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Thursday, 21 July 2016

My Pal Spadger by Bill Naughton, a book review.

My Pal SpadgerMy Pal Spadger by Bill Naughton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every week, back when I was just a boy, I'd be dragged down to the local shopping center by my mum. Now, this place was called Huyton Village, but I've got to be honest, it didn't much resemble a village in the truest sense of the word. It was more like something the Northern Koreans would throw up if they had a few tons of concrete left over after, after knocking up a statue of one of their Dear Leaders.

back then, my now long departed mother would drag me to various places to pay bills (this was long before the world had heard of standing orders.) I would tag along occasionally complaining and dragging my feet until finally, just before she headed into the supermarket, she would deposit me at the library and tell me I had forty five minutes to go pick three books.

My time.

The best time.

Book time.

Left alone in library, wandering the aisles and staring up at the shelves, so many books, so little time, it was heaven. I'd normally pick two "wordy" books (what I called novels (come on! I was only eleven or twelve!)) and one factual book. I'd take them over with my red face, to the nice young lady I was too shy to talk to beyond: "These please" and "Thank you."

Once I had the books I'd scuttle off and sit on the wall outside, and wait for my mum so we could head home, and I could dive into the other-worlds I had in my bag.

One day, something special happened. Something so special, that even now, nearly forty years later, it still makes me smile and tingle a tiny bit.

One day, I met Spadger.

Oh what a book! I read it in one Sunday sitting, and then I read it again over the next couple of days, taking my time and swilling the words and the tales of boyhood joy, like they were the finest of wines I wasn't yet allowed to taste.

My Pal Spadger changed my life.

I read it, and I wanted to become a writer.

It was as simple as that.

Okay, it took me thirty five years to finally become that writer, but Spadger put me on the road I'm on today. So to Bill Naughton I say thank you, and to you I say if you have got kids, read them this book, so that in thirty years, they'll thank you too.

Tony


View all my reviews

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Why Don't You Fall in Love?

     Honestly, relax... you can trust me."

     Now normally, if you hear or read something like that, I'd advise you to start running and don't look back. This time though, I'm asking you to stick around, mostly because it's me who is sounding like a cheesy psycho in a bad book.  


     Let me explain why.

     I've been reading about marketing for the last few days (I should make it clear by the way, I am not a fan of marketing, but I am a writer who has a second book out, and this is the sort of thing HarperCollins tells me to read.) Anyway, while I was reading about marketing, I stumbled across the following fact:

     "Over sixty percent of the sixty million people who are regular Thriller/Suspense readers in the USA, say they are reluctant to buy a book by an author they haven't read before..."
That means that approximately thirty-six million people in the USA don't trust me.

     Which, if I'm honest, makes me feel like a puppy who has pee'd on the carpet once, and now can't innocently sniff the rug without being thrown in the yard.

     Anyway, why am I telling you this? Well, basically, because I am needy, and my feelings have been hurt.

     You see, I know you love James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Nicholas Sparks, Patricia Cornwell and Ken Follett. I also know I'm the snotty nosed kid HarperCollins have given a bat to and said: "Get out there kid, show 'em what you can do."

     I know all that, but the problem is I can't show you what I can do, if you won't pitch me the ball. 

     It doesn't matter that the Wall Street Journal called my last book a "memorable novel..." or that the Fort Worth Star Telegraph said it was "an exhilarating roller-coaster ride that would have made a great Hitchcock movie..."

     None of that matters if you won't pick it up and see for yourself.

     Now I know why you might be reluctant to do that, but I want you to cast your mind back to the day you fell in love with your current favourite author. I want you to think about the moment you looked up from the book, broke into a big smile and said "wow!" to yourself. I want you to remember how good that feeling was, and then I want to ask you a question:


     Why don't you try a new writer, and see if you can fall in love all over again? 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Clowns to the Left...

     Just looking at the list of people being talked about for the Labour and Tory leadership, and I can’t help but think what a bunch of no mark political lightweights they mostly are. Barely one of them has any experience outside of politics, law, media, or charity. And not one of them looks like they could successfully run a corner shop let alone a country.

