Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy new year

Here we are once again at the end of the seasons. It's that time of year when we all look forward to something better to happen in the next twelve months. Some people will just hope their own personal life experience will improve; some just hope it won't get any worse, and some just hope it will improve generaly.

Then there are some who believe it will improve for everyone, no matter what walk of life they come from, they just know all life is special in its own way.

If you are one of these people then you have the greatest gifts of all to give to mankind, and that's a positive outlook for the future.

Before I go I wanted to say a big thank you to all the people around the world who have been following my blog. From Great Britian, America, China, Russia, Germany, Africa, Middle East, Canada, the list goes on and on. I thank you all for one reason. Life is hard, but when you are sharing it's ups and downs with other people, then it becomes just a little bit better.

Please feel free to keep logging on. Over the next three months all will come to an end as I finsih my journey, but then as one door closes, another will open.


Thank you for the various jokes you have sent in for Joker's Monday and if you have any more, or just want to share your experiences then email me at   

Friday, 28 December 2012

Break needed

Everyone needs a break, that's why there was no blog on Boxing day. Last year I took a Christmas Break from my book. This year from my blog.

The story goes on into 2013 and then we will catch up with 2014, where the end will be known to all who follow.

Do I make it?

Do I get published?

Or do I end up the scrap heap of failed want to be authors?

Carry on reading (and I hope enjoying) as we ride into 2014.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Joker's Monday (Christmas Eve)

As you will know I try to tell a joke or two on a Monday to bring a cheer to the new week, but today it shouldn't be needed.

Chrsitmas Eve can and should be a happy time for anyone with faith, no matter what religion (or belief) it is; because you see all reglions are correct, they are just telling the same story, but in a different language.

If you had five different people from five different countrys who could only speak their mother tongue, and couldn't understand or speak any other; then you stood all five in front of a tree and asked them what it was, you would get five different words for a tree. They all see the same tree, they all understand what it means and they all have a word to describe it.

The problems comes when these five people don't understand each other and they start to argue over who has the right word to describe the tree. They start fighting each other and in the process they end up destroying what was once a pure tree just to prove their point.

So lets just enjoy life and do our best to help others who struggle to see the beauty of the tree.

So to every out there from around the world who had been following my story, no matter what you do or don't believe in, I wish you all a merry Christmas. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Copy right

One very important thing that all unpublished writers, infact for any unknown artist, must do and that is to protect your work. I have given out my manuscript in its different forms to various poeple to read, and comment on, to agents and publishers, plus online writers services.

In circulation is a brillant story that can be stolen by a total stranger, who by changing a few words, and by printing it first can claim to have wrote it. Well they could have done but for one thing, I copy righted my origanal first draft before I started to send it out to all and sundry.

The final draft is total different from the first and even the title has changed, but I have enough proof either by hard copy or by copy right to protect my story.

How do you copy right?

It's quite easy, as normal, use the internet. There will be a copy right service for what ever country you live in, and then there are a couple for which you can copy right it internationly. It will cost you but it is well worth paying for.

It doesn't matter what art-form your creative in, make sure you copy right it before you start sending it out. There are so many sharks in this world who will glady make lots of money from your labour while leaving you skint, and bitter.

If you are also pennyless, then you aren't going to have any spare money to pay for expensive legal expenses to fight your claim if somebody nicks your work, and you don't have any proof it's your's in the first place.

Not only must you copy right it, but also keep any rough proofs or rejected (changed) copies of your work, anything which can lay a claim to you being the origanal artist of that piece.

I damned if someone is going to steal two years of my hard work and so should you!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

March 2013

It was now one year into my adventure, one year since risking it all to get published. Like all things in life there had been good moments and bad moments, but I was now at the stage where I thought I had a good enough manuscripot to get noticed, and bypassing the agents slush pile by sending the neatly packaged story to a male agent seemed to have brought my first bit of positive news. He followed it up with a short email to say thank you.

A piece of good advice, before sending out any manuscripts to any agents or publishers always do some basic home work on the internet to find out if the people and organisations your are approaching are the type who would be interested in your style of story. It will save you a lot of time and effort (and money).

As normal I was always-hanging-around awaiting a further reply from the agent. About the same time I was emailed by a local writers organisation that ran different course, seminars and competitions for new writers in the area.

I had to double check the email, I couldn't believe it, they were organising a meeting for a group of unknown writers with an agent. Guess what? It was ony the very same agent who had just been received my story.

I thought this must be it. It was only open to ten people. You had to send in your first three chapters, etc, etc and then he would pick who he wanted to see. I knew from previous times these events would be flooded by hundreads of applicants, but I wasn't going to risk loosing this chance, and I applied to be one of the lucky few who hoped to make it to the meeting.

