Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Story So Far...

Okay then I have a few questions for you, and when I say 'questions' it's probably a little more accurate to call them ponderings.

Firstly - I would like to thank everyone who has been following the blog recently, the stats are great. It's frankly not a shock that the post that mentioned Katie Price got the most attention, although that being said it's still vexing  that a frivolous bit of celebrity-bashing that took almost no time to write received more views than the pieces I'd worked on for several hours. But thank you anyway, no doubt I shall have another rant about another hapless celeb in the future I just can't help myself (not to mention its good for the readership figures).

Secondly - how much is too much?
With regards to this blog, how many posts can you stand - 2 or 3 a week? More maybe? I only ask as I'm planning something for the new year and I don't want to annoy you all by spamming your pants off! Even if they're nice pants, or bright orange speedos.

Puss from Shrek
Which brings me to another point... and as I type this I'm getting down on my knees and looking up at you fluttering my eyelashes with my sweetest 'please, please, please' look on my face (yes! Just for you dear reader). I know how many of you are checking my sexy little blog out, and yes it's pert and firm to the touch, but could you please sign up to follow it... It makes me look good and if I'm ever going to get published I need to look good! Whats that you say... I need to finish my book and possibly learn how to write! Well thats not very nice, true maybe, but not very nice. On a related topic, a sort of 2.1 or 2a maybe, Facebook has decided in their wisdom to block my 'Explore' FB account from inviting people to join my friends list, so now I'm relying on you dear reader to find me more readers... if you like the blog tell your friends (tell 'em anyway even if you don't).

Thricely - Comments!
It's fair to say that my fragile male ego probably won't handle a good slating but I would still like a little feedback, (occasional) criticism if constructive is helpful and will in the long term help me to develop as a writer. Better still if you enjoyed it please feel free to shamelessly massage my aforementioned fragile male ego... I do so enjoy a nice massage!

Before I leave you I have a little bit of news for the local book readers of Plymouth.

St Luke's Hospice have just opened (I say 'just' but it's been open about five weeks already) The Reading Room - a used book shop on Hyde Park Road in Peverell. With books from 50p why not give an old book a new home and help a good cause at the same time. I will also be volunteering there a couple of days a week, so pop along and say hello!

Until next time...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Explore Books - The Conqueror Series

Conn Iggulden's 'Conqueror Series' is a wonderfully epic tale about the life and times of Genghis Khan. Following his rise to power from his youth (before he was called Genghis) to adulthood as he forged one of the largest empires of the ancient world.
This is a very well written series; the story is fast paced, action packed and gripping. I didn't so much devour these books as inhale them (almost literally) and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone who fancied a good yarn.

Part four of the series - Empire Of Silver - is due for release in hardback September 2010 and can be pre-ordered now from your favourite retailer...

The Following link will take you to a video of Conn Iggulden explaining all about his latest book (it's almost a bloopers reel), enjoy. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Of Dwarves And Fighting Men - Pt 1 ( Short Story 1500 words )

A few months ago (on facebook) I asked what people would like me to write about, well the feed back was interesting and ranged from Dwarf porn, well to Dwarf porn and included alcohol, boozy nights, sex and violence. This is the first part of my humble offering (and yes I Know I've taken my sweet time about it - I've been busy). Oh and in case your interested it's a spin off story from the prequel to my novel... Enjoy!

The Elle wasn't the pub’s real name but as long as anybody could remember that’s what it had been called. Located at the centre of town, the Elle was more like a village pub - if the village in question happened to be populated by Bikers, Goths, Metal-heads, Students and misfits. Tuesday nights were possibly the slowest night of the week in the Elle, sandwiched between Monday’s quizzes and Wednesday’s live music. It may have been a slow night but you could guarantee the usual selection of interesting locals would be in for a jar or two.

