Working Wednesday

Working Wednesday

Something from Michael in Devon…


Heads get heavy in the sun

This is the first day which I’ve been able to sit outside. The sun is beaming down, and sitting indoors in my office is freezing, so instead I am sitting in the back yard, typing on my Astrohaus Freewrite.

Many people have said to me that the Freewrite is a ludicrous extravagance, that it’s a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a computer that will not allow you to edit, will not allow you to use the internet for emails or surfing – that doesn’t even have a colour screen, only a Kindle-esque e-ink screen in black on white. What possible reason would persuade anyone to buy a machine like a Freewrite?

My answer is, those people are absolutely right. If they want a computer to edit on, or a system to surf the web, or something with advances graphics and colour, they…

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Writing is an addiction, so why do we do it to ourselves?

Another from my blog’s archive…

Have We Had Help?

I asked myself this question back in December 2011. I’ve yet to find the answer…

In today’s literary marketplace, while a tiny minority of books become million sellers, most do not. There comes a time when most of us who are committed to writing have to ask ourselves a fundamental question – why do we bother to do it?

We spend months, years even, agonising over, and getting a storyline out of our systems onto paper, or computer screen, sacrificing a normal existence and suffering sleepless nights. And then when we are relatively happy with it, we send it off to our publisher like a proud parent watching their offspring going to school for the first time.

Like all proud parents, we wish nothing but the very best for our ‘child’, and yet that moment of final separation is when doubt and extreme anxiety enter our souls. Will our ‘child’…

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Writing or…

I still love steam radio…

Have We Had Help?


I used to have an old Gulbransen valve radio just like this one.

One thing you soon learn when either reading or writing is that the world around you is full of distractions, and for some – procrastination. If any of you are thinking I do not procrastinate, read that damn book you bought last year! As for distractions, television and computer games are the chief ones. Then there is family or friends wanting to have a deep and meaningful conversation/argument with you. Closely followed by idiots knocking on your door.

However I find it almost impossible to read or write in total silence. What is the answer? In my case it is to have either my television or my shortwave radio tuned to Classic FM or BBC Radio 3; and before you ask – no I do not listen to the Rock and Roll of my youth. I couldn’t…

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Literary snobs and other complete tosspots

About literary snobs and other tossers!!!

Have We Had Help?

In a recent blog post of mine “Books and Literary Snobs”, I began it by saying the following:

Since the emergence of the internet, and with it, online publishing and the plethora of books now available to us, a disturbing breed of individual has emerged – the literary snob. While thanks to small press and self-publishing, it is true that the vast majority of published authors these days far outweigh the fortunate few, chosen by establishment publishing, rarely if ever will any of the former become successful.”

Since writing that post I have become even more aware of another trait normally associated with internet trolls among the literary snobs – sheer arrogance! Without exception they fundamentally believe that what they say should be paid attention too. Further, that we lowly scribes should be grateful to them for tearing the product of all our hard work apart!!!

Sadly there are a…

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The hardest game in town.

Another from the archive…

Have We Had Help?

Ever wondered what is the toughest occupation? Brick layer, Lumberjack or Roustabout maybe? It’s none of these.

While there is no doubt that the aforementioned occupations are physically dangerous, writing leaves all others in its wake. To be a writer you need a hide thicker than a rhinoceros, mixed with a grim determination to carry on despite being constantly attacked by individuals out to destroy you. Very few of us actually make a living out of it. Most of us consider ourselves fortunate indeed if just a handful of inquisitive readers sample our work by actually buying a copy rather than going down the cheapskate route, getting their hands on a free one, then not bothering to read it. Or worse – getting a free copy, then lambasting it, hoping to turn potential reader’s attention away from it, as happened recently to one of mine!

There is no magic formulae…

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Let’s play spot the writer!!!

Could you pick out the writer from the crowd???

Have We Had Help?


How good are you at guessing what people do merely by looking at them? For instance, could you spot the writer in the queue of people at your local supermarket checkout, or buying something in your neighbourhood convenience store? How about on the crowded commuter train or bus you use each day? Come to that, have you ever thought about what the people you see walking along the street outside your door every day may do for a living?

For the vast majority of the population of any country you care to name, if you saw a highly recognisable and successful writer signing copies of their latest work in a bookshop near you, most would simply not realise that they probably had a writer of their very own living in their midst.

If you were asked to describe what you believe a writer looks like, what would you say? In…

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The female of the species

Tallis Steelyard strikes again…

Tallis Steelyard


Every so often you meet somebody who is genuinely honest and courageous. Possibly too honest and courageous, but never mind. I’m not sure how many remember Bilart Warldome when he was young. He’s gone on to make a name in the law courts, and to be fair to him, he had a good reputation as an honest lawyer and now, as an honest magistrate.

When he was younger, he made something of a name for himself in the ring, fighting under the Sinecurists rules. These didn’t go into details about what blows you could or couldn’t use. They just said you shouldn’t inflict ‘life changing injuries’ on your opponent.
When you looked at him, you’d think him a proper milksop, a real mummy’s boy afraid to go out on the streets without nurse. But to see him in the ring was a revelation. He was light on his feet, nimble…

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Chimney Sweepers

I wonder how many kids died doing this over the years? The mind boggles…


During the Industrial Revolution  thousands of  desperate people came to the cities seeking work, but those lucky who managed to find one soon realized that the average wage would have kept them in poverty for the rest of their lives. Justices were given authority over the children of poor families, and began to assign them to apprenticeships to provide them with work, food and shelter.

For master chimney sweeps, these small, defenseless children of powerless or absent parents were the perfect victims to be exploited in their business.

“When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.”

Their apprenticeships lasted seven years or even more, but being generally unsupervised, once the papers were signed, the children were completely left under the power of their…

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Reporting Hatred

online hatred…


This morning I received an email. It came through at 08.40, and was long. Very long. Ten pages long.

I won’t put up the bile-infected rant; there is no way I want to promote his lunatic theories. Suffice it to say, every terrorist attack, every rape and murder, pretty much, is entirely the responsibility of muslims. He has clearly not heard of the two world wars, the Chinese and Russian genocides, the American (I am guessing he comes from the US) slaughter of the Native Americans, the Australian killing of the Bushmen and their culture, the South African genocide of the Hottentots and … I digress.

The point is, I spend a good half hour trying to find somewhere on Google where I could report this man and his rant. And I could find nothing. The internet is a great resource for many things, but there is nothing so secret…

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