Who’s that character creeping up on you?

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A little piece I wrote for Layered Pages – suitable for Adults / Kids / Pets and Flowers!!!

https://layeredpages.com/2017/06/02/the-importance-of-subsidiary-characters-in-the-novel-with-darius-stransky/

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TKJ -Down but not Out -The writer cries ‘ENOUGH!’

You novelists out there may appreciate this and to all you readers here’s an insight into the trials and tribulations of a writer. Not just me but ALL writers.

Open on my laptop is a copy of The King’s Jew – Book two.

1

Link to Book http://amzn.to/2h8SUcb

I’ve been working on it most of the day – apart from a trip to my local coffee house for rest and recuperation! TWICE!

I’m sick of Book Two.

I’ve just about had enough of it. Though it started out as a labor of love and could have been sent out into the big wide world at least four months ago I made a fatal error.

An ERROR I hear you cry. What sort of an error?

error

 

Well, a very tiny one – so it seemed at first. You see, I thought an additional chapter needed to be inserted. Not a very long chapter but one that would tie up a very small loose end.

BIG MISTAKE!

By setting out on that small modification things gradually got out of hand. The darn book took on a mind of its own and I found myself reduced to the position of slave locked in chains by the words not yet written.

 

superman_breaking_chains_by_gavinslayer

 

This medieval historical adventure, mystery, love story, tale of companionship and honor was originally meant to be a trilogy. But guess what happened?

It’s turned into a quartet!!! That means I not only have to get all the I’s crossed and the T’s dotted (deliberate mistake for those who are paying attention) but I have to write another bloody book!

Oh, I could conceivably just keep it as three books but that wouldn’t tell the darn story properly and that’s what a real writer does, isn’t it? TELLS THE BLOODY STORY!

So why am I assailing you readers and writers with my troubles?

Because you need to know that the finished article/book/novel you have just read and enjoyed can sometimes be as hard as the labours of Sisyphus to produce.

 

sisyphus

 

That’s how I feel right now anyway and that is why I broke off to pen this little tirade.

Book Two is still lurking in the background of my PC and I know I have to get back to it but for goodness sake, I just needed a break.

Maybe, just maybe, when I open the window to view Book Two a miracle will have happened and some Deus ex Machina will have come down from above and – as if by magic – finished the thing for me. I’m not holding my breath!

 

deusexmachina

 

In conclusion – this new work is due for publication in December and IT WILL BE DONE. After all, I had to get my art department to change the cover to reflect the changes inside. I had to keep putting back the publication date to reflect the extra work involved AND – last but not least – I have to say that apart from anything else I have enjoyed making these changes. It completes the work, adds not subtracts and I just hope all you readers out there enjoy it.

If you don’t then it’s not from any form of complacency on my part. I’ve done my best and if that ain’t good enough then write one of your own! Ooo that wasn’t very nice was it?

Oh, and if you want to get Book One whilst you’re in the mood then just click here The King’s Jew Book One.

Thank you for listening. Back to work now. I enjoyed the break. Much love from me and a kiss for the ladies and a beer for the men. Or whichever takes your fancy.

 

kiss

 

beer

 

 

TKJ -Down but not Out -The writer cries ‘ENOUGH!’

You novelists out there may appreciate this and to all you readers here’s an insight into the trials and tribulations of a writer. Not just me but ALL writers.

Open on my laptop is a copy of The King’s Jew – Book two.

1

 

I’ve been working on it most of the day – apart from a trip to my local coffee house for rest and recuperation! TWICE!

I’m sick of Book Two.

I’ve just about had enough of it. Though it started out as a labor of love and could have been sent out into the big wide world at least four months ago I made a fatal error.

An ERROR I hear you cry. What sort of an error?

error

 

Well, a very tiny one – so it seemed at first. You see, I thought an additional chapter needed to be inserted. Not a very long chapter but one that would tie up a very small loose end.

BIG MISTAKE!

By setting out on that small modification things gradually got out of hand. The darn book took on a mind of its own and I found myself reduced to the position of slave locked in chains by the words not yet written.

 

superman_breaking_chains_by_gavinslayer

Writer in chains

 

This medieval historical adventure, mystery, love story, tale of companionship and honor was originally meant to be a trilogy. But guess what happened?

It’s turned into a quartet!!! That means I not only have to get all the I’s crossed and the T’s dotted (deliberate mistake for those who are paying attention) but I have to write another bloody book!

Oh, I could conceivably just keep it as three books but that wouldn’t tell the darn story properly and that’s what a real writer does, isn’t it? TELLS THE BLOODY STORY!

So why am I assailing you readers and writers with my troubles?

Because you need to know that the finished article/book/novel you have just read and enjoyed can sometimes be as hard as the labours of Sisyphus to produce.

 

sisyphus

Will it never end?

 

That’s how I feel right now anyway and that is why I broke off to pen this little tirade.

Book Two is still lurking in the background of my PC and I know I have to get back to it but for goodness sake, I just needed a break.

Maybe, just maybe, when I open the window to view Book Two a miracle will have happened and some Deus ex Machina will have come down from above and – as if by magic – finished the thing for me. I’m not holding my breath!

