In the country.

I must be doing something right. My last post dealt with a website,, that I have recently been toying with. I’m sure most readers could spot that I wasn’t exactly enamoured of that worthy organ. But I did manage to gain a few extra followers. Woohoo.

Hang on. They all seem to be Authors. Quiet ones at that. Maybe I said too much.

The chances of being covertly watched from across the street by mysterious men seem low though. We awoke on Christmas Eve morning to this..


How romantic. A canal at the bottom of the garden. Or perhaps a lake..


You can just see the trailer that the local farmer has used to close the road off. Good for them. It’s amazing how many people, seeing the road ahead flooded to an unknown depth, will drive straight in. They keep those revs high, thrashing their engines and creating a bow wave that curls up and over the bonnet, and as they pass washes away driveways and floods low-lying property. It’s an annual insurance claim that those householders must look forward to.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, to be an author

I have recently joined an online organisation called, or WdC as its members like to call it. I write a fair bit; I would admit mostly self-indulgent drivel, and my ratio of draft/published is about 60:40. I just thought that this might be a way to get some of my talented output in front of an audience. I’ve now found myself so intrigued by the workings of this site that I’ve taken on a serious case of writer’s awkwardness and stopped producing any work.

The ‘sponsor’ of the site is a company that somehow promotes self-publishing. I haven’t gone into this, so I can’t say how they make their margins. I do know that the odds are pretty well stacked against any one who aspires to be a published author. You are up against tens of thousands of people just like you, similarly scribbling away in the small hours. You may have the right looks, a popular genre, be presentable to the chattering classes, yet still find the smart money goes to a footballer with brains in his feet. It is a tough racket.

So self-publishing is an option. Through a company beginning with A, you can get yourself on a device that starts with K, and earn mere pence per download – it’s not a living, but it’s undoubtedly gratifying to the ego. I’m sure there are other organisations that allow you to publish online, though they must gain their revenue via some mechanism. If it floats your boat – go for it. Don’t expect altruism and you can then always be pleasantly surprised if you find it.

Back to WdC. It is presented as a writing community, where people are supported in their writing and encouraged to take part in activities such as reviewing their fellow authors works. All very egalitarian.

For your first month you are a ‘newbie’. Yes, it is a US site. The nomenclature and grammar reflect this, but we Brits are used to this by now. We have long since learned to accept that despite living in or close to England, we actually speak British. The US speaks English. Go figure. American is what the rest of the world speaks, presumably. At least you aren’t called a ‘rookie’. Anyway, newbies are paraded and given special means to have their work reviewed.

If I made one tentative suggestion at this stage, it would be that they change the name of the site to This is what most people seem to do, and you get accolades for nicely formatted reviews. Niceness is encouraged. So is honesty, which can sometimes make niceness hard to achieve. I know a good piece of writing when I see one, but I haven’t got the killer instinct of the critic, so when it comes (again and again) to reviewing works involving blind faith, or fairies, or dragons, or vampires (you get the picture), I find myself moving swiftly away and pretending that I haven’t seen it.

After graduating from Newbiedom, you drop off a cliff. I’m a natural born sociopath, so I haven’t yet figured how to claw my way back to the light. As with all good networks, there is a number after your nom de plume, which denotes how many ‘community recognitions’ you have. You get community recognition for contributing and taking part. Sweet! The theory is that if you write a lot and review a lot then you get recognised and your rewards push you up the tree towards enlightenment.

That makes sense until you meet up with a Newbie with just 3 pieces of work and umpteen recognitions, or find that the Support person has 178 of the things just for fulfilling a role, and you realise that you are entering a popularity contest where the right people get to bathe in showers of rose petals. I’m too much of a rebel for that and I’ll always be perversely happy with my single recognition.

I have read some fantastic work, but I would doubt that this site is going to throw out many authors of the calibre of say, Philip Pullman or Neil Gaiman. I recall one contributor describing the best-selling multi-millionaire J K Rowling as ‘not a good writer’, which is about as far up ones own as one can get. True progress in writing is achieved by people who view the world askance, not by people desperate for friends and certainly not by those who can churn out 50,000 consecutive words in a single November.

All in my humble opinion obviously. I suspect I will be thrown out of the club eventually, or find people in sunglasses and dark suits following me in the streets.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ ebook is out now

‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ ebook is out now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can help

You can help.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Grey Britain.

I can walk down any High Street in this country of ours and everywhere cast my eyes upon mirror images of myself. One at least for every half-dozen or so of the shop windows that bounce my reflection back at me. I wouldn’t discount that there may be as many women, but I don’t see them as easily as I do the men.

I can identify with these men. I detect an echo of my own inner thoughts from them and interpret their demeanour, even as I project my own.

My brothers cannot comfortably merge with the ne’er-do-wells and lost souls that frequent our town centres, those so far descended that people no longer register them. Yet these daytime strollers have grown to be as much a part of that urban landscape and mythology. Men who don’t even exist in the eyes of the popular media. These men don’t fit the convenient stereotype. The men who catch my eye are decent men, family men; devoted, law-abiding, confused; abandoned men. Honest citizens, worthy of respect, whom government policies are increasingly trapping on the wrong side of the law.

You can see them too. They have a uniformity, dressing to a certain standard but with varying signs that something is no longer quite as it should be. The fact that I see them during the day is significant. What is the growing industry that employs these men to pace the streets? The training shoes tend to be the giveaway, for my friends will still, for a while, be clothing themselves with the dignity afforded by past employment whilst their feet are shod with comfort, and expense, in mind. When I catch their eyes, they drop theirs. They do not have the self-esteemed nonchalance, nor yet the ready challenge of the terminally disenfranchised. I represent no threat to them. They have already seen my feet. Under my nice coat there is a moth-eaten hole in my woollen jumper.

Posted in Writing | Tagged | 1 Comment