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Ode to a White Bloke

  So we have a new Poet Laureate. For my non-Brit readers, this is a position conferred by our monarch (as advised by the Prime Minister) and worth, in addition to the honour, £5750 a year plus a butt of sack.  The laurels now sit on the brow of Simon Armitage, who used to work…

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Black Dog

No, I haven’t been on holiday all the time since my last post. Simply that I still don’t have a publisher and it’s now getting embarrassing when people ask. Also, beyond depressing. Thirty years, never out of print, and now this. I mean…. So although I haven’t yet given the order to lower the lifeboats,…

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The Big Squeeze

I’m often asked what I think of e-books. It’s difficult to give a simple answer. As a reader, I’m all in favour because I travel a lot and I don’t always know what I’m going to fancy reading while I’m on the road. This week, for instance, much as I’ve been looking forward to Ben…

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# MeToo

One of my jobs this week was to source an ink pen for a lefthanded granddaughter. It had to be a guaranteed non-leaking model, nothing requiring bottles of ink or messy cartridges, because she’s only eight years old. I did manage to find something suitable but the search brought back some negative memories. Given that…

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Writer, Not Always at Work

First, to answer queries from kind but fretful readers  –  yes, I’m writing. My latest project is a series, of which I’ve already written Book 1 and am at work on Book 2, but as I am, to date, without a publisher, I’ll say no more for the time being. As soon as I find…

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Up Your Farthingale

Friday lunchtime, it was piddling rain and I was sick of the sound of my own breathing so I went to the cinema. There were just three of us in the screening room, possibly the last three people on earth who hadn’t yet seen The Favourite. Or maybe the other two were smitten return viewers,…

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Inspiration

This is the view from my desk, aka the kitchen table. In the foreground, the rocky shore between Bullock and Coliemore harbours, then the ever-changing waters of Dublin Bay and, on the horizon, Howth Head. Although not today. Today Howth is shrouded in rain and cloud. ‘How inspiring for your writing!’ people say. I’m afraid…

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Career Advice

I have completed my massive rewrite – the authorial equivalent of knocking down several walls and installing new load-bearing (I pray) beams, and the typescript is now with my agent. The bank manager and I hope this means that the career drought will soon be over. I’ve been getting plenty of well-intentioned advice during this…

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One Man’s Mission

I’ve had apostrophes on my mind. It started with the sight of my new grandson curled up in his onesie like a perfect little apostrophe. Soon after that I read about the word’s etymology  –  funny how you can use a word all your life and never wonder where it came from. Apostrophe has Greek…

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Reading for Bigger Biceps

Reading-wise, I have three books on the go at the moment and the one with which I’m making the slowest progress is Yuri Slezkine’s The House of Government. Not because it isn’t a gripping read, but because it’s too damned heavy to read in bed or on the train –  980 pages (excluding appendices) too heavy. I…

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