R. spin-off for Noah Wyle’s character from the Chicago-based hospital drama after all, but a fantasy-romance adventure of an American Civil War soldier transported to Mars.  Fortunately for Disney, The Avengers subsequently assembled and are still breaking box-office records worldwide.

Nobody can deny how much of a box-office draw Will ‘Mr Summertime’ Smith is, yet he’s had a four-year hiatus since his arguably underwhelming drama Seven Pounds.  He’s back and, despite it’s relatively luke-warm reviews, Men in Black 3 is pulled the audiences in, ten years after the sequel that nobody thought would lead to another. 

Men in Black 3 opened in a month when the Cannes Film Festival showcased more filmmakers adding to their respectable pedigree, opening with Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.  Similar to previous Anderson movies, Moonrise Kingdom boasts an encouragingly bold and eclectic cast, with Bill Murray returning for a sixth collaboration following Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited and The Fantastic Mr Fox.  Joining him are Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand and other Anderson alumna Jason Schwartzman.





The end of the year will see the conclusion to the Twilight Saga when Breaking Dawn Part Two hits.  In the meantime, its two stars presented their latest work at the festival.  Robert Pattinson stars in Cosmopolis, directed by David Cronenberg.  He plays a 28-year-old billionaire assets manager travelling across Manhattan in a stretch limo on his way to getting a haircut.  However, this being Cronenberg territory, his day deteriorates into a chaotic journey as various characters rip his life apart.  It’s the first Cronenberg movie in ten years that hasn’t starred Viggo Mortensen.  However Mortensen and Cronenberg’s partnership could increasingly be likened to De-Niro and Scorcese, Burton and Depp, or Almodavar and Banderas.  Whilst in London promoting A Dangerous Method in February, Mortensen popped into Empire Magazine’s office to participate in a webchat.  My wife is a huge fan of his and, since she was conveniently off-work that day, she decided to ask him if there was any news on a sequel to 2007’s Eastern Promises.  Astonishingly, he replied and she was on cloud nine for the rest of the week.  Schedules permitting, Eastern Promises Part Two may be on the way.  He said, I wouldn't say it's a definite, but it's looking more possible that that may be our next job together. But you never know with David, because he always has several projects in the works, hoping that one of them will come to pass.”  Meanwhile, Mortensen played Old Bull Lee alongside Twilight’s other star, Kristen Stewart, in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s celebrated novel On The Road.

So far, I’ve only covered the first half of the year.  I haven’t even mentioned the summer, when it always gets tasty.  Awesome is a word usually inappropriately overused, but on this occasion it would slot in perfectly as a description of next season’s forthcoming attractions.  Following that, it doesn’t let up until 2013, when hopefully the quality will continue.  At a glance, and in my humble opinion, there are at least thirty-four obvious must-see movies in 2012.  Then you also get the unexpected sleeper-hits and surprises along the way.


Ridley Scott's Prometheus kicked off the summer in style.  I’d say it's one of the grandest films released so far this year.  Whilst it received a mixed response from cinemagoers, I thought it was an outstanding piece of modern cinema.  Many were expecting another ‘Alien’ film in the vein of the Sigourney Weaver series, but this is truly an original story, distancing itself from the xenomorphs (the alien monsters from the Weaver movies) and delving into a mysterious adventure controversially addressing evolutionary theory and spiritual beliefs.  It is not the horror film that many may have been expecting, but it still has moments of suspense and scenes to make you squirm.  When I came out of the cinema, I was quick to point out certain inconsistencies with 1979’s Alien.  In Alien, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright discovered the bodily remains of what became referred to as the ‘Space Jockey’ in a derelict spaceship.  Prometheus is set thirty-odd years prior and involves a team of scientific explorers finding a derelict spaceship identical to that which will later be found by the crew of Alien’s Nostromo.  However, it would not be a spoiler to reveal that these two ships cannot be the same one after all.  Excuse my geekiness for a moment, but the planet in Alien is called LV426, whereas the planet in Prometheus is called LV223.  It’s not essential to the plot and far from obvious to the viewer – it’s just an example of how the movie has been written.  The writer, Damon Lindelof, was one of the showrunners on hit TV show LOST, so the use of vague and mysterious mythology scattered throughout should come as no surprise.



