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The Haunted Castle

 

A short update on the previous saga of Aunt Alice and Spot. Intended for those that have forgotten, or, for those who would like to forget the cost of their medication….

***

Young Spot began to communicate with the kind, understanding Aunt Alice, who lives in nineteenth century England, because he had problems engaging with the opposite sex. She, in her own inimitable way, attempted to advise him, but sadly he took little notice other than to wear trousers all the time. The consternation this errant child caused has led Aunt Alice to take to the hills, with her friend Sherry, trying to forget all about him. 

Spot met a lopsided, boss-eyed girl whose mother, Brenda, wanted to invade England, declare independence for Wales and elect herself as Queen of that principality. She then wanted to eat an endless supply of…Leeks! 

To cut short a long, insane story, stretching from Greenland to Afghanistan and unmentionable places in between, Spot captured this usurper Brenda, in the Sahara desert, depositing her at the gates of the British embassy in Cairo. From a military prison in England Brenda escaped, then, astride a prototype moon rocket being developed by Virgin Research, crashed and died in the cemetery surrounding Castle Barnard.

Spot, being his usual, dumb self and unaware of Brenda’s fate, bought Castle Barnard, from the reward money he had received from the grateful British Government, as an inducement in his proposal of marriage to yet another unsuspecting young women; Tracey Edges. Siren FM, the leading radio broadcasting station in the British Isles, employ Tracey to host a weekly Sunday morning show, aptly named; Sunday Girl, but secretly she works for the intelligence services, spreading propaganda worldwide about just how truly great Britain is.

WHEW…If you have followed all that nonsense then you are a better man than me, Gunga Din!

Read on, as the new adventures of our precocious star unfold before your reading eyes….BUT…..TAKE HEED…..It may be wise to visit your doctor if you already suffer from a nervous disposition. Even if you don’t…..request sedatives….BY THE BUCKET LOAD.

d0a2c818a424715364ee6f8d9a062a72 Castle Barnard

Part one of……………………………The Haunted Castle

Dearest betrothed, Tracey

Allow me to address your points, as you raised them in your letter.

1) The ladies underwear hanging from the washing line:

This has occurred on a few occasions, and had I known of your surprise visit then of course they would have been removed……I guess that would have taken away the surprise, both for you in the way of shock and me in the way of delight. Such is the way of life.

Your point that being strung on the clothesline, draped between the two towers of Castle Barnard, bringing unnecessary attention, is one I take to heart. I did intend our washing to hang there and thereby signify our togetherness. The size of the ladies brassieres and……(Spot is embarrassed now)…..six pairs of draws, is a worry, and yes, they were blowing around quite a bit, but it was a windy day. I agree with you that she must be a BIG woman to have need of such covering, but disagree with your assumption that I am knowledgeable of her! I have not the slightest idea of where they came from.

I have no idea about your supposition that the colours of the undergarments represented a naval distress signal. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, although I was later told that a Royal Naval Battleship did arrive in the nearby harbour that day.

As I said above, garments similar to those have been hoisted and flown before, but NOT BY ME! I can only surmise that a village person is using my facilities…without my permission!

2) Your concerns over my mention of creaks, bangs and voices in the night:

This is nothing to worry about. It’s just the wind playing games I’m sure. The man in armour, walking away from me, with his head on backwards was simply a dream. The night of the raucous laughter, clattering of cans and screams of excitement, must have a rational explanation. I have a specialist team of draught excluders examine the cellars. I’m sure they will come up with the reason. As for the disappearing HobNobs then maybe cook is taking them. I’ll question her.

3) The front door:

I had not ventured out that day that you almost visited, so I had not seen the white chalk cross on the door. It has happened before and I suspect some errant child must be in the habit of drawing it on there. I shall inform the local police at once.

4) The disturbed ground, with the ‘murder’ of crows on top!

Aren’t I the clever one to know that the collective name for crows is: Murder. Wouldn’t I just love to do that to them! 

