Saturday, December 31, 2011

We all have opinions on something.

Below something I put on the Jerusalem Post Talkback site, in response to a series of articles where the journalist quoted one of my (shorter) comments.
As you quoted one of my comments Martin, I'll address you directly as you obviously, to my surprise but your credit, read Talkback. Dealing with your last point first, although many countries do of course take into account the economic position of applicants seeking to live in those countries, that is not the only or main criteria. The mere fact that an applicant has, oh let's say $1 million (US) wouldn't automatically get them into a country they wanted to go to. I would agree with you that for demographic reasons a 'one state' solution is not the answer, not if you want Israel to remain a Jewish state. I also feel that the 'vision' put forward in the Oslo accords was flawed, just looking at a map I could never see how it could be made to work. I'm thinking here about the notion of having two geographically separated parts of the proposed Palestinian state. So what to do? It is possible that a war would sort this out, but I'm sure you'd agree with me when I say that a war would cause a humanitarian disaster, for both Israel and the Palestinians. Yes, I did say Palestinians because despite all your very erudite arguments, the Palestinians think of themselves as a homogenous people, and at the end of the day it's how a group of people perceive themselves that counts, not how others perceive them. Imagine the response from Israelis if a Palestinian academic put forward a cogent argument to show that Israelis were not Israelis but displaced Europeans. Before you point out that they already do this, I would ask you 'and how do you feel about that?'. It's also worth noting that the arguments put forward to support this notion are fairly easily disproved.So what to do? To my mind, although I have to admit it somewhat sticks in my throat, the only lasting answer is a two-state solution. One could go at great length into slightly suspect historical population figures to prove that Arabs have been in the geographic area as long as Jews. It is clear that Arabs didn't suddenly 'appear' in the West bank or Gaza about one hundred years ago. It's also clear that there was an upsurge in Arab migration in response to Zionist migration. You can twist and turn the figures anyway that you want, you can even throw God into the equation, but the fact is 'we are where we are' for whatever combination of reasons. So now what? You propose a population transfer. One might call it ethnic cleasing with a humane face, because I accept that you are not suggesting forcing people to leave by violent methods but rather by giving inducements. There might have been a moment when a population transfer was a possibility, but that moment passed over sixty years ago. In any event, people who suggest this, saying that it would bring peace after a great deal of pain, need only look to India and Pakestan for a real-life example of what happens when populations are forcibly transferred. The two countries are now staring at each other over nuclear barrels, hardly the situation one would wish on Israel. So what to do? Israel should make an effort to reach out to the Palestinians. By that I don't mean acquiese to all or even most of their demands, but I mean paint a picture of what peace would look like. Give the Palestinians something concrete to think about instead of what they have at the moment, hazy notions of independance which seem to revolve about freedom of travel. It seems obvious to me that purely because of geographic realities, the two states would have to co-operate in economic affairs, and would have to share natural resources. Israel is a highly developed technological society, with many innovative agricultural techniques. With peace, comes sharing. With sharing comes economic developement and with that comes a perceived mutual inter-dependence. Together, or at least as together as is realistically possible, both countries can prosper, seperately, the Palestinians will never achieve statehood and Israel will bleed to death. Bleed to death? Yes, because if a war occurs, the Palestinians are ethnically cleansed and Israel becomes 'Greater Israel', then not only will there be an immediate cost in Israeli blood, but there will be continuing internal unrest. Then the rest of the world will act, not militarily but economically, and no nation can survive in this world by remaining isolated. Oh, countries do survive for fifty years or so, at the cost of becoming like North Korea, an iron-fisted dictatorship where most of the population exists at starvation level, but in the end they simply fade way, the collapse of the Soviet Union showed that. My apologies to all the other contributors and readers for having made such a long post.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Eliezer's Return: A Christmas present to you, the readers.

The line of curraghs was about a mile distant, spreading across the entrance to the inlet, still well out range of the bows. Less than ten minutes sail away. Mapen fired off an arrow, behind the ship where it was unlikely to be noticed by those in the curraghs. It went about two hundred metres before exploding; he nodded to himself.
Itthobaal surveyed the approaching line; he raised his voice so all could hear.
“Steersman; count along the line from the right hand side and aim directly for the third boat. We’ll sink those buggers then deal with the rest.” Cheers and shouts from the crew.
Sikarbaal nodded and adjusted the steering oar slightly. Mapen was now standing in the bow, a burning taper in a tub at his feet to light the fire arrows with, Hanno and Luliya standing slightly behind him.
“They’ll concentrate their fire on the two outside boats, hoping to kill or disable the crew. That way, when we snag the line we only have to worry about being boarded from one side.”
Ben Asher nodded; all the crew were outwardly calm now, patiently waiting for battle, confident in their preparations and each other, knowing what the plan was.
“There is a saying in my time Eliezer; a battle plan doesn’t survive initial contact with the enemy.”
“We have a saying which expresses a similar thought. The key I have found is teamwork. Whatever happens, work together, each man guarding the others back. There is a tendency for men to act singly in battle, heroic no doubt but generally fatal. I want no dead heroes, I want live winners.”
Mochus, standing close by and handling a long spear, understood his words and smiled at them.
“You remember that, Mister Danny. We’ve got used to having you on board, you make sure you’re a live winner.”
“I’ll do my very best to make sure we celebrate this victory together Mochus; even if I do have more hair and teeth than you.”
Mochus convulsed with laughter and shouted out a translation of their conversation, the others responded with more cheers and waving of weapons. The line of curraghs drew ever closer.
On the right hand headland, people, mainly women and children, some old men, shouted and jeered; some capered about making gestures, some threw ineffectual rocks, but most just screamed what must be insults and abuse, cheering on the home team. The crew ignored them and concentrated on the task in hand.

Mapen conferring with Hanno and Luliya; Hanno firing off an arrow; the aim off but the range good. All three commence firing, concentrating on the first two curraghs in the line. Two fire arrows explode over the curraghs, causing visible confusion and fear, then Mapen scoring a direct hit on the second along the line, the burning arrow burying itself in the hide covering before exploding. Both men in the curragh hurled into the water and neither seen to come to the surface. Cheers from the ship, howls of rage from the curraghs. Slingshots from the curraghs, Hanno struck on the shoulder; Abibal coming forward and picking up his dropped bow, taking his place whilst Hanno flexes his arm for a few moments and steps back taking up the long spear that Abibal has put down. Teamwork; no individual heroics, just a united purpose and a cold determination to win. A fire arrow into the first curragh, now about fifty metres away; the two occupants waste no time but dive over the side. Abibal and Hanno rapidly send two arrows apiece into the general area where the two have disappeared then switch their aim to the curraghs on the other side of the ship. Javelins in the air now, a scream of pain from someone on the ship; Ben Asher gripping the axe tightly, watching out for missiles, calculating angles. With a splintering crash, the ship destroys the curragh, Abibal and Hanno firing into the two occupants just before the impact. Javelins and slingshots coming from the left side now but Mapen keeping up a steady stream of fire arrows which has an unsettling effect on their opponents; the ship’s way checked momentarily as the line between the curraghs is pulled taught. Unnoticed the wind has strengthened slightly, speeding up the ship and the whole line of some twenty remaining curraghs is jerked forward, making the aiming of javelins and slingshots difficult. Curraghs being dragged alongside the ship, the crew jabbing at the occupants with the long spears. Several men trying to clamber up the side of the ship. Two on deck; Eliezer stepping forward and despatching one with a thrust of his sword, Itthobaal stabbing the other and throwing him back over the side. Men down on the ship; more men trying to board from the curraghs; Ben Asher taking in that if the line attached to the curraghs were cut the fight would be ended quickly as the curraghs are left behind, rushing forward, clearing a path with his axe. The three archers were now engaged in repelling boarders using whatever came to hand, a bloody, vicious, mindless scuffle. Ben Asher, leaning over the right side of the bow, can’t reach the line with the axe; climbing over the side, one hand bloody where unnoticed he grasps the sharp rope; swings the axe, the line parts and he pivots himself back on board; blood and bodies on the deck; a final few javelins and a scattering of sling-shot; cheering; howls of rage and pain; Sikarbaal leaning on the oar and the ship turning more to the South West.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

