Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow Day # 3: Tinned Macaroni Cheese and Slightly Tipsy Superheroes...

Day Three.

Still snowed in.

My gate is broken.

Well, not broken. Stuck. Too much snow to move it. My neighbour has been eyeing up the mounds of snow at my end of the alley. He's been muttering. I've noticed he's left a shovel out the last couple of days so this morning I've finally done the neighbourly thing. I've returned it.

Supplies are holding out though. My Zombiepocalyspe tinned goods have been opened now but there is plenty there. Not only that but the fresh food I have is surviving well too. My kitchen is one big walk in freezer. Really. You can see your breath in there. I scraped frost off the inside of the window this morning. And you should see my freezer. I put a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock in there last night. Now it's frozen. So I'm eating icelollies.

But I'm surviving well, don't worry. Today I am watching wintery films and catching up on some reading. please note though, Wintery films. Not Christmassy films. Today I've watched The Thing and Lethal Weapon (Almost Christmassy I know but I think I can be forgiven), this afternoon I'm on Fargo, 30 Days of Night and Let the Right One In.

Most important job today though is looking out for my new heroes. The Consett Cross Country Ski Pub Crawlers.

I've seen them twice now. Yesterday they even stopped and helped my move the car. So I've made them capes...

They're kick ass!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Launching and Radioing. Sort of like NASA, only Cheaper...

Well, Even More Tonto Short Stories is now officially out and things. It was indeed very generous of the Government to throw in a National Short Week to celebrate. I suppose though that only so many of us are bothered about Prince Wills and his soon to be missus (And by the way am I the only one who sees them together and hums this tune?) so really they had no choice but to throw in some kick ass short stories too.

I even got to meet a non grumpy Russian, which was nice. And the Lit and Phil is really quite nice. It's sort of stately but used and tatty and I like that. Oh, and Hi Lit and Phil peoples, thanks again for letting us play.

In other news I was on the radio on Saturday too. BBC Radio Tees. Impressed much? I think you can still listen to me here, if you really want to. I was on in the last five minutes, although I'm sure other, less impressive were also on before that.

So, anyway...

It's snowing and I've already been rescued once by the Consett Cross Country Skiier Pub Crawling Team, I need to see if I can get either a photo or a lift. And a pint obviously.... Will explain more later.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Heads, I Lose.

Today my head hurts. Well no, not hurts. It just sort of - throbs a bit. It feels sort of full but sort of empty at the same time.

I mean it's interesting. I can actually stop thinking. I can actually quieten down all the thoughts that buzz about. It could be quite nice, in a way. Could be quite relaxing I suppose.

Except. Except I can feel something in my chest that is sort of cold and sort of heavy.

It makes the gentle throbbing in my head feel ... Feel somehow possessive, I suppose.

My head is sort of full and sort of blank and what I want. What I really really want. Is just to go to the pub. Or bed.

Either does.

Monday, 1 November 2010

NaNoWriMo & Mo-Vember

Busy month planned.

Novel Writing.

'Tasche Growing.

Inspection at work.

Floor Mopping around the Cat bowl.

'Tasche Maintainance.


'Tasche Experimentation.

Novel Writing.


If not then tough.

It's currently very seventies/porn star...

I'm thinking about a Wing Commander Style one though...

With a bit of hard work I'll even get something that curls at the edges...
In the meantime of course it's all about the NaNoWriMo. I've not tried this so if anyone fancies helping out my writing name is NikJ and I'm based in the Durham region. I've got my plan and stuff.
Actually I've got two plans although one may not be enough to see out a whole month. Maybe I'll file it under 'Short Story' for now.
So in that case just the one idea. About an Invisible Man. Sort of. And nipples. Obviously.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


So, been a while I know but things happen and things get in the way.

Because obviously you've all missed me geet loads I thought I'd do a quick summing up of stuff. Or a conclusion if you will to the month that's gone.

Conclusion # 1: I May Not Be As Crap I Thought I Was...

Having pondered on it, swore at it, rewritten chunks of it and then swore at it some more I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, Novel No.2 may not be awful.

