JACK LOCKWOOD DIARIES

My book of short stories is free right now and you can buy it  here

Here’s one of them in case you’d like a quick look

THE FOURSOME

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“Thing is, the engines on the original steam trains all had individual numbers. Of course, that was before the Great Western Railway became nationalized in 1947. The first engine was number…”

“Shut up, Peter!”

“Put a sock in it!”

“B*******!”

Peter Forester was a really nice man, always ready to help a friend at a moment’s notice, generous to a fault, thoughtful and kind. Unfortunately he was also one of the most boring people I’ve ever known in my life.

Because he was nice he had plenty of friends, but they were the kind of friends who bawled ‘Boring’, every time he launched on his latest diatribe about railway trains, the different varieties of real ale, the origins of cricket or the international rules for table tennis championships. When he gets chastened like this he just smiles good-naturedly, never taking offence, and that’s why everyone likes him so much. He’s a bit like a TV that goes haywire sometimes and the only way to get a decent picture is to bash it hard.

It was fortuitous for all of us when the two women came into the Dog and Duck that evening, when Peter, Stuart, Jonathan and I were chatting desultorily over our pints.

The moment Peter saw Susanne Butler he couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Actually neither could any of us, but the other three were married or had girlfriends, so they couldn’t admire her quite so obviously. Susanne had long dark hair, a wonderful figure, sensational smile and an intelligent lively face. Susanne was with her friend Jane—we didn’t know their names at first of course, but it was a quiet evening in the pub, and Stuart chatted to them at the bar, and they were happy to come and join us.

They were Scottish student nurses, in their early thirties by the look of it, and on holiday in the south of England, staying nearby, keen to see the delights of Canterbury and the other beauty spots in Kent.

We spent a very pleasant evening, and I hope they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs.

Peter collared me in the Gents toilet.

“Jack, you’ve got to help me,” he said. “I’m in love! I’ve just got to ask her out.”

“Which one?”

“Susanne, of course, the beautiful one. I mean Jane, the blonde girl, is really nice, but Susanne is sensational.”

“Well, she’s on holiday. She’d probably love to spend an evening with you.”

“Maybe. But she’s with her friend, she’s obviously a thoughtful girl, wouldn’t want to leave her friend alone for the evening, it wouldn’t be fair.”

“S’pose so,” I agreed.

“Whereas she might come out on a foursome. With you and me.”

Bugger! The thought of an evening of ‘undiluted Peter’, with no one around to shout ‘Boring’ to shut him up, made me feel almost suicidal, but then, if the two girls agreed they’d be coming too, I’d surely be spared Peter’s tedious rants. And maybe I could tactfully steer the talk away from anything that seemed too onerous.

“Okay,” I agreed without enthusiasm. “Let’s suggest it.”

Secretly I was quite excited about the idea, because I was keen on Susanne too, and if by any chance it turned out that she was more interested in me than Peter, I certainly wouldn’t complain. She seemed a really interesting friendly girl, full of lively chatter, whereas her friend Jane seemed quiet and actually rather hard to talk to.

Everything went according to plan. The girls agreed with alacrity that on the following evening, Thursday, they’d meet the pair of us at six o’clock in the Dog and Duck, and we’d take them on the ghost tour of Canterbury—an inspired suggestion of Peter’s, because Jane had let slip that she was interested in the supernatural.

But early the following evening fate stepped in and wrecked everything. While I was climbing on a stepladder, it toppled over and I fell to the ground, twisting my ankle. No damage was done that wouldn’t repair itself in time, but, for the next few days I was going to have to hobble about, and driving or walking was out of the question.

I phoned Peter with the bad news; unfortunately it had happened only half an hour before we were due to meet the girls, so Peter had no choice but to take the pair of them out on his own. It really was the worst luck imaginable, but what could I do? Of all the ironies, I had the uncharitable feeling that Susanne did like me better than Peter, and I had been looking forward to hoping that the ‘best man’, i.e. me, might win. Perhaps fate had kicked me in the teeth on purpose. Maybe I deserved it.

An hour later there was a knock on my front door.

I hobbled out to answer it.

To my delight, Susanne was standing on the step.

“D’ye mind if I come in, Jack?” she asked, stepping into my hallway. “Peter told me about your accident, and I was worried about ye.”

“There was no need for you to come.” I welcomed her into the living room, unable to suppress my delight. “You should have gone on the ghost tour.”