Looking at the stats on the blog, I see I have readers from quite literally all round the world. Right now, it's Christmas day, 0745, so as good a time as any to wish everybody an enjoyable Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.
I'm almost on the 'home straight' with Eliezer 2 (working title 'Eliezer's Return'), eighteen chapters down and probably about ten more to go. Unfortunately, there's been a 'developement' in the plot, which means a rewrite of the last chapter, but that's the joy of writing, even though you may have a plot in mind, the characters seem to come alive and go their own way!
I'll post a 'taster of two' in a day or so, once I've worked out which 'taste' won't give too much away, in the meantime thanks to everybody who've sent messages of support, hope I'll meet up with at least some of you this coming sailing season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Problem shared

Becomes a problem solved. Thanks to everybody who came up with offers of help, some excellent ideas and many, many positive vibes. A special thanks to the person who delivered the solution.
I will put some updated pictures on this blog in a day or so, but the GRP work is almost finished and in the New Year I can get back to work on the interior. If you say it quickly, there's not that much more to do. Just rebuild the engines, a bit of rewiring, a couple of new halyards, new masthead lights, sail repairs and 'Bobs yer uncle'.Hopefully back in the water early to mid Feb, but barring anything unforseen the departure from Fiji should take place the end of April. Not quite sure where to right now, the options are direct to Brisbane, Vanuatu then Mackay (QLD) or even Tonga then back down to NZ (nah, probably not!). In any event, early in Jan I'd better start arranging an Aussie multiple entry visa.
Merry Christmas to you all, a safe and prosperous New Year.
Oh, and Santa, a bit of inspiration please. I'm just approaching the three-quarter stage of my new book, I know how it ends but I'm not too sure what happens between now and the end.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I need some ideas/help.

I have a problem that I'm hoping some of you can help me with.
Thanks to a personal loan (on very generous terms) from folks who would like to remain anonymous, I've been able to fund the work on Trouters to date, supplemented by my pension. However, due to some unfortunate surprises, I'm just about at the end of my financial tether. The shortfall is US$12,000. It would be great (well perhaps not exactly great, but you know what I mean) if I could say this shortfall was due to 'high living', but unfortunately it isn't, so I need to find more money.
First thought, of course, would be a job. Due to visa restrictions in Fiji, I can't look for work here, and in any event the wages would not be of any great help. Those still involved in flying, or recently retired, will understand that going back flying is not a viable option. Nobody wants to hire a 59 year old pilot who is not in current flying practice (current medical, instrument rating and class rating) and for me to achieve that lot would take about six months salary and certainly two to three months at the fastest. I don't have either the money or the time, I'll be sixty in May, at which point I can no longer fly single-pilot ops in Europe. Trust me, flying is not an option. So, anybody got a job, or know of anything going? Anything legal considered, but minimum wage stuff might be a bit unhelpful, I may 'take back' one of the books from the agent and self publish on Amazon, but again this is no quick fix.
Which leaves me with a third option, which is to ask for help. The email address is
Peter {DOT} bernfeld {CHANGE TO AT} Gmail {DOT} com
A final twist is that I've been given a warning that the club is thinking of doubling my monthly hard fees sometime next year, from F$500 per month to F$1000 per month. I have a suspicion that this is somebody trying to acquire a boat on the cheap as that has been tried before, but whether or not that's true, it makes the whole business unsupportable unless I have a job or a loan.
My options at this point are stark. Either I get more money by some means, or I will simply have to walk away from the boat in the not too distant future. When I say walk away, I mean the sort of money I would most likely be offered for it is around F$20,000, that's around US $10,000. Probably less, if I am having to bail out.
So, any ideas? I'm not looking for charity, for a few reasons I'd rather be able to arrange a loan (avoiding customs problems in Fiji, avoiding somebody pulling a fast one to get their hands on my home) and lastly getting work outside Fiji. Like I said, anything legal considered.
I had a question within a few minutes posting the above on my sailamail blog. Before I answer that, let me give a brief rundown of what's been happening with the book. The manuscript was accepted by a literary agent in August last year (2010). In April this year (2011) she found an independant publisher in the UK who liked it and a contract was signed in June. The book was e published, but there were many formatting errors, which frankly was the publishers' responsibility. There were also quite a few typing errors which the agents' proof reader didn't pick up. The proof reader was fired, but that still left the immediate problem. Anyway, the book was temporarily suspended on Amazon and Smash Words and the agent and I worked solidly for two weeks, checking the formatting, proof reading and making a few minor alterations. I had literally just sent off the final chapter when an email arrived from the publisher. They had run into financial difficulties and were breaking several contracts, one of which was mine. Basically they were dropping any manuscript that wasn't ready to publish immediately, and although I had finished, the agent needed about another week to finish her checking, so that was that. I have a small amount of royalties due for payment in early January, about three weeks of being available generated some interest/sales and looked promising. Not to totally 'float my boat' anytime soon, but it looked like I might get a small amount every quarter, to help things along. Right now, the agent has three of my manuscripts, one is a series of children's bedtime stories and we're hoping to find an illustrator who will take a chance and work on a shared royalties basis. One is historical 'faction', and the other is the slightly reworked one that was published and withdrawn.
OK, so why not self-publish. In a word, marketing. I could self-publish at just about zero cost on both Amazon and Smash Words, but there is no marketing support. The thing about a publisher as opposed to a company which self-publishes books is that they have a vested interest in sales. They will also have an 'in' with retail outlets for paperbacks and those retail outlets will also advertise, something that I couldn't afford to do. Certainly, using facebook and Twitter help to gain publicity, but that I think is no substitute for solid marketing, something at which I have only hazy notions anyway. Another friend pointed out to me that an e book 'might go viral'. It might, but the chances are it won't. Ex crewmember C suggested I 'do a reading on U tube', for the same reason. That remains a possibility. What I may do is 'take back' one of the manuscripts, if the agent agrees, and maybe try self-publishing, despite all my misgivings about it. I know the agent is very wary about this, the publishing industry is in a state of rapid change at the moment, but right now are very much against self-publishing, and the agent thinks might be predjudiced against any author who does so. I don't know, but I'm not too keen to take the chance. A friend has self-published and his sales are modest, but rising slowly. The books are good reads and deserve to do well, in time he might well find that his sales are respectable, purely by word of mouth, but he has also signed up with the same agent, the book that she accepted he had to withdraw from Amazon.
So, that is why I have not self published.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the farm

This has absolutely nothing to do with writing, except that it's difficult to use a laptop when you have a purring ball of fur in your lap, and the dog is hungry five seconds after he's been given a VERY large helping of dogfood!
Sometimes they don't fight!