Another much-loved and respected franchise returning this summer is the Bourne series, which made an action star out of Matt Damon.  The fact that he does not feature in the latest instalment, The Bourne Legacy, may concern fans of the previous trilogy.  However, trailers centring on another CIA operative, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), suggest that his character would give Jason Bourne more than a run for his money.  It boasts a stellar cast, with Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz joining returning contributors Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Straitharn, Scott Glenn and Paddy Considine (one of whom was shot dead in The Bourne Ultimatum, suggesting events are tightly interwoven with those previously witnessed).  Renner’s star-power is on the rise after last year’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol suggested he could front the series moving forward sans Tom Cruise.  He played ace-archer Hawkeye in this year’s The Avengers, but his breakthrough performance came in 2008’s The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow - winner of most of the Directing awards that year with the movie subsequently winning Best Picture.  So far, the movie she will be releasing later this year is still untitled, yet I can tell you that it stays in Middle-Eastern territory with a thriller focussing on Navy Seals tracking down Osama Bin Laden.



In the meantime, another one of the most innovative of directors working today brings closure to his saga of Batman movies this month with The Dark Knight Rises.  As far as I’m concerned, this is The Film of the Year.  Be prepared for its epic-scale being matched by its running-time at 2hours 44minutes.  The cast of the series was already very impressive with Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.  Carrying through to The Dark Knight Rises, the ensemble cast improves further with Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt joining under Christopher Nolan’s direction.  I don’t need to say much about this one - it’s going to be huge.





Friday, 8 June 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

I received the Versatile Blogger Award (VBA) from blogger, Kate from Kate's Reads


Click here  to see her post.

Kate has provided an explanation as to what it is all about:


What is it?As far as I can tell — details are rather sketchy and only the creator knows for sure — this lofty-sounding award is basically a mutual admiration society where bloggers recognize their peers for writing quality blogs that touched them in some way. The VBAs honor the blogger rather than specific posts. It’s a chance for bloggers to pat themselves on the back like the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does with the Oscars. Until someone starts giving out Blogscars, the VBAs will have to suffice.

What are the criteria?
If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. I nominated 15 outstanding bloggers below. Congratulations!

Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.

Thank you,  Kate, I'm very grateful for your recognition.

Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
This is a link to Kate's BLOG: http://kates-reads.blogspot.co.uk/

Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)

The envelope, please…

Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
And my nominees/winners are (in no particular order):

1. Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog by Morgen Bailey
2. My Name is Sarah by Sarah Elle Emm
3. All For Writing by Desiree
4. Blaire Kensley by Blaire Kensley
5. Dangling on The Edge of (In)Sanity by Renee Miller
6. The Adventures of Caitlin in Wonderland by Caitlin Darrell
7. The Writing Bomb by Jeff Bennington
8. Writer Girl by Megan Cooley
9. Jarrett Writes by Jarrett Rush
10. Reading and Writing are Fattening by Marla A Madison
11. Do You Write Under Your Own Name by Martin Edwards
12. The Daring Novelist by Camile Laguire
13. Rebecca Burgess Taylor by Rebecca Burgess Taylor
14. The Tainted Archive by Gary Martin Dobbs
15. The Vandal by Derek Haines

Well done everyone.

Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.  Here we go...

1.  LOST was, and always will be, my favourite TV show.
2.  I work full-time as a Mortgage Adviser.
3.  I'm a good cook, even if I do say so myself.  I can't understand how someone could say they can't cook.  I belive that, as long as someone follows the recipe, anyone can do anything. 
4.  I drive a Blue Motion VW Golf.
5.  I got married in Mauritius in 2005.
6.  At time of writing, my wife has torn her achilles, which has bled and then bone has calcified around it.  So, today she went to the fracture clinic and is now wearing a bulky boot to take the pressure off when she walks.  It's going to take a long time to heal, if ever, so it's going to mean a lot of changes.  No driving for her, more responsibilities for me.
7.  I was on TV quite a lot because of the following clip.  Check out the 1 minute 16 seconds mark, and that's me.  It was used on a lot of news reports, tv sports shows, etc, all over the world.  It was the end of the first game of Wales' Grand-Slam-Winning 2005 Six Nations campaign.  It was quite burst of adrenaline and I had a thumping headache from all of the excitement about 30 minutes later.