In fact Tuesday nights were so slow that the staff would draw straws to see who would work it, and tonight it was Harry's turn. He was new, well new-ish, Harry didn't know about the straws and so far found himself lumbered with every single, painfully slow Tuesday night shift. Tonight his co-star - recipient of the short straw - was Tori, the pub's assistant manager. She had been working here for a little over two years, originally from New Zealand she had set off to see the world, with her girlfriend Esther. Unfortunately she found out after they arrived in England that Esther was a “greedy-little- backstabbing-bisexual-bitch” who had decided to continue on her world tour with a Danish backpacker called Tomas. Leaving Tori heart-broken, penniless and in need of a job and somehow she had been here ever since. Compared to that Harry had very little to offer in life experience, at twenty three he had only just moved out of his parents home.

‘Anyway… this Dwarf walks into a bar - stop me if you've heard this one.’

‘Like this one you mean,’ she said.

‘What you’ve heard it?’

‘No… Harry you have a customer.’ Tori nodded her head in the customers’ direction. Blushing, he realises the customer struggling to climb onto the tall bar stool is in fact a dwarf.

‘Evening all!’ He says to all in ear shot.

The occupants of the bar all respond in kind.

‘Evening Arffur!’

‘Hi Arff!’

‘How you doing mate?’

‘Pint of Bishops’ please mate… Hi Tori how’re you tonight?’

‘I'm well thanks, what brings you out on a drizzly Tuesday night?’

‘I’ve had some relatives over and they've done my head in, so I slipped out for a quiet one.’

‘Here's your pint… Arthur is it? Nice to meet you, that'll be £1.80 please mate.’ Harry said cheerfully.

‘Cheers, and the name’s Mike by the way… don’t listen to these buggers, especially not that ugly sod sat next to me.’ indicating a large biker propping up the bar. ‘Raines here likes to have a little fun at my expense.’

‘Don't be like that Arffur, you know we love you!’

‘Yeah in a pub mascot sort of way… Ahh! But come the revolution my friend, just you wait and see.’

I feel my hand tighten around my glass, then it’s smashing Raines in the face, I give the glass a little twist to help it bite deep, planting a circular gash from the bridge of his nose to his chin. The glass shatters and blood spurts over my hand, Raines is screaming and falls from his stool onto the floor boards, pleading with me not to hurt him again, I wonder if he realises that he looks like one of the ‘Village People’. I slowly slide from my high chair – well I wouldn’t want to slip on all this blood now would I. The straight razor appears in my hand from out-of-nowhere, I open it, and catch my reflection on the steel. Looking down at Raines I smile, so much blood, where should I start I wonder…

‘What’s that? Sorry…’ Mike’s said distracted.

‘Why do they call you Arthur then…? I mean if it’s not to personal a question’ Harry spotting what he thought was a flash of anger in Mike’s eyes and started to regret asking the question.

‘No it’s not too personal; I’ve been in movies’.

‘What like the “Time Bandits”?’

‘Do I look fucking old enough to be a Time Bandit?’

‘Well…’ Harry was starting to wonder how he was going to dig his way out of this one.

‘You’re as bad as these pricks; it was made in nineteen-eighty-fucking-one for fucks sake’.

‘I didn’t mean… I wasn’t… Well no you don’t look that old,’ even as he said it Harry realised he had just made things worse.

The little prick doesn’t know what’s hit him; I leap from the bar top, slamming him into the ground. I sit on his chest and bash his head against the floor over and over ‘til something gives. His mouth is moving like he’s trying to speak, what’s that you say… you’re sorry, well that’s okay then. I make like I’m going to help him up and then I push his head into the slops bucket and hold it there, mmm blood and beer my favourite smells…

Tori also read the anger in Mike’s eyes, deciding to come to Harry’s aid asks him if he would go to the cellar and change a barrel. When Harry returned Mike had calmed down and was laughing with Tori.

‘Hey, new-guy sorry about that, I get a little wound up by these piss taking bastards… Bad day, you know how it is… What did you say your name was Henry was it?’