'OOs that out there then?

Mum, Mum I'm hungry. Aww MUM

I understand why Zagi is always after food now, a big job feedingn three kittens that are nearly as big as you!

Yes Boss, you have just fed me and I am still hungry FEED ME!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Establishing a routine

Over the last week or so I've 'got into the groove'. This consists of leaving the house around 0830, toddling off down the hill to 'ye olde Hop Hing caffe' for my F$2.60 breakfast, a mug of tea and the' bigger than a McWhoppa with extra whoppa breakfast bun', then along to the yacht club to check on progress with the boat. This inevitably involves paying out various sums of money (there is a looming problem with this, especially since the bank has kindly decided to close one of my accounts, despite my not being above the overdraft limit and recently making a couple of payments. In the long term this may well be my problem, should I ever need the dubious services of a credit agency, but in the short/medium term they are the losers).
After the inspection of work in progress, I'll then act as a 'gofa' and pick up any small items that need to be purchased, then I sit at the club for an hour or so, before going back up the hill, showering and reviewing/writing. I reckon that I now have slightly over 50% of Eliezer 2 on the hard drive. Working on the assumption that the book will be about twenty eight chapters, I'm on chapter thirteen, with another three written out of sequence. I'm experimenting with writing the book as one continuous document, at the suggestion of a fellow writer/chum (Larry Jeram-Croft). In some ways it's easier, formatting mainly, but in other ways there's a lot of scrolling around the document and of course doing a grammar/spell check becomes a major excercise. Now you would think that this wouldn't be the case, having corrected something it should stay corrected, but the version of Word that I have on the PC seems to have difficulty with the concept 'ignore this'. Oh yes, the Mac Lapdancer. The video chip was in Nadi (Fiji airport) on Friday afternoon, and should be delivered to the Apple reseller on Monday morning. It is their number one job so I'm really hoping to be reunited Monday afternoon. Right now, I'm working in Word 2000, and I'll be transferring the document into Word 2003, so it'll be interesting (i.e. somewhat tedious) to see if the two versions of the spellchecker agree with each other. My experience is spelling yes, but grammar not always, despite the fact that I have inputed the same criteria into both grammar checkers.
I'm starting to enjoy writing again, although I do suffer from the occasional bout of 'oh what's the point'. I think the point is that all the publishing houses will be preocuppied with the run up to Christmas, so realistically Emma the Agent won't get a request for a full manuscript until the new year. Getting book two finished will help her I think, and it'll also mean that I can take a bit of a break once it's done and dusted.
I find it fascinating how I actually write most of the book in my head as I'm walking. Provided I remember it all, it's then relatively easy to sit in front of the keyboard. Speaking of walking, the F$20 sandals are wearing a bit thin, the tread on the soles is wearing away, so I'm almost down to 'racing slicks'. This is fine when it isn't raining!
Christmas.... I saw a depressing headline in the local papers the other day, "24 days until Christmas". For the last few years, Christmas to me has meant having a party on the boat in some pleasant anchorage, this year, assuming the GRP dust has been cleared up (i.e. by me) I think I'll take a bottle of wine down to the boat, hook up the electric so I can have a bit of music, and sit and contemplate. This coming week I'm going to attempt to reserect the hob, so I'll be able to make a curry or something.
To end on an good news note, my passport and driving licence that I couriered to the UK to renew the licence, has been returned to my Stepmother's flat and she will courier them out to me on Monday, so with a bit of luck I should have them in my hot and sticky hand by the end of this coming week. I also ordered a solar panel regulator which will be leaving UK on Monday and likewise should be here the end of the week. Just one minor detail, the emailed invoice showed VAT, so I've pointed out their clerical error. As a point of interest, even with VAT, couriering and four metres of wire, the cost was less than just buying the controller in Oz. Exchange rates, I suppose. Finally, the cat had three kittens and we thought that they hadn't survived for some reason, but last night there were three balls of fur running shyly around the living room. 'Mum' has been ravenous the last week or so, feeding three not so small kittens I'm not that surprised. I'll try and get an 'ah' picture in the next day or so.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No news is...

No news.Still early days yet and I know from previous experience that waiting to hear about manuscript submissions is a long drawn-out business, but it would be nice to get some encouragement. Hopefully my trusty 'lapdancer' will be ready for action tomorrow so I can resume work on Eliezer 2. Not much else to say at the moment, but I didn't want you to think that I'd forgotten you!
Work on the boat continues at a slightly less frenetic pace, right now all the wiring is being tested/ripped out. The new batteries should be here next week, so that will make a bit of a difference. In the meantime, good luck to all on the good ship Salila. They're taking part in this years ARC and left Las Palmas last Sunday. All is well on board, you can follow their Progress here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Looking for a hero.

One of the questions I ask myself is 'what do I write about after I've finished the current book?' Right now, that might not seem to be an issue, Emma the Agent is actively seeking a publisher for the first Eliezer book, I'm about halfway through the follow- on book, and Emma also has the edited, final version of 'Augustus' to wade through and try and flog at some stage. But I don't have what I think of as a repeatable hero. Certainly, Eliezer and Danny Ben Asher may well feature in a third book. Augustus's work for British Intelligence may well bear recounting at some stage, either as a series of connected short stories or a short novel of 90,000 words or thereabouts, again right at the start I had that idea in mind, but unless I turn him into a sort of Sherlock Holmes, he has a limited life.

I have some hopes for DCI Karno. I've written about four chapters and had some fun doing it. There would undoubtably be other cases that he would be involved in, but I saw him as a one-off, humorous character.

So, that leaves me looking for a hero. Whilst looking for spare parts for the boat on the Internet, I stumbled across a rumour of a little known pirate who, of course, operated mainly in the Caribbean, but sometimes in Florida or New York, and was known as Black Bagel. Some of you may be aware of a book titled 'Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean', one of the books I unfortunately lost in the shipwreck. However, I remember clearly that Black Bagel was not mentioned, which was a shame because to my mind he is one of the more enigmatic characters of that time. Research is difficult at the moment, due to various other commitments, but there are suggestions that it might of been he, rather than the Dutch, who snaffled an entire years worth of Spanish gold and silver in one fell swoop, off Hispaniola. When I have more time, I will research more thoroughly, but what I have learnt, or rather come across whispers of, is his long standing feud with what I assumed was the Spanish Inquisition. It now appears that the organisation that he frequently crossed cutlasses with was even more secretive than the Inquisition. Again, this is only a whisper, but I believe the organisation might have been called 'The Early Church of the Premature Saints.' More research is needed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's snow joke

Snow in Fiji?

