On a clear day you can smell forever

It’s a late Spring, the same sort of weather as the time Not Your Heart Away was set. The sky is grey but the birds are singing. And just as then a cold Spring that combined light evenings with chilled hands, a time someone recalled as one of country pubs, cold girls and warm cars. It’s odd remembering that as I’m trying to work against the clock trying to get the book turned into a film script for Monday.

It’s going well but I just don’t know if I’ve got enough time. Bolstered though by a rather lovely email I got today from the lady who runs the Suffolk Arts Club.

 

PS  Have read the last section of your book, excellent.  Have now lent it to Elaine who was here when you came last Saturday

Caroline Wiseman

Caroline Wiseman Modern and Contemporary

The Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and The Art House

 

I think I’ve found some new energy, after that. I know this: that I’ve never done anything better or more worthwhile than writing this book and this script, now. Wish me luck.

 

Share Button

Claire

The character Claire in Not Your Heart Away is fictitious. So it was a bit of a shock to find her picture on my laptop, or at least, how I imagined her to be. I was just tidying up, getting rid of some stuff, putting files in folders when I found her.

576780_507454145977960_554553738_n

I have no idea who took this picture or when. Sadly, it wasn’t me. But it’s definitely Claire. The big but not luxurious house in the English countryside late one summer afternoon. The coltishness. The waiting. The cigarette. I couldn’t have made this up if I’d tried.

But I still don’t know who owns the rights to this picture and I’d like to use it for the cover of the book. So if it’s your picture, please let me know. If you think you know whose it is, get in touch.

There is a reward, a free paperback copy of Not Your Heart Away. And yes, to save you the bother, I’ve already looked on TinEye. It’s not there.

Share Button

Turned out nice after all

Not Your Heart Away is getting some really lovely reviews. I haven’t done what some people have recommended, paid for them, not after I found someone in India advertising his services on Linkedin. Apparently you can just pay someone to ‘review’ your book. If you haven’t got any customers and you write crap you probably need to. If you can live with yourself afterwards is another matter.

But anyway, I didn’t pay. I can’t believe anyone would, but they obviously do.

You can find the latest five-star Amazon review I haven’t paid for here. I have not spoken to this person in the flesh for over 25 years, so I was quite touched to read this.

 

 

 

Share Button

Temporary Glitch

Well, sorry about this. The Kindle version of Not Your Heart Away is fine, no interruptions there, but the paperback version has a 48 hour hold on printing. It should be available again on Monday at the latest, so please check back. Just one of those printing things – I made a change to one word on the cover and had to start the review process over again!

Sorry. The best things are worth waiting for.

Share Button

The Treatment

Just checked into the BBC Writer’s Room after months not doing that, and paying the price for it. There’s a film script submissions ad. Yes, a real production company actually WANT people to send them film scripts.

The only snag is they want a full script by the 15th, 13 days time.

So I’d better get on with it. Another idea, “Dukey & Tamara” is going to have to wait until the film script is done. First I need to find some software I can understand. So far I’ve looked at Celtx and the Adobe one. Can’t quite get to grips with either of them, but I’d better try.

After all, I’ve got the MS done and the opening has a shipwreck then a UFO then a car crash. Some sex, some drugs, some actual tenderness, a big fast car then an inter-generational surprise. What more do they want?

Share Button

One Day Only

This Sunday, Not Your Heart Away is FREE on Kindle, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Heart-Away-Carl-Bennett/dp/1482602954/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364674007&sr=8-1. Love, big houses, fast cars and naivety one country summer.

This special promotion is to celebrate the paperback finally being published. That’s not free.

So do yourself a favour, get a drink. Sit down. Open the book and be back there, in the best summer of your life. You might need some tissues at the end though.

Sorry about that.

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Heart-Away-Carl-Bennett/dp/1482602954/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364674007&sr=8-1.

Share Button

Cow Town, Pig Town

I heard the trailer for Shane on BBC Radio 4 most of this week. I’ve never read it or heard the play, but I heard the Kenneth Williams spoofs on Around The Horne years ago. Where did he come from, that magnificent silent homme?

I’ve had the phrase Cow Town going through my head all day. I lived in Aspen once, but that was a Sheep Town, it being sheep that cropped the range in those parts back when silver was the only other crop there. The town I grew up in, Trowbridge, that used to be Pig Town. It was where Bowyers, the pork pie factory was, where we heard the pigs squealing for hours on pie day, then the silence, then the smell as the carcasses were flensed. Happy days, unless, obviously, you were a pig.

I don’t know anywhere like that these days. Just outside Bury St Edmunds there’s the huge British Sugar boiling plant, where they boil up sugar beet to make white sugar crystals; the Cloud Factory, a friend of mine used to call it, because of the steam that comes out of the place every day of the year and it being East Anglia, merging into the cloudbase not very high above most days.

Sugar Town, perhaps, although Bury St Edmunds doesn’t look as it it has much to do with In Watermelon Sugar, nor, to be fair, with iDeath.

I’m looking for a title, you see. Once you’ve got the title the rest of it will flow. Bound to, isn’t it? That’s my excuse for not writing today, anyway. I can’t think of the title. Nor the ending. I’ve got some of the plot.

Share Button

Out Now In Paperback

 

 

Not_Your_Heart_Away_Cover_for_Kindle

Well, it’s finally out in paperback.

I got four review copies nearly a month ago and sent them off to people who’d been involved with the book. Two of them haven’t bothered to read it yet. Thanks guys, glad I bothered sending it. One is still reading it. One I don’t know whether they’ve read it or not because they’ve stopped talking to me. I think they’ve read it and believed it to be a true story. It isn’t. It employs a literary technique what we artists call ‘making things up.’