As normal it was a case of always-hanging-around. The cut off date was March the 15th 2013, you would know by this time if you had been selected. The nearer it got the more nervous I became, checking my email account two, three, sometimes half a dozern times a day. Waiting, always waiting for the email confirmation that you had been selected.

Two days before the final date I was sent an email direct from the agents asking if I was the same person who had had applied for the meeting, and sent the manuscript. I relied yes. Two days later I recieved an email from the writers group to say I was one of the lucky ten.

The first bit of good news in a twelve month swirling sea of rejections.

What would happen? Always-hanging-around, that is what happened. The sesson wasn't until the 28th of April!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Joker's Monday (Guns are no good)

After the recent events (and now very frequent events) in America with the death of innocent young children killed with a gun, my heart sinks at these terrible events, not just there but also all the other people around the world whose life will be effected by that invention called, a gun!

Guns have only one purpose and thats to kill. If you love life then guns have no place in this world, and every last one should be melted down and the metal used for something usefull.

It's hard to be cheerfull when something bad happens, but if you don't have a release from all the hatrid that flows every day from all corners of the world then you will end up going mad and becoming bad.

So here it it, a joke for Monday.

40-ish =52 and looking for a 25 year-old.
Athletic = Sits on the sofa and watches Eurosport.
Average looking = Unusual hair growth on ears, nose, and back.
Educated = Will always treat you like an idiot.
Free spirit = Will sleep with your sister.
Friendship first = As long as it includes touching and nudity.
Fun = Good with a remote control and a six pack.
Good looking = Arrogant.
Honest = Pathological liar.
Huggable = Overweight, more body hair than a buffalo.
Likes to cuddle = Insecure, overly dependent.
Mature = Until you get to know him.
Open minded = Wants to sleep with your sister.
Physically fit = Spends a lot of time in front of the mirror.
Poet = Has written on a toilet wall.
Spiritual = Once went to church with his nan.
Stable = Occasional stalker, but never arrested.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Give it another go

Give it another go, that's what I had decided to do, I would send out my new draft of my manuscript to an agent one more time to see if I could interest them in taking me on as a client. This time I was going to do it differently. I would first find a male agent who was interested in my style of story. I would also bypass the process of the slush pile and send it direct to him.

After a weeks work on my laptop scanning the internet I had found one who I thought could be the man to see the potential of my work. I had also visited a gift shop and bought some nice wrapping paper, and a gift box in which to post off my neatly printed pages of my manuscript.

 I wrote a nice letter of introduction and had my wife package it all up as if she was wrapping a christmas present. I addressed it for his eyes only and then visited the post office were I paid the extra to have it posted special delivery. The parcel looked important and I knew it would be do its job of getting my manuscript past the first hurdle, the slush pile.

The agent in mind is a daily user of twitter, and when next day he twitted about receiving a special parcel which had caught his attention I knew I had hit the spot and was over my first hurdle.

Getting a book published has many hurdles to jump over, but at least I had made it over this one.

What to do next? All I could do was hang-around and wait for a reply.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The female advantage

Another envelope popped through the letter box. I thought it may have been from one of the publishers I had approached, but it was from an agent I had sent my first manuscript to the previous year.

The reply from the lady was polite, but a rejection is a rejection, and it still hurts as much the first time as it does the last.

Then I started to think! As all the polite rejections I had received had come from women, was there more to this than it looks? I now know at the time my manuscript wasn't good enough, but all new authors first version will need help and work on their story. So is there a factor which helps one unknown author over another?

Women have had to work very hard over the decades to gain an equal share in society, and because of this they now dominate in certain walks of life. Primary education and health services are two examples and the other is publishing.

All agents and publishers have what they call "the slush pile." They will receive hundreads of manuscripts (mostly slush) in a month which end up in a pile, and then in the bin without being read.

Women now dominate in sectors of this industry including trying to find a winning story amoung all the slush that piles up on their desks.

What would you do if you have to pick one story out of hundreads?

You would do what everyone does! You will pick out the one type of story that you find interesting.

As a man 99% of the books on my book self are by male authors. If you are a women and take a look at your book choice you will find most are by female authors.

Most new and unknown authors coming onto the market are now female.

Is there a sister act going on? I don't believe it, but I do think there is now a dangerous circle being created, one where unwittingly only the female side of the story is being told. Could this be the reason why most boys no longer read a book outside of school work?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Joker's Monday (Tis the season to be jolly)

It's Monday, the day for a joke or two to cheer the soul at the start of the week. It's also a day to look back on the previous week and hope things will be better this week. When you do look back over recent events, with the usual voilence and mayhem that inflicts so many people's lives it can get depressing.

