Thursday 29 January 2015

The Undercover Soundtrack

From Roz Morris Undercover Soundtrack blog
‘A sequence of notes can transport you to a time and place’
Once a week I host a writer who uses music as part of their creative environment – perhaps to connect with a character, populate a mysterious place, or hold  a moment still to explore its depths. This week’s post is by crime and psychological thriller writer Debbie Bennett @debjbennett 
Soundtrack by Alice Cooper, Soul Asylum, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, The Seekers
I always wanted to be musical. I’m sixties-born, but identify most with the 1980s – the era of the New Romantics and the beginnings of computer-generated music, but I always had the hidden desire to be a full-on rock chick with my AC-DC, Whitesnake and Rainbow albums!  Read more ...

Sunday 18 January 2015

Not Getting Rich Quick!

I wrote a post about bookshops (or lack of them) not so long ago. I was re-reading it just now and thinking of today's events...

It's my birthday today. Very cold, freezing fog and a smattering of snow on the ground. So we went out for breakfast - as we often do on a weekend when Andy isn't working - to the Aqueduct Marina, about twenty minutes drive from here. It's a small upmarket marina with a lovely little cafe that does a great breakfast and we can sit and watch the boats. Yes, we're old.

In the reception part of the marina (where they do the boaty admin and sell/rent boats etc), there's a large bookcase stuffed full of paperbacks, with a collection box for a canal restoration charity. So I browsed and grabbed a couple and made a donation. And it struck me that the poor authors got nothing for this secondary sale. But then I suppose if the book had stayed on the original purchaser's shelf, they'd have got nothing more either, so at least more readers would be enjoying their books. And might go on to buy/read more? Small consolation.

So we stopped at Morrisons on the way back home, so I could buy the obligatory bag of cakes to take into work tomorrow, and I'm looking in the magazine and book aisle. And there are paperbacks - recently-published paperbacks, chart paperbacks - for £2. Two pounds? Given that traditional authors generally get a tiny percentage of the profit from a sale, what kind of money are they going to make on a gross sale price of two quid?

Add to that the fact that a great many indie authors I know (myself included) have seen their sales bomb since the advent of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program in the autumn (Eat-all-you-want books? Fabulous for the reader? Not so good for the author), plus the usual seasonal slump and those of us that have a day job are glad we've still got it ...

Honestly. It's a good job none of us went into this to get rich quick, isn't it?

Saturday 3 January 2015

Rat Run

Lenny dropped the widget-thingy-whatever-the-fuck-it-is for the third time, threw the plastic box on the warehouse floor in a fit of temper and kicked the shelving. “Fuck!” The metal shelves rattled and something fell off one end.

He took a deep breath. It was just a job, like normal people had. Real life.

“You OK?” One of his work colleagues came round the corner. “Drop something?”

What does it fucking look like? Lenny swore again – under his breath this time – and picked up the box. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not really feeling the love for this, are you?” The kid grinned.

Lenny wanted to smack him. “Is it that obvious?” Could they not have found him a job that didn’t involve the fiddly sorting of impossibly small objects? His right hand simply didn’t have the dexterity for this sort of thing – not since wannabe gangster Mick Carlotti had crushed it in the door of a shipping container a year ago.

The terms of his prison licence required him to work how, where and when his Offender Manager said. He’d tried arguing with her and got precisely nowhere, so he was stuck in this crappy dead-end job for at least the next year and quite possibly forever, until he could convince both her and Darwin that he was completely rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community. Like I was ever a part of the community in the first place? Jesus fucking Christ.