In fact I even like some bits of it. I like the pathologist and the fact that he hands people bloody scalps and eats his sandwiches as he works. I like furniture melting parts and, actually, I'm quite pleased with the ending too. So, you know. That's nice.

I'm still waiting to hear from Tonto Towers though and that'll be when I decide properly I think. I have faith in Tonto, if they like it then I think that'll be a sign that I've done ok. If they don't... Well... Anyway I even winged it off to an agent for a laugh. Six weeks for a reply? Three months for a reply? Whey nah! Try twenty four hours, oh yes. A response, from an agent, within twenty four hours. Now that was unexpected.

Course, they were writing to tell me that they weren't "100%" confident about it but still. I'm impressed they got back to me that quick.

Conclusion # 2: In Retrospect I May Not Survive The Zombie Apocalypse.

Yes. An important factor that I failed to consider here really and one I should probably put right now in case you were all planning on coming and sharing my tinned carrots come The End.

I live next door to a graveyard.

And there is another one two streets down the hill.

And a massive one across the road from that.

So don't bother, I'll probably be the first to go. Having said that though I do still sport a limp from a cruciate problem I'm having so don't shoot me just cos I'm walking funny, please take a moment to make sure that I'm actually after your brains before you take me out.


Which sort of leads me nicely into,

Conclusion # 3: The Most Lovely Vix Has A Brilliant Brain.

Now, before she yells at me, I already knew she had a genius brain. And a crazy sort of brain. And yes, I was already largely aware of the brilliance of it before this. But. But now she's showing it off in new ways and it's really rather cool.

So I hope she won't be too mad at me for telling people to go look at her brain and wonder.

Go Here, Here and Here.

as well as Here

and be impressed. I was.

She be kick ass cool, how.

Monday, 20 September 2010

John Edward Hughes Copeland - Why I loved my Ted

I wouldn't normally do this. In fact I see it done from time to time on blogs and facebook and things and it seems so... I dunno... Crass. I mean I am crass myself in many ways but I'd always supposed that sometimes, somethings, are best left private.

But not this. I won't get a chance to say these things otherwise and so I need to say them here, where someone might read them and yes, probably think I'm a dick or after attention or just spreading the misery about but really, really I just want someone else to know. Not know about me, or how I feel but know about Ted. Because he was a miserable bastard. A wonderful bastard. And, probably, a bastard that you lot don't know.

I got home tonight, late to a pile of messages on the phone. All bad news.

My best friend Ted. Idiot that he is, hit by a motorbike in the early hours of today and... Well, not and. No more 'and'. Just. Finished. A Full Stop now.

I mean, a motorbike? In the early hours of a Sunday night Monday morning? And to be hit by one? I can't quite believe that. It doesn't seem plausible and if Ted were here I know exactly what he'd say, he'd say, "Well. He wouldn't have been expecting that."

But that's not Ted. Ted isn't the guy that managed to be hit by a bike at five in the morning on a Monday.

Ted was... Well... Mad. Wonderfully mad.

He took me to a strip club once, did my manloving friend Ted, at four in the morning - it was the only place still serving. And he was gone half an hour later, taxi into Newcastle and out on the pull. He felt bad afterward, seemed to think that it was his fault that I got punched by a bouncer. Seemed to think it was his fault that I still have the scar tissue floating in my eye.

And the first time he came round to my new house for dinner - I followed him about as he sloashed red wine across the carpet - me scrubbing the floor as he ambled between DVD stands. His eyebrow raised and a 'Really?' look across his face.

And he was there, always there.

I left my fiance a few years back and he was there. He put all his own stuff on hold and he was there, usually with a bottle of wine and sensible advice. And earlier, when my family was pulling itself apart he was there, and we were younger then so there was no wine but I stole spirits and he maintained enough sense to speak sensibly.

And, actually, I'm sort of pleased that this blog has tailed off and has a much smaller readership because I feel proud of my friend and I feel priviledged that he was my friend and that he did give up his time (and wine) for me and I love the fact that I did know him. That I was that lucky. That this, for almost all of you will be simply a sketch of a life that I got to share in.