‘Harry’ replied Harry and Tori at the same time; she gave Harry a sly wink.

‘I saw that you little minx, not planning a crafty team change’, Mike laughed ‘Cause if you were I may have a little something for you.’

‘Mike you’re a bad boy… If you keep it up I’m going to have to bar you.’ Tori knew he was harmless but the odd threat would keep him in check.

‘Can’t a guy have his dreams,’ Mike got down off his stall and Harry seemed surprised that only the top of his scruffy black hair was visible at the bar ‘Right I’m off for a piss.’

‘Charming! You men… honestly.’

‘Don’t fall in!’ smirked Raines,

‘… and don’t let this prick spike my pint.’

‘Would I?’ Raines watched him leave, running his hand over his handle-bar moustache. The door from the bar to the toilets had barely creaked closed.

‘So…’ said Harry ‘Is someone going to tell me how Mike got the nickname Arthur?’

‘It’s not Arthur shit-for-brains… clean your lug ‘oles out… It’s R4’and with that gem of knowledge divulged Raines started to neck what was left of his pint.

‘Ahh for?’ Harry looked puzzled, ‘what like “Ah so”?’
Tori laughed, Raines spayed his lager like a fountain onto the bar.

‘You twat! I almost choked’ Raines said while shaking the excess lager off his hand, ‘sorry Tori, here pass me a towel love… where did you get this guy from?’

‘Oh Harry not “ahh for” it’s R 4’ Tori drew the letter and number in the air with a wave of her ringed fingers. She then went on to explain how it was a bit of a mean nick-name for Mike, as he had gone for the part of the lead Robot in the intergalactic blockbuster a couple of years earlier but was beaten to the role by his arch acting nemesis.

‘Oh what was his name Raines?’ Tori tapped herself on the head a few times, ‘was it Windsor Davis?’

‘What…’ Harry said ‘the one from “It Ain't Half Hot Mum” but he’s a big fella.’

‘Nah wasn’t him, but was definitely a “Windsor” somebody.’ Raines added.

‘So anyway’, Tori continued ‘to cut a long story short, if you pardon the pun, Mike’s Robot blew a fuse in one of the first scenes and Windsor’s “R4” went on to star in all the sequels and is now set for life… and these mean buggers, his so called friends, remind him of it every single time he comes in for a pint.’

‘A bit harsh maybe?’ said Harry.

‘But so very fair’, smiled Raines with an evil little glint in his eye.

When Mike returned to the bar he could tell at once they had been talking about him, he could see it written all over the new-guy’s face. Mike found urinating very relaxing; it was like his stresses just flowed away with all the steaming yellow piss. It had given him time to think and plot and plan, and now all he needed to do was get Raines and the new-guy back to his place and into his cellar, if he was especially lucky maybe Tori would come to. Mike struggled back onto his stool, flashed everyone a smile, and brought the three of them a drink.

‘I was thinking’, Mike started ‘If you fancy it how about coming back to mine after… I’ve got some home-made vodka, I made a Kiwi fruit one… we could crack that in your honour Tori!’

They all agreed it had been a good night - for a Tuesday, so why not continue, Mike smiled, that was easy he thought…

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Story So Far...

I've had an interesting (and when I say interesting I mean of course oddly disappointing) couple of weeks; it's contained family drama of almost epic soap-opera proportions - the details of which I'm not going to share with you (this isn't after all Jerry Springer’s infamous show or Jeremy Kyle’s for that matter). It doesn't look like I've been successful in securing that bookshop job or any of the others that I’ve applied for recently. To top this all off our local bookshop chain have just hosted a signing by Katie Price AKA Jordan. This left me feeling both disappointed at the poor taste and general lack of class shown by the hoi polloi of Plymouth, and disappointed in myself - the reasons for the latter I will examine in a moment but first a small rant.

