Posted in Poetry, plays, etc., Re-blog

One Step At A Time (Part One)

My friend’s walk to Santiago, one step at a time.

Cabreza da Vaca

Santiago photo

Walking To Santiago

We start a journey without ever knowing

Where the road will end,

Or what we there may find;

The land rolls out and shapes with every step

A novel contour

In the heart and mind.

I am a shell, but know not what I hold,

Until the winding path reveals

Myself unto myself;

Uncovering the fault lines of the man

I think I am, or hope to be:

In the shadow lies the wealth.

We walk, and hope, and persevere;

We ache and sweat,

And shed familiar skin;

And all we know encompassed by

One foot in front, and then the other,

Safely gathered in

The swinging incense, soaring voice

Crown the heavy miles

With sacred sound and smell;

The journey has unfolded of itself

A gift to me,

And all again is well..

When one walks with intent, towards a goal, then the unexpected can happen…

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CTG Interviews KJ Howe about The Freedom Broker

I’m amazed at the lengths the authors go to research their stories. I know that Crime Thriller Girl (CTG) is a qualified bounty hunter, for example! I also particularly like the advice from David Morrell, KJ Howe’s mentor: ‘Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else’.

crime thriller girl

image003While I was at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate I met up with fellow debut novelist KJ Howe to chat about her fabulous thriller THE FREEDOM BROKER. Over coffee, we talked research, writing process, and how she created the kick-ass action heroine Thea Paris…

Thea Paris is such an authentic all-action female lead – what inspired you to create her as a character?

I always wanted to write a strong female protagonist. As part of my research I went out to the Phoenix desert and trained in hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting and more. I’m a big believer of if you’re going to write about it you should have experienced it. I’ve got this rolodex of Special Forces guys I can call on – they read the book – and wanted to bring an authenticity to the page. I would have loved to have been a spy!…

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Posted in Literature

Gunter Grass: Crabwalk – walking sideways into a story

Gunter Grass, author, Nobel prize winner was not someone on my to-read list.
But I was on holiday in a rented cottage and need something to read. Someone had left a copy of Crabwalk.

His fictional story revolves around the sinking of a ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, in 1945 with the loss of over nine-thousand lives. The worst single ship loss in history. Grass somehow tells the single story from the perspective of three people who Continue reading “Gunter Grass: Crabwalk – walking sideways into a story”

Posted in Music, Poetry, plays, etc., Quotation

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.[…]

This is the first line from Desiderata, written in 1927 by American writer Max Ehrmann. I first encountered it in the recording by US talk show host Les Crane. It got to number 6 in 1971. I still recall listening to it by candlelight: we had no power due to several weeks of power cuts due to strike action. It went on to become something of a cult, even Mr Spock got in on the act.

I still love it. Especially the line:

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit :)

Copyright?

There remains some confusion over whether it is or indeed ever was in copyright. I will ‘exercise caution’ as the poem advises and use only its opening lines. The full text is here.

Posted in Cambridge, Literature, Re-blog

When CTG met … Andy Martin writer of ‘Reacher Said Nothing’ (and Lee Child!!)

This is fascinating. An interview with an academic on how they observed a crime thriller author write their latest book.

crime thriller girl

Andy Martin is the Cambridge academic who sat behind Lee Child as he wrote the 20th Jack Reacher book – MAKE ME. Andy observed Lee’s process, his routine, and (amongst other things) the amount of cigarettes he smoked and coffees he drank. For a huge Reacher fan like me, it sounded like the perfect way to spend seven months. I wanted to know more; what was it like to be there as the story was created? How did it feel to be writing a book about the making of MAKE ME? I guess I wanted to know more about the making of the making of book – REACHER SAID NOTHING. Sure, Andy said, let’s talk. So I drove to Cambridge, and we did …

April 14th. Andy’s house. Cambridge. Afternoon.

I’m sitting at Andy’s kitchen table. Andy is making coffee – proper coffee, ground especially and everything…

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Posted in Architecture, Literature, London, Railways & Trains

Re-reading Harry Potter

I find the Harry Potter series enthralling. I have read the whole series at least three times now. Generally, if I can I’ll read them one after another. I read quickly but this is still a fortnight of Hogwarts. I am currently halfway through the Goblet of Fire, episode four of the set. It is not my favourite! The first one is still the best. I just love the fairy tale quality to it, it has an excitement and innocence that I love. The wand shop in Diagon Alley is a favourite location, it reminds me of a very old shop near where I live. Though it was stacked high with small boxes of Airfix models, rather than wands. Continue reading “Re-reading Harry Potter”