Nov 13

Stan Lee tribute

Hello everyone,

I was sitting on a delayed and diverted train from London Charing Cross when I heard the news. Aptly enough I was watching a fight scene between Wolverine and The Hulk on Youtube when the story broke. As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now the legendary comic book writer Stan Lee has passed away. His death wasn’t unexpected but it is still heart wrenching. His impact on the comic book world and our world as a whole, is undeniable and he has shaped the lives of thousands of children around the globe, including myself.

Here is a quick run through of Lee career in the writing industry.

Lee started working in Timely comics, later renamed Marvel comics, in 1933 doing grunt work in an office. Lee would proofread issues, refill ink pots and complete other small menial tasks. He was finally given the chance of write his own comic in 1941, his first comic was called Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge and was met with positive reviews. Shortly after this publication World War Two broke out and many of Lee’s characters fought in the Second World War against the Nazi’s and the Axis powers. The American troops on the front line would receive care packages which would contain comics books as proper-gander, some of these comics were penned by Stan Lee.

After the Second World War ended, sales in comic books dropped. The situation was made worse by Doctor Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent which accused comics of corrupting America’s youth. Due to this, every comic had to be approved by the Comics Code Authority, some of their rules can be found below:

  • Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
  • Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
  • In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
  • Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
  • No comic magazine shall use the words “horror” or “terror” in its title.
  • All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
  • Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
  • Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.

Lee was an avid campaigner against the Comics Code Authority and due to this campaigning, and his earlier works in the industry, he became known as the “Father of Comics”. Lee argued that comics books were an effective medium for teaching the readers about real world issues such as drug use, racism war and he defied the code on many notable occasions.

In 1961, Lee was about to give in his registration letter and retire from the world of comic books when he received a phone call from his boss. DC Comics had published their first issue of Justice League of America and Marvel wanted to compete with a superhero team of their own. Lee’s wife told him he should accept the commission and write the comic the way he wanted to, not the way that the bosses at Marvel wanted. Lee followed her advice and soon afterwards the Fantastic Four were created, the first superhero family. Following this success, Stan created The Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, The X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and The Spectacular Spiderman to name a few.

Although Marvel almost went bankrupt in the 1990’s and had to sell the movie rights to many of their characters to stay afloat, Lee continued to work in the company, tirelessly producing comics. Today Stan is most well known for his cameo appearances in Marvel films, most notably films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Stan Lee is an inspiration for thousand of writers around the globe, he went from paper pusher to the head of a comic book empire.

Thank you for your work, sir. May you rest in peace.

Excelsior.

Stan Lee

Nov 11

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review

In August of 2016 I reviewed the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script, back when it was first published. You can read my review here but, to summarize, I gave the script a mediocre review. In June of this year I was lucky enough to be offered tickets to the play and after two years of walking passed the theatre doors I was finally able to go inside and watch the performance.

Here is my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Continue reading

Nov 01

Start of NaNoWriMo

Hello everyone,

Today is November the first and it is the beginning of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and the aim of the project is for writers to write up to 50,000 words in thirty days. To many non writers that sounds impossible but when you break it down it’s 1666 words a day. If that still sounds intimidating you can break it down again to 555 words three times a day.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t to write a whole novel. It isn’t even to write a good opening to a novel. The aim is to write as much as you can, as fast as you can. In this case it is quantity over quality.

Yes, I have just finished publishing a novel and no this isn’t sequel to Empty Nights. Empty Nights is a stand alone novel as it my next novel, working title Ghost Train.

The plan is to write the first 50,000 words this November and maybe another 50,000 in July next year as part of Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll also be taking part in NaNoWriMo 2019  so when I officially start the novel in 2020 I’ll have either 100,000 or 150,000 words to work from.

I’ll be posting an update at the end of the month to report on how I’ve done. I’ll also be posting updates on my Twitter feed. You can find me on Twitter by clicking here.

Best wishes to anyone else participating.

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Oct 28

Spitfire Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

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.

Continue reading

Oct 14

Camden Fringe review – 2018

Hello everyone,

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.

Continue reading

Oct 01

Returning from a writing break

Hello everyone,

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.

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Sep 01

My novel Empty Nights is available now

Hello everyone,

I’ve just finished the live video on my Facebook author page in which I dropped the link to my début novel Empty Nights.  I can’t link directly to the video but here is a link to my Facebook author page where you can find it.

https://www.facebook.com/jackdowdswritingblog/

If you enjoy the book please take the time to leave a review on Amazon and thank you for your support. 

You can find my book by clicking here!

I hope you enjoy Empty Nights. This isn’t the end of the promotion. As a friend once said to me, you never stop promoting your book. I’ll be sharing reviews from other websites, upcoming interviews and any other promotional events that are coming up. 

Once again, thank you for your support.

 

 

Aug 28

Guest post on Amanda Fleet’s website

Hello everyone,

I’m delighted to say that that Amanda’s Fleet has kindly published a guest post by me on her website regarding perseverance as a writer and on my upcoming novel launch.

You can read the post by clicking… here!

I’ll like to give a big thank you to Amanda for this opportunity.

 

 

 

Aug 21

Article in my local newspaper

Hello everyone,

I received a phone call today from a reporter at the Newsshopper, my local newspaper. She was responding to a submission I sent them about covering the launch of my novel.

I’m glad to say that they decided to publish the article. You can read it by copying and pasting the link below into your search bar or by clicking here.

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/16589119.author-jack-dowd-tackling-teenage-mental-health-in-debut-novel/

A big thank you to everyone at the Newsshopper for their support.

 

Aug 15

I believe in the Book Fairies

Hey everyone,

On Tuesday 14th August I was walking to work, lost in my own world when I discovered a book left by a group calling themselves The Book Fairies.

The Book Fairies are a worldwide organisation that spread their love of books by leaving them as presents for strangers. They asked me to write a short piece of how I found their present (it was a copy of The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman) which you can find linked below:

A Book Finder Story: Jack in London

I’ve also signed up to be a Book Fairy for the day and leave copies of Empty Nights around London as presents for future readers. That’ll be happening in September, date to be confirmed.

Please check out the fairies website as they do lots of great stuff and keep an eye on this website as I’ll have some more updates on Empty Nights soon.

Take care.