I had a conversation with my friends the other day about what the best and worst year of our lives were. My worst year was 2011. I was in sixth form, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I had little plans for the future and the present consisted of me stuck in classes, many of which I had little or no interest in. Maybe a question on Mussolini’s rise to power might appear in a pub quiz one day… One benefit of this experience was that I used my memories of school misery in Empty Nights. My best year was 2012 which was also a great year for the UK overall. London hosted the 2012 Olympics. The Queen had her Diamond Jubilee and I left sixth form and started university. 2012 was the best of my life… until now.
Last night I read the opening chapter of Empty Nights at the Brixton BookJam.
It was a fantastic evening. The organisers were brilliant, the crowd was fantastic and a great night was had by all. The Brixton BookJam is held on the first Monday of March, June, October and December. I recommend that you all come along to these nights as you’ll be supporting local writers. All of the speakers that spoke last night are listed below along with their websites. Be sure to check them out:
The first Star Wars film that I watched was Episode Two: Attack of the Clones. It’s generally accepted that this is one of the weakest films in the franchise but I loved it! I was blown away in the cinema by the car chase on the city planet, I cheered when the Jesus looking Jedi performed a flying kick on some guy with a flamethrower and jet pack and I was literally opened mouthed when the little green crazy frog man started flipping and spinning against the evil posh person at the end of the film. Forgive me, I was only nine! By the time Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005 I considered myself a Jedi Master on my knowledge of the Star Wars universe.
My knowledge of Shakespeare, in comparison, is lacking. I have great respect for the Bard and I have enjoyed many of his plays (see my Shakespeare reviews here, here and here) but I couldn’t tell you the name of Juliet’s nurse where as I could tell what every button does on Darth Vader’s chest. I had just finished watching a gender reversed performance of Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe when I spotted this in the gift shop.
I bought the book on a whim and didn’t consider reviewing it on my website. It was just a silly novelty, something you might receive as a Christmas present. The following morning, as I read the book on my commute to work I was pleasently suprised at how masterfully well written it was. I was so impressed that I ordered Book Five: The Empire Striketh Back and Book Six: The Jedi Doth Return and afterwards Book One: The Panthom of Mence, Book Two: The Clone Army Attacketh and Book Three: Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge. Book Seven: The Force Doth Awaken and Book Eight: Jedi the Last have also been ordered.
The date today is December the first which means that NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month has just finished. I am pleased to report that I met my target of writing 50,000 words within thirty days.
I now have a file called Ghost Train v0 (version zero or draft zero) saved on my laptop which contains the first 50,000 words of my manuscript. The plan is to complete Camp NaNoWriMo (depending on my commitments next year) and NaNoWriMo in 2019 so that I will have either 100,00 or 150,000 words to work from and form a first draft of Ghost Train in 2020.
This year’s NaNoWriMo was a fantastic experience and I also want to give a shout out to everyone I met in the Write In sessions in London after work. The sessions were incredibly productive and it was great to meet and work with other writers.
Don’t forget that on Monday night I’ll be reading the opening chapter of Empty Nights at the Brixton BookJam! I should be on stage at 21:45 and it’ll be lovely to see you there. You can find more details on the event by clicking here.
Thank you and take care.
In 2014 I was introduced to the novel Looking for Alaska by John Green. The novel was actually published in 2005 so I was rather late to the party but I read it, loved it and soon read John Green’s other works including Turtles All The Way Down which I reviewed last year. John Green is also a famous vlogger and runs a Youtube Channel that he shares with his brother, Hank Green. Fans of the brothers call themselves Nerdfighters. Hank was perhaps most famous for his Crash Course series on YouTube but recently has delved into the world on literature. Around the same time I was publishing and advertising my book, Hank was going through the same process for his novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It was interesting to compare our journeys and because I have been a fan of Hank for many years I feel as though his book deserved a review.
WARNING: mild spoilers from this point onwards.
Throughout the month of August, the area of Camden and several locations beyond it, play host to a variety of shows that form the Camden Fringe Festival. I’ll admit that the timing of Camden Fringe this year couldn’t be worse for me. August was my promotional month for Empty Nights and as a result there were some performances that I bought tickets for but never attended. It’s also the reason I’m reviewing the shows so long after their performance date.
I’ve spent all of September on a writing break, to recharge after my book was launched on 1st September. Although I did end up writing, so it wasn’t much of a break to be honest, I enjoyed not working to a deadline. The pressure is off. It also gave me time to plan out the rest of my projects up till December.
This website will continue to be updated and will enter early hibernation on 9th December. The content I’ll be posting until then will include reviews of shows or plays I watched earlier in the year but didn’t have time to write about (for example Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)
I’ve returned to the Write Up Our Alley YouTube channel and my videos will continue up to December. This means I’ll have completed one whole year on the channel (minus the two months break I took to publish Empty Nights).
I’ll continue uploading to the Starting as Strangers Youtube channel with my final video of the year being published on 13th December. I’ll return to the channel in 2019 in early January with New Year’s resolutions video.
If you haven’t brought Empty Nights yet (and why not?) you can find the Amazon link under the Empty Night tab at the top of your page. Once you’ve read the book please leave a review. If you would prefer to buy the book from me in person and have it signed, let me know.
Once again, thank you for your support during the launch. It means the world to me.
Take care and I’ll see you all soon.