Oh OK, it's GRP dust! Below the new keel

Just one minor problem, it won't quite slide underneath the keel. This is because on the other (Port) hull, more of the hull was torn away when that keel came off, so John put on X layers of GRP before offering up the keel. He added the same number of layers to the Starboard hull with the result that the keel just won't slide under the hull. The solution is probably to grind off a couple of layers (more snow?), put the new keel on then add more layers inside the hull to keep the same strength. still, it means that the keels will be even, handy when I next beach the boat to clean off the hulls.
Tomorrow will be a writing day.

Interesting or worrying?

Having written about writers block, there now appears an ad for a computer programme to 'unblock' the block. The Internet may be a wonderful thing but THEY are watching you!
Anyway, the block has unblocked itself. I've now finished editing/ reviewing/ proof- reading the first ten chapters of Eliezer2. There are about another three 'out of sequence' chapters written, they're next then it's onwards ( and hopefully upwards). One advantage of walking everywhere is you get ideas popping up all the time. It's a pity that the little audio recorder I had got 'deep- sixed' because I'm not sure that I'll remember all the ideas.
This weekend I intend to write another couple of chapters, but for today the boat has priority, I didn't go down to the club yesterday due to 'pressure of work' ( i.e. editing). More pictures of workin progress, I suspect, this weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Some Pictures

As promised, a couple of shots of 'John the GRP' hard at it, grinding away.

Now, this may be the way my mind works, but I can see the association, can you?

Right, enough of this tomfoolery, back to the keyboard Blogs and start editing!

The Cure

For writers' block ( or sheer idleness, come to that) is obviously to write about it. I've now, since we last 'spoke', revised/ proof- read the first four chapters of Eliezer 2, and had a couple of new ideas for the middle section of the book.
I have the final chapter committed to bytes, although as always that'll be subject to change, depending on how the middle section pans out. Hopefully by the end of this week I'll have finished the proof- reading so far and will be in full creative mode. In the meantime, I've taken a couple of photos of 'John the GRP' hard at work fitting the starboard keel to the boat, he was busy grinding (the GRP), fully suited and booted, complete with hazmat mask! As soon as I've uploaded the photos, I'll put one on here. At the moment, I have no way of uploading from the camera to the IPad, I didn't buy the necessary lead so I have to upload to a laptop then transfer the photos.
Right now I'm down at the Yacht Club, waiting news on the Apple laptop, which I really miss....funny how you get attached to an inanimate object, isn't it? I usually buy a 1.25 litre bottle of coke to drink over the course of a couple of hours when I'm down here, but today, feeling a little 'frisky', I added a shot of rum to the jug....ooh, you little devil, you (lol).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writer's block or sheer idleness?

So having sent Augustus on his way to Emma the Agent, I thought that I'd crack on with Eliezer 2. Well, that's what I thought, but nothing has happened! I don't have the excuse that I'm working hard on the boat because I'm not, 'John the GRP' is doing all that at the moment and doesn't need ( or want?) me getting under foot, so for the next week/ ten days I have plenty of time, so why am I sitting in a coffee shop right now? Ah well, the coffee shop is near the Apple Reseller and I thought that I'd check and see if Apple has agreed to replace the video chip foc, then I remembered that in large parts of the USA it's still Sunday, so they probably won't hear anything until tomorrow! Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Notwithstanding all the above, Eliezer 2 has been backed up on my PC, so I could write/ edit, and the fact that the PC doesn't have a serviceable battery doesn't matter because I can still power it from the mains.
So, writers block or sheer idleness? Your comments on a 'comment form' to 'Slobbing in Suva'.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

As I was saying

Did I say 'Augustus' would be finished sometime this week? I'm sorry, I
lied to you ( shame, shame!) , I finished it this afternoon and sent it on
its merry way. Emma the Agent has acknowledged receipt and apparently
Eliezer is doing the rounds as we speak. She remains confident of success,
so I hope that she's right.


Cruising: Boat maintenance in exotic locations
Fiji: +6799212518

Editing we will go!

Work on 'Augustus' is going well, just over half way through now, so I
should be in a position to send the manuscript to 'Emma the Agent' by the
end of this week. I'm glad to say that there are fewer mistakes in this
manuscript, so much of the time I'm just tidying up punctuation and
rewriting the odd paragraph. Actually, dare I say that I'm enjoying
reading the book? OK, I dare say it!
Other news, met up with the 'Calypsonians', Maureen and Paul yesterday,
and a modest amount of beer was drunk! They'll be in Fiji for a few more
weeks, then they'll be off south to NZ. John the GRP is saying that he
should finish the repairs by the end of this month, so I reckon that I
should be ready to 'splash' Trouters by the end of January. It will seem
strange to be back on board after so long. A pity that it'll be in the
middle of the cyclone season, otherwise I'd do a little 'local cruising'.
I suppose I'd better start thinking about thinking about what I'm going to
do next season. A little early to start looking for crew, but that will be
on 'the list'.
Excitement in the sailing club today, it's the Melbourne Cup, which has
quite a following here. The equivalent of the UK's Grand National, so
everybody (apart from me, seemingly) has had 'a bit of a flutter'.


Cruising: Boat maintenance in exotic locations
Fiji: +6799212518

Friday, October 28, 2011

Women say that Men.......

Can't multitask, but I'm going to have to! I really must make a start on
editing/ proof- reading Augustus and I should knock off a few more
chapters of Eliezer book two. My excuse for not having already made a
start is jet- lag and a touch of Bubonic plague (OK, Man- Flu, but it was
a really, really bad dose). Oh, that and the fact that my faithful
'lapdancer' has been in the Apple repair shop. All the news about that is
on Facebook, but suffice it to say the issue has not yet been resolved, I
await a reply as to whether or not it will be fixed FOC with baited breath
and nervous wallet.
Other news, John the GRP reckons that the hull/ keel/ rudder repairs will
be completed before December. He wanted to finish by the end of this month
but we're awaiting a shipment from Oz. Now he says he can source the
material locally, so after I've assaulted the piggy bank work will
There was a traditional Fijian wedding in the house the other day, one of
Rosemary's brothers. Apparently the local custom is to have a civil
ceremony then at a later date a traditional one. Very colourful, but I
didn't want to intrude by wandering around with a camera. If I can get
hold of some of the photos that Alice took, I'll post them if the family
are happy for that to happen. I spent part of the time drinking Kava. I
still can't claim to actually like the taste of it ( the custom is to 'yam
sing' the bowl, i.e. drain it in one go) but I did have a good nights
sleep. Obviously Kava suppresses the symptoms of Bubonic plague, not a lot
of doctors know that!
Now to chase up Emma the Agent and find out where she's sent the Eliezer
manuscript to. I see that her website has been updated to gshow the new
title ( Eliezer's Journey) and a plot synopsis. She remains enthusiastic
so I remain optimistic of finding a different publisher.