I want you all to be jealous.

I want you all to wish you had had a friend like mine.

A friend that once had a 'pleasant time' with a Cambridge Don and as a result of which I still recieve SPAM email.

A friend who said the most genuis things about books and film and music and theatre and left my nodding and baffled and impressed but who never judged me for loving Sci-fi pulp novels or films about sexdolls.

But most of all I want you all to know that I miss my friend. And that I had potatoes in and had a vague idea of how to do dauphinoise potatoes and that I was expecting to be able to talk about the History Boys because I had finally gotten around to watching it.

I had a friend with whom I could talk about books and music, even if he did like Kate Bush, and Scandinavian Miniminalist film and Daphne Du Maurier and talk about nothing and about simple ambitions. Proper ambitions. Dreams that went beyond the horizon and that never left the back yard.

He deserved better.

Someone I listen to, someone I believe and trust, told me once that heaven is somewhere built upon every second of every dream and that for each happy moment a different heaven exists. I hope, I demand, that Ted has many heavens and I hope that somewhere, for a second or two in one of them, maybe in a pub in York or Cambridge, I get to buy him a pint.

I've opened the wine Ted, I poured you a glass.

Friday, 17 September 2010

EMTSS?...Ernest & Maud's Tantric Sex Sessions? No. Probably not... Even Monkeys Tango Some Sundays?

... No... Wait:
Even More Tonto Short Stories, that's what I meant.
And it's here.
Or it was.
I'd had it two minutes when my mam came round for tea and now she's gone and nicked it.
On the upside though I did manage to read the first couple of stories and they really were rather good, how.
A Shrinking, a Holding Back by Fiona Robyn is awesomely awkward and painful and just... so well ended it made jealously glands swell up something nasty.

Appendage by Peter Parrish is just craziness and comedy and based on such a good character that I read it then reread it and then copied down some of my favourite lines. Which was also bad for the glands.
But, my seething jealously aside, this is looking like being a pretty impressive anthology. It does have some big names in and Amazon seems to think that Matt Hilton has written the entire thing but it's also got some really exciting less knowns and unknowns. Like me.
I'm in it.
You didn't really think I'd be nice about stuff if I wasn't did you?
Anyways - I have to go and order a new copy. My mother is a thief.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Jazz, Nightmares and Reasons Why I'll Survive the Zombie Apocaplyse... Maybe

I don't really like Jazz.

I feel that I should like it, it's suitably odd and crazy and unexpected and that is usually what I like in music. And film. And books. And people. Not in cars so much and certainly not in builders, but anyway. I feel like I should like Jazz.

I listen to music when I write - all the time. Can't really manage it without music to be honest, which is why this jazz thing bugs me.

Weird, disjointed, crazy music is what I write to. Loads of Trip-hop and downtempo stuff. Plenty of acousticy things too (although I tend to save guitars for the pacier sections usually) so it's the oddness that usually works well for me. A mix of bands and sounds over a few hours is almost sort of medative I suppose, I can feel the beat as I write (tosser that I am) and I usually use Last cos I can be quite specific about what sort of stuff I hear (and it's free and I'm cheap).

Truth is, I'm probably listening to crap jazz, or the 'wrong' jazz. It's too quick. Too pacy sometimes and, I suppose, too crazy sometimes.

And that makes me nervous.

Jazz gives me nightmares.

Actual real nightmares - especially if it's on while I sleep, on the radio or as a soundtrack to a film I've passed out in front off.

I think it's the pace of it.

Quick things are scary things. And Jazz is quick. Sometimes.

Sort of like Zombies.

I'm not scared of the old Zombies. Cos they're slow and predictable and walk funny. Not like your Post-Danny-Boyle Zombies. I'm scared of them. They're properly mental and stuff them. And fast. And crazy and aggressive.

Sort of like Jazz.

A Bit.