“Och, away with you, it’s Jane likes the ghosts and ghoulies, not me, tell the truth I’m glad to get out of it. Besides, the pair of them were rabbiting away together, I didnae want to play gooseberry. Between you and me, sometimes Jane tends to talk too much, you have to find a way to tactfully shut her up, poor old Peter’s probably getting earache by now. Sit yerself down Jack, you’ll be needing a wee bag of frozen peas on that ankle, you stay put now in the chair, I’ll make us some supper later, but how about a wee snack now?”

This was better than I could possibly have imagined. Susanne was kind and attentive, and arranged cushions on my armchair, a footstool to prop up my foot and made some coffee, even found some biscuits in the kitchen.

She sat down in the sofa opposite.

“Och this is cosy, is it not, Jack?” She smiled and I noticed an attractive dimple in her chin. I imagined moving to the sofa beside her later on, perhaps draping a casual arm across her shoulders.

“Do you ken something? Between you and me, I know Peter’s your friend, but I’d never have gone out with him on my own. He’s really not my type. I’m so glad it’s just you—Jane’s a lot nicer than I am, she’s a born listener, she can put up with any amount of boring blather about railways and cars and real ale and computers, I know you men like to blather on about that kind of thing.”

Susanne was even more attractive than I remembered, she was obviously thoughtful and kind, and shortly afterwards she’d found some ham, eggs and bread and managed to knock together something for us to eat. I was eying the space beside her on the sofa more and more, wondering when I could hobble across without making my intentions too obvious.

“Aye, Jack, d’ye know I liked you from the moment I set eyes on you,” she said, reaching into the shoulder bag she’d brought with her. She looked at her watch. “Jack, would you mind very much if we have the telly on? Think Emmerdale’s on a wee bit later. I’m addicted to the soaps, me. D’ye know, Jack, I’ve watched every single episode of Coronation Street and Emmerdale since I was ten years old? In fact I’ve made two hundred and thirty-eight pages of notes covering every episode of Corrie, since 1999! They’re right here!” She placed the large folder on her knees and opened it up, taking out some pages. “It’s lucky, we’ve got a couple of hours before it starts, we’ve just got time for me to bring you up to date on all the story lines…”

 

 

Watt’s wrong with Wattpad – or is it just me?

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Like thousands of others, I write novels and ‘self-pub’ them on kindle and try to sell them.  A long while ago I also started a couple of my own blogs of short stories, initially hoping they’d act as a way of publicising my novels.

Needless to say like so many things in life it didn’t work out that way.  Some people read the stories but it led to no improved sales of the novels.

The point was though, I found I liked doing it, so continued.  It was enjoyable getting an idea for a short story, putting it out, and although there was never any prospect of earning any money, it was nice to think of people all over the world  reading them, and enjoying them.

A few people read the stories, and then my kind friend Darcia Helle (@DarciaHelle) told me about ‘Readwave’, a website for short stories.  I put my stories on there, and it was great.  Hundreds of people all over the world read them, some commented, and when I put on a new story within minutes I had many readers, some had hundreds of reads, some had over a thousand.  Readwave asked me to read other people stories, it was nice.

Then Readwave ended, just like that.  So I tried Wattpad.

And guess what?

I’m lucky if I get half a dozen readers.  I get more readers just off my own blog generally than from Wattpad.  Yet some of the Wattpad stories get thousands of reads.

So am I doing something wrong?

First let me tell you, I’m a technophobe. I hate learning processes, doing downloads, putting in passwords and generally messing about clicking, clacking and delving all over the place on sites and the far reaches of the Internet.  So it’s quite possible there’s some protocol or process I ought to do that I’m not doing, but I can’t see what it is.

The format seems much the same as Readwave, they seem to have thousands of writers, yet it seems like a strange confusing muddle to me.  A fellow short story writer on Readwave, who is absolutely superlative story teller, is also on Wattpad, and even he doesn’t seem to have many readers, and on readwave he was certainly a star, in my opinion, deservedly so.

So, presumably, I’m not on my own.

Oddly, Wattpad seems to have the facility for letting you do a story and then adding to the same story in parts progressively.  What for?  Surely if you do that, it’s a novel, not a short story.  Surely a short story, even if it’s in a series with the same characters, is complete on its own?

So am I doing something wrong?

Is Watttpad working for you?

And if there’s another site like Readwave that works for you, please let me know about it.

Wattpad isn’t doing it for me.

