Line(s) of the Day #TheIronMan #TheIronGiant

You are who you choose to be.

As said by Howard Hogarth in children’s classic The Iron Man (1968) by British Poet Laurette Ted Hughes. Known as The Iron Giant in the United States (along with the wonderful film based on the book), it tells of a giant “metal man” who appears from out of nowhere and eats all the metal before being efriended by a young boy.

Gr8at: #BeautifulLibraries

I haven’t been doing much reading as I’ve been busy writing. But if I was in one of these liteart sanctuaries, that would definitely change! Here are eight of the world’s most beautiful libraries from all around the world. Do you have a favourite?

Continue reading

Photography: Book Spine Story

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I saw Cathy at 746 books had posted on Book Spine Poetry, where she arranges the spine of a set of books and turns it into a poem. I liked the idea but thought I’d arrange mine into a story concept. Here someone super rich has an dramatic epiphany after a rather lonely life and feels the need to take a silver sword so as to meet the mystical Kafka.

Line(s) of the Day #TheSilverSword

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“You won’t come with me?” said Joseph.

The boy ignored the question. He was undoing the wooden box, and he took out the little silver sword. “This is the best of my treasures he said. ‘It will bring me luck. And it will bring you luck, because you gave it to me. I don’t tell anybody my name – it is not safe. But because you gave me the sword and I didn’t borrow it, I will tell you.’ He whispered. ‘It is Jan.’

The Silver Sword (1956) by Ian Seraillier is a children’s novel that tells of three siblings and an orphan’s difficult quest to make it from Poland to Switzerland just after World War II. I read it again for the first time since Primary School and enjoyed it just as much.

Line(s) of the Day #EightMenOut

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He [Eddie Cicotte] had grown up believing it was talent that made a man big. If you were good enough and dedicated yourself, you could get to the top. Wasn’t that enough of a reward? But when he got there he had found out otherwise. They all fed off him, the men who run the show and pulled the strings and kept it working. They used him and used him and when they had used him up, they would dump him. In the few years he had been up they had always praised him and made him sound like a hero to the people of America. But all the time they paid him peanuts. The newspapermen who came to watch him pitch and wrote stories about him made even more money than he did.

Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof, which tells of how a set of elite Chicago baseball players threw the final against the lesser fancied Cincinnati Reds for monetary gain. While the scandal is well known in American culture, there are still plenty of myths and uncertainities around the whole series. There are doubts about how much Shoeless Joe, the most famous of the eight, was involved.

Line(s) of the Day #TheTwilightMan

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After the war, America rose to the status of a world superpower. It was a daydream of gleaming crome, bright white smiles and bleached/blond hair. But behind the perfect veneer, lay something else completely – strange monsters, quivering with fear and anger. Sterling was able to see those monsters walking in broad daylight – then capture and pin them down on paper. 

Taken from Beyond the Zone, the author’s note in The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television (2019) by Koren Shadmi. The book is an autobiographic novel of the life of the creative American talent Rod Serling, made most famous for the seminal show The Twilight Zone. For any major fans of the show like me, I really recommend it.

Announcements: An Update on My Second Book

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It’s been just over a month since I posted about my second book, and I can still feel that adrenalin buzz. When you can see people around the world buy copies and give lovely feedback it makes all the many drafts worth it. For the writers among you, please keep at it because it is worth it. For those interested the link is below, with availability in both Kindle and paperback form.

UK version
US version 

Line(s) of the Day #TheGoldfinch

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“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”

As said by the highly reflective Theodore Decker in The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013). The Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells of a 13 year’s old struggle to recover after a tragic incident, and his long-running connection with a painting by Carel Fabritius. You can find my review of The Secret History, Tartt’s debut novel here.

Announcements: Big News!

