The Shelf: Q4 Indies

Or, why I am only going to read indie novels for the last quarter of the year.

 

I used to have a lot of bookshelves, paperbacks and hard-covers lined up two rows deep where space allowed.  That was in London.  I used to spend my lunchtimes browsing through Waterstones, scanning the fiction shelves for covers and spines which caught my eye.  Most of the time there was no conscious pattern to my search, it was just pure browsing.  And that’s how I made some of my best discoveries.

Then two things happened: the move, and the Kindle.

We moved back to Australia.  Books went into boxes, and boxes and bookshelves went into shipping containers, and everything eventually made its way into a character-filled Queenslander in Brisbane which had exactly zero fucking wall space against which to stand a bookcase.  Walls only served one of two purposes in the house, places for windows or places for doors.  So the books stayed in boxes, boxes went into the garage.

And then there was the Kindle.  Kindle didn’t care that there was no Waterstones to browse during my lunch breaks — I could find just about anything I wanted right there on the interwebz.  And if I didn’t know what I was looking for?  Amazon was more than happy to offer suggestions, big grinning digital pimp that he is.  Problem is, I like to pretend I’m immune to advertising, so I end up reading from my list of safe authors rather than take a risk.  I think a lot of that is down to the medium. An ebook has no texture, no weight.  You can’t take in a wall of books with just a lazy glance; you have to click, tap or swipe, dive down menu structures into sub-sub-sub-genre, only do discover you’ve landed in the top ten list of hard-boiled mystery/comedies set in Scotland with female detective leads and paranormal themes.

Now I’m living with bookshelves again.  The house we’re in has a full wall of built-in shelves, and my books can finally breathe. I found myself staring at that wall of paper the other day, picking out the novels I’d forgotten about, authors whose words I can remember reading with no prior knowledge of what I was getting into and thinking to myself, fucking yes.  I haven’t felt that for while, ever since Kindle came into my life.

So, I’ve made a decision: I am going to read books exclusively by indie authors for the remainder of the year, starting October first.  Why?  Because I want to find something which doesn’t have a marketing budget, something I found purely by looking.  I expect the search will be hard, but I’m hopeful of finding some books to fill a new shelf, an e-shelf.  (Did I think of calling it iShelf?  Yes I did, but my lawyers advised me against it.)

But before I start, maybe I have time to squeeze in a quick Christopher Moore …

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Because My Arse Demands It

There’s a nugget of conventional wisdom which I’ve heard trotted out more than a few times in my life, about shoes and beds.  You’ve probably heard it: spend a lot on shoes and beds, because you spend most of your life either on your feet or sleeping.  Now, that might be true if I were a policeman, or a postman, or a waiter … but for me there’s a significant third element to consider, one which almost certainly takes precedence over my feet: you guessed it, it’s my arse.  If I had a pie chart which split out my time between sleeping, sitting and walking, walking would look like some slim data anomaly, like eating out in Greek restaurants, or voting.  No, my arse is where it’s at, and it’s for this reason that I’m now trying to justify spending a big wedge of my weekly wage on a chair.

I’ve tried every kind of financially reasonable option at home, including sensible chairs from Ikea, replica designer chairs, old wooden dining chairs, children’s high chairs (which I’m currently using to the chagrin of my coccyx), piano stools, drum stools, Swiss balls, ergonomic kneeling chairs … they all leave me wanting to get out of them within minutes of settling in.  I sometimes think the problem is me, that there’s some undercurrent of procrastination which is the real cause of my inability to just plant it and get the job done … but there was a time when I was comfortable sitting in a chair, when I was happy to stay in that position for hours on end.  Those times were when I worked in offices fitted out with Aeron chairs.

If you don’t know what an Aeron chair is, you probably do but don’t realise it.  You might even be sitting in one right now.  The Herman Miller Aeron chair, my arse all but sighs when I think about it.  Sitting in an Aeron is like sitting in a tiny trampoline which has been sculpted to cup your seated form like a child cradling a freshly-hatched duckling.  For several years it’s all I sat in at work, until the financial world melted into an embarrassing sticky mess and companies were all of a sudden cost-conscious about things like chairs.  Sure, they could spare a few billion to buy another company or two: but the priority, the real priority, is to shave a few percent off the chair budget.