Anyway, it was thinking about Jazz that got me thinking about Zombies which got me planning for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse (I've finished the rewrite - this is the sort of 'work' I can do now that the writing is temporally over).

Reasons Why I'll Survive the Zombie Apocalypse:

#1 - I've got double glazing almost everywhere. Not great against the Jazzy Zombies (except that I probably wouldn't be able to hear them playing their trumpets and things) but I'm not planning for them. There is no point. They'd have me dead right quick.

#2 - My street is largely just a narrow path with a high stone wall at one end and so is easily barricadable. Double glazing might not even be necessary - I'm a terrace surrounded by high walls. A few half arsed building jobs should be enough to keep the Zombies well away from my place. My garden would be fine. And I've got a potato and three strawberries growing there so that's an added bonus.

#3 - There's only me here. I've not got any of the following compromising Zombie movie types that you need to watch out for. No scientists, no military/security personnel, no families with small children and pets who might wander off and leave the barricade open or eat my strawberries, no pregnant women who've already been bitten by a zombie and so are giving birth to Zombabies, no rich people who think they're special and, finally, no teenage couple liable to do something stupid whilst trying not to die a virgin. So no-one to mess it up. Although I do have a cat. Still. I think she can fend for herself.

#4 - I've got tins in. So I could not only survive the Zombie Apocalypse but also a Nuclear one, an environmental one, a biological one (thanks largely to my crap understanding of chemistry and building) or the end of the month when I've spent all my money. Which ever happens first.

Reasons Why I'll Only Maybe Survive the Zombie Apocalypse:

#1 - My double glazing is only almost everywhere. There's none in the kitchen, in fact the door and the window are a bit rotten. So they're looking a bit flimsy.

#2 - I can't build things. So barricades could be tricky.

#3 - I would still be here and I am fully capable of committing stupid acts myself.

#4 - I keep losing my tin opener.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Of Editing and Second Drafts


I'm trying to remember if I felt this unsure about the last one.

A muchos geet wise person did recently point out to me that the second one is the harder one and I'm thinking that, yeah, yeah it really is. Second album syndrome innit?

Do I stick with more of the same or do I try something new? Do I go for something more mainstream or do I keep being a bit weird?

Problems problems.

I mean it's done. That's obviously a good thing. A very good thing. But... I just... Dunno... Still. Nevermind. It would be nice to full of confidence about it but then again... If I am and the rejection letters start rolling in or the reviews are less than nice then it would be harder to take.

Maybe being unsure about the whole thing is better. Might make it easier to cope with any bad news. Might.

On the upside I have decided what to write next though. I was gonna do a 'sort of follow on' to this one but... well... this one is a bit grim and I don't fancy going through that again. The last hundred pages had me all pacy and nervous and not sleeping right and heavy behind the eyes. I don't fancy that again, not yet anyway.

So - once the editing is done (yes Stu, nearly nearly done... well over half way now...) I'm gonna embark on something a bit more fun. A bit more 9987 mebbies... Only with different sorts of crazys and... maybe... an invisible man. Maybe.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Reasons For My Absence

Well, mainly, because I've been busy.


And, to be fair, it seems to have paid off. I'd noticed that I was spending too much time blogging about boringcrappyworkstuff and almost no time about writing.

Mainly because I hadn't been doing any writing.

Which was bad.

So I stopped blogging and starting writing. Like, properly writing again. I mean I was getting up in the morning and writing. I was writing for geet ages, every day. Yes. Everyday.

In fact, my original 80,000 target has even been slightly supassed. It's around 100,000 now.

Not only that, but it's at around 100,000 words and it's finished!

Oh yes!

I mean, obviously I'm now busy editing it and redrafting but... still... it's finished.

My Magic Dressing Gown has gone through the wash.

DK is unpulled and holidaying.

My New Writing Chair is once again being used as a clothes horse and my Penfold Mug is now once more in the cupboard and has had the ring of coffee muck (so long a staple of my diet) cleaned off.

Novel Two.