Fucking Jordan!
What the Fuck!
I wouldn’t, not even with yours… The talent-less plastic faced harpy!
Five fucking books (and yes I know they’re ghostwritten)!
What’s that you say? I’m only jealous… Well who wouldn’t be; she’s worth approximately forty fucking million. Not bad at all, and all she’s had to do is drag her miserable shabby (not-at-all-bling) sordid family/personal/tragic little life through the tabloids and/or any other media platform her very clever publicity machine can conjure up.

…and breathe!

Only a few months ago, Ms Price’s latest book (Paradise, Part three of the Angel saga) was reduced to bargain bin prices at launch by many of the major retailers (fearing the worst, I guessed) and now it’s a Sunday Times best seller. Rebecca Farnworth (the ghostwriter) unlike Ms Price is (and I only have her website '' to help build this flimsy opinion) a beautiful intelligent woman. She must be very happy to have penned such a best seller. No doubt she hopes her own novels will have sales equal to ‘Paradise’. My guess is she won’t have those sales because her own books will be bought by people who can actually read (and maybe just maybe will have hit puberty) and not by the mindless masses.

This poses another question: is it better to have a worthwhile intelligent readership, or just hundreds of thousands of mindless sheep willing to pay you money. I know that right now I’m still unpublished, not to mention skint, so I would love the chance to ghostwrite for a Z-list celebrity straight out of the Big Brother house while I struggle on with my own work. Why? For one simple reason, it would allow me to get paid for something I love to do – write.

Does all this make me a hypocrite for slating celebrity ghostwritten best sellers in one breath and then saying I would do the work – you bet your sweet ass it does.

But the sad truth is, I’m most likely not talented enough or capable enough to get the gig. Well not yet, I still have much to learn and more to write… Unless you happen to be a Z-list celebrity and fancy giving the Aubster (me) a break, I’m cheap – well ish…

Until next time…

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Explore Books - Fathers & Sons

So here we are then, my first book review, when I say my first I don't mean ever. Although it's been so long since my last one - which was probably at school - that it may as well be.
All the books I intend to review will be based on my level of enjoyment and in all honesty I don't think I can be bothered to waste my time writing up a review on a dull book, life's too short.

My first of today's two offerings is by the great Cormac McCarthy -

The Road – is the haunting tale of a father and son's struggle to survive in a stark and ruined future America. Where ash falls like snow and when it snows, the snow is grey as ash, they are cold, wet, and hungry, scavenging for food and shelter. Their only defence a small pistol with two bullets. Living with the constant threat of marauding gangs with cannibalistic intentions, they cling to their humanity and each other, they’re the good guys “they carry the fire!”

This book while being bleak and harrowing is at the same time both tender and intimate. You become lost in the father and son's struggle for survival as they cling to the hope that they can escape their living nightmare together, as the days pass, weeks, maybe months… this chapter-less story unfolds and although the ending may have been a little predictable, was no less powerful for it.

My next choice is linked to the last by a tenuous link of movie trivia…

The soundtrack for the motion picture – The Road - was worked on by Warren Ellis and Nick Cave.

…and Nick Cave is the author of

The Death of Bunny Munro – This is a wonderfully black comedy that follows our antihero Bunny and his son Bunny Jnr as they hit the road after the death of his wife (Jnr’s mother). Bunny is a salesman, and a soon to be dead man, he’s losing his grip on reality, his father (Bunny Snr) is dying of cancer, and his son talks to his dead mother. Bunny is a poor father, is/was a terrible husband, he’s a smoker, a drinker and an unremitting fornicator and if that’s not bad enough he drives a yellow Fiat Punto and on occasion beats one off into a sock that’s kept under his drivers seat.

It’s a credit to Nick Cave’s talent that Bunny is so damn likable. (Although I’m sure there will be a few ladies out there who will think he's a shit-bag). This book made me laugh and cry, it was so much more than I expected – apart from the ending of course (the clue is in the title).

I hope you have found todays reviews useful/informative/well... at least not as dull-as-dish-water.

Until next time...