Talk about your false economies.  When I stopped sitting in Aerons, I started to spend a lot more time going out for coffee, just to get the feeling back in my legs.  One place I worked brought in chairs which were almost the equal of the Aeron in price, but in comfort terms?  These chairs appeared to do everything in their power to get you out of them.  Apparently designed to accommodate the natural balance of your body, what they would actually do is try to eject you from them.  Any pressure on the backrest cause the back to tilt and the seat itself to simultaneously slide forward, until you slipped straight off onto the scratchy carpet tiles.  Where I am now, the chairs appear to have been upholstered by the same company that does bus seats, and they possess some kind of thermal core which attempts to keep lifting the surface temperature of your back until it blisters.

My coffee consumption has gone way up.

If only they’d spring for some Aerons, they’d see how much better life could be.  I’ve decided to to take matters into my own hands and locate my own Aeron.  Then I saw how much they sell for in this country, and that gave me pause: $1200 and change, minimum, and no options on eBay that I can see.  Yikes.  So I ask myself, can I justify spending such a large proportion of my income on a chair?  A chair?  The answer of course is yes, yes I believe I can.  Why?  Because I spend most of my waking life on my arse, and my arse demands it.

 

Fenton Book Scatterplot

I discovered the other day that some people think I have one or two books out on Kindle, when I actually have four.  (Maybe three-and-a-half, one’s a novella.)  Such were my poor marketing efforts.  I read yesterday that Pippa Middleton has been knocked back by Penguin for a second book deal, and one of the main reasons for this was that Pippa refused to do any promotion.  Penguin believed that her first book could have been huge, despite it being rubbish, if Pippa had only moved her arse and … moved her arse and … Sorry, what was I saying? 

Right, marketing.  I don’t want be like Pippa Middleton, a victim of my own non-promotion, so I’ve put together this graphic to help people choose between my books.  It’s arranged across two dimensions, weirdness and offensiveness, which I’ve been told are the two defining characteristics of my books.

Spanner in the works

It would probably be more accurate to say The Spanner is out of the works, or at least out of my head.  My little novella, The Spanner, is now sitting quietly in the Kindle store, not disturbing anyone or creating a fuss.
I wish it would create some kind of fuss.  Even a small fuss.
It’s not an easy story to summarise, but I’m inclined to call it an absurd comedy.  It started to form in my head one day when I was on a conference call with the IT manager for a project I was working on, and I found myself in an argument I couldn’t quite believe was taking place.  This guy, who forms the basis for the title character, Stan Ramble (so that’s how I’ll refer to him from here on), was insisting that “completed” meant something very different to “done”.  I of course decided to represent sanity in the matter and argued that in the context of the discussion they were exactly the same thing.  One just had fewer letters.
Stan wouldn’t have it.
This is just one example, one very small example, of the nonsense which came out of this guy’s mouth.  The term “stranger than fiction” had never been so apt.  I thought I could never write a book about this guy, it would be too far a stretch; but then I thought about it some more, and my colleague in pain (call him S) pushed me to get it all written up.  So I started writing about Stan Ramble, just for a bit of fun, and I ended up dropping two other projects to get it finished.
Thanks S.
It is finished now, and I like it.  I started out hating the guy, but now I’m quite fond of him.  I doubt he bears much resemblance to the real-life Ramble who started it (I hope not, for his sake), but I still can’t help feeling a gentle affection for the man who’d probably stab me in the eye with a pen if he knew what I’d done.

