The First Holiday of the Year

It’s coming up to holiday time again. Marital #humour and the prospect of #Filey with memories of #Cleethorpes.

 

 

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A Pipe, Some Slippers, but no Boring Cardigan

Here’s a light-hearted reflection on yesterday’s abortive mission to find a cardigan.

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A Travel Kettle and…What Else?

kettperf

I really do have to hand it to Amazon. When it comes to customer service, they’re hard to beat.

Allow me to explain. As a natural born Yorkshireman, one who knows that money is not for spending but counting, I refuse to pay for delivery when there’s a free option. And when I say free, I mean free, no strings attached. I’m not interested in trial offers on this that or the other (especially the other) so whenever I order anything, I make sure it’s over £20 and I opt for standard free delivery in 5 working days.

About two o’clock yesterday afternoon, I ordered new travel kettle. Expedient since the old one has done more miles than my car, and it got broke in Lanzarote so we chucked it away.

Remember: two o’clock yesterday afternoon. The driver delivered it half an hour ago. Less than twenty four hours from ordering to delivery. Beat that.

Course, the order didn’t come to £20, so I had to put something else with it, and that’s where the bottle of sniff in the picture came from. Her Indoors has been nagging the pants off me for weeks about a bottle of Inspire from Christina Aguilera. The old bottle ran out. This is what comes of actually using the stuff. I meanersay, 100ml gone in less than three years. And it’s not as if I take her anywhere to warrant using expensive perfume. I wouldn’t care but I don’t even know who Christina Aguilera is. Come to think, I don’t believe the missus knows, either.

After considerable haggling yesterday morning, my DVD of The Thing From Another World (1951) got forgotten in favour of her scent.

And it won’t last a fraction as long as a DVD of The Thing From Another World (1951)

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What’s That Title All About?

I have a low threshold of boredom and a lot of empty hours in the day to fill, so I tend to keep a number of projects on the go at any one time.

cclub

Right now, I’ve just finished re-cutting a short video, The Cake, a slapstick silent-ish movie, which you can have a chuckle at below. I promise you the drink was only Irn-Bru.

Having done that, I’ve returned to writing novels and I have no less than three simmering on the burners.

First it’s a sci-fi thriller, working title 499. I’m better known for my light whodunits and ribald humour, so that will appear later in the year under the pen name Robert Devine.

Next is the fifteenth Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, working title The Deaths at Squire’s Lodge.

tbfsm

It was originally planned as a Spookies novel, but I couldn’t get sufficient variation on the paranormal angle, and as a part whodunit, it’s fairly easy to transcribe. By the time it gets to Crooked Cat, it will be nigh on a year since we left Joe homeless, and the hard core STAC fans (yes, there are a good few) deserve a fresh volume.

Finally, it’s Midthorpe Mysteries #3, working title…

And that’s where I come back to the main thrust of this post. Set in a country club and spa, we find Raymond and Lisa up to their necks in chuckleworthy mayhem and dead bodies, but I couldn’t think of a suitable title. The Spa Murders or The Country Club Killings were fairly obvious, but because the Midthorpes stress humour as much as crime, I wanted something less Agatha Christie

Enter Trevor “I wrote Tracy’s Hot Mail and Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail” Belshaw.

Trevor has recently been plagued by Russian spam (aren’t we all) of the promiscuous kind, and he posted the text of one such laughable email last week. In it, the young woman (or old man posing as a young woman) indicated that (s)he was seeking “adequate man”

Note adequate man not an adequate man. As if he’s some kind of superhero. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s ….ADEQUATE MAN!!!  (cue stirring music from Superman, Batman, Indiana Jones, etc.)

We all had a good chuckle at it, and posted our tittering replies, but later, as I settled own to work Midthorpe #3, it dawned on me that An Adequate Man is the perfect title.

Why?

I’m not going to tell you. It would give too much away.

In the meantime, thanks to Trevor’s mystery correspondent, and keep an eye open for An Adequate Man, coming to an e-reader near you very soon.

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While you’re waiting, why not entertain yourself for a few minutes with The Cake?

Comments are open, so please feel free to have your say, and I’m quite happy for you to share if you so wish.

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Vlog or Blog?