Sometimes it's better just for a short while to look to the future with a positive view, especially this time of year when we enter December and the Christmas period.

It doesn't matter what faith you believe in (or even none at all) I do find that as everyone heads towards Christmas the general mood of wellbeing, forgiveness and friendship does increase with all walks of life.

So as this is the season to be jolly here is a joke to get you on your way.

Success is.........

At age 4 success is not peeing your pants.

At age 12 success is having friends.

At age 17 success is having a driving licence.

At age 20 success is having sex.

At age 35 success is having money.

At age 50 success is having money.

At age 60 success is having sex.

At age 70 success is having friends.

at age 80 success is not peeing your pants.

If you having any jokes you wish to share with the world then feel free to email .

Friday, 7 December 2012

Back to normal

After my little teck problem it's now back to normal and so the story continues.

Back to normal is a good title for today because regular followers will know that during my journey I had suffered crippling back pain and had decided not go under the knife, but to take a different route to my recover.

At my own expense which I couldn't now afford since quitting from my job to follow my dream of becoming published, I had paid for the services of a Chiropractor. Now I planned to suppliment this by going up the gym every morning during the week to try and improve my lower back strenth.

I got to know verious people who had the same condition as me, and had gone to the doctors and ended up under the knife. It didn't cost them anything as it was paid for by the national health service.

I wondered if I should have taken this route and saved much needed money which could have been used for day to day living expenses now I wasn't in paid employment. This thought only increased as I pounded the running machine and lifted the weights in terrible pain. I didn't loose any weight,I was just trying to improve my muscle tone and fu*k did it hurt.

But slowly the time I spent at the gym increased and my body movement began to inprove. The biggest change was when I drasticly cut down on the over-the-counter pain killers which had nearly consumed me in addiction. I planned to be off them within the month and the more I cut them out the less pain I suffered. It was stramge in a way. The less pain killers I took, the less pain I felt. If I replased and shoved a hand full of them into me the pain seemed to increase.

It was two days of hell, but by the end of the month I was down to four a day and then I stopped completely,and so did the pain.

That week I bumped into two people who had gone under the knife for the same back problem as me and had been pain free for six months, but, and this is a very big but, they both now suffered crippling pain in the very same place as before and were back at their doctors who were advising another more serious operation to correct the same problem, and both need serious pain killers just to get out of bed in the morning.

It make you think!


Thursday, 6 December 2012


Testing, testing, one, two, three.

Due to some unexplained teck problem I have been unable to post at my usual rate.If this goes through o.k I will be back to my normal retort.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Trying to keep busy

So here I was once again as usual hanging around for others to reply. It was now the depths of winter in early 2012 and I found I was starting to get bored. I had my voluntary work which kept me busy for a few hours, two days a week. The fundraising campaign I had joined to help build a disabled toilet block had been more successful than we could have dared hope for, and the money had been raised to start the building work as soon as the weather permitted.

When I resigned from my job the previous year I had given myself the target of two years. Two years in which to finish the story and get it published. Two years was all my life savings would stretch to (although this was more in hope than substance) and after this I would be forced to return to the daily slog of the wage slave.

I did for a moment (a very fleeting moment) think of going back to work to earn some much needed money. I didn’t want to take this route, but my dear wife had started to nag. Having me under her feet all day was starting drive her crazy and the odd disagreement soon flared up into a major argument over nothing.

I had expected the opposite. I had visions of being able to take a more direct interest in the family and help even more with the daily routine of home living, but I was wrong. The thought of having the freedom to jump into bed and make love at a moment’s notice had been in my day dreams, but, and it was a big but, the opposite was true.

I once read that when the car maker Volkswagen was going through a slow patch and put its German factory workers on extended leave the divorce rate among its staff doubled during this period, and I could see why!

No, it was no good, if I wanted my marriage to make it to the spring I would have to do something to get me out of the house, even if it was just for a few hours a day.

I had the solution!

I had been battling against chronic back pain for nearly a year and had decided not to go under the knife. I had been paying to see a Chiropractor and had also battled against addiction to over the counter pain killers.

Now I knew what I needed to do.

I had started back up the gym after six months off, just for twenty minutes, two days a week and it had made a big difference to my pain levels. Now I was going to go every day Monday to Friday for at least an hour, and at the same time would give up the pain killers totally.

Would it work? Would my back improve? Would I finally get off the pain killers?

Only time would tell.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What next

I had now finished another re-draft. Surely this must be the final product? Surely now I had a good enough manuscript to entice some company to sign me up?