I only wish it was.

 

 

 

 

Walking on Sunshine Blog Party

Kind Sue has mentioned me in her blog, and just to add that the third Jack novel SHEER FEAR is on free offer right now

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So Olga asked if I was going to join Hugh’s party this weekend. Not one to pass up such an invitation, I cast about thinking of who to bring. Sally Cronin had already kicked off the shenanigans on Hugh’s pages, Ailsa Abraham, David Prosser hmm…

So who should I invite? I wouldn’t be able to bring everyone …I’d have to get up a coach party. There are way too many supportive people in our community! Chief amongst those who daily ‘spread the love’ is Chris Graham, of course, but there are more than apes out there who daily support other writers and bloggers… names that are familiar to many, like Barb Taub and Viv Drewa ; Katie Sullivan, Jo and Ronovan…old friends like Alienora Taylor and Gary Vasey, more recent ones like Geoff at Tangental, or Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, whose path…

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Here is my interview with Stuart Keane

Firstly this is not my interview, cannot claim credit, I’m just reblogging it.

Suart Keane is a writer of chillingly good horror and a good friend, here’s how he got to where he has

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Name Stuart Keane

Age 34

Where are you from

I was born and raised in Kent, but now reside in Essex.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  

I’m married to a supportive wife, Leisyen, and I have two sisters, Joanne and Kirsty. I also have a nephew, Ethan, and a Bengal cat called Vincent (named after Vincent Price). I studied Media and Communication for three years out of school, and worked various customer service roles, before setting my sights on a writing career.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Well, I recently joined the Author’s Guild, accepted an invite for a comic convention in Brussels, signed a publishing contract with Matt Shaw Publications. Matt will be republishing my book, Cine, as a black cover book, with a few tweaks and a special foreword from Matt himself. The book is available for pre-order now.

I…

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Author Val Poore, Life HER Way

Val is one of my all time favourite authors, and also one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever come across

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Meet Author Valerie Poore, Living Life HER Way.

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Best selling author Valerie Poore’s books include “Watery Ways,” “Walloon Ways,” “African Ways,” “Harbour Ways,” “How to Breed Sheep, Geese And English Eccentrics, and “The Skipper’s Child.” Her secret to success could be her courage to live life her way, never abandoning dreams no matter how impossible they seem. I am honored that she agreed to share my blog this week.

Val, do you remember what age were you when you decided to become a writer and what inspired you to make that decision? What is the earliest writing success you remember? Have there been any heartbreak rejections? If so…what kept you going?

Oh my goodness, Steph, I cannot remember ever not writing something. I wrote reams of stories as a child and then later, I wrote more descriptive articles. I also had to write for my work as a communications manager…

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10 Funniest Typos (and a couple more)

Some humour from my friend Julia. I’d like to another one. The man in a novel who came from Manchester “Who spoke with a Manchurian accent”. Here’s Julia:

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Every now and then, in my job as a proofreader, I come across a typo that makes me laugh out loud or elicits a ‘Whhhhaaaaaat?!’ – when the author accidentally writes something that ends up having a meaning they really did not intend.  I got the idea for this post while reviewing the work of my author sister (@TerryTyler4), who said that when writing at speed and getting involved with the story, it’s so easy to type something that you simply can’t believe you did. (Which is another reason not to use that old false friend spellcheck, by the way, because these are mostly genuine words, just in the wrong place.)

I’ve been keeping a list (and I wish I’d started it earlier, I’ve seen some absolute lulus!) I thought I’d share them here for your amusement, and they are all strictly anonymous – I will not reveal…

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Publishing: A lot of Smoke and Mirrors?

Very good advice here from Jan

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In which I’m made to eat my words as I come full circle through the maze of publishing to discover that the grass isn’t necessarily greener over there; it’s still mostly desert scrub from every direction…

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Last year I wrote a general post about the publishing industry which resonated with a lot of independent authors: https://janruthblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/my-affair-with-john-hudspith-and-why-i-had-to-leave-self-publishing/

It came about through sheer frustration at the lack of visibility and the cost of producing books. A turning point came when a small press offered a contract for Silver Rain. This is it, I thought. This is the change of direction I need… but be careful what you wish for! Don’t get me wrong in that I had huge delusional ideas at this stage. I was simply seeking greater visibility and some respite from the nuts and bolts of self-publishing.

And all the outward signs were good: they took five back-catalogue titles and one…

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