It’s got three very good reviews so far and it’s also done a strange thing. Two people started sobbing after they read it. They told me it wasn’t because it was so utterly bad that they were weeping out of grief at wasting their time reading it, but neither one can tell me exactly what they were sobbing about. Times past, maybe.

Anyway, if your nose is blocked and you fancy having red eyes you can now go and get your own paperback copy, just like a real book, on paper and everything, thanks to the wonders of Amazon. Just click on the picture and the interweb will take you straight back in time. Sobbing.

 

 

Share Button

Double-Spaced

I saw an advert for a writing magazine today, explaining why writers used to use double-spacing on the page.

Maybe I should explain the concept, as it’s so obviously now not what people do, yes dear reader, even me.

It used to mean leaving a blank line between each line you type. In those impossibly far-off days when I learned on my bright orange portable Smith-Corona at the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education I wanted to be a journalist. Sort-of wanted to, anyway. We had to learn how to type and take shorthand, or at least T-line shorthand. The idea was you typed your stuff out and then somebody else sub-edited it, checking it for spelling, typos, grammer and style. I know, ludicrous over-manning, isn’t it? You can get a machine to do that. Well, you can now. You couldn’t then.

Given that the copy was on bits of paper – and yes, I am aware how much this is coming to resemble something Howard Carter (not to be confused with Howard Jones, which is all too easy to do for someone of my generation) might have deduced in the tomb of Tutankhamun, however it’s said now – someone actually had to take a biro, preferably red, and mark-up the errors in a code of notches and marks that even then went back years. If an extra word was needed say, or the sub thought these three words could be two and needed to be moved the other end of the sentence anyway, he’d – no, wait, honestly – write the words on the paper and maybe draw an arrow to show where they should go. The blank line between the lines gave him somewhere to do it. And yes, subs were almost always men in those days. Crazy times, hey?

After that we all trapped a bison in a pit and went down the pub.

But there was always a double-meaning to writing between the lines. Roy Harper even had an album called In Between Every Line. There was a romance to it, often one you’d sadly read into letters from your old girlfriend at school telling you about a trip to York at the weekend or somewhere equally implausible when you lived in Wiltshire, the reasons for which you didn’t really need invisible ink to work out. There was the spice and danger of No Man’s Land about the between the lines concept too, the haunted place that Biggles and Drummond and countless others found themselves pitched into by accident, stuck between the Hun’s front lines and our own, in the mythical 1916 that clearly still tormented some of the most elderly teachers at school. Some of ours were certainly old enough to have shouldered a Lee-Enfield.

So it was odd, anyway, to see double-space typing being reinvented the same day as the news the Telegraph is to merge with the Sunday Telegraph broke. I don’t really care what happens to the Sunday Telegraph but I do care about the inability of the BBC to report a story without non-sequiturs, or to ask questions that mean anything when they’re clearly being fed nonsense. Perhaps they think it’s impolite these days.

The man from the Telegraph explained it. Or maybe he was a Professor of Journalism, which would make it even more tragic. The two papers are going digital, he said. The Telegraph was one of the first papers to do this, even before the millenium. Ex-pats in Spanish marinas could happily fulminate about Engerlund goindahnvatube without even needing to go and talk to people with dark skins at the newspaper stall.

The Telegraph had found it was stuck with all this expensive kit for printing ink onto paper, presses that cost millions and had a re-sale value of pennies if you could find anybody who wanted one in the first place and had the cranes and lorries and the skills to get it out of the building and re-assembled without reducing it to scrap. So the obvious thing to do is sack some of the editorial staff. Obviously. The people who do the things that the readers actually chose the product for. It’s not that the Telegraph isn’t making a profit. Just not enough profit for the people who own it, so they’re going to get rid of the people who make the customers come and buy it. Sometimes I really wish I’d been to business school, so I could understand this stuff.

The Telegraph will turn into Yahoo! News, a home for the useless, reduced to re-packaging Sky News and anything somebody else did to achieve a homogenised product that will investigate precisely nothing at all but will let you know when Kim Kardashian’s silicon enhancement check-up is due. And it’ll have even more errors, real, basic type-errors, because for some reason it’s almost impossible to check things on screen.

I typed 110,000 words for Not Your Heart Away. I checked it again and again and again. Someone else edited it as well. I ordered some proof copies because I wanted it out as a paperback as well. And that was when I saw the mistakes.

I couldn’t believe it. In some parts of the book there was a mistake on every page. Other places it was fine for ten pages or so, but then the most basic typos would be there again. Two words the same. A word that obviously hadn’t been deleted when two sentences were cut and spliced together.  It re-convinced me that you can’t edit well on screen, however many times you go over it. I think I’ve got them all now. I hope so anyway.

Odd that now everyone uses a keyboard absolutely no-one is taught how to type as part of their elementary education let alone higher studies but as Molesworth used to say, let it pass.

 

Share Button

The Proof Copies Are Here!

IMG_0844

 

They arrived today, thanks to a really fast delivery from UPS. Now I have to sit and read through and shred them to pieces to get rid of any mistakes and clumsy usage that has made it through this far.

Very strange feeling handling these proofs. I like the cover a lot. It comes in at 312 pages and 110,000 words. It’s quite sizeable. Somehow I thought it would print smaller.

But it’s here at last. Now to do the final edits and see what happens.

You can click on the picture to go to the Amazon site for a Kindle copy now. If you want an analog version you’ll just have to wait until they’re proofed. Won’t be long.

 

 

Share Button