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Appearances and Reality

Something happened this week, which, as time passes will doubtless come to feel small, but is currently poking away at me with a sharp metaphorical stick.

The publication of my new book, The Dark Horizon, has been delayed for two weeks. (A hold up at the printers, last quibbles about the cover.)

So, I'm putting on the classical English brave face, upper lip starched and stiff, and saying, 'What's a fortnight? The big day will still come around quickly enough.'

But in reality...


Maybe I can put it more eloquently than that - I'm supposed to be an author, after all.

It feels like the kid with a handful of money and face pressed to the sweet shop window being told it's not opening today.

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Photo Awkwardness

Modern life means cameras everywhere, so any author event these days involves plenty of being photographed. Which is all understandable and fair enough, but has me reflecting upon a little irony -

Despite my day job of appearing in front of a camera, I'm not particularly comfortable when being photographed.

Part of it is the raw material available, to be brutally frank. I doubt anyone would ever want to paint a picture of me, unless it's one designed to scare away trespassers.

But there's more to it than just that - I never got the hang of adopting the right expression. When I'm told to smile I look more like I'm wearing a death mask.

And anyway, should a crime writer be photographed smiling, given the grimness of the subject matter?

I spent a while agonising about what face to pull when I started doing events, and normally try for the mean and moody look. But that tends to come out more like something you see on a Police - Wanted photofit.

On the subject of which, here's a snap from last week, to underline my point about how I don't appear well - (but I want one of these to help me get through the traffic!)

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Literary Parenthood

It's now just three weeks until the publication of my new book, The Dark Horizon, and I'm feeling as relaxed and calm about it as ever.

That's to say - not at all, not in the slightest, no way, no how, no chance whatsoever! It's like being a kid at Christmas, only worse.

A quick visual interlude here, because I just can't resist it (cut me some slack please). I'm all full of it fit to burst, I need to share it, even if just a little bit, so here's the first page and opening line -

Dark start.jpg

My word, I even got a shaky shot of tingly electricity taking that photo. I'm starting to worry what I'm going to be like on publication day; maybe so agitated that I'll be giving off a high charged hum like those electric strip light things.

Anyway, aside from excited ramblings and bad metaphors, the point of this blog is that I'm feeling quite abuzz, as you may have spotted.

The only analogy I can possibly think of is that it's like literary parenthood. This wonderful event which you're so looking forward to, have anticipated for so long, is coming, coming, coming and will soon be here.

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A Second of Detail

What is this writing lark about, in essence?

I suppose reflecting the world we see is one passable answer - the people in it, the places, the stories we hear, read and imagine.

What's he going on about now, do I sense you asking? (which would be understandable). The answer is that I've been thinking how just one little second of an observation can be so powerful in capturing a part of life.

I was about my day job in a lovely Devon market town this week, when an older chap came up to cameraman and me and asked what we were doing.

We had a little chat, but what struck me was his way of enquiring. He was careful not to use the standard abuses of the fair English language, like "Alright", or "Hey, mate", or 'Yo", or anything such.

He said, 'Good morning, and excuse me for asking...'

Which immediately he had gone, left me reaching for my notebook (remember a recurring theme of these blogs - a writer should never be without notebook, ideas and inspiration are all around and everywhere and losing an idea is a terrible sin.)

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