Another nice mess …

Watching the melancholy film Stan and Ollie, well acted but sad made me realise how little I know about the men whose old films made me laugh so much as a child. They were favourites of my Dad, and I played them to my own children, so influential were they. The film focused on the [...]

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Review: The Diary of a Bookseller

One consequence of my reading this book is that I now follow the bookshop Facebook page. Another is that I've thought long and hard about my love affair with Amazon, and how it is helping to kill off small independent bookshops. It's a difficult quandary because Amazon is so darned cheap and also so easy, [...]

Feeding back on someone’s writing

Giving a view on someone's writing is not the stuff of PhDs, yet poor quality feedback can devastate and destroy a person's confidence in their creativity. Conversely, undeserved positive feedback does no one any good, either. If people constantly tell you your work is good but it doesn't sell, then it is lacking. If a [...]

Review: Neurotribes – Steve Silberman

This was a substantial read, and at times a meandering journey, but for someone interested in neurodiversity (a fairly modern phrase) it is an important history of autism and a reminder that neurodiverse people are about as different to each other as neurotypical people, if not more so. There is no 'typical' autistic person. Rainman [...]

Review: Did I Mention I Won the Lottery?

This Kindle ebook by Julie Butterfield is an easy read, apart from occasional glaring proofreading mistakes which irritated me a little, and some Good Read reviewers a good deal. The storyline is quite simple, with two key characters, downtrodden wife, Rebecca and her husband, Daniel, who is, shall we say, overly assertive, rather abusive and [...]

A little Hartland history …

This info comes from a slender pamphlet called "Farthest From Railways: An Unknown Corner of Devon" by R. Pearse Chope, originally written in 1934. It seems Hartland Parish, despite being one of the largest in Devon, amounting to 17,000 acres in size, is too hilly for a cricket ground, is bounded by the Atlantic (already knew that [...]

Paddy Ashdown.

It is always sad to hear of the death of someone people respect, and more so someone you have met. Paddy had bladder cancer diagnosed in October, I believe, so his illness was short but devastating in its impact. I'm not a Liberal Democrat by nature but I did meet Paddy Ashdown a couple of [...]

Random writing advice 1

Trying something a little new, which is to choose at random a writing meme and say something about it. So, here goes. Wish I could just talk through it, really ...  Ok, well this baby is obviously about editing, which just goes to show that you can spend hours on something making it perfect one [...]

Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

  Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. 1808. My journey to Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, was originally more a meeting with old friends than anything especially literary. However, there was the bonus of a small Turner exhibition at his house for Turner, at the behest of [...]

Getting published

I used to co-own a publishing business, where we created local history/interest titles, but also had some massive print runs of larger, full-colour books, which we primarily sold by the direct selling method back in the 1990s-2000s. We also sold to bookshops. My role was as writer/commissioning editor. Loved editing this one! The profanities from [...]