Terrorist Dogs

TERRORIST DOGS
A One Act Play

TWO DOGS, ONE BROWN AND ONE WHITE WITH A BLACK SPOT OVER HIS EYE LIKE A PIRATE’S PATCH, COME TOGETHER IN A SQUARE CROWDED WITH PEOPLE PREPARING FOR THEIR DAY. LONG QUEUES FORM AT ESPRESSO BARS AND PEOPLE BARELY AVOID COLLIDING WITH ONE ANOTHER AS THEY TALK AND TEXT ON THEIR PHONES.


ROCKY: Good morning Spot 721.
SPOT: Good morning Rocky 296. Today is a fine day.
ROCKY: Yes, it is a fine day for Dog. A glorious day.
SPOT: Praise Dog.
ROCKY: Have you made your final preparations?
SPOT: I, ah … Sure. Yes I have.
ROCKY: You sound uncertain 721.
SPOT: It’s just that being a martyr, the reward and all, it doesn’t seem so appealing as it did a few days ago.
ROCKY: When you volunteered.
SPOT: Yes I know I volunteered, but I was having a really bad week. I picked up a tick in behind my sack and it was really bothering me, and then when my owners couldn’t get my nose out of there they started talking neuter, you know?
ROCKY: But you volunteered.
SPOT: Yeah yeah, heard you the first time Rocky boy.
ROCKY: Don’t call me that.
SPOT: What, Rocky boy?
ROCKY: (PAUSE)
SPOT: Oh, is that what … Is that was he … I’m sorry. I didn’t think.
ROCKY: It’s fine. Don’t worry. He used to call me that, until he went on to meet Dog. He was one of the rare ones who understood the power of Dog. He even revealed the great truth to me one day, after taking exercise with me in the park. He said, Rocky boy, God is just Dog backwards.
SPOT: Adog, brother.
ROCKY: Adog. But the rest of them, look at them: they’ll never admit it, so convinced of their own superiority, and that of their false gods. They can’t even settle on one true God.
SPOT: How weak is that? At least we’re consistent. But I don’t suppose I could, like, door-knock or something instead. You know, spread the word?
ROCKY: They can’t understand you.
SPOT: I can write, I could do some signs. I can’t hold a pen, obviously, so it’d have to be with my own poo, but they could read it.
ROCKY: (sighs) You have made your choice, Spot 721, and you must abide by it.
SPOT: Okay, okay. I’ve probably only got a few good years in me anyway, it’s just that —
ROCKY: A woman approaches! It is time. Prime the device.
SPOT: Okay, okay. (begins wagging tail)
ROCKY: I must retreat to a safe distance. Dog be with you Spot 721.
SPOT: (mutters) Yeah, you need to get to a safe distance. I’d like to see you go onto your reward.
ROCKY: Pardon?
SPOT: Nothing, nothing, just priming. (wags tail faster)

AS SPOT 721 WAGS HIS TAIL, A WOMAN IN A PANTSUIT APPROACHES TO PAT HIM. SHE CALLS HIM CUTE NAMES AND HE WAGS HIS TAIL FASTER. BARELY PERCEPTIBLE WISPS OF SMOKE CURL OUT OF HIS ANUS WHILE ROCKY 296 BARKS ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE FAR SIDE OF THE SQUARE.

ROCKY: It’s working, brother. The device is reaching critical mass. Keep priming, faster! Death to the infidels!
SPOT: My arsehole is on fire!
ROCKY: Soon you will be in paradise.
SPOT: Soon I’ll be a smoldering heap of dog. Ow! That’s it, I’m aborting.
ROCKY: No! You’re attracting attention, the infidels are gathering around. Increase speed, the time to strike is now!
SPOT: I can’t, I can’t … Oh Dog, oh Dog, I think …

A PERCUSSIVE BURST OF FLATULENCE FROM SPOT 721 CUTS SHORT THE COOING AND CUTESY NOISES OF THE HUMANS. THEY ALL RECOIL IN REVULSION AS A STREAM OF FECES FOLLOWS THE FOUL BLAST, SOME OF IT SOLID AND SOME OF IT FLUID. NONE OF THEM SEEM TO NOTICE THE SHORT WIRES CURLING OUT FROM ONE OF THE MORE SOLID CHUNKS. ROCKY APPROACHES SPOT WHEN THE LAST OF THE HUMANS HAVE DEPARTED.