Here is something that I, nor anyone else can explain. The ground that you saw from the road is where the official Virgin research team were digging over, then burying something in. It keeps erupting as if giving off a loud burp. There is then that disgusting smell of raw leeks, or onions, in the air that you had the terrible misfortune to inhale. Why this is, is anyone’s guess. The crows then attack it with such force the earth is scattered everywhere and they will not stop until the green slim has disappeared. The MESS they make on the windows is stupendous! It’s costing a small fortune in cleaning costs.

I understand that your Sat-Nav is now playing up, with you not fully aware of your whereabouts. I can only hope that situation improves quickly, as I would welcome your return. Thank you for thanking me for the dog biscuits. I’m only too sorry that my Ginger-Nuts were dropped in a puddle by the postman. I shall write to the Queen and complain, whilst at the same time praising your stirling work for the secret radio network broadcasting messages of hope to our former colonies. One can only pity their demise.

Yours, to the second star on the right and back again.

Spot

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 

A Mare’s Nest.

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An event advertised as: 

The Selling Of The Written Word.

Scene: We are at a lecture and speech given by the self-professed best-selling author NQTTT, also known as Mr Thinks He Knows It All

He is here today, allegedly, with two other authors, but all is not what it seems. This ticketed gathering is taking place in a large, high ceilinged reception room; part of King’s College, The Strand, London.

The room has been partitioned into sections, where only twenty people can be assembled at any one-time. Throughout this vast area are strategically placed speakers broadcasting the sound of jostling and muted conversations, giving the impression of crowds coming and going. It is, however, an illusion. All of what can be seen and heard is contrived.

Mr Thinks He Knows It All has, in the past, been a bit-part actor, and today is his biggest role. There is a director in charge of the performance, linked by microphone to our ‘star‘ on the stage. It’s his publisher, Mr. Daniel Cooke, who’s instructions are only heard by NQTTT. However, our speaker is, as you are about to find out, egotistical and not receptive to advice. One more piece of information before we set off. There are ‘plants’ in the audience with prearranged questions! 

You have no time for a welcoming drink as…….The Performance starts….Now!

Lights. Curtain. Action:     Not to be taken too seriously.

“Form an orderly queue please. There will be millions of you here today to hear the likes of me pontificating and giving advice on how to market your work.” 

(good okay, we’re off and running. We have rehearsed well, you’ll be alright. I’ll just give you directions as we go along. Start off by strutting backwards and forward, side to side on the podium. Make out you are important, difficult in your case but we’ll give it a bash. Point at someone…. pause. NOW, stamp your authority from the start)

“You, yes, you at the back with the bald head and elephant ears. Don’t look at me like that old chap, you must have been referred to in that way all your life. Move to your right and line up in the correct fashion. Be a good chap and set an example.” 

(point at him and use a pronounced, condescending tone to the voice) 

I wouldn’t think too many can see me from behind ears the size of those sticking out the side of your head!” 

(give a loud raucous laugh as you finish that line) 

 HA HA HA!

“Stop pushing back there. I will get round to you all in good time, just give me a while.” 

(smile in a self-satisfied manner) 

“There’s no need to look round.” 

(stare at him disapprovingly) 

“Yes, you at the front. Are you stupid? Pay attention. You’ll only strain your neck. Didn’t you bring your step ladders with you? You are a bit on the short side, aren’t you laddie? In any case, you won’t be able to see them all from where you stand.” 

(pause, hold, go) 

“Trust me, there are thousands waiting to meet me and gain from my experience.” 

(straighten your tie, emphasis your importance)

“Now then, I shall begin with a brief but eloquent introduction, as of course all important writers do. We are after all, custodians of the English language.” 

(take a deep intake of breath and wait for the effect to take hold)

“I write stories and, I’m very good at it. I use the initials NQTTT as a pseudonym. I lead readers on to believe it stands for Nye Quellium Tractum Trieste Tacitum, which no one understands, but certainly makes me sound extremely knowledgable and erudite. What do you think? Impressed, yes?” 