So there!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I am Teabag, hear me Lecture

I lectured the other day, down at Teesside Uni.
Well, less of a lecture really, more of a ramble with references but even so, it made me feel important. I like talking about writing, especially when I'm not talking about my own writing - I always feel like a little bit of a fraud when I'm asked to mutter things about my own writing - I've discovered that I quite like the academic side of the whole thing. The narratology bits and the discourse thingies and the stuff about creating realities and that. All good fun. Obviously I manage to sound slightly more clued up when I do the lecturery things and I bring in handouts because I'm blatantly mint, so yeah, all good fun.

What surprised me though is that when I was asked about what I'm writing now I still managed to sound, partly at least, as if I still knew what I was talking about.

I was talking about the solutions I'd "decided" on to problems that had "become apparent in the narrative or with the perspective." Which I found particularly surprising as I don't remember 'solving' anything. Ever. Least of all in my still-as-yet-unfinished-but-hopefully-ready-soon-manuscript.

Oh. And I'm using words like 'manuscript' now too rather than my generally used: 'pile of rude words'.

It's all very surprising, it turns out that I'm just thoroughly steeped in literature.

I mean, I am an English teacher so obviously some knowledge of books and some ability to speak in at least vague terms about them is necessary, but this new thing I'm doing is a little odd. I'm just one big literary teabag it appears. Tetley's probably, or Typhoo maybe. Own brand most likely. Certainly I'm not Twinings quality, not until I can get His Lord The Great Stephen Fry to Twitter about me, but you have to have ambition.

And I do have DK, so, you know - I'm already half way to quality tea aren't I?

I've forgotten what I was talking about...

... But I have just found some biscuits...

Friday, 14 May 2010

*furious gestured waving* Hey! Shhhhhhhh!! Hey? *jiggling eyebrows and head nodding* Psssst, hey!

i'm writing in lower case so they don't hear me and having nice long sentences to confuse them, just in case. if i'm really lucky they'll get bored and confused halfway through the sentences and then drift off somewhere else...

they've found me.


the students.

they've found the blog, s'why i shut it down for a bit.

still... i think they've already forgotten about it now so i might be safe...

I'll have a shufty about and get back to you...

just hang on a sec...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Writing What I've Been Doing, Marking What I Hasn't Been Doing...

And no, before you ask I'm not writing about what I've doing nor am I attempting to mark what I've not been doing.

Although, marking work that was only supposed to be done would be a hell of a lot easier than marking work which has actually been done.

No, what I mean is:

I've been busy writing.

A Thousand Words a day since the first day of the hols, that's almost Ten Thousand done so far. (And yeah, ok, so that's not quite a thousand words a day but, you know, things happen. I ran out of coffee one day, my Magic Dressing Gown was being washed another day. These things are outside of my control.)

So, been writing. And it's going ok. It's all ticking along quite nicely. In fact, right now I'm just writing up the key murder, well, the "detective arrives at the murder scene" bit of the key murder anyway.

Wanna see ?

"Blue flashes throbbed through the street. the houses were huddled close together; barren lawns scattered with rubbish and forgotten furniture. Collapsed trampolines and twisted plastic tables, blasted and mangled sections of barbecues.

Curtains were open. Pale faces hung silent behind dark windows."

Course, now that the end is in sight, and it is, I'm heading into the pacey final act now my mind is already turning to the editing process which lies ahead. And it's gonna be a hefty one.

I already know that massive wodges of stuff need to be rewritten. I've got scenes I need to go back and add and others that need to be rearranged.


It's coming along.

And so boss, in case you're reading this, I'll not be getting much marking done.

Got other stuff to worry about...

Friday, 26 March 2010

Hey Everybody, Hey Dr Nik: A Step Too Far

Well. It was worth a shot. How's the phrase go? Aim for the moon and if you fall short you've still managed to burn up on reentry? Something along those lines?



You'll not remember but a while back I applied for my White Jacket and Fedora Hat Combo. And, in a sense I suppose, I succeeded.

I was offered a place, a very nice place too, with use of an office and kettle. (I'd travel with my DK, don't panic, I'm not a two kettle sort of guy. At work I use the Magic Hot Water Boiler Tap for coffee.)