I had approached agents the first time around hoping to get one to sign me up as I thought this would be a quicker route to getting a publishing deal. I was wrong because my first proof (now looking back) was not good enough. Now I had lost count of the redrafts I had completed, but was confident that this time I had a better story to entice the publishing world.

This time I decided to bypass the agents and try my hand by going direct to publishers. It’s harder than you think. It’s easy to find the contact details of hundreds of companies around the world, but very few will accept any unsolicited manuscripts. In fact some are so blunt with the truth they basically say, “if you send us a story don’t bother because it will go straight into the bin.”

I spent the week looking on the internet. First I would find lists of publishers then individually check their web site for details. Time and time again they said, “We do not accept manuscripts.”  Slowly I found a small amount of companies in this country which would take them for consideration.

I bit the bullet and sent off my treasured piece of work to a select hand full, and then once again there I was, just-hanging-around, waiting for an answer,

What would happen?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Joker's Monday (Egypt)

Normally on a Monday I try to lighten the Monday blues with a joke or two, but this week I can’t even muster one up.

The events in Egypt with the leaders grab for power is just so sad after all the hope that was generated through the Arab spring uprisings.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

“I need these powers to protect the people and their revolution.”  This same sentence has been used from Lennon in Russia, to Hitler in Germany, through to Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

They all had the same outcome, Dictatorship, and I have the same feeling it will happen in Egypt!

I do hope I am proved wrong.

It seems all the countries involved in the Arab spring are heading the same way which is such a shame after so many brave people found their voice, and ultimately their united strength in demanding freedom.

My heart sinks so I will save the jokes for next Monday as we head into a new week, and I carry on with journey to publication.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Cut then cut again

I had to cut nearly 30,000 words from my manuscript on the advice of the editor’s report.

Where do I start?

I was worried that if I made all these cuts I would end up losing the story line, but I had no choice I had to follow my instinct, and hope that it would work out in the end. I re-read the story from start to finish (for about the tenth time) and decided the best way of doing it was to lose whole chapters at a time.

I cut three chapters out then realized they could reused again in any future sequels that I hoped would follow once my first published book had been a success.

The next stage was to cut whole segments out of another three chapters. After this I had cut 15,000 words in a stroke. I re-read the whole story once again and I must say it made a major improvement to the flow of the manuscript.

The book had suddenly become more exciting as the chapters that had been cut were there more for explanation than for excitement. In fact the more I cut the more I found the story developed. The story lines became focused on the characters and the dribble disappeared from each page.

The saying “less is more” became so true. The less there was the more the story became an action packed thriller.

In the end I was down to 70,000 words.

I next concentrated on the second recommendation which was to beef up the lead male character. I have three main people in my story, a young man and girl, plus an old lady and I wanted both the youngsters to be equals. I had unwittingly made the female more dominant and the male to impish. I had two choices; one was to make the female more girly, or secondly to make the male manlier.

The editor liked the female character a lot so I decided to leave her how she was and to beef up the male.
I let my imagination rip with manly zeal.  He was no longer a boy but a young man full of youthful hormones and with balls too.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Report

I waited with baited breath, and I waited, and then I waited some more. Finally it popped through my letter box! It was the editor’s report which I had commissioned from the online writers service. I had used this company because they were cheap. There are many different companies on the net offering the earth and just as many who will rip you off.

It’s always a gamble when you use an unknown company and even more so when all they have is an online presence. I took the gamble half expecting never to see any value for my money. Nobody wants to lose fifty quid, but it was a risk I needed to take because I needed some professional advice on where I was going wrong.

I opened the A4 envelope as I sat down. I pulled out two sheets of A4 paper and started to read. It was short and not very sweat, hard hitting, but truthful. A first I felt dejected so what does one do in this type of situation? I made myself a cup of tea.

I read the report a second time over a steaming mug. This time I started to feel more confident because I realised that if I made some of the basic changes as recommended then I would turn what was a good manuscript into a fantastic story.

The most basic recommendation was to shorten my story. My first draft was 112,000 words long. My second draft I shortened to 96,000, and then the third to 90,000 to enter various competitions. The report stated I should reduce it down to about 60,000 words which were suitable for my target market.

The second recommendation was to beef up the main male character in the story. I don’t know who the person was that wrote the report, the only thing I knew was it was a women. As she stated, ‘sometimes the male character sounds feeble to the point where I want to throttle him.”

These two bits of advice were to change the whole shape of my manuscript as I embarked on let another redraft.  

Monday, 19 November 2012

Joker's Monday (war)


War what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Words from a Tom Jones song sung decades ago. The words had meaning then and they still do now, but we still are not listening.

Once again there is fighting in the Middle East with the same old arguments being sorted out in the same old way with the same devastating results, and getting nowhere fast.