Cruising: Boat maintenance in exotic locations
Fiji: +6799212518

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lunch with a film producer

Well OK, let's be totally honest here, I went up to London for a couple of days to stay with my daughter, who is pursuing a career in the media industry, but hey! One day, I'm sure she'll be producing ads if not films. We went to Simpsons on the Strand for a very expensive lunch, well I hadn't seen her for two years and may not see her again for another two. Simpsons figures in my 'Doctor Augustus Pierre LeMesurier' novel, which is about to be edited them marketed. speaking of novels and one step forward and a shuffle back, Vamptasy (who published 'A Man out of Time) have run into some financial difficulties, which means that they are no longer handling me as an author (amongst others, I'm not alone in having my contract broken). Emma the Agent is reviewing the editing that I've sent her and will be frantically proof reading, prior to submitting the revised manuscript to other publishing houses by the end of this month. I should get my royalties from Vamptasy by January, but true to slightly disorganized form they neglected to tell me how many copies had actually been sold. As Emma said, never mind these things happen for a reason! I'm jetting off back to Fiji next week. Back to reality, i.e. boat repairs. Apparently things are progressing well. A pity that spares have proven so expensive in this country AND very few companies will actually ship stuff, they all want to use couriers. A bit pricey when you want a new stove and hob! I've also found that even going to see companies face to face doesn't guarantee better service. Hey ho. One last party on Sunday, then I'll start work on editing firstly the Tim stories, then 'Augustus'.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The long silence

I can't believe it's nearly a month since I posted anything, such a lot has happened. I'm writing this in the UK, where I've been for the last two weeks. Going through the galleys for the paperback, it became obvious that there were a horrific number of typos which had slipped through the net. To make a short story of it, the person tasked with proof-reading the manuscript has been 'dispensed with', and after a false start with an editor hired-in by the publishers, Emma the Agent and I are madly proof-reading/editing the original manuscript, trying to get it finished ASAP. The publisher has temporarily withdrawn the book from the various e platforms, but hopefully I will have finished 'my bit' by the middle of next week. After Emma has approved my changes and I've approved any changes she makes to my changes, THEN the publisher has a look at it in more depth than the first time she got it, it's likely to be the middle of November before the book is available again. Hopefully the paperback version will be out before Christmas! All this meant that I didn't get up to Aberdeen, I was too busy! Oh well, never mind. Other news is that Emma the Agent thinks that she might have found an illustrator for the 'Tim' stories, so based on this experience, once I've finished the current round of editing, I'll draw breath and take a close look at the 'Tim' manuscript. OH yes, I've heard from 'Latitudes and Attitudes' magazine that they have accepted my article and photos about the 'reef encounter'. No word as to when the publication date is, but I'll let you know as soon as I know.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Work on the paperback edition

I've been sent a galley of the paperback edition. A few typos to correct but the publisher has found a 'last minute' editor so we're still on track to have the paperback available in pre-release format at the 'publisher's shindig' in Aberdeen on the 1st October. I've had one report of possible Kindle formatting problems and one of Iphone formatting 'issues'. Both have been forwarded to the publisher who is actively looking into it. I see that I now have one review, thanks for that. As always all comments/feedback welcome. I've been too busy with repairing the boat to do any writing this last month or so, but the second book in the series was coming along nicely and hopefully when I'm back in the UK for a month I should be able to make major progress. About 40% of the book has been written, all the research has been done and the twists and turns of the plot are clear in my mind; all I have to do now is finish it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Aha! Proof of at least one sale :)

Thanks Calypso, hope that you enjoy it. I've had a number of emails letting me know that sales are on the move, thanks everybody for not only buying the book but taking the trouble to let me know that you've done so.
After all the frantic last minute proof-reading and the occasional bit of editing life seems a bit flat right now. I'm hoping that between myself and the publisher and myself we found and corrected all the errors. There might be a problem with the formatting for Iphones, but hopefully that might prove to have been 'finger trouble.
Looking forward to the publishers' 'knees-up' in Aberdeen on the 1st October, I really must dig out some warm weather clothes soon. In the meantime work on the boat continues and she is begtinning to look like home again.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Now available on Amazon in Kindle format

So absolutely NO excuses not to buy! I hope that you enjoy it, if you do please take the time to add a review on the Amazon site, and any feedback would be appreciated here as well.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Buy Buy Buy!!!

The book is NOW AVAILABLE on the publishers website!!!! Just in case that link doesn't work go to the main website itself then click on e books. At the moment the legend says 'coming soon', but click on 'book info' anyway and that will take you to the ordering page. The book is available in all e book-reader formats (yes that includes Kindle). Just as soon as it's available on Amazon I'll put the link on the blog.
Anticipating this, I brought a couple of bottles of 'the real bubbly' [Veuve Cliquot, not my number 1 favourite, but it was £12 a bottle cheaper for some reason]. So tonight will be a bit of a celebration with Rose and Vince. There might even be a photo or two, who knows?
After all this time, I can hardly believe it! Here's to getting Trouters up and sailing again quickly, and of course to success. Thanks to everybody who's emailed support over the last few months!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Breaking News

The book should be available on the publishers website within the next twenty four hours in e format, and available from Amazon next week. Rest assured, I will keep you posted!
In the meantime, you do have a Kindle, don't you?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The party is on!!

Courtesy of the amazing interweb thingie I've booked my train ticket to Aberdeen. Thanks to those well-known economy-minded travelers 'Carando' I found a reasonably priced hotel, £78 for two nights about a mile away from the city centre. Now to dig out some warm clothes, I really don't think that my Fijian 'Bula' shirts and a pair of shorts will cope with Aberdeen in October!
I spent today proofreading the manuscript and checking the formatting. Just a couple of minor changes, about six words I think. Nicola the publisher has sent me the e book galley, so after I incorporate the changes in it, all systems go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book launch party?

The publishers, Vamptasy, are holding a party on the 1st October to celebrate their official launch. To make the event as impressive as possible they're going to have on display all the books that are already available in paperback format and special pre-release versions of those in the pipeline, full list below.

R.B. Clague – twenty twisted tales
John tomaino – the white room
Riley steel – Red’s Robin
Tony Paul de Vissage – sweet sips of Blood
Nigel Moxley – The splines
Robin renee ray - Dark knight of the skye, return of the prophecy(pre release),
when she wakes(mini back), damnation (mini back)
Robin r Longley – Forever lost (mini-back)
Guy betar – unexpected meeting ( Mini back)
Donald Gorman- Driving while dead
Deborah Noel – Tangled Bloodline
Donna Milward – thoeba
Peter Bernfeld – A man out of time (pre release)
Trish maudlin – becoming the sheriffs wife (pre-release)
David cosgrove – digby the awakening (pre release)
Kathi s barton past due (mini back)
Rue Volley – Blood and light(pre release) Smoke and mirrors (pre release)
Riley steel – The taming of Ilona (pre release)
Nicola ormerod – Roxy May
Josh buckle- the rise (pre-release)

As it happens, I will be in the UK on the 1st of October and I've asked Nicola (the publisher) if she would like me to attend. Gosh, could this be my first book signing? They are working on having a Skype video link so their authors overseas can join in the fun! I'll keep you posted.
Amazon UK

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interesting News

Still no word on the e publication date, but it can't be far away now. The interesting news is that the publisher has organised an event scheduled for the 1st of October and wants to have ALL their books available in paperback at the event. This means that pre-release copies of 'A Man out of Time' will be available at the event, and presumable on general release shortly after that. I'm told that the only difference between the pre-release and released copies will be that the former will have no bar code on the back, but an ISBN number will have been applied for.
The hold up in e publication is due to editing problems with the book ahead in the queue; I have sent an email to find out what the latest estimated publication date is, so you'll hear as soon as I do.
Work on the follow-on book has been pretty much non-existent for the last couple of weeks as I've been working six days a week on Troutbridge. Hopefully before I pay a quick visit to the UK at the end of September all the interior woodwork will have been sanded, stained and varnished. For those of you interested, there are photos on my mailasail blog.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Click on the cover

Go to the publisher's website then click on the cover of 'A Man out of Time'. Pretty spiffy, eh?