Only problem, obviously, was the International Global Recession. Which has buggered my plans up right nice, how.

As proud as I was, am, at being offered a place the horrible truth was that the place was unfunded. The uni tried and I'm grateful that they did but money is tough to find. So no pennies for young Nik.

I've had to turn down the offer.

It's disappointing of course but I'm still young. (Yes I am. I am. Shut up, I am.) Plenty of time to get me Ma Fudd. And I will get Ma Fudd.

Only slight problem though is that it buggers up my immediate goals. I'm working toward my Stuff To Do Before I'm Thirty List at the minute. Technically I would BE thirty when I got Ma Fudd but I think it would still count.

So I'll have to resign myself to losing that one.

Still, I've already ticked a few off.

Published a novel. Tick.
Lived abroad. Tick.
Sky Dived. Tick.
Knocking down a wall with a mallet. Tick.
Played Football in a Proper Stadium. Tick. (Yes, Durham City's ground IS a proper stadium. It has a stand. So there.)

And I suppose it does give me more time to focus on the rest of my list which, I must admit, Ma Fudd would have gotten in the way of.

For example:

Publishing a Second, more Successful Novel. This is a recent addition but, maybe, will be as satisfying as swanning about in a white jacket and fedora hat. And I'm not too far off finishing. Finally.

Meeting a Juggling Monkey and Buying It a Drink. Really, this is one that I need to spend quite some time doing. I'm sort of thinking that perhaps this is unlikely, the only real solution would be train said monkey and distract the RSPCA long enough for us to have a quick pint. It's not an impossible dream. Really it's not. Research is obviously edging us toward this particular dream. I have proof.

Owning a Smoking Jacket and Pipe and a room in which they seem Appropriate.

Learning the difference between Effect and Affect. This, I know, should be an easy one but I feel that I need some of these in case I get to the Eve of the Thirty and have managed none of the above I need one I can do On The Spot to make myself feel better. Others include Learning to Stand on my Head and Throwing a TV through a window.

Anyways. Thought I'd share.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Amazonion Goldfish Woman #1

So I’m stood there, smeared in mayo – even the kitchen door is heavily splattered and slippery with the stuff – and suddenly I realise that ridiculous AmazonionGoldFishWoman is staring at me, little frown on her goldfish face.

And I’m thinking:

“Me? You think I look weird? Have you seen you?”

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Accidental Flash Fiction By Genius' #1

I'm looking through the afternoon registers, having a quick spy on who's here and who's not. I'm not nosey, really, but I do occasionally like to be prepared and if I know that a difficult student is absent then I can relax.

If they're still here I can start heating up the pokers.

Anyway, I'm looking through the registers as I said and came across a comment left regarding one of my students. He's marked in as absent, a Non-Authorised absence (tut tut) but there is a little note which you can read if you hover the cursor over the kids name.

This note read thus:

"Acute sickness and diarrhoea. Allegedly.

***(Teacher) was on way to work this morning and spotted him in camouflage gear. He waved."

I'll be honest here, that note tells this kid's story far more effectively than I could...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Things That I Shouldn't Be Doing...

#1 Pointlessly Arranging My Piles of Marking.

Obviously this marking lark isn't going to be happening now is it? I've got it all. It's right here ready and waiting and organised and sorted alphabetically and by class and by assessment piece and even, for the older ones, by predicted grade.

And yes. I have indeed done all of these things just to waste time.

#2 Texting my colleagues with Pub Invitations in preparation for the Parent's Evening taking place in... um... an hour and a half...

#3 Talking to my Monkey Mints

But look, c'mon. How can you have them sat in front of you and NOT hold conversations with them? They're banana flavoured mints, you just don't meet that sort of thing everyday, they're even made with 'Yellow #5'.

How cool are they? I mean really.

#4 Putting money in my trouser pocket. Cos it's got holes in. This is getting quite expensive...