Negative actions lead to negative events. Positive actions lead to positive events. It’s as basic as that that. Hate brings war, love brings peace, and it’s as basic as that.

Nothing changes except for my Monday Joke so here is one for today to bring a little piece of humour.


A man and his wife were driving home one cold night when the wife asks her husband to stop the car. There was a baby badger lying at the side of the road, and she got out to see if it was still alive. It was and she said to her husband. “It’s nearly frozen to death, can we take it with us, get it warm, and then it go in the morning?”

He says, “O.K, get in the car with it.”

“Where shall I put it to keep it warm?” asks the wife.

He says, “Put it in between your legs. It’s nice and warm there”.

Giggling she asks, “But what about the smell”.

He replies, “Just hold his little nose”.
If you have any jokes to share then feel to email them to .

Friday, 16 November 2012

Spring is on its way

Always-hanging-around, I found myself as usual waiting for someone else as I waited for my first editor’s report. Helping to raise the money for the new toilet block was stressful, but the donations raised from my appeal letter were the first positive thing to happen to me in months.

The other thing which was slowly going in a positive direction was the gradual improvement with my spinal injury which I had now been suffering from for nearly a year. I had to cut down on my visits to the chiropractor to one visit every two weeks because I just couldn’t afford any more. I had also cut down very slowly on the over-counter pain killers I had nearly got hooked on, plus I was back at the gym, slowly increasing the speed and distance that my back could handle on the running machine.

Although I had only ever known setbacks with trying to become a published author I had one other thing to look forward to, and that was that lovely season of the year called spring time.

The winter months had passed quicker than I had expected and now spring was just around the corner.

I had now given up on finding an agent, and decided to enter some more competitions and looked at what the next stage on my journey should be. I knew that once I had my editor’s report back I would have to start on another rewrite of my manuscript, and that this would keep me busy for the next couple of months. Until then I just had to hang around.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Letter

Here I was once again into 2012 and as always just hanging around as I waited for the editor’s report I had commissioned from the Writer’s service.

I always try to keep to a routine and as my circumstances changed so did my routine. I had no more writing to do at the present time, but I did have some charity work to do. I had joined the finance committee of a very small local charity. They had this project that had been sitting on the drawing board for the last few years, and was going nowhere fast. It was a new disabled toilet block. My presence must have stirred their spirits because the main board agreed to finally go ahead with the fund raising that would be required to pay for it. At the same time they gave the go ahead to start building the toilets, so basically we had nine months to raise the money needed to pay for it.

I volunteered to help in raising the money by writing an official appeal letter. I had no idea how to do it, so what did I do? I researched, I took in other people’s advice and after eight weeks it was sent out. That was eight weeks of hard work.

In business when you are the boss, you take in people’s comments on a subject, formulate a plan, and then expect those around you to carry out your instructions.

Writing this letter was more like being a politician.  Everyone had their own opinions, and genders, and I had to tread very carefully. Many different people I had to keep happy with meetings here and emails flying there. The letter was rewritten more times than my manuscript. I found it so stressful it felt as if I was back at work.

After eight weeks everyone seemed happy, the letter was finished and ready to go out to the members, and locals. Then at the last minute one of the key people involved in the project, without warning, suggested some changes. These were not small changes, but basically a major rewrite with his paws all over it.

I made an executive decision. The letter went out as it was and what a success it turned out to be. Within four weeks we had raised a third of the total money required to finish the disabled toilets.

Next I would have to turn my attention to my personal finances because they were in a poor state, with little money coming in I had to make major cut backs, even more than I had already made. Every penny of expenditure would have to be accounted for and a new simple rule entered into my life. If I didn’t have the money to pay for it then I couldn’t have it. It was as simple as that.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Joker's Monday (The Elections)

There were two potential changes of governments in the last week with the world’s two great super powers using different ways of doing it. The first, the American election involved a free vote for the population (and a couple of billion dollars) and the second, the Chinese election. The second didn’t coat a thing, except for the freedom of its citizens.

Every country uses different ways to get a government, and which either system they use some people will not be happy with it. What does make people happy?

That’s a hard question to answer. My desires are simple, probably similar to most others, a roof over my head, food on the table and money in your pocket, but most importantly of all is the love of my family and good friends to be with. If you have these then most people don’t really care who’s in control, just so long as the bosses don’t get in your way.

It may be a basic fact, but probably explains why we put up with so much from the boys at the top who strut about cocking things up in our name.

Never mind, it’s Monday again so below is a joke to cheer you up.


A teacher asks her class, “If there are five birds sitting on a fence and you shoot one of them, how many are left?”

She calls on little Tommy. He replies, “None, they will all fly off with the first gun shot.”