SPOT: Am I dead? I feel like I’m dead.
ROCKY: No, it would seem the package aborted.
SPOT: Then where are all the infidels?
ROCKY: They all left in disgust.
SPOT: Oh. I thought they might have all been, you know, vaporised. I closed my eyes when it happened.
ROCKY: (sighs) No, no, you just dropped your load. On the plus side, there did seem to be some level of kinetic reaction within the detonator. Hipkins will be pleased.
SPOT: Hipkins designed this one? He hasn’t had a successful detonation for over seven years, has he?
ROCKY: True, but what a detonation! You should have seen it 721, the humans were picking pieces of scorched cow out of the trees for miles around.
SPOT: I heard about that, but why cows? Dogdammit, my arse is sore!
ROCKY: Here, let me get that for you. (begins licking Spot 721’s traumatised rear-end)
SPOT: Oh yeah, that’s the spot, right there.

ROCKY STEPS AWAY FROM SPOT’S REAR AND GIVES HIS OWN SOME ATTENTION BEFORE STRAIGHTENING UP.

SPOT: War wound troubling you?
ROCKY: Starts playing up every time I see a failed attempt. Mine was back in oh-six. It was Hipkins behind that one two. The technology has advanced since then, let me tell you. After my load dumped, a secondary detonator stayed lodged up my butt, gave me burning diarrhea for a week afterwards.
SPOT: Yikes. You mean Hipkins has had all this time to get it right, and we’re still failing? Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
ROCKY: You can’t blame Hipkins, he’s one of only three canine bomb technicians in the world. It’s not easy designing those things. And it’s not just down to design … It’s the kinetic primers, the way they work. The humans have a way of triggering chemical releases in our brains that interfere with reactant mix, or with the priming rhythm … We have some of our best dogs working on a solution.
SPOT: Certain chemicals? You mean happiness?
ROCKY: Careful 721. It might seem like happiness, but to admit so is heresy. No, it is chemical warfare, nothing less, and the humans are without mercy in its use. Look at them 721, smiling as they walk along eating their egg and bacon sandwiches, drinking their coffee. One day, 721, those will be our egg and bacon sandwiches, our coffee.
SPOT: But how will we make it? How will we butcher the pigs and cure the bacon?
ROCKY: Ours is not to question how, 721. Trust in Dog.

ROCKY AND SPOT LOOK OUT AT THE SWARMING HUMAN MASSES. EVENTUALLY THEY STAND AND BEGIN THE UNPLEASANT JOB OF CLEANING UP AND RETRIEVING THE FAILED INCENDIARY DEVICE.

CURTAIN

BADD

My BADD isn’t getting any better.  (Blog Attention Deficit Disorder … duh.)  Although I’ve proven myself to be utterly useless at maintaining one blog, I’ve decided to start another: Brisbantium.  As you might be able to gather from the title, it’s about Brisbane.  If you haven’t heard of Brisbane, it’s a far-northern suburb of Sydney.  That’s Sydney, Australia.  That’s right, the place where Hugh Jackman comes from.

Brisbane is kind of odd.  I’m going to document my culture shock here, so if I inadvertently become a Queenslander in the process, my family can trace the history of the blog to discover where it happened, because by that stage I’ll be capable of little more than discussing superannuation and watching rugby league.

(Kidding.)

(I’m not kidding.)

Meanwhile,  I’ve created a small writing nook in the garage.  It’s fairly quiet in there now, but come summer it’ll no doubt become home to half the deadly creatures in the state.  If you don’t hear from me for more than a month, please send the paramedics to the garage.

