ARTICLES

In the way of the French

In my late teens, I and three companions—my girlfriend, Vanessa, and two cousins, Derek and Lenora—decided to take my very shaky Ford Cortina from London to the south of France. We’d never been to France and had been invited to help rebuild an ancient farmhouse in return for food, a place to camp, and drink.

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Writing in Blood

I came across an interesting question the other day: Why write in ink when you can write in blood? And, while we’re about it, we can add to our discomfort about the dripping, body-warm, gore splattered nature of the question by suggesting that it opens a can or two of slimy, wriggly things, freshly gathered from a half-open grave.

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A friend indeed

I was having a cup of coffee with Jane Teresa the other day—a not infrequent pleasure—when, on my way back from a loo visit, someone stopped me to say, hello.

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A pas de deux

It’s that in-between time—the funny period that separates Christmas and New Year. I really enjoy these few brief days. Before Christmas it’s hectic. There’s simply too much to do and not enough time to either do it properly or, more importantly, enjoy doing it.

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Lamb to the slaughter

I’ve just finished At Home by Bill Bryson. Those of you who’ve read it will no doubt be nodding, grunting, smacking your lips, or whatever you do when you agree, when I say that Bill’s book is absolutely packed with facts—too many to easily recall as it happens, although in recent conversations some of them have conveniently popped back into my noggin when someone mentioned a key word.

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Egg on my face

I had to laugh the other day. I was poof reading a section of a client’s book I’m writing when something niggled out of the page at me. I couldn’t put my finger on it straight away, but I was aware that I had been burning a little midnight oil and was on the lookout for any interesting little errors a tired brain can easily produce.

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Strangers in the night

How many times have you heard the expression, “Everyone’s got at least one book in them”? In non-fiction terms, I believe that everyone has—as long as they’re old, crazy, or experienced enough to have had some life experience.

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Conversation with a ghost

I had a weird experience the other day. I’m perfectly comfortable talking with people and recording our chats with a view to writing books for them—that’s my job. But, I was taken right out of my comfort zone when Ian Kath, interviewer extraordinaire, decided that he’d like to create a podcast episode about ghostwriting.

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Riding a rollercoaster

About half-way through the book I’ve just read, the sixteen-year-old protagonist finds himself in Austen, Texas, at a crossroads in some very absurd proceedings. I say absurd because this wretched individual manages to get himself in very deep shit, his life rocketing from bad to terrible with comic speed.

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Food for thought

Well, I have been remiss. And thanks to all those wonderful people out there who’ve reminded me that nothing fresh has appeared here for a while. I’d like to (and will) protest that my recent lack of blogging steam has been the result of a fascinating book project.

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Stranger than fiction

Have you ever read a novel and stopped somewhere thinking, yeah right? That little something that hasn’t quite held water, jerking you rudely out of the narrative perhaps?

I was reading a story the other day when a synchronous moment it described did just that.

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An untimely death

I’ve just finished Barry Forshaw’s The man who left too soon, a biography of Stieg Larsson, author of the runaway bestsellers, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.

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