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3 days to go…


Wow, it’s only three more days until the launch of my new (and first) non-fiction book.

Excited, nervous and relief are the words that probably sum up how I am feeling right now.

In just three days I’ll be launching:

A Show Called Empire: The History of the British Empire According to the Movies

final final final front cover

This non-fiction work has been a long time in the making – after spending several years as an idea in my head it finally began to see the light of day several years ago. As part of it I’ve watched some excellent – and not so excellent – movies. All in their own way featuring the theme of the British Empire for good or for evil.

To see how ‘Hollywood’ portrayed the British Empire, the rulers and those that were ruled over look no further then this!

If a picture paints a thousand words, can you image what picture a movie can paint? Find out what individual and overall impressions of the Empire the movie-world give right here.

In one, two, three more days to go!!!


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I’m off now from work for the summer. I work term time in a college library and so have the summer months off from work – roughly 6 weeks in total. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it?

It’s also my first year with the summer off. I started my new job at the college in January and previous to this I work all throughout the year; two days in and whilst I’m enjoying it I wish the time frame wasn’t so long. It already seems so far off.

The only way I can survive is to what I do best – and sort of plans my days/weeks. If I weren’t to do this then I think I’d go stir-crazy.

So I’m taking this opportunity to write again – feels like it been ages. Working on non-fiction has been great fun and now I have time to write some fiction again.

I’m also taking the opportunity to learn BSL – British Sign Language – granted I’m teaching myself through DVDs and tutorials but it’s for a personal thing not professional. My brother-in-law and nephews are deaf – and even though they can hear well enough for me to communicate – it’ll be nice to be able to talk better with them using some basic signs.

I also want to cook more – from scratch and try new things. Like most people I’m getting tired of cooking the same set of meals week in week out and so I’m wanting to try some new meals that I can incorporate into weekly/monthly evening meals, preferably ones that aren’t too complex, take too much time, nor are overly expensive.

I will do some baking. I’ll try not to do too much because whenever there’s home-baked goods in the house they are gone within about a day or two – we are that greedy with them.

I also want to get in better shape.

Oh, and of course, catch up with friends and family.

And really crack on with the housework.

And of course relax from time to time with a good pile of books.

So this summer off thing is a mixed blessing – yes I have time to do all the things that I’ve mentioned above – but I’ve only been able to make a list of what I want to do because I thought about it. I planned. If I hadn’t then day after day would go by and I would get nothing done, I’d be bored, I’d watch too much daytime TV or films, I’d eat because I was bored, and I would end up feeling sorry for myself.

But let’s stay positive – ‘I’ve got time to do the actual stuff I want to do!’ Great isn’t it?



Ok so, I’ve been a little quiet. I’ve finished my current project, but still haven’t clicked ‘publish’. I haven’t been networking as much. I haven’t been writing as much.

With a upcoming holiday, my publishing plans have been put on hold until after I return.

But what does this mean for the present?

It means I can formally announce the future publication date of my non-fiction book A Show Called Empire: The History of the British Empire According to the Movies.


“They say a picture paints a thousand words. What picture does a movie paint?

From pith helmets to scarlet jackets, to tiger hunting and cigars and brandy, to the darker side of Empire, with its imperialism, its paternalism and bald faced racism, the story of the British Empire has many chapters. Chapters which have been immortalised by film-makers across the globe. So how do these films represent the British Empire in all its vastness?

Including discussions of well-known – and lesser-known – movies spanning from the 1940s to the present day, it details the pictures painted of the empire and the awakenings of burgeoning nationalities. It contains glimpses into the changing societies as time progressed from the final days of the empire and how this has affected the movie world and how it perceives and portrays the British Empire, the rulers and those they ruled over.”

I am pleased to announce that A Show Called Empire: The History of the British Empire According to the Movies, will be published and available from August 1st 2016.


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Wow, Where Does All The Time Go?

No seriously, where does all the time go?

Days seems to be running away faster and faster. The month of June is passing us by and before we all know it 2016 will have been and gone.

And I’ve not done half the things I’ve wanted too – already.

It’s putting my head down time. It’s time to pull up my socks.

I’m getting ready to get ready again to do something.