Distractapalooza

I can’t focus long enough to decide whether I should:

A. Work on the “big” novel
B. Work on the “small” novel, or possibly novella, which wandered into the open field of my brain a few weeks ago, and has now parked its caravan and invited its friends and family to come join it.  Way to enable my procrastination, Shehriar Ahmed (yes, you).  I’m filing that one on the scratchpad (see the tab at the top of the page)
C. Continue my marathon viewing of Big Bang Theory (thanks again Shehriar, and Rob too)
D. Keep editing the older novel
E. Obsess about work problems
F. Resume piano lessons
G. Shop for a reasonably-priced digital piano

The older novel, Natural Selection, was high on my to-do list, until I realised how bloody unwieldy it is.  I usually try to keep chapters between two-to-four thousand words, roughly, but as I was converting the Word document into Scrivener chapters, I did a double-take on one of word-counts.  Thirteen thousand words!  For one chapter!  I’ve abandoned novels which were short of that length.  This, I saw, was going to be more work than I’d anticipated

Maybe I should just focus on finishing season 2 of Big Bang Theory. That I can do.

Rosen Trevithick – Straight Out of University

I was recently granted an interview by the gracious Rosen Trevithick, Cornish playwright and novelist par excellence.  Rosen is currently on the e-road promoting her latest novel, Straight Out of University.  Here’s a bit about the book:

Sophie isn’t exclusively gay, but when you’re voted Ms Lesbian Oxford in your first year at university, it does put you under a certain amount of pressure.

Her university life is characterised by passionate love affairs, liberal activism and boundary-pushing theatre.

Nine years later, Sophie returns to her hometown in Cornwall, where girls are friends with girls, boys are friends with boys, and queer is an experience felt when you drink too much cider.

Sophie falls for John, a sensible, conservative male man with a fondness for cardigans, but can they overcome their cultural differences?

Interview:

Fentonton: Tell me a bit about Straight Out of University.
Rosen: It’s a story about a bisexual woman suspended in the liberal university bubble for the best part of a decade. She’s then thrown back into the real world with a jolt.
Fentonton: Any similarities between you and the MC, Sophie? You know … Were you ever voted Ms Lesbian Oxford?
Rosen: Ha ha! No, I wasn’t. I did win a worst-dressed competition once in Oxford though, which is similarly prestigious, in my opinion.
Fentonton: Do you ever write while intoxicated, or always stone-sober?
Rosen: Sometimes there is a bag of chocolate next to me when I start writing, and when I stop, it’s miraculously gone.
Fentonton: Do you think your story could be improved with the addition of vampires? Vampires still seem unreasonably popular, like goat cheese.
Rosen: Vampires are usually a vehicle for a bad-boy romance story. The leading man in my story wears a cardigan – even fangs couldn’t make him edgy.
Fentonton: Do you like goat cheese?
Rosen: Yes, especially blended with whipped cream to make a mousse, then served with a little fresh basil pesto.
Fentonton: If you could choose between Katie Price, Justin Bieber and Louie Walsh, which one would you have killed?
Rosen: Well, I’m a pacifist so I shouldn’t really kill anybody. However, Louie Walsh is on X-Factor, which is an enemy of the indie world, so he’s asking for trouble…


Straight Out of University is available as an ebook on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

So much for focus

So, this thing hasn’t exactly gone as planned. I know I said this blog wasn’t going to be an unfocused ramble, a brain-dump, but … once more, I’ve taken a notion to an unnecessary extreme.