(now one of those supercilious grins, that abound in the writing business would be nice and appropriate)

“What’s that you ask? Yes, you with a thesaurus stuck on your head. Didn’t quite catch you old chap. Speak up, be assertive, confident like me.” 

(it’s going well, repeat the question, eyes rolling)

“What do those letters really mean? Well now, that’s a daft question.”

(give him a severe disapproving glare. Remember you’re a writer and look down on lesser mortals than you. Hmm, there aren’t many I guess. Hang on. Ad lib at bit. Can’t quite find that question of his in the script)

“Never-Quite-Tell-The-Truth of course.” 

(why did you say that you fool) 

“How else can you market your wares on face book and twitter? Do be real old chap! That’s why you’re all here is it not, to maximise your sales?”

(okay, let’s regain the situation, stand back, move your head around as if you really care and the question needs an answer)

“The lady in the floral dressing gown, yes, I will answer you but I must get on.” 

(look more agitated, but in control. Imagine a writer who’s had a one-star review. Should be easy for you. Not well thought of by most honest critics are you?)

“What’s that? It’s a Hermes dress and not a house coat. Well, I must say Madam that on you it looks somewhat odd. I’m not a fashion reporter am I?”

(carry-on with a stupid grin through your teeth. Make the audience feel as tiny and as unimportant as possible. Same sort of approach as you, and those writers on face book and twitter)

“Yes sir. I shall take your question next.”……It’s from one of those ‘plants.’

“That fact that I’m highly popular amongst my peers is quite obvious I think. I’m great, as the reviews show! I have no need to fabricate them. Of course on Goodreads and Amazon that can be done, but not by anyone I know. As I am a best-selling author, I have had thirty-three of my humble offerings classified as such, the need of lies is far from necessary!”  

(strut around again, head back looking upwards, hoping that you do not get struck by lightning!)

“Oh please, not more interruptions. You, yes you who looks like Gandalf. You could have shaved old chap. What is it now?” 

(emphasis..now. We are getting to the good bit. He’s our chap)

“Hmm, you allege that I’m not what I say I am?” 

(this is not in the script. He was supposed to say something complimentary…..stall, play for time. I’m sending for the rep from Amazon, we need legal backup)

“Wonderful weather for the time of year don’t you think? What? Sorry can’t hear you?” 

(you are on your own for a while I’m on the phone. Amazon are checking their files to see if he’s listed with any books or kindles on their site. Doesn’t seem to be. Standby, more coming through from them)

“Well, of course I’m a bestseller, just look at the numbers man. What’s that you say?” Speak up! 

(look interested but STALL man……..I can see where this is going)

I GAVE MY WORK AWAY and then falsely claimed to be a BESTSELLER?” 

(shut the …..up. He’s leading you into a trap) 

“Well, of course I did.” 

(heaven help us, here we go. Standby for lawsuits)

“How else would I become a bestseller? And what? People state on twitter and face book that they bought my book, when in fact they got it free. So what? I will do the same for them when they do a freebie, give away or ‘I’m the best there ever was, look at me, I’m great,’ kind of thingy. How else do YOU think YOU will be noticed.” 

(I’m gone. Amazon are taking over the mic. Tear the script up or eat it!…Good bloody luck. IDIOT)

“What’s that you say? Amazon are the only ones gaining from my, and the rest of our enlightened ostrich’s marketing strategy. How thick are you? Without our financial support, where would Amazon be? Of course Amazon sell other things, and successfully, I’m not completely stupid. What, no one else in other trades, who advertise on Amazon, give work away free… Hmm, didn’t know that. Builders don’t? What about plumbers? Car dealers? What, I could try selling books in bookshops?….. What are those old chap?…Dinosaurs dear boy, dead and buried, or waiting so to be. Finished dear boy, have I won the point?” 

