A Grave Mistake – or not?

Today I published my latest short story, ‘A Grave Mistake’, here, on my website: www.tom-benson.co.uk/ and on www.readwave.com .

The story is about a young policeman who feels he can do things in his own unorthodox way, but his plan fails …

St. Bartholomew's
St. Bartholomew’s

In my own case, I’m presently working on the next draft of my thriller, ‘Hawk – A Manhunter’ and it’s going well. Recently I was inspired to write a tale about a romance in Amsterdam. I’ve taken the idea further than I had intended and it is now taking the shape of a novel in first draft. The tale is titled, ‘Discovering Amsterdam’, but for now I’ll keep the plot under wraps.

Is it wise to write two novels simultaneously, I asked myself a few days ago. It feels like it should work because they are of different genre, so they shouldn’t interfere with each other in terms of thought process. I suppose as always, time will tell.

In other news I updated my website with a total revamp. The theme is now ‘pen and diary’ and it looks much better.

I was delighted to see that a few days ago I received a **** rated review on my ‘Natural History’ Volume 3 of my poetry series which is on sale on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Spring In My Step

Which step is that then?  Well it’s the next step in my writing of course, but more of that shortly.  As we in the UK all take that common leap of faith from March to April we hope to experience a marked change in season, from Winter to Spring.  I for one, will not be holding my breath … .

Small section of the Walled Garden at Blair Castle.
Small section of the Walled Garden at Blair Castle.

What is the graphic all about?  A good question and one that deserves an answer.  In some ways it represents that leap of faith as mentioned above regarding the weather, but it also represents a similar leap … regarding my writing aspirations.  How so? I hear you ask, so I’ll enlighten you.

The walled garden only partly pictured above, has a lot going on within and by virtue of the ‘walled’ aspect it is reasonably under control.  As the garden is cultivated and nurtured there is a fervent hope to see great things from it in time.  In my own case, since October 2012 I’ve been working a three-day week.  Mainly thanks to Tony Brown, my Area Manager and Kev Bailey, my Store Manager at Ryman, my transition from management to staff and reduced hours has been easy.  I have much more time available for writing, reading and increasing my art portfolio.

The key word of course is ‘available’ … and now, you dear reader wonder why.  Gaining all the extra time in the world is no good unless it is used for the intended purpose.  Like many others I’m guilty of allowing other things to encroach on my time; DIY projects, TV programmes, clearing out the attic, etc.

Between October and December last year I relaxed and enjoyed the extra free time.  January 2013 arrived and I made a concerted effort to tackle more projects related to my newly announced job title: ‘Creative Writer and Freelance Artist’.  I finished off a couple of outstanding short stories, completed the term of writing classes with the Inkerman Writers and settled in as a member of ReadWave online.

More recently I’ve finished reading the incredible book, ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ by Dee Brown.  It’s a tale of the atrocities committed against the Native Americans as the white man ‘discovered’ and ‘tamed’ America.  If you’d like to read my review, please click on the appropriate Good Reads panel in the right hand column.

Why is April so important with all this leaping?  Another good question.  It sees the start of the new tax year and I will now start to maintain records of all my expenditure and income related to my writing and artwork.  I will have a couple of months to decide whether or not I want to go down the route of ‘self-assessment’ with our wonderful Customs and Excise department.

I’ll be back soon with news of a move for my e-published books … could they be heading for Amazon / Kindle publishing?

Reading, Writing and Rhythm

As we arrive into March of another year, like many people I feel I have to look back on how things have gone so far – and where I intend to go from here. To brighten up this post with a graphic it felt right that it should be one that reflected my working environment so I’m featuring an updated vision of my workstation.

Where most of the effort is put in ....
Where most of the effort is put in ….

What have I been reading?  ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen celebrated it’s 200th anniversary, so having had it on my Kindle for some time, I actually got around to reading it.  A full review is available on Good Reads, but for here, suffice to say I enjoyed it and now at least some of the comments made about ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Mr. Darcy’ make sense.

I am presently taking my time as I read ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ by Dee Brown.  Anyone who has read my poetry will know that there are several long poems and a four–part series featuring the noble Native Americans.

In one of my rare channel hopping moments, yesterday I came across a 1952 movie entitled, ‘The Battle at Apache Pass’.  I had to watch it because my memories of western movies go back a long way and I had to be reminded how the two sides were portrayed.  It was as close to truth as I suppose they dared go back in the ’50’s and I dare say if there was a remake they would tread even more carefully.

In other news, I am enjoying being a member (and pleased to have been asked to be a Staff Reviewer) on ReadWave.  It’s a great site and if you haven’t had a look, please do.  If you enjoy reading short stories there are lots on there to entertain.  If you write, there is a Staff Picks page which is used as the homepage where work is showcased.

I feel I should be spending more time reading other blogs but I’ve decided to cut down to what I did previously and only read a chosen few.  One person can only read so much online when the hours of the day are already being rapidly filled.

What am I writing these days?  I gave ‘Pawnee Express’ a revamp recently and entered it into a competition and then ‘Deadly Nightshade’ got a good overhaul too.  Another short story that went into a competition was ‘Through A Lens’, which started life as a 1000 word intro’ into a ‘racy read’ for an ITV competition.  I’ve just completed the first draft of ‘An Aspiring Writer’ which will find itself on ReadWave in a week or two when I’ve revisited it and tweaked it a bit more.

My ambitions in the world of eBooks have not ended.  I now have my novel, ‘Ten Days’ still on Smashwords, accompanied by the first five volumes of my poetry, classified by genre in my ‘Rhyme Scene’ series.  I’ve raised some cash for Comic Relief 2013, but not as much as I’d hoped.  In some ways you are damned if you drop the price to increase interest, or raise the price to try to increase sales.

My website http://www.tom-benson.co.uk has had a few more pieces of artwork and photos added and of course my updated short stories.

What’s in the pipeline? Well, apart from revisiting all my short stories to see where they can be improved, I have my short story, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ being published in a new anthology titled, ‘Out of the Shadows’ by the Inkerman Writers, which will be launched in the next few weeks.  I’ll mention it again when I have a hard copy.