The teacher replies, “The correct answer is four, but I like your thinking.”

Then little Tommy says, “I have a question for you. There are three women sitting on a bench having ice cream: One is delicately licking the sides. The second is gobbling down the top and sucking the cone. The third is biting off the top of her ice cream. Which one is married?”

The teacher, blushing a great deal, replied, “Well I suppose the one that’s gobbled down the top and sucked the cone.”

To which Tommy replied, “The correct answer is the one with the wedding ring on, but I like your thinking.”


If you have any jokes you would like to share with the world then feel free to email them to me at .

Friday, 9 November 2012

Short and Sweat

Tonight’s blog is short and sweat.

Sweat. As followers you will know that I needed professional advice for my manuscript. I had scanned the internet for a suitable company and came across

It wasn’t some company owned by a big publishing house or media company; it was just a small collective of writers and editors trying to make a few quid on the side.

I took the gamble and paid upfront on my card for an editor’s report.

I expected to be ripped off.

For the next four weeks I was just-hanging-around, but then through the letter box I received an A4 envelope which inside had a simple two page summary of my manuscript.

It was advice which was to change the whole course of my story and which lead me to becoming published.

The writers services offer many different services and if you are an unknown or unpublished author then they are well worth using.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

What a terrible day

After the Christmas and New Year celebrations I was looking forward with great hope to making progress on becoming a published author. Then my dreams seemed to fall apart on one terrible day.

It started off when I didn’t receive an email. The first major competition I had entered would be proclaiming its first stage of successful entries. I was convinced I would get through this first stage although I hadn’t kept strictly to all the entry rules. I thought they would like the story so much they might turn a blind eye. How wrong was I. There was no well-done email and when I checked their web page I was not named.

To make things worse the postmen shoved a white A4 envelope with my own hand writing on it through my letter box. I knew it was a reply from an agent I had approached and hoped it would cheer me up. Wrong again. It was another rejection and my day was going downhill fast.

Then the day turned from a bad day into a terrible day when I received a telephone call. I hoped it would be from the competition people saying they had made a mistake, and that I was through to the next round. Or it could be from an agent wanting to snap me up! Wrong again for the third time, the call was from the garage where my car had been in for repairs. When I say repairs they could have built a new one for the price they wanted to charge. Didn’t the garage know I was not in paid employment anymore and I was living on the edge of poverty? I didn’t have the money and was now using up my savings quickly.

I knew that the agents I had approached and competitions I had entered had only seen my first manuscript, and I had now completed three redrafts, each time improving on the first, but all the rejections pointed me in the same direction. I needed a professional view of my story and this would cost me, but I had no choice. I could keep on entering every competition in the world and approach every agent and publishers there are, but it would do no good until I knew where I was going wrong.

Where could I get this type of help?

That’s for Friday’s blog.  

Monday, 5 November 2012

Joker's Monday (Sandy)

No matter how bad a Monday morning may make one feel we should be grateful. There is always somebody out there who at that present moment will be experiencing something more dreadful than just the Monday blues.

So it must be for the poor souls who had to deal with Hurricane Sandy as it spun its way through the Caribbean and the east coast of America.

People will have been waking up for the last few days with no homes, no possessions, and in some dreadful cases no loved ones.

A lot of people will say it’s a sign of global warming that it’s all man kinds fault, he started it. Balderdash, the planet has been warming up and freezing down since it was first formed billions of years ago as small dust particles clumped together by the force of gravity.

Don’t get me wrong, our actions are helping to speed things up when it comes to global warming, but nature if given enough time will adapt, will survive. This is the scary bit, a lot of creatures will not be able to adapt in time and will go extinct.

We as humans shouldn’t be so smug. It took thirty thousand years from when our species first started to stand up before they then discovered fire. It took another twenty thousand years from the first fire until we discovered how to farm the land. It took ten thousand years to get from basic farming to the present.

Sixty thousand years it took humanity to adapt to the mildly changing climates of this period. This time we aren’t even going to get five hundred years, it could be fifty at best!

The first age of this planet was the age of water when only sea living creatures survived on this barren planet. The next age was dominated by the reptiles as the dinosaur’s ruled, and the third age was the age of the mammal in which humans came to rule the world.

I wonder if in sixty thousand years’ time there will be a forth age, the age of the invertebrates?

The Scorpions ruling over the hardworking ants living of their labour, while the spiders ponder how unfair it all is as they weave intricate webs of deceit! Now that could make an interesting story?

Anyway, here are some interesting questions to lighten the day.



Why can superman stop a bullet with his chest, but always has to duck when someone throws the gun at him?

Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

Why if work is so terrific do you have to be paid to do it?

