2 things to do if you feel like…

This terrible/hastily-drawn sketch of Zoolander says “you’re so good looking,you should do this professionally!”

1) Take a chocolate bar to bed with you — and you can wipe that smug smile off your face, you: by that I definitely do not mean in the seedy way (is there a seedy way?! I don’t know…), I just mean carry it with you up the stairs, or to the back of your bungalow, and into your room with you to enjoy. By eating, of course.

When in bed, just before sleeps, eat just half the bar (or less if it’s a massive one, you greedy pig you!). I know this goes against everything your parents and the world ever told you about how to treat your teeth, but don’t worry. It’s not going to do too much damage, providing you don’t make a habit of it. Use your own discretion.

Now HERE’S the best bit: before bed, put the chocolate bar on the bed-side table. Or on the floor. Anywhere but the pillow or the bed. That would be a mistake. Then, upon awakening, you will be greeted by one of your most favourite things, and for a second or two it’ll fill you with warmth and be an amazing new surprise. Already your day is off to a brilliant start!

2) Watch comedy classic Zoolander. For some reason, I’ve heard a few people call Zoolander childish and rubbish, when, in fact, it is a magnificent piece of work (as a friend recently reminded me. Thank you friend). Well, what can you do? You can’t please everyone all the time, even with genius. But trust me, if you haven’t seen it, do. It’s something your sense of humour can’t afford to miss.

The Number 3 Mystery Book — buy your paperback now

Black and white ex-racing greyhound Jojo loves The Number 3 Mystery Book so much, she'll frequently spend hours in her doggy-den, mulling over the captivating storyline. In this photo, her morose expression conveys her sheer inability to fathom why anyone else wouldn't want to read it too. (In their doggy-den or otherwise.)

Last week, finally, it happened: a very disgruntled post-man — complete with small red van, like the demonic real-life becoming of postman Pat — turned up at the door holding a massive box; the kind of box which surely must be urban legend in the post-office, and which post-men and women alike no doubt spend their whole lives fearing they might ond day get lumbered with. I quickly recovered from the shock of this event FINALLY happening and learned why he was so disgruntled: the box weighed an absolute ton — in it, 100 paperbacks of my debut novel (which is 14.5cm x 20.5cm and a perfect-bound laminated paperback, just like you see in the shops). If you haven’t already, read the synopsis and see reviews here, where you can also buy the digital version.

The paperback cover has smaller title writing, as seen in the photo above with Jojo posing

And it’s about time this self-publishing venture of mine really kicked in. 3 months ago I made the very brave statement that “in 3 weeks my books should be available in paperback.” A total impossibility as it turned out; first there was the formatting to do, and then there were graphics to sort out. Aside from that, a human-being must also sleep…still, let’s not dwell on that point, it’s a time for being smug and it won’t come again for a while, that much is certain. Instead, let me tell you how you can get your hands on a copy and other important details. Then you can be smug, too. Don’t say I never give you anything.

INDEX

* Why you should buy this first-run, limited-edition book

* Can I have a signed copy?

* OK Chris, you’ve broken me. I live in the UK, how do I pay?

* Oh dear…but Chris, I am a luddite…does that mean I have to wait until either someone

leaves it on the train or it ends up in a library or a bin?

* But Chris, my problem is I don’t live in the UK. It’s the end of the world!

And just when I thought everything in my life was going right…

* …Is there a web-site for the book? I’m intrigued and would like to know more

* Links to more about the book

* Thanks

Why you should buy this first-run, limited-edition book

Because if you don’t you are making the biggest mistake of your life, of course. But aside from that, and the fact that if you don’t buy it your children won’t ever discover it in the book-shelf — which would mean them missing out on a vital part of English culture, which would be all your fault! — this first edition might one day be worth something. I know, I’m getting carried away here, but let’s say I make the big-time, or the semi-big-time, or just the semi-semi big-time, right? Or I get involved in a road-rage incident with the Pope or something and that gets me on This Morning. Well, in that case these might become valuable. Or at least sought after. It’s all very good and well not buying one now, but don’t come crying to me when you need to pay that last thirty grand on your mortgage in twenty years’ time!