Continuing my experiments with vlogging, today I ask the question, vlog or blog? What’s the difference?

 

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Vlogging?

camseat

It’s about a month since I last posted, but I haven’t been idle. In fact, I’ve been learning, and an early result of lessons are below.

One of the big problems all authors face is letting people know they are there and they have books out there. I’ve always maintained that you cannot sell books. They are bought, not sold.

They’re not like food, gas, water, electricity, all of which we need. If you live out in the sticks as I do, you could add a car to that list. We tried doing without, but it was hopeless. The bus service round here is quite good… according to the timetable, but the moment you get three snowflakes on the windows, they stop running. Added to which, the timetable is a better work of fiction than most of my novels. At least my tales try to resemble reality.

I digress. You don’t sell books. All you can do is let people know they’re there, and one of the best ways is via the blog. Again, it cannot be hard sell. That puts people off, so like most authors, I make a conscious effort to avoid it.

Back to the main theme: about a month ago, I began to fool around with video, and I am now making my first attempt at vlogging. It’s a short piece, mostly to camera, with video inserts, on one of our favourite holiday destinations, Benidorm, and how a visit there last year, provided some of the background for my novel, Bumped Off in Benidorm.

Please take a look. Comments are welcome both here and on YouTube, and I’d be delighted if you shared it, but don’t feel obliged.

 

 

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Making a Name for Himself

It’s surprising what you can do if you put your mind to it. Grinding out the words on my current WIP, I need a break now and then, and I’ve turned part of my attention to producing video.

I’ve been on YouTube since forever, usually turning out photoreel book trailers, but this is my first attempt at live video. No dialogue. With my current equipment, that’s a no-no. I can’t sync video and audio. Instead I went for almost-silent farce, and who better to appear in such shorts than Flatcap?

The lad is making a name for himself. He has his own channel, which is actually named DW’s Comedy Channel but it mainly stars Flatcap up to mischief as he seeks to fill the endless hours of retirement. Right now, he’s determined to get in shape, but we’re not quite sure what shape. Oblate would be an erudite description.

When I put the idea to Jan Rosser at Oapschat, she was so impressed and doubled up with laughter, that she asked for the videos so she could embed them on the site, and I’m sure the Oapschatters will love them. As an aside, Oapschat doesn’t stand for OAP’s chat, but Optimistc and Proactive Seniors Chat.

So there you have it. Flatcap’s fame is spreading. And if you want a taster, so you can judge what the fuss is about, here it is.

Flatcap has tried weight lifting and tried jogging. Now he’s turning to other forms of working out.

You’re welcome to share this post and the video, and I’d be happy if you subscribed to the YouTube channel… so would Flatcap.

You can learn more about Flatcap and his antics RIGHT HERE

And you can listen to some of his domestic diatribes on AUDIOBOOM

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Uncharted Territory

I’ve never made any secret of my love of comedy and I’m more of a writer than a stand-up, but I’ve always had this desire to perform comedy. The closest I ever came was singing Mack The Knife on karaoke… while I was dressed as Darth Vader. No one could hear the words for the bloody mask.

vader

I write humour. Sometimes I record humour while posing as my alter-ego Flatcap. You can find a host of short vignettes from the lad on my Audioboom channel at:

https://audioboom.com/users/2199083/boos

It’s a finicky job putting them together, but I enjoy doing so when I have the time. And considering the last one was put up just before Christmas, it shows just how much time I don’t have.

But producing audio is nothing when compared to video,

I’ve had a hankering to do comedy videos for some time, but my tech is low low-tech, and try as I might, I can’t get video and audio to sync properly with any of my five cameras (one digital camcorder, one compact camera, one smartphone and two webcams).

Then, a few days back, I received a regular newsletter from The Comedy Crowd and it was flagging up a link to a fantastically funny video which had no dialogue and that’s when it hit me.

Silent comedy.

Well, not quite silent, as you’ll see if you watch the video, but there is no dialogue so no problem syncing sound and video.

It’s taken up most of my spare time for the last few days, dragging me away from my current WIP for hours at a time, but eventually, I got it finished, then with some help and a few pointers from my good friend and fellow humourist, Iain Pattison, I revamped it a little and the finished product is here for your edification.