I’ve procrastinated long enough. I’ve been busy doing other things for too long now.

And am I ready yet? Not really no.



Work. Work. Work.

Then it’ll be Holiday. Holiday. Holiday.


Writing. Writing. Writing.




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Well, I’ve finally finished wading through Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Wow what a hefty read! It sure took a long time to get through it – even though I read as quickly as I could and picked it up as often as I could – just to get through it.

Well, now I’ve finally turned over the last page, let the last sentence wash over me and closed the book for good. So, what did I think of it? Nothing in particular. It was an ‘ok’ read, it never really gripped me and kept me wanting to read to the end. I failed to become engaged with any of the characters – and I found some scenes/outcomes fairly predictable.

Did I enjoy any of it? I did enjoy the humorous satire on the world of the courts, of the characters of lawyers/solicitors, and legal processes.

But on the whole that was about it.

Why did I bother? I’m currently reading through the top 100 books on the BBC Big Read list created in 2003. Seen as this book is on there at number 79,  I read it – as I’m determined to read them all.

In hindsight, if I wasn’t determined to read all the top 100 books on this list, I’m pretty sure I would have put it down. It wasn’t that it was badly written or anything, I just felt that the storyline ran pretty flat and while some interesting characters had been created, I didn’t feel engaged with them.

Oh well, sorry Dickens, but didn’t really ‘feel’ this one.

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Only ten more to go…


For one of my 30 things to do before I’m 30, I wanted to read the top 100 books on the BBC Big Read from 2003. And now I only have a further 10 to read.

So far I’ve enjoyed most of the books on the list, some more than others – others much less.

But even if I am enjoying the majority of them, I’m still looking forward to the day when I can cross the final one off the list.

I’ve not read them in any particular order – many I was able to cross off the list before I set myself this challenge – still plenty remained though before I started it.

There are various lists out there on ‘books to read’, so I decided that it’s high time that I tackled on and read them all. It’s been fun at times – and other times I would have put down the book if it weren’t on the list – but I powered on through these ones.

But for the majority of them – it’s clear why they made the list.

When I have come across these ‘books to read’ lists, I always like browsing through them and counting how many I’ve read – which is why I decided to finish one – perhaps only for the vain and boastful reason that I have completed one of the lists. Who knows it may inspire me to finish other lists similar to this. Amazon has one similar – so you never know it may end up featuring on a list (if I make one) of things to do before 40. Or I may just tackle another one anyway – I’ve read countless books I may not have picked up in the first place but did because they featured on these lists and I’m glad I did so.

These lists are a great way to read books you may not consider reading.

But despite all this – I’m glad to say that the end is in sight for this reading challenge – in a sort of pat myself on the back sort of way.

The only down side perhaps is the ‘obligation’ that can occasionally be felt to read books just because they’re on the list and putting books that aren’t on the list onto the back burner until I’ve finished. Not that I haven’t read books I’d wanted to in between – but now the end is in sight I’ll concentrated on the ones I have left first.

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Just. One. More. Edit.


Just one more edit. Just one more read through. I’ve said this to myself half a dozen times already concerning my current/nearly finished project. Just one more edit. And I still find myself saying it.

It’s great to want your writing to be the best it can be and free from any silly typos, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors; and it’s great to want to make sure that every chapter, every page, paragraph and sentence is the best it can be. To make sure there are no holes in the plot or when a sentence doesn’t quite make sense to correct it. But it’s one thing to want to keep reading your work through – but at some point you have to put faith in your work and in yourself that your project it finally ‘there’; right where you want it to be.

If you keep reading it through, if you can wanting to make changes if you need to, then you’ll find changes to make. Any change – and you may end up losing something of the original thought that you put down on paper all those months ago. You may lose something of your own voice. Ok this is if you keep editing and editing and editing.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t edit; that you shouldn’t cover the page with red pen with corrections, no writer should neglect the editing stage if they want it to be the best work they can make it.

But at some point you – and I’m telling myself this too – you have to – to borrow a phrase that is now associated with a much-loved Disney movie – ‘Let it Go’.

Let it go, let it breathe and let it fly.

Still I’m telling myself this, and I think “Yes, I know, I will do, but just after one more edit and then one more read through – then I’ll be ready!”