(hello there. I’m your friendly free advisor from Amazon. Anything you need will be coming….in time….through our customer relations office situated in the central plains of Outer Mongolia. Can I offer some advice here? You really should try to wrap this up. You are going to lose credibility if you’re not careful)

“That’s such a nonsensical point of view. You say that bookshops are closing because of Amazon. Nonsense dear boy, pure and utter.” 

(thank you, liked that, bravo. We bought Goodreads with your help. We haven’t tried Libraries yet, but who knows, eh)

“They’re closing because no one reads any more, that’s why. Well, certainly fewer do since Mission Impossible, Men In Black and Games of Thrones. I blame Gone with the Wind. Downhill from then onwards. Everyone wanted to become a writer. Oh don’t make me laugh. What next? It’s because of my ilk giving valueless work away? I do value my work. Well, yes, I guess that no price does suggest that it’s worthless. But it’s a come-on. They buy the next book.” 

(are you absolutely sure about your facts? We never bother to check thoroughly. I can’t say that our figures substantiate that or not. Don’t elaborate on the point, you could be sued. Speaking on behalf of the Company, we couldn’t give a monkey’s flying fart if you sold something, or gave it all away. We plan to buy Apple, Microsoft, Smashwords and Wattpad next. A complete monopoly of the written word is our ultimate aim. Then of course we will charge astronomical amounts of money for all of you writers)

“Sorry, what was that? No, not you with the questions. Certainly not you Madam with the press badge. How did you get to the front anyway? The microphone in my ear is talking to me. What? There’s not a microphone there, it’s a nest in my ear Madam? Are you sure?……A horse’s nest you say, speak up I can’t hear you clearly?…..A mare’s-nest? What’s……………THAT?”

Mare’s Nest, a definition:

1. A complex or confused situation; a muddle: your desk’s usually a mare’s nest.

2. An illusory discovery: the mare’s nest of perfect safety.

3. Something that appears to be of great interest but is a complete waste of time.

CURTAIN FALL. Play The Final Post and lower the flag on TRUTH.

http://www-thedesolategarden-com.co.uk/

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 

False Impressions.

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Lilac walls and pink settees

Hexagon tables with cups of tea

Ritzy people righting the wrong

A pianist playing while singing a song.

 

Glasses clicking under corks that pop

Laughter and kisses in the silent backdrop

A woman in love, it’s in her eyes

A married man telling her lies.

 

A band strikes up, a guitar plucks away

It’s the beginning of the night, ending of the day

Another chance to become who you are.

If only you can open your eyes and see that far.

 

Admit the truth, you’ve come to stare

You live their lives, you’re dying in there.

You need to escape and find your own

Even if that means living alone.

 

Don’t live a life that’s false and untrue

Stand up and admit that you are you.

Be brave, be bold, let Hope lead you on

Then you can sing your own kind of song.

Danny Kemp

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 

My Friend For Eternity.

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The story of a beautiful, mysterious woman, a gambling debt and a grouse shoot. Featuring Harry Paterson, the main character from my debut novel The Desolate Garden.

Amazon.com

Amazon. co

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 

FAILURE.

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Failure!
What can restrict one’s imagination?
Could it be fear, or the realisation
That before success, comes many a decline
Into the abyss that critics define
As FAILURE.

Failure is a word of which many approve.
It saves them from rising
And trying to prove
What others attempt, when lifting their head
Into that den where critics are fed!

We stride a path lined by few friends,
But maligned by enemies who only lend
An ear to what they miss between a line
That for their ugliness is impossible to find.

Failure, Success! What difference does it make
To those who have never made a mistake?
Become a critic, it’s an easy thing to do.
But please allow me to ridicule YOU!

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 

Interivew: Daniel Kemp – From a London cab to a $30m movie

Originally posted on The Real Writers' Guide:

The story of Daniel Kemp’s writing career is just as thrilling as the tales he has put to paper himself.

View original 1,037 more words

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 

You Will Never Be Glad If You Have Never Been Sad.