Why don’t cannibals eat clowns? (Because they taste funny.)

Why do they sterilize needles for lethal injections?

Why don’t they just make mouse-flavoured cat food?

Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?

Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Why do we wash bath towels? Aren’t we clean when we use them?

Why do we wait until the pig is dead to cure it.   

Friday, 2 November 2012


As I explained in Wednesday’s chapter I had been plagued by debt collectors after money that was owed by the previous owner of my home. He was still using my address to obtain new credit even after he had been made bankrupt.

I had tried everything possible to stop it. I had informed the police, I had informed various government run fraud agencies (and it cost me my own money to register this information?) I had contacted all the companies that kept sending threatening letters to my home demanding payment, but to no avail. I spent hours on the phone, writing letters, sending emails, but none of them seemed that bothered that there was a fraudster out there taking their money.

He was being clever, always using a slight variation of his name, plus I kept getting demands in his wife’s name as well. Thousands on credit cards and car finance, she was in it as much as he was.

When I had run out of options I didn’t know what to do next. I did think of trying to track him down myself and face him man to man, to see if I could get him to stop using my address.

Where could I start?

I knew!

It could be a long shot but I logged onto the internet, and summered up Facebook.

I typed his name into the search box and within seconds a long list of people appeared on the screen, and there at the very top was my man. I knew it was him because in his picture box was a photo of him sitting in my back garden.

I typed in his wife’s name and once again, like magic, she appeared at the top of the list with her face brimming at me.

Both their pages where open to all to join and I started to scroll down. What a pair of bare-faced liars. The wife wrote about how great her life was etc. There was no mention that her husband was bankrupt and a fraud, that they had both been evicted from their home, and that she was running away from more debts on her credit cards than the Greek Government.

The anger was bubbling up inside of me like a witches’ cauldron and I felt the urge for a good stir. I was going to post an open letter onto both their pages so the whole world, and their friends could see them for what they really where.

This is basically what I posted on their pages.

Dear Mr and Mrs so and so, or should I call you by one of the different names you have used between yourselves to defraud hardworking and innocent people out of their money. I know since you have been made bankrupt and had your home reposed, that it will be hard to gain credit, but do you still have to keep using my new address to scam people. I have had contact with dozens of people who are now owed tens if not hundreds of thousands in unpaid credit to you two, and they keep turning up at my address because you lied to them.

Well I’ve had enough. I have reported you to the police, the national fraud unit and had this address registered for protection. If you try to get another penny, then the law will be paying you a visit.

Silence, that’s what followed. I never got another person knocking at my door; I never got any more threatening letters, occasionally we got junk mail in their name as company’s reactivated out of date mailing lists, but that was it. I sent back the mail with ‘not known at this address, evicted in 2010, return to sender and slowly they dried up as well (except for this Monday when one popped through my door, only two and half years after they had left.)

Public humiliation on Facebook! More effective than the law, and more powerful than any threat, just like in the middle ages when wrong doers were locked in the stocks, and rotten vegetables where thrown in their face.

Maybe we could stick some of those financiers who conned us all with fake promises and dreams into the stocks so we could piss on them or whatever. It wouldn’t get any of the money back, but believe me it can give you great satisfaction.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Twenty Six Doors

Twenty six doors, that’s the number in my home which needed to be painted, both front and back, with two coats each, and that wasn’t including the front or back doors to our home either.  

I knew I was not the greatest fan of decorating, but after ending each day with my hands covered in white paint I began to detest it.

We had moved into our home the previous year after we bought it from the bank that had reposed it. The former owner decided to take his revenge by stripping the house of all its fixture and fittings. I mean everything. The carpets, all the internal doors, including the ones from the built in wardrobes, even the underlay went. The light switches had gone and the light sockets with their bulbs, and even the mantle piece. He even tried to flood out the building.

A lot of people think the banks get what they deserve when somebody does this, and I went along the same lines until we found out over the next eighteen months what a crook the previous owner was.

We found out from the various people he had been made bankrupt, owing hundreds of thousands and it was his second time. The worst thing was he was still trading, and was still using our new address to gain credit. It was bad enough when bailiffs turned up looking for the fifty thousand here that he owed, or w received the final demands for twenty thousand he owed there, but it hurt most when the small trader turned up, somebody who only recently started to trade with him. These poor people had given him a few thousand in credit, and now they came calling looking for him. I felt sorry for these small business men. I had been in their shoes once, and I know how dreadful it can feel plus how devastating it can be financialy when someone never pays up.

I have always paid my way. When times have been hard I still always paid my dues, paid my bills, paid my debts, (Banks please take note, us taxpayers will want our money back, and justice.)