Can I have a signed copy?

Yes! And that’s not me saying that out of vanity. Lots of people have already asked for this — without me even mentioning it — and although my right hand is now almost perpetually spasmed from all the signing, I’m sure I can make an exception for you.

OK Chris, you’ve broken me. I live in the UK, how do I pay?

Here’s how you do it: if you have a Paypal account then it couldn’t be simpler. Simply sign in and click the Send Money button as depicted below:

Once you’ve done that, you get this:

As you can see, now you are here. From this point on it’s very simple: enter the amount of £9.50 (£2.50 of that is for UK postage and packaging — the book on its own cosst £7.50) and the email address chrispink49@googlemail.com and hit Continue.

And I repeat, £9.50 includes postage and packaging, so you’re not going to get stung for anymore, I assure you.

On the next screen you’ll have the option of adding a message in the box provided. If you would like me to write something in the front of the book, no matter how ridiculous or formal — excluding death-threats or malicious notes like  “Here’s a book for you. YOUR DUMPED!” — write the exact words in this box and I will get it done. It is a promise.

AND I DO NEED YOUR ADDRESS! so if your Paypal account doesn’t automatically send this, be sure to include this in the message box as well.

Oh dear…but Chris, I am a luddite…does that mean I have to wait until either someone

leaves it on the train or it ends up in a library or a bin?

Sorry, yes.

Only messing! Of course not, as long as you never ever again suggest it might end up in the bin — that really wasn’t very nice. So yes, I also accept cheques too. Please email me if you would like my address, and I will tell you and only you it. You have to be careful, you know. That bloke Dom off of Cowboy Builders is always going on about it.

But Chris, my problem is I don’t live in the UK. It’s the end of the world!

And just when I thought everything in my life was going right…

Seriously…calm down. It’ll be OK. If you don’t live in the UK, you need to email me and tell me where you live. Then I can calculate the postage costs and we can go from there. There, isn’t that better? (And don’t panic, the postage costs are reasonable. Examples below.)

US: £5.40 / $8.40

Germany: £3.40 / Euro 3.90

France: £3.40 / Euro 3.90

It is. Just one last thing…

Isn’t there always…

…Is there a web-site for the book? I’m intrigued and would like to know more

Ah, in that case I forgive you. There IS a web-site for the book, actually — it’ll be taking all the money, which will be nice — but sadly, seeing as I lack any technical computer skills whatsoever, I am still trying my best to work out how to upload the damn bloody thing. As soon as it is up, I will post an update here.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Links to more about the book

All Number 3 related book things are on this blog here

Feature here on Fiction Fierce

See the synopsis here

Thanks

One last thing: thanks again to the many amazing people who helped make my first novel a reality. It wasn’t an easy journey, but people like Phil Thomas, Robin Bright, Jack McCourt and Yasmin Selena — whose brand-new blog about writing and short stories is up here and you really ought to read it — made it a hell of a lot easier than it might have been otherwise. I couldn’t have done it without any of these people, not to mention the many great friends who are showing support on Facebook and Twitter right now. You’re all most excellent.

Lastly, as you know, there are only 100 copies of this first edition in existence. I’m reserving copies for quite a few people, but they can’t be held forever, so the sooner they are paid for the sooner they can be despatched.

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you soon,

If you have any other pressing questions, feel free to contact me at: chrispink49@googlemail.com

Chris

Autumnal love

Sometimes it’s good just to look straight up

Before I started writing this post I had a precise idea of what I wanted to say — an assembly of images, sights and natural textures to pick and choose from, and navigate around. And now I sound like Dawson, from hit emotional overload Dawson’s Creek; what can I say, that’s just the way it was. It was, now I think about it, that kind of burning-with-desire intensity of thoughts that makes you arrogantly and honestly believe that you can capture any thought, feeling or emotion and put it neatly into words so that the whole entire world can visualise it as perfectly as if they were right there, as if they had lived it many times and were as familiar with it as anything else in their life. I’d dribbled my brand-spanking-new Adidas football all the way to the shop in the next village — by no means an impressive feat by the average rambler’s standards, or a fit-old-lady’s either, but not bad for me — for my new project over at Learning To Love The Beautiful Game and then I’d come home, turned my computer on and thought Right, where was I?