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When I was about seven or eight years of age, a boy, some three or four years older than I and much bigger, snatched my prized ‘Davy Crockett’ hat from my head and ran off with it. I chased after him, grabbed him by the shoulders, spun him around and landed two punches. One landed squarely on his nose, which then bled, and I retrieved my hat. Neither he, nor his friends, ever bothered me again.

From that early age I grew up a very self-reliant person, never asking anyone to fight my battles for me. I became, at both my Junior School and at Grammar School, the defender of the bullied, willingly standing up against many on behalf of those less strong. That attitude of complete confidence stayed with me throughout my varied life, even carrying me through the fights that I lost, but it was shattered eight years ago in London.

I am a licensed London taxi driver and was at work that fateful day, stopped at a red traffic light when a van ran into the side of my cab. Although I was admitted into St. Thomas’s Hospital and kept there for a time, it was not the physical injuries that troubled me in the next three and half years, it was from mental pain that I suffered. I was clinically diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, seeing a multitude of psychiatrists, psychologists, physiotherapists as well as a neurologist and, of course, my general practitioner.

One thing that I never told any of those professionals was that at the time of the accident I saw death, and heard it speak.

Having been a Police Officer I knew that I had to give my name at the scene of the accident, and it was with this on my mind when I saw that apparition. As I was trying to get out of my cab I saw a bright white light with an indistinguishable face in the centre. The voice said to me, “ You don’t have to bother, I already know your name.” What frightened me from telling this, at all the therapy sessions I attended, was the stigma of suffering from a mental disorder that would, I imagined, been diagnosed worse had I of done so. I kept it a secret, but it bothered me.

I had many sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, (CBT) whilst on prescribed medicine never, as I say, telling the full truth, but it was one question in particular that made me sit-up and think:

“If your car was scratched, would you throw it away?”

That was me. I was scratched but wanted to end it all by throwing my life away. I had seriously thought along those lines. The realisation that not all was worthless about myself slowly led to a recovery, via three months of sheer hell coming off an addiction to pain killers. It was either that, or morphine for the rest of my life the neurologist told me. I saw countless psychiatrists, as antidepressants were prescribed in varying degrees of dosage. I saw private psychologists, some, I’m sure, interested more in money than cure. Through it all my doctor was my professional pillar of strength, as was all that I saw in the good old National Health Service, and it was she, and those, who got me on the course of Eye Movement Desensitisation Routine (EMDR) that helped to cured me.

I don’t believe that it was purely medication nor therapy that led to recovery, but a combination of both certainly helped, along with the acceptance that life had changed. What did it for me was finally coming to terms with my vulnerability. I was not superhuman after all and could not walk through walls, but I could fight this sickness. I did, and I won. If I can, then so can you!

I have come across many people who suffer as I did, and it’s that stigma that sometimes holds us back from admitting that we need help to recover. Talking is a cure, not simply comparing ourselves with others, each pain is separate; purely personnel and hurting. Each day, trying to do what could not be done yesterday helps. Believe you can do it, and eventually you will.

Joining social groups is a huge task to come to terms with, but it will help. Ones that share an interest of yours, be it reading, knitting or talking about films, anything that you can involve yourself in. The internet may seem imposing, but it’s full of people who are searching for peace of mind, and others to communicate with. 

Blogging is another way to connect. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, and don’t worry about saying silly things, just get out there and mingle. Let others help you to restore your faith in your own ability.

There is no overnight cure for depression nor anxiety, but you will come through it. It will be you who drags yourself to recovery. On the other side of those dark forbidding days is not utopia, that doesn’t exist, real life awaits with all the problems that brings. You have been to hell and lived through it, what can life throw at you now?

Have you been sad long enough? Get better; and rejoice that you are on the road to being well again. Good luck to you.

I saw the face of death once, in the centre of a dazzling light. “I know your name” it said, “but I will not ask for it tonight.

No need to worry my friend, your time has not come around. When it does, I will come silently, I will not make a sound.

There is no need to fear me as you cannot escape my name. You were born, you lived, it’s not me, but life that you must blame!”

Danny Kemp

 

 

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Author/Writer, Raconteur

 
 
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