 

deusexmachina

Deus ex Machina

 

In conclusion – this new work is due for publication in December and IT WILL BE DONE. After all, I had to get my art department to change the cover to reflect the changes inside. I had to keep putting back the publication date to reflect the extra work involved AND – last but not least – I have to say that apart from anything else I have enjoyed making these changes. It completes the work, adds not subtracts and I just hope all you readers out there enjoy it.

If you don’t then it’s not from any form of complacency on my part. I’ve done my best and if that ain’t good enough then write one of your own! Ooo that wasn’t very nice was it?

Oh, and if you want to get Book One whilst you’re in the mood then just click here The King’s Jew Book One.

Thank you for listening. Back to work now. I enjoyed the break. Much love from me and a kiss for the ladies and a beer for the men. Or whichever takes your fancy.

 

kiss

For the ladies

 

beer

For the boys

 

 

In the shower with a writer

Greetings to my fellow authors, writers and readers.

You can read this and be sure that there are no ‘F’ words or profanity of any sort. Indeed, this is the cleanest piece of work I have ever written.

Why?

Because I just got out of the shower and am now squeaky clean!

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What has the shower got to do with writing I hear you ask?

Well, there are many little ditties that say: You know you’re a writer when –

Examples –

  • You know you’re a writer when – Deleting whole chapters in your manuscript is equivalent to repeatedly stabbing yourself in the chest.
  • You know you’re a writer when – You make random odd expressions to make sure you’ve described them correctly.
  • You know you’re a writer when – You talk about your characters as if they are real people, which of course they are!
  • You know you’re a writer when – A brilliant idea comes to you in the bath or shower and you’re unable to write it down.

You get the picture? Is that you?

So picture this (the squeamish of you may wish to avert your eyes) I’m in the shower luxuriating in the splish, splash, splosh of this relaxing time and my questing fingers find my ears. Nothing unusual in that is there? But here’s the rub. Suddenly my ears take on a different meaning (I’ve got Irish ears by the way. The sort that tells you when the English are coming to throw us out of our rude huts! Big ones – ears that is, not huts)

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Now then, there’s a character in Book One of The King’s Jew  his name is Thomas Fletcher who also appears in the soon to be published Book Two.

I’ve not read book one for a long time (why should I? I wrote it!)

To continue – I’m still in the shower fondling my ears remember – well, in this second book I endowed the aforementioned character with a special feature which was revealed when another character was remembering him.

And this special feature? Thomas Fletcher only had one ear. That is why Crispin Bowman remembered him after several years from just one brief meeting.

Sounds believable, doesn’t it? I mean to say, one-eared people are memorable, aren’t they?

 

images-2

And you know who this is don’t you?

 

BUT – don’t forget I’m still in the shower – my mind then went back to the sequence in Book One when Thomas Fletcher first appeared AND the most important aspect of Thomas’s character in the book is that he has the capability to melt into the background whilst he follows his devious scheming ways.

If that were the case then the absence of an ear would stick out like a sore thumb, wouldn’t it? See what I did there?

SO still clutching my left ear, soap in my eyes and a glaring error discovered in Book Two I decide I have to go back to the relevant pages and alter the section referring to the baddies lack of ear.

The moral of this little piece – if you can bear to hear it – is that a writer never has any time off. The slightest thing, action, word, situation immediately drags the writer back into his or her fictional world.

Parental guidance warning – For Christ’s sake is there no peace! Must we remain at the beck and call of our characters all the time? Even in the shower? The bloody shower isn’t big enough for me Crispin, Thomas et al.

AND – The King’s Jew is set in the thirteenth century and they didn’t have showers in those days – waterfalls maybe.

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Anyway, I got out of the shower, grabbed a towel and guess what? Thomas and Crispin stayed where they were, in the shower. I gave them five minutes to enjoy themselves before turning the water off and bidding them farewell. But they never leave us, do they?

Have you ever been accosted by one of your creations in a strange place? Let me know if you have and maybe we can arrange a party for them – at the very least it will give us writers a brief respite!

In conclusion, I can hardly hear a thing now as I’ve got water in my ear.

BUT let’s look on the bright side – Thomas Fletcher has just got his ear back. Could we class this as a miracle? I’ll drop a line to the Pope and see what he thinks.

Bit of a Garden of Gethsemane moment don’t you think?

BOOK TWO to be published in six weeks –

TKJ. Shylock is Innocent OK?

 

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It’s Shakespeare’s death day today (died 23rd April 1616). This blog is NOT about Shakespeare. I’ll keep this brief – I write historical novels based in thirteenth century England. In 1290, the Jews of England were exiled by King Edward the First (274 years before Shakespeare was born in 1564). So there were, officially, no Jews in England when Billy Boy was born but anti-Semitism was still rife and so ‘The Merchant of Venice’ had to be set in Venice.

The reason I find the plight of the Jews so interesting stems from an English lesson when I was at school. We were asked to write an essay on the subject of “Was Shylock right in demanding a pound of flesh from Antonio?”

