Tag Archives: fiction

Fresh Air and Empty Streets – Oliver Cable

dreaming of books 8

Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

Cover: Fresh Air and Empty Streets by Oliver Cable

Fresh Air and Empty Streets by Oliver Cable

Having once sat drinking under a full moon on Sacré-Cœur’s steps, I immediately identified with this gem of a first novel set in the Paris streets. It is a sensitive story about a young man, Felix, who comes to meet, challenge and discover the father, Alexander, he has never known. In doing so, he is forced to question some of his own most staunchly held beliefs.

If the first few chapters feel slightly tentative, it is almost as if the author is wrestling with what sort of book he has inside himself. Then father and son finally meet and, as they explore their budding relationship, the writing becomes more assured. At times the prose truly catches alight, flaming brightly in passages describing Paris’s live jazz scene and Alexander’s regular haunts. The writing works best when, rather than trying to comment on the city or its tourists, the author simply slows his heartbeat to listen to the dark river running through himself and annotates its sounds, more in the nature of a poet than a narrator. The prose is strongest when focussing on those first tentative steps in a relationship – between father and son, or between new lovers.

With so many novels being bashed out these days by writers aiming to publish a couple of kilos of pulp each and every business quarter, it is a relief to find a writer who cares about his craft, as Cable clearly does. I look forward to his next book.

Get it here.


The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt

dreaming of books 6

Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

Cover of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

A brilliant read. The two main characters, brothers and hired assassins, are grudgingly revealed through the narrator’s voice, and deWitt is ruthlessly Spartan in his prose. With the feel of a literary road movie, we are moved through a series of alien worlds at the pace of a dawdling nag. We never wholly come to know these rough environments, and they remain strange, as the protagonists are estranged from polite society. Yet through their mystery, somehow they beautifully and increasingly reveal the characters’ tenderness and humanity. This book promised much, and for me it truly delivered, never relying on the stereotypical tropes you might expect of the Western genre it moves within.

Available from: Amazon


Forty Indies Read at Chorleywood

Forty of the most amazing indie authors on the scene will be reading, signing, greeting, selling, laughing, sighing, crying, shrieking and otherwise emoting for your ultimate reading pleasure!

Forty of the most amazing indie authors on the scene will be reading, signing, greeting, selling, laughing, sighing, crying, shrieking and otherwise emoting for your ultimate reading pleasure!

Forty of the most amazing indie authors on the scene will be reading, signing, greeting, selling, laughing, sighing, crying, shrieking and otherwise emoting for your ultimate reading pleasure!

The Indie Author Fair, running from 2 – 5 pm on 16 November, is part of the Chorleywood Literary Festival. Organised by the Chorleywood Bookshop, Triskele Books and the Alliance of Independent Authors, forty authors will be on hand to talk to you about their books, sign copies, give readings, and I’m sure offer generous discounts. Some of the best writers on the Indie scene, including Carol Cooper, Jane Davis, Helena Halme, Dan Holloway, Rohan Quine and Orna Ross will be at the British Legion Hall in Chorleywood, 2 – 5 pm, Sunday 16 November.

During the fair, I will be reading an excerpt from my novel, “Celia’s Room”. It’s the last slot in the 15:30-15:45 bracket. Here’s the full list of readers:

14:30 – 14:45
1. Geoff Gudgion (thriller)
2. Jane Davis (literary)
3. Marisha Pink (contemporary – Southeast Asia)
4. JW Hicks (dystopia)

15:30-15:45
1. DJ Kelly (docu-fiction)
2. Liza Perrat (history)
3. Jane Turley (comedy)
4. Kevin Booth (contemporary – Spain)

16:30-16:45
1. Debbie Young (Flash fiction)
2. Rohan Quine (Literary)
3. JD Smith (history)
4. Ellie Stevenson (supernatural)

Come along, come along and join in the fun at the Indie Author Fair!

Indie Author Fair, in the British Legion Hall, Chorleywood, 2 – 5 pm on 16 November!


ALLi London Creative Critique – it’s on!

It’s all go! The first meeting of the ALLi London Creative Critique will be at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 20 May at

The Star of Kings
King’s Cross, London
126 York Way, London N1 OAX

This is a group for members of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). Our focus in the main part of the session is on the creative aspect of being a writer. The latter part of the night will consist of a more informal networking session, where members can meet and discuss any aspect of the author-publisher (self-publishing) sector, including outsourcing, editing and proofreading, formatting, cover design, marketing and distribution. Non-members are welcome to turn up to an initial session.

Bring along a piece of writing that you would like to be critiqued, something you can read out in under five minutes. It may be a key scene in your novel, a character description, or even a plot outline. The group will then spend several minutes offering feedback. We’ll divide the time available between the members who attend, but we will aim to have about ten-fifteen minutes per person. It isn’t mandatory to offer something to be critiqued, you may just want to contribute to the discussion. If this section becomes very popular, we may need to have some sort of pre-booking process, since in 90 minutes, we’ll have time to critique just six or seven members’ work.

After the critiquing and a brief break, we’ll move into a more relaxed mode, discussing anything to do with author-publishing, passing on marketing or sales tips, new initiatives of interest to authors, the ins and outs of formatting, cover design processes, etc. This part should last around thirty minutes.

We’ll start at 6.30 on 20 May. For the first meeting we’ll be seated at the back of the Star of Kings pub in Kings Cross. A pub quiz will be starting at 8.30 so we need to start punctually. Later meetings will be at the same time on the third Tuesday of every month, but in the upstairs function room, which is quieter.


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