There you go

Thursday, 31 May 2012

FIRST BOOK TRAILER

Searching for another method of promotion, I came across the notion of posting a book trailer. The thought of it seemed daunting in that it was going to take a lot of time and effort to create it. Yet, as I've found since deciding to self-publish, nothing is ever as difficult as you anticipate it's going to be. It took me just a few hours and I have to credit my accomplishment to the extremely useful instructions provided by Kingdom ElectLady here.  I'll have to get cracking on a book trailer for Barren Endeavour next, but, for now, here is my trailer for The Ellroy Deflection...

video

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Word count widget

I've started using a new widget for updating the word count of my current novel. If you're interested in using it for your blog, click here.  I'm using the Writertopia meter, a cartoon that lets you show your current mood as well as the word count. As your word count increases, the stack of pages in the graphic rises. 

I'm using it on my UPCOMING PROJECTS page and it's very easy to use.  I've set a provisional target of 80,000 - but, who knows?  My stories tend to take on a life of their own and it may finish before or after that target.

It's turning into a murder mystery at the moment, but it did not begin that way.  It's set in  Birmingham, England, which is where I live.  Writing what you know is, of course, a lot easier - but I find that one of the most initially rewarding aspects to writing has been the research into areas upon which my writing needs to be more informed.  For example, my second novel, Barren Endeavour, was set in 1930's USA.  Researching the history and events of the time gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction and, for a time, I was obsessed with knowing more about The Great Depression as much as I was the writing of my novel set during that time.

My current novel started off as a relatively straight-forward story about four couples, their relationships, adultery, secrets and lies.  It has now changed direction and it means that the writing is going to becoming more challenging than it has been thus far.  The strands are sprawling in many directions and I'm going to have to retain control along the way.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Short Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



View all my reviews This is your classic 'middle' of a trilogy. Takes longer to get to the action than the first book, but when it does it effectively 'repeats' the most successful elements that have come before. Still being just as addictive as the Hunger Games was, and just as easy to read, means that you fly through it, ready to immediately pick up the final book after the cliffhanger. Once again, it's vividly thrilling and compulsive reading.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Short Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium, #2)The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It was even better than the first book. Now that the reader is familiar with the character, the story was able to delve into Salander's background and reveal why she is the way she is. It also tell's us more about Erica Berger's life as well as Blomqvist, with the human-trafficking murder plot serving as a driving backdrop. It revisits many of the characters from the first volume and throws in a few twists. It's another hefty volume, but compelling enough that the reader is left longing to read the concluding part.



I had seen the Swedish movie adaptation, but this felt completely different. It felt as if I didn't know what was going to happen further down the line and was still pleasantly surprised along the way.



View all my reviews

Sunday, 12 February 2012

New Short Story - THE MEMORIES THAT DON'T FADE

I've posted a new story on the Flash Fiction Shorts page today.  It's called 'The Memories that don't fade' and it was inspired by Robert Shaw's speech as Quint in Jaws. It's still as captivating a piece of acting as it has ever been.  Aboard the Orca at night, Quint vividly recounts his experience as a survivor of the USS Indianapolis disaster in 1945.  It's a wonderful monologue, excellently performed.  I'm not comparing my story to the relay of events, but it is where I drew inspiration from in setting out my short story.  You must know which bit I mean, but in case you don't...


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Seeking a Literary Agent

I self-published the kindle version of my first novel, The Ellroy Deflection, on Amazon in June 2011 along with a prequel short entitled The Ellroy Damnation to promote it.  Following that, I released my second novel, Barren Endeavour.  Since then I have achieved a total of 1017 downloads combined.  Last May, I had one novel completed and was halfway through writing my second.  I had no idea that I was going to stumble upon self-publishing the following month but, when I did, it was an exciting time.  I set up this blog, joined Twitter and signed up to The Independent Author Network.  I'm now writing my third novel, Natural Disposition, and have found that the creative juices are flowing more freely than they ever have before. 

I'm starting to think about how I can achieve the goal of becoming published.  I don't think I'm going to be able to make it big on my own.  Tournament-wise, I'm in the league stages and I think I'm going to need an agent to get to the final.  Someone in-the-know could ensure that my novels reach the desk of those that they need to.  These stories can sell - they just need to be seen.  The ideas had to make it past the nonsense filter in my brain to get onto the page, so I have the utmost confidence in them.  A lot of the publishing houses will only accept agented submissions, so I'm looking for representation.  It would make for a mutually beneficial relationship for many, many years to come.  I'm aiming for the sky and getting an agent is essential to reach it.
It's a longshot, but if anyone reading this currently has representation or knows of an agent that they could recommend or refer me to, please leave your comments below or email me at kevin001@sky.com