The bloke was not just a crook in my eyes, he was a thief! Could I get the authorities to take notice, no I couldn’t. I informed the police of what he was doing, but they just said, “If you haven’t lost any money personally then no crime is being committed.”

I phoned the credit card companies when one of their red letters popped through my letter box, but would they take notice? No.

“Sorry sir, but unless you are the person named on the statement we have sent to your address we cannot speak to you!”

“Yes I know,” I would reply.  “But can’t you make a note that this guy doesn’t live here anymore and he is probably gaining credit from you, even after he has been made bankrupt.”

“Sorry sir, we can’t speak to you on this matter unless you are the person named on the statement.”

Month after month it went on and drove me around the bend, and in the end it did cost me money, because I had to pay to register on various computer data bases to stop the guy getting any more credit using my new address.

In fact he only really stopped this trick when I used the power of Facebook, but that is a story for Friday.   

Monday, 29 October 2012

Joker's Monday (The Presidential debate)

Why is it that the weekend takes so long to come along, but Mondays come twice as quick?

Here we are again. Last week the world’s news was led by the American Presidential debate. I can’t help but think what pointless exercises they are, and why the world needs it. History had shown that real power follows the money, not the other way around. Who has the money has the power.

The Roman Empire collapsed after it bankrupted itself through greed and corruption. The British Empire gave up the ghost when it bankrupted itself trying to fight two world wars, and the Communist Empire never lasted long because it didn’t know how to make a profit.

Who has the money now? Well it’s probably better to ask who has the debt now. America, Japan, Most countries of the European Union, all of them with their chins up to the sh#t line of the cesspit, and still sinking.

So who does have the money? China, Russia, Brazil, the oil rich gulf states! (Germany already proves the rule; just look whose runs Europe now! And it isn’t the debt laden French.)

To think, just twenty five years ago, China, and her two co-hosts were total economic basket cases. I wonder in twenty five years’ time if the U.S debates will be shown across the world, or will we have to endure the equivalent with Mr Putin, or from the Far East?


Anyway enough debate for today, here are a few light lines to cheer this Monday.


Resolving to surprise her husband, an executive’s wife stopped by his office. She found him with his secretary sitting in his lap.

Without hesitating, he dictated, “….and in conclusion, gentleman, shortage or no shortage, I cannot continue to operate this office with just one chair.


Words of Wisdom

(1) All rumours are true – especially if your boss denies it.

(2) You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard.

(3) If you look good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are really good, you will get out of it.

(4) Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

Friday, 26 October 2012


I awoke on New Year’s Day. I was now in 2012 and was still enjoying my break over the Christmas period. It was the first Christmas I had to do on the cheap. I couldn’t afford anymore to have lavish celebrations, throwing money about as if it was just some cheap paper confetti. I must say I enjoyed it just as much. When you take out the commercialisation of this festive period you are left with the spiritual side, and the true meaning of Christmas.

I spent Christmas day with my family at my mother-in-laws, minus my father-in-law who had passed away two years previously. Although not the same without his presence there was a positive mood during the meal.

As I lay in bed with a cup of tea on this new day in a new year, my head was relative sober compared to previous years.

I had resolved to make progress during 2012 in my quest to get published, and this was the only promise I had made to myself as the clock chimed towards midnight and the New Year. I hadn’t even bothered with the usual promises you make when the final chime rings out, and everyone starts to celebrate. No promises to lose some weight, or cut back on the booze (I had no choice in this as I couldn’t afford heavy drinking seasons,) or whatever promises you make and never keep.

No, just this time I made the one promise, and I was determined to keep to it.

For the present there was nothing more I could do with my manuscript. As the title of my blog states, always-hanging-around, I could do nothing until I heard back from the various agents I had approached, and from the competitions I had entered. I would just have to hang around and keep myself busy

January and February 2012 were going to be important months for me. By the end of this period I would either be on the first rung on the ladder to publishing success, or in a deep pit of disappointment and rejection.

As I finished my tea and muttered to myself on ways to keep busy over the next six to eight weeks, a smile came across my wife’s face.

“I know just the thing you can do!”

I hesitated before asking her what she had on her mind.

“Decorating,” she continued, “all the doors inside the house need glossing.”

My heart sank; I’m not a great lover of decorating. I wish I had the money to pay someone else to do it, but as the whole family had had to make cut backs to support me on my dream I had no choice.

“Yes darling what a good idea,” I replied grudgingly.

We spent the last days of the New Year break trudging around D.I.Y stores looking at gloss paint.

This is one past time I detest even more that decorating, but I had no choice, I was no longer the main bread winner in the house, I was no longer the Alfa male, I was no longer the boss. I had to do what the new boss in the house wanted to do.