Blogs

Story and Poem of the Week and Inspiration Point.

We're having a heatwave - a tropical heatwave and it seems to be doing wonders for your writing if not the garden. Story of the week goes to a wonderfully wry, dry safety warning on modern living - Simon Barget's suitably hot: The Flames, The Flames: https://www.abctales.com/story/simon-barget/flames-flames Poem of the week goes to something more cooling, the gorgeous Departure of Nightjars by Onemorething: https://www.abctales.com/story/...

Simon Sebag Montefiore (2007) Young Stalin.

Young Stalin was winner of the 2007 Costa Biography Award. You can imagine historian Simon Sebag Montefiore after his acclaimed biography, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar , wondering what he would write next. Then hitting on the wheeze, I’ll write the same thing, but younger. It depends what you mean by young, of course. As Montefiore declares workers in the Baku oilfields, died around thirty-years old, on average. Young Stalin is around 39-...

Xan Brooks (2017) The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times.

Xan Brooks takes as his starting point something grotesque and twists it. Four men, ‘the funny men’ with such grotesque physical and mental injuries after the First World War that they have been marked down as dead, a telegram sent to their nearest and dearest to inform them of this—fake news—while they shelter in a cottage in the grounds of the aristocratic Grantwood House. Four children, three girls and a boy taken in a covered lorry to meet...

The Australian Dream, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, writer Stan Grant, director Daniel Gordon.

The Australian Dream, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, writer Stan Grant, director Daniel Gordon. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000lpv7/the-australian-dream I’d never heard of Adam Goodes. Let me put this into context he plays Australian Football League. A sport I don’t know the rules, or follow the game. The easy part is telling who Adam Goodes was, by making a comparison with David Beckham. He was the David Beckham of Aussie Rules Football. He...

Andrew James Grieg (2020) Whirligig.

A whirligig is a spinning top, a small predatory beetle, and a way of describing, for example, coming and goings. I quickly ripped through Andrew James Greig’s short, breakout, novel. Glen Mhor (Inverness) provides a Highland setting for skulduggery in this whodunnit. Four murders and a former top policeman forced to commit suicide, run in tandem with eight children that went missing from a home run by the Sisters of Mercy. Five shallow graves...

Story and Poem of the Week and Inspiration Point

I'm taking a short break from melting in the heat to bring you this week's picks: Big congratulations to onemorething for 'to my imaginary child' which has stayed with me ever since I first read it, and the same to drew_gummerson for his wonderful three parter 'Artur and Guillaume' - and if the words three and parter put you off, don't let them - it's an immersive read which hums along at a snappy pace. Conversely, if the idea of three parts...

Preti Taneja (2017) We That Are Young

Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young was listed as Sunday Times Book of the Year, Guardian Book of the Year , Spectator Book of the year, all in 2017. Since I’ve just read it, it’s also my book of the year for 2020. When I say it’s Shakespearian in scope, I mean that as a compliment. I’m not really into Shakespeare and find his plays boring. The usual response I get is along the lines of I don’t really understand his work, which is true. I also don’...

My Granny goes Audio!

When I published the first of my 'nostalgedy' books way back in 2005, I had no idea that 'Steady Past Your Granny's' would prove as popular as it has. Over the past 15 years, over 6,000 copies (print and Kindle editions) have been sold (never given away) worldwide! Not bad for a little book of stories about growing up in Burton upon Trent in the 1950s and 1960s. Now my granny's making a leap into audio entertainment with this double CD version...

Jordan Belfort (2008) The Wolf of Wall Street.

As a reader it sticks in my craw that sometimes the film is better than the book (e.g. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ben Hur and Spartacus are examples of the former) but here I think it’s a honourable draw. If you want to save several hours of your life, and don’t fancy reading over 500 pages, watch the film and save several hours of your life. Leonardo DiCaprio is great as the twenty-odd-year old Jordan Belfort beginning his meteoric rise...

Story and Poem of the Month

Our Story and Poem for the month of July, very kindly chosen by Ewan: This month's increase in membership has provided a surge in quantity and a significant "up-tick" in quality. There is a great deal of quality prose and poetry available. July's Story of the Month is Pins (2020), by Stephen Thom. an atmospheric and disturbing longer multi-part piece that could easily turn out to be the next published novel from an ABC writer, if publishing ever...

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