Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

Hey, Happy New Year! Hope you all had a fab holiday season.

So, my second work is now published, up there and live on Amazon but what's it about and should you bother with it?

Well, in answer to the first question, the backstory goes a bit like this....

The five stories I've collected under the title 'Tales for the Fireside - Five stories of love and friendship' all started out in a very different way, as short scripts

Way back when I got involved in an amazing local group called Colchester Filmmakers. This incredible bunch of talented folk loved making films and I came on board from a writer's angle. Now, I'm not the most sociable of creatures I'm afraid. I'm a total introvert and I don't feel comfortable with new people but these guys were amazing and I felt right at home.

With regular meet ups, film nights, talks, and actual putting together shorts, it was a great group to be involved in. I began to try my hand at short films with the aim to get them filmed. I got an IMDB credit (Lisa Barrass) thanks to taking part in a short with a great up and coming director and I even got to direct one of my own shorts. I think it was then that I decided that I didn't really have the creative temperament for that type of gig! All these guys have gone on to do some pretty special stuff.

With careers in filming taking off, the group pretty much wound up when the organisers went on to bigger things with their own production company which left me with some shorts, littering up my folders.

After the publication of Since You've Been Gone the aim was to get another novel out as soon as possible to capitalise on the momentum. That didn't happen for various, personal and family reasons. Several projects were started and remain in limbo on my computer. Feeling as though I was failing fast, I decided that the best way to get up and running and back on the horse was to do what I did with SYBG and that was to adapt existing material. A thorough look through the myriad of folders, all containing either completed scripts, germs of ideas, or a fleshed out treatment, yielded five pieces that I could work with.

Story I - the tale of Emily and the elder gentleman, started out as a two-minute super short. In script writing, the standard is one page = one minute of screen time. This script was written to be a two-minute production. In fact, it was written as part of a competition entry in 50 Kisses. The remit was to write a two-page script that involved a kiss. It didn't have to be a romantic kiss; kiss could be interpreted in any way the writer wished. The only other caveat was that it had to take place on Valentine's Day.

Originally, it was called A Walk to Goodbye and was set in a card shop. The gentleman had just lost his wife and this was his last visit to see her before her funeral. He tells the story of how they met. It was long-listed in the competition but didn't go any further.

So, I completely re-worked it and put it into my collection.

Story II - the tale of Madeline and Porphyro is a modern adaption of John Keats The Eve of St. Agnes . I thought it rather suited a modern telling. It's one of my favourite poems having discovered it during my days of English Literature O-level.

It's written in the style of a play but with more of a narrative edge and with an omniscient narrator in the form of a young man charged with looking after the boss's daughter, Madeline.

Story III Tells the tale of the unfortunately named Alice Mutton who finds herself unexpectedly dead, squashed by a herd of stampeding cows. She is taken to heaven and begins a whole adventure trying to appeal against the decision to assign her to DOSE or Department of Stupid Endings (otherwise known as TWATS - Total Wankers at the Start).

As you've guessed, this is not to be taken seriously. Originally, in a slightly different format - 30 minutes - it was pitched to a contact in the world of TV over coffee in the Century Club, a rather exclusive members-only establishment in SoHo frequented by the acting and theatre world. My contact liked the premise and asked me to produce a script version. Sadly, as happens more often than not, it was never taken up. So, it sat on my computer, a lost little piece nobody wanted.

Involvement with the local filmmakers caused met to resurrect it, pare it down and call it Chain Reaction. I then went one step further into madness and directed it myself. Sadly, I don't think it will see the light of day but it was a great experience and made me realise that I would never make a director!

Heaven is a bureaucratic dream - the Orders of Angels are assigned roles within it but the Divine Creator is one bored deity, given over to childish temper tantrums and outburst of eccentricity.

DOSE is the office that deals with people who have died in the stupidest manner possible (ever heard of the Darwin Awards?) - thrown away the gift of life the Creator gave them and thus causes his to have a seriously bad day. It is not my intention to cause offence with my vision of heaven but I'm guessing somebody will hate it!

Story IV Tells the tale of Scarlett who is visited by the spirit of Robbie which unleashes her latent psychic abilities as she tries to unravel his murder.

Scarlett is a reluctant psychic, having problems of her own. Originally called Dead Reckoning, it started out as a fifty-minute pilot with two further scripts being written that teamed up Scarlett and Robbie as they battled various demons intent on getting a permanent footing on the earthly plane. If I'm of a mind I might dig out the two other scripts and start a new book!

is set the day before and during a school reunion and brings together five characters who are all linked in some way to each other, It's a tale of secrets, lost love, infidelity and friendship and began as a two-parter script.

So, should you bother with it? Well, that's up to you; reading is too personal a habit for me to insist that you do! However, if you enjoy something to dip into (this is a 'dipping into' sort of book, not a sit-down and read in one go) on a wet Sunday afternoon then yes, please do give it a go and let me know how you find it.

So, that's the lowdown on the new collection. During my foray around long forgotten folders, I discovered two completed scripts, the first of which I am currently adapting.

Tales for the Fireside has been selling well in its first few hours and sales for Since You've Been Gone have picked up so I'm hoping more readers will discover my work and enjoy it.

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