Summer Holidays

I’ve been quieter than a mouse trying to suppress a fart as it sneaks past a sleeping cat.  There are a myriad of uninteresting reasons for that and strangely none of them involve a potato.  Alas I am the bearer of some tidings.

For all of you buggers that read eBooks of an electronic variety and are off to lounge around the pool for a week or two sipping cocktails with the sole intention of coming back the colour of the average Essex girl in mid November, you can find practically my entire back catalogue for free throughout July right here on Smashwords.  That’s the Non-stop Dancer, PiSlamistan, Mia, All Hallows’ Eve, Existence Is Futile and the Story of Albert Ross absolutely free to your eReaders.  If you don’t do eBooks but know somebody who does share this good news.  And if you or anyone you know happens to give them a try, please don’t forget to leave a review somewhere or God will quite probably kill a kitten.

In other news, rather unlike me, I have actually been writing.  Book number three is well underway and features high commerce, gratuitous sex and mildly depressed fruit.  It is quite obviously somewhat a niche market, however, I believe that if the world has a place for dinosaur erotica, I’m going to be just fine.  In the meantime, be nice to each other and read books.

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Summer Loving

As you might know, I live in the Netherlands, and therefore no longer experience summer.  Mostly here, Dutch people spend the middle of the year weeping uncontrollably as Hollywood repeatedly plays with their emotions by pretending that other countries have four seasons instead of just wet.  Thankfully there are summer holidays.  In the modern age this is where people fly thousands of miles to lay somewhere in sunshine whilst reading, in the hope of getting sunburned, dehydrated and some form of local food poisoning.  If you are one of those people, you may be interested in what comes next.

The good folks at #Smashwords have launched their summer sale and you have exactly one month to take advantage of their generosity, providing you are an eBook reader.  They are offering:

Existence Is Futile for half price

The Story of Albert Ross for free

Go get them now!

And just in case you live under a rock and for some reason haven’t seen the new music video from my band #Yu, you should definitely watch this video.  The lyrics, the music and the video was all created by us, which is #Yu and not only me #GodDoesntLoveYou

 

In Search of Henry Part Two

The following post contains *spoilers* regarding ‘Existence Is Futile’

Last week I confessed that I had never visited Oxford when I wrote ‘Existence Is Futile’.  This week I promised to explain a little more and share my experiences of my search for Henry at the end of December.

When writing a novel nowadays locations are somewhat easier to write about.  Thanks to the advent of the internet, in particular google and google earth it is relatively easy to get a sense of how anywhere on earth looks aesthetically.  The difficult part of crafting together a coherent account is the specific details.  I recall that when I was writing about the Psychiatrist’s office I had a great problem decided where precisely in Oxford it should be located, so much so that I actually started looking at random buildings on google images before I eventually settled on this one.

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I found this on google photos with a description of its precise location so I was able to pinpoint it on the map.  In the book it is first mentioned like this:

He broke into a jog as he passed two archways with locked gates, before finally catching a glimpse of her entering a doorway into a two-storey monstrosity with a jutting roof.

This building is integral to the story and thus, I was desperate to actually find it and take a photograph there.  Unfortunately it no longer exists.  I have stood on that street.  I have searched the surrounding area and it isn’t there.  I suspect that it has been ‘modernised’ and it is now unrecognisable.

I did get some things right.  The Morris Garage is somewhat iconic.  The Harris Manchester College really does look out-of-place.  Although it was closed when we visited, I was able to poke my head over the fence and confirm that at least half of the buildings look like they belong in a Hollywood film.

Probably the boldest passage that I wrote about Oxford was the following:

How he had fallen instantly in love with Oxford from the moment he first set foot on the High Street.  An eclectic mixture of churches, university buildings, theatres and shops.  The garish, the gothic and the damn right peculiar all sharing living space, in Henry’s mind it was a perfect allegory for 21st century society and a perfect advertisement for all which is magnificent about Little England.


These pictures from my phone really do not do Oxford justice.  It is a beautiful, if not peculiar city.  It has a wonderful oddness to it all.

I suppose the last thing I should mention is Magdalen Bridge.  It appears again and again in the book and serves as a catalyst for change several times over.  Given the importance to the story line(really trying not to give too many spoilers) I was probably most worried about this.  Would it be tiny?  Would it be ugly?  Would there be just a stream below?

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Magdalen Bridge was huge and more picturesque than I had ever imagined.  It made its role so much more practical than I could ever have imagined.

Oxford is a city, albeit a small one, where some of the brightest, most brilliant and biggest bastards ever produced in Great Britain have been sent away for education.  It is rich in history, drowned in tradition and contains the aristocratic quirkiness which belongs with a historic British city. When I visited Oxford I had feared that perhaps it wouldn’t be a city fitting of Henry Tomlinson, now I am certain that it is the only city that ever could have.

In Search of Henry

I have an ignominious confession to make.  At the very end of 2015 I went to Oxford… for the first time in my life.  However, it isn’t as scandalous as it seems, as I thought I had been there before. Only, I hadn’t.

When I wrote ‘Existence Is Futile’ I had a clear desire to write about Oxford.  My decision to loosely base Professor Henry Tomlinson on Richard Dawkins’ public persona meant that Oxford felt perfectly apt.  I had a vague memory of racing my brother on a university square whilst my parents hummed the tune to Chariots of Fire, culminating in the greatest slow-motion finish in the entire history of everything ever that wasn’t ever filmed in slow motion.  It saddens me to acknowledge the fact that this vague memory quite probably never happened.