#5 Writing my novel. It is not, I suspect what my school issue laptop is for. Nor is it how I should be using my PPA time. I think that what I should be doing is trying to find out what PPA means, that way I might have a decent chance of using it correctly.

Or at least a chance pretending I am anyway...

So, I won't tag people because, as you can see, I'm pretty much snowed under. Instead if you too want to confess to 5 things you shouldn't be doing then leave me a comment and let me come see and feel less guilty...

Much love yo!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Reasons To Be Cheerful. Yes. That's Right. I Can Do That On Occasion...

I know, of course, that I'm basically quite a grumpy soul. Well. Not grumpy perhaps, flippant may be a better term. Maybe cynical. I dunno. You'd have to ask around. Vicious, maybe. Viscous, occasionally. Viscount, almost never, not that keen on dark chocolate. Vicarious, yeah, sounds reasonable.


Nah, seems unlikely really. 'Specially on a Monday. 'Specially when the car failed the MOT. 'Specially when we've run out of coffee. 'Specially since it's snowing. Again.

So, it came as surprise to be tagged and asked, nay, told, that I had to list ten things that make me cheerful. Ten? Ten things? Surely there aren't ten cheerful things in the whole world. Unless of course you count boobs as two things and I can have both 'peace' and 'quiet'.

Still. I've been asked and so I'm going to give it a go.

(Oh. And since I've used the word 'boobs' that means that you'll be back I know. And you'll still be disappointed so, you know, jog on.)

Ten Things That Bring Happiness To Me.

(... pauses... a long, miserable exhalation...)

(... a final sip of the now gone coffee...)


Number one, two and three are dead easy:

1. My Geet Mint PR Guru
2. The fact that I can still find a little time, most days, to write.
3. My Disco Kettle

But from here on it's getting a bit tricky...

I suppose number 4 could be Catface, the hairiest beastie in all of the house. (Especially since my brother is slowly balding...)
Oh, so number 5 can be: I'm not balding. I don't think...


6. Slightly worrying this but, actually, tidying and cleaning do actually make me cheerful. Or at least the end result does. The actual cleaning and tidying is something I loathe. Except for when I get to clear my desk. That I enjoy.
7. Hearing from distant peoples. It's nice, innit, when you open your emails and someone is just saying "Hi." S'much better than the viagra offers I keep getting. No matter how good value they may be...
8. Crisps.
9. Crisps in Sandwiches.

and, finally:

10. Being published. I know, sounds like I'm a bit full of myself but, you know, sometimes I forget. then I remember. Then I grin.

And sometimes, when I'm not feeling so sure about this whole thing I have a look at my very first post. Cos it's nice to remember that feeling. That first rush of excitement and fear and pride that comes with have your work liked by someone you've never met...

Ok. Well. That's all turned into a bit of a reminisce hasn't it? Good. S'always good to think back fondly on stuff I reckon. Right now for example I'm fondly recalling the biscuit I had with my coffee. I was quite delicious...

I'm meant to tag 10 people now I think. 10? Really? I don't know 10 people. I'm grumpy remember, this does not breed friendships. not Double Figure Friendships anyway...

But, I will tag a few peoples, mainly the ones that Jamieson didn't already bagsie.

My Geet Mint PR Guru

Stephen Schieber ... Who's name I may have just spelt wrong... Sorry...

Sue Guiney

Carrie Etter

and finally, B. Although I'd understand entirely if she felt that this particular tag isn't really something she could do right now...

Monday, 25 January 2010


Reet then kids,

I'm offering an invitation.

The geet lurvely peoples at Northumbria Library Services are letting spend (almost) the whole day in their libraries running writing workshops.

I know.

I'm impressed too.

So, if anyone is free on the 17th Feb and fancy a free look out, some workshopping, writing and (w)rapping* then come see.

It's free.

So it costs nothing.

And it's a whopping TWO hours of writerly goodness.

With Coffee **

S0, it's Berwick Library in the morning 11-1pm and then Hexham Library on the evening 7 - 9pm.

There might even be pints afterward...

*(w)rapping entirely optional and most likely not actually part of the course.