     Where have all the great politicians of the past gone? The thinkers, the orators, the innovators, the people who come from the working classes, and have experience of damp walls and dole queues?

     Where are the leaders, and most importantly of all, the people who inspire?

     It’s no coincidence that we’ve ended up in such a mess during a time when we have a parliament full of opportunists, and parties being run by PR people and media relations execs. MP’s are more worried about how they look and sound, than what they are doing and saying.

     Let’s be honest, just how well do we think a country is going to be run, when the Prime Minister, Chancellor, and Home Secretary, are not even able to stand on a stage without being coached about how far apart to put their feet?

     Just think about that for a moment… You are being led by people who don’t even know how to stand up on their own.

     Scary isn’t it?

     So, who do we blame for being stuck with this bunch of middle manager’s, opportunists, and expenses driven halfwitted cowards?

     We blame ourselves.

     Yep, me and you.

     We are the ones who accept parachuted parliamentary candidates. We are the ones who don’t deselect underperforming MP’s and give them a job for life. We are the ones who read the media baron newspapers even though they churn out more rubbish than Mexico City on Boxing Day morning. We are the ones who sit back. We are the ones who vote for the same party because it’s the party we’ve always voted for and we “couldn’t vote for the other lot”. We are the ones who let them off the hook so they don’t have to try. We are the ones who don’t get involved. We are the ones who shout at the telly, but don’t shout at the hustings.

     We are the ones who let them do it to us.

     We are the ones who let them get away with it.

     You and I.

     We are the ones who are to blame.

     So stop moaning on Facebook, and get out there and do something about it.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The British Lion Sample Chapters.



     I keep forgetting to spread the word about the free sample of my second novel for HaperCollins, The British Lion, which is available to read over on my Facebook author page.

     It's a thriller, and the sequel to my first book, The Darkest Hour, about which the Wall Street Journal said:

     "Schumacher's assured and atmospheric writing make this a memorable novel..."

     So it must be good!
     Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy it!





    

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Collection of Minutes.


        Someone said to me the other day:

     “I’d love to write a book but I just don’t have the time.”
     “You don’t really want to write a book,” I replied. “You think you do, but you don’t.”
     “No, really, I do!”
     “You don’t, because if you did, you would.”
     “No really, I work full time, and by the time I get home…”
     “No, honestly,” I tried again. “If you really, and I mean really, wanted to write a book, you’d do it. 
     Even if it was just one minute a day, you’d do it. You would write that book.”

     Now I understand, looking back at that conversation, that maybe I was being a little hard on someone who just wanted a little encouragement. But seriously, it drives me crazy when I hear people saying over and over at book events: “I’d love to write but…”

     If you want to write.  


     Write.

     There, it is that easy, just do it.

     When all you have is a minute, do a minute’s worth of writing.

     If you think about it, a book is just a collection of minutes spent thinking and typing. Sure there is love in there, sure there is inspiration, sure there is pain, frustration and probably a few tears and a lot of fears, but when you break it all down, chisel it away until you are left with the atoms and protons that lie in between the words on the page:

     It is just a collection of minutes.

     If you have a minute, write for a minute, or think for a minute, or plan for a minute, but use that minute to get to the end of your book.

     Get writing, because you can do it.


     Tony.



Thursday, 16 June 2016

Magic Words...



     Being a writer has given me many special moments over the years. Be it opening my first box of books from HarperCollins, or maybe chatting to a reader in a bookstore who was a fan, or even walking into the New York Public Library and seeing my book on the shelf... they were all great moments, and I thank my lucky stars I've had the chance to experience them.

     I have a great job.

     I just had another one of those great moments, probably my favorite one of them all.

     I just wrote the two words every writer loves the most:

     "The End."

     I made it, another book written.
     Now all I have to do is start the next one and do it all over again!
     Wish me luck!
   
     Tony

     Tony Schumacher on Amazon