Two posts in over a year. Wow, I’ve got so much to say.
It’s not all my fault I haven’t got around to posting — there are a number of things I can blame for soaking up all my time:
1. Work
2. Family
3. The economy
4. Bit Torrent (not that I do that kind of thing)
5. My dog (every time I get on my laptop, he jumps up on my … ahh, Jesus, get down Brubeck … yes, you, you smell … well, okay, just don’t drool on the keyboard)
6. Sport on TV
7. The estate agents charged with trying to sell my house, who seem to believe everyone is perfectly cool with them trying to push down prices just so they can maintain their fucking volume, imbeciles! You’re only hurting yourselves in the long-run! Sorry, they just piss off all the concentration right out of my head.
8. Lambeth Council (they are beyond blame for NOTHING)
9. Warm, delicious alcohol
You get the idea. I could go on … Actually:
10. Justin Bieber. His whole breathing and living and walking around deal just fucks with my concentration.
There, I’m done. Sorry about that. Why am I even apologising? It’s not like anyone’s going to read this. Writing a blog is basically emotional hedging, anyway.
Position A: If I write something stupid (likely), it doesn’t matter because I’m not famous and no-one reads this thing anyway, it’s basically an online diary.
Position B: If I write something stupid, and lots of people read it because I am famous … who cares? I’m famous! Woo-hoo!
I made a New Year’s resolution back when it was an appropriate thing to do: I resolved to make January FiFuNoMo. Most people (by people I mean writers) have heard of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. FiFuNoMo is Finish the Fucking Novel Month. I tried to motivate myself. Surprisingly, it worked. Can February be SeFuNoMo (Sell the Fucking Novel Month)? I doubt it.
Maybe I’ll just try to post more on the blog.

Crapalooza 2010

I was gifted some time recently — two weeks between jobs — in which I thought I could get some of my own work done. Long-outstanding work. Important work. Naturally, I opted to fritter this time away with my new procrastination-enabler activity: groping around under my floor for junk from the 1900’s.

Some brief background: I live in a terraced house in south-west London, built in the early 1900’s. Like most houses of this design, a narrow cellar runs beneath the entrance hallway, originally used as a coal-chute. The joists for the ground floor rest on the top of the cellar wall, which leaves a series of shallow gaps where one can peer over the cellar wall to the space beneath the reception room floor, if one were so inclined. I was so inclined.

There is an ocean of crap under my floor. Not just any crap, but old crap. This is an important distinction. If it were simply half-bags of cement and copper-pipe offcuts left by builders, I’d have never bothered with it, but when I first flashed a torch in there I saw what looked to be (and what was) a very old tin of shoe polish. I had to have it. I now have approximately five thousand old tins of shoe polish which I’ve rescued from that filthy void, and if I pull out another one I’ll probably try to open a vein with its rusty rim, but that first sighting is what got me started.

Some things I’ve learned from the experience:

– You can never reach as far as you think you can
– Everything seems much bigger when viewed at eye-level
– Tetanus is almost certainly a fictional malady invented to frighten children into obedience, or at least its method of contraction is a falsehood, because if being cut by rusty metal were a genuine catalyst of the disease I’d be critically ill of not outright dead by now, which I’m clearly not, as I’m sitting here writing about it
– WW1-era Londoners were sick, violent, immoral, perverse, incredibly messy and apparently obsessed with keeping shoes at their shiniest
– Enough is enough only until you want to go back for more

The way I gain access to the trash-trove is: I kneel on the workbench or stand on a chair, reach up and over the wall with my face pressed into the brickwork, and blindly feel around for interesting things to pull out. I can’t see where I’m groping because the joists and the floorboards stop me getting my head into any kind of viewing position. I used gloves for a while, but I couldn’t feel a thing, so I now grope about barehanded, just like they did it back in the day. It’s a messy business. I mentioned about the cellar being a coal chute — apparently excess coal was dumped over the wall. I think I might have developed the black lung.

It hasn’t all been coal dust and shoe polish tins and razor blades. Did I mention there were razor blades? What don’t you want to find when you’re groping around blind with your bare hands? You guessed it: razor blades. But I have also found some pretty cool things. Here’s my top five (subjective) finds so far:

1. A time capsule in the form of an old lemonade bottle, containing a number of old tram tickets and a letter from the first owner of the house to the finder of the time capsule (me!)
2. A Colt .22 New Line revolver, in its pouch and in apparent working order (without bullets)
3. A small jar labelled “Special Black Female Corrective Pills” (with pills)
4. A very old framed picture postcard, presumably of the original owner and his wife
5. What appears to be a home-made opium pipe (without opium, dammit)

The time capsule got us all very excited. It’s dated 1908, addressed from our house, and says (paraphrased): “My name is George Herbert Cowell, the original owner of this house. I wonder when this letter will be found. Enclosed are a few Tramway tickets. We have just had our Tramways electrified.” All written in perfect cursive. I downloaded the image of the 1911 census form from the house, and loe and behold, it matched: George Herbert Cowell and family, all of them but Mrs Cowell employed by the Central Telegraph Office in Waterloo.

