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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Back to School?

Oh, how I remember that feeling - arriving at school in the full and despairing knowledge that the homework due in the first period lay in my bag, untouched, blank, a glaring testament to my utter inadequacy. Ah, that ten minute panic before registration, trying to find an obliging friend who would let me look at their diligent and carefully crafted efforts so I could attempt to throw something together that would pass muster. And the recriminations, the self-loathing, why was I such a flop as a pupil? Well, actually, it was because I could always find something much better to do with my time than homework, but such self knowledge was little help in those desperate minutes.

So it was that I read of Ben Bloom's disastrous live blog with tremendous sympathy. I imagine he was experiencing the pre-registration panic ten-fold. You see, he was attempting a live blog of a footbally type press briefing (don't ask me, I'm even worse at football than I was at homework), only to discover that the entire thing would be delivered in German, something his GCSE study of the subject had left him woefully ill-prepared for. The result was wonderful. What Ben Bloom lacks in international linguistics he more than makes up for in humour. How he kept his head in the circumstances I have no idea. According to the Telegraph, he has now gone home to start his German lessons and they have, thankfully, decided not to sack him. Well, they obviously recognise a star when they see one.

Tip: scroll down to 12:37 of the Telegraph's link and work your way up from there - Ben's blog reads from the bottom up.

K.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Public Service Announcement!

In the interests of preserving sanity, this blog shall be a strictly PFZ (politics free zone) for the duration of the British election. I can't take any more of it! I may have to emigrate to escape it! Or perhaps I'll settle on just sticking my fingers in my ears and 'lah-lah-lahing' very loudly.

Just to let you know, all my books are on free promotion this week. Tell everyone!

K.

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.