If you have been following my blog (happily a lot of people do) then you will know recently I loaded ‘Playpits Park’ on to the HarperCollins ‘Authonomy’ website (blog post is here). It went in at around 6000th and in three weeks it has risen 5500 places. I wasn’t expecting rave reviews from my peers but that’s what I’ve got. I am veritably smacked in the gob.
How about: ‘Richard, I read this in awe. You are obviously talented and I have no doubt you have had some of your work published before. This is perfect, engaging, excellent writing and a model to all those hoping to write a good book. If you think my praise comes lightly, it doesn’t. I want to leave critique, but there is none. You are a far, far better writer than I will ever be. Superb’.
All that, without bribery! There are more comments, equally complimentary. But I shall remain modest. Pride comes before a fall, etcetera – though having never been published (despite what is said in the quote) I am still on the ground so I won’t fall far. It’s such a shame agents and publishers don’t feel the same way about Playpits (not that I’ve hawked it around lately). Playpits Park is here (be patient – the Authonomy website can be painfully slow).
The bus I travelled on yesterday was “not a real-time bus“, according to the digital arrivals board at the Park and Ride.
I love this sign. It’s on old mining land just outside Edinburgh.
A few miles from us there is a road bridge across a narrow valley. Beneath it, a cycle track runs along the bed of an old railway with a small stream beside it (very rural, very pretty). While waiting for the traffic lights to change I watched a woman carrying a bin full of dead leaves and garden rubbish along the footpath beside the road, clearly intending to tip the lot over the wall (very naughty, very unfriendly to cyclists). Being unfamiliar with Sod’s Law she did just that. At that very moment the trolls that live under the bridge conjoured up an mighty wind that lifted the entire contents of the bin (it was large) into the air in an erupting volcano of muck that completely engulfed her. How I larfed.
I recently passed two removal lorries on the A9 and recognised the name on the sides, G H Lucking and Sons. What I did not recognise was their new slogan, ‘Keeping Entertainment Moving’. I much preferred the old one, ‘Theatrical Removers’. It did such great things for my imagination.*
*”Is that a sideboard which I see before me…?”; “Alas, poor Yorick” (I dropped the bugger)…
The three-year-old phoned his dad after he’d had a bath. He didn’t mess around with greetings but got straight to the point: ‘It’s alright Daddy, the water hasn’t come through the ceiling yet…‘ It reminded me of his sister when she was that age. She had made a phone call but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with it. ‘Why are you quiet?’ ‘I’m waiting.‘ ‘What are you waiting for?’ ‘I have to leave a message after the toad.‘ The toad, presumably, was taking its time.
On my way south to visit said aunt (my previous post – click the ‘Harper Collins’ tag) I stopped, as one does, at a motorway services with a Costa (what would we do without them…) and instead of the usual girl and boy baristas behind the counter there was a couple of ex-STASI guys, one whose name badge said Klaus. He asked me if I wanted extra shots. Shots at who, exactly, I wondered. Did he have anyone in mind?
I have been neglecting my blog. I’ve been spending all my spare minutes splitting Playpits Park (extracts here) into separate chapter files and uploading them to Autonomy, a website run by publishers Harper Collins on which authors can display their work to other authors. It’s a clever idea because by allowing the peer-ranking of novels the publishers can pay more attention to the highly rated ones. The idea is not new and I am sure there are snags, but it does appear to work. Snag number one, for me, was technical – all my indents looked wrong and although it was easily readable I didn’t want to leave it like that. The site allows me to edit, so for the second time this week I had 45 documents open simultaneously in Word. Brain still hasn’t recovered.
Soon after I uploaded the novel I got this comment from a reader : “One of the best opening lines ever, Richard! Complete dark humor! I enjoyed delving into Playpits Park- kudos on a professional manuscript!” How nice. Oh… and that opening line is not on my website, I have only put random extracts. However, the whole book is now here.
More blog neglect over the next few days too, as aged aunt is coming up 90 and deserves a weekend of pampering. Bet she won’t put her teeth in though, even for family.
Though I grumbled on Wednesday about the Bookbite competition not being available to those living in Scotland, living here does have its compensations. I don’t often bother to take photographs of spectacular landscapes and sunsets because they hardly ever do justice to the subject. The photo of last evening’s sunset isn’t at all bad, and I have used it as my new blog header. Amazingly my camera’s battery was charged.
Devolution has its advantages and disadvantages, but there is one disadvantage I was not aware of until I followed a series of links on a Bookseller blog. To save you having to go through them all, here is the final page I looked at, it is a Booktrust ‘Bookbite’ competition. I hear what they say, but find it hard to sympathise. Perhaps they shouldn’t have promoted this competition until they had secured funding to open it to all Brits, whether they live in England, Wales, Scotland or N.Ireland. If I was an Australian or a Latvian living in London, presumably it would be okay to enter. (I’m not angry. Does my face look angry…? I really must stop saying that).
*I am not a Scot but I live near Edinburgh
I’ve just seen this on Yahoo: ‘If the planet’s axis did shift by 8cm during the quake, days would have shortened by 1.26 microseconds, Mr Gross (of NASA) calculated. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second’.
So we won’t be altering the clocks, then.