Comments are open, so please enjoy, and if you want to share or embed it, you pick up the links/code from my YouTube channel, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4ZEe3u7OXI

In the meantime, here is Flatcap Getting Fit

And if you find that funny, there are three volumes of Flatcap’s sledgehammer wit available for download.

FCSEX FCUKH FCGOB

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On Site Preview? Clever Stuff

Check the right hand sidebar and you’ll see the cover of my Spookies novel, The Man in Black. But this isn’t just another book cover. Click on it and you can read the first 10% of the book on your screen right now.

Amazon come in for a lot of criticism on many fronts, but you have to hand it to them: they know how to make life easy for readers.

The Man in Black, the second Spookies title, is about 240 pages long according to Amazon’s estimates. At 90,000+ words, I reckon it would be closer to 300 pages, but let’s not quibble. Imagine you went into your local bookstore, picked a book off the shelf, and in an effort to decide whether or not you’re going to buy, stood around reading the first 24 pages. I think the staff might want a word with you. I remember one such shop on a motorway service station where they pinned up a notice saying, “This is not a library.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five… Oops. Sorry. That’s Clint from Dirty Harry.

You’re thinking I’m just trying to sell you the book.

Not so. Books are not sold, they’re bought. The difference is subtle, but important. This is not a new car or the latest in mobile phone technology. When I’m out and about, people pull me up trying to sell me cable or satellite TV, and they’re wasting their time. I don’t watch TV. I don’t care if it’s free for life, it’s no use to me.

It’s the same with books. If you don’t read the particular genre, if you don’t read at all (why don’t you?) then all the salesmanship in the world will not persuade you to buy. You have to be a reader and a lover of the particular type of tale before you will be even interested.

What I’m doing, courtesy Amazon, is presenting you with a sample. Whether you read it or not is up to you, but if you do, having checked the first 10%, you will be in a better position to decide on buying or ignoring.

And you can do so from the comfort of your workstation, armchair, hospital bed, or your seat on the train/bus if you’re working on a smartphone.

So go on. Indulge yourself

MIBsm

The Man in Black the 2nd Spookies Mystery, is written by David Robinson and published by Crooked Cat.

It is available for download for the Kindle from Amazon UK and Amazon Worldwide, and in all formats, including PDF, epub and iBook from Smashwords and all good e-tailers

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A New Arrival, a Coming of Age and a Relaunch

It’s been a busy week in the Robinson household.

It was my 66th birthday last Wednesday. I gave up counting them years ago, but there are those people on the web who find it hard to keep their traps shut, so I tend to announce it myself these days. Thank you everyone for your kind wishes. You made a happy man very old.

Twenty four hours after I celebrated clickety-click, a young chap made his debut. Elliot, the second child of my eldest son, David and his partner, Sarah, came into the world about half past four-ish, and as you can see he already has a Robinson appetite.

elliot2

Mother and baby are both fine, but because he’s four weeks early, Elliot is in neonatal care for a week or two. Congratulations to David and Sarah.

While Elliot is just starting out in life, my eldest granddaughter, Victoria turns 21 on Wednesday, and will graduate from Cambridge later this year. Well done, Victoria.

vicky

As you can see, January is an expensive month for the Robinsons. Than the lord for Hannah and Ava Rose, both of whom had the good sense to be born in May and ease the strain on granddad’s wallet.

hannah

avarose

As if all these all these family events are not enough to drive an ageing idiot even dafter, we’ve also relaunched the Spookies Mystery series with a promotion on The Haunting of Melmerby Manor. But Melmerby is not the only Spookies title. There is a second (and a third to come this year).

MIBsm

The Man in Black is much darker and more nerve-jangling than Melmerby. Set in an exclusive boys’ school where pop sensations the Wicked Witches are making a new video, the spirits are strong, restless and violent.

The Wicked Witches are not the only one making a new video. In an effort to promote The Man in Black, I did too.  Judge the result for yourself. You’ll need your speakers or cans on to get the full effect.

 

Chilling? Want to know what happens?

Well, you’ll have to read the book. Right now, I’m off for a much-needed nap.

The Man in Black is available for the Kindle from Amazon UK and Amazon Worldwide, and in all formats, including iBooks, epub and PDF, from Smashwords or any good e-tailer.

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