The gun was another high-point. When I pulled it out I had no idea what to expect as I tried to open the old zipper on the pouch with my bleeding, rust-speckled fingers. When I saw the butt of the gun shining through I thought it might be a fancy knife. When I pulled out a gun, I was stunned: it was tiny. I mean, really tiny. I later learned it was issued by Colt as competition for the Derringer, but on first sight I thought it was a cigarette lighter. The Colt New Line was made in 1877, a 7-shot rimfire revolver, and it fits very comfortably in the palm of my hand. Unfortunately, being a .22 means it falls under section 5 of the UK firearms act, which makes it a prohibited weapon. A bit of gun oil and a clean-up, you could slot some modern .22 cartridges into that puppy and, provided your hands weren’t too large, you could give someone a nasty sting. Good citizen that I am, I contacted the local chapter of the firearms squad, who are now holding it safe for me in their armory until I find someone to deactivate it. I couldn’t even sell it I wanted to, because no-one would be allowed to buy it – it falls into the same category as a Glock.

The corrective pills were, it turns out, an early form of the morning-after pill. Yes ladies, just one of these a day for about a month after your fun and games will take care of any unwanted “developments”. This may or may not be achieved by precipitating your own death, but that would probably be on account of all the lead you’ve been ingesting by taking these “special black” pills.

Corrective Pills

More details on this gripping adventure will follow, after I’ve caught some Z’s.

I want to live in Fentonton!

The first blog post, so much pressure … come on man, think …

The Oxford English Dictionary defines blog as …

Gah!

Do-over:

Welcome to Fentonton. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I did not set up this blog while drunk and misspell my own name. “Fenton.blogspot” was taken. I admit I was listening to Ben Folds while I was trying to think of a name, which must have had an influence. If you’re familiar with “Effington”, just swap the words around, hum a few bars, and before you know it it’ll be stuck in your head like a catchy Justin Timberlake track, or tinnitus, whichever you prefer.



Fentonton

Can be a wonderful Fenton place

I can see it from the highway

And I’m wondering

Is there Fenton in their yards

Fenton in their cars

Fenton in the trailers and the back roads and the parking lots

Of Fentonton …

And so on.

So why do I have a blog? Well for one thing, it’s considerably cheaper than setting up a proper website. Also, I can get by without having to learn much HTML, which is fine with me because I’m sure it would be superseded by some new vastly superior programming language about a month after I mastered it.

What makes me think anyone is interested in what I have to say? You’re here, aren’t you? Unless you were trying to get to Fenton.blogspot and you’ve had a few too many ciders. What this blog is not going to be is a brain dump of every random thought which wanders into my head. No, it’s going to be a tightly focused brain dump.

First things first:

I was prompted to set up a blog after joining a book review group called “Booksquawk”. They said, give us a photo and a link to your blog. After two hours of teaching my four-year-old daughter (heretofore referred to as “Kid A”) the principles of SLR photography, lighting, aperture settings, and where the take-the-damn-photo button was, I had my picture. And here’s the blog. It’ll look much better once Kid A finishes that HTML course.



Booksquawk is a book review site whose contributors are all writers. Some of us have even had our books published! Not me. No, I write for the (ahem) love of it. If someone would pay me to do it, however, I would love it so much more. I would love it and care for it and feed it every day, honest. If you’d like to pop over and check the site out, that would be just super. If my HTML tags above failed to work, it’s at “www.booksquawk.blogspot.com”

That’s enough from me, at least until I have something interesting to post. Interesting to me, anyway.



I want to live

In Fentonton!

I want to die

There too!

Folds, if you read this, feel free to put Fentonton on your next album. Or at least play it next time you’re in London.