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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Reviewing the situation, still at it...

Lionel Bart's Musical interpretation of Charles Dicken's novel, Oliver Twist, simply entitled 'Oliver!' has the criminal ring leader Fagin, considering his options when confronted by a change in circumstances. The version I always think of has Ron Moody in the role of Fagin, hunched, crooked nosed and grubby in attire and demeanour "Reviewing the situation," prior to making his next move.

That's the gist of my absence for the last few months. I'm working on a shift in emphasis regarding the naughty old bird and a move to a more considered approach to the writing and blogging.

Life, bless it - it's a damn sight better than the alternative - has a way of chucking a spanner in whatever works you have going on and sitting back to watch the resulting antics.

The situation reviewing continues, it's just taking longer than originally anticipated.
It might be a couple of steps forward and one back, but then the progress inches forward.

Keep smiling, people will wonder what you are up to, and have a good day, wherever you are.


Saturday, 24 February 2018

Working things through

Occasionally the best decision is to pull back, regroup, lick your wounds and work out a new way forward.

The seagull question raised its head once again, and I know that previous considerations have ended with a decision to stay with the old bird, this time it's different. I'm letting it go.

Recent events have brought about a change in perspective. A reconsideration of my outlook.

So, with that in mind, from the 1st of March the Grange thrillers will undergo a thorough overhaul.

The Grange series will remain available, but the texts will be worked on behind the scenes. The idea is to reboot the series under a new flag later in the year. Dates and times are still in the formative stage but I'll try and keep you posted on how things are developing

The website, cheekyseagull.co.uk will remain as a limited footprint on the Internet for the immmediate future.

Now, I have work to do, so if you will excuse me.

For the time being, Cheerio.

Best wishes


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Much the same

What goes around comes, around. Aware of my absence from these pages for quite some time I picked up the threads with a tweet that bounced into an email this morning with a sense of deja-vu.

Amazon and the big publishers apparently having a bit of a barny about ebook pricing. Amazon's VP of Kindle Content, David Naggar, in the Daily Mail suggested the publishers drop their ebook prices to match the 99c price tag offered by the self-published and Independents on Amazon.

It didn't go down well and the Daily Mail and the Bookseller take the story further.

For me, it was like picking up an old chestnut. The shine had gone and the familiar wrinkles and dark tones were there, nestling in the palm of my hand.
A familiar tale and one that could be easily discerned as settled into two halves, Indie Self and Big Pub.

Yes, 99c can sell, and it does. However the danger lurks in the price that the Indie is undervaluing the work.

Stack it high and sell it cheap has lifted more than one supermarket or trader to a dominant place in the market, but that wasn't the thing that made me smile.

Publishing is a game of two halves, Independent and the Big publishing houses. Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of Liverpool once said about football being more serious than a matter of life and death. To paraphrase and shift the context slightly, he was commenting on the dedication needed to succeed.

The analogy can be transferred; Now, there are a handful of major publishing houses, and within their corporate body are the remnants of many smaller publishers, whose names linger like ghosts as imprints of the commercial giants. Consumed in the drive to survive and succeed.

I digress slightly, the analogy that came to mind is occasionally attributed to the early days of sport's coverage on the radio, but may be much older.

Back to square one.

As far back as the Nineteen Thirties, Association football, soccer, was regularly covered by the BBC and a helpful grid was provided in the Radio Times magazine, dividing the pitch into numbered segments, and during the game the announcer would report that play had moved back to square one. Urban legend tagged that as the original of the phrase.

I don't really think Football can take the credit here, although it's a good one for the pub.

The tradition of football commentary and the distortions of language that accompany it have become a part and parcel of the English language. The Plain English Campaign, an organisation focused on the demolition of gobbledygook have a variation of their gobbledygook generator dedicated to the language of the football commentator.

There is a traditional children's favourite that goes back to the late 17th Century that begins and ends on Square One, a much more likely originator.

Hopscotch; the numbered boxes can be chalked, scratched in the dirt or the sand, perhaps painted on to the schoolyard. The player moves along the squares, starting at one and progressing to the highest, which can be either eight or ten, and then returns to number one.

Having been away from the blog for a while - pretty much most of the summer. Coming back to it has a similar feel, of going back to square one,  and the ebook pricing discussion reinforced the feeling.

I may be exaggerating, but it's how I feel right now, so, here we go again.
What is the optimum price for an ebook, assuming it doesn't come free.
How much does the price of an ebook influence your appreciation of the quality of the work?

Something for the experienced and the aspiring independent to weigh in the balance, and I'm not sure their is a wrong answer to either of them.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Grab what you can...

July is here, and The Grange series is enrolled at Smashwords in the Ninth Annual Summer/Winter Sale. 

Whatever the season, wherever you are;  the discounts are lined up, the best sellers of the future waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Iceline is, as ever, free to grab, and for the duration, Control Escape, What You Ask For and The Obedience of Fools are yours for half price, a 50% discount on their normal retail price, click on the link and enter the code SSW50 when you make the purchase.

Have fun, grab a piece of the action!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Shameless little plugger!

June is fizzling out, the brief spell of unseasonable weather here in England is ending. The brilliant blue skies, tropical heat are once more sliding into familiar greys and rain speckled pavements, but despite the gloomy weather we still have July to look forward to and the Ninth annual Summer/Winter event at smashwords. Discounted ebooks for the avid reader, From the 1st of July, right through to the end of the month literary treasures will be available on the promotions page.

The entire Grange series will be available. Come back to the series page for the Grange on the first of July and check out the offers. Iceline is entered automatically as a permafree ebook, the rest of the series will be joining the list at a discount.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Heard it before

It came as an email, and the first glance and first reading sounded good.  An interest in "The Obedience of Fools," and invited  me to submit the work to a... competition!

 Hey Martyn Taylor,

Monday, 1 May 2017

Clout casting

Ne'er cast a clout 'til the May is out!  The usual accompaniment to rubbish weather until June. A warning not to get caught out by the variable weather outdoors, and it has nothing to do with the calendar.

The May (Crataegus monogyna) is more familiar as the Hawthorn. The dense thorny bush used as field boundaries that still winds its way across countless miles of the English countryside.

Rich in the folklore and mythology of the countryside, Shakespeare draws on it in Sonnet 18, comparing his beloved to a Summer's day, and the rough winds shaking the darling buds.

H.E. Bates 1958 novel "The Darling Buds of May" takes it's title from the first shoots of the Hawthorn seeking out the warming sun, pointing to the summer months ahead. To watch the buds until they burst open, deck the trees with blossom and herald the change in the season, and not get caught out in the cold by shedding your winter coat too soon.

So what will you catch this May? Back in 1999 the Association of American Publishers picked May as Get Caught Reading month. To celebrate the authors who produce the works, creating the worlds where we lose ourselves.

The idea is simple enough; get caught reading. It doesn't have to be printed, It's not get caught with a book month, it's about reading. Enjoying the seemingly limitless supply of material to grab an old favourite or find a new one.

Load up your bag, or your reader, and see how many times you can get caught!