Monthly Archives: November 2016

How A Sweet Story Turned Sour

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One thing every child growing up in Britain knows is that it makes very good chocolate. It wasn’t something we ever thought about as kids. Rowntree’s, Fry’s and Cadbury’s all made great confectionary. I certainly never noticed its quality until I tasted a Hershey bar, which was revolting, like rubber. There was a reason for […]

More Backlist Publications & A Film Student Offer

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  Although I’m currently at work on several new hardbacks, I haven’t neglected the electronic releases of my past books. I’ve been working with Penguin Random House to republish all the volumes which have been out of print for years, all with new introductions and covers, at low prices. So far available are Rune, Red […]

Hurrah For Wodehouse!

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Comic novels and stories traditionally occupy a low place on the literary totem pole, even when they make serious points. Arguably the most regarded American comic novel in Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’, followed by Updike, Irving and Dunne. In the UK the sprawling comic epic – the type American authors construct so well – is […]

The Secrets Of Santa

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Christmas isn’t all sweetness and light. Some of the old yuletide imagery conjured in songs and stories and on cards is best left behind, especially with its uncomfortable ethnic connotations. Devils armed with whips and demons dragging off naughty children formed the basis of common yuletide stories in Northern Europe, while the Krampus, a horned […]

The Friday Song

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton, 1989

With the news being so depressing yesterday it wasn’t time for the Friday Song, so here it is today, celebrating the bad girls of the movies. Footnote: In a weird comment on America’s complex issues with race, the film ‘Steel Magnolias’, which features here, was remade in 2012 with an all-black cast.

20 Reasons To Be Fearful

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Ah, the sun is shining, the birds have stopped coughing long enough to whistle a little tune and you feel momentarily good, don’t you? Allow me to wipe that cheery smile off your face. A quick round-up of the UK’s top stories this morning revealed these gems. ‘Arctic ice melt brings uncontrollable climate change at […]

Describe Your Childhood In One Word.

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A new international study has warned that British children are now among the least active in the world. Research comparing the activity levels of children in 38 countries put England, Wales and Scotland behind Ireland, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates. Scottish children are the worst. Also, ‘Generation Stress’ millennials are now suffering from ‘old […]

‘Under The Shadow’ Reinvigorates The Horror Genre

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I love a good scare. The trouble is that there haven’t been any good ones in quite a while. And I’m a demanding customer; I also want to be made to think. My benchmark films range from ‘It Follows’ back through ‘The Orphanage’ to ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, about which there’s an interesting article here, arguing that […]

Writing 101: What A Good Editor Will Do

Read a good book lately?

Hardcover book on plate with dinner setting. A slice has been cut out and is ready to eat.

Sometimes I get bugged when people say they ‘haven’t got around to writing a book’ as if it’s a whiffly-whaffly hobby you pick up, like doing some knitting. Writing is a real challenge, I’m still learning, and the process is long. What’s more, it doesn’t end when you think it does. Next comes editing. Editing […]

World Class Stupid

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It should have been a popular protest, recognised by the government and incorporated into legislation. Instead it was allowed to become law by a weak politician. It was seized upon by the ignorant and ignored,¬†spread by fear and hatred, and allowed into positions of power the very people who would ignore the protestors. But enough […]