** Maybe. I'm hoping so, or I'll die, but I'm not entirely sure...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


I've been having a right nice old ponder over the last few weeks.

Right nice. Been pondering all over the place.

Pondered at Work, pondered at Otherwork. Pondered at home. Pondered in the shower. Also cleaned myself in the shower. Then pondered some more. I even had a little ponder in the car and at one point had a ponder before napping. I dreamed about pondering, obviously.

And all this pondering, really, is all about me. I've not been thinking great thoughts. Not even average ones to be honest. In fact most of them are a bit tame and unimaginative.

I'm not doing enough writing.

That's the long and short of it. I'm not doing enough writing and that upsets me. Now, it's no ones fault that I'm not writing except my own. I'm the one to blame here.

Nevertheless though, it's still a quandary.

Stephen wrote a while ago about a similar Time O' Great Pondering and he got me thinking (not pondering, as such, more of a consider).

He got me thinking about Patronage.

Now patronising I can do. I'm a teacher, it comes natural.

But what I really need is Patronage...

That would be cool.

Some rich landed gentry type wanting to get all cultural and so ... you know... supporting me. A bit like parents, only richer and with no obligation to like them/buy them Mother's Day or Father's Day gifts.

How great would it be? All of us hopeful writers and aspiring artists all been scooped up by one big happy money slapping gang of pretendy nobility...

And I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm not greedy.

Really I'm not. And I'm not stupid, I'll be a bargain basement Cultural Collectible. I know this, and I'm ok with it.

I'm not expecting a a fancy city flat or an idyllic country cottage. I can do without a remote log cabin or the summer house by the river.

I can even cope without my own chef. Or butler. Really, I can. I'm willing to sacrifice that.

I'll be happy in the servants quarters, broadband connection allowing of course.

I'll fulfil my duties. I'll be glad to wander drunkenly at parties upsetting Lord Whatshisface and Lady Thingummyjob. I'll allow the gossip of the society pages. I'll even tweak my output to offer a suggestion of sympathy with my Patrons political opinions.

See? I'm not greedy. I'll work hard. I'll be good, or not, depending on what is required.

Really really.

So... Any rich potential patrons out there, drop me a comment eh? Lets see what can be arranged...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Reasons Why I'm Great (Don't Worry, Should Be A Short Post This One. Possibly It'll Be Even Shorter Than The Title...)


Reasons why I am geet mint, how.
By Nicholas Jones, age 27 and a bit.

#1 Cos other people tell me I am.
#2 Cos I'm a bit full of mesel
#3 Cos I have a Disco Kettle and a Desk Henry.

There you go. Told you it was a short one. However, in case you're not convinced I'll expand a little bit. But only a little bit. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging.

#1 Cos Other People Tell Me I Am

I'm really quite chuffed with this one. Really really massively chuffed actually. It's always nice to hear good feedback about your writing or to hear people talking excitedly or emphatically or, in many cases I'll admit, disgustedly-but-still-sort-of-complimentary about 9987. Always. So feel free. Whenever you want to. I mean, there's a comments box at the bottom there, so... if you want to chip in... you know.

But, more impressive even than that is the fact that I won Book of the Year. Oh yes. The geet kick ass cool Jamieson Wolf rated 9987 The Bestest Most Mint Book Of The Year, Even Better Than Stephen King* which, obviously, I was pretty pleased with.

There is something special about fellow authors saying nice things I think, it means that even the Not So Good Comments are easier to take. In short, it gives a little extra confidence to shrug and remind myself that, really, I don't want to make everyone happy. It would make me feel dull.

So, geet muchos cheers to Jamieson, he even had the foresight to make his announcement on my birthday so extra special specialness.

#2 Cos I'm Geet Full Of Mesel

It's true, I'm all full up of mesel and the bits that make mesel up. All full.

#3 Cos I Have A Disco Kettle And A Desk Henry

Surely this doesn't need explaining. It obviously makes me King Of Cool Appliances. This is a fact the like of which could never be disputed. So There.

* Not his actual words but mine. I may be showing off a bit.