Should be available on Kindle really soon now!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What if?

My 'bio' is now live on the publishers website. Click here to go there.

A Man Out of Time

Out of an unimaginably violent electrical storm a boat appears that proves
to be three thousand years old.

There is one survivor and you find, against all the odds, that you have a
common language.

You fear that this survivor might possess knowledge that could
potentially change your world.

What if you are the government and you can neither explain how such a
thing could happen nor reassure that it won't happen again?

What if it has happened before?

What do you do now?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coming Soon

The book cover has now appeared on the publishers website, listed as 'coming soon'. 

A couple of days ago I had an email asking for an updated 'bio' because they wanted to list me. I don't appear under 'authors' yet, but the cover is there.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Success? On the magazine article front.

A while back I submitted an article to Latitudes and Attitudes, a California based sailing magazine. Today I had an email asking for more photos as the article was just a bit on the short side (3500 words) for a full-length feature.

The editors wish was my command and 14 photos of assorted whales, dolphins, palm-fringed beach anchorages and impossibly beautiful Pacific sunsets have been sent. Not often a writer gets told an article was a bit too short!Sounds promising though.

As always you'll be the first to hear of any successful outcome. Oh, here is one such impossibly beautiful sunset.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mid August e book

The final 'quality check' is being done on the manuscript. The publisher has emailed me and said that they'll pull a couple of random chapters and proof read. Provided nothing 'comes up' then 'we are good for publishing mid-August Houston'. The actual comment was that manuscripts from the Gilbert Literary Agency are usually ready for publication, so well done Emma the Agent!

Getting just a bit exited now because mid-August isn't that far away! I'll start my marketing campaign right now :)

If you buy the book from Vamptasy then I make more out of it than if you buy from Amazon. As far as I'm aware you can buy from them in a suitable format for most readers (Ipad, Kindle et al), but however you choose to buy, please do just that! I'm told that one advantage in buying from Amazon is that you get a preview of the book for free, but why not check out the free preview if that is the case, then buy from

...In the meantime work on the follow-on book continues and I would think should be finished in three or four months.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Signed, sealed and almost delivered.

The signed contract has now been returned (hurrah!) and the book should be out in August. I've given final approval for the book cover, which is the one you've all seen earlier, but without the 'stock photo' imprint.

Now I apologise in advance, but once the book is available I'm going to be marketing as hard as I can (as will the publishers). This will include a lot of social networking activity and whilst I won't be passing out others email addresses willy nilly, without looking at the sites suggested by Emma the Agent I suppose there must be the off-chance that somehow or other my address book gets accessed.

 I will do my best to avoid this happening!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Where does the time go?

Not a lot to report on the book front I'm afraid, although I have sent a 'howgozit?' email to Emma the Agent. I've managed to get some work done on the follow-on book, revising all that's been written so far, doing some additional research and writing the last chapter! I know where the story is going and what happens along the way, so all I have to do now is join up the dots!

Writing this book has/is different from the others in that I conceptualized it as a series of essentially independent short stories which occasionally refer to each other, woven into one continuous narrative. Do I hear you say, 'yes Peter, we call those chapters'. Not quite, think of it as a series of stand-alone episodes or an 'Arabian Nights' set up, where a central character tells a series of independent but linked stories.

Anyway, on the boat front things are progressing slowly. This last week was spent in deep cleaning the inside of one hull and I expect that there's another two weeks work to finish the boat off. I'll be trying to spruce up the woodwork whilst mentally remodeling the interior of the boat and writing a chapter or two as I apply the linseed oil. Very therapeutic!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All systems go?

I've signed the contract and I believe Emma the Agent has as well, so just waiting for the publisher. I've seen a new proposal for the front cover, which both Emma and I like so that's pretty much settled, and I've sent a short 'bio' and an even shorted 'dedication' for the book.

So now we wait. I'm hoping that the book will be coming out this week. If I understand correctly it will be possible to download the book directly from the publisher in pdf format which a Kindle reader automatically converts. At least, that's what I thought I understood from the publishers website.
Now for yet another Sunday Lunch. I'm really not too sure where this last week has gone. Oh yes, work on a follow-on book is progressing reasonably well. I've edited what was already written and researched a few more ideas so the story is reasonably clear in my mind.
I've not heard anything from Latitudes & Attitudes magazine yet, but early days. The Guernsey Press ran an article on me that was basically lifted from my blog, but unfortunately they didn't get it quite right. They have promised to print a follow-up article on August 2nd, with corrections. We'll see!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Exciting stuff!

I now have a slightly amended contract following a couple of questions I put to Emma the Agent. I've also seen a proposed mock-up of the front cover, which both Emma and I felt was a lacking a certain 'je ne sais quoi', so a counter-suggestion has been made.
Timescale? I should email the signed/scanned contract within the next twenty four hours, so presumably by the middle of the week it will have been counter-signed by all other parties. I think the book will be available fairly shortly after that in e format and if 'things' are encouraging in paper form two months after that.
Today really will be 'Roast Beef on Sunday'. The weekday chef at the Marina Restaurant has been persuaded to work Sundays to produce an 'English Sunday Lunch'. He was a cook in the British Army for eight years so he can 'do the biz'. Probably won't be as good as mine of course (NO comments from any ex-crew required, thank you), but sadly it will be a while before I'm cooking on Troutbridge (unless of course about thirty thousand of you decide to buy the book, in which case I might be in Australia by Christmas.....just I'm not, buy it, you'll love it!)
Hey Ho, back to the magazine article, which I've provisionally titled 'The cost of a long blink'. Blinking high, is the answer to that!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I have a contract!

Great news, this morning Emma the Agent emailed a contract, so todays 'boat jobs' will be primarily printing off a copy, signing it, scanning it and emailing it back. Then I guess I'd better post off a hard copy.
The book will be initially published in e format, and available in Kindle/Ipad & pdf formats. If all goes well, some two months after that it will be available in 'paper format' and will be carried by Amazon and other major retailers.
Right, so now this weekend I need to finish the article I am aiming at a couple of sailing magazines then review what I've written so far of the follow-on book, which Emma feels the publisher would also like to carry.
Other works will be easier to sell once I have some sort of track record. Good news indeed, but no champers just yet, there's a lot of books to sell before my home is afloat again and I can continue my adventures in the Pacific. Hopefully, I've already experienced all the really exciting adventures and I'll be able to enjoy peaceful sun-downers with convivial company in quiet anchorages.
The publishers web site is being upgraded right now, but the address is:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thanks doesn't begin to cover it.

