Check out the latest review of Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat From The Past (Book 1 in the Series) on the stunning The Faerie Review Book Blog.
Well…..eventually the sun came out (actually, more like it stopped raining) and the kids and I finally got to go out, on a planned trip to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Having never been before, we didn’t know what to expect. But it was a great day out and all three of us were very glad we went. More importantly, I’m sure all four of us will be going back again next year. The balloons were brilliant (although we had to leave early, which meant we missed the night time burn…..something we all would have liked to see), and wandering around the stalls and the fairground attractions was a real buzz. There was a great atmosphere and it was incredibly child friendly. Luckily the weather was okay, with the sun poking its head through the clouds for the most part and, more importantly, it stayed dry.
With almost every food imaginable on display, my children were salivating from the moment we arrived. I’m not sure I’ve seen such a diverse offering on quite that scale.
The biggest surprise for me was the live music. It was all incredibly entertaining, and non more so than a very talented artist by the name of Jasper Storey. Ed Sheeranesque is how my children would describe him, with my oldest so hooked that the first thing she did the next day was to download all of his music. With both of them sat next to me, mouths agog at just how good he was, it occurred to me that I should try and record at least one of his songs. So you can take a look below.
So if you get the chance next year to go along to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, we would all thoroughly recommend it as a wonderful family day out. But if there’s one lesson that we learned, it was not to turn up too early.
Having arrived when it opened at 12pm, we had an awfully long time to wait for the balloons to take flight somewhere towards 7pm. And with the night burn not starting until 9pm, it was just too long for us to stay. Most of the visitors seem to know all this, almost certainly from previous visits, and rocked up from late afternoon onwards. That would seem to be the way to go.
Off now to wait for the sunshine to make another appearance, in the hope that we can head to the Dorset coastline somewhere and make the most of the rapidly diminishing school summer holidays.
After a poor 2016 with a significant family loss, and what at times felt like being plagued by illness, it was at least notable for two things. Firstly, moving house, after 17 years in the old place, something that although we’ve only been in our new place a matter of weeks, I feel will significantly benefit us all as a family, in oh so many ways. And then for me, the rewriting of all four of my books over the course of the year. A Twisted Prophecy is still in the editing process, but the others have all been rewritten, not just edited. And that means that I’ve written over half a million words during 2016, in the tiny gaps where life hasn’t been kicking our collective ass. On a personal note, that’s what I will take out of what I consider quite a poor year, for me and pretty much everyone else. So just to brighten things up a little, here is one of my favourite pictures that I snapped, of Salisbury Cathedral, early one September morning.
So…..New Year’s Resolutions. All the normal ones of course: eat better, do more exercise, try and live a better life. On that front, my fourteen year old daughter has already taken me for a run. When we got home, it was hard to tell which of our bodies was in the greater shock. Oh well…..more of that to come I suppose. I will say at least it’s nice to have someone to run with. It certainly helps from a motivational point of view.
More writing this year would certainly be another goal. After all the rewriting last year, Book 4 has been on hold for quite some time, and only stands at 33,000 words, although it has been mapped out in quite a detailed way…..something I’ve never really done before. So I will be pounding the keys to see if I can get it finished by the end of the year. That’s probably slightly optimistic given that I would suggest it will be the longest book yet, and my guess is that it will exceed 300,000 words in total.
So to kick things off going into the New Year, I’m starting with a book promotion, offering up Book 1 in my series, Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat From The Past, on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents on Amazon.com and 99 pence on Amazon.co.uk starting on Monday January 2nd, heading right on through to Sunday January 15th. If you love fantasy, dragons, hockey, lacrosse, rugby or any other team sport, please take a chance and download my book. What have you got to lose? I’m convinced that you’ll love it…..plot, characters, twists and turns and of course my warped sense of humour. An honest review would also be much appreciated. While you’re at it, why not check out my interview on The Dragons’ Geas, your stop for all things fantastical and fun!
Wishing each and every one of you a Happy New Year.
