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Monday, 23 March 2015

GNU Sir Terry Pratchett

The internet is paying a truly beautiful tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett, simply by adding a hidden line of code to web addresses. I can practically hear the frowns forming. Let me explain, if I can, which I probably can't because it's technical and I'm only pretending I understand:

Terry Pratchett's 'Going Postal' centred heavily around the Discworld's clacks system, which was a means of speedily sending messages via semaphore towers. In the story the clacks was bought out by an unscrupulous consortium who cut back on investment leading to breakages, and even deaths of the linesmen who operated the towers. John Dearheart was the son of the creator of the clacks, and when he was murdered his father inserted a special hidden message with his name into the clack's code. This code would be continuously re-sent but never logged, secretly keeping his son's name alive in the 'overhead'. The message was referred to by the code GNU. The internet tribute, started by the Reddit community, adds a similar hidden message, or GNU, keeping Sir Terry Pratchett's name alive over the Earthly equivalent of the overhead: the internet.

Quirky Tales is now GNU, thanks in no small part to the fact that one person here at QTHQ is technically super competent, while the rest of us just nod in what we hope is a knowledgeable way.

For more information, and a far better explanation than I've managed, take a look at these pages:

GNU Terry Pratchett
Telegraph coverage

K.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett

I was devastated last night to hear of the passing of one of the greatest writers of our age, Sir Terry Pratchett. The 'embuggerance', as he termed it, of his early onset Alzheimer's disease has robbed us of any further voyages to the Discworld, but it was good to know that he died at home with his loved ones at his side.

His writing constantly inspires me to write, and to strive to write better. His capturing of the human nature is unrivalled, and his wonderful humour makes me smile on the darkest of days.

You will be very sadly missed, Sir Terry.
K.

Monday, 2 March 2015

News in Colour

The Daily Mail has an article today from inside the American factory that makes Crayola crayons. Just looking at the pictures took me right back to one of my proudest possessions as a child:  a humungous box of Crayola crayons that had every colour imaginable, as well as its own built in sharpener for keeping my crayon's points pointy!

I would have loved a job in that place. What am I saying, I still would love a job in that place. So many crayons, so many colours, that glorious smell ... that's not work at all!

K.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

New Story on QT

The Quirky Campervan is progressing well. The weather is dampening any urges to head off on our adventures at the moment, but at least it's given us time to organise and fit out. If the Atlantic ever stops throwing storms at us I'm sure we'll hit the trail pretty speedily.

In the meantime, there are books to promote and stories to post. Speaking of which, there's a new short story on the QT website today. 'Miscoms' is the result of a challenge set on the Writers Reign Forum and is a quick reminder of the perils of predictive text when sending text messages. I hope you enjoy it.

'Lucky Dip' is on free promotion today, 24th Feb 2015. If you haven't already downloaded it, it's the story of Connie Henshall, a wife and mum who battles to keep family and home together through the strains of redundancy and potential financial ruin. The book follows her somewhat disastrous and at times comical quest to find new work, whilst supporting her children, husband and dog, Bentley, through the daily traumas of family life. It's funny, heart-warming and hope-filled. Just what you need when the wind's howling at your windows.

K.

Friday, 30 January 2015

A New Forum for Writers

For anyone interested in writing, be it poetry or fiction, or any other sort of writing, we are setting up a new forum. It's still learning to crawl, walking is some way off yet and running is but a distant dream, but we are definitely open to any new members who love to write. The idea is that the forum is a safe place to share your work and get a little helpful feedback and lots of encouragement from like-minded people.

If you're interested, find us at Writers Reign Forum.

K.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Quirky Campervan

It's been quiet in Quirky Tales land, partly because I've had a sore throat, but mostly because the search for a motorhome intensified with the start of the new year. With the lengthening days and the promise of warmer weather hopefully just weeks away, I have to admit a degree of panic set in. We clocked up many miles driving from dealer to dealer in the increasingly forlorn hope that a suitable van might be waiting for us, but each time returned home dispirited. It was looking as though we might never find what we were looking for, but then a chance call at Marquis at Newbury turned up a diamond.

Yes, we've done it! We've finally found our van. We pick it up next month once all the admin is in place and Marquis have given it a full service etc. This has prompted even more frenetic activity as we hunt out all our old camping kit, replace what the mice have eaten or that simply cannot be found, and scour the internet for information on our beautiful new (to us) van.

All of this is by way of an apology for my despicable absence from the blog. I've been somewhat distracted. To celebrate our acquisition I've set a free promotion for all my books for this Sunday, 1st February. Happily, that coincides with the end of dry-January. Sunday could be a good day.

K.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Cartoonists' Response

This post follows the murderous attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, where radical thugs used a perverted version of Islam as an excuse for killing cartoonists. In reaction artists around the world have taken up their pens and drawn responses that make the point far quicker and more poignantly than I ever could.

K.