This was when the floundering around started. Now, in a magic twist of annoyance, all I had were a slew of epic, indecisive, jumbled up perceptions — each of which seemed to skirt around the real meaning of what this beautiful time of the year really means.

To begin with I had wanted to write about the way that many people think the Summer is the best time of year. I wanted to say how Summer may be hot and exotic and novel — sometimes, although I’m not sure we quite reached the throws of exotic this year — but it lacks depth somehow…or maybe character. Then I wanted to write about that bit before Autumn really begins. The bit you can easily miss if you don’t sleep with your windows open. The turning of the seasons which happens literally over-night and marks the atmosphere with an almost sacred touch. Then — told you I kept changing my mind — I wanted to write about the smells of Autumn in all their unique indecipherable measures. The ones which make Summer look quite dull and lifeless. You know the ones. Those which smell of the Earth and the sky and the rain — all the elements combined, almost like a time-travelling experience from the ground to the clouds and then back again like the cycle of precipitation which happens minutely in every second. Especially if you live in Scotland.

In the end I just decided to reminisce. But I think you probably guessed that by now.

If you liked this, you may like my debut adventure/comedy novel, The Number 3 Mystery Book, available on Amazon (for Kindle and ipad etc) now, and paperback very soon…

September 11th, Twin Towers &Time To Reflect

There are already enough stories of what happened 10 years to this day that writing this, in many ways, I feel like I’m pointlessly re-treading old ground, digging up unwilling ghosts of the past which are already tired and fed-up and wanting to be left in peace. Ones which are already today the intense focus of the world’s media, struggling to break free of the hyperbole surrounding the (presumable) death of Osama Bin Laden and whatever conclusion that apparently comes to; stories of watching — yet not really seeing — the first plane hit, then being unable to properly comprehend what happened just moments after with another. What felt like seconds. Seconds the world changed forever, yet stayed the same in what can only be described as an appalling lack of learning. In minutes, death, terrorism and vengeance were the new words on the street, and instead of really considering what it must have been like for those who lost relatives and friends on that terrible New York day — something which would come after, with a spate of TV documentaries that came worryingly late and only after a great deal of angry propaganda — the media went on a rampage with religion in its sights. Find the enemy, snuff it out.

That was how I felt before I opened Facebook. Concerned, as I mentioned, that a celebration of the recent Osama Bin Laden death-documentary might potentially eclipse that of the events of 10 years ago, I was in no rush to look at Facebook. Yet when I did I found a brilliance of strength and mass of positive messages that swamped anything referring to the man they say who started it all. I’m sure that won’t be the complete picture, after all, my Facebook isn’t your Facebook and yours is like nobody else’s. Each and every one of us have a slightly different group of friends with a slightly different political persuasion. Thanks to this, there is no universal forum which contains an equal measure of opinion and insight; much less one we could all agree was a measure of that fact. Everything we all see is either one way or the other, which means that some will have woken up to a barrage of positive messages, and others will have found themselves confronted by conspiracy theories and less than tasteful attitudes to the event of this day.

Whatever you think, today isn’t the time to rant on about it: please keep it to yourself. Instead, think of those who died, and think of those who lost others — for which today is a tragic reminder of never-ending despair. Let’s be as ONE today, and let’s try and open our minds up to love, instead. Yeah, I sound like a hippy, but you know it makes sense.

There has already been enough blame and enough tragedy and enough finger-pointing. Save it for another day, if you must, and let us remember those who passed away with the honour they deserve.

You don’t have to pray or kneel or be religious in any way. All you need to do is close your eyes for a second and use your head.

Independent author interview: a man called Roger Knowles

Click the pic, go to Amazon.