I was saddened to hear about the death last week of my favourite author, Terry Pratchett. His books have long since made up a huge part of my life, not just in reading them, but in inspiring me to write my own. He was a massive talent that will be hugely missed by so many, myself included.
WARNING! BOOK AND PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD!
It all started when my wife bought me The Colour Of Magic for Christmas one year. While not, in my humble opinion, the best book he wrote, it was enough to give me a little taste of what was to come.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to the fabulous Sam Vimes that I became truly hooked on the Disc World novels. Just writing his name is enough for me to be whisked off into the myriad of his adventures with all the other guards. Carrot, Angua, Nobby Nobbs, Colon, Detritus, Cheery, Lady Sybil and Lord Vetinari are all such brilliant characters who play off one another to perfection. Carrot and Angua’s relationship….. a werewolf and a human that’s a dwarf. Fantastic. Nobby and Colon, the two best friends that will do anything to stay out of trouble and do as little as possible, which despite their best efforts, never seem to come off. Cheery the dwarf…….a forensic specialist, a young lady hidden beneath her beard. Detritus, the hard as nails troll, who gets cleverer the colder it becomes. And of course the tyrant Lord Vetinari who orchestrates things down to the finest detail, without whose precision plans, the city that they all inhabit would cease to function. FANTASTIC! Every single book about Sam Vimes and the guards has captivated me. I think apart from the very first, each and every book after, I’ve bought on the day it’s come out, a rarity for me, apart from the odd Star Wars Expanded Universe book. Feet Of Clay, Jingo, Guards! Guards!, The Fifth Elephant, Men At Arms, Night Watch, Thud and Snuff all run through my mind at just the mention of their titles. Adventures intricately written, and fabulously told, so bold and clear I can see the characters in stunning detail, playing out like a movie in my head. It’s not only the plots and the characters though. One of these books……….The Fifth Elephant, is my favourite book of all time. It’s hard for me to describe just how good it is. The very start is hilarious, and looks to me like the king of words, Terry Pratchett, would have, around the time of writing this, either been caught speeding by the police or had his car clamped, given the clever way this topic has been woven into the start of the book. Truly wonderful! Although clever and amusing (just like the whole book), it’s not the best part in my opinion, or indeed the funniest. One part above all others made, and still makes me laugh every time I read it. It’s making me smile, just thinking about it. Carrot enlists the help of the talking dog, Gaspode, to help track Angua. After freeing a wolf from the clutches of some villagers, Carrot asks Gaspode what the name of the wolf they’ve freed is. Reluctantly, Gaspode tells him. I won’t tell you what the wolf’s name is, but that whole section is so funny. Made me cry with laughter when I first read it.
Much as I’ve harped on about Sam Vimes and the guards, there is still much more to Disc World than all of that. The Thief Of Time is a rollercoaster ride of merriment and mayhem that I’ve enjoyed reading over and over again. The same could be said for Making Money, Going Postal and Raising Steam. To come up with an amazing character such as Moist von Lipwig just shows what a talent Terry Pratchett really was. I love everything about him, and I’m sure like me, everyone that reads these books ends up rooting for him to succeed against the odds.
While these are my favourites, I have got nearly all of Terry Pratchett’s books tucked away on my array of bookshelves. I’ve taken great pleasure from reading Unseen Academicals, Wintersmith, Nation, Sourcery, Equal Rites, The Light Fantastic, Carpe Jugulum, Pyramids, Mort, The Hogfather, Witches Abroad and undoubtedly I’ve left out a few, there are just so many. I have extremely fond memories of reading, and rereading, all of these books. They have given me so much pleasure. So I would just like to say a great big THANK YOU to Terry Pratchett. Your words, stories and wonder will remain with me for as long as I live. I for one will miss you a great deal. And if for some reason you haven’t read any of Terry Pratchett’s work. Then you really should. He was a genius in every sense of the word. Wander down to your local bookstore and treat yourself now!