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Big news. Fantastic news. My second book is ready. My first book The Summer of Madness was a novella about a guy trying to win back his girlfriend. This time around it reflects my love of short story writers who challenged the format of the genre. Rather than one story, it is seven short ones, each in a style that deliberately strays from the regular format in order to go for something far more creative and imaginative. Regular readers will have already seen one of them, with my last post Punbelievable, which happily got wonderful feedback. You’ll also notice the incredible cover. My thanks to the very awesome Meg Sorick who drew it.

If you’re interested to read the other six stories, that’s great. I’d be happy to answer any questions. You can get a copy here.

US Paperback / US Kindle
UK Paperback / UK Kindle

Creative #Punbelievable

Hey everyone. Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. I’ll be putting up details of my second book in my next post, but as a thanks to you who have been so supportive of my writing I wanted to share one of the short stories here. Please enjoy, and feel free to add any comments on the story below.

Punbelievable

Finley Waters: Man, what a day. Thanks for choosing this restaurant Robin. It was very tweet of you to remember it was my birthday.

Robin Foxton: I saw a blog review that said it ofishially has the best seafood section in town. Would have been shellfish not to share it with you.  Especially as we haven’t met up since your business trip to Swimapore.

Finley Waters: It shore looks a good plaice. As I was heading out of the office, my colleague looked envious and said “Let minnow what you order.”

Robin Foxton: It’s been ages since they sat us down. Service cod be a lot better.

Finley Waters: Service bad, food great. That’s what I’ve been herring from everyone. I’ll sea if I can get that waiter’s attention. Done! Eel be right over.

Waiter: (comes over) Welcome to The Eating Among the Fishes restaurant. I’ll be your server today. Sorry for the delay. It sardinely got very busy. Water day! I had to clam a few people down. They were getting a bit crabby. Our reservations system had some problems. Thankfully, it’s going swimmingly now.

Robin Foxton: Let’s have a bottle of your finest house white. Just for the halibut. And no need to debait this. I’m having the lobster paella.

Finley Waters: I don’t need to mullet over either. I’m having the sea bass, fish cakes and tuna salad.

Waiter: Grilliant choices. I’ll be right back. (leaves)

Robin Foxton: I swear, that waiter looks like Salmon Rushdie!

Finley Waters: He really does. I wonder if he gets that when he’s trout and about. I was just wondering whether to perchase one of his books. Funny old world. Any fin is possible.

Robin Foxton: Ah nice, I’ve been reading a bit recently. Catfish 22. If you get the opportunaty you just have to read it. I’d add Metamorfifish, Wuthering Pikes and the Jaws of Perception too.

Waiter: (approaches) Here is your bottle. It’s dolphinately a fine choice (pours both glasses and then leaves).

Finley Waters: So how are things at work? That new guy sounds useless. Like he was lost at sea and completely out of his depth. And how are things with your new gillfriend? Come on, don’t be koi. All I know is that she’s a dog lover.

Robin Foxton: Ah yes, Pawline. Mutt have been fate. It’s not like I’ve been active on the dating scene. I’ve been doggedly after that promotion.

Finley Waters: I know! You’ve been alsationable on that score. I’ve not seen you in weeks.

Robin Foxton: Sorry about that. I guess my inner ambition was unleashed after that work trip. Working those long hours has been ruff. I wasn’t the only one trying to move up. Would have made a dramatic dogumentary. Real dog eat dog stuff. Being hounded all the time. But since meeting her it doesn’t seem to matter. I was probably the underdog anyhow.

Finley Waters: Did you and the mastiff dog lover meet at your vet practice?

Robin Foxton: No, I was on a quick lunch break and literally ran into her at the supermarket. You know me, always dachshund around.

Finley Waters: So, what happened after? Pup and running from the get go?

Robin Foxton: We agreed to go to this fancy Italian restaurant. She was late as she had left her handbag behind and had to go back so she could retriever purse and stuff. Almost made her late for the reservation. I was thinking: “Howl late will she be?”

Finley Waters: People being late. That’s my pet hate.

Robin Foxton: It was worth it, though. She looked so fetching. Real elegant restaurant too. The pianist even played Poochini.