Carolyn & Andy are off early tomorrow morning, so we had a farewell lunch/beer and they dropped me off back at Rose & Vince's, nobody likes protracted goodbyes. All I can say is that a lot of 'boat jobs' have got done over the last two weeks that most likely wouldn't have been done and the boost to my morale has been immense.
So, today was spent mainly collecting my Mac from the Apple dealer then returning it when I found the the 'o' & '9' keys didn't work. I have to go back tomorrow to pick it up, by a combination of 'shanks' pony' and taxi rather than hire car!
Tomorrow then is Apple day and 'drop off the davit for repair' day. That will probably do it, but I'll most likely remove if not clean the headlining in my cabin.
Now pay attention, although I'm certain that I'll be saying this more than once in the not too distant future. I'm pretty damn certain that I'm going to have to find gainful employment, doing something somewhere in the World.
Flying is out because it would take too long/cost too much to reactivate my medical and licence then find a job (:
Standing under a lampost is out because at 6p a go it would take forever to raise what I think I'm going to need :)
Anything else would be considered anywhere where I can legally work. Apart from the obvious menial jobs I reckon I can turn my hand to pretty much anything, maybe something in the writing line?
Anybody got any ideas/jobs? Please contact me at either email address

Fiji: +679 9212518

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interesting News

A publishing house has liked and expressed interest in 'A Man out of Time'. Emma the agent tells me that subject to her vetting it, a contract will be issued in July. The plan is that the book will be published in E format initially and if it's well received then a paper version will follow.
Until the contract is a 'done deal' I won't mention who it's with, but all costs are to be met by the publisher so this is not any form of vanity/self publishing.
Good news at last. I've also been told to crack on with the follow-on book, so my current project is going onto the back-burner. Hopefully, now that the news on the boat-front is also brighter, I'll be able to start writing this weekend, or at least during next week.
The LeMesurier book is still doing the rounds, but Trembling Tim needs some editing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

And the opening lines of the next book are

T'wasn't a particularly dark night, except when the rain squalls came through and the low clouds obscured the leading lights nestling in the fetid hills above Suva. Nor was it particularly stormy, depending on one's definition of stormy of course; three metre seas and twenty-odd knots of wind weren't particularly uncomfortable, following the boat as they were, but heading into them would be a different matter.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

On the beach in Fiji

The title might sound entrancing, unfortunately the truth is in attempting to enter Suva harbour early last Monday morning (23rd) I put the boat up on a reef. She is still there as attempts to float her off have been unsuccessful thus far. There is a 'bigger tide' at the end of the month when we may meet with success. More on my sailing blog
In the meantime......let's see what adsense makes of me being in Fiji instead of in New Zealand.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A cracking good read

An old friend (about three months older I think) has written a cracking yarn which he has published as a Kindle ebook. Sea Skimmer is based on his experiences as a pilot in the Falklands conflict and there may be more truth in this than is officially admitted! Be that as it may, I thoroughly recommend it. Enjoy!
If the link doesn't work check out 'Sea Skimmer' on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A small, slow step forwards

The 'reading group' liked Dr Augustus Pierre LeMesurier and subsequently so did Emma the Agent. A final proof read then after the Easter break off to a couple of publishers. As always a slow process, I'm told that it will take three to four months to get a reply. First up I think is a publisher in Australia who has international links (so published and marketed world-wide ~ I hope:), they will accept electronic submissions. In tandem three chapters will be sent to another publisher who will only accept hard-copy (and a maximum of three chapters, initially).
A long drawn-out process. In the meantime 'DCI Karno' is busy solving several murders and is proving fun to write. Provided I don't get too distracted in Fiji (setting sail from New Zealand in about ten days, weather allowing) I should finish the book in about three months.
Still desperately searching for Susan, John, or anybody who can 'do' cartoon-type drawings to illustrate Tim. Oh yes, and I see that people are reading the blog (in some rather unexpected places) so please do take a moment to tick one of the boxes or post a comment and let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Grass does not grow under my feet!

Do I do anything else apart from writing? Well that would be telling! Be that as it may, a taster of the latest 'tome'. Let me know what you think.
A beautiful early evening in late August; the sort of evening that middle-aged people think that every evening in late August was like when they were young, only usually of course they weren’t. Mind you those same people looking at photos of themselves taken at the same time as those misremembered beautiful evenings in late August always seem to remark that somehow or other they miraculously look slimmer, chicer and altogether more attractive than they felt themselves to be at the time the photos were taken, which only goes to prove that either most middle-aged people need to visit an optician as a matter of some urgency or they missed an awful lot of opportunities when they were younger.
Sitting on a quaint but uncomfortable and guano-encrusted wooden bench in the trying to be family friendly garden of the “The Cocked Pistol’, an old Cornishire smuggling pub situated in a picturesque small river valley surrounded by gently rolling heavily-wooded hills and built in the 1950’s complete with thatched roof, authentic oak-type beams and a tourist-attractive history that was total bollocks but nevertheless highly imaginative and vaguely entertaining, a slightly rotund pixie-like figure five and a half feet tall, not athletically built with a bald pate and a one inch wide band of hair running around his head starting from his temples and meeting at the back was taking a reflective sip of his pint of ‘Fetid Old Socks’ and looking at just such a photo, taken on just such an evening. Detective Chief Inspector Leon Karno, inevitably ‘Fred’ to his schoolmates and contemporaries at Hendon when he joined the force, ‘Guv’ to those detectives who worked under his somewhat quixotic direction in the Cornishire CID and ‘bastard’ to a fairly impressive number of local and not so local villains in Cornishire saw that the photo revealed a much younger but still recognisable Fred Karno and a mate, William Hiscock, whose cremation he had just attended. He and ‘Wild Bill’ had been quite the local lads, able to out drink all of their contemporaries and still stand up after six (occasionally claimed to be sixteen) pints of the local cider known as scrumpy; they had all the best chat-up lines, most of which Karno fondly remembered as starting with a cheerful ‘ello my luvver’; he also remembered that usually the hoped-for romantic encounters ended with a friendly riposte of ‘my friend says why don’t you fuck off and stop bothering her!’ Bolstered by this early success with the opposite sex, Karno had got a haircut and graduated from the police training college at Hendon eventually to join the CID; Wild Bill had graduated from the local scrumpy and eventually became a fully-fledged alkie and professional ‘gentleman of the road’, although they kept in irregular touch whenever Karno’s beat took him past whatever hedge Wild Bill was currently residing in. Middle age respectively found the two old pals a DCI and a DOA, Wild Bill having been found under a chic hedge in a more upmarket part of Cornishire clutching a half-empty bottle of meths, his preferred tipple of later years.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Job Done?