The fact is that lying is somewhat the purview of a writer.  If a writer is able to make a truth pliable, and make you believe that what isn’t is, they have performed the greatest of tricks.  The creation of a new reality.

The truth is that lies come in all manner of shapes and sizes.  They can be gargantuan.  They can be tiny.  ‘Existence Is Futile’ contains three individual rather tiny lies based around typical English names for things.  Although these are somewhat innocent lies, each one has its origins in the absurd reality of my green and pleasant homeland.

The first one struck me when I began researching Oxford as a location.  It was whilst researching the county where Oxford resides that I became somewhat enamored by the village names that can be found on the map of Oxfordshire.  Hampton Gay, Islip, Little Coxwell, Pishill, Little Farker and Horton-Cum-Studley are a mere selection  of the flamboyant magnificence that this county has to offer.  Did you catch it?  Did you even notice?  Little Farker was my creation.  It may surprise you that when I christened Henry Tomlinson’s village Little Farker it wasn’t initially for the purpose of easy jokes.  It was because somehow it fit snugly, like a bug in a rug.

Little Farker wasn’t my only use of poetic license.  England has a somewhat peculiar obsession with pub names.  They range from the damn right dull to the borderline offensive.  The pub name I used does not exist.  Here is a quiz question for you….

 I will give you the answer next Tuesday.  In the meantime take a look at this Metro article about some of the more interesting pub names in Britain.

The final lie which I must confess to is that I changed the name of the hospital in Oxford.  All across England are hospitals named after Saints.  I personally think it is a terrible idea.  It is something Professor Henry Tomlinson would never stand for.  The idea of naming a hospital after a Saint is as rational as naming a slice of bacon after a pig and is as just as likely to improve the pig’s future as a patient’s.    I named the hospital in ‘Existence Is Futile’ after a somewhat obscure Saint named Dymphna.  According to Wikipedia Saint Dymphna is the patron Saint of:

St. Dymphna is the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and those who suffer neurological disorders – and, consequently, of psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. She is also the patron saint of victims of incest.

I do hope it worries you that the same Saint that cares for the crazy apparently cares for the health care professionals that also care for the crazy. It is like a one stop solution with extra incest thrown in free of charge.  I think it is somewhat obvious why she seemed the perfect choice.

When we decided to go and visit Oxford it occurred to me that I could use it to trace the path of Professor Henry Tomlinson.  So we did it.  Unsurprisingly, we found a somewhat different reality to the one in ‘Existence Is Futile’.  Oxford wasn’t exactly as I had written.  It was almost like someone had used it as a basis, and then created a work of fiction around it.  How bloody infuriating!

The next part of ‘In Search of Henry’ will be published here on Tuesday 2nd February.

 

A Romantic Gift To You All

It’s hard to believe that this day has come around again.  The one day a year when we express our love for each other in the most crass manner possible.  It is of course the most romantic day of the calendar year, Iraqi Communist Martyrs Day.

To mark a day of such importance and to demonstrate my love for each and every one of you I have decided to give you the literary equivalent of a flash of ankle at a nunnery.  I know, I know.  I am too kind.  Are you ready?  Take a seat, turn the lights down low and prepare to high-five an imaginary me.

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I am aware that the cover image contains more sexy than legally permitted in sixty-nine countries on this planet, therefore, I shall give you a moment to compose yourself.

Are you ready?  Let us continue.  It is time for the blurb.  For those of you that don’t know, a blurb is not a french swear word.  Although it probably should be.  A blurb is the description of the book which appears on the back cover.  It usually contains words.  Next to other words.  Here it is, for the first time ever, ladies and gentleman, Mourning Morning.

 

What if time was broken?  Would life continue as normal? Or would everything just stop?

For Norman Coleslaw, a young trainee journalist, a regular bicycle ride propels him into a week like nobody has ever experienced before.  A week free from reality, and the constraints of time.

Norman’s search for truth leads him into the path of great danger, and eventually places him nipple-to-face with the most dangerous man Miranisha has ever known, General Alain de Wilderspin.

Mourning Morning, the second novel from Scott Andrews, takes you on a riotous romp through the kind of absurd landscape which can only occur in a post-modern dictatorship.

And the best news of all, please whatever you do, do NOT explode from happiness – ‘Mourning Morning’ will go on sale next weekend, via Amazon.

I know what you are thinking.  That I have lost track of the true meaning of Iraqi Communist Martyrs Day.  That I don’t really love you, that I just want you to buy my book. Of course I want you to buy my book, but not merely because of a commercial day created to sell themed merchandise and greetings cards to the brainless masses.  I want you to buy the book because it is a good book.  Much like my other one.

Some of you out there in cyberspace may have read my first novel ‘Existence Is Futile’. Recently I had a lovely surprise when the author of the Witch Hunter trilogy, K.S. Marsden, announced her top 20 books on her website ‘The Northern Witch’s Book Blog’.  ‘Existence Is Futile’ is among them.  You can find her top 20 list right here and read her review right here.

The fact is and I have to be honest here, I know what you are thinking.  The dreaded second album.  The sequel. The second series.  You are worried that there is no way it can live up to expectations.  Let me set you straight.  I actually wrote ‘Mourning Morning’ two years before ‘Existence Is Futile’ which means that many of you have already read the dreaded second book.  Mind-blowing isn’t?  It can only mean one thing, ‘Mourning Morning’ must be even better.  Right?

By the way, just in case you missed it, here is thirty-two seconds of cinematic porn.

Have a great weekend 🙂

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