Monday, 2 July 2012

A Castle, some chocolate, and a Watery Grave . . .

Firstly, I just want to apologise for the lack of activity in the last week or so. Unfortunately, my computer - bless it - died last Saturday. It had a decent innings, and I only lost a couple of half-finished short stories, so not as disasterous as it might have been.

I'd promised myself the previous week I'd have a real go at completing my novella - ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN - and I'd be buggered if a little thing like the absence of a computer was going to stop me. Out came the the old notepad and pen, and I finished the final chapter of the first draft in a day and a half in a dozen handwritten pages. It was like discovering the wheel for the first time, or chocolate, or something. A real revelation, you know. Without access to Facebook or Twitter or Amazon, or all the other wotsits I've chained myself to over the last a couple of years, I felt a free man. From here on in, all my first drafts will be handwritten. Hurrah!

And now to catch up on the goings on and stuff . . .

The Tonbridge Arts Festival
Last Saturday, whilst I still had a living, breathing computer, me and my boy, Charlie, and several other Caffeine Nights authors made our way to Tonbridge Castle in Kent for the Tonbridge Arts Festival. Twas a beautiful day, and though the set-up in the grounds of the castle was a little sparse, and punters were hard to find, me and Charlie had a fantastic time. Meeting my  CN stablemates for the first time after conversing for a couple of years online was an absolute pleasure. Not only great writers, but top people too. Nick Triplow - author of the brilliant Frank's Wild Years gave an excellent talk in the main marquee to a most attentive audience, and Bob and Carol Bridgestock - who's D.I. Jack Dylan series are some of the most authentic police procedurals around - proved to be fantastic company. Bob - a twenty-six year former Detective Superintendent - regaled me with much stories of his copper days that would each have made a book in themselves, whilst his lovely wife and equally talented author, Carol, kept Charlie busy helping set up the marquee, with promises of chocolate and sweets.

Myself and fellow CN author Alison Taft, who's Our Father Who Art Out There , , , Somewhere is one of the books I am most looking forward to reading once my Kindle is repaired - yep, that's broke too - discovered a shared love/pathological addiction to chocolate and a similarity in our place in this writing game. Both of us were a little bit in awe of the confidence of Nick and Bob, and wished one day we'd be able to exude the same level of self-belief.  Was lovely to meet a like-minded chocoholic.

I've nicked a couple of pictures from Carol and Bob's site from the event. The Tonbridge Arts Festival was the same weekend as the Isle of White Festival. Carol and Bob live on the Isle of White. And if you've seen the news for that weekend, the Isle of White almost drowned. Carol has documented their adventure that weekend on the RC Bridgestock blog here

A few piccies I nicked . . .

From left to right - Darren Laws (Head Honcho of Caffeine Nights), Alison, Nick, me, and Charlie

The Caffeine Nights crew answering questions on 'How to get published' in the main marquee. Bob is sitting in the centre and the bloke next to Bob is a bookshop owner from Tonbridge. Never in my life have I been so close to a pink shirt.

From left to right - Alison, Darren, Bob, Nick, Carol, and me. A bad hair day for me, and if you look close, though I advise you not to, a bad shirt day as well. I'm clutching my CN I.D. badge in my pocket, still having no clue as to how to clip it to me trousers. The consumate professional, eh :)

Also last week, and also on Bob and Carol's site, the lovely Carol chatted to me about writing and stuff. The interview can be found here

The Watery Grave Invitational
The results of the presitgious Watery Grave Invitational short story competition were also announced last week - fantastic time for the computer to shuffle off its mortal coil, eh. And I'm proud to announce I managed to pick up third place with my story THE DROWNING OF JEREMIAH FISHFINGER. If the title sounds familiar to some it's because the story started off a year or so ago on this blog as a sixty worder. I extended it to around two thousand words, and was incredibly surprised to pick up third place. The official announcement can be found on THE DROWNING MACHINE blog here. A hearty congratulations to all the winners and entrants. Fantastic writers all.

What else . . .

Oh yes, work now begins in earnest on the sequel to ABIDE WITH ME as the first draft of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN sits in a drawer for a month or so. Blimey, my whole back catalogue in one sentence. Fantastic :)

Look after yourselves, everyone.

Best wishes,



  1. Oh, yes! The age of Fb, twitter, and google+ and everything in between. There are times I wish I had never started on them; but then look at all the friends I would have missed. They do take up too much time though. I must find a happy medium so I can do other things too. Great post Ian. I didn't recognize you in the crew pic. :-(

  2. Hi Eva. I'm the scruffy one at the end. I told Charlie I look scruffy in the photo. He said, 'Dad, you're always scruffy, so it doesn't make sense just to pick one photo out and say you look scruffy in it.'

    He's only nine. Too clever by half, I reckon :)

  3. Sorry to hear about the computer. Glad you didn't lose much. Makes me think I should back up my stuff today.

  4. All sorted in the end, Charles. And amidst it all, I rediscovered the beauty of writing by hand. Silver lining, and all that :) Hope you're keeping well, mate.