Well, "Doctor Augustus Pierre LeMesurier, Incomplete Case Histories" has been dispatched to Emma the Agent. It's a strangely empty feeling once you've finished a book, I feel that I should be doing something, but what? Well, I had the answer yesterday, we (Cadey & I) went off to a nearby hostelry and had Sunday lunch, six days shopping (in monetary terms) in one meal! Hey ho, it was a celebration.
Now the waiting begins again of course. Firstly will Emma think the book is a 'sporting proposition', will it need some re-writing or is it back to the drawing board? In any event I suppose I'm now on the lookout for new ideas. One problem with that of course is fairly soon we'll be off North, back to the warm weather (well, we are in the Southern hemisphere you see) and who knows what internet access will be like? It's an amazing tool, the internet. Whilst there's no guarantee of the accuracy of some of the information you look at (unless it's 'attributable', in which case I think you can be a bit more confident) but for getting directions to/from a location which appears in a story or taking a look at locations on Google Earth it's just the ticket!
Well, that's it for now, I may post a taster of Augustus in the next week, but I'll wait for feedback first.
Why incomplete case histories you may ask, well a chap has to hope for a shot at a second book in the series, hasn't he?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And the search continues

It's REALLY difficult to find an illustrator for 'Tim'. There are several very talented artists out there who produce really good work, but not what I (and Emma the Agent) have in mind for Tim. So, a plea.
"Anybody out there who fancies themselves as an illustrator?" I'm looking more for cartoon-type characters more than strictly accurate real-life representations of animals, and that is what is proving to be the stumbling block, which I must confess I have found surprising.
No artist myself, I realised that it wasn't simply a case of a few quick brush strokes and strange humming noises a la Rolf Harris but I didn't think the search would be this long or this difficult. Maybe something along the lines of the old 'Rupert the Bear' cartoons or even the Winnie the Pooh or Toad of Toad Hall type of illustrations? Any suggestions/samples gratefully looked at. It wouldn't be so bad but most people who have read the 'entire Tim' seem to think that the stories are a winner (including Emma the Agent!).
Hey ho! Thank God the Tsunami didn't pay a major visit down here in NZ and life aboard Troutbridge continues at it's usual serene(ish) pace. As predicted, I haven't finished the new novel yet, I was in bed for a couple of days with the 'dreaded lurghie' and am not quite 100% yet, but I'm almost there!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Formatting, formatting, formatting

I have been taken severely to task by Emma the Agent for my (lack) of formatting expertise, but all is now well, he wrote with hope in his heart and fingers/toes/eyes/other unmentionables crossed!
Augustus's Case Histories should be finished by the middle of March (now there's a real hostage to fortune, but I didn't mention which year lol). It will be a little shorter than originally envisaged, which hopefully will allow for a follow-on book. All of the research has been done, so 'Further Case Histories' should not be too onerous a task.
No real news about the search for an illustrator for Tim EXCEPT, I'm waiting to see some ideas from an artist who lives in the North Island, here in New Zealand, I have a lead that I stumbled across here in Whangerei (North Island, NZ) and there is a 'somebody' in the UK, a friend of my daughter, who is also taking a look at the manuscript to see if she might be able to do something. Emma the Agent continues to be enthusiastic about the project and in fact she put me in touch with Trish Lacey (the artist in North Island) who she has also taken on as a budding author.
I will post a few 'chunks' of Augustus for your delight and delectation in the near future, in the meantime autumn is coming to NZ, it's a drizzly, dank sort of morning and all on Troutbridge are looking forward to heading back up to the Tropics in the not too distant future.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Creativity, Research and chance

The chicken or the egg, creativity or research, setting or plot, which comes first?
In my case I find more and more that research modifies what begins as an idea for a story. Of course, chance plays its part as well. To avoid being totally enigmatic but without giving too much away about my latest 'literary effort', I'll use the current endeavour as an example.
First came an idea, let's call it chance meetings. In my mind a vague plot begins to form. I need to do some research and the local public library here in Whangerei seems a good place to start (it's free!). During the first afternoon of research, all fascinating stuff, the feeling grows that whilst the subject matter is interesting it\'s going to be a fairly monumental task to write, say, 150,000 words, but I don't want to abandon the idea because I think it's got a lot of potential. Leaving the library, chance takes me (us) past a second-hand book shop, which Cadey suggests we go into to look at who publishes children's books. Not a bad idea, remember I'm still trying to move the 'Tim Project' forward. Incidentally on the subject of Tim, I'm very happy with the first sketches of some of the characters in the stories and have a good feeling about things happening. Anyway, once inside I get side-tracked (as I often do in second hand book shops) and wind up talking to the shop owner about local illustrators. That conversation, although interesting, didn't lead me to the illustrator who I hope to be collaborating with, but it did lead me to reminisce about times spent browsing the various bookshops in Winchester when I 'were nobbit a lad'. I hadn't intended to buy any books (got to keep the weight down on the boat, y'know) but I spotted a couple of shelves that were labelled 'unusual books' or something similar. I couldn't resist taking a quick peep and after a mere forty five minutes or so unearthed a couple of finds.
One of them involves the finding of the memoirs of an Ottoman secret agent; a fairly well used literary device. On reading the book (not bad, a sort of Flashman-type yarn I must do a Google search and see if there were any follow-up stories) my original idea became slightly modified; the book about chance meetings could have been written by a third party, or at least the rough notes were written by a third party which were then discovered some years later and turned into a book at the behest of one of the third party's descendants (enigmatic? Moi?). Who wrote the rough drafts? A doctor in Victorian London of course (where the hell did that come from?).
It turns out (and this was a total surprise to me) that these notes, discovered in the loft of an old cottage in deepest Hampshire, in fact form part of an unfinished autobiography. If there was to be any auto-biographical element to the story, I firstly had to 'invent' the previously-unsuspected character, which involved amongst other things inventing a family tree, both of his ancestors and as it soon turned out his descendants. I also needed to research how one became a doctor in Victorian times, which in turn led to research into medical knowledge and practice in Victorian times. This, for reasons that will become clear once the book is finished (and published!) led me into the study of psychiatric treatment in Victorian times. More scientific than one might have thought, incidentally. I then suddenly discovered that the manuscript was in fact a collection of case histories and 'my man' had an interesting, if secret, history.
So dear readers, let me introduce you to an unsung and hitherto unknown hero of the Victorian science of psychological profiling (amongst other things),
Augustus Pierre LeMesurier.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm in contact with a great illustrator, who's based in Auckland. He likes 'Tim' and having read all the stories is going to commit some ideas to paper. Things are looking up. Watch this space.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


An interesting small town in the North Island of New Zealand. Actually, to be strictly accurate, it's the largest town in the Northland area, but be that as it may.....
It turns out that it's a hotbed of arts and craft shops, second-hand book shops the like of which I hadn't seen since I 'were nobbit a lad!'and 'am-dram' companies. A fascinating place which may provide another lead for an illustrator for 'Tim'. I'm emailing a lady in South Africa at the moment about illustrations and am feeling quietly confident that one way or another Tim is about to become a finished project.
Browsing a second hand book-store I came across a small tome, written somewhat in the style of George Mcdonald Frazer's Flashman novels, about the exploits of an Ottoman secret agent. As with the Flashman novels, the memoirs of this agent were discovered in a chest in an attic......funny where you get a sudden idea about a plot, isn't it? Nothing to do with secret agents or adventurers, but an idea that I had just started developing suddenly turned completely around. More in about three or four months when the novel 'should' be finished or at least well on the way. In the meantime, my companion on the boat has discovered somewhat to her horror that when I write I get up about 0600 and work for a couple of straight hours. A cup of tea is welcome but conversation is not!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Art imitating Life?

Read Tim 2 and make up your own mind!
I'm 'hot on the trail' of an illustrator for Tim. Will she/won't she? The eternal question, eh chaps!
I'll 'keep you posted'. In the meantime, I hope that you're all recovering from New Years parties and haven't broken too many resolutions as yet.