You probably haven’t heard the name Roger Knowles, but that’s not to say his is not a name worth knowing. Like thousands of people taking advantage of the groundbreaking, easily accessible technology now available to writers world-wide, Derby-based Roger is part of an independent movement far bigger and ultimately more astonishing than anything dreamt about as little as 20 years ago. Using portals like Amazon, he’s getting his work into the hands of anyone owning a Kindle. It may be doing the publishers’ heads in, but who cares, right? All’s fair in e-books and war.

Get Naked! Sorry Roger...I couldn't resist it...

Roger and I became acquainted through an online forum and, while I haven’t met the man in person – who is certainly a character – I have read one of his recent works – Broken Cats and Cowboy Hats – and enjoyed it; largely because I don’t write thrillers, and always enjoy reading books which approach things a bit differently to the way I do. With that in mind, and always one to jump at the opportunity of doing a blog post with minimal effort – can you really blame me? – I asked the man if he’d like to answer a few questions on this blog. He said yes. The result is as follows…

One: Your novels contain technical shifts in POV (point of view) which many authors find less than easy. What do you enjoy about jumping between time frames and what draws you to writing from the perspective of multiple characters instead of just one?

I’ve never liked the POV rule, feeling that as long as the reader can understand what’s going on, the rule’s irrelevant. Yes, I know – try telling an agent, publisher or editor that! But as I have no interest in conventional mainstream publishing, I can do what I like [Roger put a smiley face here, but you’ll just have to imagine that, as WordPress seems to harbour a serious dislike of smiley faces]. I don’t especially enjoy jumping between time frames, but I wanted to try different approaches with different books, and I thought that approach best suited ‘Broken Cats…’

Two: Broken Cats and Cowboy Hats is an unconventional thriller to say the least. What are your influences (literary and other)?

I must have some buried in my subconscious, but, consciously, I honestly don’t know of any. Having said that, I have the attention span of a young child on E numbers, so I like short chapters. For that reason I’ll happily read early James Patterson. And for his ability to tell a good if improbable story, I enjoy Lee Child and his Jack Reacher books – yes, I’m a bit lowbrow. Non-fiction wise, I’m a fan of Bill Bryson and the PC incorrect Jeremy Clarkson. I know admitting to liking the latter is like saying you’re a Jeffery Archer fan, but I can’t help that – he makes me laugh. Non-literary – my mother was a house-mother in a children’s home when I was in my teens, so I lived with severely disadvantaged kids for a few years and saw that even the basically good ones could easily go wrong.

Three: Could you give us some insight into what you did before writing novels and how that helped when you decided this is what you want to do?

My previous life involved writing long and complex investment reports for discerning clients along with pieces for the financial Press. I guess this taught me brevity, which I hope is reflected in my novels – I dislike long descriptive passages – sorry Mr Dickens.

Four: Although your work is obviously fictional, do you draw inspiration from any real locations?

Not really, though I have used one or two locations from my home town, Derby. One of my books, ‘The Association’, actually uses Derby as the location in one section – pure laziness, requiring no research.

Five: Some people are under the impression that books always take years to create. In reality those who write know that that isn’t always the case. How long do you spend working on a first draft and what do you think the advantages and disadvantages of writing at speed are?

On the first draft, probably about a week, but I’d stress that the end result is always extremely poor quality. The main advantage, I think, is the opportunity to get ‘the bones’ down as they emerge from the brain, and to quickly reveal aspects that don’t make sense in one way or another, which can then easily be dealt with in later drafts. Disadvantages? For me, none, but I know many writers have everything carefully planned before they put pen to paper, and for them, that’s the right way.

Six: ‘Write a thriller’ seems to be something on a lot of people’s to-do lists. What advice would you give to someone who has always harboured a secret desire to write one but has never quite got round to it?

Pick up a pen or switch on your computer and write/type ‘once upon a time’ then keep writing/typing until ‘the end’ appears on the page.

Seven: I like to wear stone masonry ear-defenders while I write. Do you have any strange or surprising tactics for shutting the outside world out and getting on with what you need to accomplish?

I use headphones with my MP3 player, using alpha-wave producing classical tracks.

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Roger has another book out — this time romantically inclined — which is called To Be A Man. You can buy it or read the reviews by clicking here.