I wrote that Shylock had every right to enforce the terms of his loan. My English teacher went ballistic!!! Said I should not write such things and sent me to the headmaster to be punished! From that day to this I have had an affinity with the Jewish race. And so I wrote “The King’s Jew” series available here. Enough of this frivolity – TO THE BLOG and below is a brief synopsis of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and my thoughts on the same.

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A young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan of three thousand ducats so that he can woo Portia, a wealthy Venetian heiress. He approaches his friend Antonio, a merchant. Antonio is short of money because all his wealth is invested in his fleet, which is currently at sea. He goes to a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who hates Antonio because of Antonio’s anti-Semitic behaviour towards him.

  • Actually, Antonio was an out-and-out racist and abused Shylock whenever he could. To quote Shylock –

“Seignior Antonio, many a time and oft In the Rialto you have rated me about my moneys and my usances: Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, and spit upon my Jewish gabardine, and all for use of that which is mine own. Well then, it now appears you need my help: Go to, then; you come to me, and you say ‘Shylock, we would have moneys:’ you say so; you, that did void your rheum upon my beard and foot me as you spurn a stranger cur over your threshold”

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Shylock nevertheless agrees to make the short-term loan, but, in a moment of dark humour, he makes a condition – the loan must be repaid in three months or Shylock will exact a pound of flesh from Antonio. Antonio agrees, confident that his ships will return in time.

  • Note the reference to ‘dark humour’. To Shylock, it was more of a ‘jape’ than an actual threat!

 

Because of the terms of Portia’s father’s will, all suitors must choose from among three caskets, one of which contains a portrait of her. If he chooses that he may marry Portia, but if not he must vow never to marry or court another woman. The Princes of Morocco and Arragon fail the test and are rejected. As Bassanio prepares to travel to Belmont for the test, his friend Lorenzo elopes with Shylock’s daughter, Jessica. THUS a Christian stole his daughter (and she took his money). Now nothing will satisfy Shylock except the legal fulfilment of the bond. Bassanio chooses the lead casket, which contains her picture, and Portia happily agrees to marry him immediately.

  • Notice here that Shylock’s daughter is eloping with a Christian AND they STEAL Shylock’s money!

 

Meanwhile, two of Antonio’s ships have been wrecked and Antonio’s creditors are pressurising him for repayment. Word comes to Bassanio about Antonio’s predicament, and he hurries back to Venice, leaving Portia behind. Portia follows him, accompanied by her maid, Nerissa. They are disguised as a male lawyer and his clerk. When Bassanio arrives the date for the repayment to Shylock has passed and Shylock is demanding his pound of flesh. Even when Bassanio offers much more than the amount in repayment, Shylock, now infuriated by the loss of his daughter, is intent on seeking revenge on Antonio. The Duke refuses to intervene.

  • So Shylock is seeking ‘revenge’ well wouldn’t you? You’ve lost your daughter. Your money AND the 3,000 ducat loan is also lost.

Merchant of Venice

Portia arrives in her disguise to defend Antonio. Given the authority of judgment by the Duke, Portia decides that Shylock can have the pound of flesh as long as he doesn’t draw blood, as it is against the law to shed a Christian’s blood. Since it is obvious that to draw a pound of flesh would kill Antonio, Shylock is denied his suit. Moreover, for conspiring to murder a Venetian citizen, Portia orders that he should forfeit all his wealth. Half is to go to Venice, and half to Antonio.

  • Hmmm! It’s against the law for a Jew to shed the blood of a Christian but not against the law to destroy the livelihood and family of a Jew! AND Portia is pretending to be a man so – in my mind – this is a classic case of a legal-eagle acting under false pretences. She’s not even a lawyer!

 

Antonio gives his half back to Shylock on the condition that Shylock bequeaths it to his disinherited daughter, Jessica. Shylock must also convert to Christianity. A broken Shylock accepts. News arrives that Antonio’s remaining ships have returned safely. With the exception of Shylock, all celebrate a happy ending to the affair.

  • Note how Antonio gives the money back but it has to be then paid to Jessica who has ALREADY robbed her father. THEN poor old Shylock has to renounce his Jewish faith and convert to Christianity! THEN Antonio’s ships turn up safe and sound and we end up with one totally destroyed character (Shylock) and a group who have won everything by stealth, subterfuge, robbery and false pretences (Antonio and his fellow conspirators).

 

In Conclusion – Happy death day to Shakespeare and an official pardon to Shylock comes from me.

My book “The King’s Jew” features a main character that has a propensity to ‘help’ the Jews of thirteenth century England and I must thank my erstwhile misguided English teacher for planting the seeds of the novel in my mind so many years ago.

TKJ. Book Two. Cover Reveal

02_The_King_s_Jew_2

Well, there it is folks – Book Two of “The King’s Jew” series.

This will be released on June 30th this year.

So hadn’t you better get a copy of Book One (if you haven’t got one already)?

Here’s a little video to tell you all about it and it’s narrated by me!!

 

Here’s an image of Book One just to refresh your memory (yes the character is the same – continuity eh?)

01_THE_KING_s_JEW

Book One is on sale at a discount – just $2.99 or £2.10p BARGAIN for 400+ pages!

You can buy it in all the usual outlets by clicking HERE

Happy Friday to you all.