Finley Waters: Fur real? That is classy.

Robin Foxton: It turns out we’ve a really similar sense of humour. She’s a big fan of Eddie Lizzard, Tuna Fey, Jelly Seinfeld Anchovy Chase.

Finley Waters: Well she’s got my seal of approval. What does she do?

Robin Foxton: She’s a freelance fundraiser for various animal charities and animal shelters. She does so much. She even organised a huge event to save some rhinos at no extra charge. And she’s so romantic. She’s got into the rabbit of baking me animal-shaped cookies. As the weather has been so much otter recently, she’s been doing jungle ones.

Waiter: (enters) Here sir, is your lobster bisque. And also, the sea bass, fish cakes and tuna salad. We’ve recently added the collieflower to the dish, so any feedback at the end of the meal would be most welcome. (leaves)

Robin Foxton: It’s only my second time eating lobster. I won’t be wolfing this down! But yeah, things have been going super well. Just remembered. At canine pm, the local store closes and I need to pick up a few things.

Finley Waters: So, pug in the gaps for me. What do you two talk about?

Robin Foxton: She just loves dogs. But she used to have all kinds of pets growing up. Now she has two dogs, Bark Twain and Droolius Caesar. Funnily enough, she also has a cat that shares your birthday.

Finley Waters: You’re kitten me?

Robin Foxton: Yeah, pretty ameowsing really. I’m feline good about this. I think it’s meant tabby with this one. If anything, I’m worried it’s going too purrfectly. But enough about me. I heard there was a bit of a catastrophe on your trip.

Finley Waters: Yeah, we got Cat, our next door neighbour Cat to keep an eye on the house when we were away and water the plants in the house. You know my wife and I went to a tour of Italy for a break. Real romemantic place.

Robin Foxton: I guess once you’re Turin there you forget about life back home.

Finley Waters: Genoally, the best country I’ve ever visited. You have to go. You’re messina out otherwise. Turns out, the neighbour had left the water running. The florence all flooded. Quite a lot ruined. I wanted to give her a pizza my mind. But amid all the comotion you realise it was an honest mistake. Her parents have agreed to cover the repair bill. No point making a fountain out of a molehill.

Robin Foxton: You do live life a lot more Capri spirited than I do. House it going with the recovery?

Finley Waters: You know I believe in karma. If you don’t act kindly now, you’ll pompeii for it later. Yeah, we got all the new stuff fine.

Robin Foxton: That’s wonderful to hear. It will be our six month anniversary tomorrow so I got all this cool stuff booked well in advance, including the biggest bouquet of flowers you’ve ever seen. Didn’t want to leaf it until the last minute.

Finley Waters: Great to see you this happy. You had some tough break ups back in the day. There was Rose, Jasmine, Daisy, Poppy, Violet, Olive, Flora, Iris, Holly, Ivy, Heather and, what was her name again? Oh yeah, Lily. Her mum Hyacinth was always so nice to me. Didn’t Lily go abroad after you broke up?

Robin Foxton: That’s why we broke up actually. She was an environmentalist. I wanted to sweep her off her feet but that relationship was just littered with mistakes. We’ve both moved on now though. She’s dating a farmer. I always knew someone who worked outdoors would a tractor.

Finley Waters: Awesome. Let’s get the bill. Hang on, where’s my wallet. This scampi happening. Oh wait, there it is. Freaks me out when I change pockets.

Waiter: (approaches and takes plate) You enjoyed the dishes? I have to ask. The head chef has been grilling me. I said I’d kelp out by finding out what you thought of the new salad? He’s been fishing for compliments all day.

Finley Waters: I did. Ah yes, your spacific request. Yeah, all great. Nothing to hake at all. If you can bring over the bill as well please. (waiter leaves) Oh before I forget. Did you know I can jump higher than a house? Because houses can’t jump (laughs).

Robin Foxton: (rolls eyes) You and your wordplay. You’d never catch me doing that.